Houston Chronicle Acts as Propaganda in Regards to School Privatization
Parents, teachers, students, and community members in Houston Independent School District (HISD) are currently feeling the threatening ultimatum of HB 1842 and SB 1882 as they fight the closures of 10 public schools. Yet somehow, the Houston Chronicle, specifically Jacob Carpenter who has been writing on this issue, fails to acknowledge or even investigate how HB 1842 and SB 1882 are forcing schools into privatization, how the Waltons (heirs of Walmart) are influencing the narrative to push charters here in Houston, or how the Energized-group that is working on privatizing the 10 public schools is NOT new in the district and is slowly increasing their privatization presence in Houston.
Energized for STEM Academy is one of the four non-profits that operates under the for-profit Educational Learning And Enrichment Center.
Energized for Excellence Academy had a contract most recently signed last August by HISD trustees Wanda Adams, Rhonda Skillern-Jones and former Supt. Carranza between Louis Bullock, Head of Schools & CEO of five different profit and non-profit organizations connected to HISD.
Oh and the building address on Wanda Adam’s campaign finance reports is owned by Paula Harris, former HISD trustee, who is the Vice President on the Energized for STEM board.
Bullock is CEO of the for-profit Educational Learning & Enrichment Center, but is also seen to be Head of Schools/President of the non-profits per their i990 raking in at least $200k from two of the non-profits. She is listed in the others, but no amount of how much money she is receiving is notated.
In case you haven’t noticed, Bullock is the common denominator for the for-profit Education Learning & Enrichment Center and the non-profits. She serves as the CEO of the for-profit, and acts on the non-profits boards in some capacity getting money.
In 2015, the last immediately available year of IRS disclosures for the four Energized-related non-profits, the organizations ended the year with over $5 million more than they took in — meaning the organizations as a group didn’t spend 15% of their available funds and carried it over to the next year. Additionally, Energize’s non-profits as a whole ended 2015 with over $8.1 million in net assets (akin to money in the bank).
There are reports out of the 10 public schools in jeopardy of being privatized that teachers — whose jobs are also in jeopardy — are being forced to write Energized for STEM’s charter application to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
But hey, out of the Houston Chronicle read Jacob Carpenter’s version of how Energized for STEM is here to save the day.
NAACP Houston Branch’s President James Douglas, is mentioned in Carpenter’s article, and of course, fails to show that Douglas is on ALL FOUR of the non-profit boards operating under the for-profit entity, Educational Learning & Enrichment Center.
Speaking of overlaps that were not touched in the article, the for-profit corporation, Educational Learning & Enrichment Center, has same address as the three non-profits that run HISD’s in-district charters.
Oops, I forgot one more Carpenter’s article fails to mention:
Bullock’s for-profit owns the land under the headquarters for three non-profit’s running HISD charters and owns land for the several charters that HISD in-charter district sit on. It is not clear in the non-profit paper work how much in rent they pay, but why would they want to disclose that, right?
The whole HB 1842 and SB 1882 are forcing schools into privatization, and how the Waltons (heirs of Walmart) are influencing the narrative to push charters here in Houston, are subjects that require their own article. Read about it by clicking the hyperlinks.
Carpenter talks about HISD clearing the path for quicker approval charter partnerships, but fails to investigate HOW pro-charters groups are paying off HISD board members to do so.
Carpenter talks about how HISD leaders recommending 3-year partnerships at long-struggling schools, but fails to show how the state is FORCING schools into privatization by holding democracy hostage.
The people are not getting the truth that is supposed to be delivered by journalists.
All 10 public schools are in black communities — one is in a Latinx community. This is not happening to public schools in white communities. Why? Because vital programs and resources have been systematically transferred to them leaving black students behind. They lack the resources to pass State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)let alone be college ready. Learn more about it from community members and education activists, Travis McGee and Tahir Charles, here.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, activist groups are getting together to hold a funeral for the 10 schools being privatized.
“Ten neighborhood schools were taken from us this past week amidst a senseless criminalistic closing spree by Texas education warlord Mike Morath and the TEA,” says education advocate McGee. “We are saddened by the loss of these schools, and are gathering to remember their names — Blackshear, Dogan, Highland Heights, Mading, and Wesley elementary schools, Henry Middle School, Woodson PK-8, and Kashmere, Wheatley and Worthing high schools — as we continue the fight for public education and oppose partnerships, charters, and closures in HISD. We hope HISD’s trustees will stand up and exhaust all options in protecting these schools.”
Funeral participants include four clear demands from politicians intimately involved in the closing of the schools at the district, state, and federal level:
1) The HISD Board should sue the TEA over failure to comply to state testing laws.
2) Sue the TEA for discrimination based on race through the accountability system.
3) Refocus district dollars from test prep to holistic education in ALL schools.
4) Get out of the charter school business permanently.
To review the research yourself, click here. A group of activists called HISD Parent Advocates have been working on gathering and paying for this information because next to none of this information is readily available for the public to access.