Thursday, November 27, 2008

Child's Prayer for Thanksgiving

Learning to Be Thankful

I have a simple prayer today

That everyone might stop and pray

For those they know and strangers, too

And put themselves in another's shoes.

For this one day, we should realize

We have a great life, in another's eyes.

We have a safe home and a place to sleep

And someone to hold us when we weep.

The Pilgrims barely survived off the land

Until they received help from an Indian band.

They learned to be thankful that they were living

That's the message of Thanksgiving.

Others suffer, far away and near

Let's remember them at this time of year

And not treat Thanksgiving as a chore-

Give everyone something to be thankful for.

-Brittany Bradford

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Democracy is not a consent agenda item

The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

At the Board meeting last Thursday, November 20, 2008, I asked a simple question: Who requested that four year terms be placed on the November Board agenda for action?

There was no answer - nine Trustees but no answer to a simple question.

This Board is a danger to democratic rule.

Last week's 7-2 vote on adopting four year terms was a reflection of the current willingness of the Dallas ISD Board to use ruthless politics to preserve its power.

Voting for four Year Terms - Lowe, Price, Garza, Ellis, Bingham, Flores, and Blackburn.

Voting against four year terms - Medrano and Ranger.

The Dallas ISD needs to be cleaned up and cleaned out, beginning with the Board right on through the Superintendent and his deeply flawed administration that appears to have little respect for truth, teachers or taxpayers.

The Dallas ISD culture is one of arrogance, deceit, cover-up and cronyism. Truth often does not walk the halls of 3700 Ross. But the Raptor machine now protects the entrance from menacing and untidy taxpayers

The vote to change Trustee terms from three to four years was all about preserving a wrongheaded administration and a wrongheaded Board - nothing else.

What else would motivate a Board to violate a state law and refuse to even verify the action with officials of the Secretary of State Elections Division. What was the urgency other than the desire to cancel the May, 2009 Trustee election?

Even if there had been no December 31, 2007 deadline, I would not vote for four year terms.

I do not believe four year terms serve the public interest. There has been too much recent pain in Dallas ISD. I understand very well that it serves the political objectives of the current board.

I fully intend to file objections with the U.S. Department of Justice and have already contacted both the Secretary of State's office and Commisssioner Robert Scott for further clarification of the Texas Education Code Subsection 11.059(e)December 31, 2007 deadline, along with a request for possible assistance in obtaining an Opinion of the Texas Attorney General, if that is necessary. Others will probably do the same.

It is the duty of a Trustee to oppose what might be a violation of a state law contained in the Texas Education Code until the matter is settled.

A wise Frederick Douglas had it right many years ago when he said: "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will."

What this vote reveals are Trustees who seem to have no respect for the public who voted to elect us but also Trustees who are ruthless enough to assault the very foundation of the democratic process itself - the right of the public to vote in fair elections open to all - especially during a time when there is a growing crisis of confidence.

The cancellation of elections scheduled for next May by self-serving Board action alone forever marks this Board as one of the very worst in Dallas history.

I pulled this item late on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 19, 2008 afternoon - not by design - but because it took that long to find another Trustee who would help. I had already made two earlier requests - beginning on Monday - to have this item and others pulled - such as the budget and the consent agenda new Tuesday deadline to pull items for a separate vote.

It was clear that the intention was to prevent any public discussion. Trustees would have no direct accountability for their vote against democracy.

Today just one week later, it would not be possible to pull this item on Wednesday because seven Trustees voted to change the deadline for even two Trustees to pull an agenda item for a separate vote. The vote was 7-1. Voting for the more restrictive Tuesday deadline - Lowe, Ellis, Bingham, Garza, Flores, Blackburn, and Medrano. Ranger voted No. Not Voting - Price who left before the vote.

This had nothing to do with the approval of Board Minutes. Minutes were always approved as a separate item by this Board and many other public Boards - including the Dallas City Council where agenda items are often pulled from the Consent Agenda by individual Council members for a separate vote right at the Council Meeting.

Some people want open government. Dallas ISD wants closed government with committees operating in secret without public accountability.

All of this is about an intolerant agenda that seeks to stack the deck toward majority exclusion of minority political rights. Only certain political majorities can prevail or even have issues considered. Board policy is violated by the President and the Board allows it.

We have seen this before in Dallas ISD history but not as clearly attached to an agenda that threatens democracy itself.

