Friday, May 27, 2011

Local control of public schools

This week we learned from Superintendent Michael Hinojosa  during his visit to the Cobb County, Georgia school district:

"On hot-button issues there's going to be an elaborate discussion. Right now, the national funders are pushing Dallas to be involved in charters. I told them, 'I don't mind having a conversation, but I am not going to push this if my board doesn't want to go there.' My board. A body corporate. A majority of the board."

What about the citizens of Dallas and all the stakeholders of Dallas ISD - not just the Regional Chamber - have they requested this charter school push in Dallas?  Of course not.  Our citizens are treated as if they don't matter.

We also learned this week that the Georgia Supreme Court has recently declared the 2008 Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act to be unconstitutional under the Georgia State Constitution which gives "exclusive control" over public schools to local school boards. 

See National School Boards Association Legal Clips

There is a reason why the word "Independent" appears in the name of "Dallas Independent School District."

There was a time when public schools were run by Mayors and local governments and political bosses.  And it resulted in abuse of the worst kind.  The employment base of a school district was also a political base for office seeking politicians.

That is why public schools were created by the Legislature to be "Independent" and self-governing in Texas.  No one except the elected school Board has any legal authority over a school district.

It is good to know the Houston area contributions to Trustee Blackburn's campaign are not related to charter schools.  Still  the issue remains one of local Trustees being locally elected by the efforts of local citizens.

School Trustees are elected to serve the local community and our campaigns should not be overly influenced by large financial contributions from cities and people who have no stake whatsoever in the local community.

Of course there is nothing that prevents such individual contributions.  But there is something to be concerned about large campaign contributions generated from far away cities that might influence the outcome of a local school board election.  It simply threatens to undermine the important local control of public schools.

Whether it is outside charter money or outside other money, if large outside funds influence the elections of local Trustees, then local citizens of a community will lose local control of their school board.

Public school districts tend to the closest link to citizens and communities.

It is simply about preserving and protecting the "Independence" of local school boards so they will serve the local public interest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why were large Houston area financial contributions made to Trustee Blackburn in 2010?

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa made the following significant statement in Cobb County, Georgia this week:

On hot-button issues, Hinojosa said, "there's going to be an elaborate discussion. Right now, the national funders are pushing Dallas to be involved in charters. I told them, 'I don't mind having a conversation, but I am not going to push this if my board doesn't want to go there.' My board. A body corporate. A majority of the board."

Read more: 
The Marietta Daily Journal - Hinojosa I will listen to the people 

Why would persons outside Dallas make the following contributions to Trustee Blackburn who works for a charter school and who in 2008 served as Superintendent of Lynn Acre Academy Charter School?  Click Here!

  • $500.00 - 4-12-10 - Houston, Texas - Raquel O. Williams
  • $500.00 - 4-29-10 - Houston, Texas - MJLM Wealth Solutions 
  • $500.00 - 4-29-10 - Houston, Texas - Franklin D. Jones, Jr.
  • $500.00 - 4-29-10 - Houston, Texas - Tyrone P. Dorian
  • $500.00 - 4_2-10 - Houston, Texas - William F. Burge, III
  • $5000.00 - 4-29-10 - Missouri City, Texas - Tracey Medlock
  • $2500.00 - 4-29-10 - Missouri City, Texas - David L. Medford
  • $1000.00 - 4-29-10 - Houston, Texas - Christus N. Powell, Jr.
  • $1000.00 - 4-29-10 - Missouri City, Texas - Mourhaf Sabouni
The total is $12,000 - all contributed in 2010 from in and around Houston, Texas right before the election.


Does it have anything to do with the charter school push in Dallas ISD that Superintendent Hinojosa mentioned this week in Georgia?

Strange that so many Houston area contributors would take such a strong financial interest in a Dallas ISD School Trustee race in the African American community.

I don't believe this has ever happened before.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trustees should remove Superintendent Hinojosa immediately for bad faith

One year later and Dallas ISD still has no succession plan.

This has been one of the most difficult periods in the history of Dallas ISD. Time and time again, it has been perfectly clear that the district was not being served well at the highest level.

Now we return to the same place again.

A special called board meeting should be scheduled for early next week. I will make that request. I hope other Trustees will do the same.

Superintendent Hinojosa has again acted in bad faith. The same bad faith was shown last year.

The damage done to our district and its students has been defended, overlooked and enabled. The best interests of the students, parents and taxpayers of Dallas ISD have not been served.

Trustees should meet in executive session and remove Superintendent Hinojosa immediately for his continuing bad faith - before even more damage is done.

There is no indispensable Superintendent. The staff can carry on - maybe better than now without the fear of a departing Superintendent.

The district can be run by a temporary Administrative Council of 3-5 senior staff members or whatever the Board determines.

The thrill is gone and so should the Superintendent be gone immediately.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leslie A. Stemmons Elementary 6th graders celebrate and don't quit

Leslie A Stemmons Elementary 6th Grade Banquet
Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 6 P.M.
It's so hard to say goodbye, but combine farewells with a celebration and you have plenty of smiles. This evening Leslie A. Stemmons Elementary School 6th grade students, families and teachers smiled a lot as they celebrated 102 students who will be going on to the Middle School.

The first sixth-grade banquet, with more than three hundred attending, was held at the Gospel Lighthouse Church, an active Stemmons Elementary partner and community sponsor.

"We Don't Quit" was the theme. Students showed that attitude throughout the evening and were encouraged to maintain it for the next six years of school.

The banquet provided an opportunity for students to engage in a semi-formal event in their honor along with proud parents.

It always delights me to be among students. These sixth graders were excited. We had a lot of fun this evening!

The banquet meal was prepared and served by parents, DISD retirees and Stemmons staff, each of whom seemed happy to be there, happy to serve.

A spirited program featured students Jewylz Daranco, Albert Ramirez and Makayla and Mackenzie Jimerson.

Concord GenXtreme Mimes were there and gave an uplifting musical performance.

Thanks to Gospel Lighthouse Church Pastor Jay Fleener for welcoming us and for wearing several host hats.

Kudos to community liaison Yolanda Charles, who coordinated this outstanding event with the assistance of Stemmons sixth grade teachers, staff, volunteers and assistant principal Alethea Henderson.

Thanks to interim principal Louis Guerrero for providing campus leadership and support.

Students will hold memories and photographs from the first L.A. Stemmons 6th Grade Banquet. We hope they will also hold on to the meaning in the quote (author unknown) printed on the program, "Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."