DISD Debacle: The Fellows Program

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money-crapperMike Miles’ Principals Fellows program just blew through $5.1 million dollars and what did we get for it?

The kids in my classroom got nothing—not even air-conditioning this week.

Thanks, Miles.

Thanks, irresponsible Board of Trustees.

The 57 or so Fellows were hired to replace all of the principals Mike “Michelle Rhee” Miles was certain he’d be able to fire before this blog came along and ruined everything.

Now that the pink slips have arrived in the mail, however, principals and parents are fighting back; some principals have secured legal counsel and are standing their ground.  Parents are attending community meetings and expressing outrage.

After the backlash against Miles it seems the Fellows have been told it looks like they won’t get the principal positions they were not promised (wink, wink) after all; they’ve been told to find other jobs even it means (gasp!) getting stuck back in the classroom.  For some, that could mean a pay cut.  For many it will mean a job as a principal outside the district.  What a great return on our investment!

Along with DOLs and LOs, the Fellows program is nothing more than another empty idea from Miles that does nothing to address the true needs of DISD students. The district relinquished contractual rights to 375 buses to Dallas County Schools for $5.3 million to cover the academy’s price tag of $5.1M. Some trustees have wondered why administrators didn’t propose getting rid of the buses earlier, instead of closing some schools.  Instead of adding teachers to the already decimated secondary schools; or staffing core high school classes with permanent teachers instead of substitutes; or addressing the discipline problems that continue to wreak havoc on almost every secondary comprehensive campus; or fixing the HVAC systems; what we have is a boondoggle of epic proportions.

The Fellows who end up leaving the district will take with them skills and experiences paid for by DISD taxpayers but not used to benefit DISD students.  Unbelievably, the trustees were asked about this very possibility in the fall; they were asked if the Fellows’ contracts required any kind of commitment from the Fellows post-completion to make sure that DISD taxpayers were repaid for the investment made in each Fellow.  The overall response seemed to be an “Of course! We would never be that dumb.” assurance, as if some were offended the concern was even voiced.

And yet, despite that very scenario becoming a reality and the complete waste of 5 MILLION DOLLARS, the program hasn’t been dismantled.  In fact, a whole new cohort has submitted applications.  At the March board meeting trustee Elizabeth Jones asked Miles about the funding of the program. She said that this year’s academy was a one-time expenditure that would be re-evaluated.  Miles said he expects to roll the costs of the leadership academy into the budget, trustees be damned.

DISD taxpayers and students can’t afford this constant, pointless drain on resources.  If an applicant wants to become a principal, he or she should pay for their own training and they should apply for a position as an assistant principal.  DISD has long been accused of being nothing more than a jobs program for adults and now we clearly see this as true.

The 5 million dollars needs to be spent on pencils, HVAC repair or additional (certified) teachers.  The Board needs to non-renew this wasteful Fellows program and, while they’re at it, they should non-renew Miles as well.

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Posted in Giving Grades, Rotten in Denmark
290 comments
stop the insanity
stop the insanity

So fitting that the picture is money as toilet paper because half the time we don't have any at our school!  We can't get toilet paper or paper towels and yet we have hired execs to come check if my LO or DOL are aligned.  BOT please wake up and rid of us this nightmare named Mike Miles.  

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

@One of the good ones. I imagine that everyone who ever was appointed Assistant Principal or Principal thought he/she "deserved it," including you. I'm not being flip here; I'm just saying that people in general seem to think they "deserve to be promoted."

We still have the same good ole boy system; we just have a NEW good ole boy who'll appoint people he believes he can mold to carry out his absurd policies. Unfortunately, principals now make few decisions: they are just "enforcers" for downtown. IMHO that won't make you "one of the good ones," as I believe the policies you'll be enforcing are wrong.

Just my opinion----

One of the Good Ones
One of the Good Ones

This is my 8th year working in DISD, 21st year around district. In years past, in order to even be considered for an assistant principal/principal job, you had to know someone. In part, this means we had friends of friends running the district. Look how well the good ole boy system has worked! For the 1st time ever, Miles brings in a program that knocks down many of those walls. Now you have to in fact be COMPETENT? Wow! What a concept?! I realize the program costs, but so does keeping the portables cool in the Summer with no one in them! But...We pay for that! I am not saying the Fellows are without flaw, but for the 1st time ever, I and anyone else who works hard could get a job and it would be deserved which is a novelty in DISD.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Metaphor for the Day: US public education is, at present, an incurable disease.

