An Open Letter to Mike Miles from Teachers

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teachers-plant-seedsH/T to #TalkDISD where this was originally posted:

Dear Floyd:

So…you’re having a bad week.

Your family’s outtie. You had to withdraw your stacked communications RFP last night. A third member of your staff is now under investigation (an OPR investigation, true, but an investigation nonetheless). Coggins is still tiptoeing through YOUR OWN tulips.

Your ridiculously unnecessary Convocation is now a tamped-down, live-streamed shell of its former self since you’re clearly afraid of what district teachers will do in front of the TV cameras to protest your particular brand of management — not to mention, outsiders’ discomfort with your blowing through a day of collective staff time and $50K to feed your ego.

Oh, and that whole teacher/bus driver, two-days’ notice thing? Genius. The icing on the cake.

It’d be one thing if this week was a one-off, but it follows a 15-month bleed. Internal policy violations. Disastrous hire after disastrous hire. Cabinet members under federal indictment. Expensive principal fellows now trained in the Broad style on the Dallas tax dollar WORKING FOR OTHER DISTRICTS. Flat test results at best, no matter how you spin them.

It takes a special talent to muck things up this badly. A dark gift for eyeing a situation and making the worst possible choice every single time. It takes an anger-fueled, hubris-driven disdain for everything and everyone around you.

A disdain that has principal after principal telling teachers that this year is the year that you “are coming after teachers and APs.” And it’s hard to fathom exactly what else you could do to come after teachers. Confiscate their lunches? Public floggings? Stocks and pillories? Make them pay YOU to come to school?

See, the bloom is off the Ross. You clearly revile teachers, and you expect them to genuflect as you insult them time and time again. But try as you might to convince the public that deep experience and higher-level degrees don’t matter, teachers aren’t stupid. They’re college educated, they’ve been around the block, and they know when somebody is selling them sh$& and telling them it’s Shinola. And, increasingly, they’re deciding that they’re not going to take it any more.

The vacancy numbers you presented to the BOT at last night’s meeting are laughably fraudulent. Teachers are keeping school-by-school counts, and the truth will out. And the truth got bigger last night by 67 middle-school teachers.

Teachers are voting with their feet. Some bad teachers, sure, but mostly the deeply experienced teachers. The ones who know their stuff, know you DON’T, and, because of that, pose a threat. Some retired, but communities from DeSoto to McKinney are DELIGHTED by your purge. And before you deny it, HCM’s letter to every other district in the state demanding that they not poach late resignees says all there is to say.

So…before you pick up your bully club and start indiscriminately swinging again, the teachers of Dallas are asking you to just…stop. Stop the constant, never-ending job threats. Stop the meaningless, content-free, white-board-centric lipstick. Stop pretending that discipline in our schools hasn’t broken down. Stop pretending that poverty doesn’t present its share of problems in the classroom.

Stop pretending that we have all the tools we need to teach. Stop imagining that teaching multiple preps across all periods with a thirty-minute lunch is sufficient to adequately assess rosters of 175 kids or bigger.

Before you smack us again or say something so profoundly demeaning that you trounce what little joy may be left in teachers who are already broken in spirit before they walk in the door a week from Monday, we are BEGGING you to take another tack.

Instead of telling us all that we uniformly suck, that your three lousy years of teaching experiences means you know teaching better, try doing something….productive.

How about buying every DISD school enough copies of several novels that they can check them out to every student? A single classroom set of 30 books per grade does not college-readiness make? How about some e-readers? More smart boards? Actual training in actual content?

How about some professional development that DOESN’T focus solely on your meaningless LOs and DOLs? How about some discussions about education that don’t involve acronyms?

How about letting the writers of your endless sea of ACPs meet and talk regularly with the folks developing the curriculum guides? And how about not testing our children in subjects where it’s clear you’re only doing it to measure teacher performance? How about not sucking the joy out of what little arts education this district offers our youngest students by giving them a test every semester?

How about you start looking at test scores and prioritizing your efforts to “improve instruction” rather than arbitrarily demanding a different “teaching style” from teachers whom tests already show are getting the job done?

Most of all, how about you stop cutting yourself a break, whining and kvetching, ironically, about a “witch hunt.” Stop breaking or bending or fudging every rule, every policy and, not for nothing, every boundary of common decency — only to step out the door of Ross Avenue to kick another teacher and step on his neck when he’s down. Do unto teachers the way you want others to do unto you.

But if you can’t, if you continue to believe that the people at the bottom of the DISD pyramid are so broken and beneath you that they’re not worth more than two days’ notice for a significant loss of income or, more to the point, some basic civility, please resign.

