Thursday, April 16, 2009

Learning Center deceit fails to mention federal waiver for desegregation plans

This is a racially targeted agenda.  

For some time it has been the agenda of this superintendent - and others before him - to undermine learning centers, established to address racial disparities found to exist by a federal court during the decades long desegregation lawsuit.  For years certain board members, Hispanic and white, have agitated to destroy the learning centers.

Learning centers, unlike the current agenda at Dallas ISD, were developed in response to evidence presented in a court of law.  They were not political - they were a targeted effort to overcome institutional racism in Dallas ISD.  They were created because the district was deemed unfair, unethical, immoral and discriminatory.  The need for the learning centers remains.

It is their origin, as special desegregation tools developed especially for African American students, that is deeply hated.

Last Thursday the latest deception was practiced.  The Board was told and news reports repeated that learning centers must be destroyed because of federal comparability requirements.  I requested all information received by the district from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  

One page was received -- it outlined an internal discussion at TEA.  Nothing was provided showing a direct communication from TEA to Dallas ISD or from Dallas ISD to TEA. 

Since we had been informed that "Trustees" requested this review of the learning centers - not TEA, I asked last Thursday for the names of the Trustees who requested a review of the learning centers.  The reply was, "I do not recall."  Only Trustee Jack Lowe volunteered that he was one of the Trustees.  What was the secret?  Trustees asked for this review.  Who are they?

This is the new face of racial politics that reigns in Dallas ISD.  It is just as ugly as the old one which was easier to recognize.  Attack all programs that were originally designed for African American students and call it "reform."

It is simply the latest effort to remove resources that were intended to address the historic educational discrimination against black students.

Yet, neither the school administration nor press reports have once mentioned that there is also a specific federal waiver provision for desegregation plans.

Section 1113 (a)(7) of the federal No Child Left behind Act of January 8, 2002 states:

"WAIVER FOR DESEGREGATION PLANS -- The Secretary may approve a local educational agency's written request for a waiver of the requirements of subsections (a) and (c), and permit such agency to treat as eligible, and serve, any school that children attend with a State-ordered, court-ordered school desegregation plan or a plan that continues to be implemented in   accordance with a State-ordered or court-ordered desegregation  plan, if ..." 

Just as it was done when the Board and administration refused to obtain clearance from the TEA and Secretary of State's Office before rushing to change Dalllas ISD terms of office from three to four years, the effort is being made to practice a similar deception here.  

Learning centers and certain other parts of the desegregation plan can only be changed by a super majority of the Board (7 votes).  The 7 vote requirement was put in place for exactly the reason we see now - to make it more difficult to change the agreement made with the federal court in order to be released from over three decades of court supervision.  

The present callous board will attempt to disregard its own very clear agreement with the federal court and preserved as District policy in the Declaration of Commitments and Covenants (AE-Local) - if it can get away with it.

But this will also require at least one African American Trustee to betray the Declaration of Commitments and Covenants.

"This is about people fighting for the polluted pie--for a piece of it. But I'll be very disappointed if the African-American community starts losing resources."                         --Former Trustee Yvonne Ewell.

Declaration of Commitments and Covenants - Upon Release From Court Supervision