Use comment tag below to express your opinion.  houstonisdwatch
wants to hear from you, especially from HISD insiders.

Thank you houstonisdwatch bloggers! CFO Strikes Out Again and others provided
us with this story last week - HISD expecting 12 month employees to pay back salary -
covered in the Houston Chronicle today. Ericka Mellon provides a detailed account
in her lead report on The Houston Chronicle is screening comments.

Westside is HISD's most surprising enrollment disappointment
Overall, HISD failed to enroll 893 high school students it expected to, potentially
costing the district $4.3 million; Grier threatened to make it "very uncomfortable
for principals" if students not found 
Westside HS  -249
Madison HS -168
Lee HS -149
Sam Houston MST CTR  -118
Lamar HS -109

Complete high school enrollment first week data

Is it just coincidence when schools like Lamar fail to meet projections and
just happen to be the campuses buying into Grier's tactics lock, stock, and barrel? 

Trent Siebert
, Texas Watchdog's founder, responds to questions about
its reduced HISD coverage
After I had sent two emails to Texas Watchdog on behalf on houstonisdwatch
readers and bloggers questioning the noticeably reduced coverage of HISD on
its site, Mr. Siebert, who is also the founder of Texas Watchdog called me.

He explained that TWD investigates subjects intensely for a period then moves
on to other pressing projects. Given the circumspect business dealings and
influence peddling in local and state governmental affairs, TWD simply does
not have the resources or investigative reporters to permanently latch onto
to any of the entities deserving exposure. Its goal is investigate thoroughly,
then move on.

Current efforts of the oneline publication are focusing on Metro and the
county commissioners' offices.

He categorically denied that anyone, contractor, builder, politician, or
school official, had pressured Texas Watchdog with threats of reducing
or removing financial support for the non-profit endeavor.

He admitted his online publication just doesn't have  wealthy locals
contributing to it, and even if it did, it would never give in to pressure
to slant a story a certain way or simply ignore it.

He encourage readers to email Mike Cronin with tips about HISD at

He said Texas Watchdog's refocus in no way lessens the import
or urgency to investigate HISD's story-rich environment.

Does HISD care about its diminished reputation in the eyes of teachers and parents?
How many of the "missing" HISD students have left for local private or charter schools? I know
several families from our local very good elementary school have left for private schools because
they were fed up with the testing mania, large class sizes and other HISD policies. And there was
that recent Houston Chronicle article about local Catholic schools having record enrollments. Or
how many students have left for Spring Branch or other local school districts? Does HISD have any
way to track who has left and gone to other non-HISD schools?
by News? (Sep 1, 2012)
Yes. HISD is accountable for all students in its data base when school opened
last Monday, and the week before that for Apollo schools. In some cases school
officials know where kids have gone, for example, to private school, another Texas
school, moved out of state or country. All of this information must be documented
for the first T.E.A. leaver report.)

Blame students leaving on Grier's STAAR demands
The enrollment is dropping at high schools in HISD because of the extreme demands placed
on teachers and students to meet STAAR standards by staying late after school. Then groups
like the Asian Society want students in high school to do research projects in all subject areas.
Just think students are being told to do two projects each semester for at least the five core
subjects which is at least 20 research papers or projects per year. This is why high school
students are leaving HISD in droves. They also want to do the same thing in middle schools a
s well. Just watch the STAAR results drop this year. Also, the teacher evaluation system will
cause major problems and a lot of useless work for teachers that will lead to very poor results.
HISD under Grier is doomed to major failure.
by sooner91 (Sep 1, 2012)
Your comment reminds us just how condescending, ludicrous, and dishonest
Michelle Pola's comments were to a group of parents, defending the Grier adminis-
tration by claiming HISD's obsessive compulsion to teach all STAAR all the time was

Westside's enrollment shortage - take a look at Meyers
The reason Westside lost so many students this year just became principal of Bellaire. After Board
Memember Greg Meyers forced Paul Castro out as principal of Westside most parents and teachers
took the message. And despite the hard economic times teachers fled the school and parents are
taking their kids out now. It was clear that Mr. Castro's replacement was there not to better Westside
but to provide a stop gap so Myers could get rid of Mr. Castro. I would encourage those who don't
like Grier to take a closer look at Myers.
by Former Westside Teacher (Sep 2, 2012)

Coming teacher shortage - anyone at HISD listening?

So they're telling us that we should be expecting a teacher shortage in the coming years! How
interesting!?! Has the board, Grier, and his evil band of fools known as ineffective principals, read
this article? Because the way they're treating teachers and terminating them left and right, you
would think that there was an endless supply out there for future pickings! Maybe, just naybe 
someone needs to "slap these fools" upside the head and tell them they better wake up before
they have more vacancies then they already have! If they think what they are doing to teachers
and other employees is so wonderful, why in the world are they clammering to fill positions
that previously had certified and qualified teachers? Again, this leadership must not be aware of
what is going on and that HISD has become a district  teachers have chosen NOT to teach in
and as recent numbers have shown, parents are Not choosing to send their children too! Oh well,
hey HISD and the ineffective leadership on many campuses across the district, you reap what you
sow!!! What you have done to former teachers and employees shows us how ineffective you are as
leaders and you continue to do the same thing to the present teschers! Stupid is as stupid does!!!
Welcome to the new and unimproved Houston Idiotic School District! All I can say to teachers,
parents, and students is run, run as fast as you can away from this toxic district before it's to late
and DON'T look back!!!!

by Marc (Sep 3, 2012)
(Editor: Do they care? Some may be predisposed to find the tactics described here adminrable.)

