Ready or Not, Mr. Miles, Here They Come!

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school busesSchool starts for Dallas ISD students in just about 3 weeks. Is the district ready for the return of over 157,000 children, full of excitement and anticipation for the new school year?

Well, let’s go through the checklist to see if the district is prepared, just as every family will have to make sure that they have all of their school supplies ready:

New superintendent: check.

New cabinet for the superintendent:  check.

New administrative alignment plan:  check.

Top level administrators in place:  check.

Campus leadership:  still need 3 assistant principals, 1 associate principal, and 9 principals (including 2 magnet high schools).

Teachers:  still need 335 teachers (including 31 science teachers, 24 math teachers, 88  bilingual teachers, and 31 special ed teachers- all hard to fill positions).

Teacher Assistants:  still need 110 teacher assistants.

Is it unusual for a school district to have this many crucial openings so close to the opening day of school?  Richardson ISD has about 36,000 students, and still needs about 14 teachers. Frisco ISD has 46,000 students and needs 9 teachers.  Lewisville ISD has about 50,000 students and has 24 teacher openings.  Fort Worth ISD has 80,000 students and still needs approximately 40- 50 teachers.  These numbers are typical for the surrounding school districts. When these figures are extrapolated, it is clear that no other district in the DFW area is in this condition.

Is the glass half empty or half full?  On the bright side, any teacher who does not yet have a job will have few places in the Dallas area to look besides Dallas ISD.  Conversely, all the other districts have been busy filling their positions and may have snapped up the best teachers already. One could argue that “DISD has always done it this way, it is not unusual for there to be this many openings shortly before school starts.”  That may be true, but it may also explain the preponderance of failing schools in DISD.  The school year begins in chaos, with new teachers, new principals, inadequate teacher preparation time, and does not begin to settle down until after the first 6 weeks. That is a lot of learning time lost forever for those children.

Charles Glover was hired at the end of May of this year as our Chief Talent Officer.  Just what has he been doing to ensure that the district fulfills its own directive to “reach our destination by placing an effective teacher in front of every child”?  His first priority should have been to hire the 9 principals, followed closely by filling the 335 teaching positions, so that these new hires could be adequately trained and oriented before the start of school.

If we as a district truly believe the Destination 2020 Core Belief #2  that “Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic performance,” then it seems that we should place a higher priority on getting good teachers in place well before August 27.  What can Charles Glover and Jamal Jenkins (executive director of HR) do to ensure that we are not in this same situation next summer? How can they attract good talent to DISD? How will they change HR to be more organized, efficient, and proactive?  We look forward to seeing this department overhauled posthaste.

The breaking news from Houston is that Ann Best, the HR chief hired from TFA 3 years ago, has resigned and is going back to TFA.  Houston currently has over 290 open teacher positions posted on its website, although some are saying that they actually will be hiring between 750- 1500 new teachers. We’re awaiting confirmation on those figures. It seems that hiring someone with little to no HR experience did not work out so well for the Houston ISD. Let’s hope that Mr. Glover does not follow in her footsteps.

 

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30 comments
13thYear
13thYear

Well, I'll be ready for my new 5th graders! I am grateful for a stable principal, and a great team of teachers. I live about half a mile from my campus in Oak Cliff, so I can walk with my students. I still believe that public education is of great value to our community and nation, as well as to individual students and their families. Praying for all educators this year! (and that all this administrative BS disappear!)

Got the new salary schedule for new hires?
Got the new salary schedule for new hires?

And before anyone on Team Miles states that salaries are similar to those paid teachers in Houston, Houston paid out $38 million in performance pay bonuses. So, no, Dallas isn't competitive with anyone. 400 openings and counting.

Got the new salary schedule for new hires?
Got the new salary schedule for new hires?

Anyone have a copy of the new salary schedule for 2012-2013? Every other district around Dallas published an updated salary schedule as soon as the board approved them and they all contain raises. The salary schedules for new hires that were attached to the budget the board passed decreased starting pay and did away with any money for a master's degree. After all, why would anyone in education need a master's degree? Why hasn't HR posted the actual starting pay for new hires? Is it a secret? Or did trustees vote to lower starting pay? Teacher vacancies are climbing toward 400. If they continue to climb in the weeks left before school opens, let's make sure the trustees understand what a magnificent job they have done for the permanent substitutes, who certainly don't make NCLB qualifications, but who will have plenty of vacancies to choose from in the coming year. Is this Miles' way of ensuring every class has a highly qualified permanent sub?

Didn't Forget Norma
Didn't Forget Norma

Wonder how those geniuses at Belo will feel when they find out Norma Villegas is back at Pinkston. She was a definite favorite of Todd Robertson. Dallas ISd didn't remember to get teachers, but someone sure remembered to go get old Norma. Couldn't do without her.

