We need to stop attaching high stakes to standardized tests and be diligent about reversing the damage high stakes testing has caused in our District.

No one believed in a system in which we do not assess the quality of a child’s education, but we need to be honest about the destructive effects of high stakes testing on teachers, schools, and most importantly, students. All students deserve a well-rounded education with arts, languages, cultural studies, and other subjects that are not measured by standardized tests, but that have long term benefits to students, both inside the classroom and in their lives and careers after school.

We need to ensure that equity is always considered in all of our programs, projects, and systems in HISD.

From special education to suspensions to gifted and talented identification to our school buildings and resources, we see over and over again how some in our community are being left behind. We must work to see that every child is given access to everything they need to succeed academically, and that there is true parity of educational opportunities across the District. We must make sure that, when we make the decision to shift money from one student to another, it is done in a deliberative manner, and that our priority is always student achievement and a well-rounded education for all students.

Every HISD student needs to graduate with all of the tools necessary for postsecondary success.

Far too many of our students graduate from HISD unprepared for college. The need for remedial classes adds time and money that can get prevent a student from reaching their postsecondary goals. We must stop failing these students. Every student should graduate ready to tackle the challenges of college or, if they choose, with a good foundation in a vocational career.