houstonisdwatch wants to hear from you, especially from HISD insiders.
Did Grier put "illegal" pressure on SDUSD's principals?
Channel 10 News from San Diego raised question over Grier's tactics
to force San Diego Unified School District's principals to actively
support his bond: Such pressure may have been ILLEGAL
SAN DIEGO -- Questions were raised this week over whether San Diego schools chief Terry
Grier illegally pressured principals to help promote a $2.1 billion bond measure, The San Diego
Grier discussed Proposition S on Tuesday night during a meeting that some principals said they
felt compelled to attend, the newspaper reported.
Continue reading Channel 10 News report.
8-1 vote to put bond on ballot fails to generate confidence
Ho hum. The HISD trustees, listening to colleague Paula Harris
chortle on about how they are always for the children, and faced
with an impressive array of speakers supporting the bond, voted
to send the $1.9 billion dollar package to the voters, despite
many unanswered questions.
Now the fall focus in HISD will be all about passing the bond. Look
for your campus leaders to receive directive after directive demanding
what steps they should take to show suppot.
Michelle Pola is probably already writing her warning memos to HISD
staff, saying something like it's okay to publically support the bond
but a violation of some policy, like using the classroom as a political
forum, to denouce it.
Readers comments about bond will be posted when new page goes up.
IS WESTSIDE'S MICHAEL MCDONOUGH HEADED TO BELLAIRE?
Michael McDonough served as former Bellaire High School Principal
Bill Lawson's intern before HISD perverted the whole principal selection
process with Haberman.
He was hired by just departed Principal Tim Salem to be an A.P., then
was promised the Pin Oak Middle School job before the school opened.
He apparently had a very successful run at Pin Oak and is well-liked
However, he is probably not the Bellaire community's first choice.
They prefer a current administrator - Bellaire's twelve month
administrator Andrew Monzon - over anyone else.
The rumor mill is churning away. Ideally, Pin Oak parents say they would love
to have him back as principal of their beloved middle school. They would be
happy to have him across 610 and up the street ready to welcome their
eighth graders to BHS next fall.
Where are these rumors coming from? Insiders at Bellaire High School
say they are being created and repeated by a group of parents at Pin
Then there is this houstonisdwatch blogger's commented posted this
To the Bellaire community - students, parents, and teachers - a principal has already
been chosen for you by Grier. Don't wait to find out who it is on August 20th. Call and
ask questions NOW!!! You are in for a treat like the rest of us.
by Heads up (Aug 10, 2012)
BELLAIRE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL UPDATE
The vast majority of houstonisdwatch's readership lives in the city of
Houston, accounting for 123,711 of a total number of 177,408 reads or
clicks. 5,940 reads have been generated by readers in Bellaire.
The city of Bellaire ranks second in houstonisdwatch's readership profile,
followed by Missouri City, Pearland, Austin, Dallas, Sugar Land, and New York City.
Updating the Bellaire principal search is to keep all of houstonisdwatch's
readers informed, especially the regular readers from the city of Bellaire.
PRINCIPAL INTERVIEWS BEFORE BELLAIRE'S SDMC: August 17, 2012
Candidates to be interviewed: Selected by Grier and Riddick.
Bellaire principal choice announced: August 20, 2012
HISD's new principals for 2012-13 with previous assignment listed
Information responsive to a Texas Open Records Act request submitted
HISD's new principals 2012-13
*Shadowbriar and Ashford Elementary Schools and Kashmere High School
have new hires as principoals
Add the woman who was promoted from Assistant Principal to Principal
at Lee High School, Monica Quintero
*Bellaire principal is to be named by August 20, 2012
NCLB results poor but Texas Governor Rick Perry refuses to apply for waiver
Fewer than half of Texas schools meet federal requirement
Seven reasons why standardized testing isn't working
It's not hard to see why so many HISD schools failed NCLB, just look at the
STAAR results for African-American students who now trail Economically
Disadvantaged students by a wide margin
Most area schools, including HISD, fail standards
BHS Principal position advertised, committee interviews
BELLAIRE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL UPDATE
A candidate for interim principal was recommended by departing Principal
Tim Salem and the Bellaire P.T.O., but no interim is going to be named.
Orlando Riddick, no doubt in consultation with Terry Grier, has opted not
to name an interim. Interviews for the position will be conducted soon,
as early as next week, as HISD puts Bellaire on autopilot for the time
being. A new principal is to be named by August 20.
The choice to be principal of Bellaire will be a test for Grier and a matter
of input and control for Bellaire's active parents.
Grier does not enjoy much support in the Bellaire zone, especially in the
city of Bellaire. Bellaire is home to families headed by professionals,
and the high stakes, minimum skills testing crusade Grier has waged
throughout the district is in great disfavor.
Of course, Bellaire's STAAR scores, like everyone else's in the district,
need to be improved. Many parents choose BHS the Advanced Placement
program in mind, not minimal skills preparation.
Bellaire parents are also involved in the fight to stop the 2012 bond. Most
are skeptical of Grier's plans to rebuild Bellaire, having witnessed too many
promises unfulfilled in the past.
At this stage the search process is peaceful. However, if Grier and Riddick
choose an individual who has not even been interviewed, or one clearly
rejected by the committee, there will be fireworks.
In praise of Joe Espinoza, former HISD SIO, named Socorro ISD superintendent
To: El Paso Bound
Joe Espinoza has worked for all of his accomplishments. He is a man of integrety and honor.
He is also a man that is not afraid to make tough decisions and hold people accountable. He
always supported and praised his teachers as principal of Burbank MS. He was a huge loss
to Burbak MS. He is well respected by his peers and is a tremendous loss to HISD. Go Luck
Mr. Espinoza. HISD has lost another good one.
by La Espina (Aug 6, 2012)
In blog entry entitled "Helping the children is the weakest reason yet to back
2012 bond" below, the additions of one elementary school and one chief officer
are mentioned. Grier plans to add even more central office personnel, including
another high school officer and another middle school officer.
houstonisdwatch vehemently disagrees with these additions. Given HISD's
scarce resources, funds should be allocated exclusively to teachers and
students, not more central office administrators, regardless of their positions.
229 Teacher Vacancies in HISD as of August 8, 2012
houstonisdwatch bloggers on the bond
Parent in support of bond addresses bond critics:
I was on here once before and I am going to say the same thing again. I am a parent and will not pretend
to know or understand how some of you employees feel. I am not on the inside and don't have the exposure
to Grier you do. I care more about my kids teacher, then the principal and frankly don't give Grier a second
thought. What I care about is my teacher will have a nice place to teach with modern tools, no wires running
down the halls, cracks in the floor from foundation damage, an auditorium someone can actually sit in, a
school that doesn't smell like sewage or mildew (I can never quit decide what it smells like). The place has
leaks and water damage. We as a community should be embarrassed at the conditions we expect to have
our teachers work in and our children learn in. So many of you talk about putting kids first, but then say to
vote down the bond. HOW IS THAT PUTTING KIDS FIRST? Frankly I am getting upset with a lot of you! The hell
with Grier, as I said on here a 2 months ago, he will be gone in a year anyway, so how do you justify screwing
over my kid who needs these things NOW! I find a lot of you to be hypocrites, put kids first, yet completely drew
them over and have them go to these stink holes we call schools. And don't come back at me and blame Grier
for the condition of the buildings either, he hasn't been here since 1950 so don't even try it. As for kick backs
and all of those accusations, when I voted in 2007 I distinctly remember the previous superintendent talking
at our community event, so who is truly to blame? Wasn't a bond oversight committee established to prevent
the back room wheeling and dealing? I will thank this group for one thing. I was thinking of volunteering this fall,
thinking I could maybe do more spending some extra time at the school, clearly there would be no opportunity
to drive change from within, so I won't waste my time. It doesn't sound like a fun place to be. But finally, one
last plea, listen to YOUR OWN WORDS AND PUT THE KIDS BEFORE YOUR HATRED OF GRIER AND HELP GET
MY KIDS A BETTER PLACE TO LEARN!!!!!
by dontscrewthekids (Aug 7, 2012
And a houstonisdwatch blogger's rebuttal:
I can tell you something dontscrewthekids I am against the bond for the simple fact that they are NOT putting
the money into the campuses that TRUELY need it. I am on one of the campuses that is on the rebuild list and
that campus just has a bunch of loud well connected parents on it. This campus has had nothing but a revolving
turnover and that is the problem, not the building. They think they are going to dress up this pile of crap and it is
going to look better to the outside. This angers me when there are other campuses in HISD that are falling apart
and in true need of some renovations. These places just get ignored because the parents there are uneducated
and don't know enough to complain. HISD really disgusts me right now and I hope that will change soon!
by the truth hurts (Aug 8, 2012)
Madison robo calls send confusing messages:
More principal shuffling? A friend received a couple of robo greetings from the principal at Madison
last week. The first caller was female; the second caller was male. Hmmm...
by Flew The Coop (Aug 7, 2012)
So who is going to run Lee High School this year? Davila's puppet?
If you think Ms. Davila is no longer in charge at Lee HS think again. Monica Quintero will be nothing
more than a puppet as Principal at Lee. A well paid puppet I might add. She has served as an assistant
principal under Davila for the past three years. Ms. Quintero will continue to be her enforcer as she has
been all along. It is the only way that Davila can continue controlling Lee HS.Davila's promotion now allows
her to contribute to the dimise of the other Apollo schools she will now oversee. Why would Grier allow
such an appointment? The same reason he is allowing all of the other recent appointments. He is extremely
busy trying to gain support for the bond. SIO's are taking advantage while he is "out of pocket."
by Changes at Lee? (Aug 7, 2012)
@changes at Lee. Davila's MO from the get go was to be deceptive, create a hostile environment, debase most
teachers, promote young inexperienced TFA's to the highest postitions, create a continual atmosphere of fear,
and lie, lie, lie. Of course we know she will continue the same in her new role.
by HISD Teacher (Aug 8, 2012)
Why do the new teachers to HISD
HISD's new teacher orientation (from houstonisd.org)
(click tab 5 at the link to get a good look at their faces)
Another paranoid rumor out there...
