A Dallas ISD Trustee’s Guide to Superintendent Training

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gingerThere’s a classic Gary Larson cartoon that has a dog owner sternly admonishing his dog to “stay out of the garbage!” or else. The dog, listening intently, hears “blah, blah, blah.”

Dallas ISD trustees should tape this cartoon to their bathroom mirrors as a reminder that they are in the exact same situation with Superintendent Mike Miles. They talk, they admonish, they ask; he ignores.

Those of us with older children, and all teachers, see this behavior for what it is and what it means. Some children are wired to please and to be compliant. When told their behavior is not acceptable, they actually change! Others will never change unless the consequences are so uncomfortable and so limiting that they must.

How many times have trustees asked that they receive supporting documentation for administration requests BEFORE the Board meetings? How many times have Miles and his staff been admonished for awarding contracts BEFORE Board approval? The Board debated funding for the leadership academy at the most recent Board meeting. It was pointed out that contracts had already been signed with prospective fellows! If the funding had not been approved, would the district be in breach of contract with these people?

Child psychologists will tell you the only way to deal with repeat offender children is to never threaten without following through with consequence, and that the consequence must be of a nature that the child will avoid it at all costs.

Mike Miles enjoys confrontation. He doesn’t give a hoot if you don’t like him. He doesn’t care if you don’t agree. If the trustees expect him to change his behavior and treat them with the respect their positions deserve, and comply with the rules and policies that make the governance process civil, then they must be willing to deliver consequences that this overgrown child will notice.

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E Kim Selim
E Kim Selim like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

FMM's mode of operation is to create chaos, determine and take over the command and control power structure and then replace all opposition through fear and intimidation.  Ok, we all get that and see it happening. Public education has become the only business that survives by demeaning its own employees.  

The BOT campaigns are funded by the very people who think the problem is not the system but the employees of the system.  There is no sense in complaining about the BOT or FMM as it will lead nowhere.

We need to change tactics.  Our weapon is the "blog-attack" and it seems to work.  Much of the information the district fails to inform the BOT surfaces in blogs and the BOT obviously reads it.  It puts FMM on the defensive as he does not control information.  He is not complaining about Board requests.  He is complaining about having to respond to blog accusations that he believes the Board will ask him or that the Board has read and wants the truth. 

Let's focus on facts and malpractice issues, not gossip and personal attacks.  This guy is a disaster and has to go ASAP.

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD like.author.displayName 1 Like

@E Kim Selim 

I'm in! I like the way you think- we need to go on the attack.  

We need to keep hammering away, putting nails in Mike Miles' coffin.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

By the way, has LBart left the country? Interesting that he has gone silent since Lumpy's departure...

Quo Qu ohhh
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Hen, I fully agree. Unfortunately, i do not know what it would take to get enough of this BOT to lay down the real consequences. Right now we are lucky to see 2 or 3 dissenting votes.


“Miles called his first year a success and gives himself a rating of proficient.” –DMN

REALLY! At this point, 80% voting to give him an “F” is a far cry from successful. He was not successful in a much smaller Harrison District 2, and so far he is failing a much larger urban Dallas ISD.

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Dear fellow readership: what follows is in backwards chronological order. I had formatting issues here. Please bear with that, as I think Mr. Taylor's comments were one approach to Trustee AND Superintendent training!

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh like.author.displayName 1 Like

C. Taylor  commentary, part 5: The finale! (notes to reader- here's where it turns. So masterful!)

Mr Miles: i have to admire you; you knew what you was doin' when you came here. But what happen to yo' people? See, there's gotta be somethin' wrong when all yo people blew* the coop. Huh?! (as if to ask "well? am i wrong?") YOU brought 'em. you said "these are my folk.These are gonna go with me." They done jumped ship. So there must be something wrong wi'ch you. Goodnight.

Despite having 20 seconds left on the clock, Taylor immediately walks away from the microphone stand, with excellent dramatic timing.

