Hundreds of parents, community members show up at TEA meeting about HISD takeover

HOUSTON – Hundreds of parents and those residing in the Houston community showed up for the third Texas Education Agency meeting that was held at Delmar Field House on Wednesday night.

The purpose of the informational meetings is to inform the community about the TEA’s process for appointing a new board of managers to lead the Houston Independent School District.

The TEA says the district is in the middle of a state takeover because of unacceptable academic accountability.

The meeting was held in a much larger space, but the session played out exactly the same as the last two meetings.

Community members quickly took over with outbursts from the crowd.

This time, the TEA actually handed the microphone over to the people demanding to be heard.

”As a parent, I want them to back off,” said Veronica Cohetero, a parent of two students in HISD.

Many community members are very upset because they say the agency is not giving them the information they want about the actual takeover.

“I’m interested to see what the TEA takeover is going to do for the teachers, and the students, and the parents,” said Sophia Fox, a student at Houston’s Heights High School.

”We are asking the right questions, but we are not getting the right answers,” said Cohetero.

For this meeting, the TEA adjusted the session protocol to allow attendees the opportunity to ask questions directly to the presenter, Deputy Commissioner of Education Alejandro Delagado, at an appointed time.

But, as soon as he stepped behind the podium, the heckling began.

”I think that the interruptions showed that the guy who they were talking to, wouldn’t answer questions,” said Fox.

Many, again, requesting to hear directly from the state’s Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.

”We’d certainly like to see Morath here. If this is the takeover of the eighth largest district in the country, you would think with four public meetings he’d actually appear. But, he has yet to do so to answer our questions,” said Steven Wright, a teacher in the district.

The outburst again prevented the TEA from presenting any prepared information.

The organization shared a QR code that directed people to a recorded webinar with information.

Attendees hope the TEA will make more adjustments before the next presentation.

“The people want answers and there should be somebody qualified enough to answer all of those questions,” said Cohetero.

The fourth and final scheduled TEA informational meeting will be on March 30 at Kashmere High School from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

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