That’s Texas logic

A new announcement from the Holy Republic of Texas:

The largest school district in Texas announced its libraries will be eliminated and replaced with discipline centers in the new school year.

Yep. They’re shutting down the school libraries. And what, you may wonder, is a “discipline center”? It’s where you send the troublemaking students to get them out of your hair.

Teachers at these schools will soon have the option to send misbehaving students to these discipline centers, or “team centers’” – designated areas where they will continue to learn remotely.

This is getting worse and worse. Now you might be curious about what has prompted this sudden decision to eliminate libraries and turn them into detention camps? It’s Texas, so it could just be cussedness and a love of ignorance. But no, they have a specific excuse.

News of the library removals comes after the state announced it would be taking over the district, effective in the 2023-24 school year, due to poor academic performance. Miles was appointed by the the Texas Education Agency in June.

That’s Texas logic. You’ve got a school system with poor academic performance, so you step in to improve it by preventing the kids from reading books.

Think it will work?


  1. says

    #FreeTexas Texas is the only state that was at one time, it’s own separate autonomous nation and, with our help, it can be again.

  2. Oggie: Mathom says

    This is Texas. Grades do not matter. Graduation sort of matters. Football (and (to a lesser extent) baseball and basketball) are absolutely paramount. Even if grades fall in the Houston area, even if kids are graduating without the knowledge needed to function in the modern world, as long as the school system starts producing football players, all is good.

  3. says

    Meanwhile in FLORIDUH, › 2023 › 08 › 03 › >>> florida-bans-ap-psychology-over-gender-identity-sexual-orientation-lessons
    AP psychology course can’t be offered over gender identity, sexual …
    2 days ago AP classes are popular in Florida, but Thursday the College Board said the state has effectively banned AP psychology because its lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity violate…

    WTF! Help, we’re trapped in a bad rewrite of 1984 mashed together with Fahrenheit 451 and written by the illiterate anti-intellectuals that want to run this crumbling society.

  4. says

    @1 Ray Ceeya said: Texas is the only state that was at one time, it’s own separate autonomous nation
    I reply: I agree, set them free from the rest of this country (along with most of those southwestern states). Let them sink into the toxic waste pool that is the Gulf of Mexico.
    Remember, Texass is the ‘lone star state’. And, that refers only to its rating: 1 out of 5 stars. (with apologies to the decent non-rtwingnuts that I know live there)

  5. Snarki, child of Loki says

    California was independent for about a week or two, before being annexed.

    Just long enough for the legislature to grab a bunch of stuff that wasn’t sufficiently nailed down, and then the USA came in and did a “yep, okay” to validate it.

    Hawai’i too was an independent empire. Supposedly one of their emperors was chosen on the basis of a surfing competition. Sometimes the old ways are best.

    Back to the subject at hand: there’s STUPID, and then there’s TEXAS STUPID. Lots bigger.

  6. Oggie: Mathom says

    Sorry. That’s what I get for not reading an entire comment. I am nothing. I am navel lint.

  7. anxionnat says

    #7–Thanks for that description of California. Spot-on! There’s several new to new-ish books out on California history–one on Calif’s history as a slave state, another about the origins of the modern far-right wing in California’s fields in the Central Valley, and a third about the history of indigenous people here, especially focusing on the more recent massacres and the origin of the Ghost Dance here. Despite Calif’s reputation as a liberal state, it wasn’t always so, and is only so today in populous coastal areas. Some really horrific history, much of it ignored when I was in school. So, yeah, your description was quite apropos.

  8. says

    Are you absolutely, positively sure this isn’t a headline from The Onion?

    Oh, wait. It’s Texas. How would you tell?

    Of course, it could be worse: It could be Oklahoma.† About a third of which is no longer part of the state because somebody decided that signed and ratified treaties actually, ya know, mean something.

    † Stationed there for several miserable years.

  9. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Not so sure about old East stuff, but wasn’t Vermont independent for a little while, after fighting their war of independence from the overbearing tyranny of New York?

  10. Erp says

    Note the parents in the school district have no real voice since the state took over in June of this year. It is the eighth largest school district in the country (close on 200,000 students, well over 200 schools). The takeover was apparently on the grounds that one high school was doing badly (the overall district was fine). The state appointed superintendent, Mike Miles, has some big ideas at least for the poor areas of the school district.
    Houston Independent School Board had been notable for deciding that masks during the pandemic were a good idea as was renaming schools named after Confederate figures.
    I strongly suspect the elimination of libraries was in the schools where most of the students have the least access to books and libraries outside school. Long live the prison pipeline.