Every district in the country is experimenting on children in search of a cure and several symptoms have been alieviated. However, there is no cure that reliably brings consistent academic achievement to low SES and minority children. There are individual schools across the nation that have cured the disease but they are ignored and there is no effort or interest in mass producing their proven vaccines. Rice Elementary is an example.

The practitioners in the field are ignored and proposed miracle cures abound. A local purported miracle cure is MRS. DOLLO. Loud complaints about the painful and disfiguring side effects are dismissed by the hospital administrators.

The prescription provided by FMM and the BOT (8-1) appears to be killing the patient. The doctors at the DMN, in the business community and spewing as blog trolls tell us not to worry...

"Our definition of an incurable disease is any disease for which there is no known, accepted cure. A life time of taking pills or other pharmaceuticals to treat your condition does not constitute a cure.

List of Incurable Diseases

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Acquired Immune Defficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD)

Alzhiemers

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS,Lou Gehrig’s disease)

Arthritis

Arthrosis

Aspartylglucosaminuria

Asthma

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Autism

Avian Influenza

B-Mannosidosis

Batten Disease (Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis)

Bi-polar Disorder (Manic-depression)

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, “Mad Cow” disease)

Chicken pox aka Herpes Zoster aka varicella-zoster aka Shingles

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Currarino Triad

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystinosis

Dementia

Diabetes

Dysmyelogenic leukodystrophy (DMD a.k.a. Alexander disease)

Ebola

Eczema

Emphysema (C.O.P.D.)

Farber Disease

Fatal Familial Insomnia

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva

Fucosidosis

Galactosialidosis (Goldberg Syndrome)

Gaucher Disease

GM1 Gangliodsidosis

Hairy cell leukemia

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hopeless Aatrocytoma (Brain Cancer)

Hurler-Scheie

Hurler Syndrome

Hunter Syndrome

Huntington’s Disease

Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis

Infertility

Interstitial Cystitis

Krabbe Disease

Lissencephaly

Lymphocytic Lymphoma

Macular Degeneration

Maroteaux-Lamy

Metachromatic Leukodystrophy

Morquio A

Mucolipidosis II (I-Cell Disease)

Mucolipidosis IV

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Niemann-Pick, Types A and B

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Osteoarthritis

Osteoporosis

Polio

Pompe Disease

Progeria

Prosaposin

Pseudomyxoma

Psoriasis

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Salla Disease

Sandhoff Disease

Sanfilippo A

Scheie Syndrome

Schindler Disease

Schizophrenia

Sialidosis (Mucolipidosis I)

Sly Syndrome

Small lymphocytic lymphoma

Spreading Adenocarcinoma

Spreading Melanoma

Takayasu’s Arteritis (Pulseless Disease)

Tay-Sachs Disease

Wolman Disease"

http://curechronicles.com/?page_id=197

Woodrow Alum
Woodrow Alum

What about the gun thing at Woodrow a couple of weeks ago?

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

Certification is often not even worth the paper its written on.

yAASMaster
yAASMaster

Someone needs to alert TEA that Miles is trying to conduct teacher appraisals while state testing is going on.

That should go over really well.

If we had a certified superintendent, might know better.

PreparedForWhat
PreparedForWhat

At no time in US History have we tried to push all students into enrolling in college. As a result, those who are unprepared enter to meet a datapoint for some administrator somewhere who is getting a bonus while the student assumes a boat load of debt.

Straight Talk has a bad case of echolalia caused by an overload of stupidity. The sky isn't falling. More kids are graduating from high school than ever before. Two choices with public education--either graduate more or raise standards.

Both will never happen at the same time.

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

Many of the people who write into this blog have an incredibly false sense of comfort of where we are as a district, a community and a state.

The attached article is telling....over 85% of teachers think they are preparing their students for the next level, while only 26% of colleges concur.  Our four year graduation rate for the 14 area colleges per the National Center for Education Statistics is only 29%, with 25% of students failing to return just after the first year of higher ed.

Our system is pushing kids along, touting our high school graduation statistics while denying the reality that our children aren't prepared.  

We are fiddling while Rome burns, looking to blame an individual here or an administrator there without recognizing that the entire system is in cardiac arrest.


http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-17/local/38603713_1_college-readiness-college-instructors-high-school-teachers

One of the Good Ones
One of the Good Ones

@retiredteacher I'm not saying I would even apply to be a fellow or want to move up in the world, but if I did it wouldn't be because I "deserve to be promoted" or that I knew someone. It would be because I busted my ass and tried to make a difference. DISD has always been one big ass kissing fest! You had to be in the in-group and now it's diiferent. You have to be competent and willing to back Myles. Are not all jobs about backing a vision? I don't agree with all of what Myles does, but I do see the bigger picture! Many of you are living in the past! The facts are, we are not all doing our jobs all the time. Those people need to go. It should not be a witch hunt but based in facts. We must change and as for now, Myles is the face of that change. In a few months, he'll be gone and you'll have someone else to bitch about..

 Rear View Mirror
Rear View Mirror

@One of the Good Ones Was was once the "good ole boy" network in DISD is now the "good old Miles" network. You didn't learn anything in your 8 years in DISD. "For the first time ever, Miles brings in a program..." Are you kidding - you don't see a parallel between Miles and his friends from school, college, and Colorado? What program? What new program do you see that is working? DOLs and aligned curriculum. Haven't you been doing alignment of curriculum in your 8 years or is this a new concept for you? Check out the "new and unimproved" STAAR results. You think he has a vision?

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@One of the Good Ones Replacing nepotism with a Jim-Jones-style Kool-Aid Klub is not really an improvement.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

The major concern/question is whether the culling is FAIR and UNBIASED!

DISD Teach
DISD Teach

@Straight Talk Maybe what you're trying to say is that the old guard worked hard to obtain their certifications.  They majored in education because that was their passion.  They found delight in teaching children, and often the reward was in the job itself.  However, now with TFA especially, anyone can go into a classroom without having all the experience and wisdom of our predecessors.  Maybe you are saying that teachers are now treated like replaceable parts in some sort of factory with no regard to the years of toil on the frontline.  If that is your allusion, I can agree.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@ Strait Talk, Sour grapes or you cannot get one.

yAASMaster
yAASMaster

@Straight Talk 

Many certified teachers know the difference between a possessive pronoun and a contraction.

You are not in that category.

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@PreparedForWhat Sorry, but with due respect you might want to wear your hard hat out there.  Yes, we have tried to push all students to enroll in college.  The mission statements over the past ten years have been cluttered with that kind of talk:  "all students will be college ready."  This is not only nonsense, but in a way an infringement of individual freedom of choice. 

I disagree completely that there are only "two choices with public education--either graduate more or raise standards."  Do you think these students are uniformly stupid?  On reading that, I am making the guess that what you mean by raising standards is with a top down, objectives and standardized test approach.   The children are not being served in elementary and middle school, and it's not because the first grade teacher is not smart enough to teach first grade and should be replaced by a TFA.  

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

@PreparedForWhat No one said anything about all students graduating from college.  But there is a huge difference between 100% and 29%, and the 29% graduation rate is only for those attending college and ignores the 17% who don't even complete high school and the ones who complete but don't enroll.  in a world where countless jobs that provided a middle class income with only a high school graduation don't exist anymore (and you now need a computer manual to repair an automobile), I would encourage you to be more informed.  Please tell me you don't believe that every student who graduates high school is ready for the next level; the remediation rates at higher ed are off the charts.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

@Straight Talk

College professors hate advanced placement curriculum in their area, not just low levels of knowledge and remediation. Basically, they do not want to be bothered with poor kids dumped on them. It takes away time from their research.

The reality is that nobody has figured out how to motivate enough low income kids to study and go to college when there is a lack of emphasis of education in the home. Sure, we socially promote them, because there are no alternatives except the street in our educational system.

I think Miles' emphasis on motivating through careers and jobs, and not just college, has potential but I am still waiting for specifics or even operational definitions.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

@StraightTalk (a misnomer). This is not news that the college graduation rate is low. In fact it has gone up some. Many students cannot afford to attend college; they must work to help their families survive. our legislature helped greatly to raise thè cost of college for everyone because they wanted to lower property taxes. College costs keep going up, and the legislature exacerbates this by cutting funds to colleges while they award money for cancer research to their buddies and enterprise fund money to more of their buddies.

