Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Democracy Matters

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2009 Dallas ISD election that was not going to happen - candidates, citizens, taxpayers and stakeholders.

Citizens have a right to vote - even when the turnout is low. The important thing is that the rights of citizens not be arrogantly violated.

Yes, Democracy does matter - it is the only thing that makes it possible for any registered voter to select their elected representatives.

Again, congratulations to all who cared enough to participate in the election that was not going to happen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank you, GNAT

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting with members of GNAT (Good News Available Transportation) on the occasion of their DFW GNAT Shining Star 2009 awards program.

Education is one of the priorities of GNAT, and the organization is a strong supporter of public education.  

It was a pleasure to be present for the awards event and to learn more about the outstanding community service of GNAT.

Thank you, Board Chairman Lonnie Woods, Judge Thomas G. Jones, and members for an evening of inspiration.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

12-point agenda violates trustee ethics

How can a newly elected Trustee truthfully give the officer's statement below if the Trustee has made advance promises to existing Trustees in return for their political and financial support?

Trustee Jack Lowe's very specific 12-point agenda includes a commitment to vote a certain way on several very important issues which will come before Trustees at a future time. Click Here!    Tawnell Hobbs of the Dallas Morning News previously commented on this list.

This includes a specific promise to vote for Trustee Edwin Flores as Board President for the next two and a half years and to keep the current Superintendent.

The Trustee officer's statement is contained in policy BBB(Exhibit). Click Here!


“I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have not directly or indirectly paid, offered, promised to pay, contributed, or promised to contribute any money or thing of value, or promised any public office or employment for the giving or withholding of a vote at the election at which I was elected or as a reward to secure my appointment or confirmation, whichever the case may be, so help me God.” Tex. Const. Art. XVI, Sec. 1(b)

The 12-point agenda appears to violate the Trustee Code of Ethics contained in policy BBF(Local-Ethics) Click Here - as well as the restrictions on public servants contained in policy BBFB(Legal-Ethics). Click Here!

Trustees must follow the guidelines contained in Board policies, state laws and the Texas Constitution.

They appear to have been violated.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Almost no election until November 2010

The action of Dallas ISD Trustees in extending Trustee terms from 3 to 4 years would have eliminated both the May 2009 Trustee election (Flores, Ellis, Price) and the May 2010 Trustee election (Bingham, Blackburn, Garza). The May 2011 election would include Lowe, Ranger, and Medrano.

You will find this mentioned in the opinion request letter of Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott sent on December 3, 2008 to the Attorney General where it is noted:
  • The trustees' action has been reported to also postpone elections previously scheduled for May, 2009 to November, 2010.
This statement appears on page 2, the last sentence before the line break.

This points to the likelihood there would have been no Trustee election from the date of the Dallas ISD Trustee decision on November 20, 2008 until November 2010 - a full two years.

It is very important for citizens to Vote for the candidate of their choice - not a candidate who has made secret 12-point deals with current Trustees seeking to continue imposing a narrow, destructive and self-serving agenda on the district.

Remember, thousands of citizens almost lost their right to vote at all until November 2010.

Whatever your decision, use your opportunity to Vote.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Texas Association of School Boards annual convention

The 49th annual session of the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards, the TASA/TASB convention was held during the weekend in Houston, Texas at the George Brown Convention Center.

I traveled by car on Thursday to attend this annual state event and returned on Sunday evening. My scheduled attendance at this event was known weeks in advance.

The state school board convention provides many opportunities to participate in a broad range of training sessions and to network among 6,000 school trustees, administrators, decision makers, supporters and parents.  

In addition to breakout sessions and informative lectures, including one from TEA Commissioner Robert Scott, we were privileged to hear three general session presenters:

  • Alan November, educator and modern web technologies educational consultant
  • Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D. (Dr. Q), brain surgeon and assistant professor of neurosurgery and oncology 
  • Debbie Allen, choreographer/actress and U.S. Ambassador of Culture  

Selected highlights from their presentations are worth noting.

Alan November believes students must develop three essential skills: 1) the ability to access the right information at the right time; 2) the ability to work with people all around the world; and 3) the ability to be self-directed.

Dr. Q talked about lessons of determination, resilience, faith, passion, dedication, adoration and mentoring which he learned from patients and uses to help students achieve success.  

Debbie Allen told of her rich education and immense respect for teachers and public education while urging school districts to prepare students to perform on the global stage. She believes it is imperative that teachers ignite curiosity in students. If curiosity is ignited, students will seek and discover for themselves. They will become engaged in education; they will learn more.

Numerous specific workshops were attended and worthwhile training was received for Trustee course credit.

For public education, I am glad to have the opportunity to attend the Texas Association of School Boards annual conference and the many sessions on important educational topics.

I hope to attend this annual gathering of Texas school board Trustees until my school board service ends.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Soaring Eagles at Erasmo Seguin Elementary win US Gold

Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Janey Thornton (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) was in Dallas yesterday for one very good reason -- to present the HealthierUS School Gold Certification to students and staff of Erasmo Seguin Elementary School.

During a special ceremony, parents and friends heard high praise for the cafeteria team and its collaboration with faculty and staff to provide good nutrition, play and instruction to develop healthy bodies and minds.

Erasmo Seguin, the first  of 157 Dallas elementary schools to receive the HealthierUS School Gold Certification, is in a unique class.  Deputy Under Secretary Thornton said that only about 600 elementary schools in the country have ever received the Gold award.  Winning this ultimate achievement  is not easy -- it was the result of a year-long examination and evaluation process in which children were to "eat smart" and "play hard."  

To show how eager and committed they are to healthy eating and living, children had fun performing an original skit and song that showed parents and guests the benefits of  good food and play.  

Thanks to Erasmo Seguin cafeteria manager and staff for undertaking this tedious process and for introducing our students to more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, less sugar and less salt. Thanks to faculty and staff for your excellent team and classroom work for nutrition and health.

Much appreciation to Dallas ISD Food & Child Nutrition for handling and submitting the lengthy application -- it was a recipe for success.  

