Texas education officials have announced that the state’s largest school district, Houston Independent School District (HISD), will be taken over by a board of managers appointed by the Texas Education Agency. This decision has raised concerns among some Houston families, who fear that the move could negatively impact the education of nearly 200,000 American students. However, state officials say that the intervention was necessary due to the school’s poor academic performance ratings. According to state Education Commissioner Mike Morath, Wheatley High School, part of the HISD, has earned seven consecutive unacceptable academic ratings from 2011 to 2019. Morath also said that the district was not meeting the state’s academic accountability standards in several areas.
The decision to appoint a board of managers comes after a long-standing legal battle between HISD and the state of Texas. In 2019, the Texas Education Agency attempted to take over the district but was blocked by a judge. However, the state continued to monitor the district’s performance, and in 2021, the Texas Education Agency released a report highlighting HISD’s failure to provide adequate education to students. In response, the state ordered the appointment of a board of managers to oversee the district.
While HISD is the largest school district in Texas and the eighth-largest in the country, it is not the lowest performer. According to the Houston Chronicle, the district earned a B grade and scored 88 points on the state rating scale released last year, higher than some other districts in the state. However, the state’s decision to take over the district was based on Wheatley High School’s poor performance and HISD’s overall failure to meet state academic standards.
The takeover of the HISD has also raised questions about similar takeovers nationwide. Some experts worry that such takeovers could undermine local control of schools and negatively impact the education of students. However, state officials say that the move is necessary to ensure that students receive a quality education and meet academic standards.
The board of managers will take control of the HISD on June 1, but the members have not yet been named.