December 10, 2018
The Houston GPS team remains focused on educating the public about what school boards do and holding school board members accountable for upholding the principles of good governance and ultimately, improving student outcomes. We realize that since our work began in 2017, we have made some steps forward in our mission but also faced several setbacks in the Houston Independent School District.
We incredibly proud of our push to bring a comprehensive, external performance audit to the district, and the Legislative Budget Board’s review – the first in nearly 25 years – is already underway. While we celebrate this step toward greater transparency and better use of district funds, we must acknowledge that this year has also brought some of the worst examples of how focus, collaboration, and governance can completely fall apart.
In the midst of a potential state takeover, abrupt personnel changes, and continued teacher shortages in the schools that need the most support, several HISD board meetings ended in secret backroom deals, public airing of grievances, and even a few unnecessary arrests. And while we appreciate the board’s October apology, we would prefer a body that operates within its own policy guidelines, that seeks long-term solutions instead of short-term power plays, and that focuses on student outcomes rather than adult issues.
As we move into a new calendar year, the Houston GPS team will continue attending school board meetings. We will keep offering our evaluation of each trustee and the entire board and hosting public forums on major issues in public education. Most importantly, we will continue insisting that the Houston ISD school board govern this district in a way that will move all students forward. In 2019, we will push farther, dig deeper, and demand more. Our kids deserve nothing less.