Houston, TX

Mayor Turner slams TEA for taking over Houston school district

Tom Handy

Mayor Sylvester Turner talks about TEA taking over the Houston School DistrictPhoto byTwitter

After weeks of speculation, the news finally came out that Houston Independent School District was taken over by Texas Education Agency (TEA) on Wednesday, March 15. The official date of the change in management won’t happen until the end of the school year on June 1. The current Superintendent Millard House II and the school board will finish out the year.

In most cases, TEA takes over a school for about two to six years. The TEA Commissioner Mike Morath will decide how long this change in management will last.

Morath wrote a letter to district leaders:

“Even with a delay of three full years caused by legal proceedings, systemic problems in Houston ISD continue to impact students most in need of our collective support.”

The main cause of this was the poor academic performance of Phillis Wheatly High School for about five years beginning in 2019. Additionally, there were allegations of misconduct by the school board.

State Representative Harold Dutton, D-Houston who is a Wheatley graduate mentioned this was the right move.

Dutton said:

"In 2015, I recognized that we had a problem. And the problem we had is in northeast Houston, where the schools were failing almost just without any recognition of that failure at all. I passed a bill and passed an amendment onto a bill that said if one campus in your school district is failing for five consecutive school years, TEA could close the school, I mean, could close the school, or they could take over the district. But if they close the school, they had to get the parents' permission from that school. So essentially, what that does is leave them with one option, that is, to actually take over the school."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was disappointed over the incident. He tweeted:

You cannot run school districts, cities, and counties from Austin, Texas. You tell me how this benefits the kids? Instead of grading the students and the teachers, the Texas Education Agency needs to grade themselves on how they are handling this matter. I give them an F.

Do you think TEA should take over the Houston Independent School District?

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