To set the record straight: houstonisdwatch is a self-funded endeavor. Your editor
pays for the site and manages the site. Individuals like Chris Barbic, Natasha
Kamrani or any other Grier wannabes you can think of have nothing to do with
this site. Although it's a backhanded compliment to the houstonisdwatch
community - especially the 100,000+ regular readers and the many, many
bloggers who contribute their insiders' knowledge and insights to the most
active blog board about HISD in Houston - to think that some well-financed
heavy hitters are behind this endeavor is false.
Individuals who concoct these tall tales may be denying the reality of the
deplorable state of HISD and the ineffectiveness of organizations designed
to contest it. Like the saying goes, reality is a b*tch.
Goal #1 is to terminate Grier; Goal #2 is to throw
his five supporters off the HISD board
GRIER EKED OUT A SEMI-WIN WITH CONTRACT EXTENSTION VOTE;
LET'S GIVE HIM A STINGING DEFEAT BY SENDING HIS 2012 BOND
EXTRAVANGA TO THE DEAD FILE TOMORROW
Remembering which HISD trustees we are targeting for defeat -
The five trustees who voted to extend Grier's contract
The Houston Press called Grier's January 2012 contract extension
The reelection of Paula Harris and Manuel Rodriguez ensured Grier's
contract would be extended. In case you've forgotten, Paula Harris
had promised before the election to release her receipts from a trip
to Italy with BGF Nicole West. This trip preceded Harris' probable
interference with HISD's procurement process and the awarding of
lucrative contracts for Westco Ventures, Nicole's business enterprise.
Manuel Rodriguez sent out a last minute hate-filled flyer smearing his
opponent Ramiro Fonseca. His actions led to the creation of the
HISD bully website which continues to call for Rodriguez to be
removed from office.
In Grier's contract extension vote, Manuel Rodriguez, Paula Harris,
Larry Marshall, Harvin Moore, and Greg Meyers voted yes, Anna Eastman
voted no, and Mike Lunceford, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, and Julie
"Helping the children" is the weakest reason yet to back 2012 bond
If HISD really wanted to "help the children" they could take several actions that
would bring immediate benefit. For example, they could focus on finishing (or
in some cases starting) all the work approved by the 2007 and 2002 bond
Grier could stop adding more central office staff positions. Grier has split
Alicia Thomas' former job into two positions (Mark Smith has one of them)
and he is adding possibly two but definitely one elementary schools' officer
to assist Sam Sarabia. These positions, of course, will be paid approximately
$150,000+ a year.
What HISD is doing now, as was so eloquently pointed out by Carol Mimms
Galloway in her houstonisdwatch post below, is "putting in who they
want." Those individuals aren't the best ones to help kids (since when did
Mark Smith positively impact test scores, college readiness, parents, on
any HISD campus?) They are the best one to continue the facade of the
Grier administration's "We're all about kids," when we know this tainted,
absurd admininstration is all about greenbacks and not much more.
If HISD really wanted to help the children, they would insist upon real
committee interviews for principal positions and pledge to be
bound to listen to the committee's decision. No more Grier puppets,
novices, hacks, dictators infliced upon the HISD community.
Furthermore, all central office hires would go through a protocol
that involves representatives from parent groups as well.
At Bellaire High School, for example, student representatives, along
with faculty and parents, sat in on principal interviews and had real
input. Fat chance of that happening this go-round.
If HISD really cared about the children, they would cease and desist
turning HISD classrooms into mini-versions of Princeton's test
review and promote real teaching and learning. If HISD really cared
about the children they would insist that Grier's follow the district's
A Declaration of Beliefs and Visions, especially "Values and cultivates
the knowledge and skills of personnel" and "Seeks meangingful
engagement with the schools in all decisions."
Grier is a slave to Pearson because it assists him to micromanage
every facet of the district. Grier is a slave to the Greater Houston
Partnership because without them, he wouldn't even be here, and
without their assistance to Manuel Rodriguez in the 2011 election,
he wouldn't still be here. No one on the board has questioned
the merit of turning HISD classrooms into College Board laboratories,
nor have they questioned turning over $660,000 every year to the
College Board and how those fees are possibly related to Grier's
position as a College Board trustee.
Distrupting campuses for years to come with bond work, much of which
will not be started for years and will assuredly face delays and cost overruns
caused in part by poor planning and shoddy workmanship is not going to help
It won't help their parents, either, when the tax increase of $100 per HISD taxpayer
kicks in before bond projects on their zoned campuses even begin.
Those in the HISD community who want to continue to believe supporting
the 2012 bond will really help the kids are floating in a Grier-gaseous
bubble, pumped full of his hot air and the smoke and mirror tactics of
the 2012's bond big supporters on the board - individuals who, of course,
have had contractor issues, one RICO-based lawsuit, and garnered for
the kids of HISD E-Rate school funding scandal.
Depriving HISD students of thousands of dollars for classroom-based
technology was really helping the children, wasn't it?
