Save Our Black and Brown Schools Houston Texas

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Dear Houston School Board of Trustees,

We, the undersigned, are residents of Houston Texas and your constituents. We are petitioning you to save our Black and Brown schools from privatization. Equality in education is the cornerstone of social justice. It is the one thing we can provide, to every child, that will give them the tools to create a full and prosperous life for themselves. Turning these schools over to a third party entity will create a two-tiered educational system and relegate these students to a cascade of disadvantages and missed opportunities. You are the safety net for our children and we beseech you to fight for educational justice, for every student in HISD. 

There are many reasons we, as a city-wide community, feel this will be devastating to historically Black and Latinx communities, in particular. There are many social implications that are extremely concerning and should be factored into your decision to vote NO to charters and partnerships. As you know, these ten schools have been underserved by HISD for decades and we feel these partnerships will further destabilize these communities. Schools provide a valued familiarity for students and the proposed partnerships will disrupt valuable bonds that have been created. Many times school staff and administrators become confidants and provide guidance, for their students during difficult personal times. The students form ongoing and lifelong connections with their classmates. For the most impoverished child, school is often the only stability they know. The charters and partnerships will disrupt valuable bonds that have been created. Stability matters and it is widely known that stability is paramount to healthy growth and development. We feel strongly that these partnerships will be incredibly disruptive to the relationships of the children they purport to serve and will further the creation of education deserts in marginalized communities, disenfranchising communities who depend on public education most. It is experimentation with black and brown children.

We understand the school system is broken. It has been for quite some time now. However, charters and partnerships will not fix our schools and are no solution. They take away the right of families to have their schools run by a democratically elected school board. Parents at these ten schools will have to bring any concerns about their children’s schooling to multiple governing bodies who are not accountable to the parents, students and communities. These governing bodies will have no incentive to listen to parents and families and we will not be able to vote them out for poor performance. You will be abdicating your responsibility to these communities.

Houston ISD’s policies are important. What policies will you be waiving in order to make these partnerships happen? You will be surrendering OUR rights to hire and fire the people responsible for our children’s education. You will be waiving our rights that protect our children from discriminatory policies. We will no longer be able to rely on the HISD policies that protect populations such as our special needs children. That is simply unacceptable.

 You are our representatives because we voted you into office to act in our best interest. Hear us, your constituents when we say, WE DO NOT WANT CHARTERS OR PARTNERSHIPS TAKING OVER OUR SCHOOLS. We support your fight AGAINST the TEA. Do not do their dirty work. Make them take this harsh action against our communities. We ask that you seek independent counsel; someone that does not stand to gain by charter take overs. We deserve someone who is unbiased and does not have a business interest in a relationship with the Texas Education Agency. We need someone who can tell us ALL the legal options we may take.

We demand transparency. It is our right to know the plan for these schools in its entirety and give you feedback on the plan before you surrender the only real chance our children have to be truly free and equal. We ask that you bring parents, students and teachers to the table to create a real and sustainable solution to bring educational justice back to HISD. The families in these communities can and must lead the way.

We know sitting on the school board is a solid starting point for those who have political aspirations and some of you may dream of running for other positions. Hear us when we say, surrendering our democracy to the TEA is not the way to jump start a political career. We voted for you because we believed in you. That vote is only as strong as the actions you take to protect our children. Stand and fight with our communities. They are your communities too. Our children's future and the future of our city depends on it.