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Why not appoint newly elected Trustees to the Board of Managers?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question, posed recently in the Chron op-ed pages by two of those new Trustees-to-be, Judith Cruz and Dani Hernandez.

Judith Cruz

As former Houston Independent School District educators, a product of HISD, and a parent in HISD, we are personally familiar with the inequity and mediocrity that plagues large portions of the seventh largest school district in the United States. We have experienced the average or below-average schools that hover just above “improvement required” status. We resigned or put our jobs on hold and spent the last few months in 100-degree weather walking door-to-door in Districts 3 and 8 in Houston’s East End. Our aim was to give our communities the voice and policy changes to make our schools excellent. Again and again, we heard we were the only candidates who had come to meet them in their neighborhoods and in their homes. We did the work. It paid off. In Districts 3 and 8, we have a clear mandate for change by winning 64 percent of the vote over the incumbent trustees. The people liked our message and spoke with their votes for change. Democracy worked!

Dani Hernandez

We won with a decisive mandate, though the victory was bittersweet. Within hours, rumors of a Texas Education Agency takeover came true. TEA announced it would be replacing the elected trustees with an appointed board of managers. Many were shocked by TEA Commissioner Mike Morath’s timing. The announcement came with a call for those interested in serving on the new board to apply online. Wait! What? Hadn’t Houston spoken on election day? Clearly, Districts 3 and 8 not only have “interested applicants”—they had just elected trustees who weren’t part of the problematic HISD board. We demonstrated our interest months ago when we filed for election and put our lives on hold to be the change we need.

Remember that the HISD takeover is partly about Wheatley High School, and partly about the investigation that concluded multiple Trustees had violated ethics rules, as well as the Texas Open Meetings Act. Two of the Trustees named in the investigator’s report were Diana Davila and Sergio Lira, who were defeated by Cruz and Hernandez. All indications we’ve had so far suggest that the TEA will replace the entire Board with the Board of Managers, and roll the elected officials back on over time, but there’s no reason why they couldn’t start with a couple of elected Board members. If that’s on the table, then it makes sense to put Cruz and Hernandez at the front of the line, precisely because they directly removed two of the problems. I don’t expect the TEA to buy this argument, but there’s nothing inherently illogical about it. We’ll know soon enough.

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4 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    Judith Cruz and Dani Hernandez are bought and paid for by the Greater Houston Parntership, they would have gotten appointed whether they won or lost.

    I was wondering who was going to be the next person or group to promote their appointment, I now know.

    They spent close to or more than $200,000 to get those two elected. The GHP wants to promote charter schools and the other group that heavily gave to those two was Teach for America. Teach for America is anti-union and pro charter, and they get millions for placing their students as teachers.

    Promoting the decline of public education now seems to be the goal of Houston liberals.

  2. Manny says:

    I would suggest that the author of the article study how TEA operates. They purposely go out and look for any negative information whether true or not to get what they had already decided they wanted.

    I would think that Democrats especially liberal Democrats could see through the facade.

    https://www.facebook.com/diana.davila.1426/videos/10215103981688250/

    Maybe check with your buddy Zept Capo as to how he feels.

  3. Manny says:

    What those two should do is on January, keep the lawsuit against TEA so they can be independent (from TEA) and act like the Trustees they were elected to be.

    They should not be begging to be appointed by Republicans.

  4. C.L. says:

    Re: “Within hours, rumors of a Texas Education Agency takeover came true.” Shocked by the timing ? The rumors had been bandied about for what, a year ?

    The fact that you stood in 100F heat while in line to buy a ticket for the Titanic is no ones fault but your own. Suck it up – maybe TEA will appoint you, but in the meantime, quit your gritchin’. One could argue that as former HISD teachers, HISD graduates, and HISD student parents, you were directly involved in the failure of the school(s).