A Better Education, How?

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focus-on-kidsThe news out of 3700 Ross is the hiring of Paula Blackmon, former chief of staff for Mayor Mike Rawlings, as the “cabinet” member charged with “overseeing intergovernmental relations and community engagement.”

Blackmon is quoted as saying “This isn’t about Mike, and it’s not about me, this is about the 157,000 children of DISD.”

Mayor Rawlings says that Ms. Blackmon will do “a great job of helping our kids get a better education.”

For $140,000, the price of three classroom teachers, somehow a public relations manager will help your child and mine get a better education.

Will Ms. Blackmon be there to notice my child has worn the same dirty clothes to school all week and take her aside to gently ask how things are going at home? Will Ms. Blackmon notice that your child squints at the whiteboard and is on the wrong page more often than not and send him to the nurse for an eye check? Will Ms. Blackmon be up late tomorrow night marking references for a presentation tomorrow on the Holocaust? Will she volunteer for Science Club or sign up for Saturday tutoring?

I do see how Paula Blackmon can steer the conversation concerning DISD within the community and with the business groups that control the money, and consequently the power, in Dallas. That could be a good thing, if what you are seeking is approval, money, and power.

I just don’t see how that has anything to do with educating my kid or any other. Do you?

Meanwhile, Mayor Rawlings comments on the Miles controversy du jour, saying “I’ve looked at this pretty closely and I find this is heavily personality driven. Someone might disagree with my point of view (and say) that it’s fundamentally at a deeper level – that it’s about we don’t want reform. That’s not what I sense.”

Has it occurred to the mayor or to Mike Miles, or even to Paula Blackmon, that it’s not “reform” that is not wanted, it is Mike Miles’s Broad driven, teacher blaming, cookie cutter brand of reform that is not wanted. And believe it or not, children will be educated whether Mike Miles is in Dallas or not, as long as there are teachers in the classrooms, whether it is because of or in spite of his “personality.” His personality is not an issue to the students (as apparently it is to the mayor), but having an experienced, caring teacher is.

When will the focus be on the kids and not the adults? We can only wait, and hope.

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Posted in Chicken on a Soapbox, Teachers Rule
162 comments
retiredteacher
retiredteacher

Google this:

Lawmakers Begin to Connect the Dots Between the Gates Foundation and Common Core"

by Anthony Cody

In the hotseat is the Fordham Institute (whose research Miles often quotes). Yowser!

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

I don't want to gloat about being in another district. This is not my point. It's just that stuff doesn't have to be so hard.  There are way too many layers of BS in DISD.  If you allow competent people to do their thing then business runs more smoothly.

I am mentoring a new teacher. He needed his projection screen moved because of a convoluted installation. (Computer input is not friendly to the screen output--you can't see both at the same time) We asked for a work order to make the change. It took 20 minutes. There were a few phone calls (each classroom has a phone) to iron out some details.  It's in the works.  

There is an issue of compensation for teaching an additional class.  Teachers received a letter that shows what they will make this year.  My letter didn't reflect the additional class so I called the district operator and asked for a specific person by name. I got that person and she knew exactly what I was talking about and told me the board had just approved the extra class and compensation and that I would get a new letter next week and that I was all good. It took 3 minutes. 

Three Minutes. 

Multiply that times THREE because DISD is SO Big (that much bigger than my district) .  That would be nine minutes.  Actually if you follow efficient business models it should be considerably less than nine minutes because quantity should decrease cost. 

Some things that cause the cost to go up are clutter and fatty.  Here is an art teacher preaching economics. Am I wrong? 



retiredteacher
retiredteacher

McKensie is asking the public in Dallas how they feel about a teacher doing a great job for a couple of years in an attempt to bolster TFA, but they don't do a great job because 5 weeks of training doesn't hack it. I don't want a surgeon who's only been operating for 5 weeks; neither do I want an accountant with similar experience. It took me 2-3 years to figure out what to do in the classroom to really facilitate learning.

Yes, I had the best of intentions in my first year, but I simply didn't know enough about classroom management. And I had done practice teaching for an entire semester. McKensie is such a know-nothing that he's an embarrassment.

WellEdwin
WellEdwin

Only thing missing from Hague's article is LeMaster and Rene Martinez running over to Jim Schutze at the city's biggest failing rag and Jim republishing the slander of Elizabeth Jones. Seems Schutze has an issue with women who won't keep their mouth shuts: Jones, Nuttall, and Ranger--all compared to idiot shrews. Misogynistic a bit, Schutze?

Jim Schutze, Rene Martinez, and LeMaster all praying to false gods.

Schutze looks like the biggest media idiot in Dallas, second only to Eric Celeste.

