Houston pastor questions TEA takeover of Houston schools, calls move a ‘power grab’

The pastor of a Houston church questioned the state’s takeover of local schools, saying it’s fueled in part by politics. Image: kyo azuma|Unsplash

Bp. James Dixon, the pastor of Houston's The Community of Faith Church and NAACP Houston Chapter head, asked about the motivation behind the state's takeover of the city's school district.

According to a U.S. News report, Bishop Dixon suspects the move is a 'power grab' because the Houston Independent School District (ISD) and the counties of Houston and Harris have been supporting Democratic candidates.

A Republican 'Power Grab'?

The U.S. News article quoted Bishop Dixon questioning the motive behind the Texas Education Agency's takeover of Houston schools.

"It begs to be asked, why is TEA taking over a school district that it gives a B grade based on the issue of one high school out of 20 plus high schools that at one time had a failing grade but now has a C grade. What is the motivation?" U.S. News quoted Dixon saying.

The news outlet disclosed that Houston residents staged a press conference and protest on March 3 to protest TEA's announcement of taking over Houston ISD. The issue also prompted Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to urge President Biden to kickstart a civil rights probe.

Lee represents Harris County in the state senate. The county oversees much of Houston, the report noted.

"I want the Department of Education to investigate, based on questions of equal protection of law and due process, whether or not there is discrimination and whether or not there is any way that there can be a resolution with the state working with the local school district without completely stripping the local school board," Lee told U.S. News.

The report mentioned that Lee's office joined forces with fellow Democratic lawmakers from Austin to send documentation to the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. The office is now poring over the materials Lee and her companions sent over.

Meanwhile, Bishop Dixon added that he has a hunch about the motivation behind the impending school takeover by TEA. Dixon said the Houston and Harris counties, including Houston ISD, have 'traditionally voted Democrat.' 

"So this seems to be a political power grab by our Republican governor and by the conservative-controlled TEA. If we cannot control HISD and the county through voting, then we have to use unscrupulous means and methodology by which we can regain control. That's what this is really all about," Dixon lamented.

The Houston pastor's claims seemed plausible, the news outlet noted. U.S. News disclosed that voters in Houston have been throwing support behind the candidacies of Democrats for over 10 years. Most of Houston's city officials also belong to the same political party. They include Houston ISD's school board members comprised of predominantly Hispanic and Black members.

About The Community of Faith Church in Houston

Its website says The Community of Faith Church in Houston began in 1873 with Rev. Jack Henry Yates, a former enslaved person, as its first pastor. The church was then known as Mount Pillow Missionary Baptist Church.

The website adds that Rev. Charlie Daniel James Dixon became the church's interim pastor in 1927 before the congregation voted him to become its permanent pastor after a few months. 

The church changed its name to Greater Mount Pillow Missionary Baptist Church in 1972 before finally settling for its present name. Its current pastor, Bp. James Dixon, was only 18 when he became the church's leader in July 1981. He is Rev. C.D. Dixon's grandson.

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