Will Dallas ISD Ever Make Any Sense?

disd-nonsense-lgThe recent DISD board of trustees meeting, which began on July 21, 2014 and extended into the wee hours of July 22, was a window into who is really in control of the district. Despite grand statements and posturing, despite many on the board agreeing that they had indeed not yet done a formal evaluation of the superintendent, and despite wisdom which screams the need for evaluation prior to contract negotiation, the board voted 7-2 to extend Miles’ contract.

The meeting began at 5:30 pm. Of particular note, Stephen Mansfield, the new president of the Dallas Regional Chamber, was present. So was Trisha Windham, director of Educate Dallas, the PAC of the Dallas Regional Chamber, as well as Angela Farley, Vice President of education for the Chamber and on the board of the Dallas Education Foundation.

This might not be considered unusual, except that there were very few members of the public present, as the meeting was expected to go into closed session immediately. Were they there to ensure that eight of the nine trustees had a visual reminder of the vast amounts of money contributed to their campaigns by Educate Dallas as well as various members of the Chamber? Did they want to remind the trustees of the far-reaching influence of the Chamber and their members? Did they simply want to reinforce their statements to the trustees and flex their considerable muscle regarding the desire of the Chamber to see Miles’ contract extended now, against all common sense?

Let’s look at some of the statements which were made by various trustees, some of which were contradicted by other trustees, and see if the way each trustee voted was consistent even with their own statements. This might suggest that some trustees were influenced by something other than logic. We will use a 10 point scale for evaluation of the trustees.

Elizabeth Jones:
“We did not conduct an official evaluation process whatsoever.”
“I want to emphasize that this board has made an exception, because our process requires that we do these considerations after a full oversight of the evaluation process itself….”
“The discussion tonight does not equal an evaluation.”
“Getting the information on the same day as you’ve been asked to make a decision is never good governance practice, it undermines the responsibility of the board….”
“We do not have all the data for the 2013-2014 academic year. We have the performance evaluation from 2012-13 but not from 2013-2014.”

How do you think Trustee Jones voted in the end? She wanted to go on the record as being “very supportive” of Miles’ reforms. “I want to stay the course.” She voted FOR the contract extension.

Score: Zero for consistency, three for logic, zero for the ability to apply good sense.

Lew Blackburn:
“For the past 2 years we have heard a lot about evaluations for our key employees at our campuses. Last few weeks we have gotten emails after emails, phone calls after phone calls, textings, advising us to give the superintendent additional time on his contract. And when I respond to some of them about the process and having the evaluation first, I got very little response. It was only about the contract.”
“But yet in this case, for our number one employee, evaluation was put aside.”
“I would hope that the superintendent does not operate this way with the rest of our employees.”
“What is the point of a rigorous evaluation system if you’re not going to use it to make employment decisions?”
“I don’t see why it would cause any harm to the district or to the superintendent if we wait until next week to finish his evaluation and then take a vote on the contract.”

Trustee Blackburn had some great one-liners, but how did he actually vote? YES to the contract extension for Miles, despite the confirmation by legal counsel that there had been no evaluation of the superintendent and despite his own stern comments on the need for such an evaluation.

Score: Zero for consistency, 5 for logic, zero for the ability to apply logic.

Joyce Foreman:
“I have often heard board members talk about “we need to run the district like a business.” Well, that’s only when it’s convenient, because no business would ever grant a president or CEO a raise, or an extension on a contract, without an evaluation.”
“This looks like we don’t want to hold the superintendent accountable.”
“We hold everyone else accountable yearly. It makes absolutely no sense to me for us to be moving forward without holding the superintendent accountable.”

How did the new Trustee Foreman vote? In a manner completely consistent with reality and with her comments, trustee Foreman voted AGAINST the contract extension.

Score: 10 for consistency, 10 for logic, 10 for the ability to apply wisdom to the situation.

Nancy Bingham:
Trustee Bingham referred to a large box full of data which she had at her home, “more than I can look at in an entire year.” She implied that she had not gone through that data, and she then referred to what she termed “anecdotal data” which she had on “various things going on in the district.” Therefore, she stated, “I am prepared to move forward tonight.” It appeared that Trustee Bingham put more faith in her own unscientific and unreliable hearsay than in the district data or a formal evaluation. She later referred to vague “bold and courageous moves” by the superintendent and reiterated her support for Miles.