Even two African American and two Hispanic Trustees supported the cancellation of elections next year and were going to do so on the consent agenda with no public discussion. This showed great disrespect for the taxpayers.

I am proud to be on the short end of this 7-2 vote against the public interest.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 was a bad day for democracy -- an historic low at the Dallas ISD horseshoe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hope Andrade - Texas Secretary of State - Request for Opinion - 11.059(e) Texas Education Code

To: Hon. Hope Andrade - Texas Secretary of State

As the elected Trustee for the District Six area of Dallas ISD, I am writing to request clarification of a possible violation of the Texas Education Code - SubSection 11.059(e) relating to Dallas ISD Trustee elections.

This is to request your assistance in obtaining an official Opinion of your office and/or the Texas Attorney General to determine the application of SubSection 11.059(e) of the Texas Education Code to the adoption of a Resolution and Board policy of Dallas ISD on Thursday, November 20, 2008 relating to the change of Trustee terms from three to four years.

Texas Education Code - SubSection 11.059 (e) establishes a deadline of December 31, 2007 for making such changes in the terms of elected Trustees of Independent school districts. The Act went into effect on April 25, 2007. (Senate Bill 670)

The Question: Does the adoption of a Resolution and Board Policy by the Trustees of Dallas ISD on Thursday, November 20, 2008 that changes Trustee terms from three to four years violate the December 31, 2007 deadline of Subsection 11.059(e) of the Texas Education Code?

I was previously informed by the Legal Office of your Elections Division that the December 31, 2007 deadline must be met by all Texas independent school Districts, including Dallas ISD.

However, in light of the latest action taken by the Dallas ISD Trustees on Thursday, November 20, 2008, I am requesting further clarification by way of an official opinion.

If you are unable to assist, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your consideration.

Carla Ranger

cc: Ann McGeehan - Director of Elections
cc: Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn - Director of Legal
cc: Robert Scott - Texas Commissioner of Education

Sandy Kress - Should No Child Left Behind law be scrapped?

My personal answer is 'Yes', it should be scrapped. But it will not be scrapped entirely - probably just revised. My belief is that it would be good to start over by creating a new "Excellence in Education Act" for K-12 education.

No Child Left Behind is a "test and punish" law based on top down intervention that imposes "privatization sanctions" on local schools. It is based on labeling schools as "failures" as defined by certain educational agendas.

Since leaving Dallas, Sandy Kress has done quite well financially as a lobbyist promoting No Child Left Behind and other such educational initiatives.

Many Years ago I served on a Dallas ISD initiative called the Commission on Educational Excellence (will have to check the name). Sandy Kress was the Committee Chair. The establishment of this initiative was aided by then Trustee, Dr. Yvonne Ewell, who later regretted it. The Commission was the beginning of Sandy Kress' involvement in Dallas ISD that led to his service later as Board President. That period of service as a Dallas ISD Trustee also resulted in his departure from Dallas to Austin and eventually to becoming a part of the national effort to establish the No Child Left Behind law.

The Sandy Kress comment below mentions Dallas ISD.

Sandy Kress Partner Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Posted November 18, 2008, 11:40am

Sandy Kress:

Let me jump in on this issue of which level of government is best to implement accountability. My view is that there is no simple answer. I served as president of the Dallas school board. We rarely felt pressure to raise standards or hold educators accountable to delivering to those standards. On the contrary, the pressure was typically to protect the mediocre. I don't want to pick on Dallas, so I would ask this question: where's the evidence, broadly, in our big districts, of "local control" shutting down bureaucracy, closing achievement gaps, giving parents real and serious choice, and educating to high standards?

Look, I agree parents and teachers are key. A commitment locally to excellence is essential. And the states must make a positive contribution. But, federal law does not materially disrupt that control. States set the standards. States make the tests. States set the performance standards and specific consequences for performance. States and districts determine curricula and personnel policies.

The feds' role is rather limited. They apply pressure to fix schools where subgroups are doing poorly against state standards; they put pressure against sham graduation standards; they put pressure to give parents choices out of poor-performing schools.

Indeed the best complaint against NLCB, even better than its flaws in execution, is that it's weak! It doesn't combat standards that fail to educate students to college/career readiness; it doesn't require rigorous enough assessments and performance standards; it doesn't go far enough in insisting upon teacher effectiveness; and it doesn't enforce well enough parental choice.