    The state management also plans to hire uncertified teachers since so many regular teachers have resigned (probably a combo of fear of what is coming and burnout from pandemic).

  11. stwriley says

    This is both not quite as bad and much worse than it seems from what PZ has said.

    The not quite as bad part is that this is not all the schools in the district, only the 28 schools that are slated for the new superintendent’s “New Education System” program (as if we didn’t already have an education system.) So most of the district’s schools with libraries will not have them eliminated…yet.

    The much worse is exactly what Erp@13 is alluding to above, that this is a state takeover of the entire district after one high school was “low performing” on state tests a few years ago (it had since improved, by the way.) The newly appointed superintendent is a Broad Academy grad (i.e., he is deep into the reformster weeds and has no actual experience as an educator in the classroom) who failed miserably when he ran the Dallas city schools. He’s the type who believes in the reformster mantra of “disruption” and autocratic control. Not only has he been installed by the state, but the entire elected school board has been replaced by state appointees, because dog forbid that we allow a liberal city full of “those people” to control its own school system. Charles Pierce had a great article on this over at Esquire and covers some of the even less savory aspects of the takeover and Miles very well.

  12. Larry says

    @ #10

    What’s the name of the book about the right wing in the central valley? I grew up in Visalia which is smack dab in the heart of the valley (I got better after leaving). I know there were lots of dust bowl Okies and Arkies there who probably formed the core along the Portuguese dairy famers but they never appeared to be like today’s psycho-right.

  13. microraptor says

    Peak Texas: shut down libraries to turn them into prisons.

    While it’s easy to laugh at the people of Texas here, do try to remember that this is the Texas Government making decisions against the voters. Texas would actually be a purple state if it weren’t so heavily gerrymandered.

  14. StevoR says

    Think it will work?

    Work for who and doing what?

    Improving education and for the kids this is inflicted upon – absolutley not.

    At getting these fascist scum in even more power and boosting their reputations in certain very nasty reichwing circles and lack of value signalling to their fellow haters? Probly.

    @1. Ray Ceeya :

    #FreeTexas Texas is the only state that was at one time, it’s own separate autonomous nation and, with our help, it can be again.

    Do pre-European autonomous Native American civilisations and nations like Cahokia, Iroquois League of Nations, the Zuni Cibolans of Hawikuh and elsewhere and more count? See among other places :,16th_century-_2022_edition.jpg

  15. John Morales says

    It’s all a bit stupid, but best as I can tell, it’s one school district in Texas.

    (And, well, there’s the internet)

  16. John Morales says

    StevoR, this is about C23 Texas, not about C16 indigenous people.

    (Those lines on a map did not exist then)

    Also, it’s about the politicisation of education, not about sovereignty.

  17. Erp says

    @John Morales
    One school district with nearly 200,000 students.
    Also Hawaii was very much an independent country until 1893 when a coup overthrew the Native Hawaiian government and annexed by the US in 1898.

  18. says

    @1: If Texas becomes an independent state, I bet the first thing they’ll do is pass a law forbidding women from getting passports.

    We can talk about letting them sink into backwardness and pariah status, but that would entail enormous harm to MILLIONS of people in Texas, and serious knock-on effects in the USA and Mexico, possibly including civil violence and a tin-pot fascist regime.

    On the brighter side, the loss of Texas’s electoral votes will probably spell the end of the Republican Party in the USA…

  19. John Morales says

    Raging Bee, if Texas becomes an independent state, pigs will fly overhead.


    @John Morales
    One school district with nearly 200,000 students.

    Yes. One. Exactly.

    What proportion of the districts and of the students in Texas does that represent?

  20. raven says

    Yes. One. Exactly.

    What proportion of the districts and of the students in Texas does that represent?


    John Morales just threw 200,000 children under the bus.
    Those children aren’t even acceptable losses or collateral damage.
    We aren’t at war with Texas after all. The last war we had with them, they lost anyway.

    They are just victims because the fascist Texas government wants to show its power to harm people they don’t like. This Houston school district is almost all nonwhites. The Texas government is almost all…white.

    The student body at the schools served by Houston Independent School District is 9.9% White, 22.4% Black, 4.4% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 61.7% Hispanic/Latino, 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

    Houston Independent School District – U.S. News Education

    Those kids are 90% nonwhite.
    They are a majority of Latinos with 62%.
    I’m sure John Morales has no problem throwing Spanish speaking kids under the bus.

  21. John Morales says

    John Morales just threw 200,000 children under the bus.

    I have zero power over Texas, raven. So, no I did not.

    In fact, what I did is repeat the quoted claim in the OP:
    “News of the library removals comes after the state announced it would be taking over the district”. The district, not Texas.

    I’m sure John Morales has no problem throwing Spanish speaking [sic] kids under the bus.

    What a stupid claim. Your certitude is utterly unwarranted.

    Look: point is, metonymy is all well and good, but Texas is more than one school district. And, you know, school libraries are not the only libraries.

    (And, again, the internet exists)

  22. John Morales says

    BTW, raven, regarding “Latino”:
    “Usage of the term is mostly limited to the United States. Residents of Central and South American countries usually refer to themselves by national origin, rarely as Latino. Because of this, many Latin American scholars, journalists, and Indigenous-rights organizations have objected to the mass-media use of the word to refer to all people of Latin American background.”


    In Spanish (well, the Spanish of Spain) they’re called ‘suramericanos’.

    South Americans. Just so you know.

  23. says

    school libraries are not the only libraries.

    But they are the most easily accessible libraries for school-age children. And the internet costs money.

  24. John Morales says

    “The book collections will remain on the shelves at the schools with no librarians, according to the district, with students able to take them home through an honor system or access them during before and after school hours.”


    BTW, looks like at least some people aren’t happy about it:

  25. StevoR says

    @22. John Morales :

    StevoR, this is about C23 Texas, not about C16 indigenous people.
    (Those lines on a map did not exist then) Also, it’s about the politicisation of education, not about sovereignty.

    The comment I made (#19) was a reply to #1. Ray Ceeya’s : “Texas is the only state that was at one time, it’s own separate autonomous nation.. which, as noted by others ignores Hawaii but also when you consider longer time periods ignore the pre-European conquest Indigenous Native American civilisations and nations. Yeah, its a bit off topic but also a reasonable response worth noting I think. Admittedly, its being pedantic but then isn’t pedantry something you generally appreciate yourself?

  26. hemidactylus says

    @30- John Morales

    Geography lesson…Mexicans are North American. Are they still suramericanos?

    And since you’re into splitting hairs, Central America can be considered part of North America too.

    Of course there once was the peninsulares versus criollos distinction.

    Latino/a may have its detractors, but Latinx hasn’t quite caught on has it?

    There are quite a few cultural differences between Cubans, Chileans, and Mexicans so I can see Latino as a bit of a catch all.

  27. says

    Re: Hawaii, there’s no secessionist movement in Hawaii AFAIK. Texas, on the other hand, has tens of thousands who want to abandon the USA. I say let’em go. They already have their own isolated power grid. There are three major power grids in the USA. East, West, and Texas. Last year when their grid shit the bed and they had rolling brownouts in the middle of a heat wave, that was because they chose to isolate themselves. A year earlier when they all lost heat during a cold snap and Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, same problem. Texas doesn’t want to be a part of the USA and I say we should help them make their festering, cankerous dream come true. Let Texas become a Christo-Fascist/Libertarian paradise. First of all we can ship all the assholes straight there and get down to the business of actually running a functioning democracy and second we can all watch as it burns. It’ll be like turning a whole state into a reality TV show. Within one generation they’ll be begging to come back.

  28. says

    @34, seems like that movement hasn’t been very active since the 90s. I’m not dismissing it, Native Hawaiians deserve recognition and reparations, but there are a lot more stupid white people in Texas.

  29. brucej says

    It is, of course merely a remarkable coinkidink that this “largest school district in the state” is in Houston, a heavily minority, heavily Democratic city.

    This isn’t “reform” it’s a slow-roll overturn of Brown and a return to Jim Crow neglect of schools for Blacks. Bonus, the ‘discipline centers’ will likely be fertile grounds for the school-to-prison pipeline, convict enough of these teens as adults and boom, they cannot vote. Win Win for the NeoConfederacy running Texas.

  30. anxionnat says

    #16–It’s called “Right out of California” by Katherine Olmsted, and details the origins of the modern right wing during the labor wars of the 1930s in California’s Central Valley. As we used to say back in the day, what starts in California doesn’t stay in California. This is a case in point, as is the infamous Prop 13.

