Online readers respond to "Backlash Upon Backlash," by Margaret Downing, December 4:
Classic HISD: A bunch of boneheads. They trash schools with problems, but have no respect for the hard collaborative work on the part of teachers, students and parents that goes into developing a constructive school community. Larry Marshall is an idiot. The Carnegie students will not "inspire" the Worthing students who are already goof-offs. Instead, they'll have to struggle against a hostile environment.
Comment by Elizbonnie from Houston
Apathy: I live by J. Will Jones. My daughter attended J. Will Jones. The staff there is remarkable. The numbers speak for themselves — it is a successful program.
It is sad that my fellow Midtown residents don't see this. Granted, many people in my area are retired folk or people not really interested in having children, but just from a financial standpoint, they should be raging over this. This is the only school in Midtown. Next year when it's gone and someone is looking to sell their house, I imagine that fact will knock a few dollars off the price. Who wants to move to a neighborhood where you have to take your kids out of the neighborhood to go to school?
Total citizen apathy. I'm not going to do worst-case scenarios to overhype this situation. As with everything, things will be topsy-turvy for a moment, but they will balance out again; it's just a shame that no one cares enough.
Comment by Jason LeCompte from
Education zone: The public schools where I came from did not have a good reputation. Needless to say, I was rather leery about letting my son start at HISD when the time came.
Fortunately, our apartment complex was zoned to Roberts Elementary, an exemplary fine arts magnet school that offers the International Baccalaureate Program. My son received an excellent education there. Now my daughter goes there, while my son goes to Pin Oak. I have been very impressed and very pleased by the education both my children have had at HISD.
I am also amazed at how the faculty and administrators manage to blend children from so many different cultures and economic backgrounds. The magnet programs are simply amazing. They represent that rarest of things these days — a public school system that actually works.
We were so impressed by the quality of education that my son received at Roberts that when the time came that we could afford to buy a house, we instead chose to continue renting a house in the Roberts school district, even though it would have cost us substantially less to buy a similar house in The Woodlands or other neighborhoods. Not moving has been a very difficult decision for us.
I am saddened to see from your article that Superintendent Saavedra has apparently dedicated himself to making our once difficult decision a whole lot easier.
Comment by Brendan from Houston
Apply pressure: Brendan, since Saavedra called it off for now, you don't have to worry about magnet programs, as long as you and other parents keep applying pressure on the school district.
Dallas is facing a worse scenario; the school district discovered a sudden major deficit, then decided to fire teachers instead of the accountants and administrators. Then the DISD board decided to cancel the board elections.
So let's punish the DISD board and ensure that HISD knows not to go down that route.
Way to go for mediocrity: I understand closing a small, poorly performing school, but to take successful schools and destroy them is a shame. Dr. Saavedra has played Carnegie and Worthing against each other. They have made it seem that if you care about your child's education, you are some kind of elitist snob. That is not true.
A great thing about Carnegie is that it has a lot of vocal parental support. I wondered whether other schools were facing these kinds of problems and without this kind of voice. Now with J. Will Jones, we see that it is true. Watch out, small schools: The district will shut you down. Success is not to be rewarded. It must be stomped out at all costs. If you are doing well, we can't ask for money to fix you. Success does not pay.
Comment by Donna from Houston
Student says: Say whatever you like, as a former Carnegie student I can attest to the fact that Carnegie is better than Worthing — and every yardstick applied says so. Furthermore, the ridiculous assertion that Carnegie needs to "diversify" is completely contrary to the facts. Carnegie is one of the most ethnically and economically diverse schools in the district; Worthing is almost entirely black and poor. That isn't to say that there's anything wrong with Worthing in that respect, but to claim that Worthing is the school getting the raw deal strains the limits of credulity.
Comment by Robin Logsdon from
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When is the next election? Not soon enough, I fear. It's time to throw the bum(s) out. And that probably should include State Senator Rodney Ellis, since he seems to be trying to get this pushed through. My God! You'd think old "W" hired these guys.
Comment by Sick n' Tired from Houston
Rewarding failure: It's a shame that the schools that work are being shut down or neglected, while those that consistently fail are rewarded with new facilities and money. The district doesn't appreciate the value of the magnet programs, specifically the program for gifted and talented students. Just take a look at the schools that have programs that work. The facilities are deplorable, but the teachers, students and parents keep the program alive with little help from the Houston ISD.
Comment by Bob Thompsonn from