My question to those who would scrap NCLB because it gets in the way of the locals is: are you broadly and generally satisfied with the quality of public education in our schools? And, if not, how, other than "voting the bums out" (which doesn't seem to happen), can the forces at play locally be changed to bring about improvement?

More - Click Here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Commissioner of Education Robert Scott - Request for Attorney General Opinion

To: Hon. Robert Scott - Commissioner of Education

As the elected Trustee for the District Six area of Dallas ISD, I am writing to request clarification of a possible violation of the Texas Education Code - SubSection 11.059(e).

This is to request your assistance in obtaining an Opinion of the Texas Attorney General to determine the application of SubSection 11.059(e) of the Texas Education Code to the adoption of a Resolution and Board policy of Dallas ISD on Thursday, November 20, 2008 relating to the change of Trustee terms from three to four years.

Texas Education Code - SubSection 11.059 (e) establishes a deadline of December 31, 2007 for making such changes in the terms of elected Trustees of Independent school districts. The Act went into effect on April 25, 2007. (Senate Bill 670)

The Question: Does the adoption of a Resolution and Board Policy by the Trustees of Dallas ISD on Thursday, November 20, 2008 that changes Trustee terms from three to four years violate the December 31, 2007 deadline of Subsection 11.059(e) of the Texas Education Code?

I was previously informed by the Legal Office of the Secretary of State Elections Division that the December 31, 2007 deadline must be met by all Texas independent school Districts, including Dallas ISD.

If you are unable to assist, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your consideration.

Carla Ranger

cc: Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn - Director of Legal - Elections Division - Secretary of State

Why rush to violate state law to protect Trustees from 2009 elections?

Today, Dallas ISD Trustees intend to willfully violate the clear restriction placed on extending Trustee terms of office from three to four years by Section 11.059 (e) of the Texas Education Code effective on April 25, 2007.

The Secretary of State's office has confirmed that a very clear time limit was placed on making changes in the terms of school trustees in Texas when the legislature passed an amendment to the Texas Education Code in April, 2007.

It seems to be fairly easy to understand -- this right was given in 2003, but any change in terms had to be completed not later than December 31, 2007 because a new section (e) was added to the Texas Education Code in 2007 (four years after the 2003 law).

Pretty simple - except when there is a not-so-secret agenda to be accomplished here.

Even a state law doesn't matter if it gets in the way.

What is the rush? Why not get this matter resolved before rushing to do the wrong thing?

The real agenda is political control of the District.

The Board majority will guarantee that certain Trustees don't have to face re-election in May, 2009. Let me be clear -- even if my re-election was in May, 2009, I would still vote against this.

What is the purpose of canceling Trustee elections next year?

The purpose appears to be to: preserve the power of the current majority to control the district; maintain the current agenda to destroy public education for a prize that means nothing and; maintain control in the hands of secret committees operating behind closed doors with the highest paid Superintendent in Texas.

Everything is a secret. There is little openness, and information is withheld from Board members and the public.

On Monday, the meeting notice for today's meeting was changed by the Board President to read: "Auditorium or Board Briefing Room." This means the Board President and others are thinking that the meeting today might be moved to the small Board room so the public can be excluded.

I don't recall such a notice before.

The district has being undermined on this watch because of all the repeated efforts to block Board responsibility to oversee the district. All we have are excuses, expensive investigations and cover-ups of wrongdoing and refusals to act in the interest of taxpayers who elected us.

The school district is not a personal fiefdom to be operated as a secret operation of cronies benefiting financially from the district.

This must end if Dallas ISD is to reflect the right of all stakeholders to fully participate and be respected.

The private agenda of the Board majority will be maintained at all costs because this is about politics - not education.

We should be voting to expand community trust and confidence. We should not be voting to expand Trustee terms and years.

I will vote, No.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Texas State Teachers Association General Counsel confirms December 31, 2007 deadline for changing to four year terms

In a November 18, 2008 memorandum to Dale Kaiser, President, NEA-Dallas, the General Counsel of the Texas State Teachers Association has confirmed that the Dallas ISD may not extend its trustees' terms from three to four years after December 31, 2007.

