A coalition of organizations and concerned residents came together for a in protest held outside the HISD Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, in response to the first meeting of the unelected Houston Independent School District Board of Managers on June 8.
The room was packed and it drew attention to the collective voices of local teachers, students, parents, and advocates for public schools. Nearly 150 people were in attendance, heckling and booing the Board of Managers as they pushed through the agenda, similar to outbursts during the Texas Education Agency community meetings in March.
With an array of participants, the coalition seeks to highlight the detrimental effects of the school takeover and call for a more inclusive, community-centered approach in shaping the future of education.
Here were the key takeaways from the meeting:
- Board unanimously voted to approve a temporary contract for newly appointed Superintendent Mike Miles.
- Board approved motion to [temporarily] suspend regular meetings.
- Miles to be paid 25,000 for relocation expenses and receive $1,473 under interim contract
- Board voted Audrey Momanaee as board president
- Board voted to elect Angela Lemond Flowers as secretary
Approved $3 million in-kind donation from Good Reason Houston to cover some consultation support
Kourtney Revels is a resident of North Forest and experienced her second takeover in two years, and worried that the current initiatives rolled out by HISD superintendent Mike Miles doesn’t focus on the holistic aspects of the child, including mental health and cognitive development.
“It hurtful because our kids aren’t numbers, they aren’t test scores. They are children,” said Revels. “Our elected officials know that there are multiple factors when it comes to student achievement and student outcomes, instead of focusing on evaluating teachers and principals.”
She is referring to Miles’ performance-based salary structure, which relies on the student success rate on standardized test scores in order to evaluate teacher and principal performances for pay increases.
Critics argue that the appointment of an unelected Board of Managers only serves as a financial boon for outside consultants, rather than prioritizing the needs and interests of students. Despite claims of improved performance, evidence from past school takeovers in Texas shows a lack of sustained gains for students, raising concerns about the effectiveness and long-term impact of such interventions.
“We are basing the worth of a particular school, on their student outcomes on the test,” said Dr. Patrick Huff, a retired educator. “This is the most inequitable system ever devised because it takes schools located in neighborhoods of poverty and grades it on the same testing program as the more affluent schools in the suburbs.”