Michael Hinojosa: Why Should We Blame Him for Leaving a Sinking Ship?

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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We all need to splash our faces with cold water in this matter of the superintendent of the Dallas school system leaving town for a job as superintendent of schools in Cobb County, Georgia.

What the hell do we expect?

Governor Rick Perry and the Tea Party are charging ahead with an agenda aimed at the destruction of public education in Texas and massive ethnic-cleansing-style deportation of Mexicans.

Perry and a cabal of ultra-right ideologues are exploiting a catastrophic $23-billion state revenue shortfall to engineer the decimation of public education. In Sunday's Dallas Morning News, a story by Robert T. Garrett and Karen Brooks depicted the utter impotence of what we used to think of as mainstream Republicans -- people whose basic civic-mindedness would not have allowed this kind of debacle to take place.

Forget civic-mindedness. Texas is being steered by people who don't like America -- not the country as we've always known it. They want a different country, and it won't include public schools.

Why wouldn't DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa leave if he could? Cobb County is a hot district in American public education, relatively affluent with relatively decent budget prospects in these generally tough times. They dealt with a $100-million shortfall last year and had to fire teachers, but things are already greatly improved.

This year the worst Cobb County seems to face is two furlough days for employees, continued but stable larger class sizes and the third year of no raises for many employees.

Are you kidding? When the budget tsunami hits the shores of the Dallas school system later this year, Dallas will have to gut -- gut -- its magnet schools program, bloat class sizes disastrously and fire more teachers than anybody can even imagine.

As far as Hinojosa is concerned, let's face it, folks. He's got sizzle. People want him. They look here and see a guy who can run a terribly challenged major urban school system with equanimity. And he got the test scores up.

I wrote critical stuff about him when he first took over. The school system's budgetary practices blew up on him. Under the circumstances now, I admit I have to look back over that chapter with a little different perspective.

Long before he got here, I had reported and written for eons about the Dallas school system's incomprehensibly garbled financial practices. I remember a time, long before Hinojosa, when the FBI devoted almost two years to trying to figure out the school system's bank accounts, and they gave up because they said they didn't have computers good enough.

The FBI couldn't figure it out!

So Hinojosa came to town, and the thing blew up on his watch. Should he have been able to sniff the air and say, "Hey, I think I smell money burning?" Yeah. Ideally. I wish he had.

But the guy's an educator, not a finance guy. The fact is, he brought in a smart, tough financial person and got it cleaned up pretty fast, almost within an annual budget cycle. That ain't bad, for a junk pile that was at least 25 years in the making.

What about the loyalty question? Is Hinojosa a cynical son of a bitch who doesn't care about Dallas? I don't know him, but that view of him is really hard for me to swallow. My wife knows his family from Oak Cliff days, and she tells me they are all really great people with a long history of devotion to the community, very highly respected as a family.

I doubt it's easy for Hinojosa to leave, especially with this negative wind at his back. But what was his choice? How hard was it going to be to stay at the helm of a sinking ship in an atmosphere of political disaster? Do you think for one second that the Perrycrats are going to accept an ounce of blame for the disaster ahead? Oh, hell no. They're going to blame it on the victims -- on guys like Hinojosa. So why would a smart capable person volunteer to be a victim, a patsy and a sucker in a game that's already fixed against him?

At the very least, doesn't he owe his own family better than that?

The Dallas Morning News also had an editorial Sunday about how Hinojosa's departure is an opportunity for Dallas to go out and hire some really great superintendent. They think our business leaders can go recruit somebody hotter, and they mention Joel Klein, former head of the New York City school system.

Wow. Talk about delusion. This is what I mean about the need for a splash of cold water. Why do we think somebody better than Hinojosa would come to Texas? (And I can't help reminding us that the last out-of-Texas hero we brought to town to run the schools was one Waldemar Rojas, or, as I called him in my own heart of hearts, "a columnist's dream.")

And there's the question of better how? Hinojosa got the scores up, in spite of everything. What's Joel Klein going to do, get all the kids in the movies?

Thumbnail image for michaelhinojosaportrait.jpg
Michael Hinojosa, getting out while the getting is good.
This isn't a question of a bunch of business guys going around the country pitching some haircut chief executive to come to town and save us with his/her personal brilliance. We're screwed. We're screwed statewide. I laughed out loud at that editorial. It made me wonder what a bunch of editorial writers would have said aboard the Titanic on that fateful night.

"We believe this situation calls for new leadership."

Yeah, while you guys are working on that new leadership angle, would you mind if I took your seat in the lifeboat?

If we have to put everything in private sector terms so Dallas can get it, then don't think of DISD as a company. It's a division -- a local branch of the state education system, run with state money by state rules. It's not Ford Motor Co. It's the Ford truck division.

Now think of Ford Motor Co. if a controlling interest has just been acquired by the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Group of Tehran, and their idea for the company involves switching from the internal combustion engine to ox-power.

You're sitting at your desk as boss of the truck division. You get the memo. What do you do? You know what you do. You pick up the phone, you call your spouse, and you say one word.