The TSTA General Counsel's memo states:
"The Deadline for the Dallas I.S.D. to extend its trustee's terms from three to four years was December 31, 2007. Any attempt to do so now would be in violation of the Texas Education Code."
The memo points out that the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office was consulted:
"Further, TSTA has conferred with the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office. The Elections Division has confirmed that the deadline to adopt a resolution to change the length of trustees' terms, for any school district, was December 31, 2007."
Finally, the TSTA General Counsel recommends:
"TSTA urges the Dallas I.S.D., or any individual trustee with concerns about this issue, to contact the office of the Secretary of State to seek clarification regarding limitations of changing the length of trustees' terms. Ultimately, adopting a resolution to change the length of trustees' terms will likely be found to be invalid, and may result in complaints to the Attorney General of Texas, Texas Secretary of State, and United States Department of Justice."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas host advocacy for education forum

What is the difference in lifetime earnings of a student who drops out of high school and one who gets a college degree? $1,000,000 - one million dollars

This is just one reason the Hispanic Chamber and the United Way invited guests to discuss "college readiness" at the Beckley Saner Recreation Center this evening.

I was pleased to participate.

Entitled "Moving Students Forward in Education," the panel included state and city perspectives presented by Representative Barbara Mallory-Caraway and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway. I was invited to be the Dallas ISD panelist. Cliff Miller moderated.

The audience, rich with questions and comments, included Dallas County Community College Chancellor Wright Lassiter and several Mountain View College staff.

Comments from DISD, community college and university graduates gave testimony to the need for community focus on education.

This was an evening of sharing resources and support -- a good example of the community's "moving forward for education" and helping to develop more more one million dollar plus student earners.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dallas ISD General Counsel OKs adoption of four year Trustee terms

The General Counsel of Dallas ISD has now given the okay to what appears to be a violation of the Texas Education Code - Section 11.059(e) deadline of December 31, 2007 for changing the terms of Trustees from three to four years.

Last week Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn -- the Director of Legal - Secretary of State Elections Division in Austin -- confirmed that the December 31, 2007 deadline of the Texas Education Code does apply to all Texas Independent School Districts, with no exception for Dallas.

All items for the Thursday, November 20, 2008 Board meeting are currently listed on the Consent Agenda. When the Agenda was posted, no items had been pulled for a separate vote.

I have asked for this item to be pulled for a separate vote, as it has obvious merit and high public interest.

Trustees previously voted 8-1 to establish a policy requiring two Trustees to pull an item. This policy was initiated recently by Trustees Ron Price and Leigh Ann Ellis and rushed through at a special called meeting.

This might make it necessary for me to vote against the Consent Agenda on Thursday.

A copy of the email confirmation from the Secretary of State Legal Section is posted below.

Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn - Director of Legal
- Elections Division Secretary of State
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Email Confirmation - Senate Bill 670 - December 31, 2007 Deadline-Ranger (EHW)
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 15:50:56 -0600
From: Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn
To: Carla Ranger
References: <>

Yes, the below information confirms the content of our telephone conversation.

From: Carla Ranger
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:55 PM
To: Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn
Subject: Email Confirmation - Senate Bill 670 - December 31, 2007 Deadline

To: Elizabeth Hanshaw Winn Elections Division - Texas Secretary of State

Subject: Texas Education Code 11.059(e).- Senate Bill 670

Thanks very much for the information provided this morning.

As indicated, my question relates to the application of Senate Bill 670
to the Dallas ISD.

Would appreciate email confirmation that the December 31, 2007
deadline for independent school districts to make changes
from three year to four year terms does apply to Dallas ISD
and there is no special exemption for Dallas or any other Texas ISD.

Dallas ISD is currently attempting to adopt a change of Trustee terms
from three to four years on Thursday, November 20, 2008.

I am attempting to confirm that the deadline for such a change of Trustee terms
of office has already passed for Dallas ISD on December 31, 2007.

Would appreciate your email confirmation of our telephone conversation.

Thank you for your assistance.

Carla Ranger

Thursday, November 13, 2008

5th Grade Student Dalton Sherman on Oprah Monday

Congratulations to 5th grade student Dalton Sherman and his family.

"The Dallas ISD's Dalton Sherman, the fifth-grade student from Charles Rice Learning Center who delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Back-to-School Kickoff, will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 17, on WFAA, Channel 8.

Dalton's popularity has soared since delivering his motivational speech to Dallas ISD teachers and staff at the American Airlines Center in August. Since that time, he has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and become an Internet sensation.

Dalton's mother, Donna Sherman, a 19-year veteran of the district, is a fifth-grade teacher at J.P. Starks Elementary School.

Be sure to catch him on the Oprah show on Monday!"

