The two candidates for HISD District 8, Judith Cruz, who has a graduate degree in bilingual education, and Juliet Stipeche, an attorney, are both positive role models, but Ms. Stipeche would bring an independent voice to HISD, something the district desperately needs.
The HISD board speaks now with one voice in favor of some bad policies, such as doubling bonuses for administrators at the nine schools in the Apollo 20 program.
The HISD board voted seven to one to double these bonuses. Given these bonuses depend on factors such as student attendance, test scores, drop-out and graduation rates, they can be incentives for dishonest reporting, a problem HISD has experienced in the past.
The same people who organized the campaigns of four trustees supporting double bonuses are behind Cruz, who would likely be one more guaranteed yes vote for proposals like this from Superintendent Terry Grier.
While some or all of the bonuses may be paid from grants or private fundraising, double bonuses sends a bad message to teachers and the public; creates incentives to game the system rather than being honest about how much students are learning; and redirects resources, whatever their source, away from better uses in the classroom.
HISD needs a better process for making decisions like this, and electing an independent-minded HISD trustee would be a good start.