Dutton Down

Sorry for the tardiness. I was dealing with a major computer snafu.


Michelle Yeoh, last night’s Best Actress Oscar winner said this in her acceptance speech:

“Ladies do not let anyone tell you, you are past your prime.”

Did you hear that CNN’s Don Lemon? Knucklehead.

Ok, since you asked. Jamie Lee Curtis said last night during her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech that her mother and father had each been nominated for Oscars. Janet Leigh for Best Supporting Actress for “Psycho” in 1960 and Tony Curtis for Best Actor in “The Defiant Ones” in 1959.

I didn’t hear Will Smith’s name mentioned at all last night. Good. He is an idiot and moron.


Greg Shaw sent this after my Phony Tears take on Friday:

Couldn’t agree with you more regarding your commentary on the HISD board member’s “phony tears.”

HISD has had the usual struggles that urban school districts face for decades (I’m a former HISD teacher. I lived through some of it.)

I agree with those who argue that there has been improvement in student performance lately, that Superintendent House is impressive, and that Republicans have wanted to destroy HISD for years. Yet, it was the Board’s behavior that was the action that sealed the district’s fate.

Covid delayed this but once a huge bureaucratic institution like TEA start moving, it’s all but impossible to get it to stop.

Thank you, Greg.

Speaking of: the author of the legislation that is the vehicle for the TEA takeover, State Rep. Harold Dutton, penned an op-ed for yesterday’s Chron. Heck, he’s not defending his bill, he is trumpeting it. Here is all of Rep. Dutton’s op-ed:

When a student fails in school, there are consequences. But when the school fails the student, what happens? Nothing. Well, that was changed in 2015 by House Bill 1842 and the amendment I successfully added to the bill — the amendment now making it possible for the Texas Education Agency to take over Houston ISD.

Some people mistakenly believe that the idea first came from Gov. Greg Abbott or some other Republican. But in fact, it came from me, a Democrat. A quick look back will help you understand.

As the state representative for northeast Houston and a member of the House Public Education Committee, I was alarmed by the continuing lack of student education success in the schools in northeast Houston. For example, at that time Kashmere High School had been failing to meet state academic standards for more than seven years.

I asked why. I was told Kashmere students didn’t do well on the standardized test, particularly the math portion of the test. Of course I sought more answers, like why Kashmere students consistently failed at math. The answer was dishearteningly obvious, to say the least, and it almost seemed intentional.

Simply put, Kashmere High School had not had the benefit of a certified math teacher in more than 10 years. Now there were certainly certified math teachers in HISD. Why none at Kashmere? 

Because fixing Kashmere was not on the agenda of the entire HISD board, my amendment to HB 1842 was born. 

This was not my first attempt to remedy the plight of failing schools in Texas. Previously, I’d introduced a bill to divide HISD into four subparts, each of which would elect its own superintendent. That bill failed. 

Next, I had a bill to place all failing schools into a separate school district run by the state. Many of my colleagues who had failing schools in their districts helped defeat that bill.

But HB 1842 passed. I thought it would make fixing Kashmere a priority for all of HISD’s board members — and that low-performing schools across the state, including just about every campus in northeast Houston, would receive similar attention. I expected them all to improve.

Many did. In school districts throughout Texas, fixing failing schools became a priority.  

But we all know what happened in HISD: Nothing.

Or at least, not nearly enough. (In 2022, Wheatley High School, the school whose long-term failure triggered the TEA takeover, earned a C. Similarly, Kashmere managed a C in 2019, but then dropped back down to Not Rated  —  essentially, failing.)

Now, as the Texas Education Agency appears ready to take over HISD, we’re hearing voices of opposition, people who say that HISD shouldn’t have to face consequences for allowing a campus to fail for more than five consecutive years. 

Those critics’ concern is misplaced. Such noise should be ignored, as it does little to improve the education for every child, especially those trapped in failing schools like those in northeast Houston.

HISD has failed to do right by students at Kashmere and Wheatley high schools, and it’s failing to adequately serve many more kids in northeast Houston.

When a student fails once, there are consequences. When a district fails at least five consecutive times, there should also be consequences.

HISD has failed.

Tell us how you really feel, Rep. Dutton?

Nothing of note from The Yard.

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