HISD superintendent's renew evaluation system approved by district board

Briana Conner Image
Friday, June 23, 2023
New HISD board approves reforms brought on by interim superintendent.
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The reforms aren't unfamiliar, but a teacher in the interim superintendent's former district tells ABC13 what makes them problematic.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Independent School District's appointed board of managers cleared the way for interim Superintendent Mike Miles' reforms on Thursday night.

Miles' proposed budget was approved, freeing up the money he needed to pay for significant changes.

Every vote was unanimous, even on some of the more controversial agenda items community members have been speaking out against.

The budget is approved, and the board is changing its innovative and magnet programs policy. The way teachers and administrators in the district are evaluated is also in the queue to change.

RELATED: HISD board votes to waive superintendent's certificate requirement during budget meeting

Bright red signs with a thumb down printed on them have become people's new way of showing silent disapproval at Houston ISD board meetings.

This follows warnings that disruptors will be asked to leave. Community members, even students, have consistently shown up to challenge the changes Miles is championing.

"My friends and I are more than our test scores. Our teachers and principals are more than our schools test scores. My friends and I like learning cool facts, collaborating on projects, and sharing what we researched on Google slides or posters," a fourth-grade HISD student said.

The new evaluation system is not unfamiliar to Miles, as it is a similar one that the superintendent has implemented before in a previous district.

RELATED: Houston ISD's new superintendent wants to use same polarizing approach he applied in Dallas schools

"We've had this system for nine years in Dallas," Dallas Independent School District teacher Andrew Kirk said.

He taught under Miles' leadership in DISD and said linking testing-based student performance to teacher pay leaves little room for the things like the "cool facts" students said they like learning.

"I feel like the biggest impact is on students and their learning outcomes because of the way that systems like TEI, our teacher evaluation system, incentivize shortcuts and teaching to the test," Kirk said.

Our partners at the Texas Tribune also reported the turnover rate for teachers increased from 12 to 22% during Miles' first two school years in Dallas. "We saw a lot of veterans depart our district for neighboring districts in the suburbs," Kirk said.

Miles said HISD teachers and administrators would accept his system because they'll have more support and the opportunity to make up to $95,000 in the 28 schools targeted for systemic changes.

He also said his plan would maintain magnet and innovative programs.

Those promises were met again with skepticism in Houston and advice from Dallas.

"They should continue the fight for an equitable system that delivers authentic learning for their students. They should continue to fight for the schools their students deserve, and this is not it," Kirk said.

SEE HERE: This Week in Texas: HISD's new superintendent sits down 1-on-1 with ABC13

Miles has admitted that he and the board need to better explain these changes to the community. He's scheduled a series of family informational meetings. The first is Tuesday, June 26, at Forest Brook Middle School.

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