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HISD Student Congress

Kids today, with their “getting involved” and their “having their voices heard”, I tell you.

The high school students gave up their Saturday afternoon, meeting at the downtown library with laptops and legal pads to brainstorm ideas for improving the Houston Independent School District.

“Let’s say class sizes are too large at some schools in HISD,” said Zaakir Tameez, a senior at Carnegie Vanguard High School. “Then, the question is, how do we fix the issue?”

“Funding,” suggested one student.

“Lobby,” said another.

The nine teenagers at the meeting help lead a newly formed group called HISD Student Congress, a grassroots effort to give students a greater voice in their education. It’s a bit like a district-wide student council, but organizers say they’ll focus on policies, not prom.

“Student-led, student-run,” said Tameez, 17.

The group will have limited power, unlike some districts outside Texas that give students a seat, if not a vote, on the school board.

But the teenagers have clout in numbers; they’re representing more than 215,000 students of all ages across the district. They can attend school board meetings en masse and testify before trustees. They also plan to have their own radio show on KPFT (90.1 FM) and are negotiating to meet monthly with high-level HISD staff, just as teacher associations do.

The group’s website, designed by students, explains its inspiration: “When we graduate, we will have spent nearly 16,000 hours in the school system, yet we have rarely been asked for our opinion or given feedback. Isn’t it time we change that?”

Good question. I’d be in favor of having greater student representation on the HISD Board, if the question ever arises. Their website is here, and for those of you who know him, Zaakir Tameez is the son of local political consultant Mustafa Tameez. The elder Tameez he’s “barred from the meetings” and is relegated to chauffeur duty only. Which, with all due respect, is as it should be for this. Keep up the good work, y’all.

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One Comment

  1. Joe White says:

    Great to see them getting involved and speaking up, but a bit presumptuous in anointing themselves “the voice of 200,000+ students”, since they are self-appointed and not elected.