Will the public hear the real reasons HISD's enrollment is down?

During his brief tenure with the San Diego Unified School District, before
he was run off by deteriorating relationships with teachers, Terry
Grier pushed through a bond proposition even larger than his proposal
here. San Diego had foreboding misgivings:
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association sees it differently. The bond measure could almost
double property taxes. This, on top of proposed sales tax and business tax increases on the ballot,
will create an overwhelming burden for taxpayers throughout the county, said Lani Lutar with the

The association identified several issues with the measure, all stemming from a distrust of how the
district will spend the money.

“It’s not going to fund teachers,” Lutar said of the bond money designated through Prop. Z. “None
of the money is available to improve educational performance. There is nothing in this measure that
insures education performance will be improved.”
Read the complete report for NBC/Channel 7, San Diego.
See progress of San Diego's bond, Proposition S

When I spoke with a high-ranking HISD official on the 2012 bond, I questioned
why the HISD trustees were allocating additional funding for 2007 bond projects,
some of which had not yet been started, at the 2011-2012 meetings. There were
occasions when the board allocated funds this past academic year for
the 2002 bond.

I was told to rest assured, the 2007 bond has come in under budget, the money HISD
is spending is not really new money as it was preallocated - and futhermore,
didn't I know its normal for bond projects to have loose ends to tie up years later?

The loose ends, which have been partially documented on this site, tally into the millions
of dollars.

The message was simple: Trust us. We've done the right thing.

When asked to provide a complete, accurate accounting of 2007 bond expenditures
by an influential parent group, HISD could not, or would not, provide it.

With reports of shoddy bond workmanship across the district (I have firsthand experience
at two HISD campuses with major flooring and HVAC problems caused by bond projects),
it's logical to conclude something is just not right here.

I was told I didn't understand "how bonds work" by expecting projects from one bond
to be completed before instituting a tax increase to fund another bond.

I think we all understand, however, the importance of transparent financial accounting
and what the lack thereof means.   

Add to this mystery the complete caving-in of HISD trustees who had been expressing
doubts about the 2012 bond and who, at the very least, required more clarification and
more information. For example, there was never a complete accounting for why some
schools were included, some excluded, even at the last minute. Mike Lunceford
said HISD was rushing into the 2012 bond vote without all the necessary details.

The vote was held on schedule and the bond proposition prevailed, 8-1 with Greg
Meyers, hopeful Republican nominee for some statewide office, the only no vote.

When doubts and questions translate into passivity and "look the other way" agreement,
they ostensibly look like cowardice. Paula Harris told the Houston Chronicle on
the morning of August 9, 2012, she was sure the vote would be 8-1. Obviously,
she was more involved in changing the minds of Lunceford, Stipeche, Skillern-
Jones, and Eastman than merely cheerleading.

I guess we all need to read between the lines. Have your Motrin ready. It's the
kind of hidden meaning inquisition sure to produce a migraine.

Segregation, black-white achievement gap, and the Romneys

HISD currently has 178 vacant teacher positions posted online
Forester Elementary leads HISD vacancy list with four posted openings
Westside, Lee, Liberty each have three vacancies, tied for most
high school vacancies

Edison Middle School also has three - needs English, math. and ESL
teachers - most vacancies for HISD middle schools

Sutton, Southmayd, Reagan K-8 Center, Milne, Lovett, Lewis, Isaacs, Emerson,
Burbank, Blackshear, Benavidez Elementary Schools each have three

U.S. predicted to face teacher shortages
An unprecedented turnover in the teaching profession will soon be underway as more than 1 million
experienced teachers enter retirement. At the same time, student enrollment is expected to increase
over the next decade. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that between 2010
and 2019, total enrollment for public and private elementary and secondary schools is expected to grow
from 55 million to 58 million. The current rate at which new teachers are entering the profession will not
keep pace with this demand, creating a teacher shortage in many areas across the nation. According to
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half-a-million new teachers will be needed between 2008 and
Continue reading Catie Watson's Certification Map's report.

