The Texas Education Agency (TEA) release of their "final" HISD investigation, less than one week before the election, is a Trumpian attempt to cancel our votes and harm our students. It is outrageous that a commissioner-appointed board has more legitimacy than an ELECTED one.
TEA is using any means necessary to dismantle our public education system. They used Lone Star Governance to hold HISD hostage; they produced this unsubstantiated report that is as credible as a child crying wolf and they have their hands in the billionaire elite underwriting candidates who want to shutter our schools and turn them into test-taking factories.
Rob Block, candidate in the special election for state representative for District 148, released the following statement pushing back against the recommendation by TEA investigators to appoint a board of managers to replace the Houston ISD board of trustees:
“HISD’s democratically elected board of trustees appears to be one step closer to having their power taken away by the state of Texas. Rather than focusing on measures that will improve student performance, such as increasing wraparound services for schools or after-school curricula, Governor Abbott continues his march toward centralizing power in Austin. This action would only serve to hurt Houston’s children and families.
Houstonians need to be highly skeptical of any claims that a takeover will improve student academic performance. In Philadelphia, a takeover of seventeen years by the state of Pennsylvania led to barely any academic improvement, school closures, buildings in disrepair, and large class sizes. This is not the path that Houston should take. A district with 75% of students being “economically disadvantaged” needs holistic approaches to ensuring success for our students. Basing a takeover on outcomes of high-stakes testing, arbitrary standards of failure, and an investigation report that would not hold up in traffic court is flawed. Governor Abbott’s approach is backward, undemocratic, and mean-spirited. A state appointed board of managers would be much less accountable to the voters of Houston and may have interests very different than the priorities Houstonians would vote for.
Instead of power plays that put the futures of kids at stake, Austin should be focused on repealing laws that close schools serving as vital community anchors, improving on the efforts made to increase funding of public schools in HB 3, getting rid of the misleading A-F accountability model, and imposing a moratorium on charter schools that siphons money away from public education. Teachers, schools, children, and families need supports – not threats – from the state to thrive. Taking over HISD is a threat all Houstonians must push back against. As a state representative, I look forward to working as a partner with democratically elected school boards as well as families, teachers and the community to tackle the challenges we face in educating our children.”