does, and is influential in selecting its members. In Allan IDEA’s case, its governing structure is some 300 miles away in South Texas, where IDEA is headquartered. The school did put in place a local advisory board, but the Austin district’s authority over IDEA Allan is restricted to what is stipulated in the partnership contract.
Those differences never sat well in Austin where government transparency and accountability are highly valued.
Ending the contract also poses challenges. The biggest of those is improving performance and graduation rates of Eastside Memorial High and the schools that feed into it. In the past, Eastside Memorial has failed to meet state standards. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told us this week he views the Austin board’s vote to dissolve the IDEA partnership as “a local matter.” He said he would not rush to make a decision regarding Eastside Memorial but would wait to see what the district does to address the school’s low performance. That is a wise decision. Eastside did not get into academic trouble overnight and lasting solutions require time and a little patience, something that has been lacking as programs, principals and teachers have been rotated like flavors of the month.
We urge Carstarphen and trustees to include the community this time in searching for solutions.