Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles evaluation instruments approved 8-1

 'We can teach our way to the top, but we cannot test our way to the top...
Heath Morrison - Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - Called Board Meeting - 5:30 P.M.

Dallas Morning News - December 25, 2012- Click Here
"Trustee Mike Morath, who was part of a board committee that created the evaluation criteria, said he believes it’s a more rigorous assessment than used for the past superintendent. 
“We wanted to raise the bar in terms of performance expectations, and we wanted explicit ties to student achievement,” he said. (Translation - "we wanted explicit ties to student test scores")
Trustees approved the Superintendent of Schools evaluation instruments by an 8-1 vote.

Voting Yes to tying Superintendent pay to student test results
Lew Blackburn
Mike Morath
Bernadette Nutall
Nancy Bingham
Eric Cowan
Elizabeth Jones
Dan Micciche
Adam Medrano

Voting No
Carla Ranger

Paul Thomas of Furman University (Ed.D) in South Carolina states:
Tests Fail South's Legacy of Inequity - Click Here 
"The essential flaws with high-stakes standardized tests are magnified in states shackled by social inequity and poverty because tests function as gatekeepers (for example, the SAT) and mechanisms for educational inequityChildren born into poverty are tested, labeled, and then sorted into a educational system that reflects and perpetuates that inequity. 
For decades now, ample evidence shows that test-based accountability labels high-poverty schools as failures and affluent schools as successful. Any deviations from these patterns are rare and outliers.
Continuing to focusing on tests and seeking new and better tests are commitments to distracting society and education from addressing the real and systemic problems facing both. America's test-mania is a test we are failing. 
Especially in the South, investing in new and more high-stakes standardized testing is a failure we can no longer afford."
Dallas ISD Trustees have now monetized tests as never before in the history of the district. 

Trustees have now imposed additional test related pressure on the teachers and students of Dallas ISD by connecting standard test results to huge monetary awards for the Superintendent.

Some call it "a more rigorous assessment" but others might call it irresponsible to put huge dollar signs on the backs of children and teachers based on "an inadequate and unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness."

National Resolution on High Stakes Testing- Click Here

Friday, December 21, 2012

David W. Carter High School Choir students spread Dallas ISD Christmas cheer

The Carter High School choir on Dec. 21, 2012.
The David W. Carter High School choir visited campuses in the school's feeder pattern on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, to spread holiday cheer. 

They also visited the Dallas ISD Administration Building to carol in the halls for employees.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dallas ISD Trustees not on Audit Committee requested to zip our lips

The updated Internal Audit Services Audit Report with management responses through December 18, 2012 was emailed to Trustees by Superintendent Mike Miles, Wednesday morning - close to 11:00 A.M.

At approximately 2:00 P.M. an email message was received from Board President Lew Blackburn requesting that Trustees who are not members of the Audit Committee refrain from asking any questions or making any comments at the meeting.

This appeared to be an attempt to exclude certain Board members from the discussion. In other words, some Trustees would now have rights superior to other Trustees. 

My email response was that all elected Trustees have a right to ask questions and make comments at any duly called meeting posted under the Texas Open Meetings Act.

This was the first attempt by a Board President to deny a Trustee's right to ask questions or make comments at any meeting of Dallas ISD in the six and one-half years I have served. 

It has always been understood that any Trustee has the right to participate during any committee meeting but only committee members can vote.

As it stands now the Internal Audit Services Audit Report has been referred to the full board for further action.

My view remains that the Administrator Mike Miles seriously violated and abused his authority under the written 'Administrator Services Agreement' between April 27 and June 30, 2012. 

The Texas Education Code does not allow an Administrator who is not even an employee of the District to order around or 'direct' the Interim Superintendent. No such authority was given to him.
"Technically, the Interim Superintendent was signing the paperwork, but I made no secret that I was directing that effort." (Statement Regarding the Draft Audit Report - December 19, 2012)

Every time Administrator Mike Miles directed Interim Superintendent Alan King to do anything, he was undermining a state law - the Texas Education Code - by usurping the sole authority of the Interim Superintendent to manage the district until July 1, 2012.

The Internal Audit Services Audit Report called it "undue influence."

There is no Administrator Mike Miles in the Texas Education Code - only a Superintendent. There was no Superintendent Mike Miles until July 1, 2012.

Even the Interim Superintendent could not authorize hiring certain personnel without Board approval. The Interim Superintendent did not have a contract or other delegation to him of the Board's final authority to approve top staff.

