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Friday, April 20, 2018

Staff Editorial

Charter school should adhere to TEA ruling


Benji’s Special Educational Academy welcomed students to classes on Tuesday, disregarding a state order to close up shop. The Houston Chronicle reported that “a state appointed board of managers had voted to shut down the Fifth Ward charter school effective (Wednesday), but the school founder and chief executive Theaola Robinson told parents Tuesday night to bring their children.”

The school’s 2010 academic rating — according to the Texas Education Agency — was deemed unacceptable, which leads us to believe that, regardless of what students and parents are saying, it’s not somewhere we’d send our kids.

Robinson was paid a $120,000 salary in 2009, according to the Chronicle, and wasn’t alone in her refusal to accept the state’s decision.

State Rep. Harold Dutton has made it a race-related issue.

“I think TEA (Texas Education Agency) is on a mission to destroy charter schools that are run by black folks,” Dutton said, apparently unaware of the fact that Benji’s has failed to meet federal academic standards in four of the last five years.

The TEA is in place to guarantee the finest education for the children of the city of Houston, as best it’s able, and it sounds to us like politicians who have no reason to get involved are interfering with the process.

“There is no state money flowing to the school so I don’t know how they’ll pay teachers,” TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe told the Chronicle. “[And] the textbooks they’re using are state books. The desks they’re using have been purchased with state funds. All of that is something that will have to get resolved over the coming days.”

As it should be, really. Or perhaps they could just cut back on Robinson’s salary, and the students could keep their books and desks.

This isn’t a race issue, and it certainly isn’t an issue of socio-economic status; it’s an issue of a school being unfit to educate the children of our city, and the public should be furious with the likes of Theaola Robinson, Jarvis Johnson and Harold Dutton, who in reality are complacent with children in this city getting an awful education.


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