Congratulations Principal Yolanda Thompson and students on this USDA Gold Certification for the Exemplary Erasmo Seguin Elementary School.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Texas Education Code ban on 'electioneering'

Texas Education Code - Section 11.169 - Electioneering Prohibited

  • Notwithstanding any other law, the board of trustees of an independent school district may not use state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.

Would the Dallas ISD Newsline distributed to registered voters be considered a violation of the ban on "electioneering"?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trustees might violate Texas Election Code ban on political advertising

A Short Guide To the Prohibition Against Using School District Resources for Political Advertising in Connection with an Election (Revised September 1, 2009)

Printing and mailing the Dallas ISD Newsline in its present format appears to violate the Texas Election Code - (Section 255.003) - either directly or indirectly.

This past June Dallas ISD printed and distributed the inaugural edition of Dallas ISD Newsline. The purpose of the publication is to "share news, accomplishments, and special programs and initiatives from around the district."

There is a message from Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, as well as other articles and information about the school district. That's good.

In addition, the Dallas ISD Newsline includes prominent photos of the individual Trustee and a personal message. It is mailed to each of the nine Dallas ISD Trustee districts.

Ninety thousand copies were mailed -- 10,000 copies were mailed in each district.

On this month's Board agenda, the administration is asking the Board to approve:

Printing and Postage of Dallas ISD Newsline, Fall and Spring Issues (Not to Exceed $300,000) (Consent Item #50 - Separate Item #6)

This time the plan is to mail copies of the Newsline to all registered voters in each District.

The Texas Election Code (Section 255.003) prohibits the use of school district resources to produce or distribute political advertising.

Although it will be claimed that the publication is not specifically political advertising, it clearly could be seen to serve this very purpose - in light of the November 3, 2009 specially called election.

During discussions at the August Board Briefing, I asked Trustees if they still had copies of the June (first) issue. Each Trustee was given boxes of the Newsline to distribute or for our use. Trustees responded, "Yes," indeed they still had many copies. I suggested that Trustees could distribute those copies, and we could save money by not printing a Fall Newsline.

Now it is even clearer that the Board should not approve printing and postage of Dallas ISD Newsline as requested.

This Dallas ISD Newsline is to be mailed in October – right before the special election. It is scheduled to be mailed to voters in each District.

Trustees should not approve printing and mailing the Newsline in its present format and as proposed to voters only.

The Dallas ISD Board should not appear to violate guidelines of the Ethics Commission and the Texas Election Code.

We should do the right thing.

A school district board member or employee would violate the prohibition by “spending or authorizing the spending of public funds” for political advertising.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Passing of Mrs. Dade

We mourn the passing of the widow of former Dallas ISD educator and South Dallas Principal, Dr. Billy Earl Dade.

Mrs. Wilene Dade passed away this morning after recently suffering a stroke.  She was 90. 

The Dade home is one block from Billy Earl Dade Middle Learning Center.  Mrs. Dade still lived there.  She made contributions to the school and was an invited guest at the end of the year meeting in 2008.

We extend our condolences to her family and friends.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to school message of President Obama

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Friday, September 4, 2009

President Obama's back-to-school message

On Tuesday, a White House live stream will broadcast the President's message to students on this web site. It appears that an advance copy of the message will be available on Monday.

The White House

On Tuesday, September 8 — the first day of school for many students — the President will talk directly to students across the country on the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.

We want to make sure that as many schools and classrooms nationwide can participate in this special opportunity, so we are making the President’s address and all the information that comes with it available as widely as possible.

Whether you are a teacher, a school board member, or a member of the media, find information to help you watch and be engaged with the President in welcoming our students back to school.

When: Tuesday, September 8th, at 11:00 AM (CST)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Democracy wins when citizens vote

The Trustee election that almost did not happen at all will now be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.   

Thanks to an opinion of the Texas Attorney General that was not graciously received by Dallas ISD Trustees who arrogantly stated that the Attorney General was just another lawyer giving an opinion that was not law.

Well, here we are - it's election time and the citizens of Dallas will now vote again.

Have Trustees apologized to the citizens of Dallas for illegally canceling your May 2009 election? No - don't expect it.  

Arrogance and selfish political agendas lost - the people of Dallas won.

It is a good day for democracy.  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tulisoma! we read - literacy and arts

Once again the African American Museum in Fair Park was the weekend headquarters for the 7th Annual South Dallas Book Fair and Arts Festival --  "Tulisoma!"   The word is  Swahili for "we read," and  Tulisoma had something for everyone who reads or wants to read.

A Heart and Soul Tour of Sunny South Dallas kicked off the Free Book Fair and acquainted out-of-town visitors and long-time residents alike with  sites and landmarks that make up the colorful and noteworthy history of this geographical treasure of Dallas.

Festivities began at Friday night's reception, featuring Max Rodriguez, founder of the Harlem Book Fair.   Special guest, award winning author and public speaker Sonia Sanchez gave a rousing testimony to reading while asking us to look upon all children as our children and do what we can to help them read, learn and live.  

Thanks to Tulisoma for your special tribute to the 10 year anniversary of the African American Read-In and to the Dallas County Community College District for presenting this community literacy project.  We were pleased to join with the South Dallas Book Fair to encourage reading and learning.  

Activities on Saturday were met with the delight of  children of all ages.  Authors  and vendors presented workshops, discussions, and performances to celebrate literacy and the arts.   The Book Fair ended on Sunday with an inspirational Gospel Brunch.

There was fun and learning for the entire family, all ages and all groups at this outstanding week-end event.

Tulisoma! We Read!  

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mrs. Dade suffers stroke

The widow of Dr. Billy Earl Dade was recently hospitalized due to a massive stroke.  She is 90.

Mrs. Dade had been greatly disturbed by recent news of the effort to change the name of the South Dallas Middle School previously named after her educator husband - Dr. Billy Earl Dade. Mrs. Dade still lives in South Dallas.  Like most families, the legacy of her husband and family is heartfelt.

One of Dr. and Mrs. Dade's daughters, Barbara Dade Martin - a retired Principal - traveled from Chicago to Dallas to speak in opposition to renaming the middle school previously dedicated to the memory of her father on March 12, 2000 - less than one decade ago.  She stated that her mother's heart had been broken.

