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March 15, 2023      11:42 AM

In the middle of Spring Break, TEA confirms state takeover of the largest school district in Texas

Education Commissioner Morath briefed lawmakers this morning on plans for the Houston ISD; Chair Dutton stands by his push for this, but other minority members are outraged while Republicans applaud the Abbott Administration’s move

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated with other reactions and analysis throughout the day – SB

“You could cut the tension with a knife,” said one lawmaker who attended a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning with Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, who was at the Capitol to talk about plans for the state takeover of the Houston Independent School District to begin in June.

Commissioner Morath told lawmakers about the long-rumored plan. TEA confirmed it publicly later.

It’s also our understanding that Morath gave a series of embargoed interviews to various news outlets in Houston late yesterday about all this. In recent weeks, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Sen. John Whitmire, and other Democratic leaders from the area have spoken out against the plan. That was after Mayor Turner said earlier this month that he had heard TEA was about to do this.

"It is a total obliteration of local control," Turner said at that time. "It is creating a bad model."

In the closed-door Capitol meeting this morning, Commissioner Morath told members of the Harris County delegation that HISD performed worse than other school districts during the 2019 to 2022 school years. Images tweeted from the meeting showed Morath presenting his evidence with charts in a committee room.

By Scott Braddock

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