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New Video Gives Inside Look At Deep Dysfunction At Houston School Board

The video raises yet more questions about the Houston school board’s ability to function and govern the state’s largest school district.

community on behalf of the Houston school board, for how they've behaved over the last 10 months.
In October, Trustee Diana Dávila issued an apology to the community on behalf of the Houston school board, for how they’ve behaved over the last 10 months.

A new video published by the Houston Chronicle reveals how deeply dysfunction pervades the school board at the Houston Independent School District. The video, obtained through a public records request documents a seven-hour meeting in mid-October, just days after the board temporarily ousted the interim superintendent. Trustees spent hours accusing each other, complaining about the lack of trust and airing other grievances.

The video raises yet more questions about the Houston school board’s ability to function and govern the state’s largest school district. There have been more calls in recent months for major state intervention, including from Governor Greg Abbott.

The Houston school board faces the threat of a state takeover because of an ongoing state investigation into governance issues and also because of poor academic performance at several schools

Some excerpts:

  • Trustee Elizabeth Santos complained about the board’s behavior and wondered why she gave up teaching to serve on the board: “How can we sit here and keep talking about ourselves when our students are the ones that end up getting screwed over? Our students! Not just one demographic, not just one anything, it’s our students that get screwed over.”
  • Trustee Wanda Adams called out the group for not defending her when she received threats as board president in 2017:”I was quiet the whole year! So don’t come up here crying ‘woe is me’ when people came to my house, attacked me … Did anybody come for me? No!”
  • Trustee Anne Sung described her experience like an abusive relationship: “It felt like all year long  like this is an abusive marriage, an abusive relationship. And I’ve felt that way. It’s the best analogy I can think of … I don’t find profit in going back and forth about lies. I just keep trying to focus on the work moving forward.”

Watch the full video here and listen to Chronicle reporter Jacob Carpenter explain more behind the meeting on Houston Matters in the audio file below.

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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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