 Texas Education Code
Sec. 11.1513.  EMPLOYMENT POLICY. (a) The board of trustees of each independent school district shall adopt a policy providing for the employment and duties of district personnel.  The employment policy must provide that:
(1)  the board employs and evaluates the superintendent;
(2)  the superintendent has sole authority to make recommendations to the board regarding the selection of all personnel other than the superintendent, except that the board may delegate final authority for those decisions to the superintendent; and
(3)  each principal must approve each teacher or staff appointment to the principal's campus as provided by Section 11.202.
(b)  The board of trustees may accept or reject the superintendent's recommendation regarding the selection of district personnel and shall include the board's acceptance or rejection in the minutes of the board's meeting, as required under Section 551.021, Government Code, in the certified agenda or tape recording required under Section 551.103, Government Code, or in the recording required under Section 551.125 or 551.127, Government Code, as applicable.  If the board rejects the superintendent's recommendation, the superintendent shall make alternative recommendations until the board accepts a recommendation.

Board policies DC (Legal) and DC (Local)-appear to have been violated

DC (Legal) - The Board may accept or reject the Superintendent‟s recommendation regarding the selection of District personnel.
DC (Local) -  The Board shall assign to the Human Resource Services Department the responsibility to oversee, manage, and monitor a personnel
recruitment program ...If the Board rejects the Superintendent‟s recommendation, the Superintendent shall make alternative recommendations until the Board accepts a recommendation. Texas Education Code 11.1513

Between April 27 and June 30, 2012, none of the personnel actions of the Administrator Mike Miles or those of the Interim Superintendent - who had no delegation of 'final authority' - were ever approved by the Board.

The Superintendent had a press conference immediately after the brief Audit Committee meeting which referred further discussion and action to the full board. It is his right to do so.

The Board of Trustees had not been informed that such a press conference would be held.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: management's response
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 1:56 P.M.
From: Blackburn, Lew
To: Miles, Mike, Medrano, Adam, Bernadette Nutall, Nutall, Bernadette , Carla Ranger , Dan Micciche, Lew Blackburn , Elizabeth Jones , Cowan, Eric, Morath, Mike , Nancy Bingham
CC: Elrod, John R, Smisko, Ann, Glover, Charles, Sprague, Jennifer , Smelker, Kevin , Solis, Miguel E, Reyna, Sylvia, Sonya D. Hoskins

We need to proceed cautiously with this matter, as it is of great public interest.  The board needs to be prudent with its procedures and processes.  The public needs to see that the Board of Trustees, and the Superintendent, is capable of conducting business in a professional manner.

In accordance with Board Policy BDB(Local), "The purpose of the audit committee is to assist the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for the financial reporting process, the system of internal control, the audit process, and the District’s process for monitoring compliance with laws and regulations and the code of conduct."  As such, we must give the Audit Committee full opportunity to complete its task.  Trustees Cowan, Morath, and Micciche are capable of performing their duties responsibly.

The Audit Committee will discuss the report today, as the initial report began with the committee.  After their discussion today, I suspect the report will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees with recommendations for further review, and action.  The Audit Committee WILL NOT make any final decisions about employees of the district as a result of the report. 

I am asking that trustees who are not on the Audit Committee to refrain from asking questions and commenting during the Audit Committee meeting.  I understand your eagerness to discuss this and get to a final resolution.  Thus, I will schedule a Called Board meeting in January for further discussion and review of the audit report, and to possibly take actionThis will be the time for trustees to ask questions relating to the audit report.

Mike Miles,
I am asking that you and your staff also follow prudent procedures and processes.  Not doing so compromises the integrity of the Audit Committee process.  Forward further comments and documents relating to this matter to Eric Cowan, Chair of the Audit Committee. 

With Regards for Children,

Lew Blackburn, Ph.D.
President, Board of Trustees
Dallas ISD

Vision: Dallas ISD seeks to be a premier urban school district.
Mission: Educating all students for success

 -------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: management's response
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 3:41 P.M.
From: Carla Ranger <>
To: Blackburn, Lew
CC: Miles, Mike, Medrano, Adam, Bernadette Nutall, Bernadette, Dan Micciche, Lew Blackburn, Elizabeth Jones, Cowan, Eric, Morath, Mike, Nancy Bingham, Elrod, John R, Smisko, Ann, Glover, Charles, Sprague, Jennifer, Smelker, Kevin, Solis, Miguel E, Reyna, Sylvia, Sonya D. Hoskins

Good afternoon,

The Board President has no authority to request, demand, order or deny any duly elected Trustee representing over 100,000 citizens their right to ask questions at any duly called
meeting under the Texas Open Meetings Act and Roberts Rules of Order.