Where are the jobs for these purported college graduates? Not here. The Texas money boys are in love with keeping costs low so their almighty profit margins are maintained. if the inequality in incomes persists, they are happy.

There is little interest in helping our poor and lower middle class kids get a college education. Our legislature loves maintaining the status quo. Most of our kids don't even have a bootstrap to pull themselves up with.

One of the Good Ones
One of the Good Ones

@ Rear View Mirror I was talking about the fellowship and little more. I am not a friend of his but yet could get a job from him because I am in fact competent. It's not because I'm black or went to school with a church member's friend! It's because I put forth the effort! I realize you didn't read what this is about so I won't talk down to you the way you are attempting to do to me.

I would not place STAAR results solely at the feet of Myles. We have kids that can't read, can't do basic math and everything in between. I blame STAAR on the system. That same system that was here long before Myles showed up! Elementary teachers passing along students that can't read and do basic math. High school teachers forced to pass kids in a numbers game because only 20% of kids can fail. I don't believe in all of what Myles says, but you are flat out stupid if you think one person can change this mess of a district we are in! It takes all but instead, we have finger pointers crying about everything!

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD

@Straight Talk @PreparedForWhat

This is copied from a comment from a previous article on this site which documents the soaring remediation rates during Miles' tenure at HD2.  During this same time, the Colorado state average was roughly 40%.  This data shows that his methods will NOT prepare our students to be ready for the next level after they graduate high school. His "disruptive change" will NOT be a change for the better, it will make things worse in DISD.

 The remediation rates increased from 39.1% to 75.5% during Miles' tenure at Harrison HS, and at Sierra HS, they fluctuated and the trajectory is worsening.

Harrison High School:  2006: 39.1%,   2007: 37.1%,   2008:56.6%,   2009: 52.6,   2010: 55.6,  2011: 75.5%

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/news/education-news/find-your-schools-2006-11-remediation-rates?appSession=341250871585983

Sierra High School:  2006: 70%,   2007: 34.5%,   2008: 53.1%,   2009: 49.4%,   2010: 58.%,   2011: 67.6%

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/news/education-news/find-your-schools-2006-11-remediation-rates?appSession=730250873343917

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@E Kim Selim @Straight Talk @retiredteacher A look at the teacher vacancies makes it clear that the DISD leadership has not taken a good, hard look at scrapping bilingual education while it is busy pillaging.   The DISD is producing students who can't read fluently in any language by high school.  This is a phenomenon that has emerged in large part because of the way the district handles language acquisition in the early grades, not in spite of it.   It must be easy to be unmotivated if you are sitting in class reading like a third grader.  And by then Miles, by decree, makes it clear he doesn't want you to try to read aloud in class.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

I have some information that will surprise you. The non-credit side of my local Jr. College is growing by leaps and bounds while the credit side of the same school is shrinking.

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

@retiredteacher It could be free and it wouldn't matter if the student is not prepared. There is nothing more frustrating to a young man or woman who graduates from high school and is told they are ready for the next level, only to enroll in college and be told that they will have to take several remedial classes at their cost with no credit toward their degree because they were socially promoted.  We need to stop lying to our kids

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

@pancho villa

kudos for the link. Page 16 of the district summary gives teacher retention rates and distribution by experience. Teacher retention was 80.5% last year and 32.0% of the teachers had 1-5 years of experience. It was 18.9% the year before.

This is all before Mike Miles came. What happens to a system when you foster disruptive change on one that is already in chaos?

In other words, he never used data. He is just carrying out preconceived ideas and calling them systems thinking. I call it fraud.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

@Pancho Villa. Thanks for posting this because it surely settles the BTW issues. In 2012

they enrolled 229 9th graders, 118 of which were NEW to the district (approximately 51.5% of 9th graders New to district) and approximately 45% were Anglo. This answers much about how much BTW is turning a blind eye to all these out of district kids. Disturbing.

alter_idem
alter_idem

@Aztec w. Scrapping maybe in the sense of tear down and replace with healthier design. - need something that can meet standard of overcoming linguistic barriers to participation. Design, implementation and metrics are inadequate.

alter_idem
alter_idem

Interesting. So Pancho villa claims that bilingual end through 5th turns out students ready to compete by 6th?