Seriously
Seriously

This makes us wonder why beginning teacher pay was not raised to be competitive with other schools districts. In fact, King and others who put together a budget proposal to lower beginning pay and get rid of a stipend for a master's degree. Why is the board not worried about paying over market for administrators and so petty and stingy when it comes to teachers? Many on Miles cabinet almost had their pay doubled to come here, so they weren't worth that much in their old jobs. Some don't even have administrator's certificates, but they hold assistant superintendent positions. This is another way of telling teachers they have no value in this school district.

brenda
brenda

REMINDER: $167,000 to remind parents in the next three weeks that school starts and it would be nice for them to show up. __check

No Friend of Churn
No Friend of Churn

Miles told the editorial board of the Morning Snooze that a 30% churn rate for teachers wasn't a problem. Miles ran his previous school district by bullying teachers and principals and got marginal results. If Miles thinks he can control Dallas teachers by bullying them through the administrative layers he has put into control and that running 30% off each year will be productive, we suggest holding him accountable for the end of course disaster that will snowball this year. Dallas ISD can't replace 30% of its teachers each year and DISD can't pay for hundreds more TFA teachers. Why would we? The investment only lasts 2 years. What happens with the kids who have to take end of course exams this year in math and science and don't even have a certified teacher, much less an experienced teacher, for the first six weeks of school? They don't get a refund on their lives. Will this board ever come out of the comatose state it is in and start asking questions regarding district operations? Will some of the board sheep request the number of teacher vacancies for their campuses (and doublecheck that figure with principals and teachers) on the first day of school, or are they too busy having lunch with the superintendent?

Got to be Kidding
Got to be Kidding

Irving ISD still has at least 60 teacher vacancies if their listings are accurate, and pay starts at $5,000 more than Dallas ISD compensation for a teacher. In addition, they don't have a screwed up calendar where they remediate high school students for 2 extra weeks in June or stay after school for an extra hour for free. Health insurance is paid by the district. There are also plenty of openings in McKinney. This tells us a scarcity in teachers, especially at the high school level, is again the norm. So what do Morath and company have to offer for their policy of a longer day? Oh yeah, nothing but more free work from teachers while Miles has hauled in every administrator he can find to build extra layers between him and any accountability.

Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation

Looking at the new Division Org chart vs old LC org: 1 Assistant Super = 1 Senior Executive Director 2 Coordinators = 1 Coordinator 4 Executive Directors = Did not exist 4 Admin V assistants = 2 Admins 1 parent spec = 1 parent spec I dont know who miles can say he saved money but what i can tell is that he has relayered teh district once again....big time...

Thoughtful Reader
Thoughtful Reader

I forgot to include the link to the DISD website for job openings. You can check here to see what jobs are currently open, as well as see how many and which teaching positions are vacant at your school. It lists the principal, associate principal, and assistant principal openings under "campus leadership." http://www.applitrack.com/dallasisd/onlineapp/default.aspx

Just another cog
Just another cog

It will be glorious! Just remember that when the wheels fall of off the district "it's the teacher's fault!" ( A mantra which I'm convinced every administrator chants cheerfully every morning.) Oh well, we'll roll up the proverbial shirtsleeves and get to work anyway, though I admit I'm buying more lottery tickets these last few weeks than I ever have before. Hey, the money goes to the schools, right?

Miles to go before we sleep
Miles to go before we sleep

What about the benefits of working in DISD? Longer day, larger classes, no compensation for advanced degrees with new hires, longer year with no prep days, and doors open for extra distractions. Could that explain it?

Rankin File
Rankin File

Oops! Speaking of mathematically challenged... Correction - Dallas ISD is 4x worse than Lewisville ISD. It's still bad, and nobody's talking about it. Maybe we should raise the question with our respective board members? For what that's worth...

Rankin File
Rankin File

Great post, Thoughtful Reader! For the mathematically challenged, I've worked up a simple index so that we can directly compare the vacancy problems across the districts you mention in descending order of severity: DISD - .213 LISD - .048 RISD - .039 FISD - .020 Controlling for size, Dallas ISD's vacancy problem is 10x worse than Frisco's, 5x worse than Lewisville's. What exactly has TFA's golden boy Charles Glover been doing to earn his $182,000? Maybe the "Chief of Talent" can substitute in one of the classes he has failed to find a teacher for. Maybe Wendy Kopp can come help. Ann Best is available....

Clown Show
Clown Show

And it would be great if the district quit wasting money on pandering to Miles' ego. The convocations are nothing but a huge waste of money to have his ego flashed in everyone's faces. Destination 2020 is nothing but a cut and paste of the plan from his old district that went nowhere. A powerpoint on campus would be sufficient, but no, the entire day has to be wasted toting teachers and staff back and forth to give him sufficient attention. What a clown. Why are trustees so willing to flush money down the toilet and then not even have textbooks or supplies on campuses? Wasteful trustees to make a small man look bigger.

Thoughtful Reader
Thoughtful Reader

@Brenda- excellent reminder. The district loses money for each child each day they are not present. Since money is extremely tight right now, it is VERY important that the parents do their job and get their children to school. Even if the district can't get it's act together to get a teacher for their child...

No Friend of Churn
No Friend of Churn

Did Glover really hire Carmen Rowan from Houston ISd from this failed experiment in TFA being head of HR? Would someone please check? Exactly why are twenty year old exTFA teachers with two years of classroom teaching head of HR and recruitment? Houston's hiring practices are a disaster. They have no one left to train new teachers and Grier's scorched earth policies are not working.

