The Houston chapter of the NAACP is calling on Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency’s Commissioner Mike Morath to come to Houston on April 2 and speak directly to the community about the state’s takeover of the Houston Independent School District.
“We believe our public officials owe us a public appearance. And if you can’t go public with the conversation, there must be something to hide,” said NAACP Houston’s President, Rev. James Dixon during a March 26 community meeting to discuss the state’s takeover.
The request came after Morath sent his deputy commissioner to face the crowds at two TEA community information sessions last week.
Community members and district administrators have held a series of meetings to discuss what possible outcomes may take place now that TEA is calling the shots.
At the last community meeting, some attendees attempted to get their points across by shouting over one another and using a megaphone. The meeting was supposed to explain the hiring process per TEA’s guidelines for a new board of managers. Parents with students in the district say they still don’t have the proper answers to their questions.
“It is more than far-fetched. It is hard to imagine that this kind of definitive action has taken place where there has not been community discussion, we have not had community engagement and interaction. In fact, clearly they have sidestepped and evaded and avoided having conversation with the parents in HISD. They’ve had conversations with parents in other places, but not with the parents of HISD,” Dixon said.
Dixon also blasted a weekend meeting with Morath in Houston at Hester House.
“There was a handful of selected people; that meeting was a sham or disgrace. And those people do not represent the people in this room and the parents and children of HISD… And we wanna say to those who would meet with them behind closed doors in so-called secrecy, shame on you for holding secret meetings with public officials about the destiny of 194,000 students and leaving everyone else outta the room. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anybody speaking for my children and I’m not there,” Dixon said.
In attendance at the NAACP Houston meeting were Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congressman Al Green, and other elected local officials.
Neither Abbott nor Morath have responded as to whether they will attend the April 2 meeting, which takes place at 3 p.m.