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While State Takeover Threat Fades, TEA Seeks Community Input for Potential Board of Managers

The state’s deputy commissioner has met with different groups in Houston in informal settings, including living rooms, churches and community centers.

The threat of a state takeover has loomed over the Houston Independent School District for the past school year.

That threat could be lifting, according to early test results at some of its struggling schools, though the Houston school district won’t know for sure until the state releases school ratings in August.

Still, in case that takeover ever happens, the Texas Education Agency is listening to what community members want from a state board of managers.

So, after coffee and breakfast tacos in the East End Saturday morning, more than two dozen Latino leaders questioned Deputy Education Commissioner A.J. Crabill about the future of Houston schools.

In turn, Crabill asked for their thoughts, if the state takeover law is ever triggered.

Specifically, he asked: How should the state select a board of managers, what should the criteria be and what should their marching orders be?

Some answers that emerged: avoid political appointees, look for people with diverse backgrounds and skills and find people who can work together.

Linda Flores Olson, who helped organized the meeting, had her own wish list.

“I think a person that understands data and makes decisions on data and data alone — I mean, I know we’re human beings, we’re not robots — but we have a lot of data and the data tells you a lot of information, and so trusting the data and using that is going to be imperative,” she said.

Flores Olson said that the meeting helped build trust that’s been missing in the Houston school district.

“As we start building more and more trust, I think people will start holding our trustees more accountable, we’ll get back involved in what’s happening at HISD,” she said.

The meeting is one of several the state’s deputy commissioner has had with different groups in Houston in informal settings, from living rooms to churches.

 

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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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