Still Here After All These Years
Still Here After All These Years

According to WT White super parent Susie McMinn, Wendy Kopp and her army of TFA'ers may indeed be the answer, but only if Dallas taxpayers ante up and fund them. Her quote from a recently circulated email - "Teach for America's 3 years of start-up money for Dallas has run out and they are now entirely dependent on the Dallas community to fund the training and mentoring of their teachers." McMinn is asking for donations. My check will be in the mail, to Dallas County.

Barbara M
Barbara M

You know that is funny for Dallas I am a TA for Dallas ISD and am a certified teacher in Prk-6th, and special ed and ESL and am working on my master's degree. I am already an employee and would like to get a teaching position I have put in for over 50 jobs and have not gotten one call for Dallas ISD. My performance review was excellent and I still have not received one call. I did a good job as a TA and would think that would reward me with a teaching job for this next school year. Expecially if they are in need of teachers.

relentless pursuit of excellence
relentless pursuit of excellence

Does it occur to anyone that hiring is not a numbers game, but a search for dedicated individuals who believe in their students' potential and academic ability? Let's not "fill vacancies" like we have done in the past, let's put the best in our classrooms! I realize this is not a popular stand, but teachers influence our students forever. Don't they deserve the best?

Thoughtful Reader
Thoughtful Reader

@Brenda- So sorry, just now read Tawnell's post about the $167,000 to Concillio to try to get kids to come to school. Now I understand your point! Perhaps the parents would be more motivated if the district set a good example by being prepared for the first day of school themselves. Why send your kid to school when the first few weeks are chaos and nothing is learned anyway, and many have subs instead of a permanent teacher? I liked the idea of involving our new PR chief in this process- isn't she making $100,000 more than last year? And one of her shining credentials was "increasing parental involvement." Seems that this should be her area of expertise.

Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation

Yes. She will make from whati have heard 140K a year to do recruitment..didnt tehy just fire all the recruiters just last april 2011??

Kim
Kim

They should hire you. But they don't want the best, as they say they do. They would have to pay you too much!!!

You mean like this?
You mean like this?

http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2012/08/disds-new-communications-chief-had-some-eh-communication-issues-at-her-first-board-meeting.html/ Months of discussion and huge financial resources were invested in Sprague. Miles assured us she is part of the new paradigm and that once we saw her in action, we would all clap in adoration. We're not clapping. All the time that teachers should have been recruited was wasted on Sprague and other members of the cabinet. Top down reform never works. It's just a boondoggle for folks like Jennifer.

Certified Teacher
Certified Teacher

And just how many excellent teachers do you think are still out there? I will answer that for you: There are maybe 5. Maybe. "The best" already have jobs and now that other districts have openings, no one in their right mind would come to DISD.

Got to be Kidding
Got to be Kidding

You are kidding, right? The STAR committee stated that an experienced HR person needed to be the head of the district. Instead, we got TFA and a whiny superintendent who wants to micromanage everything. We expect qualified teachers, not subs, beginning the first day of class, the same expectation all parents have. Are you really suggesting that school starts with hundreds of substitute teachers because Glover hasn't done his job? Complaints are numerous that he doesn't answer email and isn't available for qualified applicants seeking jobs. This whole SNAFU is the result of Miles, not a problem with available teacher talent.

Got the new salary schedule for new hires?
Got the new salary schedule for new hires?

Those are brilliant ideas. Sounds just like charter propaganda. Dallas HR personnel are well paid and have known for months that they needed to hire teachers. If they and the new TFA head are incompetent and simply can't recruit talent, they need to go. Having substitute teachers greet students on opening day is a huge, preventable embarrassment. If Team Miles can't do the job, Dallas needs to start a new superintendent search, because it seems the entire time since April has been about the superintendent and his cabinet instead of fulfilling duties on the campus level. Few people in Dallas care about the layers of administration that all the time and money were chasing when the only person who really matters is the classroom teacher.

Still Here After All These Years
Still Here After All These Years

Concilio has had contracts with DISD in previous years to hold parent involvement workshops and classes. Does the district have any reports on their effectiveness? Are those parents more involved? How many parents and students were impacted, and at what cost?

Clown Show
Clown Show

So Miles' press release regarding saving $1.2 million was totally garbage. They have added coordinators to the feeder patterns as well as academic coaches. There is no savings. In fact, they are probably "borrowing" from campus money again. And Miles' "aide" for $100,000 who had all of two years experience as TFA at Marsh.

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  1. […] numbers reveals that the district website proclaimed 335 vacancies at this time last year, as reported on this blog. Simple math says that 335 is less than 430, and is far less than […]

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NOTES
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
milesfm@dallasisd.org

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

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

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

Nancy Bingham
District 4
Term Expires 2016
nbingham@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3722
Southeast Dallas, Seagoville, Balch Springs

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

Mike Morath
District 2
Term Expires 2014
mmorath@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3721
North and Near East Dallas

Dan Micciche, Board Secretary
District 3
Term Expires 2015
danmicciche@dallasisd.org
(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
benutall@dallasisd.org
(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