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Texas Legislature discusses school choice and pushes reforms on Latino and Black parents

Texas has taken over 85 Houston schools, mostly Latino or Black, to fix years of education failure that left many illiterate or math behind.

The state claims it had to intervene to save the students from years of failure aggressively, but the district’s underfunded Latino and Black public schools evoke state-wide segregation.

Texas legislation prohibits Black and Mexican American youngsters from attending school. The Constitution established separate schools for “the white and coloured children” and Mexican-American students.

The state pushed Mexican-American students into poor “Mexican schools” with few grade levels, poor literature and facilities, and the assumption that they would labour on farms and in the home.

Segregated schools are perpetuated through the state’s property-based school funding structure. Houston attacked several property-poor schools.

Systemic inequalities are exacerbated by “arbitrary accountability systems” based on standardised examinations that disadvantage children of colour and low-income kids.

Close libraries and taking over schools from communities of colour to remedy this will prolong inequality. Educational inequalities need thorough attention, funding, and supervision to turn around these disproportionately Black and brown districts.

A mother of three in Houston’s schools, Jessica Campos, has been significantly impacted by state-appointed superintendent Mike Miles’ New Education System model.

In 2015, the state took over the district and mandated a tight curriculum and teaching, compelling instructors to comply or be fired. Libraries have been used for disruptive kids to attend lessons through video conferencing and for students who do well on daily tests.

Campos dislikes that instructors can’t repeat content during presentations for youngsters who can’t keep up and send those who pass a quiz to work alone in the converted library.

This forced revamp has traumatised Campos, who has become a vocal opponent of the reforms as a Community Voices for Public Education member since the summer takeover.

When the modifications reached her school, Mayra Lemus, the mother of a smart fifth-grader at Cage Elementary, organised objections, shefelt the Cage principal adopted the New Education System while the school was not failing and more money went to underperforming schools.

West Point graduate and Third Future charter school CEO Miles advocated whole-system transformation by utilising a few schools as “proof points” to expand.

The new approach takes 45 minutes for a session, followed by a five-question assessment to identify which pupils need further training and which will progress to “team centres” for advanced study. Some schools replaced librarians with “learning coaches.”

Houston public schools were compelled to adapt due to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s promotion of “parental rights” for those who oppose LGBTQ literature and systemic racism instruction.

He has scheduled an Oct. 9 special parliamentary session on school choice and education finance and urged legislators to enable public cash for private or parochial school vouchers.

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Written by Anthony Peters