From: Miles, Mike
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:57 AM
To: Medrano, Adam; Bernadette Nutall; Nutall, Bernadette; Carla Ranger; Dan Micciche; Elizabeth Jones; Cowan, Eric; Blackburn, Lew; Morath, Mike; Nancy Bingham
Cc: Elrod, John R; Smisko, Ann; Glover, Charles; Sprague, Jennifer; Smelker, Kevin; Solis, Miguel E; Reyna, Sylvia
Subject: management's response


On Monday, my team and I received the 2nd draft of the audit report on the Superintendent’s transition.  The major difference is that now the report claims I violated my service agreement (instead of some policies) that I signed with the Board on 26 April.  I have attached that service agreement for your understanding. 

The report includes most of management’s response, but it is curious that some paragraphs from our original response are deleted and other paragraphs are moved around.  The report also combines several original management responses, which makes both the report and response hard to follow [the report on its own is very hard to follow].  In any case, so that you have the management’s response the way we wrote it, I have attached it.


CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message, including all attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential student and/or employee information. Unauthorized use and/or disclosure is prohibited under the federal Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g, 34 CFR Part 99, 19 TAC 247.2, Texas Government Code 552.023, Texas Education Code 21.355, 29 CFR 1630.14(b)(c)). If you are not the intended recipient, you may not use, disclose, copy or disseminate this information. Please call the sender immediately or reply by email and destroy all copies of the original message, including attachments.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: management response
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 9:28 A.M.
From: Carla Ranger
To: Cowan, Eric
CC: Miles, Mike, Elrod, John R, Harris, Denoris B, Proctor, Delisa L

Good morning,

Reminder ...

Please send a copy of the audit report with responses
when you receive it.

Thank you.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy Family Fun night

All Gilliam Collegiate Academy students, family, staff, friends and community members are invited to the 5th Annual Family Fun Night!!!

When: Thursday, December 20, 2012 
6:00 PM-8:00 PM.
Where: Gilliam Collegiate Academy

1700 E.Camp Wisdom Road
Dallas, TX. 75241

There will be something for everyone!

Adults will chat, listen to music, eat and play games for prizes (bingo, cards, dominoes, game show games)

Teenagers will have a dance in the gym & game stations (2)

Young children will have an arts and crafts room & game station (1)
Admission is free.  Meal coupon for two canned goods ( to be donated to North Texas Food Bank)
Meal for 2 canned goods:
Garlic Bread
Assorted dessert
Come out and have a good time as we "kick off" the Winter Break!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants Mayors to take control of school districts

Dallas ISD and Race to the Top: Everything You Need to Know About That  $40 Million - Unfair Park

Dallas Mayor's Office

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan - Mayor Mike Rawlings - Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles

DMN Editorial: Arne Duncan’s vision for Dallas ISD

Video: Duncan's best quotes from Editorial Board meeting

Arne Duncan: Mayors Should Run Schools - Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009 - Click Here

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that mayors should take control of big-city school districts where academic performance is suffering.

"Speaking at a forum with mayors and superintendents, Duncan promised to help more mayors take over.

"At the end of my tenure, if only seven mayors are in control, I think I will have failed," Duncan said.

He offered to do whatever he can to make the case. "I'll come to your cities," Duncan said. "I'll meet with your editorial boards. I'll talk with your business communities. I will be there."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dallas ISD Trustees could not discuss an executive performance pay plan that was not on the board briefing agenda

During the Board Briefing last Thursday, December 13, 2012, a non-existent Dallas ISD performance pay proposal was referred to by Board President Lew Blackburn. 

Trustee Lew Blackburn previously voted to give the Superintendent sole authority over all executive level positions and salaries with no Board review or approval.

The vote to give the Superintendent total authority in his contract to select executive staff and set top executive salaries without Board approval  was 8-1 on Thursday, April 26, 2012:

Voting Yes

Lew Blackburn
Mike Morath
Edwin Flores
Nancy Bingham
Bernadette Nutall
Eric Cowan
Adam Medrano
Bruce Parrott

Voting No
Carla Ranger

After voting to give away all Board authority, now we have a new proposal that would require a 25% voluntary executive pay reduction for executive staff in return for the very uncertain prospect of earning it back in performance pay.

