Ultimately, the move to charter these four schools represents the district abandoning its commitment to children. It is an admission by district leaders that they cannot teach the Black and Brown children in these high-poverty schools.
We should reject that idea. The voters of Houston ISD are capable of electing our own leaders who are able to govern our schools.
Democracy matters. Our voices at local school board meetings matter. The policy work we have done as a community over decades matters. Students of color and students living in extreme concentrations of poverty shouldn’t have to give up democracy in order for their schools to be receive adequate funding.
Don’t be fooled. No true change in schools comes without community engagement, and sustainable, true change comes when people affected by the change lead the way. It doesn’t come from the top down, from a mandate by state government or the mayor’s political backroom.
It comes from the bottom up. It comes from students, parents and the community.
The threat to local, community control of our schools—particularly those in historic Black & Latinx neighborhoods—will continue as long as HB1842 and SB1882 are in effect, and if you watched that fight last year, you also know that we warned that the battles in HISD were not over. Now, the fight has returned. So let’s look back on where we’ve been and take a look at where we stand today.
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.
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.Read More
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 fewRead More
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
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