Saturday, December 7, 2013

A tribute to President Nelson Mandela - 'His Day Is Done' by Dr. Maya Angelou

"Yesterday, the U.S. State Department unveiled a tribute poem written by Dr. Maya Angelou for Mandela "on behalf of the American people."
"Yes, Mandela's day is done," the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angelou said. "Yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation." NPR

"His day is done.
Is done.
The news came on the wings of a wind
Reluctant to carry its burden.
Nelson Mandela’s day is done.
The news, expected and still unwelcome
Reached us in the United States and suddenly
Our world became somber.
Our skies were leadened
His day is done.
We see you, South African people
Standing speechless at the slamming
Of that final door
Through which no traveler returns.

Our spirits reach out to you
Bantu, Zulu, Xhosa, Boer
We think of you
And your Son of Africa,
Your Father
Your One More Wonder of the World.
We send our souls to you
As you reflect upon
Your David armed with
A mere stone facing down
The Mighty Goliath,
Man of strength Gideon,
Emerging triumphant
Although born into the brutal embrace of Apartheid
Scarred by the savage atmosphere of racism,
Unjustly imprisoned
In the bloody maws of South African dungeons.
Would the man survive?
Could the man survive?
His answer strengthened men and women
Around the world.
In the Alamo in San Antonio, TX
On the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco,
In Chicago’s loop
In New Orleans Mardi Gras
In New York City’s Times Square
We watched as the hope of Africa sprang
Through the prison’s doors
His stupendous heart in tact
His gargantuan will
Hale and hearty

He had not been crippled by brutes
Nor was his passion for the rights
Of human beings
Diminished by twenty-seven years of imprisonment
Even here in America
We felt the cool
Refreshing breeze of freedom
When Nelson Mandela took
The seat of the Presidency
In his Country
Where formally he was not even allowed to vote
We were enlarged by tears of pride
As we saw Nelson Mandela’s
Former prison guards
Invited, courteously, by him to watch
From the front rows
His inauguration.

We saw him accept
The world’s award in Norway
With the grace and gratitude
Of the Solon in Ancient Roman Courts
And the confidence of African Chiefs
From ancient royal stools.
No sun outlasts its sunset
But will rise again
And bring the dawn
Yes, Mandela’s day is done,
Yet we, his inheritors
Will open the gates wider
For reconciliation and we will respond
Generously to the cries
Of the Blacks and Whites,
The Asian, the Hispanic,
The poor who live piteously
On the floor of our planet
He has offered us understanding
We will not withhold forgiveness
Even from those who do not ask
Nelson Mandela’s day is done
We confess it in tearful voices
Yet we lift our own to say
Thank You.
Thank You, Our Gideon.
Thank You, Our David.
Our great courageous man

We will not forget you
We will not dishonor you
We will remember and be glad
That you lived among us
That you taught us
That you loved us

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dr. Billy Earl Dade Middle School Dedication

Billy Earl Dade Middle School

“Education is the doorway to opportunity,” is the philosophy Dr. Billy Earl Dade talked and walked, as well as taught to generations of students from elementary school to college and university campuses.

Today, former students and co-workers joined the Dade Family and friends in dedicating the Billy Earl Dade Middle School in honor of this longtime South Dallas educator.

Throughout the morning, students recalled Dr. Dade’s continuing curiosity for knowledge and his inspiration, encouragement and insistence that they be curious too. As teacher and principal he taught students to make every effort to develop their minds and ability to think.

Dr. Dade's widow, Mrs. Wilene Dade, passed away on September 13, 2009 in South Dallas. She was 90. The Dade home was one block from Billy Earl Dade Middle School. Mrs. Dade still lived there. 

Dr. Dade’s legacy gives a timeless message, significant then, now and in the future. 

We appreciate Dr. Billy Earl Dade for his many contributions to the history of education in South Dallas and especially for his dedication to developing students of all ages. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Texas Association of School Boards Fall Legal Seminar held in Austin

In addition to providing a number of services , TASB Legal Services designs seminars to help member school districts advance public education.  School Board members, administrators and attorneys are offered a variety of information and training sessions. 

The TASB Fall Legal Seminar this week-end in Austin covered several topics from   “When good Employees Go Bad” to recent Legislative and Legal Updates.

Also included were informative and for me, confirming discussions about the Texas Open Meetings Act (OMA), which was established to “ensure the public’s access to meetings of governmental bodies so that it has the opportunity to be informed concerning the transactions of public business.”

I have often expressed concerns about following the Texas Open Meetings Act. Training at the TASB Legal Seminar provided helpful Texas Open Meetings Act reminders.

Texas ISD representatives from small to large school districts attended the TASB Fall Seminar facilitated by TASB Legal Services staff. 

Thanks to TASB Legal Services for providing quality educational training about legal developments that influence and affect public schools in Texas.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer again makes false accusations about the investigations of Superintendent Mike Miles

Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer recently, Wednesday, October 30, 2013, posted the following false statements:

Mike Miles and the Bad Annual Review Issue: More Bullshit from The Dallas Morning News

“Nothing in Smith's investigative report or Coggins' first review of it gave Miles' enemies on the board the red meat they needed to take him down. They didn't even get a cold hot dog. So the board members most involved in persuading Smith to do the initial investigation, Carla Ranger, Bernadette Nutall and Elizabeth Jones, goaded Coggins to give it another try.”

"Yeah, well please allow me to present a very different take on that whole process. Coggins, who was paid 50 grand for his work, combed over the investigative report produced by Don Smith, head of the school district's Office or Professional Responsibility or OPR, and found it was a jumble of bullshit allegations, not one of which would stick, ginned up with heavy participation by school board members out to get Miles over school reform and teacher pay and tenure issues."


These statements are false.

Actually, I knew nothing about the complaint filed by Communications Chief Rebecca Rodriquez against Superintendent Mike Miles until it was accidently revealed to Dallas ISD board members in a closed board session. 

I had no involvement at all in persuading Don Smith to do the initial investigation.  The board was never even informed that an investigation of Superintendent Mike Miles was being conducted.

And I certainly did not ‘goad’ Attorney Paul Coggins.  

Attorney Coggins reported information discovered during the investigation and asked if Trustees wanted him to look further into it. He never reported that Trustees ‘ginned up’ anything.

The complaint against Superintendent Mike Miles was filed with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) by former Dallas ISD Communications Chief Rebecca Rodriquez. 

Notice in the Jim Shutze article there is no mention of the fact that the complaint was brought against the superintendent by an employee in his own "cabinet." 

No, Jim Schutz  wants readers of his article to think that it was a Trustee problem. 

It was not. 

It was a problem between Superintendent Mike Miles and the Communications Chief he hired - Rebecca Rodriguez.

Jim Shutze admits to having become an "apoplectic apologist" for a public official.

Spreading disinformation and distorting the truth is even worse and blatantly dishonest.

"Good journalism always seeks the truth, and the truth is not a lie."


Disinformation is intentional false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. (Wikipedia)

Jim Schutze stated:

"Right away let me say: No one is more troubled than I am by my own knee-jerkism concerning Dallas superintendent of schools Mike Miles. How the hell did I ever find myself in the role of predictably apoplectic apologist for a public official? Please, somebody free me from my own alliteration!"