Dallas ISD Teacher Roll Call 2015

Welcome back to all of the hard-working teachers and staff in the Dallas ISD! Your efforts are much appreciated by the community. We truly hope that this is a good year for all.

While Dallas Morning News editorial writer Sharon Grigsby saluted DISD for having only 50 teacher vacancies, reports on the DMN Talk Live blog appeared to contradict her. Several bloggers claimed their schools have vacant teaching positions and that students are with substitute teachers. Someone from Spruce High School reported 11 vacancies, while others did not name their school, but tallied 3 and 4 vacancies. One disappointed parent reported that her child had a sub in Science who “may be there for a long time.”

Sharon Grigsby cited what she was told by the district and did not question the information, nor corroborate it with other publicly available information.  It is ironic that Ms. Grigsby had to be schooled by veteran education reporter Tawnell Hobbs, who advised her that perhaps she might first check the DISD website, which listed 150 vacancies, not 50 as Ms. Grigsby had been told..  Ms. Grigsby asked Andre Riley about the discrepancy:  “So I’ve gone back to Riley, who says that 50 is, in fact, not the current number.  The goal is to have 50 vacancies on day 1 …”

So what is the real number of teacher vacancies?  It seems the truth about the number of vacancies will have to come from the teachers themselves, as the district either cannot or will not report accurate numbers.

So, to our DISD teachers and staff, please report the actual number of teacher vacancies at your school.  You can do this anonymously- this blog does not track those who post here.  Thank you in advance for your aid to make the district more transparent.

We can then add up the reports and see if the true number is closer to 50, 150, or another number entirely.  The public deserves to know the truth about the situation in our schools.

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

Bad News for the Bond…and Hinojosa

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and the bond-backers were all smiles at the DISD convocation on Wednesday, but bad news is now headed their way. Their party’s over.

The first round of bad news will arrive next week, when students head back to class and teachers realize that, despite Hinojosa’s great delivery, not much has changed.

Teachers will realize that DOLs have not gone away. Subjective spot observations have not gone away. SLOs have not gone away. TEI has not gone away. Overcrowded classes (because DISD won’t hire more teachers) followed by endless meetings have not gone away.

Instructional coaches, paid to analyze the most trivial points of already-taught lessons (instead of working one-on-one with struggling readers), are still here. A refusal on the part of most administrators to address discipline is still here.

This hard, cold reality of DISD’s corruption, waste and incompetent leadership will slap every teacher in the face by 3 pm (if not sooner) on Monday and no amount of Uptown Funk is going to make things better when it does.

Students and parents aren’t going to be any happier than teachers. Numerous vacancies, especially in the secondary schools, will cause disruptions and frustration. Unfinished building repairs, AC problems, an excess of clueless administrators standing around, and missing books/supplies will add fuel to the fires of parent and student discontent. Hinojosa will have to offer more than platitudes and practiced one-liners to satisfy them and quell the chaos.

The second round of bad news for Hinojosa and the bond will arrive in mid-September when the handful (percentage-wise) of DTR (Distinguished Teacher Review) teachers are announced and their goodies are heralded to all of the other teachers who weren’t deemed deserving regardless of how hard they worked.

Hinojosa, who told teachers that the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI), former superintendent Mike Miles’ “pay for performance” scheme, is “good stuff,” won’t be able to find sunglasses strong enough to deflect the glare of the spotlight that is about to placed on the entire TEI debacle—from the subjective language of the rubric to the fine print about payouts.

At the same time, teachers will finally see their actual, verified salary via their paychecks. This isn’t going to be pretty. New teachers will get a pay bump simply for being new, while proven veterans will get nothing. Increased insurance premiums and any other deductions will knock veteran pay down even more. New teachers will see that this is last raise they can ever expect to get in DISD.

By mid-September, the smooth-talking of the silly, wasteful convocation will be long forgotten. Hinojosa’s “please hire me” humility tour will be a distant memory.

The perennial problems of corruption and incompetence, however, will remain. And until they are fixed, we will remind friends, neighbors and voters that DISD cannot be trusted with a bond.

Miles, Hinojosa…is there really a difference?

