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Welcome to the web site of the Houston Area Survey (HAS), now completing its twenty-third year of systematic survey research. The site is continually being updated to incorporate the most recent reports and the findings from the latest survey, conducted in the early spring of each year.

Click here  for a brief description of the purpose and methodology of this research program.

Click here (All Survey Questions) for a compilation of all the questions that have ever been asked in the Houston surveys across the 23 years (1982-2004), along with the distribution of responses obtained from the successive representative samples of Harris County residents. The items are presented in their exact wording, with an indication (in parentheses) of the year(s) when the question was asked. Clicking on the variable name associated with the question will give the distribution of responses in each of the survey years when the item was included.

Click here (Current PowerPoint) to download the most recent PowerPoint presentation, which depicts some of the important trends the surveys have revealed.

Click here  (Research Reports) for an executive summary of the 1996 report that described the first-ever survey of Houston“s Asian communities, and for a downloadable pdf file containing the 32-page published manuscript on the expanded 2002 survey, which also focused on the experiences and perceptions of Houston“s four major ethnic communities. The newest report, summarizing the most important changes in public perceptions that have occurred across the 23 years of Houston surveys, is in preparation and is expected to be released in the fall of 2004.

Click here (Other Publications) for an updated list of additional articles, book chapters, reports, and manuscripts that have presented the survey findings and are available on request.

Click here (Research Opportunities) to learn about two programs associated with the Houston Area Survey: (a) the regular two-year HAS post-doctoral research fellowship in the sociology department at Rice University, and (b) the ”HAS Summer Fellowships,‘ which offer stipends to encourage and support graduate student research using data from the Houston surveys.

Click here (Contributing Sponsors) for a list of the organizations and individuals whose vision and generosity have made this research possible.

Click here (Contact) to contact Stephen L. Klineberg, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology at Rice University and the founding-director of the Houston Area Survey. This is the place to go for further information about the surveys, to order copies of any of the HAS publications, or for the SPSS data files themselves.

Houston Independent School District

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest public school system in Texas, and the seventh-largest in the United States. Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities in addition to some unincorporated areas. Like most districts in Texas it is independent of the city of Houston and all other municipal and county jurisdictions. The district has its headquarters in the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center in Houston.

In the 1920s, at the time Edison Oberholtzer was superintendent, Hubert L. Mills, the business manager of the district, had immense political power in HISD. He had been in the employment of the district over one decade before Oberholtzer started. By the 1930s the two men were in a power struggle.

In the 1920s, the school district expanded its infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of black students. There were 8,293 students in Houston's schools for black students in the 1924-1925 school year. In 1927, Houston ISD annexed the Harrisburg School District's colored school. The district also built new schools such as the former Jack Yates High School (later Ryan Middle School) and Wheatley High School. The capacity of Houston's secondary schools for black children increased by three times from 1924 to 1929. The original secondary school for blacks was named Colored High School (now Booker T. Washington High School). At the time, the district's three secondary schools for black students had junior high and senior high levels. There were 12,217 students in the black schools in the 1929-1930 school year. William Henry Kellar, author of Make Haste Slowly: Moderates, Conservatives, and School Desegregation in Houston, wrote that conditions in black schools "improved dramatically" in the 1920s.

In the fall of 1960 12 black students were admitted to HISD schools previously reserved for whites. The racial integration efforts in HISD, beginning in 1960, were characterized by a lack of violence and turmoil as business leaders sought not to cause disruption. Prior to 1960 HISD was the largest racially segregated school system in the United States.

Simultaneously Mexican Americans were being discriminated against when they were being labeled as whites and being put with only African Americans as part of HISD's desegregation / integration plan. This kept both Mexican Americans and African Americans away from Anglos while satisfying integration requirements set forth by the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court case decision. Many Mexican Americans took their children out of the public schools and put them in "huelga," or protest schools. On August 31, 1970 and organized by the Mexican-American Education Council (MAEC), they began three weeks of boycotts, protests, and picketing. This action lasted approximately three weeks, during which up to 75% of the student bodies of some high schools participated in the boycotts. During the protests MAEC demanded twenty issues to be resolved and HISD began rezoning school areas within its jurisdiction in response. However, this rezoning encouraged "white flight" since minorities were now entering "white schools" in large numbers. At first the district used forced busing, but later switched to a voluntary magnet school program in order to discourage "white flight".

In 2011 the Texas Education Agency ordered the North Forest Independent School District (NFISD) to close, pending approval from the U.S. Justice Department. NFISD would be merged into HISD.

In 1977, group of citizens in western Houston tried to form Westheimer Independent School District out of a portion of Houston ISD. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the appeals after formation of the district was denied.

HISD once served the Harris County portion of Stafford, until the Stafford Municipal School District was established in 1982 to serve the entire city of Stafford. Most of Stafford was in Fort Bend ISD, with a small amount in Houston ISD.

In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, and the United States Department of Justice began an investigation probing business relationships between Micro Systems Enterprises, a vendor, and HISD. Frankie Wong, former president of Micro Systems, and two Dallas Independent School District administrators received criminal charges.

Houston ISD offers three specialized programs, magnet programs, vanguard programs, and neighborhood vanguard programs. Each magnet program has a special focus and draws students throughout HISD. Each vanguard program is a gifted and talented program for students throughout HISD. A neighborhood vanguard program is a program designed for gifted and talented children zoned to a particular school. As of 2011, its 113 programs served almost 20% of the HISD student population. Carnegie Vanguard High School is Houston ISD's most notable vanguard school because it consistently ranks in the top 10 best public high schools in the country.

HISD, which officially first opened its magnet system in 1975, started them as a way to voluntarily racially integrate schools. The High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) was technically the first magnet school in Houston; this status was mistakenly attributed to River Oaks Elementary School. In 1984 the district had 75 magnet programs. By the mid-1990s many magnet schools no longer held the goal of integration and instead focused on improving educational quality of schools. As of 2011 magnet schools continued to be popular among HISD constituents.

In April 1997 a lawsuit against HISD seeking to end race-based admissions to magnet schools was filed on behalf of two white applicants to Lanier Middle School who were denied admission because the quota for White students was filled. The lawsuit was funded by the group "Campaign for a Color-Blind America". That year, as a result of this lawsuit, HISD removed the ethnic guidelines to Vanguard enrollment.

Of the 9th graders that were in the graduating classes of 2004-2005 in the district, 15% successfully obtained bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. The U.S. average was 23%. In the District of Columbia Public Schools, 9% of its equivalent 9th grade class received a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science and/or higher.

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