In recent days, the supporters of Dallas ISD superintendent Mike Miles have been circling the wagons. They have called in all of their favors: reporters have written glowing articles about Miles, editorials have been published scolding the public and telling Dallas to get in line behind Miles, prominent business people have written a public letter of support for the Miles and have demanded that the DISD trustees follow through on the superintendent’s disruptive plans, and now Mayor Rawlings himself has joined the fray.
The Dallas Morning News reports that “Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings helped launch an online petition Monday to encourage people to support improving the city’s public schools.” Notice that the petition itself is fairly innocuous and doesn’t even mention Mike Miles by name. The positive fact about the increase in graduation rates did NOT occur during Miles’ tenure; in fact, most people expect the graduation rate will drop if he stays. However, the results of the petition will no doubt be viewed as a mandate from the public to keep Miles in place.
The petition advocates various cliches about education with which no one would argue. One in particular stands out: Every public school must be led by a high quality principal and every classroom by a highly effective teacher.
Just how well is the Miles’ regime doing on this very important issue? The numbers speak for themselves:
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There are hundreds of classrooms without permanent teachers, let alone highly effective ones. Dallas ISD has simply not kept up with the need for hiring teachers. This data was compiled directly from information readily available on the DISD website. In the month of October, 2012, the district was already down approximately 660 teachers, and yet the number of teachers hired that month was 7. Seven teachers hired during the entire month! Reports of long term substitutes in many core classes were being reported. What was Charles Glover doing to earn his salary of $180,000? And why have the trustees not noticed these appalling numbers?
Well, for one thing, Charles himself is not admitting to these failures. At the board briefing in January, 2013, he boasted about the new HCM hiring process. He prattled on and on about how excited he was to hold the job fair in December to “close current gaps.” The candidates at the job fair were all “highly qualified” and had been “vetted for competencies.” Glover declared that “we had 31 hires on the spot” and that “we still have 92 pending rec’s from that job fair.”
All of this sounded very positive, but unfortunately for Glover and the students of DISD, the numbers don’t support his excitement. Twenty-six teachers were hired during that time frame, not 31, and during the next month, 16 were hired. Where are the “92 pending rec’s” he crowed about? Supposedly, 339 vetted and qualified candidates were present at the job fair, which was touted as being held to “close current gaps.” Why weren’t more of them hired? During those two months, we lost 108 teachers, so our net was negative 66 teachers just for that time frame. So much for closing gaps; the gap instead has continued to widen. Where was the urgency which has been spoken of so frequently?
No one knows the true number of teacher vacancies. It is not known how many vacancies there were in June of 2012. What we do know is that since that point, we have lost a net of over 760 teachers who have not been replaced. The number of teachers resigning or being non-renewed at the end of this school year will only add to this number.
Can we excuse this by saying that perhaps Charles Glover did not have enough applicants to fill these needs? There were 3583 teacher applications submitted to Dallas ISD from May 2012 through March 2013. And what about the 339 candidates from the job fair who were already determined to be good candidates? There were plenty of applicants from which to choose. Therefore, the lack of hiring CANNOT be explained by a lack of opportunity.
What does this translate to in terms of the students? The current number of teacher vacancies on the DISD website is listed at 111. If these are all elementary teachers, with an average class size of 24 (which is what the budget called for), that means 2664 children do not have a permanent teacher, or that they have been placed in overcrowded classrooms. If these teachers are all at the secondary level with an average load of 170 students, then 18,870 students do not have a permanent teacher for these classes, or are packed into already crowded classrooms. If there are indeed many more vacancies than 111, then the number of students in a disadvantaged educational situation only rises. Exactly which Dallas Kids are First in this scenario?
It seems that this petition is actually an indictment AGAINST Mike Miles and his regime. If the children are indeed “counting on us to represent their best interest,” then it is obvious that their best interest is for the adults in this city to find a superintendent who can, at the very least, provide permanent teachers in the classrooms for them.