Recently, the superintendent and HISD Admin, in response to questions by several board members (Diegaard, Cruz, and Wade), stated that “ student performance” would be included in the metrics used to “right-size” the district.
This is coded language for closing elementary schools in poor neighborhoods of color using STAAR scores. Are we now rewarding schools whose parents have the money to hire tutors?
At recent public meetings, the superintendent spoke multiple times about the need to close schools to balance the budget. He argues that there are more schools now than thirty years ago when the district’s enrollment was higher.
Here are the facts: Between 2001-2014, HISD closed 50+ schools in poor neighborhoods of color and opened a large number of small boutique middle and high schools under Grier.
If HISD wants to save money, it should NOT spend huge amounts of money on the unreliable and pedagogically unsound Eureka and Amplify elementary school software being piloted in 40 schools this year. HISD also should not continue its expensive contract with Carnegie Math in middle schools. The Carnegie program is not aligned with the STAAR, not aligned with Texas curriculum, has no pictures for middle school students to engage with the material and is written at such a high level that it is not useful for teachers nor good for kids.
Sign up to speak at the HISD School Board meeting on Thursday at 5 pm to share your stories. You must sign up by noon on Wednesday to speak in person or on zoom on Thursday. Register here.
Here are some of the agenda items. You can read the entire Board agenda here at https://www.houstonisd.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=51135&dataid=384267&FileName=111022OA_POST.pdf
- A1: Transformation Agenda: School Closures among others. See more below.
- A3: Legislative agenda (pp18-20): How HISD plans to lobby the state and federal government. It includes a number of good policy items but is largely silent on the overreliance of high-stakes testing. It even mentions "providing meaningful assessments that are beneficial for instruction and that accurately measure student progress." Is more benchmark testing really HISD's priority? Parents and teachers want more time for learning. Taking someone's temperature all day long is not the cure.
- E1: New magnet programs in magnet deserts including at Attucks, Fonville, Patrick Hendry, McReynolds, Sam Houston HS, Madison HS, Worthing HS ( p 25)
- F3: Class size waivers (p 35): Waivers are up this year.
- I3: Electric buses (p 93): Clean School Bus rebate provided by the feds. Pretty neat.
- K1: Board Policy revisions: Speak about Board member Kendall Baker's mistaken belief that wraparound services are a nefarious plot. Help him understand that wraparound services help kids get bus fare to school, a coat in winter, access to a dentist, mental health services, and so much more.
Register by noon on Wednesday at houstonisd.org/Page/32478 or call (713) 556-6121 to register to speak at 5 pm on Thursday. You may speak in person or via Zoom. Email [email protected] if you need help signing up or have questions.
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