There’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.