Ms. Bingham’s vote? Consistent with reliance on anecdotes rather than the risk of confronting the real numbers, she voted YES to extend Miles’ contract.

Score: 10 for consistency, zero for logic, zero for acumen.

Miguel Solis:
“I agree with the trustees’ sentiment that we have not conducted a formal evaluation of the superintendent. I would also point out that there is no provision in his contract that states we need to conduct that evaluation before we have a conversation around his contract.”
“We have the opportunity to establish and solidify the leadership of this district now.”

Trustee Jones repeatedly questioned Solis as to the logic behind a contract extension without a formal evaluation and why this had been brought forward at this time, questions which he successfully evaded.

Solis stated that for Miles to donate the money made from consulting to the district “is admirable.” However, the money will not go to the district as Solis stated, but instead will go to the Dallas Education Foundation, referred to by WFAA news as “an arm of the Chamber of Commerce.” How convenient is that? Miles can now make money for the Chamber.

Trustee Solis voted FOR the contract extension.

Score: 10 for consistency, zero for logic, and zero for judgment.

Eric Cowan:
“I’m fully prepared to move forward tonight.”
In reference to allowing the superintendent consulting opportunities: “I have no issues with what the superintendent does on his vacation time.”
“We have an opportunity to continue the reforms that have been initiated by this superintendent….I for one would like to see more fruits of our labor. I have enough information personally to know that I want to continue this journey with superintendent Miles and his executive staff and our current teachers and principals and other employees to make Destination 2020 a success.”

Um, someone please send Trustee Cowan the data on teacher and principal turnover in the district and inform him that the only member of Miles’ executive staff to continue the journey with him is Ann Smisko- the rest have already abandoned the bus.

Trustee Cowan voted YES to extend Miles’ contract.

Score: 4 for consistency, zero for logic, and zero for rationality.

Dan Micciche:
Trustee Micciche tried very hard to convince himself and the board that what they had done that night could actually be counted as the real evaluation.
“I would have supported this motion (to postpone the contract extension until after the superintendent’s evaluation) if we had not spent 3 hours and 10 minutes going through all of the evaluation data. It was an informal evaluation but it was extensive and included all of the student achievement data.”

Really? Trustee Jones said that they did not receive the 2013-2014 performance evaluation. Which is it, Trustee Micciche? Did you receive something she did not?
“…we have protected the district and that we have thoroughly looked through all of the evaluation criteria.”

The bad news is that this contract extension guarantees that Miles will be fully vested (2012-2017) in the TRS. Even if he is fired, his contract will still be valid and the board must pay his TRS until 2017. So the taxpayers then will foot the bill for his retirement. Trustee Micciche said that the district was protected; he never said that the taxpayer was protected. This is the same game plan the trustees followed for former superintendent Hinojosa. In 2010, the trustees gave Hinojosa a 3 year contract extension. He left in 2011 for Atlanta, with a $200,000 per year pension paycheck from Texas in hand.

Micciche expressed his belief that “continuity of leadership is important” and stated “I don’t want to disrupt the movement by changing horses in the middle.” Someone needs to copy Micciche on the memo to Cowan concerning the stability of Miles’ leadership, as well as remind him of the wonders of “disruptive change.”

Trustee Micciche voted FOR the contract extension.

Score: Three for consistency, two for logic, and zero for prudence.

Bernadette Nutall:
Trustee Nutall questioned the attorney to ascertain that the board had not, in fact, conducted a formal evaluation of the superintendent. She expressed concern that the board has been accused of not discussing student achievement, and that it was irresponsible for the board to discuss a contract extension when they have not discussed the reason they exist as a board: “to ensure the academic success of all our students.”

She reiterated that she had repeatedly requested, both of the past and current board president, a full presentation by Miles on the academic achievement of the students in DISD, and that this had not yet been done. She stressed that they should first evaluate the superintendent, then talk about a contract extension. Trustee Nutall also objected to the allowance for consulting, stating that “we need a full-time superintendent” and “we need the superintendent’s full attention.” She implored the board to look at the Destination 2020 data and declared that “we’re not making progress.”

Trustee Nutall voted AGAINST the contract extension.

Score: 10 for consistency, 10 for logic, and 10 for discernment.