The idea mixes performance pay with a voluntary executive level 25% pay cut.
"Superintendent Mike Miles didn’t comment after Blackburn made his position known at the meeting, but he has said he wouldn’t support a pay cut. Trustees also didn’t comment." DMN-12-13-12
Trustees did not comment. There was nothing to say. Trustees cannot discuss an item that is not on the agenda. To do so is a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA). 

The Board President - Lew Blackburn - did not place executive performance pay on the Board Briefing Agenda.

Trustee Blackburn talked about a topic other Trustees could not discuss wthout an agenda item listing that topic.

Good luck on getting any top executive to take a voluntary 25% salary cut in return for the uncertainty of performance pay. This is a way of joining the popular idea of top executive pay cuts to the unpopular concept of performance pay (merit pay, incentive pay).

There is plenty of evidence that performance pay is not a good thing in the public arena of education. Yet, it continues to be pushed by those advancing a privatization agenda.

Performance pay should be judged on its own merit. 

The last merit pay plan implemented at Dallas ISD ended when the funds quickly dried up. I voted against it when it was adopted. The same thing is likely to happen again.
Why performance pay doesn't work - CBS Money Watch

"Board president Lew Blackburn said he also supported Miles and said that his contract allows him to establish salary ranges for high-ranking administrators without board approval."

"Blackburn stresses that the plan — which would impact cabinet-level employees and assistant superintendents — is in the early development stage and not set in stone. He plans to gauge trustee interest during next week’s board briefings."

"Lew Blackburn, the board president, stated that he doesn’t have a problem with the salaries as long as Miles stays within budget."

More Dallas ISD employees making six figure salaries - DMN-11-26-12
Board President Lew Blackburn has said that he doesn’t have a problem with the salaries as long as Miles stays within budget.  ... "Salaries don’t bother me as much because I know that they can attract top quality people, 'Blackburn said. “Whether that means that we have them right now, I don’t know.”

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School Teacher tells precious students 'I Love You'

The Sandy Hook Elementary School in rural Connecticut was visited by a tormented soul who came prepared to take the lives of innocent children who had done no evil deeds, committed no offenses and deserved no early departure from this life.

Sandy Hook Elementary School will go down in history as a place where a tortured soul left an historic tragedy in a small rural Connecticut community.

No words can express or explain the unjust assault on children. But words can acknowledge the selfless sacrifice of teachers who simply by doing their daily jobs now become heroes to be remembered.

In the middle of chaos, the Principal and some teachers tried to face deadly weapons with empty hands to protect their students. They gave their own lives in ultimate sacrifice for children.

There was also a teacher who - when she believed the end of her own life had come and her students were about to face a grim fate - paused to tell the children she loved every one of themShe wanted the last memory of other people's children to be a word of love as they departed this life.

The teacher survived. Her students also live. She is remembered. When trouble came unannounced to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, she was ready to protect her students and give comfort to innocent children in her care.

We will remember twenty children, their Principal and their teachers - all "Gone Too Soon."

Gone Too Soon

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Education Rephorm Train - you don't need a ticket - just get on board

The 'Soul Train' had love, peace and soul.  

The 'Education Rephorm Train' has tests, punishment and gold.
From Edushyster - Click Here

That scent in the air isn’t Memphis-style barbecue but the rich bouquet of education rephorm.
Today our tour of the rephormiest places in America takes us south, to good old Memphis, Tennessee. That unmistakable scent wafting through the air isn’t dry ribs slow cookin’ in a pit, but the rich bouquet of education rephorm. Reader: I give you the Achievement School District, a bold experiment in excellence and innovation that will take the bottom 5% of students in Tennessee and catapult them straight to the top 25%. What’s the ASD’s secret recipe? Take old, failing schools and replace LIFO lifers with fresh, new teachers and administrators. Now add high expectations, toss in a bushel of buzzwords — and don’t forget the spin. Presto chango — Elvis has left the building.

