Sample letter to trustees about privatization of HISD schools

Dear Trustee XXXXX,

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. 

Our black and brown communities have been underserved by the district for years and have already been subjected to multiple rounds of school closures. This has left our community reeling and the district has suffered from a lack of trust as a result of these closures. 

This move towards privatization will hurt teachers and students. Teachers at these schools will have no guarantee of a job in their current school and many will lose their jobs. Students at campuses slated for closure will be bussed farther from their homes with no guarantee of a better learning environment. It is uncertain what HISD policies will apply to partners and which ones will not. Will LGBTQ students continue to have protections afforded to them under HISD’s current policies? Will kindergarten-second grade students be subject to out of school suspensions again? The work the HISD school board does every month with the community craft policy is important and it is unclear what protections students and teachers will have at these new “partnership” campuses. 

Ultimately, communities will be disenfranchised as the school board will no longer be responsible for governance at a school. They will not be able to vote out the people running their schools when there is a problem or they are unsatisfied. Does this sound fair? Why should some families in HISD have access to a representative body running their schools but not others? 

There is a third solution to this dilemma that the administration has not presented to you. The third way is to take legal action against the Texas Education Agency and their unjust laws. The accountability system is flawed and should not be used to label any schools, much less close them. Closing and chartering our schools is a DRASTIC step and should not be done on the basis of flawed data. We cannot take another year of this unjust system and we call on you to stand up for our children and us, your voters. If you have any doubts about the validity of the STAAR test and its usefulness, I respectfully ask you to refrain from voting on any action that would close or charter schools. 

You, as a school board member, are our last line of defense. We need you to stand up in this war for public education.

No partnerships, no charters, no closures.