Houston Schools Students Extremely Crowded Due to Bad Air

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

One Houston Schools middle school was recently closed to a chronic problem – kids, teachers and staff were constantly getting sick. What was the culprit? Mold, and lots of it. As an immediate, but temporary, fix Houston Schools’ students from that campus were relocated to another location, where they are sharing everything from desks, books, space, and teachers.
Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with this fix, but I think they are failing to see that is a temporary situation. Yes, the kids are not now getting the benefits they are used to in those Houston Schools. Crowded classrooms definitely contribute to a less-than desirable learning environment. The reality, however, is that no one in a leadership position in Houston Schools is a magician. There is no way to make everyone happy all of the time.
Health and Safety in the Houston Schools
Health and safety should be foremost in the minds of Houston Schools’ leaders. By closing the moldy school until the problem can be eliminated, the district has proven that this is the case. Parents must be happy with the steps that are being taken in order to protect their children’s health. One might question what took Houston Schools so long to recognize and deal with the problem, but that’s irrelevant. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, and we don’t know for sure what the situation was. What is important is that Houston Schools are doing what they can to solve the problem, right now.
One way that Houston Schools hope to alleviate crowding is to bring in 10 modular classrooms. These temporary buildings, also known as “portables”, must either be dismantled and trucked in from another location, or built on site. This takes time, and money. There are any number of factors that could have delayed the arrival of these structures. They are coming, and folks are just going to have to hold out a little while longer.
How the Relocation Affects Testing in Houston Schools
Another problem that concerns Houston Schools’ parents, teachers, and community members alike is that students may not do well on the TAKS –Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. 8th grade students are required to pass both the math and reading portions in order to move on to 9th grade. The concern is that because these Houston Schools students are being forced into classes with huge populations (60-70 kids), they will not acquire the skills they need to move to the next grade level.
Parents of the relocated students are extremely vocal about this concern. I wonder if anyone has thought of how this same situation is affecting the students who have had an extra school descend upon them? Getting the two Houston Schools separated back into separate locations would be of benefit to all of them.