Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Meet the HISD Parent Visionaries

I’ve mentioned the group HISD Parent Visionaries a couple of times in this space. Here’s an article about them from the Examiner.

Parent Visionaries was spawned after HISD’s former superintendent, Dr. Abelardo Saavedra, voiced an interest in eliminating or reducing magnet school transportation. The parent group, largely from District V, became vocal in opposition and since, has spread support to parents in other districts in HISD.

“Our goal is to have memberships from all districts,” says Mary Nesbitt, one of the group’s driving forces.

Parent Visionaries now claims a list of about 350 members who communicate in person and online.

As noted in the story, HISD Parent Visionaries was active in the Trustee elections, with two of their three endorsed candidates – Mike Lunceford in V and Anna Eastman in I – either winning or making it to the runoffl. They have now endorsed Trustee Larry Marshall in his race in IX, and in each case – Marshall versus Adrian Collins, Eastman versus Alma Lara – they are opposed by candidates who are backed by the Houston Federation of Teachers. It’ll be very interesting to see who wins this particular fight.

Related Posts:

8 Comments

  1. freddyrun says:

    How ‘visionary’ to support the corrupt and hostile Larry Marhshall.

  2. Amy Tehauno says:

    Hey, we supported George Davis. Now we have a choice between Adrian Collins, who I like very much personally but who has decided to bank on union/HFT support, and HFT has opposed and continued to oppose child-centered school reform in our district to protect teachers’ interests as employees. Larry Marshall is a better option than Adrian Collins to accomplish some improvements to HISD that fall in line with our national education policy. HFT, unlike other teachers unions around the country, is opposed school reform.

  3. freddyrun says:

    Marshall has been in office for 12 years. Are you expecting him to become a progressive force for change after years of hostility to the interests of parents? Good luck getting his ear and access to what surely will be a mind open to visionary change.

  4. […] the Chron story on the two runoffs for HISD Trustee. It echoes a theme from that Examiner story we saw yesterday. The outcome of the races could reshape several board debates — particularly […]

  5. M Morrow says:

    Amy: I do not know where you got the “union/HFT support, and HFT has opposed and continued to oppose child-centered school reform in our district to protect teachers’ interests as employees”. Have you got a quote that I have not seen from HFT or is that some rhetoric from the Parent Visionaries and/or those that support Charter Schools – Yes Prep, KIPP and Teach for America.

  6. Amy Tehauno says:

    Absolutely I can give you an example. Gayle Fallon sent a letter out to HFT stewards that says “If our candidates win … the balance of power shifts,” and thus “You get a pro-employee board and we end the threats and begin to restore some sanity to HISD.” http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/6693183.html

    In the same article, the Houston Chronicle documents that Gayle Fallon/HFT is spreading blatant lies, and Gayle Fallon admitted in that article that statements in that letter were untrue. Specifically, “Fallon said in her letter that administrators were telling teachers that those ranked in the bottom 25 percent would be would be put on growth plans. In an interview, Fallon acknowledged that Grier later told her no such quota was in place.”

    Also, I am consistently noticing ad hominem and false attempts by HFT to associate HISD Parent Visionaries with Charter Schools. We are all, as the name states, HISD PARENTS. Anna Eastman, like HISD Parent Visionaries including Mary Nesbitt, me, and others, all have children attending HISD schools (my girls are at Lovett, Anna’s are at T.H. Rogers and Travis Elementary). So the consistent and false allegation that parents who want school reform are somehow those who support Charter Schools is bogus (yet I have seen it repeated again, and again, and again by HFT supporters, it appears to be a talking point). I would personally appreciate it if you would stop trying to spread that false image about me and the parents that I know and work with in that organization. Instead, it would be more productive to engage on the issues of school reform.

    Finally, if you want to know what Anna, and HISD Parent Visionaries are all about, I will tell you because I was there when the organization got off the ground. We were fed up with the inane decision-making process in the school district. There was no strategic vision, decisions seemed to be made piecemeal with bad or no information. In other words, there was no apparent plan. Nice!