Ericka Mellon's absence; Shoddy bond work
I, too, have noticed the silence from the other media outlets! I can only imagine the reasons you will later
share with us. I thought Ericka Mellon had been fired. With all the stories out there for the beginning of
school, and all we got were sappy stories and one about the shoddy work at Reagan K-8. She could have
followed up with an expose on substandard work in all of the new schools; she would have found some
eye-opening stuff. And Mike Cronin is also strangely MIA. He and his staff used to do a fine job on Paula
Harris and Larry Marshall. HISD has cronies with deep pockets who will benefit from all of that bond money.
I'm sure they have bought off the media powers-that-be and hence the deafening silence for pre-bond
censorship. Keep on telling the truth; I value this website. I do and will tell as many as I can about this
site and will urge others to blog as often as possible.
by I Can See Clearly Now (Aug 31, 2012)

HISD's out of date school profiels
Thanks to this website for bringing HISD news out into the open since news sources like the
Chronicle and TexasWatchDog are limiting their coverage. While we are on a roll for data requests...
When will HISD update each school profile on their websites for 2011-2012? The most recent year
shown is '10-11... HISD should have enough employees to do this very important task for the general
public. Imagine you are looking to buy a house in Houston and want to see some recent data for
potential schools...
by Really? (Aug 31, 2012)

More accusations of malefeasance
Thank you, houstonisdwatch for putting the Reconciliation (repayment) Plan front and center. I knew it
would just be a matter of time before you jumped on the huge debacle! Melinda Garrett should not be
reprimanded--she should be FIRED, along with anyone else remotely responsible. People have paid
taxes on that money; their current daily rate of pay is different from the previous rate; so who really
owes who money? For years, HISD forced employees to use their State days first when absent until
that was ruled illegal. Who owes who money? For years, HISD took out health insurance from checks
during months that had 3 pay periods when it was only supposed to be paid twice a month until that
was caught and the practice ceased. So again, who owes who money? And Dr. Grier's memo started
off, "To continue fostering a culture of trust.." LOL!
by Can't Believe It! (Aug 31, 2012)

To set the record straight---HISD Central Office has been deaf to teachers and parents long
before Dr. Grier came along.

Back when Suzy Walker became principal of Travis ES (still unbelievable that someone living in The
Woodlands, outside HISD would be a principal here), she set the record for the number of parents
and teachers complaining about her erratic form of leadership.

That was under Saavedra, I believe. Nothing was done. And she was allowed to decimate great teachers
(hope none of the other administrators learn her technique---she would isolate the teacher, then turn everyone
against that teacher by making them afraid for their own jobs), so it was a very effective, but cruel way of
managing. She would also turn all the other parents against any parent who complained. It was as if there
were a horrible "mean girls" group running the campus.

So, I feel for the Elrod and Lee teachers and parents, but I don't think anything will be done. The only thing to
do is abandon ship and save yourselves and your children.

Especially the teachers. I filled in many times at the last moment at Travis ES to help out by subbing, but my
reward was a nasty note from Suzy Walker in my file.

And here's the Catch-22 of HISD. Her note is considered "inconsequential" because she isn't considered
competent enough to make those comments. If not competent to make those comments, how is she still
principal? So happy we are done with HISD. And as much as the schools need renovating, I can't take any
more taxes, so I'm considering the "every person for themselves" approach for the bond election.

Trying to put blinders on at the meltdown of education in our communnity, but it's very hard. Especially
when I've seen such instituionalized incompetence for so long and over several superintendents. I can't
think it's going to get better.
by Longtime Associate Teacher NO MORE (Aug 31, 2012)

Grier's scorecard
Terry Grier strikes out Three balls and two strikes. The bases are loaded. Terry Grier's at bat. Uh-oh. A
majority of the fans are exiting the ballpark before the final out. Sound familiar?

1. Snarled bus schedules.

2. Ambiguous redistricting.

3. Seeking another job opportunity but simultaneously caring too much for current school district to leave.

4. Epidemic erosion of community support.

5. Possible closure of schools due to poor performance.

6. Large segment of parents continually riled by cascading of multidirectional and uncharted educational

7. Numerous advertising media promoting the ouster of educational leader.

You've entered the tangled web of Grier. Uh-oh. Back to the ball game. Strike three.

Here today, maybe gone tomorrow.

J.W. Scott High Point
by as told (Aug 31, 2012)

If I can confirm the reports I have been hearing, which, by the way, explain questions
I've been having lately about Texas Watchdog's lack of stories about HISD, then
we are all in a hell of a mess.

By now you know the Houston Chronicle is not going to do any real investigative reporting
of HISD. It's not Ericka Mellon's fault or doing. I believe Ericka knows what the issues
are and is a good investigative reporter. Her hands are tied by her editors. Ericka
is not free to delve into areas of HISD Texas Watchdog once did, nor can she cover
items discussed here

So...what does this mean? The only independent source of information about HISD
is houstonisdwatch.  In the 2.5 years I have been doing this, I have learned how
to keep the relationship with HISD civil, even though it is almost always contentious.

Now, more than ever, the mission is clear.

I am making a plea for your help.

No, I don't want any money. The info links I've added pay for the site's service and cover
minimum office costs like paper and ink. I need you to recruit new readers and especially
bloggers. I need you to continue using the anonymous posting features I have
put in place to continue getting the word out, to continue telling the truth
about HISD.

You are houstonisdwatch. You have blogged about critical issues, you have
outted really bad principals, you have set me on important investigative

The financial interests in this city that placed Terry Grier in his position
and provided campaign contributions to school board members are
not friends of teachers and, especially, do not have the interests of
HISD's children at heart.

