TEA Applies the Hammer to North Forest (And HISD): Historically Terrible District Should Be Taken Over by Houston, It Says (Updated with HISD Response)

The Texas Education Agency has finally had enough of the North Forest ISD, a lower-income school district with chronic problems demonstrating proficiency on standardized tests.

Today the TEA took the unusual step of ordering it to close, and suggesting it be taken over by HISD.

Yeah, thanks a lot, HISD didn't say. (We haven't received HISD's response to our request for reaction. "Oh, fuuuuuck," might be another option, but we will wait and see.)

On one hand, absorbing NFISD means terrible logistical and financial headaches -- low-performing students and teachers, and no new tax base to provide the necessary income to do much about it. On the other hand, absorbing it would provide a nice excuse for any failure in HISD's test scores to improve.

The TEA letter outlines the years of poor performance by NFISD. The school board has also been dysfunctional.

We'll update when we get HISD's response.

Update: Here's HISD's response:

The Houston Independent School District did not advocate for this proposal. However, if Commissioner Scott's order becomes reality, HISD stands ready to welcome the children of North Forest and partner with that proud community.

HISD's African American and Hispanic students have significantly narrowed the achievement gap, and graduation rates for those students are on the rise, said HISD Board President Paula Harris.

"We know it's going to be a challenge. We believe there should be an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school. We are realizing the positive results from those beliefs and we are looking forward to sharing our academic achievement with every student, teacher and community member joining Team HISD," Harris said. "We look forward to working with Commissioner Scott to ensure that HISD receives adequate financial resources to tackle this unique challenge."

HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier said the nation's seventh-largest school district would embrace North Forest's children.

"We will step up and deliver for these children," Dr. Grier said. "All children deserve a quality education, regardless of where they happen to live."

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly