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**Exploring Houston ISD Campuses with TEA Chief Mike Morath Amid Educational Reforms**

Dominic Anthony Walsh/Houston Public Media

Following his tour of HISD campuses on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath engaged with the media.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath made his first visit to campuses during instruction since his announcement. He highlighted the significant shift in student engagement in rigorous academic discussions, emphasizing the holistic educational experience that fosters joy, love, and zest for learning.

Morath commended the “New Education System (NES)” reform program as a crucial initiative to enhance student test scores. The program mandates a district-approved model of instruction and centrally created curriculum across 85 NES campuses, aiming to narrow the gap in test scores between different student groups.

While celebrating achievements in various areas, Morath stressed the importance of balanced education encompassing academic subjects, extracurriculars, and character development.

However, the reforms have sparked mixed reactions within the community, with concerns raised about the centralized curriculum, staffing changes, and the impact on libraries and reading materials.

Despite the controversies, 26 campuses, including Westbury and Sharpstown high schools, are set to transition to NES. An additional 24 schools have the opportunity to apply for NES status.

Before his role as education commissioner, Morath served as a school board trustee in Dallas ISD, where a similar reform program, “”, was implemented.

To ensure a return to elected trustee control in Houston ISD, the district must address issues such as meeting state standards, improving special education compliance, and adopting TEA-approved governance practices.

Morath’s oversight includes evaluating the progress made by the appointed Board of Managers in meeting the intervention goals and ultimately transitioning back to elected trustee control.