Decisions often have consequences to others who truly care.

Mrs. Dade has been wounded by a stroke at a time that should have been filled with peace and joy.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Dade for improved health and recovery.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trustees Approve pay raises for all employees

Dallas ISD trustees approved the salary schedule, which includes pay raises, for all employees during the 2009-2010 school year.  

Since the raise in teacher pay was required by the state, it is very rewarding that support staff will also finally receive a well deserved raise after three years of no increase.

Lower Flags to Half-Mast in Honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Dallas ISD Notices

To All Principals and Building Facility Supervisors

In honor of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, please lower all flags (State of Texas and United States flags) to half-mast.

Please see the letter below from Governor Rick Perry.

Dear State Agency Leader:

The United States of America has lost a longtime member of Congress with the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. As a mark of respect for this widely regarded leader, it seems fitting that flags in Texas be lowered immediately to half-staff.

Therefore, acting pursuant to Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby direct the immediate lowering of all State of Texas and United States flags under control of the State to half-staff in memory of the Honorable Edward M. Kennedy. State of Texas and United States flags throughout Texas should remain at half-staff today and tomorrow and lowered again on the date of interment once it is set by the family.

The First Lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to his family in their time of grief, and urge all Texans to remember and honor his life of service to our nation.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

District 6 Recognized and Exemplary Schools

Birdie Alexander Elementary School did an outstanding job this year as they moved from Academically Unacceptable to Recognized status. Administrators, teachers, staff, and students came through with flying colors.

In addition, Adelle Turner Elementary School’s ranking moved past Recognized to earn the TEA designation of Exemplary.

Last year, no District 6 schools earned the Exemplary ranking; this year five achieved the top state ranking.

Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy (KGCA) achieved the Exemplary ranking in its first full year of operation.

Schools from District 6 making the exemplary list are:

•Jimmie Tyler Brashear
•Ronald E. McNair
•Erasmo Seguin
•Adelle Turner
•Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy (KGCA) (formerly Early College High School At Cedar Valley College)

District 6 recognized schools are:

•Birdie Alexander
•Leila P. Cowart
•Thomas L. Marsalis
•Maria Moreno
•Clinton P. Russell
•Leslie A. Stemmons
•T. G. Terry
•Thomas Tolbert
•Mark Twain
•Martin Weiss

Congratulations to these schools on their academic success.

Thanks to the Principals, teachers, staffs and students of all District 6 schools for their dedication and commitment to academic achievement.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adult Basic Education (ABE) Audit Report finds serious violations

The mission of the Adult Basic Education Department (ABE) is "to ensure that all adults in Dallas have the opportunity to develop the academic skills necessary to function effectively."

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) awarded $3,672,329 to Dallas ISD for the School Year 2008-2009 for Adult Basic Education programs.

The internal audit of the Adult Basic Education Department (dated August 21, 2009) includes the following observations:
  • During the audit, it was brought to our attention by various ABE employees that the ABE Manager was in violation of the district payroll policy, grant fund accounting and federal regulatory requirements.
  • The ABE Department does not have sound management practices and adequate procedures for administering federal funds in a manner consistent with rules and regulations within the grant application.
  • There is a lack of proper budget management procedures and monitoring of employee hiring practice.
  • The ABE Department does not have adequate internal controls established to reduce the risk of funds mismanagement or to prevent fraud.
  • The management style of employee intimidation, harassment, and retaliation practiced by the current ABE Manager has negatively affected the control environment and control activities set forth by the policy guidelines of OMB Circular 87-A.
  • The auditor was obstructed from communicating with employees about various ABE operational procedures.
The audit report sets deadlines for various corrective actions to be taken.

These appear to be serious problems that apparently have existed for some time and clearly must be corrected.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Grading Policy was wrongheaded then -- now it violates state law

Senate Bill 2033 is now Section 28.0216 (District Grading Policy) of the Texas Education Code.  The law was passed to protect the grading authority of teachers.

Texas Education Agency officials have emphasized that the new law "clearly applies to all types of grades."

Dallas ISD appears to be violating the Texas Education Code - again.

The state legislature has spoken with a clear and overwhelming voice of disapproval of minimum grading policies in Texas.  

The Dallas ISD policy must be changed to comply with state law.

Click Here - DMN - "Our interpretation is that our policies do not need to be changed" - August 18, 2009

Dallas Morning News Friday, February 1, 2008 by Kent Fischer -  Click Here

"Trustees voted 8-1 to keep the minimum 50 grade in policy. Trustee Carla Ranger was the lone dissenting vote.

"She cited the recent case of South Oak Cliff High School, where a principal forced a teacher to boost the grade of a basketball player to keep that player eligible under the state's "no-pass, no-play" rule. The district announced recently that the grade change would result in South Oak Cliff forfeiting a state basketball championship. 

"Mrs. Ranger said she couldn't see how a school could be penalized for wrongly increasing the grade of an athlete, while the district sanctions the whole-scale awarding of unearned grades to failing students everywhere. 

"What's the difference?" Mrs. Ranger asked. "For me this is not just an academic question, it's an ethical question."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mark Twain Leadership Vanguard receives free school supplies from Comerica Bank

Third grade students at Mark Twain Leadership Vanguard learned a few lessons today, the week before school starts.  They were introduced to banking and shopping convenience, patience, financial literacy and showing appreciation. 

When parents and students arrived, the media center included a bank and a well-stocked supply store. After withdrawing 65 Big Bucks from the bank, students ordered a bag of school supplies, counted out the required amount and and went to look at their merchandise.

I enjoyed serving as a store cashier for the students.

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway also served as a store cashier.

Thanks to Dawna Alberty, Asst. Banking Center Manager, Comerica Bank and the Wynnwood Banking Center for helping Mark Twain students to continue to "Achieve Greatness Through Effective Leadership."

Thanks also to Principal Clifford Greer, teachers and staff of Mark Twain Leadership Vanguard (Recognized ranking).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roseland Homes students and parents get fresh start with Central Dallas Ministries

My visit this evening with parents of students who live in Roseland Homes was delightful. Not having been there in several years, I was excited to see many changes and improvements. Clearly, the residents are pleased too.

