A Resolution In Support of Maintaining Local Control of Four Historic Houston ISD Schools
Whereas the Texas Democratic Party platform explicitly states that charter schools in Texas have proliferated under lax state oversight, little accountability and great cost to taxpayers and names the ongoing problems of fiscal mismanagement, self-dealing, increased segregation of students and the inefficiency of publicly funding a parallel system of schools that charter schools have bred, and calls for a moratorium of them, and we know that any entity wanting to receive the “benefits” of Senate Bill 1882 must apply to the state to become a charter school;
Whereas groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Movement for Black Lives have called for a moratorium of charter school expansion;
Whereas the Texas Democratic Party platform explicitly states that detached, corporate-run schools are no match for real local control and accountability, and parental and community involvement in neighborhood schools have long been the hallmark of successful public schools; Whereas school improvement does not come from top-down reforms, but rather, when given the opportunity, communities are capable of articulating their needs and the path to improving their schools;
Whereas we acknowledge that Kashmere High School, Wheatley High School, Henry Middle School and Highland Heights Elementary Schools are historic community institutions worth fighting for, while we also acknowledge that long patterns of racism and classism at both the local and state level have kept these schools from receiving the resources they need, and we stand with these communities in demanding more;
Whereas we reject the notion that populations which have historically been underserved, such as Black and Latin(x) students, need a separate system to achieve academic success and believe that if the Texas Legislature would follow the plan of investment laid out in the Texas Democratic Party platform to meet the needs of our Texas public school children improvement will occur; Whereas over 35,000 students within the boundaries of Houston ISD have left the district;
Whereas over 35,000 students within the boundaries of Houston ISD have left the district to attend charter schools, leading to a dramatic loss of funding, parental involvement, and a downward spiral for many neighborhood schools;
Whereas the voters of Houston ISD showed the foresight to select women and Black and Latinx leaders as Trustees to the Houston Independent School District Board of Education and as such, the Houston ISD Board of Education much more closely mirrors the community it serves for the first time in several years and representation matters;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Harris County Democratic Party opposes any proposal to turn the management of Kashmere High School, Wheatley High School, Henry Middle School and Highland Heights Elementary School, four historic Black and Latin(x) schools, and any other Houston ISD schools over to a private charters or any other partner or charter entity, including but not limited to the City of Houston and the State of Texas;
Further, be it resolved that the Harris County Democratic Party stands in firm opposition to both closing these schools, and the usurpation of the voters’ decision through a hostile state takeover, both of which would be experiments on black and brown children;
Further, be it resolved that the Texas legislature should take action to dismantle the system that pressures school districts to remove control of schools funded by local property tax dollars from school boards elected by taxpayers and turn them over to private charter operators, unaccountable to the voters, as a condition for receiving more funding, which includes repealing HB 1842 and SB 1882.
Further, be it resolved, that legislation should be passed to protect local control of neighborhood schools and strengthen the responsiveness of school boards to their communities, and equitably increase funding to public schools in line with our state’s constitutional commitment to supporting public education.