TEA recommends HISD takeover

Not finalized yet, but you can see the way it’s going to go.

The Texas Education Agency is recommending that the state take over Houston Independent School District — the state’s largest public school system — due to its elected school board’s “demonstrated inability to appropriately govern,” according to a 318-page final investigative report sent to lawmakers Wednesday.

TEA’s Special Investigations Unit Director Jason Hewitt found that school board members violated state open meetings law by discussing district business without notifying the public of their discussions, attempted to influence how contracts were awarded, and took action on district issues individually without consulting other board members. It substantiates most of the allegations made in a preliminary August report.

District officials and board members, whose responses are included in the final report, dispute many of the agency’s conclusions and argued the allegations were not investigated properly. The Texas Tribune obtained a copy of the report, which is public, late Wednesday. TEA officials confirmed that they had sent it to legislators.

Hewitt recommended Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath appoint a board of managers to oversee the school district, replacing the elected school board.


Houston ISD received a B from the state this year, largely based on student test scores, but Wheatley High School failed in August for the seventh year in a row. The TEA is separately considering penalizing the district because of Wheatley’s repeated low performance.

The findings in the report are final and cannot be appealed. Morath will make the final determination on whether to replace Houston ISD’s board.

See here for the background. Remember that this is about the ethics investigation – this is the final version of the August report, which means this version was written after HISD had a chance to respond to the initial report, which also recommended a takeover. The accountability ratings issue is still pending, with the Wheatley rating being half-heartedly appealed, and that decision by Morath – a decision between replacing the Board and closing Wheatley, the latter of which everyone expects will not happen – is not due till early next year. I presume Morath has more discretion in this matter, but given that a takeover is basically inevitable at this point I’m not sure how much it matters. I suppose it may make a difference in terms of how long it may take HISD to get back in control of its own governance, and what it needs to do to get there, but in the short term it’s a distinction without much difference.

In the meantime, there’s this.

Lawyers for Houston ISD’s school board have asked a federal judge to preemptively stop the Texas Education Agency from stripping power from the district’s elected trustees and allow board members to select a permanent superintendent, the latest maneuver in a growing legal battle between the district and state.

In a motion filed Tuesday, the HISD board’s lawyers argued agency officials have discriminated against voters in predominantly black and Hispanic cities, overstepped their authority in suspending the district’s superintendent search and misinterpreted a new state law that requires dramatic intervention in districts with long-struggling schools.


In their motion for a preliminary injunction, HISD’s lawyers said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath is attempting to “unlawfully supplant the democratically-elected board of trustees” and replace it with a state-appointed governance team. The district’s lawyers noted that 10 districts subject to major state intervention in recent years all serve large majorities of black and Hispanic students, illustrating discrimination under the Voting Rights Act.

“You could argue that it’s a coincidence. I think it’s not,” Kevin O’Hanlon, a lawyer for HISD trustees, said Wednesday.

In addition to discrimination claims, HISD’s lawyers argued that a state-appointed conservator overseeing the district’s operations of long-struggling Kashmere High School overstepped her legal authority in suspending HISD’s superintendent search last March. HISD has been without a permanent superintendent since March 2018, when Richard Carranza abruptly left to lead New York City’s public schools.

HISD’s lawyers claim the conservator, former Aldine ISD administrator Doris Delaney, only had the power to dictate matters related to Kashmere.

“Delaney was appointed to be a campus-level conservator over the performance of one of (HISD’s) schools, and was to implement and ensure compliance with getting the resources necessary to extract it from its low-performing status,” O’Hanlon said.

However, state law grants broad authority to conservators, including the ability to “direct an action to be taken” by a district’s board of trustees.

I Am Not A Lawyer, but let’s just say I have my doubts about the likelihood of success here. It’s worth a shot, but I wouldn’t go betting the rent on it. We’ll see how this goes, and how long it takes – would anyone be surprised if this is still in the courts when the TEA is handing power back to HISD? I don’t think it’s likely to go anywhere, but that’s just my guess at this time.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Legal matters, School days and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to TEA recommends HISD takeover

  1. Manny says:

    Don’t think they can take it over while the injunction request is pending, have to wait for the Judge to decide.

    Why do so many so called liberals look so forward to allowing the Republicans to take over the largest school district in Texas?

    I suggest that the “Liberals” start reading up on those groups that push for school choice like DeVoss, or Teach For America, that makes millions from school districts and states for placing unqualified persons as teachers. Studies indicate that TFA teachers are not as good as Certified Teachers. TFA gets millions from the state and the school districts where they place the “teachers”. Most of TFA teachers are there to pay off student debt and have no intentions in being teachers, just like Judith Jacob-Cruz and Daniela Hernandez.

    Why do “Liberals” working to push Republican agendas in education.

