Mike Rawlings Says He Wants to Fix the Schools. Sure, But Talk is Cheap.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Ah, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I call "rubber meets road" on the school district issue in the mayor's race.

Candidate Mike Rawlings has been getting himself some political mileage on the hustings by saying that, as mayor, he will help fix the city's beleaguered public school system. I have written that it's a good thing, not a bad thing, that he recognizes the importance of fixing the schools, even though the mayor has no power, authority or political mandate to even touch the school district.

But I think the rubber just met the road, and I believe I detect some shimmy. Gromer Jeffers has a piece in The Dallas Morning News this morning about a meeting between the mayoral candidates and the paper's editorial page writers. Sound like they asked Rawlings if he is ready to commit to the Villaraigosa model.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to fix the schools too, and he's in the same position a Dallas mayor would be -- no legal or charter-based ability to do so. So Villaraigosa is doing the only effective thing he or anyone else could do -- putting his name behind slates of school board candidates.

See, that's rolling up your sleeves, shouldering your political rifle and wading on out into the front lines. Some people will love it. Other people will get really really mad about it. It's not without bloodshed.

Sounds to me like Rawlings whiffed when they asked him "if the Dallas mayor should wield influence on DISD the way Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa does in his city's school district."

Jeffers quotes Rawlings as saying: "The L.A. model is a step in the right direction. I'm not saying we should go all the way. Whether the mayor is involved or not, that's a different issue. But people are rising up and saying we are going to have a great school district, and the mayor plays a very important role in it."

No. C'mon. Either say it and commit to it or don't say it and don't try to grab credit for having school balls.

Mike_Rawlings_debate_Merten.jpg
Hey, Mike Rawlings, if you really want to help the schools, you better man up.
The only way a mayor could change a damn thing in the school district is by getting directly involved in school board elections. What's the other idea? A bunch of rich suits wagging their fingers and telling people to adopt better accounting practices? Yeah, that'll rally shake the place up.

Former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle and veteran city council member Ron Natinsky have demurred on this, saying they care about the schools too, but they're not going to promise to go fix them.

You could argue that whoever wins will have a big job learning to be mayor first. The only candidate with any elective political experience -- to be strongly counted in his favor -- is Natinsky.

Kunkle does not have experience with city politics as an elected official. Maybe being a former top staff person helps. Maybe it hurts. I don't know.

But Rawlings is the greenest of the three politically, with the most catch-up to do. And there is a lot for a newbie to learn. Politics is politics, and you have to learn your way around. Rawlings might be better off proving himself to be one hell of a mayor for at least a first term and then taking on the beehive at school headquarters at 3700 Ross Ave.

But here's the rubber: If he's going to take credit for caring about the schools, he must commit to meaningful action. That means manning up and wading straight into school board politics. And here's the road: the sitting school board. Welcome to our nightmare.
I ain't goin' down that road for love nor money! But if he wants to, he needs to get hiking.



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
49 comments
Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Yeah, Leppert said he wanted to make DISD his priority too. That worked out well. Rawlings is just Leppert 2.0. I wonder what his "signature" boondoggle is going to be since we already have a signature city-owned hotel, two lovely signature faux suspension bridges, and the probably never-to-be-built signature needs-to-be-pontoon-supported parkway up the Trinity. Just for once, I'd like to see amayor who wants to give us a "signature" pothole patch, a "signature" working streetlight, and a "signature" flower in a city park.

Mike Dunlap
Mike Dunlap

Kunkle has been married 5 times?

Wow. Sketchy.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The man with experience in City government ,has an upper hand,all three have some type of experience,Mike with the homeless ,working through the maze of getting it off the ground,Kunkle with being an insider, know how City Hall works,what is hidan from Council or what part of story, staff does not put in briefing.Natinsky for knowing right questions to ask.Ed does not have that experience,he thinks the wrecking yards on Lamar are there because that is Black area,he does not know White ,Jewish families lived there before Blacks moved in,and yards were there then.

Gangy
Gangy

I think Rawlings answered the way he did because he didn't know what Villaraigosa has been doing and didn't want to admit his ignorance. That said, I have seen very sincere and generous leaders in the business community try to "save" DISD, and they fail because running public education is so very different than running a business for profit.

I support Kunkle because he thoroughly understands why the public sector cannot be operated like a for-profit entity.

Who Ray
Who Ray

It's called being a "leader", and we haven't had any of that for a long time. Anyone who uses the school issue as just a "soundbite" without any plan of action or commitment to improving DISD should not be elected Mayor.

Mary and Scott Landings
Mary and Scott Landings

Jim, I don't believe I've ever disagreed with anything you've said in the past. But, I really think you're wrong here.

You said: "The only way a mayor could change a damn thing in the school district is by getting directly involved in school board elections."

