Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently announced his intention to take control of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) in order to address issues within the school board. This move follows the district's attempts to improve the accountability ratings of its struggling schools. In response, Texas legislators have proposed bills that would restrict classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools before certain grade levels. In order to be eligible for public higher education institutions outside of Texas, the Coordinating Board must create rules and regulations that must be followed. Additionally, applicants must meet the residency requirements for Texas resident enrollment in institutions of higher education fully supported by the state.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath wrote a letter to the leaders of HISD, emphasizing that the school board has “a solemn responsibility to focus above all else on serving all students”.After a long legal battle and much speculation, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) confirmed that it removed the democratically elected school board and superintendent of HISD. This would give the state control of one of the largest school systems in the country after years of controversy and legal disputes over its authority to do so. TEA and other state agencies have partnered with the board to develop programs of study under this section. The Texas Workforce Commission and Board may adopt rules necessary for the administration of this section. The changes to education laws have had a major impact on politics in Houston, Texas, as they have given the state control over one of its largest school districts.
It remains to be seen how these changes will affect students, teachers, and administrators in Houston.