Dr. Paul McCarthy, President of El Centro College, also gave remarks.

The occasion was the first of several workshops planned by Central Dallas Ministries (CDM) to introduce a focused educational program for parents, guardians and caretakers of children. The program, designed to help parents become better acquainted and more comfortable with various aspects of public education, is part of Operation Family Fresh Start (OFFS).  

One objective of today's session was to encourage parents to think about their children's education as a learning journey which goes from kindergarten through four years of college, or K -16.  We discussed a factor that can contribute to the desire to make the journey.  That factor is children's hearing and being aware that parents expect them to do it -- go to college.  

What a lively time it was, with fathers, mothers and grandmothers participating, much to the joy of CDM and Roseland Homes community outreach staff, all dedicated to making a difference in the lives of families and the education of children. 

With knowledge and confidence, Roseland Homes parents can become better, more effective advocates for their children's education.

Parents were given DCCCD Read-In materials and booklets.  They were encouraged to read to their children.

Hats off and all the best to Central Dallas Ministries as you implement Operation Family Fresh Start.

Thanks to Rev. Gerald Britt for inviting me to participate.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program Recognizes Students

Dallas Arboretum provided the perfect environment as we celebrated the growth and flowering of students in the 2009 class of the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program.

Founded by State Senator Royce West, the program provides leadership development training through a variety of ways, including summer internship-work experiences, cultural and educational field trips and high-profile networking sessions.

Former NASA astronaut Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, now at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, was keynote speaker. Her message offered a valuable tip -- going on an adventure or trying something new and different can spark a significant and positive turning point for one's career and life. That's how she became an astronaut.

A ballroom full of smiling parents, sponsors, and internship supervisors watched as students received scholarships and recognitions. Their accomplishments and service made us proud.

Along with Mrs. Eleanor Conrad, Mrs. Carolyn West and program director Lajuana Barton, several alumni were there to help, give guidance and share their experiences.

Congratulations and best wishes for a successful freshman year to all students in the 2009 Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program.

Thanks to Senator Royce West for continuing this outstanding student leadership program.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dr. Billy Earl Dade was an icon in education

Statement of Dr. Harry L. Robinson, Jr. concerning the Billy Earl Dade Learning Center, August 12, 2009

Mr. Ron Price, DISD Trustee, District 9, has recommended removing the name of Dr. B. E. Dade from the new middle school to be built in our neighborhood. Dr. B. E. Dade was an icon in education in Dallas for over a half century.

He was well educated having earned a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and the doctorate from North Texas State University (now University of North Texas). His tenure in the Dallas Independent School District included principalships at Frederick Douglass, Paul Laurence Dunbar, John Henry Brown, C.F. Carr and Pearl C. Anderson. Prior to rising to administrative positions in DISD he taught mathematics at Julia C. Frazier Elementary School and mathematics and Latin at Booker T. Washington High School. His post secondary stints included teaching at El Centro, Bishop and Paul Quinn Colleges and Prairie View A&M University. During the time that the State initiated the required TECAT exam for teachers and administrators, he provided “free” workshops for hundreds of teachers and administrators. He mentored many former and current administrators in the DISD. Dr. Dade was well respected in the education profession and the community. On March 12, 2000, the Dallas Board of Education dedicated the school located at 2801 Park Row in his honor.

We, respectfully, request that the name of Dr. Billy Earl Dade be maintained for the new middle school to be located near the current B. E. Dade Middle School. He lived in the school community and was a principal and teacher in that area. Mrs. Dade (87 years old,) lives on South Blvd., daughters (Billie and Barbara), grandsons and great grandchildren are proud of the legacy of Dr. B. E. Dade and request that the school name be maintained for the new middle school.

Submitted by Dr. Harry L. Robinson, Jr., Chair
Committee to Name a DISD School for Dr. B. E. Dade, Organized in 1998

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Renaming Schools for President Obama and Justice Sotomayor violates board policy

The latest suggestion to remove the current names of two schools to be rebuilt and rename them in honor of President Barack Obama and Justice Sonia Sotomayor clearly violates Dallas ISD Board policy.

Neither the President, nor the Associate Justice would support their names being used in this way.

It would be delightful to have schools named after both. However, neither one is anywhere close to the Dallas ISD required age of 70, and the April 1 deadline - for considering recommendations this year - passed months ago.

Of course, the Dallas ISD Board has been known to disregard board policy, state law or anything else that gets in the way.

My vote will be against any effort to use these two outstanding trailblazers for what appears to be a solely political agenda.

It is quite simple and easy to make recommendations in a timely manner that meet the requirements of Board policy. There are many deserving people at all levels - local, state and national. Trustees have had plenty opportunity to make recommendations. It is done every year.

However, Trustees have shown a willingness to violate this policy.

In fact, Trustees Price, Garza and others spent plenty of effort one month ago joining with Trustee Blackburn to undermine the appropriately submitted recommendation of outstanding African American scholar and educator Dr. John Hope Franklin for a new elementary school in the district I represent - District 6. They did it in a dastardly way and in violation of Board policy.

Dr. Billy Earl Dade's widow is now 90 years young.  I will not join in wounding her in the evening of her life by voting to remove the honor previously given to her husband - a local African American South Dallas educator and former Principal of Pearl C. Anderson - who was honored for all the right reasons by a previous Dallas ISD Board .

The names of President Obama and Justice Sotomayor should not be used in violation of board policy and for a political agenda.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Congratulations to Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

After having been sworn in this morning,  new Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor raises the expectations of many that she will administer justice "fairly and impartially" - especially in important educational cases.


Aug 8, 11:22 AM EDT

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's Justice Sotomayor now. Sonia Sotomayor has been sworn in as the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice. She's only the third female justice in the court's 220-year history.

Sotomayor took the second of two oaths of office Saturday from Chief Justice John Roberts in an ornate conference room at the high court, beneath a portrait of the legendary Chief Justice John Marshall. She swore a first oath in a private ceremony minutes earlier.