  31. eastexsteve says

    Texas has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country at 90%(8). And, according to the Texas education agency (TEA), African-American students graduate at 86.3%. Which is higher than many states overall rate, including California, Oregon, and Washington to name a few.

    Years of poor academic performance at one school, Phyllis Wheatley high school, led to this takeover of HISD. It’s all about republicans flexing their political muscle someplace they would otherwise not be able to. Texas already leads the nation in the number of banned books, expect more.

    A better question might be what percentage of those graduates are ready for college level classes?

  32. anat says

    John Morales @28: Mexico is in North America. Guatemala is in Central America. South-Americans excludes people from those (and several other) countries. What is the Spanish term for people from countries in the Americas where Spanish or Portuguese are spoken by the plurality of the population?

  33. says

    John Morales@30,

    It is true that the books will be there, but the librarians and media specialists will not be.

    If there is no one to run the library, and books are leave on honor system with no one to track which kid has which book, how long do you think the library will be useable (even assuming no malice on the kids, books will be lost, ot returned, etc.). There will be no librarian running inventory, examining new books, etc. The libraries will decline into less useful versions of themselves every year.

  34. magistramarla says

    I can address your question from one former Texas teacher’s perspective.
    I taught at a huge high school in another Texas city for seven years. I was one of the original faculty members when we opened the brand-new high school. We had a very diverse population – mostly non-white. Some of our students lived in Mcmansions, while others were living in cars or couch-surfing.
    The district’s stated goal was a 100% graduation rate. That may sound like a great goal, but it didn’t really benefit our students. They knew that no matter how poorly they performed, come report card time, the teachers had to “sprinkle pixie dust”, as one of my colleagues so aptly put it, and their F would magically become a D. Many didn’t even try to learn.
    I was once called into an administrator’s office for having too many failures during the first grading period. When I explained that this was mostly freshmen who would improve quickly after they learned that I was going to hold them accountable for turning in their work, the administrator turned that responsibility onto me. She told me to declare every Friday an in-class make-up day so that the students would have supervised classroom time to do the weekly assignments.
    I was also expected to continue to complete teaching the entire curriculum, which was a challenge with 5 days of instructional time every week without losing a day of instructional time.
    The sad thing was that this “spoon-feeding” was expected to be done even in AP classes. I watched as some of our school’s top students confidently went off to college, only to return home after one or two failing semesters to take classes at the local community college. The schools in our district had not taught the best and brightest how to self-manage their time or how to be accountable for completing their work in a timely manner without supervision.
    I saw some students who were wildly successful, but far too many of them were not prepared for life after high school.
    When my husband was offered a great opportunity in another state, I turned in my resignation.

  35. eastexsteve says

    I’ve heard similar stories from some x-teachers that I know as well. So many have left the profession it’s putting a real strain on the entire system, like hiring non-credentialed teachers.

    Something that highly motivated students can do is earn an associate degree by the time they graduate, and start college as junior’s. It’s very difficult, but the kid’s that I know who have done it are very happy they did so.

  36. Rob Grigjanis says

    anat @40: Latinoamericano (for which ‘Latino’ is shorthand). It originally included French speakers.

  37. John Morales says

    Since Rob weighed in, hispanohablantes [Spanish speakers] or hispanófonos [hispanophone in English, equivalent to anglophone].

    (You’re confusing the language with the country, which is why I wrote what I did, since I do not

  38. John Morales says

    Oh, missed this.

    Geography lesson…Mexicans are North American. Are they still suramericanos?

    No. Bloody obviously. They’re Mexican.

    Better question would have been whether Canadians are norteamericanos.

    Nope. :) They’re not Yankees.

  39. unclefrogy says

    I am appalled how self-destructive the conservatives reaction and solutions to real world issues are.
    During the Vietnam war it was “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”. It is the same reaction today.
    The problem with separation or succession is not at all simple and clean cut. The factions are thoroughly mixed amongst each other If there could be a workable way to do such a thing maybe but there is no such way.
    To just split off some part of the country would be to condemn many to abuse and subjugation and in the end not solve any of the problems that inspire such stupid antique ideas.

  40. says

    Poor US neighborhoods are often described as food deserts because of the absence of supermarkets.

    Now the rightwing scum are turning those neighborhoods into book deserts, denying kids from poor families of their only access to books. The poor can’t afford them, and public libraries are as distant as supermarkets.