Former Houston ISD trustee says report is ‘outdated’ amid below-average test scores, overall performance

HOUSTON – Houston Independent School District’s 2021-2022 annual report from the Texas Education Agency shows below-average scores in several areas, including STAAR test scores.

The latest Texas Academic Performance Report, which gives parents and educators a look at how students are performing, shows the overall passing percentage has dropped significantly.

In 2021, year two of the pandemic, 33% of HISD students performed at their grade level or higher, compared to 44% in 2019.

The report also showed that Hispanic students have been hit the hardest with a 13% drop in overall performance.

However, Diana Davila, former HISD Trustee, reviewed the report and told KPRC 2 that only certain schools within the district have struggled with state exams and not the district as a whole.

“If we’re not successful on the STAAR exam, the state could come in and take over the district,” Davila said. “It impacts the entire city if we do not have schools that are already academically continuously been failing.”

Davila said the report itself is outdated, as the district has a new superintendent and board members.

She added that there was “no honeymoon phase” for HISD Superintendent Millard House II. In addition to academics, the report analyzes staff, programs, and district finances.

“It is also indicating more communication needs to be done with parents to let them know what they need to be doing, and what communication is being done with teachers and administration,” Davila said.

To read the full report, click here.

Houston Federation of Teachers’ Jackie Anderson shared this statement with KPRC 2:

“It is disappointing to see that majority of the scores reflect that HISD students are currently performing under the state level. We have effective teachers put in place at the schools but, we need systems in place that are going to help the children socially and emotionally. Children need more encouragement to join programs after school hours that will improve literacy. There are some libraries in Houston that have been closed since the pandemic. Those libraries need to reopen for the sake of the students who will utilize them. Another great program Wraparound Services, which focuses on the students’ social and emotional supports necessary to be successful in school. Parents are also critical in improving the students’ academic performance. If they don’t show an interest in their child’s education, it is hard for the child to succeed. I do believe that the HISD superintendent’s new initiatives will help students and even out the playing field for them.”

HISD shared this response via Shawn Bird, HISD chief academic officer:

“The 2020-2021 Annual Report largely incorporates data impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although data points are valuable in some circumstances, participation in assessments was significantly lower than pre-pandemic. The district will continue to use multiple sources of information to monitor student progress in the classroom and at the district level.”

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 3, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.

Zachery “Zach” Lashway anchors KPRC 2+ Now. He began at KPRC 2 as a reporter in October 2021.