CFISD school board member's comment questions value of Black educators

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Thursday, January 13, 2022
CFISD trustee's comment questions value of Black educators
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Research from Johns Hopkins University shows Black educators reduces the probability of Black students dropping out, which contradicts Scott Henry's comments.

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- Several people have voiced their concerns about how comments by a Cypress Fairbanks ISD board member is going to impact Black educators and students.

ABC13 tried to get in touch with Cypress Fairbanks ISD board member Scott Henry after a clip from a school board work session sparked calls for his resignation, but his only response has been in the form of a statement on social media.

SEE RELATED STORY: CFISD trustee's comment over Black teachers sparks calls for his resignation

In the statement, Henry said his words have been twisted. Meanwhile, people offended by Henry's words are calling his comments racist. Regardless of interpretations, the value of Black teachers is now being questioned.

Henry's comments Monday night, in an argument against an audit report on diversity and inclusion, linked a higher percentage of Black educators with a higher dropout rate in Houston ISD are provoking strong condemnation.

"I grew up in Cy-Fair. This is really angering me to the 10th degree," said Odus Evbagharu, the chair of the Harris County Democratic Party.

Evbagharu joins a growing chorus calling on Henry to resign.

"It's important to recruit Black educators, and all this is going to do is damage that. We have to call this out for what it is. It's pure racism and he must resign," Evbagharu said.

One CFISD parent who was at Monday's meeting also said she's concerned about how this will impact Black educators and students.

"We're trying to take steps forward, and here he is coming in and saying inaccurate information. Beyond that, it's harmful to say those things that are not true, racist, and vile," said Tara Cummings.

Research from Johns Hopkins University shows the impact Black educators have on Black students, and the data stands in contrast to Henry's comments. Exposure to one Black teacher can make a Black student 13% more likely to go to college. Having two Black teachers takes the odds up to 32%. Having one Black teacher in elementary school reduces the probability a Black student will drop out by almost one-third.

"Black teachers, keep your head up. All educators, keep your heads up," said Dr. James Dixon, the president of NAACP Houston. "This one board member does not represent nor aptly describe your proficiency or your value. We have got to move this mindset out of office."

Henry did not answer his door or return multiple phone calls Wednesday night. So far, the superintendent, the district, and the other board members have also been silent.

Meanwhile, the community promises to continue to speak out.

"We have to do it for our children, but also for the rest of our community. We have to be allies," said Cummings.

The school board will meet again 6 p.m. Thursday.