Could Bill McKenzie Be a Bigger Fool

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dmn-manureBill McKenzie of the Dallas Morning Snooze is at it again. McKenzie continues to spread his special brand of journalistic fertilizer, and as it heats up in Dallas, the stench can be overwhelming.

His last little blog heralded the great passing scores on the state Algebra II tests with a hint that all high school students should take the Algebra II STAAR since things are going so well.

Bill apparently pays no attention to anything at the campus level in Texas schools, but the Snooze continues the pretense that McKenzie is an expert on education policy in Texas.

So here’s the key to understanding those Algebra II test scores, Bill.

The only sophomores in Texas being tested in Algebra II were the very advanced students, Bill. The remainder of students were in Geometry, Bill, and results were not newsworthy. Yes, if we test only the top ten percent of students in Texas who are on the advanced track in math, we get great results on a test where only 38% of the answers must be correct.

A giant DUH is welling up again after reading McKenzie’s little blog thing, the little inaccurate blog thing that brings in McKenzie’s daily bread.

The same miracle in test scores could be witnessed in the scores of Algebra I students who took the test as eighth graders last year and this year. These kids have outstanding scores, even though the validity of the test is extremely questionable since merely guessing is a small step below the required percentage to pass.

McKenzie also decided to share the results of the high school reading and writing tests, results which were abysmal.

This is also no news.

We’ve said for years that the short reading sections on the TAKS gave false results when compared to the gold standard ITBS scores.

We assume Bill McKenzie can read. We assume Bill knows that Pearson hauls in people off the street through advertising on Craigslist and pays these readers $10-$13 an hour to spend seconds reading our students’ STAAR writing samples.

We think Bill might look into this boondoggle for Pearson whose primary interest is making money, not saving Texas children from poor writing habits.

We’ve also previously compared ACT results of schools such as Uplift’s Peak Preparatory that indicated no higher level of college readiness than Dallas ISD’s lowest performing high schools, even though Peak’s TAKS results were stellar. We’ve warned for years that standardized tests are dumbing down our kids, but old Bill still worships at Pearson’s altar.

For the Snooze to continue to pay Bill McKenzie to write blogs when Bill doesn’t even understand the course sequence in Texas high schools is a shame. The editorial staff should be embarrassed since accuracy is the first rule of journalism. McKenzie fails constantly at understanding the different cut rates of end of course exams, understanding the number of students from the first round of testing who have still not passed and the consequences on graduation rates.

It may be the heat in Dallas, Texas, but the stench of manure coming from the DMN is overwhelming.

Posted in Teachers Rule Tagged with: , , , , ,
Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD 2 Like

Should really read "Two MORE Chiefs Leaving Dallas ISD."

And Glover was the poster boy for this administration- so much so that Garrett Boone wrote a letter to the editor in the DMN in support of Miles hiring him, despite his lack of experience.  

The STAR employee commission report (which Garrett Boone headed up) had recommended that DISD hire a person well-versed in HR with lots of experience.  I guess his youthful enthusiasm was supposed to carry the day. NOT.

Interesting to re-visit an earlier article from this blog on this subject:

I wonder if Garrett Boone would like to retract this sentence in his letter:  "The restructuring of the HR organization, with Chief Talent Officer Charles Glover reporting directly to the superintendent, and the added, robust HR expertise of Jamal Jenkins as Executive Director under Glover, adds experience to the HR function that is crucial to identifying, attracting, developing and retaining top talent in our schools."

Jamal Jenkins quit just before Alan King did, taking away any experience which remained in the DISD HR department.  

No wonder we have seen no real "identifying, attracting, developing and retaining" of top talent in our schools. What we are seeing now is a mass exodus, as reported by Channel 11 yesterday, not of the "bad teachers," but rather of some of our most experienced and beloved ones. 

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim 1 Like

DMN is reporting Smelker and Glover are leaving.

I do not think the BOT can tolerate this much more. They need to get rid of FMM for no leadership ability. He does everything himself, teacher and principal training, designing evaluation systems, marketing, curriculum design. Then he fails to establish a stable core team around him. This is just going to implode by September.

Classes not coverd by competent teachers.

Invalid assessments used to start a bogus teacher eval system.

Bilingual teachers gone.

iT systems being bullied on staff with potential loss of e-rate again.

Unfounded and ill-conceived Imagination 2020

Getting rid of principals without due process based on violations of board policy.

And it is only the first year.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

Just got an email from DISD confirming they are gone.

retiredteacher 1 Like

Picture, which I don't seem to know how to post,  reads:    Pearson is the Monsanto of Education


On the Fox News Post about the Houston Teacher             I counted at least 5 times when 'it's" was incorrectly used

when it should have been its. How embarrassing for the Fox News Channel! Perhaps the person writing this article needed a veteran teacher to teach him the difference between it's (it is) and its (the possessive form of the pronoun).


soundslikeMiles 1 Like

So Mike Miles is on a board pushing for reform in teacher education when he went through an AC program and then went online to get his superintendent's certificate?

A little hypocritical, huh?

Why wasn't he been admitted to an outstanding program in each case where he actually learned pedagogy instead of getting into the business of being an education hustler who is only out for a buck?

soundslikeMiles 1 Like

Terry Grier's Apollo 20 programs busts the budget and gets very few results. It looks just like Miles' approach--bully everyone and churn out experienced principals and teachers. It also destroys the successful programs in place:

We only have one question: do the DISD board members ever read the research? If so, why Miles, ever?

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

Come on BOT! How is the Apollo program any different than Miles' feeder initiative? You have already destroyed Madison. Lincoln is next and nobody has been able to do anything with Pinkston for 30 years. Does anyone truly believe Imagination 2020 is a solution? DISD is just disrupting the lives of these students.

Watch Dogs Inc
Watch Dogs Inc 1 Like


To: Dallas ISD Teachers and Principals

From: Watchdogs, Inc.


If you change the words school aged children to teachers and principals, this is exactly what is happening to the teachers and principals of Dallas ISD.

Bullying Definition:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children (teachers and principals) that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

Bullying is against the law! The question is why haven’t anyone filed charges against the smallest BIGGEST BULLY in the district?


testmagain 1 Like

You can't run a  school like a business because a school is not a business.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Wow! There it is in black and white: the US educational model in all its cure-the-society glory!

Thanks so much for finding and sharing this gem!

Oh...almost's STILL all the fault of teachers that low SES and minority children struggle to achieve...

retiredteacher 1 Like

Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot, is on MSNBC now speaking about public education

in high schools and guess what? Praising charter schools and dissing public schools. The "experts" on education multiply before our eyes. Until the last 5 years, I hadn't known how many business people knew so much about education.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

That's the unvarnished truth: they know noting about education but wrote the book on profit margins.

Beer2 1 Like

So does anyone think there might be just a bit of illegal business going around in DISD? And if so, just WHY can't the enforcers GET IT??  Is OPR paid off by FMM on the side? I mean geeesh, SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, should be able to connect the dots, even if the BOT and community can't!!!

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD 1 Like


Yes, and read this rebuttal from Linda Darling-Hammond from Stanford University, well known as one of the nation’s leading experts on teacher preparation.

And, guess who is on the board of the National Council on Teacher Quality, which did this poorly done study? Why, none other than our own Mike Miles:

No wonder Miles doesn't recognize true teacher quality when he sees it, and doesn't know the correct way to develop it.

mauipatooty 2 Like

@Disrupted DISD @maui73 

Linda Darling Hammond kind of calls them out as liars.

Hmmmm. So strange that a national expert thinks so little of this group Miles aligns himself with and so little teaching experience among them.

Miles himself is the product of an AC program--another example of why we need university sponsored teacher certification.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh 1 Like

@mauipatooty Don't use Miles as an example of AC please. Not everyone can afford substantial amounts of extra schooling. I can see university involvement or administration of Alt. Cert. programs though.

Beer2 1 Like

@Persona non grata   I think the next post on this blog should be everyone's speculation on what will happen come mid July through late August.  We all know that the people that speak here are the ones in the know, yet the BOT and DMN and no-one else gets it. What if we all put our projections "out there" and we can validate it once it becomes "in the news", saying we told you so! (And, we WILL tell them "we told ya so")


McKenzie is so brain dead and oblivious. Now he's glad Perry vetoed the bill allowing some school districts to move forward with a more valid assessment menu than the invalid offerings of Pearson.

McKenzie wants the smartest child in the state with the same anchor around her neck as the child needing the most help.

That makes things equal in McKenzie's stunted mind.

But here is a McKenzie quote on why all this testing is necessary:

"Focusing on testing sounds like a mean game of gotcha. I get that. But that’s not my goal. I think testing is important because it can make sure kids get the diagnoses they need. What’s more, it can get them the assistance they require to improve."

Where in Hades does McKenzie get the idea that these Pearson tests are diagnostic? There is nothing diagnostic about them. They haven't even been proven valid.

Last year Dallas ISD put some learning packets on the web to remediate kids who couldn't pass reading. Does McKenzie think that is diagnostic?

Is the man walking around with a dead head on his shoulders, totally divorced from reality? Does he think these tests exist to get help for kids?

These tests exist to rank schools and make money for Kress. They are not a gateway to diagnostic help for kids. Our kids in Dallas don't even have adequate IEP assistance at their campuses.

Does McKenzie think there is diagnostic help for the 5,000 freshmen reading below level?

Really? Where? In Never, Never Land where McKenzie spends his days?

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim 1 Like

They do not even publish the tests. They cannot be diagnostic if they are EOY tests. Even MyData tries to collate student expectations but that is so unstable with few SEs per child.

A is for Abigail
A is for Abigail 1 Like


I think we all know how I feel about Bill McKenzie and describing him as being divorced from reality is being too kind in my opinion.

Diagnostic my a#$.  These tests are nothing but money makers and everyone knows it.

I lump Bill in with tobacco executives who testified that they had NO IDEA that tobacco might be a bad thing.  I also lump him with that bureaucrat holding the booze and smiling from the Las Vegas bathtub.


@A is for Abigail @roketscientist 

Ok--do you think Bill is  vengeful creep or just plain stupid?

Is he completely out of touch or intentionally unaware?

What, exactly, does he do all day that he remains so woefully lacking even with a water hydrant of news available on the web?

Does he think he is the Mr. Rogers of public education? Just an old guy with a sweater on, talking slowly? Or is he having his pockets lined by Kress?

You know, what is so hard about understanding Bill is that he takes his paycheck from the journalism biz. He's not on talk radio, but he's so remarkably dumb with all his theories on how education works.

With all the education portals in the world at his disposal, Bill McKenzie wanders around in a fog of misinformation, gins it up a bit, and reprints it. We can't even figure out where he gets the ideas he holds.


Tawnell needs to quit reading McKenzie bunk or move her desk away from his because he seems to be rubbing off.  What exactly does the post about academic gains in  high schools mean? Add up the  scores across the state and get 2 points. So what? Where is the analysis? What is the comparison?  Did it occur to her to look and see where and how those on the bottom had dropped? And the same for those increasing? Does she mention that 30 of the 44 point drop at Samuell occurred in Alg I? In fact the drop in the bottom 5 on her chart was primarily in Alg I. No flag there? No light went off in her head? Her chair seat didn't suddenly get warm? 

Belo Expectations has taken on a new meaning altogether. Although  the DMN has joined right in with  accusation of teachers being paid for just showing up, it seems the same could be said for those that write stories on DISD. .Come on, aren't you guys better than that sans McKenzie? Or have you been corrupted by association? 



The fact a massive cheating scandal is just sitting there is indicative that the reporters at Belo Expectations are only expected to write things to add to the superintendent's cache.

If Sunset was doing so well, why did Miles' goat run him off? Why did Cowan put up with it?

Wonder if Tawnell ever considers letting some research experts have a look at that numbers instead of just adding and subtracting points on final results.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

Couldn't sleep last night not understanding all the anomalies in the data on Math 8 and Alg I  so I dug through the files on this blog, Mydata-public and TEA/Pearson web sites.  I think I figured it out and there is no hanky panky but that makes it worse!

Here goes.  Campuses like Comstock, Florence and Hood decided to test many kids in 2012 for Algebra I.  Probably because it did not count for accountability purposes.  The middle schools with Academies still only tested the Academy  kids in 2012.  The middle school math 8 average in 2012 for the district in 2012 was terrible due to some schools adding students to Algebra I who had no business taking the exams.  For 2013, both Math 8 and Alg I in grade 8 count for the new accountability system so Comstock, Hood, Florence etc, dramatically dropped the number of kids taking Algebra I but the middle schools with Academies slightly increased the number.  The total numbers did not change that much.  Thus for 2013, the brighter kids at some schools reverted back to math 8.  It offset the other middle schools and we had huge gains for the district across all schools.  Abigail was correct. 

Now the receiving schools of Comstock, Hood, Florence, etc. like Samuell and Spruce got screwed.  In 2012 they tested the normal set of kids from the middle schools but in 2013 the top kids and near top kids already had numerous opportunities and most finally passed.  They were left with the very bottom students and they got 30 point drops.

I also added up the number of grade 8 tests and Alg 1 tests at each middle school and compared to the enrollment.  They add up.  I see no hard evidence of double testing in 2013. 

Here is the sad part that makes it worse.  Schools like Samuell and Spruce will be judged on factors they had no control over.  The CEIs at least attempted to control for this.  The new process ignores the context of the data.  In 2014 Samuell and Spruce will probably go up in scores.  All this has nothing to do with teacher effectiveness but people will be fired over it.  SO SAD.


@E Kim Selim 

Your explanation doesn't make sense at the high school level. If students passed the Algebra I test in eighth grade in 2012, they would not be taking it again in 2013.

The number of students taking Algebra I tests at Spruce, Hillcrest, Pinkston, and Roosevelt was the same number taking the tests as high school freshmen in 2012.

There had to be massive cheating for the scores to drop in 2013 because the advanced Algebra I students typically DON'T go anywhere but magnet schools. They wouldn't appear on these campuses as freshmen in Algebra I in 2012.

These 30 point drops indicate serious cheating and serious cheating had already gone on at Pinkston with no consequences when Hinojosa was here.

TEA needs to investigate these four schools for their 2012 scores and have them clarify how in the world they would drop 30 points over a year.

What kids were doing in terms of double testing in middle school has nothing to do with the freshmen on campus in Algebra I in 2012.


@E Kim Selim 

The excuse Cecilia Oakley used for the past two years was that around the state, districts double tested Algebra I students for both STAAR and EOC Alg. I.

These kids didn't appear in the Algebra I tests on high school campuses for 2012 when Hillcrest, Roosevelt, Pinkston, and Spruce got such fabulous scores.

These campuses have the same number of freshmen this year and huge drops in scores. It has nothing to do with students taking Algebra I in middle school or the number of students taking the test would have dropped significantly and it didn't.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim


You got me.  I went and studied Samuell in detail. 331 tested in 2012 (all first timers.  334 tested in 2013 for the first time, about 400 total in 2013.  Let's say the 2013 is biased with few high performers and the 2013 is legitimate.  I cannot explain the 2012 results at 67% passing when the district was 75%.   

A is for Abigail
A is for Abigail 1 Like

@E Kim Selim Spot on.  Middle schools place highest kids in Algebra 1.  When that cohort moves to high school, the highest kids will be placed in Geom as 9th graders and the rest (the weaker students) will take Algebra 1 in a much more chaotic, disrupted environment.  

Middle schools have no incentive to keep the strongest students out of Algebra 1 and the high schools get popped for that.

Next year, middle schools will need to gamble on which test they think will be harder between the 2 tests so they can decide how to slot the kids.

This is what testing does to education: it isn't about what's best for the child; it's about what's best for the test.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

Well, here we go again lossing more bilingual teachers. How low is low? When is DISD going to stop the bleeding? When is DISD going to put the money needed to end the bleeding?  I  will bet 2013-2014 waiver requests are going to be over 700+. The BOT-1 has to care just a ilttle bit.

Bilingual_Teacher 1 Like

@Pancho VillaDallas ISD does not realize how serious their actions against bilingual teachers are going to affect the district and the community, especially at the elementary level. They have been very disrespectful against their bilingual teachers by eliminating the bilingual stipend, not getting a pay raise in the last three years and the way they are treated. We are professionals with college degrees and some of us even more than one!

I said it all along, bilingual teachers have options and they don’t need the pity of Dallas ISD. Dallas ISD needs them more than they need Dallas ISD.

Every year it gets harder for the foreign teachers to get certified because the requirements get tougher. Folks from Puerto Rico are not tied with work visas, so they too have options to go elsewhere. The people from Spain are here temporarily so they really don’t care about making a career in Dallas. It takes a lot of effort for any teacher to get certified in bilingual education and the demands in the classroom are even higher. Teachers deserve respect and good compensation for what they do in the classroom.

You can see the numbers already. Bilingual teacher are leaving by the dozen and the numbers are going to continue to get higher. Every district wants bilingual teachers because they can teach bilingual, ESL or Gen. Ed. They fit anywhere!

Dallas ISD is going to have serious problems filling out those spots. Bilingual education is not an option in Texas; it’s the law! TEA is not going to be amused with all the waivers for 30+ kids this coming school year. Wonder how Dallas ISD is going to dodge this bullet.


Gee, no wonder schools get away with cheating on EOCs. Brain surgeon Tawnell thinks big education news is simply to add up the gains on EOCs and publish with no analysis of anything.

Tawnell, why don't you call TEA and ask how Samuell, Pinkston, and Roosevelt dropped 30 points in Algebra I from last year?

That might be a story.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim 1 Like

Tawnell, You seem to be short on news stories.  Here are some hints.

Look at the Board documents and how the district is purchasing Schoolnet, a Pearson product, without a bid.  The claim is that because we have Chancery and Gradespeedso we do not have to go to bid.  The problem is our Chancery/Gradespeed contract was before Pearson purchased SchoolNet.  Plus our original bid never included an assessment system.  Houston had Chancery and GradeSpeed and they went out to bid for the assessment system and selected PCG/EdPlan, not GradeSpeed. EdPlan is based in Dallas.  How ironic.

Here is another one.  The Margaret Hunt Bridge to nowhere is next to downtown, near to Kessler Park, next to the planned Trinity River rive rwalk development and in the Pinkston feeder zone.  Gee, do ya think Uplift will develop a school for yuppies in new houses going up there and grab the higher achieving neighborhood kids.  Research who is buying the land at the end of the bridge to nowhere.

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand 2 Like

@E Kim Selim They are already working on it. They want it to be by zip code, so as to exclude Sunset and Adamson kids. Ask Rafael Anchia about it. He is pushing it. Ask Eric Cowan about it. His wife.

mired by mike
mired by mike

Here is my burning question (like a kidney infection):

For AYP, it is 10th grade math and reading that count. Since we have done away with the STAAR EOC geometry and Algebra II requirements for graduation, how will AYP be looked at for math? Will we still be giving the STAAR Geometry and Algebra II (to have it count for 10th grade AYP) ?

If that answer is yes, look for an entirely new number of low performing schools. Why would a child try his/her best on an exam that doesn't count for graduation, doesn't count for a final exam grade, etc?

Just wondering. I might have missed how this is going to work.


mired by Mike. That's the point: kids are NOT going to try for a. test that doesn't count. They

didn't try that hard on 10th grade taks because it DIDN'T count for graduation. Did they care about AYP? No! They got no grade and it didn't count. Most kids will NOT try on any test UNLESS it counts.

TellMorathThankYou 1 Like

@mired by mike 

Oh, you are going to be giving tests, alright. Mike Morath wants every subject tested for every grade including art and PE.

These tests won't count against the kids. They will count against you. Morath thinks DISD teachers are pond scum and need a test filter to filter what might be worth saving and fire the rest.

He and Miles think alike. With Miles, it's test everyone for data points for his performance pay garbage.

Same difference. No cares for kids. You can now beg kids to pass these Pearson tests ($800K of them for starters) because your job hangs in the balance.

Don't like it?

There are more than 1,000 teaching jobs open in the Dallas area. Find a district that wouldn't recruit Miles for a dog catcher and would think Morath needs diapers. That will be the district for you.


@mired by mike 

Exactly how would that be any different that what has happened over the past ten years when the 10th grade tests didn't count?

Of course schools didn't make AYP because the tests didn't count.

Commissioner Williams is meeting with the feds to work this out.

It sounds like you want these tests to count.

We say get rid of all of them. Schools are cheating. Kids don't learn anything from these tests.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

A great read on teaching even though the content is the antithesis of the beliefs, attitudes and practices of FMM, the BOT, the DMN, the mayor and business "leaders". The author elaborates on six satisfactions of teaching.

My favorite, although it almost brought me to tears thinking about what we're being forced to do to the children if DISD by this administration:

"Third, teaching makes it possible to play your own cello. Despite the beliefs of some well intended technocrats, there are no recipes for performance, no teacher proof scripts to follow. Teaching well requires improvisation within constraints. Constraints there will always be but in the end teaching is a custom job within which the teacher becomes an inseparable part of what is taught.

The inseparability of what is learned from the manner in which it was taught is a lesson best taught by the arts. The arts teach us that form and content cannot be divided; how something is described effects what is described. Curriculum once enacted cannot be separated from the way it was taught because how it was taught influences how it is learned."

Here's the author's concluding paragraph:

"It is especially important today at a time when schools are buffeted by performance standards and high stakes testing to remember that the student is a whole person who has an emotional and social life, not just an intellectual one. And this is as true for graduate students in the grandest citadels of higher education as it is for students in elementary school. The more we stress in school only what we can measure the more we need to remember that not everything that is measurable matters and not everything that matters is measurable. As the old progressives used to say, we need to pay attention to the whole child. This is accomplished by how we teach. How we teach is related to the deep satisfactions of teaching I described today."

Slow news
Slow news

There's definitely some hanky panky going on with the double digit dip in Algebra scores. Hands tired dipping inside the cookie jar or nobody cares anymore ? And while we're in this topic, whatever happened to the issue of promoting some 10th graders to 11th grade to avoid missing AYP? A friend of mine who's a counselor in one high school decided to be absent the day the principal told them to reclassify 10th graders. This is Cecilia Oakely's department mandate too. She has some explaining to do.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

@Slow news   

Reclassifying 10th graders to 11th graders just to avoid AYP is a federal offense. This is what put Lorenzo Garcia in prison. He also excluded kids who he claimed did not live in EPISD. This is an OPR issue not E&A.

Slow news
Slow news

The Principals were called to a meeting and were given specific instructions how to do it. If that's the case, then DISD should be investigated by the Feds for gross misconduct.

E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim

@Disrupted DISD@Slow news  

The policy is  EIE Local.  Grade promotions can come only at the beginning of the year unless a student is ready to graduate.  Then miraculously a clause was added to include grade 10 if enough credits were earned in the fall.  This clause did not exist even 4 years ago. Funking methods of credit recovery and credit by exam are being used with the support of policy.  The question is who is by passing grade 10.  Are they academically weak first time 10th graders or are they academically weak repeating 10th grade students?  The trick used to be to purposely fail second time 9th graders, so they enter their third year as grade 10 students then give them the extra credit to jump to grade 11. Is this still prevalent?

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD

@Slow news  

Do you have any documentation of this? Or do you know anyone who does? Anyone who took notes, has handouts, pictures of the power points used, etc.

If so, would you please upload this on the "upload documents" page on this blog. 

I believe that the teachers on this blog can get the information forwarded to the proper channels, without any names associated with it.

It is very important that people begin to speak up to put an end to this corruption which is hurting our children in the end.

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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

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