Tense moments at final public HISD board meeting before new school year: 'Hiring uncertified people'

Jiovanni Lieggi Image
Friday, August 4, 2023
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HISD's new superintendent says teachers are not fleeing the district because of the takeover, and says he expects nearly all jobs to be filled.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- School board members threatened to kick out audience members for verbal outbursts at the last public Houston ISD board meeting prior to the start of this school year.

At this meeting, the new HISD superintendent, Mike Miles, explained why the district is looking to hire uncertified staff for teaching positions. During his presentation to the board members, several audience members yelled out and groaned.

"All of these teachers have had an interview," Miles explained, telling the school board and audience members that they're vetting all new staff members. "I'd rather have a teacher who has been interviewed, who is going to be coached and go through the training."

SEE ALSO: HISD seeks waiver from TEA to hire uncertified people to teach in classrooms

Data provided by HISD shows there were 644 openings at the start of the 2022-2023 school year. At the start of this school year, there are roughly 200 openings.

Miles explained this is a temporary solution and that the district needs to hire staff to avoid jobs going unfilled, empty classrooms, and hiring more substitute teachers.

"There's about 150 (jobs) that went unfilled last year even without a substitute," he explained.

Last year, the district had to hire 478 substitute teachers, according to district data.

The data provided by the district also shows that during the 2022-2023 school year, 320 teachers were working without proper certification, but were working towards becoming certified while teaching. During the 2023-2024 school year, there will be 294, and 84 teachers will require waivers to teach.

SEE ALSO: 'It was a democratic process': HISD selects reading, math curriculums without normal teacher input

But some former teachers, parents, and community members don't agree with this approach.

"They're hiring uncertified people. That, to me, is an affront. I'm a professional. I went to college. I've attended hundreds and hundreds of hours of professional development to perfect my craft," Alison Chapin, a former HISD teacher who has worked in the district for over two decades, said.

"It's not going to be perfect; no system is. But we're going to take care of our kids from day one," Miles said.

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