I read the article in the DMN about DISD’s failing 2020 schools and I could not believe the Editorial Board had the nerve to ask: “So what went wrong?”
Really? What went wrong? As if each of them did not know.
The only people who get a pass for asking this question are people who either cannot work a computer or read English, because this blog has been telling all of Dallas what’s wrong for years.
“So what went wrong?”
What fundamentally went wrong is that we have elected officials and unelected “educational advisors” who either chose not to read this blog or who read it and dismissed the truths it loudly proclaimed for years because the truth conflicted with their personal, greed-driven agendas.
Responsible public officials and advisors wisely seek input from multiple sources and they especially listen to their critics. Irresponsible public officials and advisors, however, pursue their agendas with the arrogance and tyranny of insane zealots.
What went wrong is that the students in DISD got stuck with the Editorial-Board-approved zealots.
However, on the outside chance that some of them would sincerely like to put the children in DISD ahead of deformer greed for once, I will again spell out specifically what is needed to increase student learning and achievement:
1. The effects of poverty (untreated emotional, behavioral and academic problems, sleep deprivation, uncorrected vision and dental issues, transience and sporadic school attendance) must be addressed.
2. The schools need to be flooded, inundated, saturated with psychologists to address emotional and behavioral issues, tutors to provide academic remediation during the school day, aides to sit with struggling students in math and reading classes, and additional staff members in the clinics to detect and monitor health issues.
3. Teachers must be protected from the principals and bureaucrats who force teachers to waste valuable planning, grading and conferencing time while they sit through 90 minutes of meetings a week, convocations and endless online modules.
4. Use test scores, climate surveys and teacher turnover rates to identify and remove bad principals regardless of who they know.
5. Eliminate TEI and the stranglehold it puts on effective teaching and true learning.
Costs should not be a problem. Simply axe the Fellows program and that will net the district millions to spend on school psychologists and classroom aides. Repurpose Instructional Coaches and Academic Facilitators as tutors. Stop supplanting Regular Education dollars with Supplemental dollars. Stop the wasteful spending on choice schools. Halve the number of non-campus employees in the district; reassign many to serve as classroom aides or clinic helpers even if they don’t have degrees. Punish corruption and waste. Reject, like every other successful district, Broad, TFA and charter profiteers. And scrapping TEI will actually save money.
This isn’t rocket science. Basically, meet individual student needs and maintain working conditions that attract the strongest teachers.
The DMN Editorial Board can read. Each one of them can work a computer. Those of us on the front lines have now told them what needs to be done.
No more excuses, DMN Editorial Board. You know what went wrong and how to fix it. If you choose to ignore the truth again, though, the failure of each individual DISD child will rest on you—each of you—individually. And we won’t forget it.