Dallas ISD E-News
Nov. 12, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Secretary of State Election Division confirms Texas Education Code deadline for 4 year terms has passed

Today, the Election Division of the Texas Secretary of State confirmed by telephone and then by email that the deadline for making changes in Trustee terms was established in Senate Bill 670 which amended the Texas Education Code to add Section 11.059(e).

Section 11.059(e) required that any changes in Trustee terms from three to four years must be completed by December 31, 2007.

Some have suggested that Dallas ISD has some special status that allowed it to escape this December 31, 2007 deadline.

The Elections Division today confirmed that there is no exemption from the December 31, 2007 deadline. All Texas Independent School District's were required to meet the same deadline.

This means that the proposal to be adopted by Dallas ISD Trustees on Thursday, November 20, 2008, changing Trustee terms from three to four years violates the Texas Education Code.

On Monday, November 10, 2008, I requested clarification of the December 31, 2007 deadline from the Dallas ISD General Counsel. I was informed that a response would be received in the Board update this Friday.

Regardless of the outcome, the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) must approve any plan to change Trustee terms as part of the required Voting Rights Act - Section 5 review.

If the current plan is approved, objections should be filed with the U. S. Department of Justice based on the violation of the Texas Education Code Section 11.059(e) December 31, 2007 deadline and other matters.

More - Click Here

And Here

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Four year trustee terms might violate Texas Education Code deadline

The rush to change Dallas ISD Trustee terms to four years at the Board meeting this month -Thursday, November 20, 2008 - appears to violate the Texas Education Code which requires such changes to be made by December 31, 2007.

This was intended for school districts with certain election problems. It was not intended to be used solely for the personal political motivations of elected Trustees to lengthen their terms.

No opportunity has been provided for specific public input - such as a public hearing on such an important change in the election of Trustees.

Section 11.059 (e) - Senate Bill 670 - authorized a school district Board of Trustees to adopt a resolution changing the length of terms of its Trustees not later than December 31, 2007:





Sec. 11.059. TERMS.

(a) A trustee of an independent school district serves a term of three or four years.

(b) Elections for trustees with three-year terms shall be held annually. The terms of one-third of the trustees, or as near to one-third as possible, expire each year.

(c) Elections for trustees with four-year terms shall be held biennially. The terms of one-half of the trustees, or as near to one-half as possible, expire every two years.

(d) A board policy must state the schedule on which specific terms expire.

(e) Not later than December 31, 2007, the board of trustees may adopt a resolution changing the length of the terms of its trustees. The resolution must provide for a term of either three or four years and specify the manner in which the transition from the length of the former term to the modified term is made. The transition must begin with the first regular election for trustees that occurs after January 1, 2008, and a trustee who serves on that date shall serve the remainder of that term. This subsection expires January 1, 2013.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.
Amended by: Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 17, Sec. 1, eff. April 25, 2007.

More - Click Here

The Texas Secretary of State has an explanation of the process for obtaining Justice Department pre-clearance approval of a school district plan to change the term of office - Senate Bill 670
Click Here

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Four year terms - Wrong time to do the wrong thing

I will vote, 'No.'

It is the wrong time to do the wrong thing.

On Thursday, November 20, 2008, four year terms will be adopted by the Board in order to help protect the self-interest of Trustees at the expense of the public interest.

This is about Board politics. It is not about the public interest.

There are times and circumstances that might justify making the changes.

However, the recent disclosure of devasting financial mismanagement of the District largely eroded what little remained of public trust in the Board and the Superintendent/administration.

The public does not trust the Board to do the right thing for the right reason.

I share this belief based on my own experience as a Trustee.

Just in the last few weeks, the Dallas ISD Board has refused to end unethical contracting between the District and 'business entities' of Trustees. Such a Board does not deserve four year terms.

There should be no extension of Trustee Terms.

This is the wrong time to do the wrong thing.

It is likely my vote will be the only 'No' (8-1), but I believe it is the right thing to do.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Post Superintendent's Contract On Internet

Open Government Reform
(Note: What has been posted online is a Financial Report the District is required to prepare. (See Dallas ISD Blog). A copy of the Contract is included in the Financial report. The district does not have an established policy or procedure for direct publishing of the Superintendent's contract information on the internet. That is what is needed, not a document buried in a totally unrelated financial report. What is needed is to make the information fully known and easily found in a section set aside for that specific public purpose - including all such contract information going back to the year 2000. There is no expense to do so. To see the contract - Click Here)

The public has every right to know all details of the contract provisions of their public school Superintendent.