In case you have forgotten, there are nine trustees. Five have pledged
fealty to Terry Grier and four of the five - Larry Marshall, Paula Harris,
Greg Meyers, and Manuel Rodriguez - have brought their share of
embarrassment to all of us in the HISD community.
Throw in Harvin Moore with this group and you have the five most likely
to support the bond Thursday evening.
If we have learned anything at all about HISD's leadership so far, it's
this: If Grier and his five enablers on the board support a project,
our intuitive reaction is to say no then look for the reasons why.
Sherlock Holmes detective skills will not be needed.
Marshall's conflict of interest as trustee & HCAD board member
LARRY MARSHALL'S CONFLICT COULD STOP 2012 BOND IN ITS TRACKS
George Scott reports:
Houston I.S.D.’s plan to pass a $2 billion bond issue this November has a tough road to follow to earn
voter approval under the best of circumstances. However, unless Houston I.S.D. School Board member
Larry Marshall has a “Road to Damascus” conversion about his simultaneous service as a member of
the board of the Harris County Appraisal District, his ‘church mouse’ conduct over at HCAD may single
handedly doom any effort at passing those bonds.
If George Scott is correct, we have another example of Larry Marshall potentially putting his self-interest
ahead of the HISD community.
HISD TRUSTEES ROUTINELY APPROVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
DOLLARS FOR INCOMPLETE OR YET-TO-BE-STARTED 2007 BOND PROJECTS
So we want to trust this district to take on more projects, more campus
upheaval, more debt to enrich Greater Houston Partnership members,
contractors, and friends of certain trustees?
STOP THE 2012 BOND NOW: Tell your HISD trustee to vote "NO."
No 2012 bond. No way.
It would be amusingly ironic seeing Paula Harris and Larry Marshall suck up
to Grier on the 2012 bond proposal if it weren't so infuriating...
(Seeing who is for this bond should tell you all you need to know).
Pick any month's school board agenda and flip to Section F. There you will
see the routine allocation of hundreds of thousands of dollars to finish
(or start!) projects approved five years ago.
Some of these expenditures have been highlighted on houstonisdwatch.
Here are more examples of 45% of the 2007 bond projects yet to be
From the March 2012 school board agenda pg. F-11:
Browning E.S. $1,267,900
Hamilton M.S. $1,045,000
Harvard E.S. $706,500
Let's spend $60,000 on Lee High School before we rebuild it?
Rice & Gardner Consultants, Inc., still making money from HISD
to cover 2007 bond, upping its charges from $6.3 million to $6.9 million
+ $35.05 million added to projects managed by Rice & Gardner.
And there are the over-budget 2007 projects: Osborne E.S.,
Scarborough E.S., and Durkee E.S. require a total of
$835,00 in additional funds
Extrapolate, please. $1.9 billion will actually become ____? when
the proposed 2012 bond projects are completed, if they ever
all would be. The threat to burden HISD homeowners with
an even greater tax burden is real!
Correction: Keeping up with the chaos in HISD can be challenging.
houstonisdwatch erred yesterday in stating that Bellaire High School
has had three SIOs this past school year. They had four.
152 page board agenda for Thursday's meeting now available
Grier's inability to lead, along with his temperament, forecast an even more
chaotic 2012-13 school year
*Are there any indications things will get better? Do the personnel changes
in leadership roles help to bring stability?
* How many Teach for America staff members will HISD hire to fill the gaps
with 295 vacancies?
*How much more pressure will be put on teachers to spend even more time
on test taking skills in light of the 2012 results?
If there are optimists who believe 2012-13 will finally be the year Grier brings
stability to the mainstays of HISD, please comment. Perhaps there is some-
thing many of us are missing. HISD's professional development staff is
in disarray. We haven't heard much about the Teacher Development
Specialists' success in 2011-12, if, indeed, there was any. It's hard to
imagine the lack of focus they complained about last year will be any
better with new leaders in their department. Maybe HISD will hire
an Alicia Thomas-type individual who hits the ground running. Maybe
not. Dr. Thomas looks more like an anomaly, a very good hire among
the very bad.
Grier and his top team have marginalized parents to a degree many of us
never thought possible in public education. Elrod, Gregory-Lincoln, Golf-
crest will see a continuation of, and probably an exacerbation of, the
same antagonism toward teachers and parents as happened this
past school year.
How many good, decent principals like Tim Salem are finally going
to flee from the constant pressure to fire teachers, up test scores,
and dance to whatever tune Grier concocts? Salem endured
three SIOs this past school year, including one assigned in May
before quickly being transferred to another department.
The P.R. circus will continue, especially now that the bond proposal
to spend $1.9 billiion dollars and raise property taxes about a $100
for HISD residents is being scrutinized. HISD has not addressed
how it intends to win back former HISD families who have moved to
the suburbs. HISD has no plans to stop the transfers of Yates-
zoned students to Lamar. The anti-tax advocates will enter
the fray after the August 9 vote. The issues raised African-
American leaders about the 2007 bond, reported here by
Jennifer Radcliffe, are still relevant.