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C. Taylor commentary, part 4:

That's what you need to learn is how to work together. Y'all don't know how to work together. Look at your vote. Look at how you talk when you talkin about something. I know just as well...(interrupts self) ...By the way that was a good move you made, brother, Mr. Lewis Blackburn - you made a good move (laughs, crowd laughs too) alright?  anyway they don't know what it was, they don' understand what it was but i understand what you did, that's alright(this HAS to refer to LB finally abstaining from the vote on the TASB rep vote early in the evening, which resulted in about a dozen tied votes.)that's a good move you made brother...that was alright... I'm with you on that.
And I talk to him too. I'm sending all of y'all email, but I'm sending him another one

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C. Taylor commentary, part 3:

The last thing i'm gonna say, next to the last thing: I looked at all you all talkin tonight, & ! could tell how the vote was goin' & what was gonna happen. i saw what ... (pauses as he sees people leaving during his speech)(Bingham & Morath??)

Look at that. you got two of 'em ...People speaking, they don' care, they gone. That shows you what you care about your community (crowd reaction.) One o' y'all ought to get up & go back there & say "Hey, come on back here, we need you."

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(sorry, y'all - the site keeps telling me I am trying to post malformed content, so this is coming out in reverse order)

C. Taylor commentary, part 2:

Have a retreat...Have your Parliamentarian teach you some parliamentary procedures. All y'all talk at the same time, talk to each other & all that, which you ain't supposed to be.

the next thing is: Brother Miles? Y'all let him come here and do that. The policy says he can do what he's doin. Now ev'body want to know why's he doing something - he doin' it cause y'all let him do it. And  y'all sit there tonight...

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The final non-agenda-items speaker of the infamously long recent BOT meeting,

Mr. Charles Taylor.

This man is an unsung hero, having caught and engaged Miles' attention with seeming praise, then laying down the Hammer of Truth!

(Mr. Taylor, if you see this, I did my best to transcribe from the SIRE video online...)

Good evening, board members... or good morning, i'm sorry (crowd laughs)

Looking, listening, & thinking of you, i am bewitched, bothered, & bewildered.

It just amazed me that the intellect, the intelligence that i see sittin' before me cannot hold one simple meeting.What you need to do, and I'm going to send y'all a email cause I don't have enough time...But here's what you need to do:
Number One, you need to get your STAFF (emphasis his) to give you the information and have the information when they come to the meetin'...You can't make the decision (if/when) you don't have the information. Then you talk 20 minutes about that


The list demoted principals is up and did almost  every school that feed into SOC get a new principal?


And did the new elementary school get approved last Thursday? Jose Mayes in zipcode 75220.

mired by mike
mired by mike

@Ghost That link is not working anymore!!! When I click it it says "403 Forbidden". Says the same thing when I try from the dallas news home page!


Little red hen, you captured my thoughts exactly. Miles is a spoiled brat. Unless there are severe consequences, there will be no change.



The question is what are the possible consequences available to the BOT? Also what are the chances they will stand up to him?

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD like.author.displayName 1 Like

@guest321 @Petpau 

There are many things they can do.  They can fire him, for starters.  Short of that, they can refuse to fund any program which they have not received full information on.  They can pull things off of the consent agenda and vote them down.  

Miles gets lots of power from being able to throw money around.  If they clip his wings in that department and make him justify his expenditures, that would go a long way in earning the trustees some respect. 

Funny how everything is "data driven" until the data is not to their liking. It was admitted that there was no science applied the choosing of the 3 feeder patterns to receive extra attention next year. Really?  NO SCIENCE, NO DATA, to spend over $8 MILLION?  

Does that make any sense, after listening to Morath drone on and on about the "data" about class sizes "proving" his point that it will be ok to stuff 28-32 kids in middle school core classes (which is what would happen with a 1:25 ratio). And he boasted that he likes to use data in making every decision he makes as a board member. Really?

I did not hear one presentation on any of the Imagine 2020 vendors which cited their data on improving student achievement.  It was stated that many of these non-profits are already operating in those feeder patterns.  Surely, there is some data on the good they have done.  NOT anecdotes, as Miles seems so fond of. Where is their proof that they deserve more money to do whatever they are doing?  And especially, to now receive taxpayer money to fund their programs?


