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DeVos Tours Texas Schools Hit By Harvey, Recovery Efforts In Humble

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told reporters that she’s impressed with the “creativity” and “flexibility” in recovery efforts in Texas

More than two months since Hurricane Harvey made landfall and shut down schools for more than one million Texas children, the nation’s top education administrator made a second visit to the state.

On the tour, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made three stops, one in Port Aransas, which was hit hard by the hurricane, and two stops in Humble, northeast of Houston, where severe flooding devastated Kingwood High School.

Kingwood’s nearly 3,000 students are doubling up shifts at Summer Creek High School, while the Humble school district spends over $67 million to repair the damaged campus by March. Students are expected to return then to finish out the year.

During her visit to Summer Creek High, DeVos checked out sopapilla cheesecake students prepared in a culinary arts class and visited with teenagers working on Dodge Ram radiators and transmissions in auto shop.

Then she toured ongoing repairs at Kingwood High, which took on several feet of water and where commercial dryers still blow.

DeVos told reporters that she’s impressed with the “creativity” and “flexibility” in recovery efforts in Texas.

But the doubled shifts and repairs aren’t enough relief for many Texas educators.

The Houston Federation of Teachers as well as several local superintendents have pressed state and federal officials to relax testing and accountability for storm-affected schools this year, because Harvey disrupted the lives of so many students and teachers.

DeVos said that she’s committed to working with state leaders to help students succeed but didn’t say if accountability should be relaxed.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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