Few people are ever offered a do-over. Michael Hinojosa, however, was just granted one. Let’s hope he uses it to rectify his past mistakes and truly serve the children and, by extension, the citizens of this city.
Hinojosa knows Dallas, and he knows DISD. That’s whom he needs to serve this go-round. Not TFA, not Broad, not charters, not vendors, not political factions.
Hinojosa can finally serve just the children in DISD because he is now at the end of his career instead of the beginning. He’s raised 2 sets of children. He’s got the big house in the leafy, pleasant neighborhood. He’s a grandfather, for goodness sake.
While he was superintendent the first time, Hinojosa made several bad choices. On his watch, we suffered through a $65 million budget disaster, a searing RIF that destabilized the schools, a terrible bilingual mandate for elementary children, a P-card debacle, a suspicious college placement program that his own child(ren) used and too many crony hires to count.
In other words, his tenure was no Camelot. No hardworking taxpayer or parent liked the wild spending or the incompetent crony hires.
Now, though, he has the freedom to do the right things for the students. But what are those “right” things?
First, he must get Miles’ boot off the necks of teachers and campus staff so they can serve the kids instead of serving some bureaucrat with an iPad from 3700.
Next, he should disappear the ED layer (or at least strip them of power); the Instructional Coaches layer should likewise go away and not another person from the Fellows program should be placed as an AP or a principal.
(The Instructional Coaches, so that they don’t lose their jobs, can become small-group reading and math tutors on every campus if there aren’t enough teaching positions open in August. Ditto for Fellows and EDs).
Hinojosa, please hear this: We need as many adults as possible on a campus to be working face-to-face with students to help kids master reading and math at grade level. Only 2 or 3 certified adults on a campus should be exempt from tutoring students.
As for principals, they should continue Spot Obs to check for LOs, classroom management, reasonable teaching quality and proof that students are mastering content in each teacher’s classroom. DOLs and MRS need to be dropped as requirements.
Finally, Hinojosa should completely overhaul the back-to-school “staff development” schedule for teachers to provide teachers with considerable, unstructured time to work in their rooms and prepare lessons. He should mandate that principals cannot interrupt teachers with meetings for more than 2 hours on any day.
If possible, he should also have the TEI and Principal Evaluation looked over by disinterested attorneys to make sure they are, in fact, legal. Along those lines, maybe it’s time someone checked for and required certifications and experience in Early Childhood, the expensive (and crony-filled) Schools of Choice office and the Office of Transformation. Let’s get a real HR person in to run things while we’re at it.
And wouldn’t it be great if Hinojosa could meet with the faculties at the 5 schools where the climate surveys are the lowest in elementary, middle and high school?
A wonderful opportunity for a respected, admired legacy awaits Michael Hinojosa. We are watching and waiting for him to seize it. 160,000 children who are someone else’s beloved grandchildren are counting on him, too.