Head of Texas Education Agency tours Eastside Memorial
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
The head of the Texas Education Agency stopped by Eastside Memorial High School Thursday after students reached out, saying they’re tired of constant changes.
Students of the East Austin high school wrote Michael Williams, the Texas Commissioner of Education, pleading for help as their school has been in a whirlwind of disruption since its inception in 2008.
The latest proposed change for the school would have turned it into an IDEA charter school. The Austin Independent School District canceled its contract with IDEA in December, leaving students and teachers again unsure of their school’s future.
"Eastside is not numbers. We're not numbers,” student Elijah Cofield said. “We're human beings just like everybody else."
That’s the message that Cofield and his fellow students intended to send in their letter to Commissioner Williams.
"I feel like we don't need no third party, no fourth party, no fifth party and no second party. We just need Eastside Memorial and stability," Cofield said.
Because it's the instability, according to student Julian Medrano, that is holding their school back.
"This fear of teachers thinking they're not going to be here next year or even students thinking that the school isn't going to be here doesn't help,” he said.
The commissioner is listening.
"The lasting impression is that this is a school and a community and a family that cares a great deal for each other," Williams said.
But as for calming any worries about the school's future, he could only explain what's next.
"The district needs to be able to demonstrate to me that they have a plan that they can put in place in short order," Williams said.
That plan must come before May or June when Williams will make his decision.
There will be an AISD school board meeting on Saturday to discuss the future of Eastside Memorial, as well as a potential bond election. It will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at AISD's Carruth Administration Center located at 1111 West Sixth Street.