Greater Houston Coalition Justice files lawsuit on behalf of Houston ISD against TEA for ‘discrimination’

HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Coalition Justice announced Thursday the filing of a lawsuit for discrimination against the Texas Education Agency on behalf of the Houston Independent School District following the agency’s decision to take over the school district, according to a news release.

The organization said the third-party complaint includes the State of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Mike Morath, TEA’s Commissioner of Education.

The release states that “The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is in violation of TITLE VI by discriminating against Houston Independent School District in deciding to take over control of HISD’s duty-elected Board of Trustees.”

Staci Childs, who represents District 4 for the Texas Board of Education, believes the complaint is the right move.

“I was in a briefing yesterday with the commissioner and the question was asked if we file a federal complaint will you stop the takeover? He said, ‘if I have to, I will stop (it),’” she said.

Houston Coalition Justice alleges that the TEA has a “history of a pattern and systemic discriminating against minority school districts.”

The organization says it plans to file the complaint under TITLE VI of the 1064 Civil Rights ACT, saying the agency is providing “special treatment to other state majority white school districts,” the news release said.

Since 2019, Wheatley High School has received a passing grade and HISD received a B rating from the Texas Education Agency.

“There are at least seven other school districts in the state of Texas that have a lower rating than HISD. They have D’s. HISD has a B plus, so why HISD?” Jackie Anderson said.

Anderson is the President of the Houston Federation of Teachers and says the takeover is about politics and money grabs.

“It puts a fair disadvantage on our students and teachers who give 110% every day to educate our students,” she said.

LULAC, The NAACP and the Urban League are also opposed to school takeovers and say it’s important to explore different avenues.

“It’s important that all of the things that the constitution allows us as citizens that we take it upon ourselves to exercise and do,” said Judson Robinson, President of the Urban League.

The TEA announced its decision to move forward with the takeover on Wednesday and Morath sent a letter to the HISD Board of Trustees after meeting with Houston-area state lawmakers at the capitol, notifying them of the agency’s intent.

As part of the takeover, the agency will begin the search for a new superintendent and open an application for a new board of managers, all of whom are expected to be appointed “on or about” June 1.


About the Author: