According to the Texas Education Agency, Houston, North Forest, Galena Park, Galveston, Pasadena and Clear Creek ISD's made the list for at least the second year in a row.
The number of failing districts doubled from last year, in part because of tougher standards.
HISD blames its failure on special education testing limits. Federal guidelines only allow three percent of students to take an alternative standardized test. The district exceeded that limit with about five percent of students proficient in special education reading and math exams.
The district points out that 74 percent of individual campuses did meet progress standards. Of the nine Apollo 20 campuses, only Lee High School and Key Middle school passed.