In HISD's African-American community, the individuals who trust
Grier to bridge the achievement gap are tongue-tied to explain
HISD's placement of inappropriate principals in schools -
Kashmere being the most eregious example but there are others -
and the growing achievement gap between African-American
students and everyone else. There are many other examples
the of the disconnect.
Grier, Moore, Marshall, Harris, and Rodriguez believe "build, baby
build" will solve HISD's problems. (It's looking like Greg Meyers
will not vote to approve the bond election).
What they don't get is that building needs to begin in the human relations
department first. Build a real Team HISD, build trust, collaborate, but
Any chance of that happening in 2012-13?
Houston Chronicle's list of principal changes incomplete
Ericka Mellon's list of new principals in HISD does not show all the leadership changes in HISD. There
are at least two schools that I know of with new principals transferred from other campuses. They aren't
new hires or promotions, but they reflect the constant shuffling of leadership around the district. It would
be good to see a list of the schools with a different principal from the previous year.
by disappointing (Aug 6, 2012)
(Editor: houstonisdwatch has a pending Open Records request to get the list of all the principal
changes in HISD for the 2012-13 school year. Unfortunately, the list may be no different from
More evidence of Ann Best's disconnect from the real world of HISD
Ann: You ran off experienced teachers to hire TFAers - Do you consider
that putting an effective teacher in every classroom?
Do you really believe, Ann, you incresed student achievement and helped to
better life outcomes for them?
These test results- as well as these -say something much, much different.
And we haven't even seen the Advanced Placement Test results yet.
Don't forget the 295 teacher vacancies.
From Chron reader: (link to chron.com article)
Dear Dr. Grier, It’s with mixed emotions that I write to tell you of the next step in my professional journey.
I’ve been offered and have accepted the position of Senior Vice President of Education Leadership at Teach
For America. In this role, I will lead the organization’s national strategy to prepare, place, and support talented
alumni in senior leadership roles within districts engaged in transformational work.
I am both humbled and honored to have been a member of Team HISD for the past 3½ years as the Chief
Human Resources Officer and an executive sponsor of the Effective Teacher Initiative. I’m so proud of the
work we’ve done together as a district to ensure an effective teacher in every classroom–through a rigorous
recruitment and selection process and the implementation of a teacher appraisal and development system
that offers clear standards for effective teaching and provides teachers with individualized coaching and
support. It has been an honor to be a leader of our system-wide human capital strategy to increase student
achievement and ultimately improve our students’ life outcomes. I look forward to seeing the continued
success of this work and the impact it will have. I’ve learned so much in my tenure here and am continually
inspired by the cadre of committed leaders alongside whom I’ve had the privilege of working. Thanks again
for the opportunity to have been a part of your team. Sincerely, Ann Best
by Chron Reader (Aug 4, 2012)
Joe Espinoza ripped for being just like Grier
From El Paso Bound:
Joe Espinonza is no loss for HISD. He's a mean, controlling individual that has no vision and is basically
not very smart. He knows nothing about effective instructional practices. Sound familiar? Just like Grier.
I once heard him address a group of teachers and parents at a school with his condescending attitude.
Everyone just shook their head in disbelief. He turned off an entire community.He micro-managed his principals
with stupid rules. I guess we should all keep quiet during the 21 day waiting period so they won't change
their mind. Adios Joe...don't let the door hit you in the ass.
by El Paso Bound (Aug 5, 20
Mr. Espinoza was HISD's SIO for middle schools
HISD SIO selected to become Socorro ISD Superintendent
Thanks to HISD Insider for this tip!
From El Paso Times:
After several hours in executive session, the Socorro Independent School District's board of trustees
chose Joe Espinoza as the superintendent for the district.
Espinoza, a school improvement officer in the Houston Independent School District, was among three
finalists in a pool of 83 candidates who applied to replace former Superintendent Xavier De La Torre.
Espinoza was chosen over Michael Sorum, deputy superintendent for leadership at Fort Worth ISD,
who was also a finalist for the position.
"In making the home visits and talking to his peers, we found that he was very respected," said Michael
Najera, board president. "He advanced the academic outcomes of Houston ISD and we thought he was
a good fit for the district."
Finish reading El Paso Times' story.
Carol M. Galloway's comments strike a chord of agreement
From I Also Care:
Ms. Galloway thank you for not deserting us when you retired. We need more community leaders with
your integrity and committment to stand up and speak when others turn a blind eye to wrong actions. I
issue a challenge to other community leaders to stand up and voice your commands to what outsiders
are doing to destroy HISD. Our children are our future and we must protect the school system that they
learn in. NOW IS THE TIME.
by I ALSO CARE (Aug 4, 2012)
From A Teacher:
I strongly agree with everything Ms. Galloway has said.
Team Grier is for TEAM GRIER!!!!!! It's not about the students, parents, or teachers. This administration
is all about the Benjamins!!!
