At Houston GPS, we continually advocate for better school board governance and for sound, transparent policies that will lead to student success. We take our role as advocates very seriously, and we continually strive to engage as much of the broader Houston community in the process as possible. The sad reality is that most citizens of this city don’t know much about the work of the school board and the decisions they make on a regular basis. In our work to help parents, educators, and all concerned Houstonians navigate this system, we hope to both educate and empower them. Because school district governance is often shrouded in mystery, many of the decisions made by the school board are influenced by just a handful of people. It is not at all uncommon for small groups of people with targeted interests – both political and financial – to have an outsized voice in the deliberative process, and many will claim to speak on behalf of “the community,” rather than actually providing more opportunities for community members to speak for themselves.
Part of our #EquityHISD campaign has been to elevate the voices of parents and community members who have not been heard in the important discussions about the direction of the largest school district in Texas. Access to district information and even to public school board meetings continues to be a problem for too many parents and families around the city. Translation and interpretation services are limited; live streams and video recordings of board meetings are not close-captioned (in any language); meetings are long and cumbersome, and public speaking rules favor those who are already familiar with the system. As the board considers questions about equity, it is our hope that they consider these access issues as well and works to include more voices from across the district.
Hear from one Kashmere parent here. To have your voice heard, consider joining us at the next meeting of the HISD Board of Education on March 21, 2019 at 5 pm.