It has been a year since I moved back into Houston ISD territory after living a block away just inside Alief ISD for a number of years. I was so upset that I moved in too late to have voted for my friend Holly Flynn Vilaseca in HISD District VI. As Greg Abbott begins his move to transition HISD into the Texas prison system (or something like that), the reality that elections matter hits people right in the face.
Political realities are the worst thing people can feel when bad decisions affect them, especially if they voted against their best interests or didn’t vote at all. And for almost 200K students, 30,000 staff, and millions of taxpayers, the fact that our democracy has been compromised by a power-hungry Greg Abbott should have us living in fear, yet, wanting to do something about it. So, I have a few thoughts about the TEA takeover that will happen in June.
- The voters of HISD District VI had a hard-working trustee in Flynn Vilaseca. She was fighting for our kids, our teachers, and our democracy. Unfortunately, various powers preferred misinformation and a person whose idea of representation has been to sell-out HISD stakeholders, Kendall Baker, whose support of Greg Abbott’s idiocy was on TV news yesterday. Baker supports the TEA takeover and sacrificing his own political career to prove his loyalty to awful people. Baker is a right-wing zealot who has been supported by vultures, such as State Rep Mayes Middleton and local county commissioner and election denier Tom Ramsey. I hope the voters who were duped into voting for him realize what they did in voting for him. Removing him from the board is probably a good thing (as undemocratic as that may be), but knowing there are better-connected right-wing zealots who do not support public education out there and whom Abbott will appoint is unsettling. Kendall Baker was a great pawn for the right-wing zealots, though.
- Watching the various news reports yesterday, I found that reporters set-off to find HISD parents to ask their opinion of Greg Abbott’s takeover of HISD. A few were somewhat informed, yet, surprised that it was going to happen. The concern was palpable. Others had the mentality that, “as long as something is done to make things better,” but with no knowledge of the politics and process and upheaval that Greg Abbott’s route would cause. And then there was that parent who wanted to feign knowledge, but was not at all paying attention. So, that there is a lack of information out there is not a surprise. And that parents need to be spoon-fed the information is also not a surprise, whether it’s done by trustees, administrators, or the political class in Houston. But it is TEA who will take advantage of the way things have always been done to keep people misinformed as only four (4) informational meetings have been scheduled to reach 200,000 students, 30,000 employees, and millions of taxpayers. Ignorance is bliss all-around, but while some hope no one says anything so that no one messes with the status quo or other agendas that may exist, the right-wing-nuts goes merrily along and actually does something to further their race to the bottom.
- Kuff has a little bit more. He thinks people should apply to be on the board of managers to see if a few good minds can be placed, and I do see the logic. But there are bad things that will happen because of this unelected, undemocratic board and I’d hate for any of our good people be tainted by those decisions. I’d prefer some sort of movement to call out the decisions that are being made–a mass movement led by people and not the politicians who have that taint on them no matter which title they possess. I’d like to see those who fight hardest against Greg Abbott’s shenanigans be on the next board of trustees–once, HISD is paroled from Abbott’s prison system. At this point, I see anyone who has applied to be on the board as suspect. I hope that this takeover causes more good people to find the drive in themselves to serve–as thankless as this job may be. And also, redistrict HISD!
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