Sotomayor's mother, brother, other relatives and friends joined her for the occasion.

In one oath, she promised to support and defend the Constitution. In the second, she pledged to "administer justice" fairly and impartially.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dallas City Council has community budget forums - Dallas ISD no real public process

Unlike Dallas ISD which has no real budget process for meaningful public input, the Dallas City Council is having a series of forums where citizens can contribute to the development of the city budget.

Dallas ISD scheduled a 30 minute public hearing immediately prior to the June 25, 2009 Board Meeting at which the budget was to be adopted. That was it - a 30 minute public hearing in name only and no budget information provided to the public beyond an online summary that revealed very little detailed information. 

On the other hand, the City of Dallas has a real process for public participation in the budget development process that includes "community budget forums."

Community Budget Forums

Community Budget Forums - City of Dallas
Residents attending will have an opportunity to give their input on the development of the FY 09/10 proposed budget.
News Release
Community Briefing (Updated)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Texas Association of School Boards Summer Leadership Institute

On June 18-20 in Fort Worth, I attended the Texas Association of School Boards Summer Leadership Institute. The Summer Leadership Institute provides an opportunity to meet the annual requirement for Trustee continuing education credits.

More than 800 new and veteran school leaders received in-depth training on every facet of effective board governance, heard keynote addresses from education experts and gathered valuable ideas.

Topics addressed during the two-and-a-half-day institute included college and workforce readiness, religious expression, teacher recruitment and retention, community partnerships, and technology in schools. Breakout sessions also explored social media, the federal stimulus package and school finance, bullying prevention, emergency management, special education law and school design, among others.

I was glad to be able to attend many of the sessions this year and to learn that I am ahead on the required annual credits for Trustees.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The information is correct

Texas Association of School Board manual refers to the September 1 fiscal year used by many school districts, but doesn't refer to the July 1 fiscal year.  

Both dates are correct.  

Was the board given wrong information on the budget?

At the Thursday, June 25, 2009 Board meeting, I asked what was the last date by which the budget must be approved.

CFO Larry Throm responded, "June 30."

I discovered a slight problem with this answer.  

It is not the same date provided in the Texas Association of School Boards' 2009 Training Manual entitled, "The Board's Role In Adopting A Budget."

On page 4, the Texas Association of School Boards' Training manual states:

Board responsibilities in the adoption process

***Compare budget to goals

***Publish a summary of the district's budget on the district's web site

***Conduct a public meeting to discuss the budget and proposed tax rate

***Allow opportunity for any taxpayer to be present and participate in the budget hearing

***Adopt a final budget no later than August 31

The Board was told it must adopt the budget last week.

The Texas School Board Association states the Board has until August 31.

Something is wrong with this picture.  June 30 is not August 31.

Are both dates correct?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Youth Arts Musical at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters

Applause for the Summer Youth Arts Institute Musical held on Friday and Saturday at the Naomi Bruton Main Stage of the Dallas Convention Center Theater Complex.

In partnership with Dallas ISD, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) presented over 400 students in the production of "Hallelujah Gospel The Musical" to enthusiastic audiences at all three performances.

Youth 10-18 take crash courses in creative writing, music, dance and theatre culminating in a summer enrichment musical theatre production. Student scholarships are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The activity is supported in part by the Dallas independent School District Summer Enrichment Program.

This is a superb program where students build confidence, discipline and decorum, while discovering their talents and abilities in the performing arts.  

Students received several well deserved standing ovations.

Thanks to Founder and President Curtis King, along with TBAAL administrative, artistic and volunteer production staff.

This was, "The Most Inspiring and Uplifting Youth Musical of the Season."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New District 6 Schools Approved

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, The Board of Trustees approved the names for the following new facilities to be built in District 6.

Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School to be located at J.J. Lemon and Langdon Rd in the city of Dallas.  The new elementary school will serve students from Dallas and students from the former Wilmer Hutchins ISD.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School, named for the long-time former Dallas Senior Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church, public education advocate, former state legislator and first African American appointed to the University of Texas Board of Regents.  The new middle school will be located in Oak Cliff.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, in honor of the first African American woman elected to the Board, the first African American Board President, and the longest serving former Dallas ISD Trustee in recent history (23 years), will be located at the University of North Texas Dallas campus on Camp Wisdom Road in Oak Cliff.  This will be the permanent location of the current Early College High School housed at Nolan Estes Plaza.  This is an educational partnership with Cedar Valley College of Dallas County Community College District.

The Early College High School recently received the highest state rating "Exemplary" in its first full year of operation.  It will provide an excellent opportunity for students to obtain up to two full years of college credit while still in high school.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trustees Blackburn, Price and Garza undermine Dr. John Hope Franklin Elementary School

At last night's Dallas ISD Board meeting, Trustees Lew Blackburn and Ron Price joined with Jerome Garza and others to undermine the John Hope Franklin Elementary School located in District 6.

Trustees Blackburn and Price reached a new low in treachery and petty poltitics. Because of these Trustees, there was no vote on Dr. John Hope Franklin's name. It was ignored.

Instead, Trustees Blackburn and Garza substituted the name 'Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School' - an entirely new recommendation by Trustee Blackburn that violated Board policy to consider. No problem - just waive the Board policy. The school will be located in Dallas - not Wilmer and not Hutchins.

Because of the personal agendas of these two Trustees, the students of this academic community in District 6 will never know the inspiration of Dr. John Hope Franklin, one of the greatest Americans of the last 100 years.

Voting with Trustees Blackburn and Price were Trustees Jerome Garza, Edwin Flores, Nancy Bingham and Jack Lowe.

What was needed is a new beginning, not a return to the past of pain.

Congratulations Trustees Blackburn and Price.

You succeeded in denying a great American and the greatest African American historian of our time a place in the future of the children of Dallas ISD.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dr. John Hope Franklin Elementary School pulled for separate vote

As District 6 Trustee, on March 31, 2009, I submitted the recommendation that the new elementary school, to be located at J. J. Lemon and Langdon Road in the city of Dallas, be named for the distinguished historian Dr. John Hope Franklin.  