13th Year
13th Year

@Petpau As I told my friend as we left the board meeting last week, they just gave Miles a hard spankin'.....

and it was embarrassing to watch everyone concerned, including the rude members of the rather sparse audience.

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@13th Year @Petpau 

I think the point of this article is that a mere "spanking" will do no good. 

This board of trustees needs to get serious in their dealings with Miles.  What they did at the last board meeting will have no effect.  All  talk, no action. 

Miles knows how to wait them out. He did, and he got what he wanted in the end, even though his answers (and the staff's answers) were wholly inadequate regarding the planned expenditures. The only thing he lost on was the increased student:teacher ratio at the Middle School level.  That was small potatoes compared to the other money, and he did not fight that very hard.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh like.author.displayName 1 Like

@13th Year @Petpau I thought that, given the stakes, a spanking was not enough at all. I would have gladly suffered through far worse embarrassments for everyone involved if it resulted in better outcomes for the district (the kids.)

Someone should have been sent off to Military School... Oh, wait...

NextTime98 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

So the principalship for Spruce is being thrown around like a hot potato. Why isn't Spruce being filled to the brim with TFA and being given a Fellow for a principal?

Floyd believes in his Fellows program, so give a Fellow Spruce and leave Escamilla alone to work on North Dallas.

Why move principals to Spruce who haven't gone through the Miles leadership program? After all, didn't he tell the board there was a good reason to spend $100,000 for training these recruits.

Fill it up with TFA and fellows and then judge the quality of both. Quit sending TFA to the better schools.



I've heard the climate surveys at NDHS have been awful during her time there. Not to mention the turnover rate has been among the highest in the district. Maybe they want to send her there to get rid of her eventually...or maybe they want her to get rid of everyone else still at Spruce....

WWildcat Strong
WWildcat Strong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

guest321, what is your point? Are you one of the teachers she got rid of? I noticed almost all your entries are about NDHS and against the principal. North Dallas was low performing for years and even lower than Spruce and Lincoln combined. No doubt she cleaned up the house by getting rid of the lazy teachers. Do you want a status quo for a low performing school? She must be doing something right to turn around North Dallas. If you don't recognize that, the community does. Sorry about your rant, guest321, but I am a fan of Ms. Escanilla and I know her work ethics.

WWildcat Strong
WWildcat Strong like.author.displayName 1 Like

Here's another Newsflash for you, guest321, the principal got rid of you and your friends who are making North Dallas low performing. The school was AU for ten years. There is no AU10 rating, it stops at AU5. North Dallas was AU5 for five years. If you are keeping up with data, the accountability rating was suspended for two years now. Do you think it will be a miracle to wipe out a low performing in 3 years she was there? I'm sure you also read in DMN how North Dallas faired with other high schools. Number six out of 23 high schools. That's a huge accomplishment for a school who used to be in the bottom with Spruce, Roosevelt, Pinkston, and Samuel. Those teachers she got rid of for sure can say she's a terrible principal. Call it as it is, why do you care? You are no longer at North Dallas. You really sound like you're just licking your wounds. Poor you. Need a hug?


@WWildcat Strong 

 Newsflash- they are still low performing, if they make their numbers this year it will be the first time in recent memory. That is not a reflection on the faculty or staff who truly put in tremendous effort only to be treat badly by their boss. NDHS is AU year five if she had truly been as successful as you would like then by now they would be down to AU 3......If she is as fabulous as you claim then Spruce would indeed be lucky to have her, and it would be a smart move on Mike Miles part.

WWildcat Strong
WWildcat Strong like.author.displayName 1 Like

Data in TEA doesn't lie, guest321. North Dallas was low performing for 10 years while you and your friends watched your students fail while singing kumbaya. You deserve some reality check from your principal. The rotten teachers in North Dallas must go. That is required by law to replace low performing teachers in chronically low performing school. She did her job and you didn't like the results. Move on, guest321. You're no longer working with the principal that brought North Dallas back up. You are not part of its success, rather you were there when the school was failing.


@WWildcat Strong 

Clearly you have never worked under her personally as she most assuredly does play favorites! The ends does not justify the means...Treating badly is not acceptable. The teacher turnover rate which has remained high through out her time there and has not stabilized speaks for it's self. I considered many of the people I worked with friends, people who were not lazy, who were devoted to their students and yet they were harassed by the person who should have been supporting them. I stand by my comments.  