That's funny. Jajaja. PV just curious- where did you learn English?

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

So! You real issue is about J-O-B-S. It is easy to fix. Take over the Texas House of Representatives, then take over The Republic of Texas Senate and later change the TEC, problem solve. Oh gee! I forgot about the U.S. Supreme Court and Lau vs. Nichols. Heck! You can reverse that decision too.  Would You?  Jajajajajajajajaja.

Once again, typical gringo lips service. NADA mas!

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

What did I tell you? You must be talking out of your rear? You are full of it. You do not even have the link with the numbers. Jajajaja.

https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/SD/cdp.jsp

I hope you know how to read real Stats. BTW, bilingual program ends at 5th Grade, after that is straight to GENERAL ED Classes. Now, if you have unqualified NON-ESL teachers to deal with language issues that is Middle Schools that is an   administrator problems. ESL students are just that ESL. Who told you Bilingual students become ESL in MS. Once again you are full of it. You need to stop at the closest toilet. Jajaja.

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@Pancho Villa I'm wondering if something got lost in translation here.  That's a pretty good metaphor for what's happening to our students...  

I will be more clear.  The way DISD is teaching English and Spanish in the elementary grades is producing students who are pretty far behind by middle school, and there is a big problem with students entering 9th grade who can't read at the 6th-grade level.  If a student can't demonstrate 6th-grade reading ability, the student doesn't even qualify for remedial classes.  The program, as it stands, does not teach enough English.  Even if the students came out reading at grade level in Spanish, it would be much, much better than this.

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@Pancho Villa Here's the link:  http://www.dallasisd.org/Page/20588

I entered "elementary" to see the teacher vacancies, and found 65 Bilingual teaching positions on the first page.

Here are some more REAL numbers.  In middle school, if a child was in BILINGUAL ED in elementary, he was likely to have taken the STAAR/TAKS in SPANISH in 3rd, 4th and 5th.  That is three years, by my count.  


LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@Pancho Villa yes, definitely.  I would like some real numbers,  thanks.

LBart
LBart

@Pancho Villa Fix that achievement gap before you start crowing too much.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@LakeWood, I think that you may be one of those that resent the fact that SALSA beat Ketchup! Jajaja.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@lakewoodparent, point to a link with your crappy information. You are just lip service the Bilingual program. Would you like for me to give you some REAL NUMBERS?

Release the Toxins
Release the Toxins

@Disrupted DISD @LBart @retiredteacher I sure hope it isn't! I am not even at an AVID school, but I hear how much it positively benefits the students that participate. For some reason...I don't think he is in tune to the plight of the students in the low-socio economic category. A lot of this stuff is introduced and learned only at school.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

LBart. All teachers being great? Impossible. All of anyone in ANY field being great? impossible. All students ready to try to learn? No. Yet, the reformers' answer to everything

is that it must be "bad teachers."

The absurdity of this idea rankles any experienced teacher who has seen board policies

become more and more geared toward rewarding students for poor choices and bad behavior (not doing assignments, not making up missed assignments, not coming to tutoring for help, excessive absences). Then the administrators want to judge the teacher when these same students don't do well on a high-stakes test? How could they do well?

Someone else on the blog mentioned the absurdity of forcing a kid reading on the 3rd grade

level in Spanish to take an 8th grade reading level test in English. This is the teacher's fault?

Impossible.

High stakes testing of everyone on the grade level they are supposed to be BASED ON AGE is not only insane; it's a fraud. They don't start even (poverty, no encouragement fro parents to work hard). And as these same kids get older (no fime for remediation; huge classes; ridiculous growth expectations), the scores worsen. Anyone with two brain cells can understand that this is a scenario that is NOT working and will not work REGARDLESS. Under NCLB we started with absurdity (100% on grade level by 2014) and we keep repeating and expecting teachers to make this happen. It's like having a hole in a boat, giving a person a teaspoon, and yelling, "Keep bailing, or you'll be fired." In the end, it's the kids who'll drown while the adults play around with disruption, P4P, more testing based on nothing, bloated, high-paid administrative scorekeepers, for-profit schools, etc. etc etc.

