Education is the neutralizer. It does not change the thoughts of a racist, and it does not render one bulletproof. Education does not automatically afford a person privileges nor does it correct the wrongs that have been done in this country. Education applies an opposition to the force of oppression. Education is energy.
The power of education is no secret, and it is coveted. This power is so magnificent that billionaires and corporations are trying to buy and sell it. When you control the information a population receives, you control the population. Period.
Before we take another dive into the intrinsic flaws of our school board; acknowledge the importance of your education or at least acknowledge the difference an education would have made in your life. Now, apply that feeling to the children you love the most. Throughout this piece, refer back to that feeling. In this fight for educational equity, refer back to our children because this is all about them.
On April 24, 2018, I walked into the school board meeting…
As a mother of two children in Houston ISD schools, I have a stake in the future of our school district and have been following the moves of its Board of Education for several years. I have attended almost every school board meeting for the last few years—including regular meetings, board workshops and agenda review meetings. I am familiar with the players, the politics and the issues with which the school board is dealing. However, this past week’s events shocked even me, a veteran observer of the board’s happenings.
A couple of weeks ago the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released their ratings of schools and school districts. I am the mother of two children at a school in Houston Independent School District, the state’s largest school district and the seventh largest district in the country. How did my kids’ school fare in this year’s accountability system? The school failed, receiving an “Improvement Required” rating.
How long is too long for any community to be neglected for as long as ours? And when I say “ours,” I mean “We The People.” We all have the same problems—some just worse than others. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
All taxing authorities and ELECTED officials should be held accountable for overtaxation without any representation. As I evaluate the conditions of my neighborhood, I still see un-driveable city streets, ditches filled with trash and water (some up to 10 ft deep), so-called “affordable” housing surrounded by drug houses, high concentrations of halfway housing, no sidewalks, no zoning, school closures, a high concentration of sex offenders, an increasing crime rate, with a steadily decreasing police presence. I think all areas should receive superior services from our local government and beyond, regardless of the economic, geographic, or demographic makeup of the community. Even though we continue to be neglected, some of us still don’t VOTE for our best interests and keep electing the same people.
Remember when these plans were rolled out in January, and then-superintendent Carranza assured us that the community would be fully apprised of all the details of these proposals at these community meetings? Well, here we are at the conclusion of the meetings and we know no more than when we started-scratch that, we know LESS.
Houston Independent School District (HISD) contracted with American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) to conduct a third-party, independent “Special Education Program Review.” AIR conducted this review over a 10-month period between May 2017 and February 2018. This report describes our assessment of HISD’s strengths and areas in need of improvement with respect to its special education program, and identifies recommendations for HISD to consider as it continues its efforts to improve services for students with disabilities in the district
Privatization is a way to justify less government funding in public education. Privatization is a way to justify the new-era segregation of our schools with a legal separate-but-equal system. And privatization is a way to distract from the social justice questions of our day like the root causes of poverty, the need for universal healthcare and systemic discrimination in our criminal justice system, to name just a few
I am writing you today to ask you to refuse to partner, charter or close any HISD schools. I understand that Houston ISD is subject to sanctions under House Bill 1842 and has been given the option to avoid those sanctions through a partnership under SB 1882. I am writing you today to tell you that I am opposed to any partnerships, charters, or closures.
They should refuse to disenfranchise these communities through closure OR charter. Neither is a long term solution and further hurts communities that have been underserved. They should retain independent counsel who can fully advise them on their options, and then should counsel advise, sue the state to halt these actions as they will devastate the HISD community. There is much evidence that the accountability system on which all these school ratings are based is flawed. The board should also work immediately to put as many resources as possible in these schools, at the direction of the communities they serve.