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Nonprofit that helps students read on grade level taken out of Houston ISD's NES and NES-A campuses

Literacy Now said it had to lay off part-time employees for the first time in its nearly 17-year history.

HOUSTON, Texas — A Literacy Now banner still hangs outside Benavidez Elementary in Gulfton.

But the nonprofit, which helps kids read on grade level, will no longer be working there or at any of Houston ISD’s so-called New Education System (NES) and NES-Aligned schools where wholesale overhauls are underway.

"And that’s really sad for us,” said Literacy Now CEO Jacque Daughtry.

Daughtry said Houston ISD abruptly closed the book on part of its partnership last month just as Literacy Now prepared for the new school year.

"So, unfortunately, for the first time in our almost 17-year history, we had to lay off employees,” said Daughtry.

Eleven part-time employees to be exact. They were among the reading interventionists paid for mostly by Literacy Now to coach students in a four-to-one ratio.

"Having things change so quickly is really hard on everyone,” said Daughtry.

Daughtry said she was told new state-appointed HISD leadership, including Superintendent Mike Miles, wanted more accountability among school staff for things like reading results.

It's something she does not disagree with philosophically, although, more time to prepare for changes would have been appreciated.

"We all want the same thing," said Daughtry.  "We want the kids to get the very best education that they can.”

Daughtry is thankful Literacy Now will continue to operate in a number of non-NES schools within HISD.

We reached out to HISD twice on Tuesday for a comment but had yet to hear back at the time this story was published.

And full disclosure: a KHOU manager outside of the news division sits on the Literacy Now board.

Jason Miles on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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