Less than a year into the New Orlean’s style rephorm-over, the Achievement School District’s numbers are off the charts. By numbers, I’m referring NOT to student test scores at the 6 ASD schools —they ranked in the 16th percentile in reading and math —but the eye popping salaries that district personnel are pulling down. Tennessee may be called the volunteer state, but in Achievement land, the “sweet salary state” might be a more accurate nickname. District head and TFA alum Christopher Barbic takes home nearly $18K —a month. A little perspective: that’s more than the governor of the state makes, and, believe or not, a hair more than Kevin Huffman, TFAster turned former Mr. Michelle Rhee turned chief rephormer for the state of Tennessee.

Chris Barbic, superintendent of the Achievement School District, earns more than the governor of Tennessee.

To be fair, Barbic has his work cut out for him. Not only must he work test score miracles in 5 years or less but he also presides over a sizeable rephorm crew. More than 145 people are on the ASD payroll (see complete list here), including someone whose sole responsibility seems to be monitoring and responding to comments on local Memphis media sites. Good news: there are plenty more positions still to be filled. If you have what it takes to Join Our Team (Big Challenges, Stunning Colleagues), contact a recruiter today—operators are standing by.

Like any rephorm train with a well-compensated captain at the helm, this one is quickly picking up speed. With a logic that will be familiar to anyone who has the misfortune to live in a district that has come down with rephorm fever, the Achievement School District will keep expanding, fueled by spin and “high expectations,” no matter what its actual results or how fervently local residents oppose it. Case in point: the hand-picked committee that is about to announce six more Memphis schools to be converted to charters next year. 

People Get Ready - Eva Cassidy

Original by Curtis Mayfield/The Impressions

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles addresses early release of internal audit


A draft audit report was prematurely released to The Dallas Morning News.  We have submitted a response to the auditor.  I know that people want to see the administration’s response to the audit as soon as possible.  I also understand that in many respects the community “has seen this movie before” and therefore may be predisposed to believe the released report.  After the past six months of countless meetings with community groups and individual stakeholders, I am starting to understand the past history of Dallas ISD.

My team and I are eager for you to read the response, but that will have to wait until after the audit committee meets to discuss it.  I will say that our response to the report shows that my senior leadership team and I abided by all laws, policies, and ethical practices But beyond the technical points, the report will show that my team and I acted with a sense of urgency and changed some past practices to get things done.  These changes in processes were permissible under law, policies, and the authority given to me by the Board in my contract.

That does not mean that my team and I haven’t made any mistakes.  If I had to do it over again, I would have slowed down to allow people in the system a chance to implement changes more effectively.   This past summer was a unique time when my team and I worked quickly to hire six Cabinet members, five Assistant Superintendents, and 21 Executive Directors.

The erroneous claims made in the draft audit report also do not mean that the departments do not have processes that need improving.  You may recall that the senior leadership team and I conducted our own “audit” of the District and identified 32 system problems that we are going to be working on.  You may also recall the thorough review conducted by the Star Commission, which focused on personnel processes and was chaired by Garrett Boone, founder of the Container Store.  The Commission identified numerous processes that my administration has to address.

You know, people told me that his job was going to be tough and brutal.  They were right.  But it is not nearly as tough and brutal as the life of a child who receives a poor education.  So I have assembled a team, whose common attribute is that they want to change the world for kids and they have the courage to stand fast when the chips are down.  Every day in this District you have people stepping up to help kids, including senior management.  They are focused on the real work.  It is unfortunate that the preliminary, misleading and inaccurate findings of the audit, have shined a questionable light on the reputation and integrity of the talented staff I have hired with the competency and skills to lead Dallas ISD to success.

I understand that there will be and should be questions about how the work is getting done.  You should know that your team is going to continue to work with a sense of urgency.  They are moving the ball down the field and will continue to do what is in the best interest of students and staff.

Mike Miles

Dallas ISD Students in concert this Saturday at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters

Dallas ISD Christmas/Kwanzaa Mass Choir at TBAAL - Curtis King, Producer
Treat yourself, friends and family to a gift guaranteed to put you on the right beat and in the rhythm of the season. 

            20th Annual Christmas/Kwanzaa Concert                                       
South Oak Cliff, Lincoln, Carter and Kimball High School Choirs
with the 
     Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center Big D Band
   Produced by Curtis King

This Saturday, December 15 -- 8:00 pm

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) 
Dallas Convention Center Theater Complex
1309 Canton Street
Dallas, TX 75201 

Today I attended the student morning performance, along with classes of attentive elementary students, sponsored by Big Thought. Student responses, applause and longings for more showed they learned and appreciated this artistic experience.

