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Houston Democrat questions timing of TEA's takeover of HISD

State Representative Jared Johnson says it doesn’t make sense at this time because schools in the district are progressing.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — State lawmakers and local officials rallied last week against a state takeover of Houston ISD. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been working toward a takeover since 2019. The Texas Supreme Court just cleared the way in January. And now lawmakers say politics are at play.

Houston ISD has greatly improved since the TEA announced its plan. And state Representative Jarvis Johnson, from Houston, questions the timing of TEA’s move that lawmakers say is imminent.

“With all of the progression, it just doesn’t make sense at this time, “ Johnson says on Inside Texas Politics.”

Johnson said that there’s a lot of speculation as to why Governor Greg Abbott is choosing to do this. And the talk about vouchers and school choice could be a factor.

“My opinion on this is that it’s simply being used as a political weapon to enable the governor to make good for his very small constituents that want to see vouchers in the state,” says Johnson.

Johnson worries that the TEA’s recent talk about restructuring its grading system for school districts could be part of an effort in this legislative session to make only certain schools look worse than they really are to further support for school choice.

Last week, the Houston ISD Board of Trustees voted to end its lawsuit to stop the Texas Education Agency from possibly taking over the district.

The TEA has not said if and when the takeover is happening. The agency's latest statement said it was continuing to review the Supreme Court's decision in order to determine the next steps.

Democratic legislators have filed a lawsuit to stop the move.

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