Please join us in signing this petition to support and defend the rights of Houston’s students and parents. en español aqui.  Here is a one pager on the history and harmful impact of state takeovers. 

Houston ISD is NOT a failing district.

  • HISD is rated B+ under the state’s accountability rating and is AAA bond-rated.
  • 256 (94%) of its 273 campuses are rated A, B or C.
  • 96 (35%) of its 273 campuses are A-rated. HISD is the 8th largest school district in the country.

Why is HISD under threat of a takeover?

  • In 2015, a TX law was written that allows the state to takeover an entire school district if even one campus is rated “F” on the STAAR for five years.
  • One school (Wheatley HS) was in that category in 2019 and the Texas Education Agency moved to take over Houston ISD. The state also raised issues with certain actions by some HISD Board members.
  • HISD challenged the takeover, upheld in 2020 in court twice, and the takeover was delayed.

Since then, local control has worked as it’s meant to work.

  • Voters elected an almost entirely new HISD School Board.
  • HISD’s efforts to improve performance at Wheatley paid off.  Wheatley was rated “C” in 2022.

But the state still wants to take over HISD.

  • In January 2023, the Republican State Supreme Court overturned the injunction that blocked the takeover.
  • The governor is using any pretext to take away local control to further his public school privatization agenda.

State takeover removes local control.

  • The state appointed “board of managers” would make all policy decisions. 
  • HISD’s democratically elected board would only have a ceremonial role with no voting authority.
  • The unelected commissioner has full discretion to extend the takeover indefinitely. (See 2021 SB 1365.)

State takeovers do not improve student academic outcomes or school district operations.

  • Multiple studies have found that state takeovers do not lead to increased academic achievement. 
  • Wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars occurs under state takeover. A 2019 report on the results of the Detroit takeover found roughly $610 million in wasteful spending and rampant mismanagement of the district’s schools and educational services to students while the state was in control. 
  • Nearly 85 percent of the districts that have been taken over by their states have had majority Black or Latino student populations. 
  • State takeovers do not improve student learning. For example, “The New Orleans Recovery School District continues to struggle with poor performance, posting among the lowest achievement and graduation rates in the state. Communities are harmed by endless charter openings and closures.
  • Teachers will leave Houston ISD in large numbers and the curriculum will be narrowed further for STAAR.

Takeover opens the door to privatization and discrimination. 

  • Since it opened in 2011, YES Prep has significantly underserved our most vulnerable students compared to Wheatley which accepts and educates all students. This impacts accountability ratings significantly.
  • In 2021, YES Prep served only 8.9% special education students, while Wheatley served 18.6% - more than double. YES Prep admitted only 53% at-risk students, while Wheatley served 78.2% in the same neighborhood.