The long-awaited official notification from Texas Education Agency telling the Houston ISD about state-mandated consequences was released publicly today as events crept closer to some sort of resolution. This may be the longest drum roll in history before taking some/any kind of real action.
As expected Commissioner Mike Morath wrote that because of Wheatley High School receiving a provisional academic performance rating of "F" for the seventh consecutive time (well not really. Because of Hurricane Harvey the school got a pass in 2018) he "may be required" to either shut down the historic campus or replace the entire school board.
As he himself references in his September 3, 2019 letter, Morath delivered this same warning to HISD on August 17, 2017. But things didn't improve enough he said, with Wheatley continuing to show up on the Improvement Requirement list three times more after it submitted a turnaround plan. Morath doesn't say it but TEA has said Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan
would could be replaced as well if the board goes. Correction: When the commissioner names a new board, he also names a superintendent who can be someone new or the person already holding that position. So even with a change in board, Lathan could continue in her present position.
Morath's notification and considered action comes as a result of a change in the Texas Education Code which sought to call a halt to business as usual at schools that consistently failed to meet state academic standards. HISD can still appeal Wheatley's "F" rating although indications are that it is not going to do so. Appeals will be settled in December "at which time the district will be notified of the final rating assigned to the campus," Morath said.
And if Wheatley hangs on to that "F" in December, Morath writes that he will have no choice but to finally take action by closing the campus or replacing the board.
Here's the letter:
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.