Many people seem to have taken an interest in Dallas ISD of late. There have been multiple editorials, op-eds, and columns in the illustrious Dallas Morning News telling us all how things need to be done. Mayor Mike Rawlings injected himself in the middle as well, from endorsing specific education PAC’s and DISD trustee candidates to going so far as pledging “to lay out a more comprehensive strategy for Dallas schools.” He may have a bit of trouble finding the part in DISD policy which addresses the role of the mayor in laying out strategy for the schools, because it is not there.
Recently, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, always a controversial figure, came out swinging against Dallas ISD superintendent Mike Miles. He was quite direct in his criticism, saying, “I wish he was gone yesterday.” Price voiced concern over the treatment of principals and said they needed adequate resources before being judged. Price spoke at recent DISD board meetings and wrote a letter to 75 Dallas pastors to urge them to not welcome Miles to speak at their churches. He encouraged them to instead support their many members who are DISD employees suffering under Miles’ treatment of them.
What followed has been comical. The Dallas Morning News, that shining bastion of ethical standards, came out with sharp criticism, accusing John Wiley Price of “meddling.” The editorial began by saying, “If Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price looked at his business card, he’d notice that it doesn’t say Dallas school superintendent.” They did not mention that Mayor Rawlings’ business card does not say Dallas school superintendent, either. The editors stated that Price “doesn’t have a right to try to wall off communication between the superintendent and parents and district taxpayers.”
For those who are familiar with Miles’ tumultuous times in Colorado Springs, this story sounds strangely familiar. Except that, in Colorado Springs, it was MIKE MILES who was doing the walling off.
Colorado Springs is home to the African-American Voice newspaper. The publisher, James Tucker, accused Mike Miles of discriminating against black media because he only advertised with the white media news outlets. Miles responded by saying that the African-American Voice was a “tabloid of misinformation and hate.” Fox News reported on November 30, 2010, that “Not only does Miles refuse to advertise with the Voice, he is publicly calling for others to pull their ads from the paper. “
Mike Miles wrote a letter on November 2, 2010, on district letterhead and published on the district website, accusing Mr. Tucker of being a racist and calling for an advertising boycott of the African-American Voice. Tucker said, “D-2′s refusal to advertise in a minority publication and using the district web site to implore others to do the same is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964….” Tucker filed a complaint with the Justice Department regarding the boycott which Miles called for in his letter on the district website. The Denver Weekly News on December 2, 2010 quoted from the complaint that “Miles, ‘with express or delegated authority, published a tortuously slanderous and intentionally harmful letter on the School District web page and contacted persons who do business’ with Tucker with the ‘express purpose of interfering with the business relationship’ between the Voice and Tucker’s business community.”
It seems that Mike Miles and John Wiley Price have read the same playbook. Miles should recognize that taste; it is his own medicine. He should be flattered that Price is using a form of his tactics from 2010 in Colorado Springs. After all, imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery.