6.21.23 – Texas Tribune
“Houston ISD’s New State-Appointed Supe Wants To Use the Same Polarizing Approach He Applied in Dallas Schools”

By Brian Lopez

A woman with long black hair is holding her phone.

Excerpts from this article:


[Comments from Donna Garner are posted throughout this article in double brackets  -- [[   ]]

Within a week of being appointed to lead Houston ISD, the largest school district in Texas, [Mike] Miles announced an overhaul of certain campuses and a new program that will pay teachers more to work with students struggling academically, steps that resemble his approach during his last superintendent gig.



The TEA announced earlier this month it would place Miles at the helm of the state’s largest school district after years of poor academic outcomes at a single campus in the district, Phillis Wheatley High School; allegations of misconduct against school board members; and the ongoing presence of a conservator who’s been overseeing the district for years… the agency [TEA] says those problems required it to take over the school board and replace the elected members with temporary, hand-picked board members.

[[To be exact, the Texas Tribune has previously reported, “Under a 2015 state law, if a school district has a campus with a failing grade for five consecutive school years, the commissioner is required to appoint a board of managers or close the campus. Phillis Wheatley High School received failing grades from 2010-2019…]]


Miles’ job is to get the district back on track in accordance with TEA standards. Already, the former Dallas ISD superintendent has announced sweeping changes to 29 schools that historically serve some of Houston ISD’s lowest-performing students. Wheatley is among this crop of schools.


These schools will be placed under Miles’ so-called “New Education System,” which he describes as an “innovative staffing model that puts the focus on classroom instruction and improved student outcomes.”


At the schools that will be included in the program, all teachers and other employees will need to reapply for their jobs.


For those teachers hired in these campuses, the average salary pay could reach $95,000 a year once incentives based on test results and stipends are thrown in.

Under the program, Miles will also relocate librarians from those schools to other campuses, saying that his staffing priorities will be on those employees who will help students read, write and do math, according to the Houston Press.

Miles plans to cut 200 jobs from the district’s administrative offices to pay for these higher salaries.

We will be aligning our resources — especially our most effective teachers and principals — to better serve students in underserved communities,” Miles said in a statement. “For students who need to catch up and in schools that have failed for years, we will be offering more instructional time.”

Miles’ vision and his plan to get there align with the emphasis that TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and some lawmakers have put on grading school districts largely based on scores from State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness [STAAR] tests.


[[Most of the curriculum standards – TEKS -- and STAAR test questions are based upon Type #1 curriculum standards. The ideal solution is to hold schools/teachers accountable for better aligning their day-to-day curriculum with the curriculum standards. 


The curriculum standards – TEKS – are passed by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education whom “We the People” elect. 


The TEKS tell schools/teachers WHAT to teach but leaves the HOW up to the local schools/teachers.


To make sure that schools/teachers have been implementing the curriculum standards into the curriculum, the students are required to take the STAAR tests. “The proof is in the pudding.”


Since the STAAR tests are definitely NOT aligned with the leftist CRT/LGBTQ/social justice agenda, it is a good thing to make sure students have not been sitting there each day being indoctrinated into the “woke” type of instruction.


The STAAR serves as a type of “measuring stick.”  Mike Miles seems to understand that. Kudos to him.]]

Similarly, lawmakers passed the Teacher Incentive Allotment program in 2019, which rewards teachers with salaries of up to six figures based on their students’ performance. About 13,000 teachers, or about 4% of the state’s educators, are currently part of the program.

In Texas, students’ STAAR test results are used to score schools on how well they are educating children. Critics of the test say it is not a great indicator of how well a child knows a subject and that its high-stakes nature adds undue pressure to both test-takers and teachers.

[[When I hear the same statement as stated in the above paragraph, I always ask this question: “Okay, so you do not believe the STAAR tests are a good indicator of student achievement. I get that; but what other instrument is there that offers an independent, objective method of measuring what it is that a student has been taught and has learned?”  No one has ever been able yet to give me a better solution than the STAAR tests.

What I know from my 33+ years as a Texas classroom teacher and from having followed closely education issues for eons is that most of the time the local classroom teachers do not get to choose the curriculum they want to teach.


It is the supes/curriculum directors who make most of the curriculum decisions, and it is they who are easily duped by the high-rolling lobbyists selling their Type #2 curriculum wares.  These wares – mostly digitized – have been produced by out-of-state developers who are steeped in Type #2 “wokism.”


Therefore, in most situations, Texas public school students are NOT taught to master the curriculum standards – TEKS.  When those unprepared students then take the STAAR tests which are Type #1, the students are frustrated.  It is like having to eat runny soup without having a spoon.  Students are not prepared to answer the Type #1 STAAR questions because they have been spending most of their time being taught the “woke” digitized curriculum that is not aligned with the TEKS.


Parents and the public must have an accountability instrument in place to protect their children from the “Type #2/woke” crowd.  It seems to me that Mike Miles is trying to move the Houston ISD into the correct, Type #1 direction.]]


7.1.23 -- “TX Comm. of Education Morath Presents New Anti-Wokism Law” --  

Transcribed by Donna Garner -- https://conta.cc/44s9vg8


5.6.23 -- “HB 1605 -- The Best Piece of Education Legislation in Twelve Years” -- by Texas House Member Terri Leo-Wilson -- https://donnagarner.org/5-6-23-hb-1605-the-best-piece-of-education-legislation-in-12-yrs-by-tx-house-member-terri-leo-wilson/

1.17.23 – “The Only Answer for America: Type #1 for All Classrooms -- Cannot Be Mixed – Just Like Oil and Water” – by Donna Garner -- https://donnagarner.org/only-two-types-of-education-type-1-vs-type-2-cannot-mix-oil-water-4-27-22/

8.31.22 -- “Teaching the Public To Recognize Good from Bad Curriculum Standards and Curriculum” -- By Donna Garner -- https://donnagarner.org/teaching-the-public-to-recognize-good-from-bad-curriculum-standards-and-curriculum/