These financial interests want to control the media and the messages
about HISD. It should be as unsettling to you as it is to me that they
are succeeding with no opposition except for this website and a
handful of others.
Whether you dislike me or fellow bloggers, it doesn't matter, if you, like
me, passionately disagree with the direction of HISD under Grier and
the national trend of bashing public education and teachers.

There is strength in numbers. In our case, the strength of houstonisdwatch,
it's growing readership and bloggers' comments, is the only real opposition
to the nefarious financial interests which have set out to lessen the dignity of
teaching and corporatize public education.

Together, we can be a powerful voice. Given the forces working against our message 
and us, we must be.

  Texas Watchdog appears to have abandoned its
coverage of HISD

What's happened to Mike Cronin and Texas Watchdog? Mike and TWD have
disappeared from the HISD scene

  Garrett has been an enabler for Grier and now she is finally
being called out for it

I believed that Melinda Garrett was the most competent person on the third floor of the administration
building until I received notice that I would have to give back days or pay money because of a mistake in
calculating salaries. Many of us have given back unused vacation days since 2000 because we were
overworked and sentenced to attend scheduled summer meetings. I'm lucky, I can afford to give back the
required days. My concern is with the 12 month employees paid at a lower rate who have used their sick
days and vacation days. Now they will be forced to dip into their new allotment to break even or perhaps to
agree to pay back their "debt to HISD" over two years. Sounds like a modern day indentured servant structure.

I can only imagine how this came about...cabinet meeting to discuss the budget...Melinda Garrett in her ever
transparent manner mentions this fiasco, never imagining that Grier would react or want to take action. Instead,
he jumps on it because he sees yet another way to "stick it" to employees. The other cabinet members are scared
to death to disagree so they all jump up and high-five each other. Done deal. Behind the scenes Grier calls Board
members and tells them this action will help balance the budget.

Melinda Garrett deserves a written reprimand placed in her personnel file!
by CFO Strikes Out (Aug 31, 2012)

From Can't Believe This
Please read the e-mail below that was sent to all 12-month employees. This is horrible. When the
decision was made by HISD they did not notify 12-month employees that they were making this decision.
Now we are "BIG PRICE" for a decision that was made by the district. We have had a raise in 5+ years
and when we get a "2%" raise we have to give it back. What about the former employees: Dallas Dance,
Aaron Spence, Ann Best..... Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:01 PM Subject: FW: Important Notice for
12-Month Employees: HISD’s 2012 Payroll Reconciliation ________________________ From: CFO Comments
Subject: Important Notice for 12-Month Employees: HISD’s 2012 Payroll Reconciliation Important Notice for
12-Month Employees Only: 2012 Payroll Reconciliation

Starting this week, notices will be mailed out to HISD employees' homes regarding an upcoming payroll
reconciliation plan that will affect certain groups of 12-month employees.

The reconciliation will affect employees differently based on when they were hired. In the coming weeks,
HISD will be holding informational sessions to help employees understand the options now available to them—
which include utilizing unused leave days that would otherwise be lost.

Q: Who can I call with additional questions? A: Please call Payroll Manager Mary Perosa at 713-556-6440.
by Can't Believe This (Aug 31, 2012)

Educators and critics debate the value of quick fixes like TFA in the New York Times

One way to interpret low enrollment, apparently approaching crisis status: The
public disapproves of the direction HISD is going

Here is Grier's S.O.S. on enrollment:
From: Grier, Terry B
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:40 AM
To: Zullinger, Sidney W "Chip"; Sarabia, Samuel D; Loria, Karla; Cardona, Michael A;
      Riddick, Orlando P
Cc: Smith, Mark; High School Principals; Middle School Principals; Elementary School Principals;
       Garrett, Melinda
Subject: Membership

FYI Please work with your SIOs to begin the working with principals and their staffs to contact students
who have not shown up to school AND get them enrolled. It will be very unpleasant for principals when we
begin to take away teachers (even at the high school level) to reflect actual enrollments. This long weekend
is an excellent time for teams of teachers, administrators, and support staff to call and even visit homes.
–Terry Grier

From: Smith, Mark
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 8:33 PM
To: Grier, Terry B; Pola, Michele; Garrett, Melinda; Bobadilla, Leo; Baker, Julie F; Best, Ann; Alvez, Aggie; Viramontes,
Arnold; Watson, Rodney E; Loria, Karla; Sarabia, Samuel D; Zullinger, Sidney W "Chip"; Riddick, Orlando P;
Cardona, Michael A; Hinojosa, Lupita; Eastman, Anna M; Skillern-Jones, Rhonda R; Rodriguez, Manuel Jr;
Harris, Paula M; Lunceford, Mike; Meyers, Greg A; Moore, Harvin C; Stipeche, Juliet; Marshall, Lawrence
Subject: FW: Membership

Day 3
<Membership 8-29-2012 Day 3.pdf>
(houstonisdwatch has made a Texas Open Records Act request for HISD's enrollment. If anyone
has a copy of the pdf referenced above, please email the link to




HISD allots school budgets based on the principal and business manager's projection for the
following year's enrollment. Last spring, McDonough at Westside, Wainwright at Westbury,
and de la Garza  at Milby significantly overshot their enrollment. Their inaccurate projections
could cause further distruptions at those campuses if enrollments remain low. As Grier
threatens in his email, he will take teachers away from these campuses.

