March 29, 2023

Dear Commissioner Morath,

We write to you as an organization that is invested in the academic success of Latino students within the Houston Independent School District and advocates for the voice and representation of Latino parents and educators within the education sector. This is an unprecedented and difficult moment for Houston parents, educators, and students as they wonder about the future of their schools. In our conversations with members of the community, they have expressed real concerns about what will happen next within Houston ISD.

While everyone is navigating this uncertain and rapidly changing transition period, we believe that there are specific steps that the Texas Education Agency can and should take to ensure that the Board of Managers that is established to govern Houston ISD is informed by, and reflects the priorities of Houston parents, students, and educators.

  1. Provide additional opportunities for Latino parents, especially Spanish speaking parents, to voice their concerns and priorities on the future of Houston ISD and the Board of Managers. Latino students represent 62% of all students within Houston ISD yet the community sessions that have taken place thus far have not been conducive for families who speak a language other than English. Their voices and concerns are equally valid and should be heard. TEA should continue to hold community input sessions, and design them in a way that reaches all families, especially Spanish speaking families by including simultaneous interpretation services during all sessions – a service Houston ISD has been offering parents recently.
  2. Ensure that the Board of Managers be representative of the Houston communities, and students, they will serve. It is important that the Board of Managers reflects the diversity of Houston ISD students, and that they understand the cultural diversity of these students. As TEA narrows their selection of potential managers, they should ensure that these individuals understand and reflect the diversity of Houston.
  3. Improve communication and transparency with the Houston community. Many of the concerns that families have expressed thus far stem from a lack of communication, or miscommunication, and a feeling that this process is being fast tracked with no input from the community. TEA should ensure that all materials and communications that are shared with the community are culturally relevant and translated into Spanish.
  4. Outline how the Board of Managers will work with parents, educators, and others to arrive at solutions. There are real concerns that the Board of Managers which is selected will not be accountable to Houston parents, students, or educators – although they have the most at stake in whatever decisions the Board of Managers makes. TEA should outline how the Board of Managers will work and engage diverse stakeholders, including parents, in their decision-making process moving forward.

The future of 200,000 students is at a critical juncture, and we all want to create solutions and a system that puts their interest and academic success first. We hope you can agree that this should be the first priority during this transition, and that you will take our recommendations into consideration.


Armando X. Orduña, Ed.D. Executive Director, Texas