I believe the Mayor can excercise extreme pressure/influence over that board. The DISD board for the most part is a bunch of dimwits: Adam Medrano, Nutall, et al.

An intelligent, strong presence City Mayor/Council can definitely bring about a lot of DISD change if handled right.

I've been to 4 mayoral debates now. Originally, I was all ga-ga for Kunkle. But, after hearing one debate, I saw how really good Rawlings is. I still wanted to support Kunkle, but every time I scratched the surface I found little or nothing there. His campaign and his stump speach and his debate responses are so obviously rehearsed and with no feeling/meaning. I can't shake the fact that his entire platform is nothing but a show of smoke and mirrors.

Kunkle has no history, whatsoever, of any form of community volunteering, or embracing causes, or getting his hands into anything. Rawlings entire adult career is filled with volunteer work. He has accomplished so much and appears to be a guy that everything he touches he finishes and does well.

Kunkle, on the other hand, was the Chief that jimmied with the crime reporting procedures so that his crime stats came out lower. Now, I see he touts his "reduction of crime" at every mayoral debate.

Also, Kunkle was married FIVE times. And, has no relationship at all with his only child.

Rawlings is married to his first and only wife 25 yrs and 2 daughters he is very close to.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Don't worry - the DCC, big business and big construction will be well represented when the chamber cranks up its new education PAC. No harm, no foul I suppose, DFPE did the same thing two years ago but on a shoestring budget supported by parents and taxpayers. No big money movers and shakers here - only parents and teachers who want Trustees to REPRESENT THE CHILDREN!

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

I think Rawlings has the persuasive speaking ability needed in a mayor. And I think Kunkle would be head and shoulders the best city manager this city has ever had. I would like them both running this city.

Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Last night @ TJ for NW Dallas voters, Rawlings said Dallas is a great place -- just think 5 wealthy families gave a Million dollars each to help fund the Performance Hall! He quoted Ted Strauss (who he said was the husband of former Mayor Annette Strauss - well, she's dead now, but ---) that one of the things that made her so successful was having council members over to their home for weekend dinners. He said the first woman Mayor, Adelene Harrison, is endorsing him, and so is the first Black Mayor, Ron Kirk. Really deep stuff.

elbueno
elbueno

I just don't buy Rawlings. The guys has one ambition and one ambition only: make the rich richer while making himself look noble and good.

Here's a thought, bud, just donate a whole mess of your riches to DISD so they don't have to lay off so many teachers.

gshelton
gshelton

Though DISD and the City Council are separate... DISD has an effect on the City and the City can do things to help. It may not be able to directly "Fix" the schools but it can have an effect on students, parents and teachers.

Getting parents involved in their childes academics is the number one thing that can help improve odds of graduating.... This is something that is mostly done outside the classroom...

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

This column is the biggest bunch of whining I've ever heard. Mean ol' Rawlings wants to fix the schools. He's a former CEO who has been the homeless czar and president of the park board. The horror of having him as Mayor. Oh, the horror!

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

We know, you hate Rawlin and you love Kunkle. Kunkle can do no wrong. Everything he says is right. Press people stick together and Kunkle is your choice. Rawlin is the citizen council candidate. Kunkle is Miller and the Observer candidate. We got it!

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

Time to expose this "fix the schools" thing for what it really is - a consultant-driven strategy aimed at attracting voters who don't realize or understand that DISD and Dallas City Council are separate entities.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Just once? That was Laura Miller's entire platform.

No thanks.

Wrangler
Wrangler

I agree. That's about all I can say about Kunkle. He knows public sector is not for profit. Of course, that is the ONLY work he has ever known: a policeman. From the time he was 21yrs of old.

When I hire a person in top management, I prefer a diverse background

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Rawlings is married to his first and only wife 25 yrs and 2 daughters he is very close to.

Wrong.

Rawlings actually has a daughter, Michelle, from his first marriage and a son, Gunnar, from his current one.

Bar Fly
Bar Fly

Michael, If you and Harryette Ehrhardt really want to see some changes for the better with DISD, then endorse Mike Rawlings. He's the only one of these candidates putting in the time to research and draft a detailed proposal of exerting pressure on DISD.

Harryette's support of Kunkle will get her no where. He lied about the crime stats reporting and his 5th wife, I-wanna-be-Mrs.-Mayor, Sarah Dodd, is writing all his sound bites in this election. She'll tell anyone whatever she thinks they want to hear. She was news reporter and now has Public Relations/media/marketing business.

Support Rawlings and we stand a chance to fix DISD.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

I'm not sure where his kids went to school -- but he has lived in Dallas the longest of the candidates and his wife graduated from Woodrow Wilson on the East Side.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Excellent idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In fact, I hope Kunkle would strongly consider taking that job. This would be amazing.

