Texas AFT and HFT President Zeph Capo (left) lays out the union’s lawsuit with comments from the four plaintiffs in the case.
The Houston Federation of Teachers Tuesday stepped up its battle against a state takeover of Houston ISD by filing a federal lawsuit against Education Commissioner Mike Morath and the Texas Education Agency over a violation of voting rights, particularly for people of color. “The state’s action to take over the HISD is flagrantly unconstitutional and has nothing to do with giving kids a strong public education,” said Zeph Capo, president of HFT and Texas AFT. “Gov. Abbott and Mike Morath will do just about anything to give private charter operators a chance to get their hands on our schools—even violate the state and U.S. constitutions. We can’t allow our government officials to unconstitutionally marginalize black and brown children, deny them their right to a quality public education, or defy the voice of voters who have just elected new school board members.”
You can read more about the lawsuit and the four plaintiffs’ comments here. Capo laid out the grounds for the action in a Tuesday press conference with the four HFT-member plaintiffs in the case, and he also stressed that a key motivation of the state takeover is to replace district schools with charter schools under a board of managers cherry-picked by TEA and ready to follow lock step with its agenda for charter proliferation.
“Here you have TEA maintaining that it needs to take over a highly-rated district that is improving in serving special education students, yet its the same agency that is stymying that progress for Houston and the entire state,” Capo said. “The fact that charters are doing a dismal job and shunning students in need of these services makes TEA’s agenda for pushing charter schools even more damaging to the kids in our schools who need the most help.”
Read More and Take Action
- Houston members and residents are urged to take action: Send Education Commissioner Mike Morath an online letter objecting to the takeover.
- Information, tools, and resources to fight back for HFT members and the community.