Mike Morath:
Trustee Morath has been unfailing in his support of the superintendent, despite leading the charge to dismantle the district because he says it is performing so terribly, and change it into a Home Rule Charter School District (HRCSD). Could there be some kind of under the table deal going on here? If the district is changed into an HRCSD, the attorneys have stated that the new district is still responsible for all ongoing contracts until they run out. Therefore, it won’t matter to Miles whether or not the district is completely changed and whether or not he will have a position in the new HRCSD. Regardless, he will still get paid until 2017 and receive his full pension.

Trustee Morath rather smugly stated that “while we as a board have not come together and finalized the formal evaluation, it sure looks to me that I have evaluated the superintendent.” Other trustees pointed out that the evaluation is something which the board must do collectively together, not as individuals.

Trustee Morath later spoke directly to Miles, saying, “This is a commitment to the reforms that you have initiated, to you and to your leadership team…. Do what you need to do to make sure that we have folks that are motivated, and committed to the reforms for the long haul, around you and in all of our campuses.”

Teachers and principals, please take note of that last sentence. Remember an article not too long ago about Miles equating teacher effectiveness with compliance, not performance. It sounds as though Miles is going to continue to have free rein to enforce his nonsensical programs.

Trustee Morath, as promised, voted FOR the contract extension.

Score: 4 for consistency, zero for logic, and zero for insight. Special prize for arrogance.

So, why is it that the DISD board of trustees acts in such illogical fashion? Not one trustee could justify the called emergency meeting in July to discuss a contract extension for an employee who had not yet received their performance evaluation. Could it be that there was a connection between the three influential visitors from the Dallas Regional Chamber and the votes which were cast? Were the Chamber members there to remind the board of who really runs the district? Could it be that the trustees, despite their big words, are not really in control? This is about the only explanation which makes sense of the total disconnect between the board’s actions and reality.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Teachers Rule

The Charter School Debate: Does DISD Really Suck?

charter-manThe question of whether charter schools have discovered the secret formula for student success is a hot topic for discussion these days, especially in light of Mayor Rawlings’s push for a home rule district charter which will convert all of the Dallas Independent School District into one giant charter school experiment.

Proponents of charter schools tout their innovative programs and freedom from onerous state regulations as the secret to their success. Opponents have been said to argue that better outcomes for charters are a result of a different population, one that is more motivated or less poor, and that an apples to apples comparison would reveal that charters do no better than independent public schools.

Data available from the Texas Education Agency (and this is the ONLY source that should be used for accountability data) makes a startling revelation.

For both DISD and Dallas County charter schools, we compared only those students on Free and Reduced Lunch, an indicator of family poverty status, to eliminate socioeconomic differences between student populations.

Comparing similar student populations, DISD students performed better than charter students at the high school level on all End of Course exams last year. Even more importantly, DISD schools had a higher percentage of students that achieved Level III (the highest) status in all but one subject, English II, where their results were the same as Dallas County charter schools.

Level II % of Students
Level III % of Students
Dallas County ISDs not DISD
Algebra I
DALLAS ISD (057905)
Algebra I
All Charters
Algebra I
Dallas County ISDs not DISD
DALLAS ISD (057905)
All Charters
Dallas County ISDs not DISD
English I
DALLAS ISD (057905)
English I
All Charters
English I
Dallas County ISDs not DISD
English II
DALLAS ISD (057905)
English II
All Charters
English II
Dallas County ISDs not DISD
U.S. History
DALLAS ISD (057905)
U.S. History
All Charters
U.S. History

Any attempt to argue charter schools perform better falls flat in the face of these statistics. Instead of DISD supporters searching for excuses as to why their schools perform so badly, as home rule charter proponents maintain, we actually have a situation where charter proponents need to do some ‘splaining.

Why do charter schools do so poorly? In particular, why do charter schools fail at educating the lower income population?

And why would anyone want to make all Dallas schools charters?

But to answer the question posed in the title, yes, Dallas schools suck. Compared to all Dallas County ISD’s their performance is worse. It’s just that charters suck more.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Baloney Meter, Teachers Rule

Pity the Rusk Teachers

food-trashThe education “reformers” currently besieging our city want public education to fail. They want public education to fail so they can profit. They support Mike Miles and his mandates because they believe his leadership will cause widespread failure and the collapse of public education (they definitely don’t support him because he has accomplished anything on behalf of poor kids).

