Anette Carlisle: Mike Morath’s Plan to Abandon Local Control and Public Schools in Texas
Anette Carlisle, public education advocate in Texas, describes how State Commissioner Mike Morath, a non-educator,
Despite a full decade of failure, phony “reformers” claim that education will improve if private corporations and entrepreneurs take over from elected school boards. It hasn’t worked anywhere, and it won’t work in Texas.
Texas has chosen to abandon our local public schools, locally elected school boards, superintendents and our 5.4 million schoolchildren in favor of a “my way or the highway” single system directive by Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath. That’s why I’m standing up to say, “Whoa! Hold your horses, please, Mr. Commissioner.”
It’s an effort that’s been building for years, right under our noses. People said, “Surely not,” but here we are.
Look back to 2019 and the Center for Reinventing Public Education’s (CRPE) report centered around the System of Great Schools (SGS) concept. The System of Great Schools “starts from the premise that local school districts are ill-positioned to improve schools directly,” and local districts should “get out of the business of managing instruction in schools.”
Morath, according to the CRPE, “prioritized the SGS initiative as a signature project” and even “smoothed the path for the SGS team to work inside the agency” when other TEA staff disapproved.
It’s just one example of the state telling school district leaders to take a hike and locally elected boards to get out of the way.
Earlier this year, The Texas Tribune interviewed Commissioner Morath, and his thoughts on local control came more clearly into focus. Asked about the state’s takeover of Houston ISD, Morath said, “This is basically a grand, philosophical question that is a right for state legislatures around the country to try to answer. Why do we have schools? Do we have schools to teach children, or do we have schools to have elected school boards?”
The takeaway? Local communities don’t know what’s best for kids. The state does.
Who knew that a conservative Republican Governor and his ignorant State Commissioner would launch a state takeover of public schools?