HOUSTON — After weeks of rumors and speculation, it was announced Wednesday that the Texas Education Agency would be officially taking over Houston ISD, which is the largest school district in the state.
The decision was met with a lot of opposition from parents, students and community leaders, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who said the state deserves an "F" for how they are handling this situation.
"This is about Austin and the leadership in Austin wanting to run local units of government and they want it their way," Turner said after the announcement was made. "This is not about the kids. The sad part about it is that they are using the kids for their own politics."
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Turner said he had already known the state was going to take over HISD from his sources with the TEA who tipped him a few weeks ago. He said he was also told that the decision meant that Superintendent Millard House II and the nine HISD Board of Education trustees would be replaced.
In fact, Turner said a decision has already been made on the new superintendent.
"This process has been without transparency, with no community engagement," Turner said. "They haven't even talked to the parents. They've provided no information to the kids, and this is not about the quality of education in this city."
The threat of a state takeover was triggered in 2019 after Wheatley High School reached five consecutive years of unacceptable ratings. Since then, Wheatley has improved to a C.
"I mean, we asked them to do better and they have done better," Turner said.
The mayor said the state is focused on the wrong things and at this moment, school safety should be the top priority.
"Kids right now in school, they are concerned about gun violence," Turner said. "That's already on the top of their minds and now you're going to layer on top of that who's going to be running our schools, who's going to be our teachers. You're layering all of this on top of parents' and students' concerns on the safety of their schools."
Texas school districts taken over by TEA since 1991
The state has taken over 15 school districts since 1991.
The reasons range from deficiencies in financial issues to accountability scores.
The TEA has intervened in four districts in the Greater Houston area. Those include:
- North Forest ISD
- Shepherd ISD
- La Marque ISD
- Kendleton ISD
Below is a list of the other Texas school districts that were adopted by the TEA:
- Kendleton ISD
- Marlin ISD
- Pearsall ISD
- Progreso ISD
- Snyder ISD
- Southside ISD
- Wilmer Hutchins ISD
- Beaumont ISD
- Edgewood ISD
- Harlandale ISD
- Hearne ISD