The site of the school is located in District 6 and will serve some of the elementary students from the former Wilmer Hutchins area, along with some students from the Dallas portion of District 6.

The nomination has been pulled for a separate vote by Trustee Lew Blackburn and Trustee Jerome Garza.  

Dr. John Hope Franklin was one of the most outstanding Americans of the last 100 years.  I am proud to submit his name and support the nomination with great respect and admiration for his life and accomplishments.  

There could be no better role model for children seeking the path to success and educational achievement.


Biography  of John Hope Franklin                                                                                       January 2 1915 - March 25 2009                                                                                                

John Hope Franklin was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, and for seven years was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University. He was a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, St. Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University, and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as Chairman of the Department of History; and in 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as Chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. At Chicago, he was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became Professor Emeritus.

Professor Franklin's numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, now in its seventh edition. His Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 1976 was published in 1985 and received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for that year. In 1990, a collection of essays covering a teaching and writing career of fifty years, was published under the title, Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988. In 1993, he published The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century. Professor Franklin's most recent book, My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, is an autobiography of his father that he edited with his son, John Whittington Franklin. His current research deals with "Dissidents on the Plantation: Runaway Slaves."

Professor Franklin was active in numerous professional and education organizations. For many years he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. He also served as President of the following organizations: The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979). He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Fisk University, the Chicago Public Library, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Professor Franklin served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities, from which he resigned in 1979, when the President appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He also served on the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In September and October of 1980, he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. Among many other foreign assignments, Dr. Franklin served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, Consultant on American Education in the Soviet Union, Fulbright Professor in Australia, and Lecturer in American History in the People's Republic of China.

Professor Franklin was the recipient of many honors. In 1978, Who's Who in America selected Dr. Franklin as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He also received the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 1990 received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge. In 1993, Dr. Franklin received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities, and in 1994, the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation. In 1995, he received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, Professor Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame and in 1997 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In addition to his many awards, Dr. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.

Professor Franklin has been extensively written about in various articles and books. Most recently he was the subject of the film First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin. Produced by Lives and Legacies Films, the documentary was featured on PBS in June 1997.

Professor Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital on the morning of March 25th, 2009.  He was 94.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Project Manhood -- A Gathering of Young Men

How heartwarming to see the more than one hundred fifty parents, grandparents, siblings and friends rushing to claim tables and chairs in the auditoriium at the Bill J. Priest Institute this Saturday morning.  The occasion -- Spring Graduation for boys enrolled in the Project Manhood Leadership Insititute.   

Today's ceremony and luncheon culminated months of activities for approximaely fifty boys who attend Saturday morning classes at either Cedar Valley or Eastfield Colleges.  Project Manhood President Kevin Mondy and a male staff of  dedicated teachers help young men to focus on scholarship, leadership and integrity, by providing academic enrichment and guidance.

As they recited affirmations for success and stepped up to receive letters of recognition from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, these 4th - 7th grade boys showed confidence and pride.

Guests also assured them that many caring people want and expect them to make it to manhood -- we believe they can become caring, responsible, productive men.   

Project Manhood will soon begin offering classes at the Bill J. Priest Institute, providing another learning opportunity for young men, as well as complementary support for parents.

Congratulations to the 2009 Spring Project Manhood Graduates.

Let us hear good news as you continue your journey from young boys to men.

Project Still I Rise (Scholarship - Leadership - Integrity) -

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Early College High School achieves "Exemplary" status in first year

At the end of the very first full school year since its creation, students at the Early College High School (with Cedar Valley College) located at Nolan Estes Plaza, were given their report cards and more.

They were given the very good news that the Early College High School has received the highest state rating of "Exemplary" for the 2008-2009 school year.

Teachers, staff, Principal, parents and community celebrated at an all star luncheon. Principal Gail Ferguson-Smith expressed appreciation for the "Star" support given to the Early College High School (ECHS) throughout this very important first year. It was exciting to lead the cheers to thank her for outstanding "Star" leadership and caring.

Congratulations, students, faculty, staff and Principal of the Early College High School at Nolan Estes Plaza (with Cedar Valley College).

You are "Exemplary."

We are very proud to have this great new high achieving academic community in District 6.

Birdie Alexander Elementary achieves "Recognized" status

Birdie Alexander Elementary School, Principal, parents, faculty staff and especially students are overjoyed to have achieved "Recognized" status.

As always, we are all proud of your accomplishment in turning around your status all the way to "Recognized." The teachers and staff gave their best to the students.

Congratulations to the Birdie Alexander Eagles on your achievement.

May you continue to soar!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kimball Succeeds on TAKS

It was good news to learn recently than Justin F. Kimball High School returned to acceptable status as a result of the recent TAKS results.

Congratulations to the students, Principal, faculty and staff for working hard to overcome many challenges.

Keep up the good work in the future.

Justin F. Kimball - Graduating Knights in Shining Armor

There was much to celebrate at the Justin F. Kimball graduation ceremony at 7:30 P.M. this evening.

According to Principal Stiggers, these Seniors represented a higher than normal graduation rate.

It was my honor to give "The Charge" and to present diplomas to the graduating Seniors - always the highlight of the year for me.

Thanks to Kimball High School teachers, staff and Principal for your many contributions to the graduates.

Thank you parents, family and supporters.

Congratulations 2009 Kimball graduates - you are Knights in shining armor.

Kim Olson Submits Resignation

This morning a letter of resignation was submitted by Kimberly Olson, Chief Human Development Officer.

CEIs reversed

The Board has been notified that the administration's previous decision - without Board approval - not to extend contracts to teachers based solely on the basis of CEI - Classroom Effectiveness Index -scores has been reversed.

Contracts will be extended to those individuals.

The Board was informed that Human Development will convey this decision to teachers who earlier received letters indicating their contract would not be extended due to low CEIs.

More Here - 4-28-09
And Here
And Here
And Here

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Honor we uphold: Success is our goal - David W. Carter 2009 Commencement

Excitement ruled at the Dallas Convention Center this morning as parents, supporters, teachers and staff assembled for the 42nd Annual David W. Carter Commencement exercises.