One way to cause quick and certain failure in a district is to overwhelm teachers with so many duties they cannot possibly do any of them well. The stress will cause some teachers to quit mid-week; others will hang on, but only barely. Sure, the students in the district will suffer, the “reformers” will say, but to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

Let me be very clear: the education “reformers” in our city see DISD students as the eggs that must be broken in order to make profit omelets and they are more than willing to sacrifice thousands of students.

One school where rumors of this kind of impending failure and student suffering loom large is Rusk Middle School.

At the end of the school year last year, some Rusk teachers were left with the feeling that, if they dare to return, they will be pushed to the breaking point when the 2014-2015 school year begins in August.

For starters, teachers got the impression that, in August, they will be required to clock in at 8 am and immediately open their doors to students even though school doesn’t start until 8:45 am.

This would happen because Rusk teachers (and students) will be participants (victims?) in Breakfast in the Classroom, a scheme that requires districts to buy and serve larger quantities of food (which handsomely profits vendors). Instead of conferencing, planning, tutoring or setting up their rooms, Rusk teachers believe that they will be forced to host breakfast every morning.

So from 8 to 8:45 am, in addition to their teaching duties, Rusk teachers will become de facto custodians and cafeteria workers.

Meanwhile, the real cafeteria will sit empty; even the rats and the roaches and the snakes will leave to gather where the food is, which will be in or near the classrooms both inside and out (the portables). Watch out for the snakes, kids!

Veterans of Breakfast in the Classroom already report that it’s basically a disaster. The food has to be transported to classrooms and the food teachers have seen is very low quality—so low that almost all of it gets thrown away (can you hear the rats cheering? Or was that the vendors?). In fact, classrooms and hallways at BIC schools must have several very large trashcans to handle all of the waste. I’m sure that smells good when the AC is out.

BIC veterans report that instructional time is wasted, as well. Hundreds upon hundreds of children must wait for the food to be transported all across the school (or they must go to cafeteria, wait in line and bring food all the way back to the classroom). The teachers must clean up after any spills (accidental or otherwise). Instruction cannot begin until all have eaten and cleaned up. Missed spills or sticky surfaces mean that the entire class gets to stop and wait…again…while cleanup is completed.   Even a minor food fight could easily eat up (pun intended) 20 minutes of instructional time. But middle schoolers never misbehave, right? So that’s not even a possibility, right?

Is this what Rusk teachers have to look forward to: waiting with students to receive low-quality food that will be thrown, spilled or trashed and then spending time cleaning up while dodging a proliferation of rats and roaches? Instead of meeting with parents who can’t meet after school? Instead of tutoring kids who must rush home after school to babysit younger siblings?  Instead of setting up their classrooms for another busy day?

But wait! There’s more in store for the lucky Rusk teachers!

After breakfast, the Rusk teachers may also be expected to give up their planning periods to tutor ISS students. And at lunchtime, teachers could be expected to stay in their rooms and monitor students who did not complete homework. Students who don’t go to homework detention during lunch will be required to stay after school, where even more supervision will be needed.  Gee, I wonder which adults will be forced to accept that duty (hint: it won’t be the instructional coaches).

Let’s see, that now brings the list of Rusk teacher duties to Teacher, Custodian, Cafeteria Worker, ISS Tutor and Detention Monitor.  And we wonder why DISD teachers quit by the hundreds and kids don’t learn?

My question is this: If all of this comes to pass, when will Rusk teachers have time for a bathroom break, parent phone calls, grading papers, dealing with the projector bulb that burned out in 2nd period, eating lunch and planning for the upcoming week?

Furthermore, what Rusk parent wants their child’s teachers to be so overworked, overwhelmed and overburdened?

What Rusk student wants to attend a school filled with permanent “subs,” exhausted teachers and a constantly changing cast of teachers who may or may not have any familiarity with science or math or French (or teaching for that matter)?

Thanks to this blog post, Miles, Rawlings, Todd! and Morath now have no excuse; they can’t claim to be unaware of what might happen at Rusk and what the low-income students at Rusk might have to endure.

If, next year, Rusk becomes the poster school for “reforms” that endanger students, it’s on Miles and Rawlings (and after Rawlings’ successes with Toyota and the GOP convention, how many more failures can he afford?).  Morath and Todd! will also have to answer for what the kids who don’t live in Goldman-Sachs-funded homes have to overcome just to get an education.

Trashcans full of wasted food rotting in schools; what a perfect metaphor for the “leadership” of these rich, arrogant men.

