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HISD takeover: Community members hold march at Wheatley High School to protest TEA takeover

A state takeover could result in the school being shuttered and the school board being replaced.

HOUSTON — Members of the NAACP, joined by Houston city leaders and community members, held a march in front of Wheatley High School Saturday calling on the Texas Education Agency to keep its hands off Houston ISD.

The state's argument for a possible takeover was Wheatley’s low accountability rating in 2019 and problems with the HISD school board that same year.

However, since then, voters have elected an almost entirely new school board and Wheatley’s state score has gone up to an ‘A’ from a 'C'.

A state takeover could result in the school being shuttered and the school board being replaced.

“How do you say to these students, teachers and parents who have met the grade that good is not good enough, that a B+ is not good enough,” Houston NAACP President Bishop James Dickson said. 

Community members are fighting back against the Texas Education Agency and the looming possibility of a takeover of the largest school district in Texas.

“Why not come into the school and try to support and fill those classrooms that’s where the support is going to come,” Cheryl Willis, a former school teacher and Wheatley High School alumna.

As teachers, students and parents brace for a possible takeover with an unclear timeline, some leaders in Washington D.C., like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, want President Joe Biden and the education secretary to step in and push back.

“And I believe if there’s a takeover there will be discrimination in the education of the children of HISD,” said Jackson Lee.

But some HISD trustees like Dr. Kendall Baker of District 6, also  a Gov. Gregg Abbott appointee to the Southern Regional Education Board, are welcoming the state to take a look at HISD.

“We need to step back and let the Commissioner, his appointed board and perhaps a new superintendent go in and rectify and fix the things they want fixed,” Baker said.

But Mayor Sylvester Turner says Houston isn’t going down without a fight

“This is not just about Phillis Wheatley or about HISD. There is a concerted attack on public education and on public schools,” he said.

Community members are expected to take the fight to Austin Tuesday. They say lawmakers need to hear the concerns they have.

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