Protesters go to Houston ISD administration building to condemn rumored TEA takeover

Most concerns from parents revolve around public school closures and low-income students being left out of decisions.


Protesters condemn the rumored TEA takeover of HISD

Dozens of protesters congregated in front of HISD’s administration building to voice concerns about a rumored Texas Education Agency takeover.

Ruth Kravetz is the co-founder of Community Voices for Public Education with two children who graduated from HISD. As a former educator, she has worked with students whose families lacked the income to pay for necessities.

"There's a kid I taught, when I went to his house to visit to help him think about college, he had no electricity and the only furniture in the house was a bed, an engine block, and a chair," she said. "He did his homework by street lamp outside."

Kravetz believes the state uses standardized testing to unfairly measure kids with less resources in comparison to those who have more.

“Both sets of kids have parents who love them, but one set needs us more. And this takeover is going to exclude those kids,” Kravetz said.

Her biggest concern with the takeover is the TEA potentially closing more public schools and opening more charter schools that might exclude low-income students from receiving an education.

Another protestor, Kourtney Revels, is a parent who lives in an area of Houston that used to be a part of North Forest ISD.

"When TEA forced HISD to absolve them, we did see a lot of school closures," Revels said.

She said a takeover is unwarranted and parents want thriving schools in their neighborhoods.

“That’s what’s help with our socioeconomic state. Kids being educated and not having to leave, that’s another fear of mine,” she said. “That our kids are gonna be bused out to the Lamars and Bellaires. If they don’t charter down. If they still allow our kids to even get in.”

North Forest ISD was absorbed by Houston ISD after the state dissolved the district in 2013.

Elsewhere, government officials spoke out against the rumored takeover. State Rep. Jarvis Johnson, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Congressman Al Green were in attendance.

“Please know that everyone that is here is on the same accord,” Rep. Johnson said. “We understand that this takeover is a disingenuous one and an egregious one at this time. HISD is doing a phenomenal job. … as we currently speak, HISD has a B+ rating.”

Johnson acknowledged that there was a time where HISD needed to be taken over by TEA, but “not at this time”.

Mayor Turner said on Saturday he called TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and asked him about the rumors personally.

“‘Are any of these rumors true? Do you all intend to take over HISD?’ And the commissioner would not confirm nor deny,” Turner said. “What he did say is that there are some provisions that are discretionary for the state. And then there are some provisions that are mandatory. … So you know, there are two options, either you close the school or you take over the district, which do you prefer?'”

Turner said that there was a third option where it can be handled via the Legislature.

The TEA has yet to confirm an HISD takeover.

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