Local leaders, parents respond to state audit identifying TEA investigation deficiencies

KDBC
Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 11:53pm

Parents and local leaders are reacting after a recently released state audit showed the Texas Education Agency's 2010 investigation into cheating at the El Paso Independent School District failed to detect to widespread cheating.

EPISD school board member-elect Susie Byrd believes there are plenty of fingers to point when it comes to the deficiencies in the TEA's investigation into cheating allegations.

"There's been multiple failures. At the local board governance level, there's been a failure at the state level, I think there's in fact been failures at the federal level," said Byrd.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke is also disappointed that the agency failed to investigate some allegations of cheating, disregarded credible information and never sent anyone to El Paso during the investigation.

"TEA certainly under the previous commissioner really let this community down, really let the state down, through their inability to follow up on accusations that turned out to be well founded of cheating," said O'Rourke.

Moving forward, Byrd said the only way to recover is to hold local leaders accountable at all levels.

"We have to make sure that everybody's accountable and that those people that have oversight are appropriately using that oversight to ensure that kids Are not bring robbed of a quality education," she said.

Accountability is exactly what EPISD parents are asking for as well.

"They're real quick to get rid of our board because they were culpable they were at fault, etc.,etc. Who's going to get removed from TEA? That's what I want to know," said Maria Solomon, a parent with two children in EPISD schools.

TEA officials said there was different management in 2010, and said the local leaders in place now are taking a different, more aggressive approach.

That is something Congressman O'Rourke said he is optimistic about.

"I'm hopeful and I've seen some good signs from our current commissioner that TEA will be able to turn that around."

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