Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles met with dozens of school principals Thursday to walk them through his plans for “wholesale systemic reforms” and offered those who signed up for his New Education System one last chance to back out.
Miles said he expanded the NES program at the request of several principals who asked him if they could receive some of the same structures as those at the original group of 28 schools, which include higher teacher pay and a new staffing model, among many other changes. The district initially offered choices for principals to enroll as “NES-supported” or “NES-aligned” schools, and set a deadline of last Friday to sign up.
The district has since eliminated the “NES-supported” distinction and is giving principals until 12 p.m. Monday to submit final confirmation of their decision to enroll as an NES-aligned school.
While Miles has characterized the large number of applicants as evidence that his reforms are popular with principals, at least one school administrator told the Houston Chronicle that they had enrolled in the program out of fear their school would otherwise be reconstituted, meaning that the majority of their staff would have to reapply for their jobs.
NES-aligned schools will not be reconstituted as part of their enrollment in the program, though teachers will be subject to evaluations that largely rate their performance on standardized test scores and classroom observations, and low-performing teachers may be removed from a campus if it is fully folded into NES as the program expands to 150 schools by 2025.
Dozens of Houston ISD principals met with new Superintendent Mike Miles on Thursday to discuss his plans for reshaping schools in the district — and evaluate if they’ll voluntarily take part in his vision ahead of schedule.
The meeting, held at HISD headquarters, marks the latest development in the recently appointed superintendent’s plan to bring “wholesale systemic reform” to 150 schools by the start of the 2025-26 school year. While most of the attention since Miles’ arrival in early June has focused on major overhauls coming to 28 schools, dubbed part of the New Education System, HISD’s superintendent is allowing other campus principals to take part in a pared-down version of the program.
Principals who opt in to the initiative, called NES-aligned, will see smaller but still notable alterations to their day-to-day operations. Those changes include an extended workday, more standardized curriculum, some potential cuts to non-teaching staff and the implementation of new employee evaluation systems.
Unlike the 28 schools targeted for the most drastic changes, schools participating in NES-aligned will not see big increases in teacher pay and staff members will not have to reapply for their jobs.
Principals must decide by Monday whether they are taking part in the NES-aligned initiative. Miles urged them to discuss their choice with their respective committees of parents and community members that help guide decisions made on campus.
Once principals officially choose to take part in the NES-aligned model, they cannot decide to opt out, Miles said.
Like I said, consider your answer carefully. There are pros and cons from a principal’s perspective – read the stories for more, basically they’ll lose some discretion but gain some funding – and I very much hope that each of these principals has at least checked in with their communities before raising their hands. You might want to check with the principal at your kid’s school to be sure. The Press has more.