WWildcat Strong
WWildcat Strong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I heard that too when she got rid of many teachers at Woodrow. That's why I'm a big fan of hers. She does not play favorites. She only means business and if it is good for the kids. Only those who have something to hide and incompetent are afraid of her. She can't please everyone but those who are talented she will groom to bloom. Too bad you don't like her style. In your own admission, she's done good things. How many principals have come and gone and never left a footprint in their school? She was associate principal and Woodrow benefited from her when she was there, big, huge, contribution by the creation of the academies and IB program. North Dallas should be grateful to get a smart principal. So please stop the mudslinging and sour grapes coz thats what you sound like. I will take you up on a debate for everything she's done for Woodrow and North Dallas. You are no longer at North Dallas give your case a rest. Right, you left on your own accord. 'Nuff said!


@WWildcat Strong 

I was one of many who gladly left of my own accord. I acknowledge that she has done a lot of good things at NDHS and has worked hard. However, it is common knowledge  at NDHS that no one should meet with her alone. She is a bully who treats some people very badly. No one should have to so afraid to meet with their principal that they need to go in with another person every time they meet with them. She may be very competent in some ways but her people skills are lacking.

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@NextTime98 TFA kids may not want to go there after that one got punched in the face last year (by a student,) and then experienced a shocking lack of support by the principal.

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

@NextTime98 I agree. MOVE ALL of the teachers out of Spruce. FILL it 100% with Fellows and TFA's. Then, that is it. Give them a new nurse, new secretaries, a new cop--a rookie. Seriously, let's see the  hot shot newbies impress us all with their fantastic, superhuman deeds.

 Don't give them any more--or any less-- help than the rest of us.

If the city wants to see if his reforms work, then the ONLY way to know for sure is to isolate the variables. No 2020 extra help. The rest of us get nothing extra this year.... So come on, al those who stick up for Miles, wanna bet on it? Wish gambling was legal in Texas. We could make a killing on  it.

Book Fairy
Book Fairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Beer in Hand @NextTime98 What could be hurt by putting in all shiny and fresh people? Sounds like a great campus to run an "experiment" at.  (Waiting for Spruce parents to give feedback) Their trustee surely won't care. 

Persona non grata
Persona non grata like.author.displayName 1 Like

Southern Methodist University gets a 2-Star rating for its teacher prep program.

Well, logically, shouldn't all professors be put on a pay for performance plan based on the success of their students in the field? That would be fair and equitable, right?


And, in related news:


Persona non grata
Persona non grata

How's that collaborative leader who doesn't think he knows everything werkin' fer ya, Mr. Mayor?

"Well, it was a couple of months back. First of all, I said you’ve gotta be a collaborative leader, because you’re dealing with a complex organization with the trustees and the school district, and you’ve got to make sure you bring people together. That’s one of the things I suggested. Second is a learning leader. To me great leaders are those who don’t think they know everything but bring something to the party and are constantly trying to make their organization better through the learning process. And three, a history of performance in an organization, where they can be real change agents. Someone who has demonstrated they can take an entity that was doing X and help it perform at a XX level, if you will. To me, those are things that are most important. It’s less important to me if they’re a mathematician or a business person or a military type. Their background is less important than their leadership ability."


Persona non grata
Persona non grata

How's taming your "child" coming along, Lew?

"Board President Lew Blackburn said he would consider a “wild thinker.”

“We can always tame it, but don’t come in with a closed mind,” he said."


Hey, wait a minute...taming...lions...circus...

I think I may give up my beloved Propaganda Pow Wow moniker for the August 20th FMM "performance" in favor of:

Cirque du Dismay

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Except for the fact that the sideshow at Ross Avenue is causing real harm to the children of DISD, I must admit to a bit of perverse pleasure in watching it.

The BOT did a national search and freely chose a spoiled brat/bully (trying to stay with the post's theme here!) as the pick of the litter. Let that sink in! His resume floated to the top? With no pressure and plenty of time to research the top few candidates, they overwhelmingly chose a "child" in the educational field, by a vote of 8-1 mind you, to lead one of the largest districts in the nation.

