Justice coalition files a discrimination complaint

The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice this week filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that Texas is discriminating against Houston schoolchildren by taking over the majority-minority school district.

Johnny Mata, president of the coalition, outlined the allegations in a Wednesday letter addressed to US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

HISD TAKEOVER: TEA takes over Houston ISD despite community outrage, academic gains

The coalition filed the complaint on behalf of the Houston Independent School District and against the state of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, Education Commissioner Mike Morath and the Texas Education Agency, according to a copy of the letter shared with the Chronicle.

Mata said he believes the TEA is violating a federal civil rights law by taking control of HISD. The controversial takeover has sparked outrage and backlash in recent days among teachers, parents and community advocates who say the move is a political attempt to destroy public education.

“They are asking for a fight,” Mata said of state leaders. “They play games, they play politics, they cater to their base, and it’s unconscionable.”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This civil rights law and others apply to all state education agencies, schools and universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Anyone can file a complaint with the federal Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces federal civil rights laws in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding, according to the government’s website.

As of Friday afternoon, the Office of Civil Rights “could not confirm receipt of a complaint,” according to a spokesperson.

See also  The Williams: Houston-based global empire builders

MORE ABOUT TEA TAKEOVER: Rep. Lone Democrat Harold Dutton cheers HISD takeover as Jackson Lee asks Biden to intervene

State leaders, meanwhile, say the takeover was required by a state law triggered by chronically poor academic performance at Wheatley High School in the Fifth Ward.

“Under state law, the commissioner is required to either appoint a board to govern the school district or order campus closure when a campus has an unacceptable performance rating for five consecutive school years,” Morath wrote in a letter to the school. elected school board.

The legislation that paved the way for the takeover was authored by Rep. Harold Dutton, a black Democrat who attended Wheatley.

HISD can request an administrative review by the State Office of Administrative Hearings by March 30, according to the commissioner.

Mata, who is not a lawyer, said he disagrees with the state’s interpretation of the takeover law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *