Key Agenda Items
Although normal school board operations have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still items the school board must address and new areas of concern created by the current crisis. Houston GPS would like to highlight the following items:
1. The closure of the district, while necessary to ensure the safety of the HISD community, has exacerbated inequities amongst students. Many students have struggled with remote learning, with 42% of students failing at least one class in the first grading period. The addition of face-to-face learning comes with potential disruptions to maintain the safety of students and staff. The December agenda includes concerns about data quality during the pandemic, which must be addressed moving forward if remote assessments are given, so that the Board can accurately monitor student outcomes. The agenda also includes a paper outlining recommendations for state assessments, which the district could potentially use to help mitigate data concerns. Specifically, the district could include opportunity-to-learn information, along with other demographic information, to help provide context for student outcome monitoring reports by showing the circumstances of different student groups compared to their performance on assessments.
2. In June, the Board made a commitment to examine the role of police in the district to confront systemic racism and police violence against people of color. Considering the disproportionate discipline and forced interaction with police that students of color, especially black boys, face in public education, this is a pressing equity concern. The Board plans to discuss next steps at the December Regular Board Meeting.
3. In the past, the Board has faced last-minute changes to the district budget and budget approval votes that cut close to the deadline for the district. Last year, the Board was able to pass a budget without delaying until the end of June, but this was the first time if several years. In order to ensure the budget is passed within a reasonable timeframe and not subject to late amendments, the Board should set its budget priorities early to guide the administration in developing the 2021-2022 budget.