Have a Great First Day of School – Tell Us How it Goes

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first-day-of-schoolDuring the presidency of Dwight David Eisenhower, James Michener, author of Hawaii, The Source, and other mega-sellers, was invited to a celebrity dinner at the White House. In a letter Michener declined to attend: “Dear Mr. President: I received your invitation three days after I had agreed to speak a few words at a dinner honoring the wonderful high school teacher who taught me how to write. I know you will not miss me at your dinner, but she might at hers.”

A week later, Michener received a handwritten reply from the understanding Ike: “In his lifetime a man lives under fifteen or sixteen presidents, but a really fine teacher comes into his life but rarely. Go and speak at your teacher’s dinner.”

Teaching is the highest calling. Parents entrust their most precious treasures to teachers. Almost everybody who is anybody was taught to be somebody by a teacher. Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.

America is a nation of teachers: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook, counts 6,085,000 teachers in the United States. This includes 3,954,000 pre-kindergarten-to-twelfth-grade teachers, 459,000 special education teachers, and 1,672,000 postsecondary professors and instructors.

Teachers are not only a populous group across our land. They change the lives of our young people. In What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell states, “Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a bad school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher.” Study after study shows that great teaching is the most important booster of student achievement of larger consequence than class size, money spent, the school building, and quality of textbooks.

One of my favorite newspaper corrections reads: “It was incorrectly reported last Friday that today is T-shirt Appreciation Week. It is actually Teacher Appreciation Week.” In 1985, the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association set aside the first full week in May as a time to honor teachers and show respect for their profession. In fact, every day should be devoted to teacher appreciation and made a time to recognize members of the most unheralded, labor-intensive, multitasking, exhausting, income-challenged, and rewarding of all professions.

I believe that an apple lasts a short time in the hands of a teacher, but a bit of wisdom lasts a lifetime in the mind and heart of a student. I believe that teachers deserve the nice things people say about them. Having been an English teacher (an inmate in the House of Correction) for twenty-eight years, I’m biased of course. To George Bernard Shaw’s mean sneer, “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches,” I would oppose Lee Iacocca’s “In a truly rational world, the best of us would be teachers, and the rest of us would do something else.”

Or I would quote Shaw himself: “To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.”

Blessed be the teachers. Harmonies of scholars, mentors, counselors, coaches, cheerleaders, traffic controllers, judges, sculptors, artists, interior decorators, janitors, nurses, baby-sitters, comedians, clowns, tightrope walkers, acrobats, and jugglers, they march in the company of secular saints. May their tribe increase and thrive.

Richard Lederer (author and broadcaster) from his book A TRIBUTE TO TEACHERS. Marion Street Press http://www.verbivore.com

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We know words are powerful and ideas even more so. Profanity isn't really necessary for emphasis or a substitute for passion here. Thank you.

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
Term Expires 2015
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