Houston School District Must Say ‘No’ to Partnership With Anti-Science, Pro-Privatization Nonprofit Members

Dec. 13, 2018

Houston School District Must Say ‘No’ to Partnership With Anti-Science, Pro-Privatization Nonprofit Members

Statement of Stephanie Thomas, Houston-Based Organizer and Researcher, Public Citizen’s Texas Office

Note: Public Citizen’s Stephanie Thomas spoke at a public session of Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) board meeting today in response to a proposal to avoid state takeover of four schools within the district. Last week, a potential partnership opportunity was announced between the school district and a nonprofit called the Coalition for Educational Excellence and Equity in Houston, whose three-person board includes a climate change denier and a pro-private education member. The proposed partnership would place up to 15 schools within the control of the nonprofit to avoid state takeover.

Rather than bringing on wealthy, corporate partners as board members and partners, school board trustees ought to ensure that educators with instructional experience in K-12 should be sought out as leaders to drive the vision of any group charged with educating students.

This plan is a bogus deal for students, and Houston should not buy into it.

Coalition board member Corbin Robertson Jr., who owns more coal than anyone in the U.S. outside the federal government, has been linked to several groups that fight environmental regulations and deny climate change. And given that low-income communities are more at risk from environmental pollution, which impacts student performance, as well as from the impacts of climate change, someone who denies and fights science-based policy is not the right choice to serve these communities.

Furthermore, coalition board member Stephanie Nellons-Paige has served as the Private Sector Chair of the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC,) a controversial group that has sought to privatize education and deny climate action.

These people should not be in control of our children’s education. They, themselves, need to be educated.

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