Credit: Houston ISD

The Houston Independent School District has been in upheaval since the Texas Education Agency intervened on June 1. While opinions on that move varied, TEA officials opined the district has long been in need of change.

“The goal is obviously to get the district back on track and make sure that the district meets the three established exit criteria as quickly as possible, so that the locally elected board can resume their role as the leadership team at the district,” said Jake Kobersky, director of media relations at TEA. “This isn’t Austin running HISD; it’s still Houston ISD, a Houston-run school system.”

Kobersky iterated that the TEA, under no circumstance, is a “takeover” but rather, a “temporary intervention.” He believes a takeover denotes the agency is running HISD, which is not the case. According to the TEA, the new management team and superintendent will aim to get “the district pointed in the right direction to make progress very quickly, to address some of the resource and educational disparities that have persisted in the district and to allow an equal playing field for students in the district.”

The agency will aim to ensure that the district reaches a point when the elected board of trustees can transition back to their position, Kobersky added.

The Defender took a look at the numbers to see the reason for the TEA “intervention,” if HISD had it coming and how Black majority schools were faring for the last two decades.

Here is what we found:​​

  • High schools like Kashmere, Worthing and Wheatley have been underperforming, according to TEA data, with multiple negative ratings like “academically unacceptable” and “improvement required” and grades below “C” since 2019.
  • In 2019, Kashmere received acceptable rating for first time in 11 years with conservator, while Wheatley reached seven consecutive unacceptable ratings that triggered mandatory action.
  • In 2020, the district and schools did not receive a rating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In 2021, the eight Black majority schools received the same rating – “Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster.”
  • In 2022, institutions like Yates and Kashmere High School received the “Not Rated: Senate Bill 1365” status, which means under the Accountability System Impact, and the bill gives the commissioner the power to give a “Not Rated” designation to some schools subject to disaster declaration or an insufficient number of students, adopt solutions to evaluate the performance of the school in an academic year, and require the annual reportage of underperforming schools, among other criteria.

See how each school fared over the years: