TEA Applies the Hammer to North Forest (And HISD): Historically Terrible District Should Be Taken Over by Houston, It Says (Updated with HISD Response)

Categories: Education

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Welcome to HISD.
The Texas Education Agency has finally had enough of the North Forest ISD, a lower-income school district with chronic problems demonstrating proficiency on standardized tests.

Today the TEA took the unusual step of ordering it to close, and suggesting it be taken over by HISD.

Yeah, thanks a lot, HISD didn't say. (We haven't received HISD's response to our request for reaction. "Oh, fuuuuuck," might be another option, but we will wait and see.)

On one hand, absorbing NFISD means terrible logistical and financial headaches -- low-performing students and teachers, and no new tax base to provide the necessary income to do much about it. On the other hand, absorbing it would provide a nice excuse for any failure in HISD's test scores to improve.

The TEA letter outlines the years of poor performance by NFISD. The school board has also been dysfunctional.

We'll update when we get HISD's response.

Update: Here's HISD's response:

The Houston Independent School District did not advocate for this proposal. However, if Commissioner Scott's order becomes reality, HISD stands ready to welcome the children of North Forest and partner with that proud community.

HISD's African American and Hispanic students have significantly narrowed the achievement gap, and graduation rates for those students are on the rise, said HISD Board President Paula Harris.

"We know it's going to be a challenge. We believe there should be an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school. We are realizing the positive results from those beliefs and we are looking forward to sharing our academic achievement with every student, teacher and community member joining Team HISD," Harris said. "We look forward to working with Commissioner Scott to ensure that HISD receives adequate financial resources to tackle this unique challenge."

HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier said the nation's seventh-largest school district would embrace North Forest's children.

"We will step up and deliver for these children," Dr. Grier said. "All children deserve a quality education, regardless of where they happen to live."


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9 comments
Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith

HISD has no business annexing North Forest. HISD has many problems that will not be resolved until Paula Harris & Manuel Rodriguez are defeated and Terry Grier is terminated.www.houstonisdwatch.com

IsupportNFISD
IsupportNFISD

We have produced doctors, lawyers, NFL players, artists, engineers and educators. If the education is that bad, where were you to help improve it? Where were you when the schools were flooded out? Where were you when we were having board meetings, town hall meetings, and PTA meetings to say that there has to be a change, we need additional help to educate our youth. Where were you? Nowhere. Naysayers stand by...Gentrification is occuring in predominately Black areas across Houston and I am positive "they" have their eye on North Forest. This is retaliation on the School Board for firing the Superintendent that TEA put in place. During his stay he cut out Saturday Tutorials, afterschool programs and Vocational Programs. Could this be a TEA Conspiracy? Hmmmm. How many predominately minority based schools (PUBLIC SCHOOLS) are in the top ten or twenty in the state based on TAKS? These are questions that should be answered before people degrade a community and district.

Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith

Houston ISD can't even manage its own affairs without reports of ethical violations that could be, given further investigation, illegal. HISD will jump at the opportunity to take over North Forest...let's see how many friends Paula Harris has in that part of town..slime, slime, slimewww.houstonisdwatch.com

Manxlucky
Manxlucky

Every time you hear somebody say we need to "return to local control of schools" remind them that we have hyper-localism in Texas.  Over 1000 school districts, each with their own elected board, tax rate and taxing jurisdiction.  Why? Why do we have the Houston, Klein, Spring, Aldine, Cy-Fair, Pasadena, North Forest, LaMarque, Clear Creek, Friendswood, etc, ect in just the Houston area. We need consolidation as a cost saving approach.  Mention that at a neigborhhood bbq and you will be looked at like you are a bolshevik.   

Vintom Lebowski
Vintom Lebowski

Yes it does, Anthony Smith. You know NFISD is far worse.

DeusExMachina
DeusExMachina

"Where were you when the schools flooded out?" -- Now that is rich. You know why Forest Brook closed? Because the property insurance had been allowed to lapse. That's why NFISD didn't have the money to repair it after vandals flooded it.

I have heard some whoppers, but the idea that developers are standing by to "gentrify" the northeast Houston neighborhoods encompassed by NFISD is hilarious, at best.

I have some questions for you:

1.  In the past twenty years, how many National Merit Scholars were produced by NFISD?

2.  What is the average SAT score at North Forest H.S., and how does that compare to the statewide average?

3.  What is the average ACT score at North Forest H.S., and how does that compare to the nationwide average?

4.  Over the past five years, what percentage of seniors at NFISD high schools took either the SAT or ACT?

4.  Over the past five years, what percentage of North Forest high school students attempted AP tests, and what percentage passed (scored 3 or higher)?

5.  Over the past ten years, how did the size of freshman classes at NFISD high schools compare to the size of the senior classes? (That's the best bellweather for dropout rates, not the voodoo accounting permitted by the state.) 

I am sorry, but citing the production of a few exceptional students over the years does not provide justification for the state and federal governments to continue to subsidize what by any objective measurement is an utterly failing school system.  One whose scandals and corruption are well nigh legendary.  If the NFISD "community" really cared about its schools, its voters would have elected trustees with the acumen and ability to hire appropriate administrators and implement accountability measures.  Sadly, in large part because of NFISD's failure to educate, the voters who reside in the district (many of whom are products of that failed system) are unable to elect credible trustees.

You don't have the intellectual honesty to speak the real truth: As long as we have teenage girls dropping out of schools and giving birth to babies out of wedlock, the patterns of failure we see at North Forest will continue, no matter who takes over the schools.  It's funny to see the clergy attend the NFISD pep rally this past weekend.  When are these alleged Christian pastors going to wake their children up to the horrors of uncontrolled reproduction?  Where is the outrage at fornication?  Why are black people silent about the demise of the family in black society?  Who is going to wake up and save it?  And why do you and those of your ilk sit back and blame other people for the problems this community is heaping upon itself?

Vintom Lebowski
Vintom Lebowski

Anthony Smith, you know better than that.

Whatever problems HISD has *pales* in comparisons to the problems NFISD (a one high school district!) has.

NFISD has been in trouble since the late 1980s. Its problems are FAR WORSE than HISD's. Far, far, worse.

Bill
Bill

We have multiple school districts because of the white-flight reaction Brown v Board of Education. Go back and look at when many of these districts were founded.

Chen Zuoqian
Chen Zuoqian

Erm, Texas had even MORE districts well until the 1950s, with the first wave of consolidations. White flight did cause suburban districts to grow. Now as the inner suburbs rot, things may change

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