All were proud of the 2009 graduating Senior Carter Cowboys assembled to say goodbye to their years at Carter High.

We heard from Valedictorian Ivorie Walker, Salutatorian Albert Anderson, Senior Class President Shukura Goodson, Vice President Sharonda Drake and Secretary Jarvis Griggs.

We enjoyed music by the Carter Cowboy band.

I was pleased to give remarks and award diplomas to these graduating Seniors as they began a bright new future.

Thanks to Principal Dupree, faculty and staff for preparing our students for this occasion. Thanks to parents and guests for attending and sharing their enthusiasm.

Class Motto:  "Education is a social process.  Education is growth.  Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself."  - John Dewey

Congratulations to all!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dallas NEA celebration

Enjoyed attending the annual Dallas NEA End of the Year celebration held this evening at Love Field Conference Center.

I was pleased to visit with NEA members, guests and several Dallas ISD  teachers and staff.

NEA Dallas ISD member retirees, representing over 115 years of teaching service, were recognized and given the traditional NEA pen.

Members paid tribute to officers and committee chairs for their service during the past year.

My appreciation to Dallas NEA and President Dale Kaiser for presenting me the Honorine L. Colbert Friend of Education Award for "unwavering support of public education and the students of the Dallas ISD."  

Yvonne Ewell Townview Center senior recognition ceremony

Smiling students and teachers, along with parents, guardians, grandparents and loved ones attended the 2009 Senior Recognition Ceremony for the School of Education and Social Services. These students will pursue education, child related and social services careers.

The ceremony was held at City Place Conference Center at 10:00 A.M. where students appeared in white dresses and suits.  They heard the Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian give their parting words.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presented a $10,000 scholarship to a deserving Senior.  Several Texas Scholars were also recognized.

It was a pleasure to observe this inspiring ceremony.  I was invited to give remarks to these outstanding graduates.  It ws a memorable event in every way.

My hope is that all of these Seniors will be able to pursue their dreams.

Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this 2009 Senior Class celebration.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Say it loud, "I teach and I'm proud"

If you are ready,

Stand up and 

Say it loud.

Shout it out.

Sing along with me.

Say it loud,

"I teach and I'm proud!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Non-Renewal on Monday - Demotion on Friday

On last Friday morning, I was asked to meet with the Chancellor of Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) at 1:00 P.M. for a discussion.

When I arrived, I learned that the discussion would include two additional parties, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and the Executive Vice Chancellor of Business Services.  I did not know others would be present.

I had hoped this would be a private discussion with the Chancellor where I could finally get an understanding of why this was happening.

Instead, I was offered a radical demotion as follows:

---Two bands beneath my present level of District Director of Educational Partnerships

---Transfer to Business Services in Mesquite from Educational Partnerships at downtown Lamar

---Start over at Coordinator position

---Major Salary cut

---Report to a new supervisor in the Business Services Division in Mesquite - the new supervisor holds the same position title I currently hold.

---The African American Read-In removed from my supervision - the very successful program I fought to establish ten years ago with nothing but hope and a dream.                                                

In essence, I was offered the "opportunity" to start over from scratch at the very end of a 20-year career with the District.

Something is very wrong with this picture.

I believe this was in response to the questions that have been raised by others about my dismissal.  

Apparently, it is intended to provide an answer when asked why my contract is not being renewed - 'We have offered her another position.' 

What has been presented is the choice to leave the district or take a transfer and demotion.

The demotion also might make it very difficult to continue serving on the school board.  

On Monday I was offered nothing.  On Friday I was offered an unjust demotion.

From Monday to Friday - a week of dismay, disappointment and disbelief.

The whole thing appears to make no sense - except for the smell of politics.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A curt 'No Thank You' after 20 years of service

On Monday, May 18, 2009, I was handed this note.  There was no prior discussion or any indication of any problem.   


To:       Carla Ranger, District Director of Educational Partnership

From:   W.G. Garland, Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs     

CC:        Luis Camacho, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources           

             Dr. Andrew Jones, Executive Vice Chancellor of Educational Affairs

Date:     May 15, 2009

Re:        Reorganization of Educational Partnerships


Mrs. Ranger,

As a result of budget constraints and the reorganization of the Educational Affairs Division, it has become necessary to eliminate the position of the District Director of Educational Partnerships.  Regretfully, this means that your contract will not be renewed for the upcoming fiscal year and your last day with the District will be effective on August 31st 2009.

Should you have any questions or need to seek clarification related to your benefits, etc.  Please contact the District Human Resources office.

Hand Delivered - Monday, May 18, 2009



I was pleased to have followed in the footsteps of Dr. Mamie McKnight into this position upon her retirement.  She was widely admired as a trailblazer in the District.

I believe I served the District well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who will be the next Dallas ISD Board President?

                                                                                                                                                                Dallas ISD Blog has conducted an interesting online poll that surprises me.
Click Here!      
Before the Attorney General's ruling of April 30, 2009 that declared "the DISD Board of Trustees was not authorized to change the length of its members' terms after December 31, 2007," it appeared there might have been a plan underway to cancel the May 2009 Board officer elections.                                                                                                                                                                                              
The explanation would have been that the current officers should automatically remain in place until May 2010 - since there would have been no May 2009 Trustee election.              
However, the recent Attorney General's opinion made that more difficult to justify, but not impossible.
Maybe no Board Officer should be allowed to serve beyond two consecutive years in the same position because it undermines the development of new Board leadership.                                                                                                                                             
But politics and power often prevail over principle.                                                                                                                                 
Because of the violation of voting rights in canceling the May 2009 election, the Board now has six elected Trustees and three 'holdover' Trustees.
We shall see if the regular Board officer elections are held at the May 28, 2009 Board meeting.
P.S.  There have been at least three former Dallas ISD Board Presidents who also worked for Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) while serving as elected Trustees - Lois Parrott (replaced by Leigh Ann Ellis), Rene Castillo and Ken Zornes (replaced by Edwin Flores). None of them had a problem because of their service.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

North Lake College Hosts “A Frank Discussion of Race in Black and White”


Members of a local interracial panel will present “A Frank Discussion of Race in Black and White” at North Lake College on Tues., May 19, at 6 p.m. in the North Lake College performance hall, located at 5001 McArthur Blvd. in Irving.

