Texas oversteps, tramples parents rights

Editorial Board

Vast restructuring of Houston Independent School District (HISD) will take place in the coming months, as the State of Texas, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced their intention to replace the elected school board officials, as well as the Superintendent, with state-appointed managers. 

According to an article from Houston Public Media, the state-appointed managers will have “immense power. They can control the budget, school closures, collaborations with charter networks, policies around curriculum and library books, as well as hiring or firing the superintendent, among other important decisions.” 

The district takeover occurred due to “poor academic performance” and “allegations of misconduct,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath. The takeover is being credited largely to the failed TEA evaluations of Wheatley High School. 

Many parents and teachers are worried about the ramifications of the state takeover, with educators telling ABC News that they fear the takeover will result in school closures and other unforeseen reforms. 

Many representatives are criticizing the move as well, speculating that the takeover is not the result of authentic, meaningful action but rather that HISD is the latest victim of Texas’ partisan politics. According to WFAA, Representative Ron Reynolds, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, says the takeover is “nothing more than the state taking over a majority Black and Brown district run by Democrats to be replaced by folks who support GOP legislative efforts, such as vouchers, private schools and the removal of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.”

The bottom line is that with the state’s takeover of HISD comes a forced replacement of elected officials, which is undemocratic in nature. The parents of HISD have the right to elect officials they feel represent their children’s best interests and promote the educational values of the parents that elect them. These state-appointed officials will have vast influence and power over the lives, curriculum and academic quality of Houston students, and they must be held accountable for their decisions. 

The right of parents to choose what they feel is best for their children is being stripped from their hands, and we, as citizens, cannot allow this to continue. This state takeover is occurring in the largest school district in Texas, which means that it can likely happen anywhere. We must find an alternative solution to the educational problems at hand that does not involve authoritarian actions by the state. 

You can find the contact information for your local representative’s office at https://house.texas.gov/members/ and https://senate.texas.gov/members.php.