The Texas Public Information Act makes this information readily available to all citizens who make an official public information request and pay the required fee.

However, this is the day of the internet. There is no reason to keep this information from public online display when it can be easily accessible from any computer.

Dallas ISD is a public institution, and this information should be made immediately available to all citizens without cost or restriction.

Board policy should be revised to require all future Superintendent's contracts and all past contracts since the year 2000 to be placed on the District web site.
Proposed Open Government Reform
The original and all Amendments of the Superintendent's employment contract shall be placed online at the District Internet web site beginning with the year 2000. The original contract and all Amendments of all future Superintendent's shall be added no later than two weeks after being approved.
The taxpayers and stakeholders are owed this courtesy, and Dallas ISD should always strongly support open and transparent government.

Here are the thoughts of a few Dallas area citizens on the importance of open records:
More - Click Here

And here are a few examples of Texas Superintendent's contracts:

Mineral Wells ISD - Click Here
Elysian Fields ISD - Click Here
Lexington ISD - Click Here
Denver City ISD - Click Here
Cross Roads ISD - Click Here
BrookSmith ISD - Click Here
Anton ISD - Click Here
Jarrell ISD - Click Here
Austin ISD - Click Here
Round Rock ISD - Click Here

A Superintendent's contract is public information.
Texas Administrative Code - "The school district may publish the superintendent's employment contract on the school district's Internet site in lieu of publication in the annual financial management report" Click Here

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect Obama - A New Vision of Education

"America is a place where all things are possible.'"

Yesterday was a day of history.

Today is a good day to hope that President Elect Barack Obama will bring a new vision of educational excellence for our public schools.

The newly elected 44th President's educational platform promised to take a fresh look at the current 'test and punish' philosophy of K-12 public education. The platform states:
  • Barack Obama will Reform No Child Left Behind:

    Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests and he will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college.

Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
That will be a good beginning - to support schools, rather than punish them and to give more freedom to teachers to teach.

Students and teachers of America will be better for it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Board President Blocks Trustee Confidence Meeting

Even when you do it right, the Board President will still do it wrong even if it means violating Board policy.

The Board President has blocked the request of three Trustees to call a special meeting to consider a confidence vote on the Superintendent's performance.

Of course, the Board President had no problem rushing to call a special Board meeting just a few weeks ago (Thursday, September 11, 2008 - 11:45 A.M.) to immediately take away the right of an individual Trustee to pull an item from the Board Agenda. This was leading to the vote on the revised Ethics policy. That vote was 8-1 to take away the important democratic right of each Trustee to request individual votes on Agenda items. My vote was the only opposing vote.

There is no right to reject or delay the request to suit the Board President's agenda.

Board policy BE (Local) clearly states:
Special Or Emergency Meetings
The President of the Board shall call a special meeting at the President's discretion or at the written request of three Board members,
The Board President reported to the news media that he would not call the meeting as originally requested, but it might be held whenever he decides within the next 60 days.

It is not the Board President's decision to make. It is the decision of any three Trustees.

Otherwise, the policy is meaningless if it can simply be taken away by the unfair action of the Board President.

This is the first time I have signed a request for a special meeting since being elected to the Board. It is a policy that is very seldom used but it is there.

There is nothing in the section of the policy on Special Meetings that gives the Board President the right to block or put off calling the requested meeting.

This is an abuse of the Board President's authority - not public service. The District is not the private business of the Board President.

The Board President's violation of the rights of other elected Trustees helps to further undermine public trust and respect.

The Board needs a President who will follow Board policy and respect the rights of all Trustees.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Change In Education - The Next President

Vote Tuesday, November 4, for the President of your choice.

I voted on the first day of Early Voting at the downtown Dallas County Records Building.

Whoever wins, there will be a change in national educational policy - maybe good, maybe not so good.

My hope is that the 'test,test,test' philosophy of the No Child Left Behind Act will be left behind.

I do not believe this 'test and punish' Act is in the best interest of our children.

No Child Left Behind unnecessarily labels students and schools as 'failures' and orders very destructive remedies - including the forced takeover of public schools.

It would be better to start over with something better that upholds a much more positive approach to needed change in education.

Defining schools and teachers as 'failures' based on the testing industry is not the answer.

We need a different more progressive policy that will support excellence in education and recognize that the Classroom Teacher is the Master of ' Teaching and Learning', not the testing business, Legislators, Superintendents, or Trustees.

More - Click Here