Black school shutdown fight

There was a rally outside of Yates High School Tuesday evening. The whole purpose was to send a strong message: our black high schools will not be shut down.

“We will not stand by and allow this to happen. You will not get your bulldozers into our school,” says Gerry Monroe with the Yates Alumni Association. “What you will do is create World War III, us against you.”

These supporters and graduates of some of Houston’s predominantly black high schools are ready for a fight. Their concerned that schools like Wheatley, Kashmere and Worthing will face closure or risk being taken over after performing poorly for years.

While this rally of about three dozen people took place outside of Jackie Yates High School in the Third Ward, that school is not on the “improvement required list”, meaning as of now, it's not facing a closure or takeover. Gerry Monroe called a meeting to warn HISD board members and leadership they won't sit by and allow schools that have been around for decades to be shut down or managed by outside entities.

“HISD is proposing to do partnerships with nonprofits and local colleges like Lone Star College, Prairie View A&M to come in and take over schools that are struggling and failing,” Monroe said. “They will get rid of the school student population and they will only bring back 9th grade, which would only be 150 students. So at Kashmere, you have a population of I’m going to say six, seven, eight hundred. What happens to the rest of the kids? They would send them to other schools. You know okay but nd that's the problem we have right now. The other thing that stuck out is they would fire, or not renew, 100 percent of the teachers' contracts at that particular school.”

Monroe is not on the soap box by himself. He was joined by community leaders and others like Travis Mcgee who say HISD has dropped the ball and it’s time for supporters to insure the future of poorly performing schools.

“I'm asking everybody to wake up also. It’s going to take everybody. It has to be a zero tolerance approach. You cannot continue to go to the board meeting, begging for something that's already yours,” Mcgee said.

That is exactly what Monroe and others plan to do to make sure that their voices are heard by the decision makers in the school district – organize and pack the room where HISD leaders can be found.

“We're going to have a community meeting on February 12 but our next plan of action is to go into the school board meeting next Thursday night. And make sure that they understand that African American education and African American communities is not going nowhere. By any means necessary,” Moroe said.

Former HISD school board president Wanda Adams is on the Factor to talk about the issue.