    Anna’s issues platform states succinctly what we are looking for: “Use data to identify and grow what’s working in HISD and facilitate rapid change in what’s broken.” http://www.annaeastmanforhisd.com/issues/ That wasn’t being done. Instead, Saavedra wanted to chop up the schools that are working, and force kids back to neighborhood schools to bring them up artificially/on paper. Now he’s gone, and we have a real chance to make some positive changes for our kids, which, by the way, lines up on the national level with President Obama’s education policy and his recent speech on education. Other teachers’ unions around the country are on board with school reform to a greater degree than HFT.

    With regard to Larry Marshall, I know what his issues are. I didn’t support him in the general election. However, in decision making, while he has been inconsistent in his openness to parent input, he has also not consistently sided with HFT’s advocacy centered around teachers’ interests as employees. Based on the strong arm tactics being used by HFT against Anna Eastman, and the close relationship of Adrian Collins in seeking HFT’s support, Larry Marshall is an imperfect choice, but a better bet for parents who want to see school reform happen. We aren’t blind, we are pragmatic.

  7. Jesse Alred says:

    Ms. Tehauno:
    You come off as self-righteous but you do not even explain the terms you use.
    You say the Houston Federation of Teachers do not support ‘child centered reform.” What is child centered reform? How does this teachers’ group not bac k it?
    In a comment in the Houston Chronicle, you tried to link me, and some articles I had written, as “tactics of the HFT,” and I am not an HFT member.
    Like Parent Visonaires, I support Larry Marshall, and I support Alma Lara.
    Alma Lara grew up in that neighborhood, Amy Tehauno, she was a teacher, a principal, she raised kids in that neighborhood, she volunteered for the Wesley Community Center and was active inside her Catholic community.
    How can you all try to narrow all that down to a teachers’ union in a state that makes it inherently weak to be a teachers’ union?

  8. M Morrow says:

    Amy:
    You say
    {Absolutely I can give you an example. Gayle Fallon sent a letter out to HFT stewards that says “If our candidates win … the balance of power shifts,” and thus “You get a pro-employee board and we end the threats and begin to restore some sanity to HISD.” http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/6693183.html }

    Yes, I agree she said that and those words were in the article.

    And here you are reading much more into the article than what is said:
    {In the same article, the Houston Chronicle documents that Gayle Fallon/HFT is spreading blatant lies, and Gayle Fallon admitted in that article that statements in that letter were untrue. Specifically, “Fallon said in her letter that administrators were telling teachers that those ranked in the bottom 25 percent would be would be put on growth plans. In an interview, Fallon acknowledged that Grier later told her no such quota was in place.”}

    I read the article to mean that Gayle Fallon wrote the letter because some teachers were telling her that they heard from administrators that those ranked in the bottom 25 percent were going to be put on growth plans. When Superintendent Grier heard about the letter and what was in it, he wanted to set the record straight for the teachers, so he sent out something to teachers in HISD saying the rumor that Fallon was referring to in her letter was not true (that teachers were not going to be…). That meant that the letter worked because the teacher’s fears were put to rest. The teachers did make the statements and Gayle Fallon wrote the letter to put an end to their fears. So I see no where in the article that said she lied in her letter. Read the article again, I think you are all reading into it what you want to understand from it. You know, I complained about the Chronicle about the slant they place on things to get readers all excited. It selss more advertising that way. Or maybe I am reading it this way because I myself heard the teachers make the complaints.

    On another note, you obviously do not understand what being “reform-minded” means. From everything I have read, it is used synonymously with those that are in support of Charter Schools. Maybe you can tell us how you define it.

    So as far as this comment:
    {Also, I am consistently noticing ad hominem and false attempts by HFT to associate HISD Parent Visionaries with Charter Schools. We are all, as the name states, HISD PARENTS. Anna Eastman, like HISD Parent Visionaries including Mary Nesbitt, me, and others, all have children attending HISD schools (my girls are at Lovett, Anna’s are at T.H. Rogers and Travis Elementary). So the consistent and false allegation that parents who want school reform are somehow those who support Charter Schools is bogus (yet I have seen it repeated again, and again, and again by HFT supporters, it appears to be a talking point). I would personally appreciate it if you would stop trying to spread that false image about me and the parents that I know and work with in that organization. Instead, it would be more productive to engage on the issues of school reform.}
    HFT is not making any claims about Charter Schools, but I am. Anna Eastman said herself in a civic club meeting that she does support Charter Schools. As for me, I am neither a teacher nor an HFT member, but I am a parent and someone that has been very involved with not only my children’s education, but lots of other children and students that I have mentored over the years, most of them HISD students. I am responsible for helping lots of children get admitted into college.