Hope you will take this opportunity to hear more than 350 voices light up the holiday season at this outstanding concert, including the premier performance of "Sweetly Sleeping," written/composed by Lisa Jenkins, music director at Lincoln High School.

Many thanks to Dallas ISD participating music conductors: Demetrius Ethley, Carter High School;  Bruce Limuel, Kimball High School; Lisa Jenkins, Lincoln High School; Michelle Magee, South Oak Cliff High School; Dean Hill, Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnate Center.

Much appreciation to Curtis King and the professional musicians, stage crew and support team he incorporates into every Dallas ISD partnership for our students.

For more information about the Saturday performance, contact:

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL)

Phone: (214) 743-2440
Fax: (214) 743-2451
Box Office: (214) 743-2400

Dallas ISD Students experience 20th Annual Christmas/Kwanzaa Concert

Recall of school trustees

It would probably be a good thing if the legislature established a procedure to recall school Trustees.

A recent blog post indicated such legislation is being proposed.  

I hope the effort will eventually be successful. 

Citizens could hold school Trustees accountable for our hits and misses. 

Public education is being undermined and citizens should be able to recall school Trustees who don't serve the public that elected them.

House Bill  2742 - Click Here - Texas Education Code

Marquez files bill to recall school trustees - H.J.R. No. 44

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Texas Superintendent Salary Survey Highlights

From Texas Association of School Boards

Superintendent Salary Survey Highlights
The average superintendent salary in Texas for 2012–13 is $127,358—up nearly 3.5 percent from 2011–12—according to the latest results from the annual TASB/TASA Superintendent Salary Survey:
  • This year more than half of districts (56 percent) gave their superintendents a pay increase. Districts with fewer than 500 students saw average superintendent salaries increase slightly, to $86,782 from $85,326 last year. In districts with more than 50,000 students, the average base pay is now $281,722, up from $268,812. Half of reported Texas superintendent salaries are less than $111,000.
  • Some 44 percent of Texas districts froze their superintendent’s salary for 2012–13. This was less than last year, when about 60 percent of superintendents did not receive a raise. The average pay increase to continuing superintendents was 2.5 percent. That’s up from last year, when average superintendent pay increases hit a 10-year low (1.6 percent).
  • Similar to last year, superintendents have been in their current job for an average of five years and have seven total years of experience as a superintendent in any district. Eleven percent of districts hired a new superintendent this year, nearly even with the prior year (12 percent). Seven hundred and forty-four Texas school districts participated in this year’s survey, representing 72 percent of districts statewide. Nineteen districts reported having an interim superintendent and are not included in the analysis.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary Student Council inducts officers and develops leaders

Thomas L. Marsalis Student Council, Sponsors and Principal
Congratulations to newly elected Student Council officers and grade representatives at Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary School.   Student constituents, parents, faculty and staff celebrated the 2012-2013 Student Council Induction Ceremony today. 

Preparation for this day began early this Fall after students studied the electoral process and participated in a spirited campaign season.  Then on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, in step with the national election day,  the Marsalis Mustangs held two elections.  

First in a mock Presidential Election, students voted for national candidates who were on the Texas ballot.  The voting process was authentic, from issuing voter registration cards to casting ballots in boxes.

Using the same voting procedure in the second election, students voted in the following representatives:

President              Blair Ingram-Everett
Vice President      Kenneth Murry
Secretary              Nevaeh Webb
Treasurer              Celeste Sorrells
Historians              Reanna Carter

Student Council Members
Kendall Bass                                                  Kevin Lopez
Ruth Briones                                                  Isaac Navarette
Jovanny Escuadra                                         Britanny Pecina
Kyndle Empy                                                 Jada Pope
Deekayla Henderson-Hurd                            Mason Price
Jalon Johnson                                               Cindy Ramos 
Ahriyana Jones                                              Lee Yeap

In addition to their oath of office, student leaders repeated: 

Today I will serve,
And be the best that I can be.
I will respect and do good for others.
I will respect and do good for me.

Special Thanks to Ms. T. Simpson and Ms. T. Ingram, Student Council sponsors and to all Marsalis Elementary faculty and staff who serve our students.

Principal Kimberly M. Richardson is the campus instructional leader.

Thomas L. Marsalis is one of a few elementary schools where a Student Council  is maintained to develop student leaders for service to the school and community.

Diane Ravitch opposes privatization of public education

The Conversation: Diane Ravitch | Smiley & West
Former U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Diane Ravitch tells Smiley and West why she is now a fierce opponent of privatization within public education. 


