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North Forest ISD fighting closure

This was to be expected.

About 60 attended a meeting Saturday in response to TEA Commissioner of Education Michael Williams’ recommendation on Thursday to dissolve NFISD due to poor academic performance and low high school completion rates, among other issues.

Leaders of the 6,900-student northeast Houston district said they will fight the decision all the way to the U.S. Department of Justice. District leaders have until Feb. 17 to request a record review be reopened and ask the State Office of Administrative Hearings for an appeal.

If TEA Chief Deputy Lizzette Gonzalez-Reynolds approves Williams’ recommendation, the Department of Justice must pre-clear the merger with HISD.

“We’re going to have another conversation, and we’re anticipating we will get another opportunity to build on the good work we did this year,” said North Forest Superintendent Edna Forte.

She suggested that the district pursue partnerships with other education institutions, including charters schools, and seek out additional support through federal Race to the Top money or by the creation of a local endowment.

See here and here for the background. I can’t blame anyone for fighting, and I understand the concern about being subsumed into HISD, but it’s not really clear to me what’s being fought for here. NFISD has been troubled going back almost 30 years. They were given one last reprieve last year but still have no progress to show on the state accountability metrics. Closing a school district is controversial in part because no one really knows how effective that step is, but how much worse could the alternatives be? How likely is it that one more chance will yield a better outcome? On the flip side, how big a challenge is this for HISD, and what is the downside for them? Lots of questions, and I’m not sure how many of the answers are good. Lisa Falkenberg, who’s on a similar wavelength, has more.

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