Well, he's your baby now, BOT, so deal with him! How delicious to watch those who voted for him as they struggle with his belligerence!

(Sorry, children of DISD. Parenting is sometimes messy, loud and very scary.)

NextTime98 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

Next time Miles or Schutze tries to give a sermon on college readiness, let them know that high college readiness in urban comprehensive high schools is an urban myth. It doesn't exist anywhere. Show them the stats for New York City:


Show them the bottom half of high schools in NYC have an average of 4% college readiness just like the Dallas comprehensive high schools.

Let them know that poverty has never been overcome by data reformers or NCLB or education PACS or Michelle Rhee.

Mayor Bloomberg taking over NYC schools hasn't changed much of anything nor has Joel Klein nor their friend Michelle Rhee.

Ask them exactly when school teachers were supposed to end poverty and high unemployment when we are not policy makers.

When Todd Williams takes the podium, ask him how much damage his former employer did to the nation's economy and how those shocks are still affecting funding to public schools and universities.

Most of all, end the myths regarding the grading of schools. All that will accomplish is branding those serving low income kids.


@NextTime98To your point re college readiness, from a DMN article on Top 10 %:

Richardson ISD is about 40 percent white. But 70 percent of its 10 Percenters were white, and Hispanics and black students lagged far behind the district demographics.

Richardson officials say their gaps are much more about economics than race or ethnicity.

“This gap in achievement level of economically disadvantaged student compared to non-economically disadvantaged students is consistent with other indicators such as passage and commended rates of state standardized tests,” said district spokesman Tim Clark.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata like.author.displayName 1 Like

Yeah, but this is DALLAS, TEXAS! FMM and the BOT are the juggernaut of educational acumen in the United States. Research is for sissies! OUR pay for performance scheme is the answer to poverty! Poverty isn't the problem, it's lazy teachers!

"Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence"


Current U.S. policy initiatives to improve the U.S. education system, including No Child Left Behind, test-based evaluation of teachers and the promotion of competition, are misguided because they either deny or set to the side a basic body of evidence documenting that students from disadvantaged households on average perform less well in school than those from more advantaged families. Because these policy initiatives do not directly address the educational challenges experienced by disadvantaged students, they have contributed little -- and are not likely to contribute much in the future -- to raising overall student achievement or to reducing achievement and educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Moreover, such policies have the potential to do serious harm. Addressing the educational challenges faced by children from disadvantaged families will require a broader and bolder approach to education policy than the recent efforts to reform schools."


Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@NextTime98 This is one of the most insightful comments I've seen on this (or any) DISD-related blog.

DISD soaps
DISD soaps like.author.displayName 1 Like

Little Red Hen, you are very persuasive and articulate writer. Somewhere between Dowd and Kristof.  Enjoyed reading.

Watch Dogs Inc
Watch Dogs Inc like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I have observed the Board of Trustees throughout the school year. I really believe they are intimidated by Miles.

Dallas ISD BOT should visit the Irving ISD trustees, they don’t seem to have any problems because they could vote to buy out Superintendent Dana Bedden’s contract on Monday.

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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 [Mike Miles] 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

Interim Superintendent Mike Hinojosa
Email coming soon

Lew Blackburn, 2nd Vice President
District 5
Term Expires May 2016
(972) 925-3718
Oak Lawn, West Dallas, Wilmer, Hutchins and portions of East Oak Cliff

Miguel Solis, 1st Vice President
District 8
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Love Field, Northwest Dallas, and Central Dallas

Eric Cowan, President
District 7
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North Central Oak Cliff and parts of West Dallas

Nancy Bingham, Secretary
District 4
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Southeast Dallas, Seagoville, Balch Springs

Edwin Flores
District 1
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Northwest Dallas, including North Dallas, Addison, parts of Carrollton and Farmers Branch

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District 2
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North and Near East Dallas

Dan Micciche
District 3
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Northeast Dallas

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District 6
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Southwest Dallas

Bernadette Nutall
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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