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

Dallas ISD Trustee Joyce Foreman Speaks the Truth

On Thursday, August 13 at 12:08 pm, an astonishing event occurred in Dallas. While not an earthquake, it should have shaken the Dallas residents from their slumber concerning the state of affairs at DISD. Dallas ISD Trustee Joyce Foreman took the microphone to address her fellow board members during the public forum portion of the agenda. This kind of action has never been taken before, at least not in the last 10 years, to my knowledge.

The only public report appeared in the “Talk Live” online section of the Dallas Morning News: a single entry by Tawnell Hobbs, accompanied by a picture of Trustee Foreman at the microphone, with the text: “DISD Trustee Joyce Foreman @ mic taking 2 fellow trustees to task for alleged unfair policy changes.”

Trustee Foreman took the unprecedented step of publicly speaking to her own board as a citizen to say words which need to be heard by more than just the small audience present that day. Here are her words, transcribed from the DISD video, beginning at time stamp 9:31 (for the public forum section):

President Cowan and board, I am taking this position here because I don’t want attorney Jack Elrod to jump up and tell me I’m out of order and I’m speaking against something that’s not on the agenda.

I’ve been on this board for a year and came with an openness to work with the board. I have watched with agony the way it operates. I have knowledge of working with boards and commissions, having served on over 30 boards and commissions.

Today, I am struggling with numerous policy changes that trustee Mike Morath is presenting. We must remember this trustee lobbied for Home Rule Charter District and made it known that he wanted the power taken away from many of the duly elected board members. He’s also made it known that he doesn’t want items pulled from the consent agenda for discussion and a separate vote, (to) which we should have a right. Maybe others in here have the same concern, because you voted 7 to 2 for a new BE Local. It now limits my constituents’ voice, and others who want to speak to different issues. It even allows for the briefing agenda and the board agenda to be done on the same day, so that actually puts everything on the consent agenda and the board meeting is 2 weeks later.

President Cowan, YOU, and you alone, gave the power to this trustee by appointing him as chair of policy, which is a committee of one.  He has the power of changing, rewriting, and presenting to the board with no oversight, no review and no objectivity, policies that he wishes to see changed. Other trustees can present policy changes, but they go through a process, and you are the one who makes that decision.

This is not fair to the rest of us, because all of us do not have the same ideology about education.

As a duly elected part of this body, I, along with others, had to sue former president trustee Solis to have our voices heard, and it looks like we’re back in the same position. But along with that, it’s time for somebody to take a deeper look at the operations of this board. Open dialogue never hurt any entity. It gives the public more trust because of transparency and it allows trustees to bind to the decisions that are being made.

Later today, at least 6 trustees, or more, will probably vote to put a $1.6 billion dollar bond on the November ballot.

I say, if you do not want to have an open dialogue about what you’re doing with the money that you have and tell the public how it’s benefiting the children, why should the public vote to give you more money?

I am here for the students and want to be accountable, along with wanting the board to be accountable. Agendas and priorities are set without all of the board members knowing what has transpired. I would not be surprised * if the Open Meetings Act is not being violated by walking quorums.

As I often remind the trustees, I came here with a good reputation in the community; I plan to leave with a good reputation.”

* Trustee Foreman’s time was up at this point, and she was cut off. Attorney Jack Elrod jumped in to insist that her time was up. President Cowan could have given her time to finish, but made no move to do so. It is unclear whether Trustee Foreman was able to complete all of her remarks, or ended at this point with some left unsaid.

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

DISD Pays Teachers to Sit and Watch; No Bond Needed

A new school year is starting! Welcome back to all teachers and staff! And although we’ve managed to get rid of one huge scourge plaguing the children of DISD, we have a few remaining issues to tackle. Let’s get started! The first issue? A worthless, wasteful convocation.

As scores decline and multiple DISD schools hit rock bottom,it boggles my mind that the Mayor, his unelected Education Advisor and a raft of bureaucrats have failed to stand up and, in response to teacher outcry, call for the cancelation of the upcoming convocation. Teachers aren’t crying out to get the day off; teachers are crying out for the chance to WORK.

So much for the “urgency” of student needs.

Teachers have pleaded for more time to plan and prepare for students. Instead, DISD taxpayers—already paying over ONE BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR in taxes to the district—will have to pay teachers to sit and watch politicians and kiss-ups fight for the limelight.

Tell me again how DISD needs bond money.

Even if the costs of the event are donated, who is paying the teachers to sit and be a captive audience? Is that day’s salary for every teacher and staff member being donated? I don’t think so.