LBart
LBart

@retiredteacher Of course I haven't rejected it. As I said, when teachers do everything humanly possible to encourage the student (and many teachers will not fail a student who does not show mastery if the student just puts forth SOME effort) and the student still just sleeps all day, what can you do? Of course you can and should fail them. But are you suggesting that all teachers do all this work for students? Many do, some don't.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

LBart. Your example is absurd. No one who had 70% of students fail would be in the classroom longer than 6 months. Yes it would be fair to look at instruction and assessments.

But everyone is having to do the mind-numbing, stupid DOLs, so perhaps Miles idea of instruction is wrong. We know it's wrong. You even know it is wrong, but it's part of the disruption processs-----break everyone down. It really reminds me of Orwell's 1984.

Even the plan for 2013 and beyond that states x % of teachers will agree with Miles' ideas.

By 2020, everyone will be forced to say, " I love Big Brother."

As usual, you offered an Either/Or scenario: 1) perfect teacher OR 2) terrible, complaining teaher. You seem stuck in the Either/Or Fallacy, as you offer extremes as the only viable

options.

Have you totally rejected the idea of increasing student responsibility as PART of the

plan just beause we both know that grading is a complicated process? Teaching is a complicated process, but all the reformers claim, just a you do, that there are good teachers and bad teachers. I haven't heard any reformers acknowledge that we have erred too much on the side of excusing students and blaming teachers. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that acknowledgment, but I know it will come eventually.

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@retiredteacher @LBart Again, given the range of functional abilities and academic deficits, strong effort and progress-based grades should be the norm, and the summative and standardized assessments need to act as diagnostics geared to helping the student progress, not to damning him or his teachers.  Accommodating learning differences often means  crossing out half the questions on the test and reading the question instead of relying on the student to be able to read it.  

If the child is not developmentally ready, or the gap is just too large, this is spitting into the wind.  Not to mention that the materials being used in an objectives-based curriculum are disjointed, and the child may never get a holistic, satisfying experience.

LakewoodParent
LakewoodParent

@LBart @Straight Talk @retiredteacher Hold principals accountable for supporting their teachers grade students according to effort and academic success AT THE LEVEL AT WHICH THEY ARE CAPABLE OF WORKING, and provide a means by which a 7th-grader who is reading at the 3rd-grade level can master 3rd-grade, move up to 4th, test at the 4th-grade level, move up to 5th, etc., without the specter of a Pearson test telling them if they are a failure or not.  

Instead, from the top down, the insane expectation, every year, is that the student reading at the 3rd-grade level will pass an 8th-grade STAAR test, etc.  Patently crazy.  And don't forget that the 16-year-old who drops out doesn't have a viable class to take inside the school, and it's possible this was the case from the ground up.  

Even in our crazy system, I am seeing students in this boat, children of poor parents, incarcerated parents, Spanish-speaking parents, and so on, responding to small-group instruction and flexibility.   They can make rapid gains, and find their footing.  But in the typical classroom, and with typical curriculum as designed by the schools, they can get lost permanently.  Many do.  

Straight Talk
Straight Talk

@retiredteacher @Straight Talk I am happy to give kids the grades they earn if we also give teachers the rewards (or lack thereof) they earn for educating (or failing to educate) the kids under their watch compared to other students with the same demographics across other state urban districts.  Accountability all the way around.  Maybe behaviors will change accordingly instead of everyone looking for somebody else to blame but themselves.  

LBart
LBart

@retiredteacher @LBart Grading and passing is a complicated subject and you know that as well as I do. You can still fail students, but if a teacher has a 70 percent failure rate is it fair to also look at their instruction and assessments?

I know teachers who will offer remediation, who will call (or attempt to call) parents, who will allow retakes, who are creative in their instruction and assessment, who are always available to students, who communicate with elective teachers and coaches to motivate the kids with eligibility, who give all the sped accommodations, who try to accommodate learning differences -- when a minority of their students fail, those students have undoubtedly earned it. 

