The Curriculum Question

Businessman John Privett thought he had a solution to the problems of some of Houston's troubled schools. The parents wanted to try it. The teachers wanted to try it. But HISD administrators said no.

It sounded kind enough on the surface, but Privett had had enough. Besides, how could he come back again next year when the superintendent he had originally dealt with, Petruzielo, was gone, and his replacement, Rod Paige, hadn't returned any of Privett's phone calls?

So for the moment Privett bides his time, doing a few consulting projects. He's also watching how the Texas Legislature handles charter school legislation. The report on charter schools prepared by the legislative budget committee singled out the Performing Schools contract as a good example of why more legislation needs to be written. Everything was legally in place for HISD to sign the contract with a private vendor, the report states, but one thing was missing: a route for appeal. If HISD wouldn't go along, the process was over, regardless of what the parents or teachers might have wanted.

"If the day comes when the Texas Legislature puts the power in the hands of the parents and teachers," Privett says, "we'll be back with a whole lot of people to fix schools. What we proved is that the teachers will vote to line up with people to turn the campuses around. We'll be back.

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