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Commentary: State Takeovers of Schools Can Fail

A new commentary in the Houston Chronicle notes that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) should heed evidence from across the country about state takeovers when considering the fate of Houston ISD. Tennessee, Ohio, and Philadelphia all had schools taken over by the state, and in each case, little improvement was seen.

“…In state after state, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has peddled A–F school report card legislation based almost entirely on standardized test scores. These A–F ratings irrevocably harm children, schools and communities,” the authors write.

Education leaders said using the A–F accountability system would unfairly punish campuses and districts that serve high rates of economically disadvantaged students and that the framework is too reliant on standardized test results. In Texas, the test results of students who were flooded out of their homes by Hurricane Harvey will be used to partially rate high schools.

“We are hopeful that a new administrative rule, proposed by Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, would allow common sense to prevail by providing an “intervention pause”—meaning that TEA would not pursue additional interventions or sanctions but would instead allow [Houston ISD] to continue its targeted improvement plan,” the authors write.

Read “School takeovers fail. Is Houston next?” by Ruth Kravetz, co-founder of Community Voices for Public Education, and Zeph Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, Houston Chronicle.

August 2, 2019