Houston Forward Times

19 February 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

HISD NEEDS AN “EXTREME MAKEOVER”

JBoney Speaks PHOTO - Copy

Everybody who truly knows me knows that I am an experienced business man and have a business mind. I have worked in the private sector; in Corporate America; in the non-profit world; and I’ve owned my own business for nearly two decades. I know my way around business.

One thing that I know, in being immersed in business, is that every business will have its own unique set of challenges at one point or another. When a business faces challenges and when issues arise, the leadership or owners of that business must acknowledge those challenges and develop a strategy to fix the problems and turn things around.

Whether a business is losing money, losing clients/customers, failing to generate a profit or tarnishing the overall brand of the business, you must look at the leadership of that business first, in order to find out who needs to be held accountable for the current state of the business.

In all my many years of experience, I have never seen a business fail to make major adjustments within their organization in order to right the ship; many times that means firing anyone in leadership who were not providing clear direction and who was not making sure that the business was providing the clients/customers with the service they deserved.

One other important point to make surrounding these decisions that are made is that leadership rarely ever makes a decision to completely shut down their entire operation or close their business because of these challenges or issues.

Mostly, they are able to quickly decipher that many of their problems stem from poor leadership and a lack of clear direction.

True leaders brainstorm ideas and perform an audit or SWOT analysis so they can determine what the root cause of the problems are and decide what the proper course of action should be.

I have seen many businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, who have had financial issues and changes in the market and made critical decisions that helped the company recover.

We often hear about and see businesses file bankruptcy in order to avoid being swallowed up by debt owed to creditors. They make this decision in order to avoid completely shutting down and to effectively regroup and start over with a new slate.

We must look at our community schools like we look at a business; as a matter of fact it is a business.

Our community schools are like franchises for a major business, which happens to be the Houston Independent School District (HISD) or any other school district across the country that is closing community schools.

Think about McDonald’s for instance. McDonald’s is the epitome of a successful business enterprise and they know a thing or two about customer service. As a McDonald’s franchise owner, one would expect the leadership from company headquarters to make sure you had the same resources and training that each and every one of their stores had in order to be successful.

But imagine if the leadership decided to treat you unfairly as a franchise owner and made a conscious decision to not provide you with the necessary resources and training you need to be as successful as your peers.

Can you imagine not having cups, napkins, condiments, hamburger patties, hamburger buns or employee and management training to operate your franchise? Of course not; your store would struggle.

But because McDonald’s cares about its overall brand and because they want to provide quality customer service, they invest the same resources and training into each and every franchise they bring on board, because they want equal success and increased brand awareness.

Our schools have customers and they are called students and parents; unfortunately these customers aren’t receiving the same resources and training that their peers are receiving in other parts of the city. It is a travesty.

It is beyond time for HISD to have an "Extreme Makeover" School Edition which also applies to other school districts across the country that has chosen this horrendous education model. This "Extreme Makeover" must start with the removal of the current leadership; that means firing Superintendent Terry Grier and voting out the current Board of Trustees who believe in embracing an educational approach that decimates local communities of color.

Once this overhaul of leadership takes place and HISD starts over, each HISD school must begin to receive the same resources, attention and marketing that others get and if handled right, no other school should be put on the chopping blocks ever again.

So you can continue to extend Terry Grier’s contract; give him unlimited and unchecked power; pay him $300k per year; give him monthly stipends; give him over $115k in bonuses--all for getting the following back in return: closed schools, fired seasoned teachers; non-committed principals with high turnover; and the removal of much needed programs.

Or you can decide that new leadership is needed; a drastic makeover is necessary; and at the end of the day, you can choose to be on the same page with the same message. That message is:

Terry Grier has got to go!

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .