Daily Archives: July 5, 2012

Kilroy bids farewell to Ronald L. Houston Sr.

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Ronald L. Houston Sr. was a dedicated educator.

Houston died June 13, 2012 at Prince George Hospital in Maryland. He was 69. He was a resident of Philadelphia for 43 years.

Born on June 22, 1942 to Robert and Flora Houston in Princeton, W. Va., he attended Princeton High School, graduated from Bluefield State College in Bluefield W.Va. with a degree in chemistry and was a member of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Houston received his master’s in education from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

Houston spent his adult life in the field of education, as a teacher in secondary schools, as a principal and most recently as the director for the school improvement at the Delaware Department of Education. He was also the state director for Title I and held officer positions in several education associations. He played a key role in the enforcement and administration of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in the Delaware public schools.

Prior to his work at the Delaware Department of Education, Houston was a researcher for 13 years at Research for Better Schools, a college professor, school administrator and teacher. He was instrumental in the development of several reform efforts and is published in the area of education of disadvantaged children.

Outside of his career in education, Houston was an avid Temple University basketball fan and loved spending time with his five grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, Houston was predeceased by two nephews, Dialo Evans and Robert Houston Jr. and his sister, Barbara Houston Chandler.

He is survived by his two sons, Ronald Houston and his wife, Ia , and Shawn G.A. Houston and his wife, Michelle; sister, Delores Houston Anderson and her husband, Carl; two brothers, Robert W.L. Houston and Claude D. Houston; five nieces and nephews, Jill Houston, Sherry Houston, Calvin Benjamin Chandler Jr., Todd Houston and Jamil Evans; and five grandchildren, Ronald III, Cheo, Asha, Nathan and Jade.

Funeral services were held June 21. Burial was in Northwood Cemetery at 1501 Haines St.

Condolences can be sent to Alfonso Cannon Funeral Home, 2315 N. Broad St., Phila., Pa. 19132.

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Ron Houston was from the old-school when Title 1 was a civil rights movement where Title 1 parent’s rights were forged in Wilmington Delaware by William “Hicks” Anderson and his disciples.

Many don’t know the history of Title 1 where parents took the power and had an active role in Title 1 programming. Ron Houston was the parent’s go to person at Delaware Department of Education. Ron Houston protected those right and would tell you straight up if you were wrong or right. He was last of the real parent partners in the State of Delaware. His agenda was keeping parents informed and involved. Parents had high expectations of Ron Houston’s role in parental involvement. And I must not forget Valerie Woodruff who “was” hands-on with Title 1 parents. It wasn’t that uncommon to see Valerie and Ron working side-by-side with parents at workshops and they we in it heart and soul. I knew politically there were limits as to their powers but you just know when someone is sincere! I  never felt patronized  when working with Ron and Val.

On a few occasions I’ve told Ron that, “when Martin Luther King made it to the mountain top he had to wade through a valley of tears.” Education has always been a core component of the civil rights movement. And the high-jacking of parental involvement promised via Title 1 Section 1118 by Arne Duncan, Jack Markell and the Wall Street education clones has stifled a movement that began in the 1960’s. Government, Wall Street and the local business roundtables all think they know whats best for parents and their children. Well, they are 100% wrong!

It is very disheartening that every-time we lose a great educator like Ron Houston or one of Hicks Anderson disciples the flame that led the civil rights movement on education flickers lower and lower. Giving that torch to Wall Street and their political clones is like handing over a blank check.

Brother Ron is in a place where he feels no more pain and looking down upon us alongside Hicks Anderson, Martin Luther King and all those who helped kick-down the the civil rights barriers in education.

Rest in peace Ron.