Education, Features, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, National

Houston Teachers Consider Lawsuit to Stop State Takeover

November 20, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

HOUSTON, Tex.—The Houston Federation of Teachers union is considering joining a lawsuit to block the state’s plans to take over the city school district. State Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced earlier this month that it would replace the district’s elected trustees with a state-appointed board, on grounds including “failure of governance” and that one high school had failed to meet academic standards for more than four years. The Houston Independent School District responded with a lawsuit, challenging the takeover on the grounds that the Texas Education Agency does not have legal authority to replace the board, and that it’s violating the federal Voting Rights Act  by discriminating against school districts that are predominantly black and Latino. “We do not feel the students and teachers are anyone’s first interest at this particular point,” Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo told the Houston Chronicle Nov. 17. “We’re having our legal specialist looking at the Voting Rights Act and a few other things, to determine whether we could actually intervene in HISD’s lawsuit. I suspect that’s the way we would go.” The state-appointed board would likely run the 200,000-student district for two to five years. Read more

November 20, 2019

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