If Dallas has money to pay teachers to sit on their behinds and watch a bunch of narcissists vie for the camera, DISD doesn’t need bond money and DISD teachers need to get the word out about that.

Responsible, data-driven teachers want to spend the time working. Taxpayers want teachers to spend the time working. Why won’t the people asking Dallas citizens for more money let the teachers work instead of watch?

Convocations are the equivalent of one of Mike Miles’ pet peeves: Observer Math. Observer Math is when 24 kids watch 1 kid struggle to solve a math problem at the whiteboard, or when teachers work math problems while students sit passively and watch. Hold onto your hats, but I agreed with the ban on Observer Math.

Anyone who calls for the continuation of Miles’ “reforms” without objecting to a convocation is, simply put, a hypocrite.

Here’s what I plan to do: I plan to clip and save, copy and paste, screenshot and forward any pictures or stories about the DISD convocation.

Come November, if there is a bond election, I will make sure to use all of the convocation pictures and stories to remind my friends and neighbors how DISD wastes money. I ask you to do likewise.

Unlike the “reformers,” I want to get to work. I don’t want to watch another person dance, sing or blather. My students should not have to compete with bureaucrats, politicians and advisors for my time and attention.

Posted in Teachers Rule Tagged with: , , ,

Improvement Required Schools Coming at August Board Briefing

DISD administrators are now estimating the Accountability Ratings that will determine which schools are officially “IR” (Improvement Required) by the State of Texas. There have been changes to the accountability rules this year but the final formula is simple – a campus needs to meet Index 1 OR Index 2 AND Index 3 and 4.  The results of Index 2 are still not available and are released to the district in August and will be presented during the August board meeting.

We can still make some educated (pun intended) guesses at the campus IR status for 64 schools based on currently  reported results.
It appears that 41 schools will be IR and another 23 are awaiting Index 2 ratings to see which way they go.

39 Schools That fail Index 1 AND index 3 OR 4 (making them IR Schools):
South Oak Cliff HS
Conrad HS
North Dallas HS
Madison HS
Edison MS
Dade MS
Zumwalt MS
Lang MS
Holmes MS
Cary MS
Storey MS
Browne MS
Ray LC
Pease ES
Cigarroa ES
Carpenter ES
Webster ES
Carver LC
Turner ES
Bryan ES
Mills ES
Gabe Allen CS
Roberts ES
Peeler ES
Moreno ES
Titche ES
Carr ES
Truett ES
Mata ES
Dunbar LC
Umphrey Lee ES
Johnston ES
San Jacinto ES
Mark Twain ES
McNair ES
Blanton ES
Cochran ES
Wilmer-Hutchins ES
Burleson ES

2 Schools that pass Index 1 and fail Index 3 OR 4 (making them IR schools):
Lincoln HS
Miller ES

23 Schools on the edge that are awaiting Index 2 status:
Rusk MS
Comstock MS
Atwell MS
Hill MS
Tasby MS
Medrano MS
Florence MS
Mount Auburn ES
Jordan ES
Hernandez ES
Soto ES
Stevens Park ES
Russell ES
Pleasant Grove ES
Hotchkiss ES
Lowe ES
Bayles ES
Chavez ES
Budd ES
Conner ES
Ervine ES
Halliday ES
Bushman ES

We would love to hear from you teachers. Now that Miles is gone, how do we move forward in a positive manner?

Posted in Teachers Rule

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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 [Mike Miles] 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

Interim Superintendent Mike Hinojosa
Email coming soon

Lew Blackburn, 2nd Vice President
District 5
Term Expires May 2016
(972) 925-3718
Oak Lawn, West Dallas, Wilmer, Hutchins and portions of East Oak Cliff

Miguel Solis, 1st Vice President
District 8
Term Expires 2017
(972) 925-3721
Love Field, Northwest Dallas, and Central Dallas

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

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

Edwin Flores
District 1
Term Expires 2018
(972) 925-3722
Northwest Dallas, including North Dallas, Addison, parts of Carrollton and Farmers Branch

Mike Morath
District 2
Term Expires 2017
(972) 925-3721
North and Near East Dallas

Dan Micciche
District 3
Term Expires 2018
(972) 925-3722
Northeast Dallas

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

Bernadette Nutall
District 9
Term Expires 2018
(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