The principals are the same way!!!!!!!!! They do whatever it takes to keep their jobs, no matter whom it
may hurt!!!!!!!! They are all AFRAID of Grierrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
We need to contantly pray that things will change for the best for all of us especially the STUDENTS and
by A Teacher (Aug 4, 2012)
(Editor: The ruling class in HISD is all about the benjamins - you are right. It's crucial to starve the
beast by pressuring the trustees to vote down the bond proposal and, if it passes the board,
to just say no in November).
From The Marquis:
Thank you, Ms. Galloway.
I speak for many teachers who applaud you for speaking out on the unfortunate climate in which we must
work in this district. We applaud you for reminding the public the extent to which this administration's policies
are negatively affecting our students. We applaud you for reminding the public the value of public education
and the serious threat it faces by those who desire to dismantle it with vouchers and charter schools.
Continue to voice your position loudly. Continue to be the advocate for our children. Continue to share your
concerns on this blog, in the local media, and moreover, in person before the H.I.S.D. board.
To my fellow HISD educators, please continue to speak loudly about the policies that devalue public
To parents of HISD, this is your district. Your voices have always mattered and they still matter.
Ms. Galloway, please follow our advice. Agitate and we the educators, parents, and members of the
community will always stand with you.
The Maquis stand ready to support you.
by The Maquis (Aug 4, 2012)
College readiness of Texas high school students is called "Pathetic"
Texas to move forward with another standardized test as the solution
Fewer than one in two students met the state’s “college readiness” standards in math
and verbal skills on ACT, SAT and TAKS scores in 2010. Though average SAT scores
in both verbal and math dropped between 2007 and 2010 — a trend that state education
officials have attributed to an increase in students taking the test — more students in the
same period of time have met the state’s standards for college-ready graduates,
largely because of improvements on their state standardized tests and the ACT.
But that increase is only a slim silver lining in what appears to be a large storm cloud.
“It’s still pathetic,” Dominic Chavez, a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
spokesman, said of the ACT scores. “It’s still a very low number, and nobody is
satisfied with it.”
Continue reading Texas Tribune's report in The New York Time.
HISD June 14 Board Meeting Video: Skip to "Hearing of Citizens"
Carol Mimms Galloway provides stinging, astute observations about Grier &
urges trustees to reclaim their hiring authority over principals
DOES ANYONE CARE?
FORMER HISD TRUSTEE & HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL MEMBER CAROL MIMMS GALLOWAY
BLOGS ON HOUSTONISDWATCH, SAYS GRIER HAS GROSSLY MISMANAGED KASHMERE
HIGH SCHOOL, DOES NOT HAVE THE SKILLS TO HIRE QUALIFIED PERSONNEL, USES
HABERMAN TEST TO KEEP OUT PEOPLE THEY DON'T WANT TO HIRE
Galloway describes the methodical way Grier is destroying HISD schools and communities
with his board-appointed authority to hire and fire district principals;
I spoke before the Board on June 14th. My topic " Does Anyone Care", hiring ineffective principal, large
turnover of teaching staff, and hiring non certified teachers in core subject (Teach for American) in low
economic disadvantage community. Forcing out certified experience teachers who know their subject
area and understanding the community they serve. "Does Anyone Care" about our schools ever being
stabilized? So the students can learn and be successful? I asked the board to set standards through changing
policies, since the superintendent does not have the skills to hire qualifIed personnel. Since the board dedicated
their hiring authority to the superintendent they can implement policies for a criteria on personnel qualifications.
Grier's chaotic management of Kashmere principal hires
The superintendent hired a young lady (29yr old) who never served as a principal in an urban district, and no input
from the community at Kashmere High School. This is the 5th principal in 6 years. A large number of Teachers
were removed each year the principal was removed. The new principal came from a charter school with no
knowledge of the complexity in an urban high school. They have all new principal and teachers take the Haberman
test, what a joke, it's not a pass or fail test. It's a test to use to keep out those they don't want to hire. I know principal
who made 60 on the test who got hired and others who have score 80+ and were not hired. There are many many
issues facing the HISD community schools and it is time for bully mentality to STOP. It has begun to affect the
students, it starts at the top with the BOARD! "DOES ANYONE CARE". We all are talking about the problems,
I ask when are we going to come together in doing something about the problems. Enough is Enough!! I've been
closely connected to HISD for 65 years, as a student, PTA President, Teacher Union Rep, and HISD board member
for 12 years, and never never seem this district with this type of administrative behavior. Even Joan Raymond
seemed like an angel compare to this bullying , controlling, and insensitive administration. Where is the support for
students, faculty, parents and communities, and last where is the love for so call TEAM HISD. We can't have a team
if we don't have trust and transparency.
Board members need to change the culture of this district
Get busy board members in changing the culture of this district!! Abe Savaadre
hired Ann Best his last year in HISD.
by Carol M Galloway (Aug 4, 2012)
(To see this comment in its original posting, click the previous page link. Bold pring emphasis and paragraph
headers are the editor's).
