Why Your Vote on HISD Prop 1 Doesn’t Matter

Where did all that money go? I don’t know. And you don’t either. Your vote doesn’t matter, because whether HISD has more or less money next year won’t make a bit of difference to our kids as long as parents don’t pay attention to how that money gets used. And they have to pay attention longer than one or two months to know whether anyone is telling the truth or just saying the right buzz words to get us to all calm down and go home. Who cares about who’s recapture projections are right if no one is going to pay attention long enough to find out?
Read More

National testing vendor isn’t the solution to HISD’s special education crisis.

Thus far, this special education crisis has been a failure of the administration. That same administration just picked this vendor. If the board authorizes this contract and expects to rely on the output of this vendor as a material part of its response, the board will be a part of the problem rather than the beginning of the solution.
I suggest that the board table this vote, finish listening to parents, and then work out how, who and what will give them the independent information the need to put new policy and new expectations for the administration in place to end the crisis.
Read More

Houston ISD: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

In the end, I pray 1) that our school leaders see that repeating the past will only produce more of what we already have, 2) that Houston ISD gets the opportunity to evolve from the soul-crushing metrics of raising standardized test scores by a few points and 3) that all HISD stakeholders become invested in delivering the holistic environment and enriched curriculum that maximizes the individual potential of each and every child.
We must think bigger. Our children deserve better. 
Read More

Every Day Discrimination

Ultimately, if your family has the wrong combination of members or doesn’t conform to certain gender roles, you are excluded at these GOMM events. This exclusion is hard to reconcile in a public school setting, particularly one such as ours where our district and campus have committed to be free from discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, religion and other manner of diversity.
This example of exclusion and bias is not what we want for our kids.
Read More

Alternatively Certified Teachers, TFA and Equity in Houston ISD

To the rest of the trustees, you need to ask yourself... 1) Why HISD is relying more and more on Alternative Certifications to staff its classrooms? 2) Is this staffing model is equitable to all kids? 3) And is the item in front of you which allows the district to grow TFA teacher by as much as 150% next year taking the district in the right direction?
Read More

Houston ISD Memorializes Racist Trustee, James M. Delmar, with New $35 Million Facility

Could you imagine honoring the memory of someone who went on record to say that – NAACP– stands for The National Association for the Agitation of Colored People, or that Rosa Parks was just a paid protester, or that African Americans who protested at lunch counters around Harris County in the 1950s were simply trying to create an issue? 
What if I told you that this person once served on THIS very school board and fought relentlessly for decades AGAINST desegregation in HISD? This person was James M. Delmar– namesake of the new $35 million athletic complex directly behind Houston ISD headquarters.
Read More

Rushed & Confused, HISD Trustees Bend to TEA Demands with STAAR-Centered Goals for District

The children of Houston need a school district less focused on the STAAR. Less focused on what the TEA wants to hear and more focused on what our kids actually need. For the first time in many years, we have a progressive Board of Trustees who trust teachers to do their jobs, who want to invest in the arts and other evidence-based programs to educate the whole child and rely less on standardized testing as the primary measure of success. However, it seems that many of those values walked out the door last Saturday when the TEA consultant walked in. 
Read More

Policy Brief: Local Promotion Standards

Promotion standards, or the requirements students must meet in order to move on to the next grade level, have recently been a significant topic of discussion in the Houston Independent School District. Given that the Board of Education and the district’s senior administration are seeking to overhaul these promotion standards in 2017 and in recognition of the fact that the current standards were put in place prior any sitting trustee’s tenure on the board, HISD Parent Advocates provides this brief to summarize the policy’s origin, history, and effectiveness as well as propose best practices and guiding principles that parents believe trustees should include in the design of the district’s new standards. 
Read More

The Tide is Turning in Houston ISD

With respect to over testing our children, the tide is turning in HISD.
In the state’s largest school district and arguably one of the birthplaces of corporate education reform, these years of parents asking questions, expecting more and opting out when they’d had enough is working. Trustees—new and old—and now their new superintendent see that change can no longer wait.
And it looks like that change may get one step closer this week. 
Read More