There’s no shame in admitting that this job is too big for you. We’ll help you pack. And write you a solid rec letter. Heck, we’ll even pack you some sandwiches and a cooler of drinks for the long drive back to Harrison.

Dr. John said it best: Be nice or leave.

Be nice or leave.

Sincerely,

The Exhausted, Beleaguered and Bewildered Teachers of DISD

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Posted in Teachers Rule
114 comments
formerHSD2teacher
formerHSD2teacher

Harrison DOES NOT want him back! Don't make us the scapegoats of your problems!

0_0
0_0

 What s the date of the 'commanders' verdict?

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

"No Evidence That Incentive Pay for Teacher Teams Improves Student Outcomes"

"Abstract

Researchers examined whether rewarding teams of teachers for student performance had an effect on student achievement or teacher practices or attitudes in a demonstration project in Round Rock, Texas. They found that the intervention had no effect in any of these areas. Students taught by teacher teams who were offered incentives scored slightly better on some standardized tests, but the differences were small and not statistically significant."

http://m.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9649/index1.html

••••••••••••••

"Abstract

This study drew on teacher survey responses from randomized experiments exploring three different pay-for-performance programs to examine the extent to which these programs motivated teachers to improve student achievement and the impact of such programs on teachers' instruction, number of hours worked, job stress, and collegiality. Results showed that most teachers did not report their program as motivating. Moreover, the survey responses suggest that none of the three programs changed teachers' instruction, increased their number of hours worked or job stress, or damaged their collegiality. Future research needs to further examine the logic model of pay-for-performance programs and test alternative incentive models such as rewarding teachers based on their practices and job responsibilities rather than on student outcomes."

http://m.epa.sagepub.com/content/35/1/3.abstract

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

"No Evidence That Incentive Pay for Teacher Teams Improves Student Outcomes"

"Abstract

Researchers examined whether rewarding teams of teachers for student performance had an effect on student achievement or teacher practices or attitudes in a demonstration project in Round Rock, Texas. They found that the intervention had no effect in any of these areas. Students taught by teacher teams who were offered incentives scored slightly better on some standardized tests, but the differences were small and not statistically significant."

http://m.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9649/index1.html

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Here's a stunning video on Broad that should be streamed to every faculty on the 20th rather than forcing them to watch FMM stroke his ego, pound his pride, and varnish his vanity.

http://youtu.be/ccRykf6LtTs

Sinking Ship
Sinking Ship

The summer has been great, but now it's time to go back into the really, really ugly world of life at a DISD elementary school.   I am at a school and we lost 18 staff members (teachers, teachers aide, AP, counselor), more than half went to new districts, and a few have quit and are waiting to get on with other districts.    I have a mortgage and kids to support, so I am still looking, praying I get a new district next week., OTHERWISE I will be back at the same place, with the same inept principal, with new TFA hires, that I am not going to mentor.    Instead of feeling joy and excitement I am feeling sick to my stomach with anguish.   I am not looking forward to a repeat of what happened last year:   1) being called into the office from a spot observation and being told the wording of my DOL and LO was not correct 2) having my principal take out a pen and cross out what I wrote and write it the way "they" think it should have been written 3) told no one ever gets a three, 4) sitting in a meeting every week and listening to each teacher read a LO and DOL for the week,  5)  the  posting of LO's and DOL's from the past week, and the administrators ripping it apart in front of the entire group 6) being constantly told " there is no excuse for poor teaching" when drugs were brought into the portable and a fight broke out and authorities were not called because the administration does not want anyone outside of the school to know 7) doing the same thing, the same way, with the same results LO's, DOL's, and MRS - very ineffective way to teach a class.   Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!    

Bewitched
Bewitched

Hawthorne with James Wallace has a child molester also. Nothing done about it at all. James Wallace looked the other way

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

Guys, when was the last time you check for viruses in this board?

Vendetta
Vendetta

The purge was about money. Disd money and floyd miles money.The district fund balance increased due to experienced educators leaving/retiring. Miles can now claim he's doing a good job due to the fund increase. The BOT just might give him a good review based on that fact alone. Bottom line everything in this world is about dollars and cents.

Teachernomore
Teachernomore

Convocation !!!!

Doeshereallythinks thattheteachers thatweren’t abletoescapeontimefromDISD(I just gotanofferlastweek)wanttoseehisstupiddance ?

Orisjustanotherwaytoshowheisincommand,likeananimaldefecatingtomarkterritory ?

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

Well, well! The animosity towards the majority here in Dallas comes from long ago. I'll be damn!

"He became a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004 and was chosen to be the party’s candidate at the state nominating convention. But the powerful national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee instead pushed former state Attorney General Ken Salazar to be the party’s nominee. Salazar soundly beat Miles in the primary, garnering 173,167 votes (73 percent) to Miles’ 63,973 (27 percent)" by Jeremy Meyers, The Denver Post. Aug 9,2013.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

Convocation was only 50k? I would have guessed higher. Was the die-cutt/high end printing job on those programs taken into account?

