This little item just appeared on the board briefing agenda for Thursday, August 8, 2013:
Consider and Take Possible Action to Approve the Ad Hoc Teacher Evaluation Commission to be Chaired by Attorney Edwin Flores (Sponsored by Eric Cowan and Superintendent Mike Miles)
The same Edwin Flores who infamously declared, in reference to teachers, that “we pay for 8 hours, we’re going to get 8 hours”?
The same Edwin Flores whom many believe was instrumental in getting a teacher placed on administrative leave for merely sending him an email voicing dissent over the additional 45 minutes added to the teachers required time?
The same Edwin Flores who voted to illegally extend his term as school board trustee?
The same Edwin Flores who allowed then-Superintendent Hinojosa to “lose” $65 million in the budget, resulting in the RIF of hundreds of teachers due to his lack of oversight?
The same Edwin Flores who was on the board which brought the scourge of Mike Miles to Dallas ISD?
Does Edwin Flores have ANY background in education which would qualify him to chair a commission which will recommend a new teacher evaluation system? Has he been a teacher himself, or has he been a professor in any university education department? Has he done anything besides “read the research” on teaching, which qualifies him as an armchair expert and no more? Is he even certified to be a teacher appraiser?
The only real qualifications he possess are that:
- he will take a bullet for Miles,
- the “powers that be” want him there,
- he will push through Miles’ teacher evaluation program, including pay for performance, as directed by #2, and
- he is a previous trustee and has missed pushing teachers around.
A city such as Dallas has many, many people more qualified than Edwin Flores from which to choose. We have several large universities and respected programs which have Schools of Education: UTD, UNT, UTeach, just to name a few. We should ask some of their experts to chair this committee, since they are in the field of educating teachers and probably know best what good teaching looks like.
Dallas ISD would surely benefit from the involvement and expertise of these professors, who would be able to discuss the art and science of teaching with greater authority than a patent attorney. Why don’t we take advantage of the vast resources available in our own back yard, instead of constantly calling on the same old unqualified but politically connected folks?
In addition, what ever happened to the new teacher evaluation plan which was started under Hinojosa? We spent over $1 million on it (with $2 million budgeted) before it was scrapped when Miles entered the scene. Community meetings were held, faculty and SBDMs had submitted feedback, much time was spent in board briefings updating the board on the progress, and suddenly, it was gone. All that time, money, and work- just disappeared.
So now we will appoint a commission, which will undoubtedly recommend a study or a consulting firm to formulate a new plan, and by Texas law, we will have to once again “consult with the campus planning and decision-making committee on each campus in the school district”. More money taken from the classroom, because we refuse to correctly implement PDAS and instead want to spend more money to develop our own plan.
Dallas ISD has already gotten itself into plenty of messes due to relying on people who were never qualified for the positions they were given. For example, Claudia Rodriguez was chief of HR under Hinojosa, despite having no HR training. She had been elevated from the principal ranks. She was followed by Charles Glover, who again had no formal HR training, only experience as a recruiter. Who is there now? Carmen Darville, someone (again) with only recruitment experience. Not only do we now have a record number of teaching vacancies, but HR had a benefits snafu this summer which affected many teachers negatively. Much of the current disastrous situation can be attributed to the continued lack of HR experience of the various people hired to be Chief.
Why are we asking a lay person, who has a tarnished reputation with the teachers and the public, to chair a committee to evaluate our teachers? Edwin Flores is a well qualified patent attorney and he should stick to doing the things he for which he is trained. The recommendations of this commission will have a huge impact, for better or worse, on our teaching force- those who have the most impact on student achievement. Surely, we can do better than Edwin Flores.