HISD citizens are voting with their feet. Bellaire High School, for example, is over
projections by 157 students. We can make an educated guess that Lamar High
School is also at or exceeds projections.

So what happened at Westside last year to diminish its appeal this year? Where are
the Westside insiders??

The Broads are typical of the 1% at the top who cloak the guise
of philanthropy over their real motive of personal gain

Broad Foundation plans to use "education reform" to shelter more of its
insurance dollars
from The Washington Post:
The Broad Foundation wants to step on the gas.

The California-based foundation, built on the housing and insurance empire of billionaire
Eli Broad, has made “transforming K-12 urban public education” a major priority. Its training
and placement of top administrators in urban districts across the country and support for
charter schools, school turnarounds, merit pay and other market-based reforms have put it
at the center of a polarized national debate about
education policy.

A recent memo [see in post below this one] from The Broad Center (TBC) proposes
a series of strategic shifts in the foundation’s education programs designed to
“accelerate” the pace of “disruptive” and “transformational” change in big city school
districts, and create a “go to group” of “the most promising [Broad] Academy graduates,
and other education leaders, who are poised to advance the highest-leverage education
reform policies on the national landscape.”
Continue reading Valerie Strauss' composite on Broad

We all remember Terry Grier's panting excitement to have one of his favorite groups,
The Broad Foundation, visiting HISD
this past May. There was ever so compliant
Herlinda Garcia, as big a political opportunist as they come, trotting along to make
everything just so perfect.

Of course Terry Grier loves the Broad Foundation. He's all about disruptive change,
isn't he??

Pending houstonisdwatch Texas Open Records Act request:
*Opening day (or day 5) enrollment at all HISD schools
*2012-2013 employee salaries for all HISD employees

 Wrap-up: Brenda Limbrick-Sanders & HFT vs. Pam Farinas, HISD 
"Our--our evidence and our testimoney indicates that the Superintendent recommended
...a change and a reduction in force. The Board approved it, outlined specific employment
areas and campuses. Miss Farinas looked at the teachers within her 282 budget and
made the hard decisionm of eliminating job code 00017 in order to accommodate the
anticipated budget cuts.

"{The Board's actions} were consistent with the policy and the principal's actions met
the criteria that the Board outlined by only looking at the job code."

Thus concludes the TEA Hearing Ms. Brenda Limbrick-Sanders and HFT requested to
reinstate Ms. Sanders' position as P.E. teacher at Gregory-Lincoln.

Whether you agree with the hearing officer's findings or not, you can read the entire
hearing process on houstonisdwatch. Parts 1 and 2 have previously been posted.  

Grier's A.P policy diminishes the importance and weight of
the A.P. examination process

Another voice weighs in: Grier's A.P. policy is a failure
Thanks to all of you for the comments on the AP exams. While I realize there are many varied situations
for the AP exams and scores. The data posted in the spring that correlated AP course grades and AP
exam scores for 2011 was pretty telling in that there were major disconnects between the 2 and a lot of
cases where the students almost all earned 1's. I imagine the data from this year if the same study was
done would be similar. I agree that we are misleading our students into "thinking" they are doing college
level work with some of these AP courses. My own undergrad college math professor at Harvey Mudd
College has told me they don't grant credit anymore for AP scores because the content has been watered
down and even a passing AP score does not mean the student has mastered the material enough to place
out of the class. HMC gives their own placement tests... I also think there is just a lot of pushing kids into
AP classes to boost the #'s for HISD and the teachers are not fully equipped to teach a true AP level course.
With all of our budget concerns due to state cuts, pushing AP testing for the sake of "numbers" does not
seem prudent financially...
by Really? (Aug 28, 2012)

Grier and Sarabia should have removed Bellard this summer but they refused
to listen to parents
Glad some parents called the district office yesterday to complain on Linda Bellard. I think I saw her
bosses there to see the dismissal HAVOC and how bad of a principal she really is. I know it was her
boss because some of the parents were wanting to talk to him. When Bellard saw this, she stared
letting the older kids out of the cafeteria creating a frenzy. Parents were also wondering why some
were being let out and others not. This is only day two. Let's see how it goes tomorrow.
by P_ _t Off Parent (Aug 28, 2012)

Grier willing to twist arms, make threats, do whatever it takes to make staff and principals
bond promoters 24/7

Some HISD taxpayers are so desparate to have their taxes raised to support the La Mancha
dreams of current superintendent Terry Grier, they will support any and all tactics used
by the current HISD administration to flood local contractors, friends of board members,
and Greater Houston Partnership members with hoardes of cash.

They believe the bond is the only way to make improvements in HISD's infrastructure, oblivious
to the millions of dollars the HISD trustees - all of them - allow Grier to squander on his pet
programs. Need proof? Read the board minutes and review board agendas. The figures
are there. This website has also highlighted with page links some of them, such as funds
spent on reading programs and the district's $660,000 gift to the college board.

