Far too often, superintendents and school administrators are forced to implement programs and policies they do not endorse because they are mandated by the Texas Education Agency, not locally elected officials. The issue of where the locus of control lies has been an ongoing push and pull between school districts and TEA for years. However, since the onset of the pandemic, the autocratic decision- making at the state level has increased at an alarming rate.

This escalation began as an innocuous attempt to assist districts in planning how to end a school year during a statewide shutdown, through guidance on grade promotion and graduation. However, this guidance quickly became a detrimental top-down decision-making pattern affecting all aspects of school operations, from books to buses. This includes diverting federal stimulus funds from school districts to purchase software and curriculum at the state level that most local educators do not need or want.

Richard Yoes is assistant superintendent for instruction and professional learning at Brazosport ISD.

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