The best part of my mom’s roast beef dinners was sopping up the meat juice with a piece of Wonder bread.
The first thing that came to mind when reading about Support our Public Schools (SOPS) involvement in funding a petition drive to place home rule for Dallas ISD on the ballot next fall was gravy. Sopping it up, slurping it up, and smacking their lips afterward.
Why else would a group of anonymous donors led by Houston philanthropist and former Enron trader John Arnold want to spend money on this scheme?
The group’s letter to trustees says that “too many of our schools are failing, resulting in substantial parental flight, particularly within middle-class Anglo and African-American communities. As a result, too many schools are operating at well below full capacity, limiting student resources and representing a threat to continued neighborhood vitality should they be forced to close due to further enrollment declines or State action”.
Really? That horse left the barn a long time ago. This group’s supposed educational improvements, longer school days and a longer school year, aren’t going to attract middle class families; on the contrary, such policies will send them fleeing to the suburbs even faster.
From the Dallas Morning News: “Stephen Jones, a tax attorney and the group’s secretary, said in a statement Saturday, “This process allows Dallas ISD to customize operation of our schools in a manner that suits our kids, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach that is currently dictated by Austin.”
“Our kids” Who exactly does Jones consider his kids? And what does the group want to “customize” for them? Apparently the freedoms they want to have include larger elementary class sizes and a “curriculum that’s cheaper to implement”. Another perk for home rule schools is that state mandated salary schedules and contract requirements do not apply. It’s a whole new world, and it’s not pretty.
So how does any of this, cheaper curriculum, cheaper staff, larger class sizes, longer days, and a longer year, benefit “our kids” and attract families considering Dallas as a home?
It doesn’t and it’s not meant to. The only possible reason for this scheme is money. Controlling the $1.3 billion dollars Dallas ISD money stream is the goal. That’s why rich white folks have been buying trustee seats lately. Six trustee votes are all that’s needed in case the petition initiative fails.
If home rule is enacted, the elected board of trustees could be replaced by members appointed by a commission. The board will no longer represent taxpayers even though they will have the legal authority to levy and collect taxes from them. Any guesses as to whom they will answer to?
Home rule sounds so good. What could be better than local control?
That is why SOPS, with their paid lackeys at the polls Tuesday, will get the signatures they need.
They will pass out fancy literature, and uninformed voters will think they are doing something that will benefit Dallas schoolchildren. Voters will see the words “local control” and say “well of course, count me in!”
But this is about “controlling the locals”, not “local control”. Like at any charter, parents have only as much input into their local “home rule” school as the school permits. Where in the SOPS public release do they promise parents anything?
What signers, and voters next fall, will not realize, until it is too late, is that they have signed away their rights to the democratic process of controlling public education through the election of representatives, and handed their schools over to a group whose claimed goals hide the fact that they are more interested in your money than your kids.
A group of Texas school board presidents and superintendents representing 12 Texas districts recently came out with a commentary labeling Home Rule a Trojan Horse. From that commentary in the Weatherford Democrat:
“ The danger to advocating Home Rule District charter schools is in the misrepresentation of the benefit itself. We do not need an alternative form of local governance to run our schools. We respect and defend the very democracy that allows us to govern by electing local school board members from within our own communities.”
Just say NO! Tell your friends and family not to sign the petition. Facebook, tweet, Snapchat and Instagram! Stop it now!