Chumps you all are.

dustbunny2020
dustbunny2020

Kevin was being paid over 200,000 dollars and he lacked the ability to write his own resignation letter?

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

The plot thickens!

I hate to give any praise to the DMN, but nice investigative reporting on this one.

"The day after Lisa LeMaster’s no-bid, $24,530 contract with the Dallas Independent School District ended in June, she wrote a resignation letter for one of Superintendent Mike Miles cabinet members, according to an email obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

The letter from the communications consultant included high praise for Miles and a blistering critique of his bosses, the board of trustees. The harshest criticism focused on trustee Elizabeth Jones. Much of the criticisms in LeMaster’s draft was in the final resignation letter by operations chief Kevin Smelker, the email shows. However, the final letter didn’t name Jones."

http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2013/08/email-reveals-lisa-lemasters-involvement-in-writing-dallas-isd-administrators-harsh-resignation-letter.html/

tiredofthenonsense
tiredofthenonsense

After Mike leaves the first group out the door must be the academic coaches.  Talk about a waste of money!  Most of them are administrator wannabes who couldn't teach their way out of a wet, soggy portable.  They are another example of the incredible incompetence that has been the hallmark of this administration.

By the way, am I the only one out here who likes classroom teaching and enjoys every minute with the kids?  It seems Dallas ISD has more than its share of those who want to be principals.  Now they don't want this out of a sense of professional integrity.  They want the money and the license to tell others what to do.

One last thing - everyone needs to check out the disaster that is the new principal at Sunset.  Who wants to bet on how long before she's a national story and another black eye for DISD?

dustbunny2020
dustbunny2020

One more thing.  I know of several principals who were looking for experienced teachers at the job fairs.  I think they know they will not be successful with a school full of people that will not be able to cope with the tons of paper work, meetings, and behavior.

dustbunny2020
dustbunny2020

And mr. mayor, you can see by all the people who did not sign your petition, the only people who really care about the children are the teachers.  You know?  The people miles has run off, fired, abused, bullied, and intimidated.

dustbunny2020
dustbunny2020

The mayor has sent Ms. Paula to put lipstick on our pig in a poke!  Do they honestly think he can be made to look like someone who cares about the children in DISD?

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

@Pancho Villa I'm seeking other sources of this information as the big press is not carrying this story. Papers in Iran and Lebanon are carrying this story.  This whole deal is making me crazy.  

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@retiredteacher "It should be noted that Education Week also receives funding from the Gates Foundation." Anthony Cody has a nice pair. You do not find people like that anymore! 

Out before my time
Out before my time

@Book Fairy For years I was never able to get all of my tech talking to each other and functional and nobody seemed to care. All requests got a response of "We don't have that., or you sure have a problem, or it should work but it doesn't." Then you got zinged by evaluators for not fully using tech resources.

Petpau
Petpau

I have stopped reading Mckenzie, because I know he is an idiot. If we stp reading and responding to him, he will go away.

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

@miss edu He makes one point that is certain. Some veteran teachers are resistant to change. 

 The best veteran teachers embrace change and celebrate something that is truly innovative. 

I learn new things every year and I reinforce prior learning by re-visiting previous content.  It's funny, I get old things rehashed in a different way and I recognize the strategy, but sometimes I learn a new way to do the same old thing, but I've gained experience in the interceding years and it means more to me know because I know more.  

I get better with age. I'm open-minded and willing to "progress."  I am an ardent recycler. 



westdallasvoter
westdallasvoter

@miss edu

ill McKenzie reminds me of the Family Guy episode where the dad pokes 3 holes in a frog "to let it breathe," instead of poking 3 holes in the box holding the frog.

Then the Dad tries to pick up the dead frog and it still keeps slumping over dead.

McKenzie and Family Guy are equally lame. Instead of a dead frog, McKenzie keeps trying to give Rhee and Kopp some credibility.

They are both dead frogs and no amount of picking them up with a stick will do any good.

Petpau
Petpau

My feelings exactly. All of these overpaid cabinet members and asst sups are not of any higher skill level than most teachers and teacher asst's

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

@dustbunny2020 no kidding. I can write a better letter than that and I'm nowhere near that pay grade. It's just gripes my @$$ that there are folks that are so dumb that make so much more money than I do.  I could have done his job better. (I do have a human resource background) 


Persona non grata
Persona non grata

Yeah, one of folks that was part of that best talent in the US that money can buy. Remember that FMM promise?

