Home » Houston joins cities fighting potential state takeovers

Houston joins cities fighting potential state takeovers

by The Grio

HOUSTON (AP) — In four years of Houston schools being under threat of one of the biggest state takeovers ever in the U.S., teacher Arnetta Murray says the district has come a long way.

As Houston braces for a decision from the state on whether it will seize control of public schools in Texas’ largest city, Murray thinks the fight isn’t just about failing grades.

“I think that we focus on changing the narrative and doing different and sharing that, ‘Hey why is Gov. (Greg) Abbott attacking Houston?” said Murray, 57, who teaches special education at a middle school where most students are classified as economically disadvantaged. “Why is it? Is it money? Is it politics?’”

Classrooms are not the only place where Houston officials and residents are scrambling to hold the line against potential takeovers that the city’s Democratic leaders see as driven by politics in a state where Republicans control the Statehouse and governor’s office. Election fumbles and accusations that local leaders unlawfully reduced spending on law enforcement are also igniting potential interventions from Republicans, who have been losing ground around Houston over the last decade.

Intertwined in this are issues of race as Houston has a large Black and Hispanic population.

Houston is the largest city in the U.S. where potential takeovers of local institutions are roiling heavily minority communities, including St. Louis and Washington, D.C. It’s also an extension of a broader fight in the U.S. of statehouses flexing control over municipalities.

What’s different in Houston, local leaders say, is the range of efforts aimed at controlling how America’s fourth-largest city — home to over 2 million people — runs classrooms, elections and budgets.

Republicans reject accusations of politics, saying they have a duty to act.

“What you’re seeing is just specific fights about, quite…

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