In San Diego, Grier proposed a bond pond program even bigger than the $1.9 billion one
here. The bond proposal for $2.1 billion didn't draw as much criticism for its size as
it did for the tactics San Diego Unifed School District's Superintendent Terry Grier
used to promote it.

UT San Diego reported on October 10, 2008: "Some principals complained about the meeting, saying
they felt pressured to attend and promote the bond measure. Others said the proposition desperately
needs a publicity boost because the spiraling economy could hurt its chances of passing."

Grier defended his actions. Just as it was illegal for Grier to use district resources to advocate for
a position in the bond election in San Diego, it is illegal here, too. Educating the public is permissible;
brain washing them by using district staff is illegal.

Farinas & HISD vs. Limbrick Sanders: TEA Hearing, part 2

About the AP tests, the problem I see is that kids are taking these classes in some of HISD's less rigorous
high schools and thinking they're doing college-level work. But as the results show, they're not absorbing
the material and one reason may be the classes are perhaps not on the same level as at Bellaire or DeBakey
(this is exacerbated by the loss of good talented AP teachers at schools like Lee).

And the students (because they're getting As in those AP classes) go off to college thinking they're ready, but
they've been woefully underprepared and they are just not ready for the rigors of university-level work.

If kids are getting true-AP leveled classes, I think there's value there, whether or not they score a 3 or higher.
But instead, there are so many kids pushed into AP classes that are really just AP in name only and not
by More on APs (Aug 25, 2012)

The AP HS exams at $89 each cost $2,067,203 for the exam fees. Does HISD pay for all of this? The passing
rate has actually gone down by 0.6% from last year when you look at the data. 40% of the schools have passing
rates at 9% or less. Only 3 schools have passing rates over 50% (Bellaire, Carnegie, DeBakey). Why are my tax
dollars being wasted on 80% of the school on the list with passing rates under 25%? What is being done about
the quality of teaching??? Or are we just padding the wallet of the AP exam company?
by Really? (Aug 24, 2012)

On the other hand, A.P. exams are valuable even if students do not pass them?
When the US sends athletes to the Olympics, only a small percentage bring back medals. But athletes still
learn and grow and develop by (1) participating in the Olympics and (2) training for the Olympics. If they never
even set the goal of winning an Olympic medal, how far would they get as athletes?

Yes, we would like AP exam scores to be higher. Yes, Grier's administration should do more to train and support
AP teachers (and treat them well, so that YES and KIPP have a harder time recruiting away our experienced AP

But it's a good thing that the number of students taking AP exams keeps going up, even while we're maintaining the
pass rate. Those students who get 2's on an AP exam may not earn college credit, but they have learned a lot more
than they would have had they not been taking a college level class while in high school. And they'll be ready to succeed
the next time they take that class in college.
by AP Exams are valuable pass or not (Aug 24, 2012)

Heidi weighs in:
I will not disagree at all about the value of a course that is actually taught for students to be successful on an AP
exam. Unfortunately, that is just not the case across the district regardless of the intent of the teacher. My problem
with the AP exam situation in this district is that the student has no accountability and all of the outcomes fall directly
on the teacher. The student does not pay for the exams. Have you ever seen seniors in May? AP exams are not their
priority! I promise! But since they did not pay anything, even the reduced cost, they don't bother to review, many will
not take them as seriously as they did before these were paid for. HOWEVER, the district has decided that these scores
will be 25% of the teacher's evaluation. The teacher can be the most dynamic, knowledgeable and effective teacher, but
when that exam is Monday after prom weekend, Friday afternoon any time in May, not accepted at the intended university...
forget it! The students just don't take it seriously and that is really going to have an impact on some excellent teachers.
There is a problem with the system and none of those offices on W. 18th communicate together before they come up
with these new ideas, all of which funnel down and unfairly affect the classroom teacher. Ultimately, this is still tax payer
money being used with no accountability on the part of the consumer.
by Heidi (Aug 25, 2012)

Grier only interested in numbers for his vita; blames teachers for bad scores
And the problem with the AP testing if I am correct, is that it makes the district llok good when so many kids are
taking the test. The passing rate isn't as important. Doesn't the district get credit for pushing this test on the kids?
I believe that is why Grier pushed this issue in the first place to pad is own resume regardless! As always this is a
"hey look what I did for these poor, poor little kids" moment for "has been" Grier and his flunkie Fryer at Harvard!
Waste of time and money! Why not let the kids sign up who really want to take it and pay for their tests and NOT
force all kids to take it! Again, Grier"s butt, like always when he implements these crazy unproven projects is
NEVER on the line, NEVER held accountable and NEVER his money wasted!!!
(emphasis is the editor's)
by AP (Aug 25, 2012)