Rusk teachers:  be sure to take pictures of the filled trashcans and the classroom doors where permanent subs lead classes.  We’d be happy to show them to our thousands (literally) of weekly readers.

Posted in Teachers Rule

Disruptive Change: Mike Miles Should Follow His Plan

capt-miles-goes-downA petition is being circulated by Stand for Children that calls for extending Superintendent Mike Miles’s contract. Reading through the comments on the Change.org petition, one constant thread emerges-the district needs stability to make progress in the schools.

This from one of the few signers who claimed to be a DISD parent:

The district cannot handle the distraction of finding a new Super, and will not attract quality Supers if they do not support the current one.

And these:

Consistency of leadership is proven to be so important for student success we need to keep Mike Miles here and focused.

We are making progress at DISD, and we need continuity at the leadership level.

Give the man time to continue to implement changes that are needed. We can’t change leadership every year and accomplish anything necessary.

Umm, yes, other than the statement about “making progress at DISD” you are all correct. Stability in leadership is important.

Perhaps these petition signers can let us know if they think the same rules apply to the rest of the administration. Is it OK that out of all of Miles’s original cabinet level appointees, only one remains, and she has changed positions?

During the first two years of Mike Miles’s leadership, the revolving door at 3700 Ross has become something of a joke. Some of Miles’s hires not only did not last a year, some jumped ship before they even set sail.

What about principals? Is stability at that level important? When Miles first came to Dallas, he told principals to “look to your left, look to your right, one of you won’t be here next year.” And he was right.

Principal turnover has approached forty percent.

The last two years have seen thousands of veteran teachers leave the district. Some have been non-renewed, but most have left voluntarily, tired of fighting an administration that doesn’t value the skills and experience they bring to the profession.

Is stability in the classroom important?

A recent op-ed in the DMN spotlighted a principal in training at a southeast Dallas campus. She talked of the struggles the students in that neighborhood face, the gangs, the drugs, poverty and discrimination that face these “desperate human beings.”

Jennifer Madding, the author, defines the time she gets to spend working with these children. 45 minutes a day for 180 days. She breaks up fights, leads discussions on resolving conflicts, and does her best to keep her students engaged and interested.

Too bad she won’t be there next year.

As one of the SMU/ Teaching Trust Ed-Leaders, she will move to another school next year as she continues her pursuit of a M.Ed. degree and completes her required residency as an administrator. Like Leslie Austin, a DISD Leadership principal in training at the same school and whose picture accompanies the article, she has done her classroom time and is moving on.

45 minutes a day for 180 days. Is that all this new breed of leadership can give to children? Whatever happened to 45 minutes a day for 180 days for 20 years? Whatever happened to enough time to get to know families and communities? Whatever happened to teachers who have taught not just for two or three years and have maybe learned the names of a few dozen kids, but teachers who know the names of hundreds of kids, their brothers and sisters, their cousins and uncles, their soccer coaches, the summer jobs, the fathers who are in prison, the family struggles and the family successes?

Miguel Solis, in his first speech as Board president, told a story of how he attended graduation at WT White High school this past year, hoping to be there to congratulate a student he had mentored at Marsh Middle School as a Teach for America hire. Only the student never appeared in the long list of graduates.

If Miguel Solis had continued on as a teacher and had been there to continue supporting this student might he have walked the stage? Will Jennifer Madding ever know if her advice on getting along without fighting had a lasting effect on students at Ann Richards Middle School?

For many Dallas students, school is the only stability they know. It is the only safe place they know. A revolving door of teachers and principals is not what they need.

Mike Miles is a hypocrite to call for extending his own contract while he institutionalizes a continual turnover of teachers and principals through Teach for America, principal replacement programs that do not support developing and supporting existing administrators and disruptive programs and policies that drive experienced veterans away from Dallas classrooms.

Maybe it is time for disruptive change at the top. After all, don’t superintendents peak at three years like Miles claims teachers do?

Let Dallas ISD trustees know you want disruptive change. Sign and send this letter: today.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Chicken on a Soapbox, Teachers Rule

Mike Miles and the Promised Land: Bonds, Taxes, and Moolah

humpty-milesLater this month, the Dallas ISD board will meet to consider whether to extend Superintendent Mike Miles’ contract, giving him a raise, adding perks that allow him to spend more time working for his consulting business Focal Point and fully vesting his stake in the state retirement system.

Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce executives penned a letter outlining their position, with the expected glowing endorsements of achievements and initiatives. Dallas Friends of Public Education launched an email campaign to trustees outlining their stand on extending Miles’ contract, only to be countered by a Change.org petition campaign sponsored by Mile’s ally Stand For Children.

So sorry, trustees, as your inbox is flooded by random emails from Utah, North Carolina, and New York. In the Change.org world Mike Miles is a stranded whale or an Idaho wolf, and somebody somewhere thinks he deserves a chance.

The Dallas Morning News has added their endorsement and, despite some reasoned opposition and calls for more deliberation from DMN readers, it appears a contract extension for Mike Miles is a slam dunk.

It is no secret the business community, and the media that counts on their support for financial survival, really has one goal in mind. Bonds, taxes, moolah, and more of it.

Miles is their spokesman, front man, puppet, johnny on the spot and man of the moment. It has taken two years and a parade of public relations appointees to finally mold Mike Miles into the figurehead who will bring them into the Promised Land of Bond Projects and Tax Ratification Elections. Once the bumbling fool who ranted on about paper plates and melatonin, Miles now presents a fairly credible presence as he speaks of the need for public support of expanded pre-K programs and teacher preparation academies, and the high cost of scraping chewing gum off the sidewalks at the district’s dilapidated schools.

Only there are two problems with this scenario.

The first is home rule. If the rogue effort to turn Dallas ISD into a home rule charter district continues on for its allotted year time frame or even if it is successful this fall, there is no doubt the district will be thrown into chaos, as every aspect of its legality will be open to question and challenge. Lawsuits are not a possibility, they are a certainty. At a forum on home rule sponsored by the Coalition for an Accountable System of Education (CASE), Texas Education Agency chief counsel David Anderson termed DISD a “test case.” And we all know what that means.

Fat chance passing a bond issue when the community is throwing stink bombs at each other, with the school district in the big middle of the mess.

Last month, forty rabble rousers singing songs and carrying signs protested the charterization of Dallas public schools as eight busses loaded with the nation’s mayors rolled by, here for Mayor Rawlings’ Look At Us Conference of Mayors.

Look at us indeed. A city that can’t even agree on how to educate kids without arguing.

The irony of the business community’s support of Mike Miles is that no matter what image he presents in public, home rule or not, the wizards behind the curtain pulling his strings don’t give a rat’s ass whether TXI sells concrete, Chase Bank makes contractor loans, or about any of the myriad companies competing for management contracts, brick sales, painting contracts or window installations.

The agenda Mike Miles is working toward is bigger than BIG, the Dallas Visitors and Convention Bureau’s ad gimmick, and bigger than Dallas. The Miles’ administration has been infiltrated by national reform groups, including the Broad Foundation, Stand for Children, and Teach for America, all with avowed agendas to disrupt public education and turn the teacher appraisal, recruitment, and certification business upside down.

These groups are backed up by legislative lobbying groups like Texans for Education Reform, whose director Julie Linn testified at an Education Committee hearing in Austin in April 2014 that the “grassroots” home rule effort in Dallas needed legislative relief to lower the obstacles to home rule implementation. She termed it the state’s duty to lower the voter turnout threshold, because, you know, Dallas ISD wants to close the achievement gap and home rule is the only way.

There have been many articles, blog posts, and white papers written in criticism of these groups and their influence on both local school districts and state and national policy. One on the disruptive change Broad superintendents bring can be found here. A critique of Dallas’s own Mike Miles and his disruptive ”Broad” management style can be found here. Former members of Teach for America who have become disillusioned and are critical of the group’s purpose and results have spoken publicly in opposition. A Stand for Children staffer offers up this blog, titled Stand Sucks. This article reviews Stand’s involvement in the Boston mayoral race. Boston is a home rule school, run by the mayor, and has been held up as a model for Dallas by Support our Public Schools home rule backers.

In the coming weeks, this blog plans to look more closely at the national reform agenda and how it is affecting both state and local policy and, more importantly, the students we claim to care about.

In the meantime, as the board debates extending Mike Miles’ contract, everyone with skin in this game should be aware of what they have to gain or lose in keeping Mike Miles around and bolstering his reputation and standing by giving him a raise and allowing him consulting privileges.

