By the looks of it, the TEA Takeover public meetings are just for informational purposes; and by that, I mean, the information that TEA wants to provide.
Last night’s meeting at Westbury High School was planned to last one hour, was all about a PowerPoint presentation one can find on the TEA website, and an attempt to recruit community members for the “board of managers” Greg Abbott wants to create. The result: More chaos and more anger.
Houston community members were irate Tuesday night as state education officials tried to explain the process of taking over their school district. State officials did not take questions about the effects such a move could have on Houston Independent School District, which is the largest in Texas, but did try to recruit community members to replace the existing school board.
About seven minutes into the Texas Education Agency’s PowerPoint presentation on the impending HISD takeover, parents and community members erupted in shouts directed at TEA deputy commissioner Alejandro Delgado.
“We got questions,” attendees repeatedly yelled. “Y’all tryna take our community.”
Further, TEA commissioner Morath didn’t even bother to attend and Greg Abbott was somewhere else outside of Houston ISD borders talking about giving public money to private schools.
If this doesn’t tell you what kind of a farce this is, I don’t know what will. It is obvious that a hand-picked board, much less the TEA, will not be accountable to the people. Certainly, they do not want to have a conversation with the people as they passed out notecards for folks to write their questions those in charge could hand-pick to answer. One can only think this is how “board” meetings will be run.
Local activist TravisMcGee, whose children attend an HISD high school, said the meeting was “very disrespectful” to community members. People wanted to express their concerns and frustrations directly to TEA officials through a microphone on a podium regarding the board of managers change, rather than hear about the application process, he said.
“The board of managers is going to be a bunch of puppets,” McGee said. “Our school district ain’t perfect, but I doubt the state of Texas gonna do any better.”
Arnetta Murray, a Houston ISD teacher, said the TEA has not listened to the community about more pressing concerns. If they did, they would know the district has a bus driver shortage and teachers are stressed over standardized testing.
“I don’t care about no board of managers,” she said. “I care about our students and I care about the teachers.”
At this point, rolling over and allowing Greg Abbott’s takeover to happen is not an option, much less participating in the farce through the board of managers. At least, that’s how the people feel.
There are three more “talk-at the community” TEA meetings to reach 200,000 children, 30,000 employees, and millions of taxpayers. I hope DPS copters in Morath. The mouthpiece he sent seemed useless on the TV.
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