Helping Hands for Houston

Superintendent Galaviz Dear Canutillo Community,

The Texas Education Agency over the spring break announced that it would take over the Houston Independent School District and replace both its superintendent and board of trustees with an appointed Board of Managers. The main reason given for this action is chronic student underperformance at one inner-city high school. This most-radical of actions by the TEA is worrisome because it usurps local governance and oversteps state authority in the state’s largest school district.

As a public servant, I welcome accountability and transparency in our systems, especially those that involve student success. However, I also demand respect for the will of the voters and the expertise that Texas educators and administrators bring to the table. The TEA is right to demand that Houston ISD do better in serving the students of low-performing schools. But it shouldn’t infringe on the authority of that District to determine how best to tackle a very difficult problem. Certainly, inner-city schools face particular socio-economic challenges that make student success more difficult to achieve.

The state’s decision to take over Houston ISD is even more troublesome when you consider the implications of the student population that is served by the more than 200 schools in that system. Not only is HISD one of the largest school systems in the country, it is one that serves a large number of low-income, minority and English-language learning families. In other words, the state takeover is disenfranchising some of the most vulnerable populations in the state.

The Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees during its regular meeting on Tuesday will consider adopting a resolution asking the commissioner of education to reconsider his decision to take over Houston ISD. This is a bold move by the Board and I commend them for even considering this action. Certainly, courageous action is needed to fend off what many of us consider to be an intrusion into local control of public schools.

In much happier news, I am happy to report that our students and staff returned to school from spring break rested and ready to take on the rest of the school year. Let’s get it done, Canutillo!

Have a great weekend!

Pedro Galaviz
Superintendent of Schools