The free event will be moderated by Bob Ray Sanders, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; the general public and members of the news media are invited to attend.

Panelists are: Steve Blow, columnist for the Dallas Morning News; Dr. Juanita Simmons, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Missouri; Herbert Gears, mayor of the city of Irving; and Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, located in Baltimore, Md.

A reception at 5:45 p.m. will kick off the event, which is sponsored by the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce; the Dallas County Community College District’s African American Read-In; Africans and African Americans for Enslavement Reparations; and the Ali Luqman Dawah Committee.

The discussion will commemorate the birthday of Malcolm X, Nation of Islam leader and racial commentator who was born May 19, 1925 and who later took the name of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. Panelists will consider recent controversies that have appeared in national news and address those issues.

Participants should arrive early because seating is limited. For details, call the office for DCCCD’s African American Read-In at (214) 378-1723. 

Non-Renewal of my contract at Dallas County Community College District

Yesterday I was informed that my contract as District Director of Educational Partnerships at Dallas County Community College District will not be renewed - effective August 31, 2009.

It appears someone has ordered my removal.  There is also something about it that smells of politics.

This was sudden, unexpected and with no prior warning or reason to be concerned.  I have been an employee of DCCCD for 20 years and looked forward to retirement there in the years ahead. My record has been exemplary.

This is difficult and hard to share.  But when I think of all the challenges so many others must face in this life, I am encouraged.

While I do not fully understand it, I am reminded that somewhere in the good book it suggests that "Good soldiers must sometimes endure hard things."

If anyone knows of an opportunity for a career veteran like me, please let me know.

Monday, May 18, 2009

'A gift to share' at the dedication of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Just like their school song, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA) has "A Gift To Share."  

In fact, this outstanding high school, one of the very best in the nation of any kind, has many "gifts to share," and the students and staff delivered a few of their 'gifts' at the official dedication of the excellent new performing arts facility on Saturday, May 16.  

The dedication planning committee produced an inspiring program.  To all assembled, they gave outstanding dance, visual, music and dramatic performance - a total artistic experience.

This is a splended place of arts, action and activity.

It is clear that this is a very special high school where dreams are not deferred but encouraged to become a future reality.

Many thanks to all who made the dedication an enjoyable afternoon in the Dallas Arts District. Even more appreciation is due to the many donors for their generous gifts, without which this dream come true would not have been possible - especially Mrs. Nancy Hamon.

Best wishes to Principal Tracie Fraley, faculty, staff and all the great students who will study at this grand place of excellence in the decades to come -Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Keep sharing your gifts with the whole wide world and all of humanity.

"A Gift To Share"

All people have a splendor they can share

and dreams must follow a clear path.

A school for artists has that certain flair

To grace a glisten into life.

Sing a song, dance a dance, be an actor if you wish,

Paint a picture that all dreamers can pursue.

Beauty beckons here for all, for me and for you,

And for me, and for you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Will Dallas ISD commit fraud upon the court?

Judge Barefoot Sanders is no longer on this side of the mountain, but his words remain.

Dallas ISD intends to violate the agreement it made with a federal court in order to convince a federal judge to end a decades old struggle.

Nothing lasts forever, but agreements do have more meaning in a federal court than at the Dallas ISD horseshoe where deceit sometimes prevails.

It appears Dallas ISD is about to commit fraud upon the federal court that released it in 2003 - but only on the condition that it fulfill the agreement made with the court.

Lawyers for DISD have now told them they can violate this agreement with disdain - that the agreement automatically expired after three years - that the required 7-vote majority can be ignored. Superintendent Hinojosa is now actively spreading this information.

There is a big problem here - the district made a written agreement with a federal court. Violating this agreement might be a bit more serious than people who want to destroy these programs want to know.

The Declaration of Commitments and Covenants shall be subject to a "review" after three years. Dallas ISD has never conducted this review. This has been a continuing avoidance. The agreement has also remained as a fully active Dallas ISD policy (AE Local). Only now do we hear the new self-serving and false claim that the Commitments and Covenants mysteriously expired.

Fraud Upon the Court

Right in his court judgment, Judge Barefoot Sanders stated he would be "gravely concerned" if Dallas ISD violated these Commitments and Covenants. Judge Sanders also noted Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which states in subsection (d) - Other Powers to Grant Relief:

Rule 60(d)
This rule does not limit a court's power to:

(1) entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding;
(3) set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.

In other other words, it appears Judge Sanders was putting Dallas ISD on notice that violating the Declaration of Commitments and Covenants might land the District back in a federal court.

What Dallas ISD is about to do appears to be fraud upon the federal court that released it from supervision in 2003.

We have seen this before with the Trustee term extensions. Certain lawyers tell certain Board members and Superintendent Hinojosa what they hope to hear.

This is a destructive agenda that is not progressive at all. It is an agenda grounded in the most extreme self-serving notions.

An effort might have to be made to re-open the desegregation case or an independent lawsuit filed to seek a federal court review of the actions now being taken to destroy all special programs that grew out of the desegregation lawsuit and the violation of the Declaration of Commitments and Covenants upon release from court supervision.

It is doubtful that Judge Barefoot Sanders would have released Dallas ISD from court supervision if he had thought that a Board and Superintendent would deceitfully ignore the written Commitments and Covenants made on behalf of Dallas ISD and later seek to destroy every special school and program that they agreed to continue.

That is not what Superintendent Mike Moses and the Board represented to the Court.

Superintendent Mike Moses said:

"In November of 2002, the district's Board of Trustees adopted a list of commitments that would be followed if the court were to release supervision from the desegregation order. The Superintendent said the district will continue to meet the terms of those commitments. We are humbled, honored and ready to keep our commitments."

It would not be surprising if concerned stakeholders seek a new federal court to review this matter of violating the Declaration of Commitments and Covenants after the Board and Superintendent complete their agenda to willfully destroy as many magnets, vanguards, learning centers, etc., as possible.

That might very well be "fraud upon the Court."