From My two cents:
I believe in the choice of AP for all students in high school. I am willing to take on anyone who is willing to try. My
only conditions are that they do the work ,come for tutorials and Prep-sessions, and take the AP exam. I am also
a teacher that believes at-risk students are a world of difference to teach. Pressure is put on the teachers to
have the scores of the non-at risk schools. There are just worlds of differences between these two types of
students. I can also tell you I can come close to telling who will achieve a 1,2,3,4 and 5 on the test. Do I still
think students should take the test? Yes. It is valuable experience. However, charging students $10 would
not be a bad idea. That way students will have some sort of investment in the test. My class is very, very
rigorous. My scores are not the highest but I celebrate the twos. I know that students are college ready
if they score a 2 in my class. One of the problems we face is that the district is throwing teachers into
teaching AP classes with little or no experience. These poor teachers have no training to understand
how the test is set up etc. etc. I was called to a school last week by a friend who needed help with a
wonderful, passionate but new teacher that was going to teach AP classes. He had no idea what was
going on. Also, most teachers don't last at At-Risk schools. The turnover is tremendous. It is hardly
fair to a student to sit under a new teacher. Lastly, students rarely score an A in my class unless I
know they can succeed with a stong score on the AP exam. I noticed that Apollo schools had a huge
decrease in scores this year. This is because they threw inexperinced and TFA teachers in as AP teachers.
Being a college graduate does not mean you are ready to teach an AP class. Two more things: Statistics
show if a student scores a 2 on the AP exam and is able to take it again the following year, a high percentage
of those students will pass the second year. Statistics also show those students scoring 2's are college ready.

But, I want my class open to any students that chooses to take an AP class. Thank You.
by My two cents (Aug 25, 2012)

From And the truth is:
I definitely agree that AP classes are good for students to take so that they are prepared for college, whether
or not they score a 3 or higher. The problem is that HISD expects all students to take at least one AP class before
they graduate. This includes SPED students. For an AP teacher to be successful, there are some parameters placed
on the students that are able to enroll in the course. At places like Carnegie, Debakey, and schools of the same caliber; t
here are controls placed on the students who are able to enroll in the school and then the classes that are taught. I
t is unfair to compare schools that HAVE to accept students who are zoned there. It is not that the teachers have
lower expectations or teach with less rigor. The preparedness of the student is different and the teachers are
unable to control the students that are enrolled in their AP courses. It is unfair to penalize a student who is not
able to rise to the expectations of the course because of learning disabilities, etc. when administration tells that
teacher that the student HAS to stay in the class. NO EXCEPTIONS!!! I think that more schools would have greater
success if teachers had more input into the criteria needed for students to enroll in their AP courses and are able
to dictate which students need to be in said courses.
by And the Truth Is... (Aug 26, 2012)

In T.E.A. hearing papers, Pam Farinas admits not knowing who her faculty
members were, claims no knowledge of Brenda Limbrick-Sanders, even
though Farinas changed her teaching assignment for the express purpose
of terminating her

Brenda Limbrick-Sanders: July 20, 2011 Vol. 1, part 1

Do your research. Look at that Gregory Linc's teacher's record. She pulled same stuff on former principal.
Not taking up for Farinas by any means, but less weight can be put into your claims by using this teacher .
Ask anyone on the campus.
by GLECteacher (Aug 27, 2012)
I did do the research. The incident reported here is the only one on file.)

Brenda Limbrick-Sanders writes that Pam Farinas threatened her, discriminated against
her; files complaint with HISD's E.E.O. office

Feeling offended by the Watch
Seriously? Penis envy and teeny weenies? Is this what this blog has come to? I have been disgusted
by the district's direction, but if these kind of comments are the best Mr. Bingle can come up with, t
hen we have nowhere to turn. Let's not stoop so low!
by Disappointed! (Aug 27, 2012)
Seriously, taking punches at a very successful principal who has decided to leave HISD
to take care of his mother? How low is that? 

Seriously, I respect your opinion and appreciate your participation in this site. I may not
"stoop" so low in the future, but we need to demand that Grier & his sycophants don't, either.)

  Brenda Limbrick-Sanders, a victim of Farinas' disdain and
a clog in Grier's war on veteran African-American teachers

Farinas: Limbrick-Sanders gives HFT rep June Danforth permission to represent her in 
Conference for the record regarding Sanders' contract non-renewal

Farinas recommends African-American teacher Brenda Limbrick-Sanders for
contract non-renewal at Gregory-Lincoln

Using "Reduction in force because of financial exigency or program change
as an excuse, Grier supports Farinas' termination of Brenda Limbrick-Sanders;
Farinas would later admit she didn't even know Ms. Limbrick-Sanders, giving
more evidence that she is a poor excuse for a principal.

Was Brenda Limbrick-Sanders a victim of HISD discrimination? Grier's EEO office
said no, but with FMLA involved, the case is not clear-cut

PRINCIPALS: It's a new school year, and God Bless the students for being
excited, eager, and ready to go.

But those of us on the adult side have seen enough of the havoc, disrespect, failed
leadership of Terry Grier and his five trustee sycophants. The field generals for
this inept administration are the building principals.

houstonisdwatch continues to encourage its many insider bloggers to tell
the truth about HISD's principals. One by one, Grier and his cohorts have run
off the best and brightest. Those principals who do not act in the best interests
of their students, bully their staffs, lack common decency and are just plain
uncouth and ignorant, will be called out  here for 100,000+ readers to see.

Bad press, including comments here, are not good for advancing careers.
houstonisdwatch has readers from across the U.S.A.

Prinicpals should know prospective employees are reading what their employees are
saying about them on the watch.