BobbyGarland
BobbyGarland

@tiredofthenonsense What is going on at Sunset?  I saw the lunch pics, the putting kids in ISS for having dyed hair, getting the bell schedule to faculty at 10pm on Sunday night before school started, emailing teacher the lunch schedule only minutes before lunch started the 1st day, requiring teachers to meet in PLC meetings every morning from 8 to 8:45, thereby eliminating morning tutoring, still having several openings in the science dept, announcing to staff that she is friends with Desiree Arias, the executive director over Sunset.  This was all over on the DMN blog.  Care to elaborate......?


Woodrow Alum
Woodrow Alum

@tiredofthenonsense It used to be that academic coaches' were expert in their field and could assist the teachers in their department.  It would be interesting to check the certification of some of these wannabes.  Do they get paid more than a classroom teacher?  They seemed to be the ones who had the least experience  and had the lowest student test scores.  How much was in the budget for academic coaches?  for teachers in middle school? 

 Middle school is the most important time of education.  It is the make it or break it time.  That is when students develop a desire to learn.  They come to high school and their desire to learn is changed to passing classes and tests and maybe graduating.  Do you have any idea as to how difficult it is for students in DISD to graduate.  How many of you had a child at 16?  No fathers?  foster homes?  physical and sexual abuse?  drugs and alcohol? jail? 

lionsden
lionsden

 I, too, think instructional coaches are a terrible use of resources, walking around schools that they really aren't connected to, hovering. And I guess we're lucky at this point if they only hover. I have been amazed over the last - five? - years or so to see how little impact the coaches have. More like zero. Some are nice, some not, but all are an unnecessary expensive distraction. However....they sound good on paper.  Ask yours if he/she is headed into administration. The answer most likely is yes. I, too, love teaching. I also know that it's real and authentic work. My ambition is directed toward the students, to teach them more effectively, to enjoy them, to stay passionate. Seems like a very old model.

MrGlen
MrGlen

@dustbunny2020 the people that signed his petition will probably be the only people to vote for him, if he runs again.

collateralDISDamage
collateralDISDamage

@dustbunny2020 What scares me is that she may have been sent to be a lipsticked pig to carry on the same nonsense when this one is ejected from the poke!

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@Book FairyJust relax! He chicken out already. NPR announced late this morning   that he will ask for Congressional Approval before bombardment. However, US Congress return for duty September 9. 

So! There is one more week of no killing women, and children. My main concern is Hezbollah and the US Marines. Hezbollah Army is strong and willing to defend Syria. The Secretary General has already said so. 

We saw what took place between Hezbollah and the Israel Army in 2006. They only took 32 days to send them back with their tales between their legs. Never mind the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah is the Lebanese armed forces now (De Facto). There is no denying it anymore.

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

I'm on my I-Pad,which makes it impossible, at least with my limited tehnological skills. Why the hostility? Don't confuse me with me Mike Miles.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@retiredteacher I have told all you already. Education is the only place where the establishment can STEAL money. Guess who told me/us that? You will not believe at all!  Hugo Chavez. The empire is in deep s...!

miss edu
miss edu

@Book Fairy @miss edu The field is education, so the mind must remain flexible and open. However, a bit of experience can also serve as a foundation to which shoddy or unproven educational practices do not adhere. This is what is happening in DISD - some teachers just "know too much," have seen wave after wave of repackaging the same ideas with new buzzwords, or know enough about actual classroom function to be able to accurately predict outcomes. I remember the more seasoned AP teachers getting their first training in the "art" of the DOL - and, rightly, balking.

miss edu
miss edu

@westdallasvoter @miss edu Apparently not - only those who agree, including Todd Freaking Williams, are being allowed to respond to ol' man Bill. What a farce.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

@retiredteacher There! Obama has to bomb Syria. He has no choice. That is why he is selling the limited strike for the last four days. 

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

That's the main reason Miles wants the seasoned teachers "gone." They know that the DOL MRS stuff is utter nonsense and can hardly keep a straight face in meetings discussing these absurdities as if they are real strategies.

And for AP? Surely he jests. If AP teachers followed the DOL MRS mess in AP classes, the kids would regress and AP scores would be abysmal. People who know what to do "pretend" a great deal now. They can't follow his policies and be successful.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@MrGlen @Quo Qu ohhh Ohhhhh yes. And we can possibly take a tiny step out of the closet, all meeting at some sort of costumed event or something. Someone needs to invite abu and Yuppers from the DMN blog too!

MrGlen
MrGlen

@Quo Qu ohhh Tarred and feathered?  Seriously, when Miles leaves there will be a lot of celebrating!

S54 Time
S54 Time

I heard somewhere that Alan King is officially resigning Dec 31.

(1) DISD Fall 2013 Climate Survey (223 page, 4.5 Mb PDF)

(2) Public Education Grant (PEG) List of 57 Failing DISD Schools

(3) View school master schedules. Fall 2013. Sort by teacher, class, grade, etc.

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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."

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