"Now the public schools are the new frontier for the profiteers ...One of the biggest supporters of this privatization movement is Wall Street... Wall Street is now holding investor conferences on how to make money in education." Diane Ravitch

"The precious children of the rich get taughtThe precious children of the poor get tested." Diane Ravitch

"What the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community and anything less than that is unlovely and left unchecked will destroy our democracy." (School and Society - John Dewey - 100 years ago)

"If they love teachers so much, they would stop blaming them for the social and economic problems caused by the outsourcing of jobs that people in this country need. Teachers have gotten the blame for everything, including being blamed for poverty." Diane Ravitch 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles violated Administrative Services Agreement - April 27-June 30, 2012

I have read the preliminary auditor's report.

The nature and extent of the violations of established Dallas ISD policies and procedures listed in the audit report are very serious.

The Board of Trustees should address the ethical and policy violations - along with the violations of the Administrative Services Agreement - raised by the report in a specially called meeting for that purpose.

Superintendent Mike Mikes was not employed as Dallas ISD Superintendent until July 1, 2012. Any actions taken prior to July 1, 2012 would have to be authorized by the Administratice Services Agreement that covered the period April 27, 2012 - June 30, 2012.

While operating as the Administrator prior to July 1, 2012, Superintendent Mike Miles had no authority to recruit, interview, hire or make offers of salary and employment to potential employees of Dallas ISD. He also had no authority to reorganize the central office staff because he was not the Superintendent.

The Administrative Services Agreement limited Administrator Mike Miles' role:
 "Administrator's role is to procure and assemble information as requested by District's Board of Trustees and timely report on the results of all information obtained by Administrator. "
The Administrative Services Agreement did not give authority to Administrator Mike Miles to manage Dallas ISD. The Administrator Mike Miles clearly could not hire staff, negotiate salaries, or make offers of employment.

Administrator Mike Miles was also required to "comply with all the policies, procedures and documentation requirements in accordance with District's Board Policies."  

It appears Administrator Mike Miles did not follow the requirements of Board policies, procedures, or the Administrator Agreement.

The Board of Trustees should meet and determine whether Superintendent Mike Miles should continue as the educational leader of Dallas ISD.


Administrative Services Agreement - Dallas Independent School District And F. Mike Miles - April 27, 2012 - June 30, 2012


(a) ... Administrator shall render services hereunder at such times and places as shall be mutually agreed by District and Administrator.

(b) It is understood that the purpose of this Administrator Agreement is to provide administrative services to Dallas Independent School District's Board of Trustees and Dallas Independent School District during the period of April 27, 2012 until June 30, 2012. District will provide Administrator with access to District's information, employees, and facilities, as necessary to respond to the request of District. Administrator shall attend meetings as requested and directed by Dallas Independent School District's Board of Trustees. It is expressly understood that Administrator has contractual oblications to District as described by the terms of this agreement, that Administrator's role is to procure and assemble information as requested by District's Board of Trustees and timely report on the results of all information obtained by Administrator.


...Administrator shall comply with all policies, procedures and documentation requirements in accordance with District's Board Policies and established procedures, which shall be subject to review by District's Independent auditors...

Former DISD chief financial officer warned about spending

Dozens at Dallas ISD, including many leaders, must reapply for their jobs - 5 -15-12

Dallas ISD's top managers broke rules to build team, initial audit says

In central office overhaul, Dallas ISD human resources employees must reapply to stay 

Mike Miles' DISD House-Cleaning is Under Way - May 16, 2012 - Dallas Observer
You knew it was coming. Incoming DISD chief Mike Miles laid it out pretty clearly during his first presentation to the DISD school board last week, to say nothing of his reformist track record in Colorado Springs. But a month and a half before Miles' official July 1 start date, details about which heads are going to roll at the district are now emerging.

Yesterday, 68 mid-level administrators received notice that they will need to reapply for their jobs, going through an interview process and competing with whoever else who decides to apply, if they want to stay with DISD.

The kicker is that they will be competing for only 36 positions, leaving 32 (or more) current employees out of work. Eleven vacant positions are being eliminated.

"There is no better time for change to take place," Miles said in a press release about the changes. "As the end of the school year approaches, it makes sense to reorganize now so that there is as much time as possible to focus on improving the quality of instruction, raising student achievement and supporting the culture and climate of each school in Dallas ISD."