Oh, I see FamGuy just posted 80k... sounds closer, though one canNOT put a value on missing that particular workday. Preparation is essential to starting a school year properly. The forced worship of false idols is inessential.

FamilyGuy
FamilyGuy

Can somebody answer for me how $80K is too much for convocation but $250K to investigate Miles' bad behavior is not a problem?

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

Read the comments at the bottom of the article, unbelievable stupidity, no wonder the whole country is f&cked.

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand

@Sinking Ship

Make sure everything they tell you---take notes in their presence, is then thrown back at them in a professional way in an email. That way, you have a record, subject to Open Records and a subpoena, of what they have said to you.

Always remember, kill them with kindness.

And then, send a copy to your union rep. We may be a right to work state, but we have great lawyers.... And they fear Ortiz above all. He is used by all three groups in Dallas, and he smiles when you can produce documentation, not just a story, about what happened.

Give in to their whims on the LO and DOL. Le them have their compliance. When the proof is that we ALL did EXACTLY what we were told, what will be there excuse? Suggest a meeting to go over the DOL's and LO's for the next three weeks IN ADVANCE. Tell them, you need them to go over 15 each AHEAD OF TIME, so as to learn from them.

If EVERY teacher did that, what could they do? Refuse us? We would then document it in an email.

   Mrs. Smith---

   During the last 3 weeks, you have twice downgraded me in the LO / DOL portion, and commented that they are not up to standard. I will agree to that and ask for help. Since you do understand what is needed, here are my 15 DOL's and LO's for the next three weeks. I look forward to any corrections, substitutions, or deletions you have to give. By editing in advance, this should eliminate ANY downgrade on my spot observation, and I am sure that is your intention: that your teachers, like our students, exceed expectations after receiving proper instruction.

I eagerly await the edited LO's and DOL's for use in my classroom.


Sincerely,

Mr. Know "1.5"  Nothing.


And then, ask ALL teachers to do this. If they refuse and say they don't have time, THEN NOTE THAT IN AN EMAIL TO THEM.


  Mr. Jones---

   In the recent spot observations in our department, you have consistently downgraded our LO/DOLs. Obviously, our department needs more training on this, because we want the best for our students. You have stated to me that you do not have time to go over all of my DOL's in advance, which is a shame, since it seems this would prevent a lower grade on my teaching. I did not know that "feedback" always has to be after we teach, since that almost defeats the purpose.  After all, if the DOL and LO are deficient in any way, why should we use them on the kids?

However, we are scheduled to have a department meeting next Tuesday morning, before school. May I proceed in telling all 16 teachers to have at least 2 weeks worth of examples, so we can, one by one, go over their weaknesses and learn EXACTLY what it is you want us to write?

   We look forward to a great meeting and some great skills demonstrations.

By the way, 2 of our 7th grade teachers, and all 3 of our 8th grade teachers would like you to do an exemplar lesson in front of their kids this next week as well. You marked each of them as not doing enough MRS's, and they would like to see an expert level demonstration of such, so they can each learn how it is done. They will get with you on which classes they would like to see this done. After all, we are here for the kids, and we must make sure they are engaged!

Sincerely,

Ms. Taught Too Long


 

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@Sinking Ship , take a deep breath and repeat with me. It is nothing but a game! It is nothing but a game!. I have less than the fingers in one  hand to retired. I am not going to leave because this worthless idiot is in charge. BTW, everything was scripted that happened to me too. Now, be careful with a fight. You must report it in writing. Your failure to do so could be grounds for serious stuff outside DISD. Whatever happens after your write your report is admin business. Learn to keep your head up and high; they hate that. You need to put your wife to work too. You should not be living beyond your means. You should be saving a lot. We will prevail in all of this. 

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

"...with new TFA hires, that I am not going to mentor."

Yes! Absolutely!

The days of mentoring are OVER!

Pay for performance makes us commissioned car salespeople. In stead of hustling cars and customers, I'll keep my best practices close to the vest. If your students do worse than mine, I have a better chance to make the MONEY!

My family needs my income and I'm not going to take it from them to help a "competitor".

This isn't the way I want it. It's the reality of corporate models for teaching. I am preparing to smile at every question from peers and use many variations of, "Golly, gee, I'm not sure either about what to do with this situation." Also, lots of "I guess you should ask the principal."

FMM and the BOT have pay for performance all figured out. So be it.

As for me and my house, it's everyone for themselves. You use your playbook and I'll use mine. See you at the goal line when the scores come in and we see who gets the money.

