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 >>
When we first wrote about Veronica Bass in November 2011, the teacher's assistant had learned she'd been overpaying her union dues for years and been trying for months to get her money back from the Houston Federation of Teachers. Unable to resolve this, she filed a claim in small claims court, sayi ... More >>
Antonia Rivas did her job in HISD until she died. Now her children want some notice to be paid.
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.
Terry Grier on the high diveIn a startling reversal of previous statements and his own avowed philosophies, Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier today released a statement that he will recommend to the school board that teachers not be evaluated by their students' test scores this next scho ... More >>
Photo by Mandy OaklanderPaula Harris helmed an emergency HISD meeting this morning.This morning, an emergency meeting was called by HISD officials who are growing more desperate as severe budget cuts looms closer. About 10 parents sat in Pin Oak Middle School's cafeteria and listened to board ... More >>
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.
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 >>
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 >>
It wasn't quite like this at last night's HISD board meeting, but it was closeIn a lengthy and tumultuous school board meeting Thursday night, trustees voted 8-1 to fire Principal Mable Caleb and five other administrators and teachers from the Key/Kashmere mess, approved another 170 employe ... 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 >>
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 >>
The Boo Birds played the Houston ISD Administration Building last night and it was a standing room only crowd.The school board -- well, seven of them (trustees Manuel Rodriguez and Carol Mims Galloway weren't there) -- stood behind their earlier vote and went 7-0 in a final vote on the propos ... More >>
The Houston ISD is investigating current and former employees at Key Middle School for alleged cheating on the TAKS test at Key. Some of those former employees ended up at Kashmere High School which the district is also investigating in regard to unathorized removal of computer equipment ... 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 >>
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 >>
Word on the street from Friends of Hair Balls is that there's a lot of pro-active housecleaning going on by the regional superintendents in advance of the new Houston ISD superintendent's arrival. Just one case in point seems to be Cathryn White, the principal at acclaimed T.H. Rogers ... More >>
Readers weigh in on the principal at T.H. Rogers
The results are in from the Houston ISD survey of teachers at T.H. Rogers, the school where teachers and the local union have circulated increasingly loud complaints that their principal, Dr. Cathryn White is an intimidating, arrogant taskmaster who needs to see the error of her ways, if not just le ... More >>
T.H. Rogers is known as a pretty great school, in or out of the Houston Independent School District. But as my column this week ("Let the Record Reflect") shows, the principal there, Dr. Cathryn White, is at odds with several of her teachers.Quoted in the story is the Regional Supervisor who oversee ... 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 >>
Governor Rick Perry announced some additions to his Competitiveness Council today, including Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. Never heard of the Competitiveness Council? Yeah, neither had we. Seems it's a group of " industry leaders, public and higher education offici ... 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.)
Neil Bush touts a school curriculum for guys like himself
Budget woes don't affect HISD's PR department
A shadowy California consultant rakes in school district cash
Positions open as top Paige deputies depart on the Northbound Train
Everybody knows that HISD is supposed to be second-rate. So why are private school kids defecting back to the district that nobody wanted?
More adventures in HISD's wacky world of staff training
Paige DMPs on the HISD bureaucracy
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.
State Comptroller John Sharp has suggested that HISD needs to fire more incompetent teachers. But as the case of Beverly Goodie shows, it's not that simple. Just how do you tell who's incompetent? And what happens when you try?
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
HISD has a plan for reforming problem schools. But when it reached Bastian Elementary, not everything went smoothly.