But there are also teachers who drone on, pass out the tests and homework, shrug and say, "hey, they all failed, guess they'll learn that the world is a harsh place" and then complain in the lounge that the kids aren't held accountable.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

@LBart. So much for your wanting my ideas, LBart. We don't have to say you are. doomed; all we have to do is prove it to him/her by giving the grades they EARNED.

Of course offer to tutor and help but quit passing them when they don't pass. Right now they have NO consequences for knowing nothing in school. The consequences come when they leave school. We pass the buck to colleges or job training programs because we are letting the kids get away with taking no responsibility for themselves.

Vocational programs? Yes. We should never have abandoned them, even with the best of intentions. We also have to teach kids about the work ethic, as they have no idea what it means. How could they know when we pass them on, make excuses for them, never teach them how to accept consequences?

LBart
LBart

@Disrupted DISD @LBart @retiredteacher I have no idea, I hope it's not. It's aimed at poor students who have little to no family experience with college, who are not discipline problems, and who are on that C+/B- bubble -- not the kids who can succeed on their own and not the very low kids. 

It can be a great program when it's done well, but it requires a lot of teacher and administrative time and support.

LBart
LBart

@retiredteacher Do you remember being 15 or 16? It's been some moons ago, but I'm not sure I ever thought, "Gee, I'm failing so I better learn that it is in my best interest to work harder because I am about to go into an unforgiving world where I will not get a second chance." 

And I was certainly not a poor, urban, minority student with a chaotic home life and a broken community either. Many adolescents just don't make that connection and the ones who do have supportive, involved parents who will stay on top of them.

In years past a kid like that could join the military and get some discipline and training, but my understanding is that they won't even take them now without a GED or certain scores. I think the best bet is to expand career and technical education programs and offer programs like AVID for the ones on the bubble.

Saying, "Get real, kid! Learn something or you're gonna be doomed!" often falls on deaf ears, as anyone who has taught teenagers knows. Kids without role models get that F and then think, "Screw this" and shut down, act out, or leave.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

LBart. You might have to let some kids fail in order for them to realize it is in their best interest to learn something. Clearly what we are doing now is NOT working. The coddling and lying we've done has had very negative effects. They are currently clueless as to the effort it takes to make it in an unforgiving world. Adults have been sending them all the wrong messages: that there will be constant do-overs and second and third chances. There

won't be, and we adults know it, but we keep telling the same lies on report cards.

What's your solution, LBART? More tests? Fire more principals and teachers? Kids have had no responsibility for theiir own achievement for over 25 years. I think you'll agree that

hasn't worked, and it worsens yearly. Unless we put responsibility for achievement on students, we can fire every teacher and principal in the District, and nothing will change. In fact, it will worsen.

LBart
LBart

@Straight Talk @retiredteacher @Straight Talk @retiredteacher Stop lying and say what? "Johnny, you're a  nice kid but you don't like to read, you're baffled by math, you're bored by history, and you keep breaking the microscope in science. Have you thought about a career in the custodial arts?"

Schools socially promote and try to do credit recovery because it's in nobody's interest to have a 16yo in 7th grade. And we all know a 16yo won't stay in 7th grade, he'll drop out and then you'll have an uneducated, jobless 16yo high school dropout wandering the streets, which is just great. Vocational programs try to address this population, but then people complain with some justification that those programs are composed of all the minority kids. 

What's your solution? I for one would love to hear it. Saying "hold kids accountable!" doesn't mean anything, unless it means let them fail. That may make the teacher smile with grim satisfaction, but it's not going to solve the underlying problem.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

@Straight Talk. I agree whoeheartedly that we need to stop lying to kids.Why don't we start

the process by awarding kids the grades they really earn? Stop the grade padding? Stop telling teachers they can't have more. than 10% of their students fail w/o being put on a growth plan? Start holding the kids accountable? I guarantee they'd realize they weren't ready for college. BUT our district policy is to make kids feel good about themselves, allowing them to retest ànd retest. Allowing them to do community service to make up absences. The onus in this district is never on the kids. The BOT policy encourages us to lie, and punishes teachers if we don't lie.

So get off your high-horse, and go speak to the BOT and FMM. They've created these absurd policies that result in our grading policy being the biggest lie of all. Every teacher in the District knows it.

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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 lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the Board terminate his contract."

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Contact the Superintendent and Trustees:
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District 7
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email coming
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