Top Line

Poor performance will lead to a Texas state agency taking over Houston’s school district, but some experts believe the school’s takeover does more harm than good.

important facts

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The Texas Education Agency (the state agency that oversees elementary and secondary education) announced the plans on Wednesday Capture Houston Independent School District.

The TEA will not replace the elected school board members and superintendent with yet-to-be-named state-appointed managers, though they will finish the school year and state officials will take office no earlier than June 1.

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The district was first reported to be occupied 2019—The state’s education commissioner cited Wheatley High School’s poor performance for seven consecutive years and a spell check Several board members cited violations of state regulations as reasons for the takeover.

However, with an overall rating of “B” and a score of 88 on the state rating scale, HISD is not the lowest performing—the Dallas Independent School District’s score is 86and the San Antonio School District scored 85 Number.

HISD is the largest school district in Texas and the eighth largest in the nation. nearby 200,000 students, 276 schools and a racial demographics 61.7% Hispanic students, 22.4% Black students, and 9.6% White students.

Texas Govt. Greg Abbott supports the decision and Said Houston Chronicle This would ensure that Houston’s schools would “no longer fail their students.”

chief critic

Democratic officials are against the takeover — state Rep. Ron Reynolds told Houston Chronicle It was an effort to promote what Abbott believes is what Reynolds feels are "push charter schools" and school vouchers, not "diversity, equity and inclusion." Abbott has expressed support In allowing Texas residents to use tax dollars to send students to non-public schools, a process known as "school choice", which allows states to send children to private or charter schools -Uses sponsored scholarships (or school vouchers). Some organizations, such as the National Educator Association, are wary of the harm charter schools can do to public schools. Cause such as the withdrawal of funds from public schools as charters are publicly funded and expanded Separation by race and income.

main background

There are more than 10,000 school districts in the country and only "about 110 or so, state acquisitions," says Domingo Morel, an associate professor of political science and public service at New York University. Said CNN. new Jersey The state was the first to take over the schools and most recently gave the rights back to the school district in 2022, ending a 33-year streak. About 33 states have passed laws that allow takeovers of public school districts that do not meet rating requirements. However, a 2017 Study showed that a state takeover in Tennessee did not improve student achievement, suggesting that it is possible to improve schools without removing them from school district jurisdiction. Michigan officials placed Detroit Public Schools under the authority of an emergency manager from 1999 to 2016, but as of 2019 reports An estimated $610 million was found in government spending and mismanagement of educational services and schools. Morel's Book"Acquisitions: Race, Education, and American Democracy," found that approximately 85% of school acquisitions occurred in predominantly black and Hispanic school districts.

tangent line

The takeover is another example of white, Republican-appointed officials attempting to seize control of Democratic cities with mostly black and brown populations and leaders. In Mississippi, Republican state legislators are trying Increase State-run Capitol Police jurisdiction to include Jackson, Mississippi, a predominantly black city. Both the Mississippi House and Senate have passed separate bills on the matter and will be vying for legislation in the coming weeks as the 2023 legislative session ends. The reason for the expansion, lawmakers noted, is Jackson, Mississippi. high crime rate, In 2021, a record-breaking 155 murders occurred in the city, earning a murder rate of 97.6 murders per 100,000 residents. It broke St. Louis' record 87 murders per 100,000 residents. Similarly, in the majority-black city of Mason, Tennessee, local officials with the help of the NAACP filed A lawsuit against White, the state's Republican comptroller, followed in March 2022 after he stepped in to take over city finances. The lawsuit alleges that the comptroller's financial remediation plan contained unreasonable requirements and racially discriminated against the city. However, the city dismissed the lawsuit after reaching an agreement with the comptroller to raise the minimum requirement for state approval for city expenditures from $100 to $1,000, allowing the city more leeway in its spending. According for ABC 24.

State Education Commissioner moves to take over HISD, replaces entire elected school board (Houston Public Media)

Texas Education Agency Announces Acquisition of Houston Independent School District (Houston Public Media)

Majority-Black Town of Mason Reaches Agreement With Tennessee Comptroller's Office Regarding City Finances (ABC 24)

NAACP files lawsuit against Tennessee comptroller, claims threat to occupy majority-black town is discriminatory (CNN)

House revives state police expansion and bitter fight over 'takeover' of Jackson (Mississippi Today)