Mike Miles wasted little time Thursday before imposing major changes to the Houston Independent School District he now oversees, launching a plan to reconstitute 29 struggling campuses that forces employees to reapply for their jobs but promises higher pay to some.
“It is my great privilege to lead HISD in this work and make it one of the best school districts in the country,” Miles said in a tweeted statement. “For the families of students who are not getting what they need from their schools, improving your child’s education experience is job one.”
The Texas Education Agency selected Miles, a former Dallas ISD superintendent, and nine new board members to run HISD. The state-led ousting of the former superintendent and board capped years of legal feuding over a state takeover that critics decry as an anti-democratic power grab.
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, who served with Miles a decade ago in Dallas ISD, announced his pick on the first day of summer for Houston public school students.
The nine board of managers named are: Audrey Momanaee, Ric Campo, Angela Lemond Flowers, Michelle Cruz Arnold, Cassandra Auzenne Bandy, Janette Garza Lindner, Rolando Martinez, Paula Mendoza and Adam P. Rivon. The group includes HISD parents, a small business owner and a trial attorney. One newly appointed member, Garza Lindner, narrowly lost a bid for the board in 2021.
While the group will have its first meeting on June 8, Miles confirmed Thursday that 29 schools in the Wheatley, Kashmere and North Forest high school feeder patterns will be reconstituted as part of his efforts to establish “wholesale systemic reform” in struggling schools.
Staff from top to bottom, including principals, teachers and maintenance staff, will have to reapply for their jobs, which will be open to any qualified applicant. Those hired will earn an average of $85,000 per year and be supported by teacher apprentices and learning coaches, Miles said, in what he’s dubbing the “New Education System.”
He compared the system to a “hospital model,” in which the apprentices and coaches do much of the prep work and teachers, the “surgeons” in this scenario, execute the most critical tasks and get paid the most money. Lesson plans and instructional materials will be developed by central administration and distributed to teachers — though they will not be required to use them.
Teachers who are not rehired at their school, or who are not interested in reapplying there, will be placed at a different campus in the district, Miles said. Librarians will likely not be brought back to those campuses, Miles said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle editorial board.
See here for some background, and go read the rest. I don’t want to get into the specifics at this time, because we’re still dealing with the process that got us here and its many problems. By all means, give your feedback to Miles and the Board, it’s the only input we’re going to get. In the end, all this either works towards his stated goals or it doesn’t. I don’t have to like or agree with any of it, but I do have to hope it does work, because failure and the waste of however many years is a catastrophe.