Josephine Lee: Teachers Strong-Armed To Get On Board With Houston Schools Takeover
Houston is the site of yet another doomed takeover of a local school district by an anti-public ed activist with little real education expertise.
Mike Miles has a vision of a district that is narrow and meager, a system where teachers read from scripts developed by a charter chain that Mile happens to own. New schedules. New job assignments.
Miles insists that Houston teachers are excited, that Houston parents are pumped. But reporter Josephine Lee went out and actually talked to them, and–surprise–it appears that Miles is blowing smoke.
“Our hours will change. Our schedules will change. Our curriculum will change. But we have no input in it,” said Michelle Collins, a teacher at DeZavala Elementary School. “Neither do parents.”
Texas requires a shared decision making committee that includes all stakeholders. Miles appears to be ignoring that.
While Miles has publicly asked principals to obtain school input, SDMC committee members from five schools in the program confirmed with the Observer that they never met to discuss the issue. SDMC members and teachers from other schools reported that even when they did meet, they did not have a vote in the decision. One teacher said their staff voted not to opt in, but then later saw their school’s name included in the list of 57 schools in the news.
In an audio recording of Wainwright Elementary School’s SDMC meeting held July 10 and shared with the Observer, Principal Michelle Lewis told committee members, “If you’re not willing to dive in and do this with us, then this is not the campus for you.” No teacher representatives attended the meeting.
Revere Middle School Principal Gerardo Medina did not consult with the school’s SDMC committee or with teachers. In lieu of discussion, he sent out an email on June 29 to campus employees informing them of his decision to join Miles’ NES-aligned program.
“If you decide this is not something you want to commit to, you will be allowed to transfer,” Medina wrote.
This gave teachers only a few days before this Friday to decide if they want to continue to work within the district. To avoid losing their state teaching certification, they have up to 45 days before the first day of school to withdraw from their contract.
Meanwhile, Houston doesn’t have enough teachers to fill the openings it has.
State takeovers virtually never work. This deep dive lets us see the Houston takeover start to unravel from the beginning. Read the full article here.