GRIER'S F*U TO ELROD
Coming up on houstonisdwatch:
Documents responsive to a Texas Open Records Act inquiry on Linda Bellard,
Mary Cisneros, and Pam Farinas will finally be released
How Terry Grier, Larry Marshall, and Paula Harris are impeding progress of
HISD's African-American students
In HISD the struggle is between students, teachers, parents and
the Grier administration, including the five trustees who put Grier & themselves first
A History Teacher's lesson
The American Revolution was won by inexperienced farmers and shop workers. They lacked education
and resources. You foolish teachers have education, resources, and connections. Stop being cowards,
get together, and show this city you are worth something. The parents at Elrod have more heart than you
teachers. One of these principals can come in and bitch slap one of your fellow teachers and you won't do
a thing. I am really shocked at the older teachers cowering like scared abused cats. Apparently none of
you ever marched for anything. The Elrod Parents are the true leaders.
by A History Teacher (Jul 3, 2012)
Thomas Iocca: Elrod parents show leadership
I agree wholeheartedly with A History Teacher. Instead of fighting for yourselves and your co-workers,
many teachers have tucked their tails between their legs and have cowered like scared little children.
This mess started about two years ago when Dr. Grier announced the first Apollo cuts. He told the public
he wanted a quality teacher in every classroom and then proceeded to dismiss some of the most successful
teachers on each Apollo campus. Co-workers may have been stunned, offended, or hurt, but very few,
if any, spoke up on behalf of their exiled colleagues. At this point, the writing was on the wall.
Last school year (2010-2011), when this campaign of smearing veteran teachers continued, the
remaining teachers' response was pretty much the same; disappointment, perhaps anger, relief
that it wasn't them, but very little in the way of protest. The writing on the wall was even bolder.
This school year (2011-2012), as the final veteran teachers were picked off, many wondered aloud
why no one was doing anything to correct this grievous injustice. Well, the answer was simple; the
people who probably would have defended them were already gone. Game over. Mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, this foolishness has now spread to non-Apollo campuses, and one thing has become
painfully clear: Dr. Grier and this board will do whatever they wish regardless of the best interests of
the students, parents, teachers, and community. How else do you explain their continued support of
Winn, Davila, Bellard, Cisneros, and others who have proven themselves to be utterly unprepared for
the job at hand? How many good teachers' careers have been ruined or altered considerably? How
many students have been deprived of dedicated instructors who might have played a life-changing
role in their lives? We'll never know because Dr. Grier and Team HISD are convinced that they are the
ONLY ones with any answers.
I am terribly impressed with the feistiness demonstrated by the parent group at Elrod Elementary. I hope
it isn't a case of "too little, too late." I was hoping for such a response from the parents at Attucks Middle
School when they announced the Apollo Program in the summer of 2010. Unfortunately, there wasn't an
ounce of protest forthcoming. Today, two years later, the school has gone through two principals, four
assistant principals, two SIO's, and lower test scores across the board. Oh, yes, I almost forgot that
just about every teacher from that 2010 staff has now been replaced. From what I've read, other Apollo
campuses are suffering/have suffered similar fates. By the way, Jeremy Beard was SIO at Attucks the
first year of Apollo where he oversaw test scores drop in all five areas. His reward for this "success"
was to be named principal of Kashmere HS early in 2012. Way to go, Jeremy!
For the last two years, I have written to everyone and anyone who might have some interest in what's been
happening in HISD. I've written Dr. Grier, the school board as a whole, and Paula Harris in particular. I've
written Ericka Mellon at the Chronicle and Margaret Downing at the Houston Press. I've written other local
media (Channel 2, Channel 11, and Channel 13). I've written Rodney Ellis. The list goes on and on. For
whatever reason, none have deemed the slow-but-steady dissolution of HISD as worthy of their attention.
It is indeed a shame what is happening to HISD, but the general public's apathy speaks volumes about
how much or how little we really value education.
Best wishes to the parents at Elrod. I tip my hat to you. I hope your courage proves to be contagious.
Thank you for allowing me to vent. It's a lot cheaper and every bit as effective as therapy.
by Thomas Iocca (Jul 3, 2012)
Coaches at Elrod incite controversy
Elrod is the only school that I know of have 4 coaches with about 500 students. I talked to some
of the teachers at Elrod about this and they all respond-they do absolutely nothing significant. Most
of the stuff that they do, can be performed by an aide or secretary. So, they are telling the truth about
having 4 coaches on the campus. I also know there is a mad dash rush to find teachers to fill the open
positions because the coaches do not want to even have the option of possibly going back to the
classroom. The teachers complain about not having materials or supplies, well, I can see this if you
are paying for 4 coaches. So, yes, the Elrod situation is real. Elrod teachers and parents, hang in there
"a little" while longer.
by Yep (Jul 28, 2012)
Okay, so we have to sign out with pen and paper at Elrod-if you can believe that. Well, almost everyday,
those coaches that do absolutely nothing during the day-also gets overtime pay. So, the parking lot is
filled with teachers that are working after their contract and yet-they are not allowed to sign in for
overtime pay. The grade level chairs were NEVER paid from what I was told. So, if you are a coach at
Elrod, you can sign in for overtime under: enrichment, interviewing, report compiling, bookroom
arrangement, meeting with principal, whatever you want. They have little to no interaction with kids
during the day. They make people's lives a living hell doing their one time walk through per quarter,
and they barely show up for meetings. So, why the overtime? Hell, they have plenty of time on their
hands. Check the time sheets.
by Check The Time Sheets (Jul 28, 2012)
To the Elrod ES communtiy, teachers, parents, and staff we would like you to know that we all within
HISD feel for you and your problems. At this time we are waiting for YOU to let us know your plan as to
what is in the works? What do you want from us and please remember WE are on your side so stop
bashing us! You may not realize you're doing it. Also, are you going to march on the school? When?