    I am also making the connection between the two, because those words (reform-minded”) were used in a letter to get more financial support for Eastman, Lunseford and Davis campaigns. The same letter spoke about the KIPP, YES Prep and TFA expansions in Houston. Shortly after the letter was sent, the HISD Parent Visionaries also came out in support of the same three candidates and used some of the same language that was in the letter. So maybe you Amy, were not aware that Ms Eastman, Mr Lunceford and Mr Davis were all financially supported by those that also financially support Charter Schools and I am not referring to HBEC. In a conversation I had with an HISD Parent Visionary (a friend from work), I understood that your group are not necessarily in support of Charter Schools, but for HISD magnet schools, for school choice, etc. all things that Alma Lara is also in favor of. I am also aware that the HISD Parent Visionaries wrote letters and emails to its members trying to say that the three candidates you all support were not HISD vendors, etc.. All things meant to discredit the candidates you all did not support. So who is making false claims? So Amy, Alma Lara is the only District 1 candidate that has any experience as a teacher, a principal, a counselor, a parent involvement coordinator, and a professor at U of H Downtown, where she is teaching teachers. Furthermore, not only has she raised 5 children that also attended HISD Schools and are now all successful in their careers, 3 of them being teachers; but she also has 3 grandchildren that go to HISD District 1 schools. Alma Lara knows and understands the community of District 1, having grown up there and who now continues to live there. Alma Lara is only running because she wants to improve the education of the children and you cannot have education without the teachers, the buildings and the resources such as technology.

    and yes I do know what the Visionaries are all about, like I said.
    {Finally, if you want to know what Anna, and HISD Parent Visionaries are all about, I will tell you because I was there when the organization got off the ground. We were fed up with the inane decision-making process in the school district. There was no strategic vision, decisions seemed to be made piecemeal with bad or no information. In other words, there was no apparent plan. Nice! } and I agree with you on this, there is no one with a master plan or even a 5-yr plan and I applaud your group and your involvement. I think the District needs to have advisory groups made up of parents like you, administrators like principals and those that run non-profits and even those that run Charter Schools like Chris Barbic and they need to work for the benefit of the children and their education.

    On this…
    {Anna’s issues platform states succinctly what we are looking for: “Use data to identify and grow what’s working in HISD and facilitate rapid change in what’s broken.” http://www.annaeastmanforhisd.com/issues/ That wasn’t being done. Instead, Saavedra wanted to chop up the schools that are working, and force kids back to neighborhood schools to bring them up artificially/on paper. Now he’s gone, and we have a real chance to make some positive changes for our kids, which, by the way, lines up on the national level with President Obama’s education policy and his recent speech on education. Other teachers’ unions around the country are on board with school reform to a greater degree than HFT.}

    I realize that the President and Secretary of Education are for school “reform” and that means they support Charter Schools and again, you need to define what you mean by school reform and know that the reason I am making that connection is because of Anna Eastman’s top financial supporters.

    I also think we need to reevaluate the school systems that are government funded (Districts and Charter Schools).
    {With regard to Larry Marshall, I know what his issues are. I didn’t support him in the general election. However, in decision making, while he has been inconsistent in his openness to parent input, he has also not consistently sided with HFT’s advocacy centered around teachers’ interests as employees. Based on the strong arm tactics being used by HFT against Anna Eastman, and the close relationship of Adrian Collins in seeking HFT’s support, Larry Marshall is an imperfect choice, but a better bet for parents who want to see school reform happen. We aren’t blind, we are pragmatic. }

    Sorry, I have no knowledge about this race. I can only speak for District 1 race and issues.

    You know, nothing either one of us writes in a blog are going to change any voters minds about the candidates, but I did want to set the record straight. Whatever happens in this race, let’s vow to work together to make HISD even greater than it already is, for the sake of all the children.