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Houston Independent School District needs an independent voice to ensure wise use of resources

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.


  • HellloAnyone 4 years ago

    I dont think being endorsed by the Teachers Union with 10K campaign contribution makes Ms. Stipeche an independent minded trustee. What bothers me more is that she ran an unsuccessful campaign for judge earlier this year. Now she is attempting again with the school board elections. At least leave children out of your politcal career ambitions.

  • Profile picture of Jesse Alred
    Jesse Alred 4 years ago

    Hello Anyone,
    You have seven votes going the same way my friend. Any vote going the other at least ensures discussions before they make STUPID DECISIONS LIKE THIS ONE. What do you think teachers doing the work in that school think--or the students whose parents are making thirty thousand a year think. Money motivates, but not if you are giving big bucks only to people outside the classroom.

  • HelloAnyone 4 years ago

    The Houston Chronicle endorsed Judith Cruz after screening all of the candidates. You are endorsing Juliet, and I am curious if you screened both of them. How do you know Judith is not an independent thinker? Perhaps you are not aware that Judith Cruz has been in the classroom for 8 YEARS and would be well aware of what her collegues think about the issues.

  • Profile picture of Jesse Alred
    Jesse Alred 4 years ago

    Yes, I have seen Ms. Cruz speak and she does have some inside knowledge of schools. But these candidates usually vote the way the coalition that puts them into office wants them to. All four of the candidates supported by the Arnold Foundations were also endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, and all four backed doubling bonuses for administrators. The bonuses are more than most parents at those schools make a year. HISD needs better vetting of its policies. Ms. Stipeche has a lot of energy, and research and advocacy skills as a lawyer, and she will not be afraid to challenge bad proposals.

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