  2. Bill Daniels says:


    Your chosen presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, is a big believer in private schools for kids…..just not YOUR kids.


  3. C.L. says:

    I don’t care if it’s Republicans or Democrats or Independents or Freemasons or the Green Party or the Independent Order of Odd Fellows that take over HISD – anyone would be better than the group of Ding Dongs they have currently running the show.

  4. Andrew Lynch says:

    The HISD board is failing the students. The district is too large and needs to scale down to improve. The TEA takeover might be the only way to cut up the district into more manageable districts.

  5. Manny says:

    Bill, that is her granddaughter and it is a private school, by school choice that means charter although DeVoss would give parents money to pay for private schools.

    But you are consistent with your lies, your god (trump) would say you are well trained.

    Amazing that the other two don’t even know that the scores and graduations have gone up each year at HISD, I believe for the last five years.

    I just think it is hate that minorities are doing better running the school district than the white people did.

  6. C.L. says:

    Manny, let’s go back five or so years…

    In 2013-14, 75% of HISD students passed the Algebra STAAR test, the State average was 78%. Biology, 82% passed vs. 85% State avg; Eng 1, 59% passed vs 65% State avg; Eng II 71% passed vs. 78% State avg; and World Geography, 71% passed vs. 75% State avg.

    In 2014-15, 75% of HISD students passed the Algebra STAAR test, the State average was 81%. Biology, 85% passed vs. 91% State avg; Eng 1, 52% passed vs 62% State avg; Eng II 56% passed vs. 66% State avg; and US History, 90% passed vs. 92% State avg.

    In 2015-16, 72% of HISD students passed the Algebra STAAR test, the State average was 81%. Biology, 84% passed vs. 92% State avg; Eng 1, 49% passed vs 63% State avg; Eng II 53% passed vs. 66% State avg; and US History, 86% passed vs. 91% State avg.

    In 2016-17, 79% of HISD students passed the Algebra STAAR test, the State average was 85%. Biology, 87% passed vs. 92% State avg; Eng 1, 62% passed vs 71% State avg; Eng II 65% passed vs. 746% State avg; and US History, 92% passed vs. 95% State avg.

    In 2017-18, 79% of HISD students passed the Algebra STAAR test, the State average was 87%. Biology, 81% passed vs. 88% State avg; Eng 1, 60% passed vs 70% State avg; Eng II 62% passed vs. 71% State avg; and US History, 89% passed vs. 93% State avg.

    Point being, I’m not so sure the modest gain made in Algebra and Eng I – Algebra up 4 percentage pts, Biology down a pt, Eng 1 up one pt, Eng II down 9 ts, and US History down one pt – over five years is enough to tout the benefit of “minorities are doing better running the school district”. Hell, HISD can’t even come close to a State average on any of these subjects.

  7. Manny says:

    C.L. you choose and pick what you want to focus on, that does not prove a point. More students are graduating and more students are passing.

    Besides there are 12 grades to consider, you pretty much focused on high school, but would like to know where you are getting the data from.

    I said they were doing better that when the whites were in control, you are also throwing oranges to my apples.

    At the high school level, HISD students took nearly 79,000 STAAR spring EOC assessments. Texas students are required to pass five STAAR EOC exams – Algebra I, English I, English II, Biology, and U.S. History – to receive a high school diploma.

    Results show the proportion of first-time tested students who performed at or above the Approaches Grade Level Standard increased in four of the five subjects (Algebra I, Biology, English I, and English II) and remained steady in U.S. History. The district’s increases exceed those of the state in Algebra I and English I.

    The results also show that the percentages of first-time testers at or above the Meets Grade Level Standard and the Masters Grade Level Standard increased in Algebra I, English II, and U.S. History when compared to last year.

    The percentage of students at the Masters Grade Level Standard increased in Biology, while the percentage of students at or above the Meets Grade Level Standard increased in English I.

    Performance gaps between White and African-American and White and Hispanic students decreased slightly or remained stable for Algebra I, English I, English II, and U.S. History.

    Between 2015 and 2018, the proportion of students performing at or above the Meets Grade Level standard increased for every racial/ethnic group in every subject. These increases range from one percentage point for Asian students on the Biology EOC exam to 15 percentage points for African-American students on the Algebra I and Hispanic students on the U.S. History EOC exams.

  8. Manny says:

    By the way C.L. you proved my point, Minorities took control in 2015, look at your numbers they are going up.

  9. Ross says:

    Manny, why are you such a racist? Why do you hate whites so much?

    The changes in results are not statistically significant.

  10. C.L. says:

    Manny, I pulled that data directly from HISD, and it wasn’t high school specific.

    It’s okay for you to concede HISD is a train wreck – it doesn’t make you a racist.

Comments are closed.