March 15, 2023 -- Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Sylvester Turner. You can also listen to his additional comments made during a news conference earlier today.
"This process has been without community engagement or any transparency. It is disheartening that the Texas Education Agency has yet to speak directly to parents or school children. This announcement is happening during their spring break, creating a great deal of disruption, anxiety, and stress.
"This does not make good sense. And if the focus is on the kids, then you tell me how this benefits the kids. TEA is selecting the board of managers. So who are they? The state deserves an F on how they have handled the process up to this point. Just a flat-out F.
(statement continues after video)
"Under this superintendent and school board, significant progress has been made in HISD. Forty of 50 former D or F-rated schools are in a much better status today. I give great credit to the teachers and students at Wheatley High School. You don't reward success by penalizing not just that school, but you're taking over 275 other schools as well.
"This takeover is not about the quality of education. If you look at the Texas Legislature, several bills have been filed to pre-empt the authority of the city of Houston and other local jurisdictions. HISD happens to be one of those local jurisdictions.
"There is no example of a successful takeover by the state of a local school the size of HISD. A report by the Kinder Institute said the school district's status is worse after a school takeover. So, by what standard should we measure TEA? Is the agency saying to teachers and parents that after this takeover, there will be no failing schools in HISD, none?
"I'm also told that they've already decided who the superintendent is going to be, and that decision has been made. This process needs more transparency with community engagement. "This is about Austin and the leadership in Austin wanting to run local government, and they want it their way. This takeover is not about the kids, and the sad part is that they are using the kids for their own politics."
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