Who? What? Keep us informed as to what is happening with HISD and what their going to do? Who
have you heard from and what? Grier? Saraba? Lunceford? SJLee? Hispanic city, county, state levels?
LULAC? You guys know what is happening there on campus, but remember we only know what you are
telling us and HISD isn't saying nothing so we frequently are left out of the information! Keep us updated
daily. Leave the anger out of it! Stick to what is happening,who is doing what, and whenwhere it is taking
place!!! Again, we are on your side so keep us informed!!!
by Parents against HISDuh (Jul 24, 2012)
Show us the proof in HISD
BELLAIRE PARENTS MUST DEMAND INPUT ON PRINCIPAL SELECTION
It may be a futile effort, given Grier's disdain for parents and a pattern of
ignoring, or doing the opposite of, parent requests.
Elrod is the most recent example of how little community input matters
to Grier, who continues to wield absolute authority over the selection of
campus leaders in HISD.
Despite some houstonisdwatch bloggers' comments that Elrod
was over-doing complaints about Linda Bellard, there were
many observations made about her, similar in tone and
content, by a number of bloggers.
You've seen Ericka Mellon's list of principal changes in HISD, and it is
clear Grier did not listen. What is remarkable about his instransigence
on Bellard is the lack of any supportive comments for her, unlike Mary
Cisneros of Golfcrest who has received some favorable reviews.
When houstonisdwatch is questioned by central office administrators
about why it is giving negative coverage to a particular principal, I respond
by reminding them that houstonisdwatch is an open forum. Fans
of the individual in question have every opportunity to write supportive
Grier sees Tim Salem's leaving as an opportunity to put his own
person, someone who will be deaf to parental concerns, uninterested
in the culture an history of Bellaire, and willing to anger the community,
in the district's largest high school's leadership role.
The tasks facing Elrod to remove Bellard and Bellaire to have input
to select a principal who is right for the school culture are similar.
What Bellaire can learn from Elrod is going through the normal channels,
expecting Grier and his team to be culturally sensitive and listen to
their concerns, is most likely doomed from the getgo.
Grier has a superiority complex. Despite his many failures to place
good principals in schools and keep them there, he still believes
his choice will represent the greatest chance for school success.
(Perhaps, Narcissistic Personality Disorder?)
To combat it, Elrod and Bellaire parents/community need to be
prepared to engage in the political warfare of hand-to-hand
That essentially means questioning every motive, every statement,
every action taken by Grier to maintain a very unpopular, unsuited
principal (Bellard) at Elrod and to have input to avoid the selection
of the same type of poor match at Bellaire.
There is a chance Grier will proceed with caution at Bellaire. He
knows a vocal, empowered community does not particularly
care of him, and he has lost two battles with them and other
district parents already in his inability to implement the
Magnet Schools of America's recommendations and changing
the start of school schedule.
Grier plans to persist to get his way on the bell schedule by reintroducing
it next year, and, if insider sources are correct, by rezoning Bellaire to
accommodate M of A's recommentations,
The battle lines are drawn for both schools. Being combative over the
picayune stuff will allow both communities to up the pressure and
the ante, thereby keeping the battle lines drawn over inches, not miles.
More comments on teachers leaving HISD
At Benavidez Elementary, there were approximately 17 teachers that left the school
and 14 of them left the district entirely. Our administration was also replaced. I imagine
the reason that turnover is high in administration as well is primarily due to frustration
with ineffective leadership and a pass the blame mentality coming from the top. It seems
as if Grier's philosophy is to hire the best of the best, but he doesn't know how to attract
the best or keep them by providing a positive, constructive, empowering work environment.
That's what people want way
more than money. I'm sure we'll continue to see good people resign as time goes on.
by disappointing (Aug 2, 2012)
To disappointing.....the reason good people are leaving is because Grier doesn't give a
damn about HISD! Look at his track record of destruction and you can see it is all about
HIM! I don't know how this school board, wich is full of "blind idiots" can't see how horrible
HISD has become and STILL think this man is soooooooo great!?! Maybe there should be
an intelligence test you MUST pass in order to serve on a school board because when it
comes to education, many on this board don't have a clue. They're just there for the "family
& friends" perks. To them it is all about the "show me the money" game and NEVER the teachers,
parents, and students! HISD has become one sad, sorry place to attend as well as work in and
I don't see anything changing until many on this board and Grier are sent packing! The sooner
they are on their way out the door, the sooner this district can climb back out of the gutter and
get back to educating children!
by Marc (Aug 2, 2012)
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