I say we can't get rid of Mary Suhm fast enough.

Eugene Cook
Eugene Cook

Well, I for one like the fact that he is endorsed by Adelene Harrison.

And, Rawlings is a supporter of the arts, but not just big time high-dollar arts, he specifically wants to see more private partnership and city workings (not city money) to support small, struggling arts venues and opportunities.

Unlike Kunkle who changes crime stats reporting procedures so that he can appear to have lowered crime.

wascallywabbit
wascallywabbit

Are you making a funny? My meds haven't kicked in yet.

Whistle
Whistle

A lot of those teachers need to go. There are a lot of them that are nothing more than huge dead weight and this is one sure way to cut them. They are overweight, mean and very lazy. They specialize in complaining about everything. At one school (no names mentioned), three mean hags are nothing but bullies who think the world owes them everything. Over the years I've watched many good new teachers leave because of these 3 women. So, I was overjoyed that two of them took the buyout.

I'm certain that other schools have had similar cleansings last month. Sometimes change is good.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Make the rich richer? I think you are confusing Rawlings with Natinsky.

That would be Natinsky's motto.

Rawlings is the one who gives tirelessly of his time and his money to assist homeless, and he worked hard on Parks board not to control things but to assist in working out the budget crisis to get as much as possible of parks care in a down market.

Please do not post responses that are highly inflamatory when you obviously do not know Rawlings. Under his CEO management, Pizza Hut was voted one of the top employers in Texas by their employees. Rawlings is unbelievably good to all people he comes in contact with.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

How do you back that up? It sounds like you're just stereotyping the guy because he is rich. I'm an East Dallasite and I drink all the East Dallas kool-aid (it tastes like Green Tea). But the attacks against Rawlings seem rooted in the fact that he has succeeded in business. If that was all he had done in his life, I'd be inclined to be suspicious as well. But he's also been involved in city politics as President of the Park Board and Homeless Czar. Those things show he is more than just a mayor for rich people.

And he hasn't just talked about it. Didn't he propose a plan to have more volunteers in the schools? Perhaps he doesn't like the LA mayor model because it has been very divisive for LA. But just because he doesn't want to copy LA doesn't make him weak on education.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

It's whining to point that the Mayor of Dallas, has NO authority or legal connection to DISD?

It just reality.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Good point!

I wonder if he has the same consult that Leppert used?

He's certainly using the same talking points.

JimS
JimS

Mary and Scott: what about it? You sounded so sure.

JimS
JimS

Sam, first wives are mulligans. You only start counting after #2. Especially if they get old.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

One thing I can say about you Sam is that you are so predictable.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

If that's the only thing you can refute from that very cogently, level headed post, let me be the first to introduce you to our new mayor, Mike Rawlings.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

DFPE doesn't endorse mayoral candidates. After two years in the DISD trenches if the mayor wants the school district he can friggin' have it!

citygirl
citygirl

I think Natinsky has been here longer, and he graduated from Hillcrest.

JimS
JimS

The East Side? Manhattan?

citygirl
citygirl

Can we be clear here about Rawlings' Park Board experience? He was the chair for 7 months. Yes, he came on board just before the 10-11 budget was passed (including a tax increase that provided almost $13mm in additional Park funding), but it's not as though he toiled for years in that role.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Not only does Rawlings have extensive community work... He did it for free!!! City of Dallas Boards and Commissions don't get paid. Everyone talks about Kunkles public services as assistant manager and police chief and how great of a job he did... C'mon now, IT WAS HIS JOB, if he didn't attempt to do a great job then he would have been fired = no money. Rawlings did a great job for the homeless and even if he didn't he could have easily just walked away and left them on the streets and wouldn't have lost a penny. That is what true public service is folks...

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

Rawlings admitted that the mayor has no legal authority over DISD. It's not merely whining to say that Rawlings didn't admit that. It's defamation.

Rawlings says exactly that in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

I don't understand where you are coming from. Your views seem to change depending on the article.

Rangers100
Rangers100

It's not even true. Not sure where Sam got that, but it's pretty funny (in a bizarre way).

For anyone interested:

http://www.mikerawlingsfordall...

Mike, and his wife, Micki, have two children: Michelle (30) and Gunnar (22).

Who Ray
Who Ray

......and the Dallas Citizens' Council wins again!!!!!!!!

elbueno
elbueno

<throws in="" mouth="" up=""></throws>

Anonymous
Anonymous

So apparently the wealthy have a monopoly on community service because they are the only ones with the free time and money to do so? That more or less goes against the evidence of the entire history of the human race, whereby the ruling/monied class remains in power on the backs of the lower classes.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

They only hear what they want to hear.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...