TEA Takeover


Photo By: Isa

STAAR scores greatly affect the performance grades of school districts. TEA steps in when the grades are consistently low.

The Texas Education Agency: a  government-run organization that oversees schools to make sure students from kindergarten to 12th grade are getting their education to the fullest. When the TEA finds that independent school districts aren’t living up to their standards, they decide to step in. 

In March of 2023, the TEA fully took over Houston ISD, which consists of 274 campuses including over 189,000 students. This is a significant move for the TEA. They also took over the entire special education program in Austin ISD, another big district with over 73,000 students. 

While Judson High School is not at risk, students and teachers should be aware of what is happening in surrounding schools. 

The TEA looks for good academic outcomes of the schools, which they measure through STAAR tests. After years of low-performance ratings, the TEA begins to intervene, though some teachers do not believe a state test measures a student’s full potential. 

“All of us teachers firmly believe there is so much more to learning than a simple test, but this is just the reality of our current learning requirements,” World Geography teacher John Lowrey said. 

The takeovers can be a social issue as well as political. Performance levels seem to be directly affected by the economic status of the surrounding communities. 

“We know for an absolute, well-researched fact, that standardized testing scores line up almost perfectly with levels of household income. On average, poor schools and students perform worse than wealthy schools and students. This is something that should be investigated by the public since our money goes to pay the companies who make these tests you are legally required to pass,” Lowrey said. 

The TEA is not always necessarily a bad thing as long as they give the support needed to those schools in need. However, the second they intervene, and they don’t actually provide help, is when it becomes a problem. 

“Government oversight is not ideal, but that’s generally how people feel in any job at all. If we are given the resources and support to be our best for you, the oversight becomes positive. Whenever you have any situation where there is oversight and no support, that is when you have a toxic situation where every stakeholder is worse off,” Lowrey said. 

In order to make a change, parents must be the voice. Any parent can vote and use their voice to change these things that affect the daily lives of students, teachers, and themselves.