Trey Paul, FISM News
Houston Independent School District (HISD), the eighth-largest school district in the country, is under new leadership after Texas officials announced a state takeover Wednesday, citing poor academic performance and out-of-control board meetings.
The announcement, made by Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, also comes after allegations of misconduct by school trustees.
“The goal here is to let what is great about Houston continue to be great, but where there are places where students have for far too long gone without the sort of structure of support that they need,” Morath said in an interview with KPRC 2 News. “The system of Houston ISD seems to allow campuses to go many, many years without seeing performance.”
Those HISD campuses are made up of nearly 200,000 students, many of whom Morath says are failing. He cited the seven-year record of weak academic performance at Wheatley High and several other schools.
In his letter to the HISD, Morath made clear other reasons why he made this decision. He wrote the board failed to improve student performance while holding “chaotic board meetings marred by infighting.” He also said the decision was based on open meeting violations and even accused the district of breaking state and federal laws by the way it handled students with disabilities.
Despite that explanation, many in power in the Democratic-led city of Houston seemingly refused to accept the poor academic results and chose to deflect.
Moving forward, the Texas Education Agency will install a Board of managers and new superintendent in June.
The Harris County Republican Party showed its support for Morath on social media and shared a statement from Chairman Cindy Siegel.
“While this is an unfortunate situation, I fully support the TEA taking over HISD in June,” Siegel said.
When a student repeatedly fails, they have to face the consequences. For years, HISD has failed. In the face of sharp criticism and a looming takeover, the district made no substantial progress in improving the quality of education for its students. We have to draw the line somewhere; today, the TEA drew that line. Students must come first, and the TEA stepping in is an important first step to getting the largest school district in Texas back on track.
The Harris County GOP supports the Texas Education Agency (TEA) decision to takeover Houston ISD. Read Chairman Cindy Siegel’s complete statement. ⤵️ https://t.co/P2bCrHpkLb
— Harris County GOP (@HarrisCountyRP) March 15, 2023
DEMOCRAT POLICIES FAILING
This is not the first time this kind of overhaul from state governments has taken place nationwide. Other Democratic-led cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and St. Louis have gone through state takeovers with critics claiming there isn’t much of an improvement in academic success.
Earlier this month, FISM News reported not a single student can do math at grade level in 53 Illinois schools, noting that for reading it’s 30 schools. Illinois state Senator Willie Preston (D-Chicago) acknowledged the failure in an interview with FOX News and said school funding should be spent wisely, especially post-pandemic.
“Government isn’t the anthem for all things,” Sen. Preston said.
According to a report in the New York Post, nearly half of all New York City public school graduates who attend local community colleges are having to take remedial classes to make it through their first semester, shining yet another light on the status of education in a Democratic-run city.
“Most of the kids we get from New York City schools are underprepared for college,” said Mohammad Alam, assistant dean of enrollment at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
ACT test scores have dropped to the lowest level in more than three decades according to new data. A report by American College Testing revealed that average scores among 2022 high school graduates fell to 19.8 out of 36 leaving many conservatives to blame COVID-19 lockdowns and distance learning, largely supported by Democrats.