And Now For the George W. Bush Institute's Second Initiative: "Middle School Matters"

See, Thomas C. Marsh -- middle school does matter.
Way back in September, Laura Bush stopped by North Dallas High School to introduce the George W. Bush Institute's education initiative intended to change "the way America's public school principals are identified, recruited, selected, prepared, evaluated, and empowered." Well, now that that's been taken care of comes Initiative No. 2 -- this one, aimed at "fixing the middle schools" and "dramatically [increasing] the number of students who are well-prepared to enter high school and are ready to earn a meaningful diploma." So says the freshly launched website of the program funded, at least initially, with a $500,000 donation from the Meadows Foundation.

The former First Lady was down near Houston this morning introducing the program, where, per the institute's release, she told the crowd of 400, "Middle school is the last and best chance to prepare students for a successful high school career. Research shows with systematic, intensive interventions that students who started middle school behind can catch up."

Right now, there's not much concrete to go on -- it's still in Phase One, which involves researchers (among them former DISD board president Sandy Kress, now one of the institute's educational fellows) "building platforms" and synergizing components linking the 11 things that make middle school awesome. (Among them: "school leadership" and "great teachers," ya don't say.) Phase Two won't roll out till the fall: Hannah Abney, a spokesperson for the SMU-based institute, tells Unfair Park that 10 to 15 middle schools will be involved, but they haven't been chosen yet. Says Abney, "There will be an open RFP process with selection criteria outlined in the fall. But it will involve schools from Texas and around the nation." She said any school can apply for involvement.

I remember when a great day in middle school involved me getting to keep my lunch money and listening to Gary Numan's "Cars" on the Alex W. Spence cafeteria jukebox.

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When there was a jukebox, and it wasn't chained down. Its top10 also didn't include Black Eyed Peas and Usher (w/Slash)

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Education is one of the only areas where non-professionals tell the professionals what to do. I understand that public ed is funded by taxpayers and so non-teacher taxpayers should have their fair share of input, but not having teachers on the school board? Seriously? (Teachers CANNOT serve on the school board.)

Look how well that's worked out for public education.Initiative after worthless initiative from a top-down Soviet-style Central Office model.

And now DISD is spreading the word about how it is soon to fire 1000 teachers (see the Feb. 24 upcoming school board meeting).

So the whole Bush thing, led by people who have no clue about teaching, in a district where millions are lost to waste, fraud, and cronyism, in a district that's about to fire teachers instead of bureaucrats is, well, pretty insincere and irrelevant.

Middle school is important, but Bush is wrongheaded on this.Cramming teens into oversized classes bc you just fired all the teachers will undo anything else you try.Spend your grant money to investigate how the school boards waste money.

Our school board, with its dominant gang of liars, is the reason DISD is in the state it's in.

Amy S.
Amy S.

Marsh Middle School Principal, Kyle Richardson, best damn person I ever worked for free for (volunteer).

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Who's more committed to education than the first Republican President in 100 years to not believe in evolution?

I am confident that Bush will be just as successful with this endeavor as he was in Iraq, Afghanistan, rebuilding New Orleans, balancing the budget, protecting CIA intelligence operatives, not violating the Hatch Act, following the Geneva Convention, . . .

This was the guy that put a drop-out in charge of NASA scientists that suppressed their work on environmental science , right?

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