Oh, and that comittment to children crappola? I'm now committed to getting their scores up for the benefit of my family. That, and only that.

ByeBye209
ByeBye209

When you have that kind of suspicion, @Bewitched, go directly to CPS and report it yourself. 

A is for Abigail
A is for Abigail

@Quo Qu ohhh Wasn't the $80K just the cost of renting out the AAC?  I'm sure the convo would have cost way, way more.

I'm sort of bummed because I couldn't wait to tell taxpayers how much they paid teachers that day to sit and watch Miles.  Also I was looking forward to the silence of no one clapping.  

"Forced worship of false idols" is poetry, by the way!

Beer in Hand
Beer in Hand

@FamilyGuy The investigation is only $110K or so. They reduced it. And any amount is worth it.

1 4 the road
1 4 the road

@FamilyGuy $2,000,000 for lost wages for 10.000+ employees @ a $200.00 each , 10,000 fancy brochures. and the list could go on and on....+ the $80,000 rental of the AAC. for a day.


twilight zone
twilight zone

@FamilyGuy $0.80 is too much for convocation, and $250k is a small price to pay for an investigation if it leads to Mr. Miles leaving his post!

A is for Abigail
A is for Abigail

@Disrupted DISD I wonder if she had been non-renewed at the end of the school year.  

If she was slated to come back to school next week until this broke, it just shows that Miles & Co cannot identify the worst of teachers.

This is a prime example of what we've been saying all year:  good teachers and good principals are harassed by Miles' "reforms" while bad teachers are not truly identified by them.

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

@Disrupted DISD 17  year old Freshman at Hillcrest??? EEEP


Petpau
Petpau

Was she hired by Glover? Is she TFA?

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Wow! Just found the blog of the teachers group that made the videos!

"Badass Teachers Association

This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning."

http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/?m=1

scantrons
scantrons

@Petpau  Her cert shows July of 2012.  She probably was hired by Glover.

1 4 the road
1 4 the road

@Pancho Villa @1 4 the road @FamilyGuy 

Field trips were $50.00 per bus, not sure now. 10,000 employees @ 50 per bus with 200 buses would be $10,000 give or take

DISDSub
DISDSub

@lionsden @DISDSub @scantrons @Petpau I appreciate the info.  She had told us she was teaching AP English.  Dallas Morning News article lays out the evidence so I guess we didn't know her as well as we thought we did.  My son finished his first year of teaching last year and - as a former teacher myself -I repeatedly warned him to keep that distinct boundary between knowing his students and KNOWING his students.  It's something we teachers are very aware of. Leslie has ruined her life.  Sorry to hear that.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@DISDSub @scantrons @Petpau Please, let's remember "innocent until proven guilty" here. Even the most professional teacher could be accused, and a career is often ruined regardless of the verdict. The circumstances with Glover and an experienced teacher losing her position make it tempting, but I won't throw a stone until the teacher has been given due process, and I discourage others from doing so too.

lionsden
lionsden

@DISDSub @scantrons @Petpau No, she wasn't an AP English teacher. She taught regular junior English. And she was hired to replace an experienced teacher who was forced out because she couldn't get her DOLs right and other bogus reasons.

DISDSub
DISDSub

@scantrons @Petpau Leslie was my son's best friend in high school.  Know her well.  Was hoping and still am hoping that this is just a misunderstanding.  Her FB page has already been taken down.  She taught AP English at Hillcrest. 

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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 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

Superintendent Mike Miles
milesfm@dallasisd.org

Lew Blackburn, 1st Vice President
District 5
Term Expires 2016
lblackburn@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3718
Oak Lawn, West Dallas, Wilmer, Hutchins and portions of East Oak Cliff

Miguel Solis, Board President
District 8
Term Expires 2014
miguelsolis@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3721
Love Field, Northwest Dallas, and Central Dallas

Eric Cowan
District 7
Term Expires 2016
ecowan@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3721
North Central Oak Cliff and parts of West Dallas

Nancy Bingham
District 4
Term Expires 2016
nbingham@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3722
Southeast Dallas, Seagoville, Balch Springs

Elizabeth Jones, 2nd Vice President
District 1
Term Expires 2015
elizabethjones@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3722
Northwest Dallas, including North Dallas, Addison, parts of Carrollton and Farmers Branch

Mike Morath
District 2
Term Expires 2014
mmorath@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3721
North and Near East Dallas

Dan Micciche, Board Secretary
District 3
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danmicciche@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3722
Northeast Dallas

Joyce Foreman
District 6
Term Expires 2017
email coming
(972) 925-3722
Southwest Dallas

Bernadette Nutall
District 9
Term Expires 2015
benutall@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3721
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