Bond projects are sold to the public in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. You know, all together now!

The trust and collaboration the community presents is at best a façade, bolstered by facebook pages and websites showing young professionals drinking beer in support of public education and planting trees with cute school kids. Meanwhile, citizens are watching as closed schools are vandalized and their friends and neighbors are fleeing district schools for surrounding suburbs.

And it is not just the parents who are leaving, but friends who have taught in DISD schools for years are also fleeing the district, like rats escaping the sinking ship.

There is no one who can say Mike Miles has made a notable difference for the kids. Some will say his initiatives haven’t had enough time. Others will say that the reforms initiated at the Imagine 2020 feeder patterns, extra tutoring time and increased social services, should have made an immediate, substantial impact on achievement.

There are many who think Mike Miles is their ticket to public approval of a bond project, a tax rate increase, or a removal of the school homestead exemption.

It may be that they are wrong. Public perception of Mike Miles and a school district that appears to be in constant turmoil may not lead us to the Promised Land of Public Money for Private Interests.

Time to hedge your bets, maybe?

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Rotten in Denmark, Teachers Rule
Recent Comments
  • Loading...


Monday, July 7, 5:00 p.m.
Unique Visitors: 133,815
Visits: 656,007
Page Views: 1,346,270
Avg. Duration: 00:03:24

User Metrics
41.50% male
58.50% female
4.46% 18-24 yrs
15.79% 25-34 yrs
30.01% 35-44 yrs
21.18% 45-54 yrs
20.61% 55-64 yrs
7.95% 65+ yrs

Affinity Category
5.63% Movie Lovers
5.31% TV Lovers
5.29% News Junkies & Avid Readers
4.28% Music Lovers
4.27% Sports Fans
3.87% Political Junkies
3.64% Technophiles
3.63% Cooking Enthusiasts
3.41% Travel Buffs

You may make comments with your privacy completely protected! Click HERE for Detailed Instructions with Pictures

We know words are powerful and ideas even more so. Profanity isn't really necessary for emphasis or a substitute for passion here. Thank you.

Foundation for Empowerment (FCE) released 3 papers:

1. Disruptive Change: Mike Miles and the Crisis In Dallas ISD, which has been prepared with consultation by education academics, extensive research, review of data and education literature, and meetings and interviews with people of Dallas holding varying and sometimes conflicting points of view;

2. Digging Into Data and Evidence: Mike Miles, Dallas ISD, and Trickle-Down Education Report, by Dr. Julian Vasquez Helig, Lindsay Redd, M.A. and Dr. Ruth Vail; and

3. The Challenge of Disruptive Leadership in Dallas ISD, by Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D. and Matthew Birkhold, M.A.

"You will see from these papers that, after much research and discussion, we believe the current Superintendent lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the Board terminate his contract."

Citizens wanting to speak at regular board meetings and briefings must sign up by calling Board Services at (972) 925-3720 no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the meeting.

Contact the Superintendent and Trustees:
3700 Ross Avenue, Box 1
Dallas, TX 75204

Superintendent Mike Miles

Lew Blackburn, 1st Vice President
District 5
Term Expires 2016
(972) 925-3718
Oak Lawn, West Dallas, Wilmer, Hutchins and portions of East Oak Cliff

Miguel Solis, Board President
District 8
Term Expires 2014
(972) 925-3721
Love Field, Northwest Dallas, and Central Dallas

Eric Cowan
District 7
Term Expires 2016
(972) 925-3721
North Central Oak Cliff and parts of West Dallas

Nancy Bingham
District 4
Term Expires 2016
(972) 925-3722
Southeast Dallas, Seagoville, Balch Springs

Elizabeth Jones, 2nd Vice President
District 1
Term Expires 2015
(972) 925-3722
Northwest Dallas, including North Dallas, Addison, parts of Carrollton and Farmers Branch

Mike Morath
District 2
Term Expires 2014
(972) 925-3721
North and Near East Dallas

Dan Micciche, Board Secretary
District 3
Term Expires 2015
(972) 925-3722
Northeast Dallas

Joyce Foreman
District 6
Term Expires 2017
email coming
(972) 925-3722
Southwest Dallas

Bernadette Nutall
District 9
Term Expires 2015
(972) 925-3721
South Dallas and parts of Downtown Dallas, Pleasant Grove, Deep Ellum, Uptown, and East Dallas

"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them." --Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833