A case of penis envy & tiny weenies
Leadership envy is an ugly thing to witness.
Three leaders of HISD have decided to blast one of HISD's most
successful principals, Tim Salem, the cowardly way: Attack him in
small gatherings after he has departed.

To paraphrase Brad Pitt in a season 8 episode of Friends dubbed
"The Rumor," let's call Grier, Pola, and Mark Smith's actions what
they are: Penis envy and a case of tiny weenies.

We all know Michelle Pola, so craven she lied to a group of Bellaire
parents, telling them Grier had not directed teachers to "teach to
the test."  She was caught lying red-handed.

Mark Smith has been hiding in the administration building for years,
and like many other central office so-called administrators, he would
quake when faced with real teachers, real students, and demanding

And Grier, the master showman when he speaks in front of non-white
HISD parents, should be setting an example of what common decency
looks like, not embody the antithesis of it.

Tim Salem's father died this summer.   Many of us in the boomer
generation have been through this traumatic experience. Tim
felt the need to go back to Alabama and help his mother. In a
place that valued its employees, valued common decency, and
practiced any empathy at all for staff members facing loss,
Grier, Pola, and Smith would have praised Tim Salem for the fine
work he did at Bellaire.

If they weren't capable of that, and by all indications they are not,
then they should have said nothing.

Didn't their mothers teach them "If you have nothing nice to say,
don't they anthing at all?"

We assume they did have mothers.

There is no common decency in HISD, people, despite the exhortations
to it in the district's Beliefs & Visions.

Read the
Houston Chronicle's feel good take on the first day of school

Grier's achievement gap large, war on teachers largely ineffective
Grier and his supporters love to claim his tough guy, take no prisoners approach to governing
the nations' seventh largest school district is just what the doctor ordered to narrow the
prickly, long-standing achievement gap between the district's Asian and white students
and just about everyone else.

Purging African-American teachers, like troubled principal Pam Farnias did to Brenda
Limbrick-Sanders at Gregory-Lincoln, has been destructive to any notion of "TEAM HISD"
and imbued with racist overtones.

Grier has never articulated the right tone on race relations except, or course, when
money and contractors are involved. Paula Harris and Larry Marshall should be
ashamed of Grier's performance and failures to bridge the achievement gap
with HISD's African-American students. With friends by their side and hands
out, Harris and Marshall are all about the money.

Use the STAAR results as a measuring stick. In grade 3, for example, black students
trailed even economically disadvantaged students in reading, posting a huge 19-
point achievement gap with white students

HISD's third graders have been educated solely under Grier's leadership. Sam
Sarabia, HISD's elementary schools officer, shares equally in the failure.

In grade 4, the reading gap between black students and white students is even
wider - a full 22 points.

In fact, the reading gap between black and white students is never smaller than
15 points. This is progress?

Convince us all the turmoil Paula Harris, Larry Marshall, Manuel Rodriguez,
Harvin Moore, and Greg Meyers have empowered Grier to inflict on HISD's
is nothing more than a smoke screen to accomplish the goals of the
Greater Houston Partnership's goals to enrich business interests in
the city.  

Groups designed to support black teachers, and all teachers in general, seem
impotent to stop the bullying, abuse, disrespect, and removal of experienced
teachers. Have you ever heard the leaders of these groups articulate a consistent
message about the ineffectiveness of the HISD Trustees and Grier administration's
culture war on both HISD's teachers and students?

Sure, the union represented Ms. Limbrick-Sanders at the T.E.A. hearing protesting her
termination, and based on the documentation that will be posted here, they did a
good job.  Unfortunately, they lost.

As this website has said for the past two years, the victims of the Grier administration
are the kids in HISD.

The data is there - clear for all to see -- and it's way past time to bring the Grier
debacle to an end.  Fancy new schools and long-term taxpayer debit isn't going
to fix anything. In fact, have your heard Paula Harris and Larry Marshall articulate
a plan to bring black students whose parents have fled to the suburbs back
to HISD?

We're still waiting for that pitch.

Has Pam Farinas targeted African-American teachers?
I am quite sure the District should have more than that on that snake, Pamela Farinas. She should have
discrimination charges brought against her. Getting rid of all the African American teachers was her way
of "changing the culture" and making thing better. This woman has sucked the life through out of many
individual through with her lies, manipulation, and unethical practices. She has purchased a one way
ticket to hell and is taking HISD with her.
by Grace (Aug 24, 2012)

HISD accused of racial profiling
To all of you saying that NO ONE wants to work in certain HISD schools that is a total load of crap someone in
administration from HISD is feeding you. They have run off good teachers because of racial profiling in many of
these schools. They do not want seasoned teachers who where the backbone of many of these "undesirable"
schools. In your white bread eyes they may be terrible places to teach, but many teachers loved their job there.
HISD is trying to make everything look like suburbia because he thinks that is the politically correct thing to do.
He is ignoring the culture of many of these schools. There were teachers there that really made a contribution
they just didn't do it in the way these Grierittes deemed correct. Take off your blinders and wake up!
by Not so sure about that (Aug 26, 2012)


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