The Houston Independent School District's board is expected to vote later today to renew its contract with a controversial company that handles students with disciplinary problems. The ACLU of Texas isn't too happy about that.
The ACLU wrote a letter to HISD superintendent Terry Grier in March outlining their concerns with Community Education Partners, the company that has come under criticism for the way it operates its alternative schools.
They heard nothing back from Grier, so they've written again urging the board and Grier to reconsider.
Terri Burke, ACLU's executive director, wrote:
As I wrote [in March], the ACLU of Texas is s aware that the performance of CEP school in Houston and elsewhere has been frequently criticized in the press and by community members and has raised serious concerns about steep costs, educational quality, drop-out rates and school safety. I invited you to contact me to discuss these concerns but did not hear from you.
Burke says the group was encouraged by Grier's "earlier willingness to take a fresh look at the CEP contract in response to public criticism of the company's schools in Houston," but that has turned to disappointment as he's reversed course.
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Board members Monday offered little objection to a report -- paid for by CEP -- praising the company's performance. The report was the last step in the process to the expected renewal of the contract.
She said dealing with CEP will require "a lot more transparency" on the part of the company and the district.
Lots of luck with that, if the past is any indication when it comes to CEP and HISD.
Update: Read the comments for a CEP response.