It used to be that RIF had a good connotation - standing for the much appreciated nationwide program Reading is Fundamental. But starting in 2011, RIF has meant nothing but a pink slip to Houston ISD teachers. That's the year the district started its Reduction in Force process that unlike the more ... More >>
Teachers are use to working long hours, attending parent teacher conferences, and sometimes sacrificing their personal lives to teach. They don't earn millions of dollars each year like basketball players or actors but the passion they have for education and making a difference is what drives them t ... More >>
When Terry Grier came in as the new superintendent of Houston ISD in September 2009, many critics of the alternative schools operated by Community Education Partners were encouraged when he started questioning why the district was farming out some of its kids. At board workshops, Grier made it clea ... More >>
It took years for Veronica Bass to figure out she was overpaying her union dues. Getting her money back looks like it may take just as long.
Bad news for four schools. "We're here for Stevenson," said the man standing outside the Hattie Mae White building Thursday night. He and his wife had worked to save the elementary during Superintendent Abe Saavedra's reign, but they weren't feeling so lucky tonight. The hard times the Hous ... More >>
HISDPaula Harris gets tough with fellow board members.In a lengthy and sometimes tense board meeting that brought Houston ISD trustee Juliet Stipeche to tears, trustee Carol Mims Galloway to call for a tax increase and announce that all was not hunky dory with the board, and board President P ... More >>
HISD students see vocational programs discarded, along with some of their dreams.
Margaret DowningBig, skeptical crowd at HISD budget-cuts meetingLast night was an elected official's nightmare. Not only did Houston ISD trustees vote to significantly reduce funding for the district's kids and schools, to clear the way to cut hundreds of teachers' jobs, and to potentially cl ... More >>
The axman comethThere was no talk of raising taxes as Houston ISD trustees reviewed a list of proposed reductions to the district's budget next year and prepared to approve the first step in a notification process calling for fewer teachers by fall 2011. Cuts to schools alone came in at $65 m ... More >>
Photo by Margaret DowningTerry Grier: Wheatley parents complain about his absenceThursday's Houston ISD school board meeting was packed and a significant portion of the crowd included those who wanted to talk about the recent removal of Wheatley High School assistant principal Sandra James Wa ... More >>
Will Terry Grier be sporting one of these?In an amazing turnaround, Houston ISD has reinstated Sandra Walker as the assistant principal at Wheatley High School. HISD spokesman Jason Spencer said a letter from HISD Chief High School Officer Aaron Spence went out to Wheatley parents today sayi ... More >>
Terry Grier goes national In a story already online and due to come out in the Sunday print edition of the Washington Post, our own Terry Grier joins other superintendents in blaming teachers (well, the bad ones) for the poor state of our schools and children.He also pushes charters and endorses ... More >>
HISD: Lots of talk, no actionIf Houston ISD trustees really want to fulfill their promise of transparency, they need to start getting to the point a lot quicker in their meetings -- so that when they have something important to debate, more people are still there to hear it.Last night's meeting w ... More >>
Hair Balls has obtained copies of a power point presentation given to principals of the Houston Independent School District in June that appears to bear out earlier reports that principals were being asked to cover a shortage of $19 million in federal funds. In a slide entitled "Title 1, Part A;" i ... More >>
Photo by Margaret DowningBoth the local AFL-CIO chapter and the Houston Federation of Teachers are urging a huge turnout at Thursday night's Houston ISD board meeting to protest planned layoffs of teachers and other district employees in an attempt to stop what one union leader calls "this insane ... More >>
Houston school superintendent Terry Grier's plan to fire teachers whom he deems unacceptable got some national news time Sunday.ABC News looked at the issue in a piece titled -- wait for it -- "Houston, We Have A School Problem." (Fresh!!)It was a pretty straightforward look at things, with Grier ... More >>
Photo by Margaret DowningHouston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier is pitching extending the school year to his principals, waiting to see who is going to sign up for the cause. Because the one thing he wants to stress to everyone, he said (taking the pre-emptive action approach) is that it will not ... More >>
This is the tale of two teachers. Each of them inherit fifth-graders who test out at the start of the school year, on average, at third grade, fifth month. The kids are from the same neighborhood. They have identical demographics: roughly the same number come from single-parent homes, live in ... More >>
Photo by Margaret DowningGreg Meyers, the new president of the Houston Independent School District, believes that data, unclouded by emotion, will lead the urban district to the next higher level of teacher performance.The day after a draconian day at the office Thursday that began at 10 a.m. wit ... More >>
Caught on her cell phone today, Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said that many people are distorting what Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a Tuesday eight-page speech about overhauling teacher evaluations.The speech wa ... More >>
Photo by Margaret DowningDavid Bowie could have been singing in the background as HISD Superintendent Terry Grier demonstrated this morning why he's gained a reputation as a top administrator who doesn't wait around long before trying to institute changes.He reiterated at a Tuesday morning media ... More >>
Photos by Margaret DowningMary Almendarez, first vice president for LULAC Council 402, leads off the press conference Monday, in support of terminating the Houston ISD's contract with Community Education Partners.It was one of those great, if little noticed moments in Houston history, as separate ... More >>
We have word from HISD spokesman Norm Uhl that the district might officially name the new superintendent at 2 o'clock. If the choice is Terry Grier, as it's been reported, some people are already unhappy. (Update: It is.) "I'm very disappointed in the board," State Sen. Mario Gallegos, who serves ... More >>
The HISD board is having perhaps the most boring workshop ever this morning -- talking about Human Resources.Thank God Houston Chronicle education writer Ericka Mellon is there to blog it.She reports a momentous change in HISD policy: The Human Resources Department will henceforth be known as the De ... More >>
A lawsuit accuses HISD insurance consultants of conning the district
Is Yvette Lacobie really a terrorist? Did legislators really mean to kick kids out for a butter knife? Is zero tolerance really stupid? (No, maybe and yes.)
Budget woes don't affect HISD's PR department
Unbending state and HISD policies are pushing away a much-praised teacher
Plus: The Terminators, Pollution Coverage, Democratic Dishes
A popular HISD principal gets eased out the back door -- almost
HISD and a paid trustee get entangled in the spreading empire of a private firm touting safe alternative schools for troubled kids. So why are some students and parents so scared?
A "Learning How to Survive (at) CEP" sidebar
A shadowy California consultant rakes in school district cash
Positions open as top Paige deputies depart on the Northbound Train
Shining Example, KTRU Blues, Not So Nice
Everybody knows that HISD is supposed to be second-rate. So why are private school kids defecting back to the district that nobody wanted?
"Unschoolers" like Holly Furgason don't believe in public education. They don't even believe in teachers. They believe in the ability of their children to teach themselves. Will the law catch up with them?
This HISD program teaches a big lesson: Don't question what the district touts
More adventures in HISD's wacky world of staff training
Are educators cheating on TAAS? Is anyone going to stop them?
Fat starting salaries! Hefty raises! HISD says its administrators deserve them.
At Madison High, Principal Warner Ervin's word is law. Teachers say that's the problem.
A vigorous advocate for teachers and the bane of HISD administrators, confrontational union boss Gayle Fallon wields a growing power over the direction of Houston's public schools
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.
HISD has a plan for reforming problem schools. But when it reached Bastian Elementary, not everything went smoothly.