"Pack."

If business leaders in Dallas want to do anything to save the city school system (or the affluent suburban school systems, by the way), they need to figure out a way to get Rick Perry out of office. They need to help take Texas back from the Taliban.

Otherwise, we can expect to see long lines of top people with suitcases in their hands -- refugees, in effect -- fleeing a sinking state.

You know who else we might think about recruiting for the job meanwhile? I keep thinking of George Clooney. He's so cool. He was great in that movie, Up in the Air. He'd be really good at firing people.


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61 comments
TXMAN
TXMAN

Here is a novel idea, why doesn't Dallas come up with the money for the Dallas Independent School District.  THe DISD, and the city of Dallas in general, has had poor leadership for decades.  They made their bed, now they kids have to sleep in it.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Captain Smith of the Titanic went down with his ship   No donning woman’s clothing to get in the life boat to save his ass.  Nope but with the DISD we have the captain doing something similar.   This is especially troublesome since Michael Hinojosa was the captain of the DISD as he steered it to the iceberg that it has now (yet again) struck.    All during his tenure him and the trustees-"what ice ?  oh yes I do need some more ice for my drink." as the ship steered blindly through the ice flow.

Billy MacLeod
Billy MacLeod

I find it interesting that at a time like this the President of the DISD School Board is completely silent. Why do we vote for a Board if they cannot stand up and lead in times of crisis and insecurity. When people say the DISD "did this to themselves" who are they referring to? I believe the fault lies squarely on the School Board and I wonder aloud when will someone/anyone be held accountable? In a February 7th Press Release then DISD board president Adam Medrano said he thought it important for the district to "go on record" in making "education a priority". Now that Michael Hinojosa has jumped ship, I believe it is time we heard from the new President Lew Blackburn and his "new" VP Adam Medrano. There are no excuses for silence. Go on the record on how you plan on improving schools.

Lucy
Lucy

He's leaving because the Texas Education Agency is about to remove the extra points DISD students get on the TAKS scores, and it will show that all he did while was here is neglect every kid that didn't speak Spanish as a first language. Despicable racism at the DISD.

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

Why blame Hinojosa?  Because 3 months ago he knew about the problems that exist now and publically stated that he "wanted to stay in Dallas for a long time".  Hinojosa then proceeded to sign a 3 year contract extension.  In ther words, he lied his a__ off and put his signature on a document that he had no intention of living up to.  The contract means nothing.  To sum it up, Hinojosa has no integrity and honor - just a piece of cr_p.

G Marshall
G Marshall

This commentary is exactly why I am leaving the state. People in Texas seem to forget that it is not a separate country and that no visa is required to move elsewhere. I have lived in several different states and even another country, but never anywhere so delusional as this state. You hear much talk about the "low" taxes in Texas, but having moved into the state twice from other states, I know that they are only low on a per capita basis. For people who own a home, they are actually average taxes. However, in order to solve the state's school funding problems, the taxes will have to be quite high. Texas does not have the gorgeous climate of CA, the cultural entertainments of NY, the beautiful beaches of FL, the mountains of CO or WA. There is  nothing remarkable to make it worth paying high taxes for the privilege of living here. There are 49 other states to chose from.

El Pato
El Pato

"Governor Rick Perry and the Tea Party are charging ahead with an agenda aimed at the destruction of public education in Texas and massive ethnic-cleansing-style deportation of Mexicans."

On the latter, this month Georgia Republican Nathan Deal signed legislation which is far more anti-immigrant than anything that has been even mentioned by Governor Perry in Texas, let alone seriously considered by the Texas Legislature.  Thus if he was making the decision based on which of the two states is more accepting of Mexican immigrants, then he would have stayed in Texas.  It is Georgia which is now aggressively following the Arizona model, not Texas.

Jimmy Miller
Jimmy Miller

 I'd also point out that the titans of industry don't educate their children in public schools.  Winners attend private schools.

Jimmy Miller
Jimmy Miller

 DISD did this to themselves.  A lack of leadership from the top down and corruption every step of the way.  Reality stings doesn't it.  Once again Jim is ranting like a burned out hippie down to the last bowl in his sack of whatever he's smoking.

Cowtown
Cowtown

Melody Johnson is available. Just be ready to pay lots of money in settlements to whistleblowers, as we will have to do over here in Fort Worth.

RS1963
RS1963

All you have to do is check out the State Board of Education to see how important public schools are to the right wing of the Republican party. They keep electing people who don't believe in public education and send their own kids to private schools!

To Perry and the Tea Party/Right Wing Republicans, public education is an "enemy", as are teachers and educational "elites". 

GAA
GAA

There is a four prong approach to getting a quality education: 1) the parents 2) the student 3) the teacher (s) 4) the community.  As a graduate of W.H. Adamson in Oak Cliff this worked for me and can be replicated district wide.  Also, a question to ponder.  Where were Rick Perry's kids educated.  Most than likely a private school.  

ShorterJimS
ShorterJimS

Hey! Don't look at what a pile of shit our schools are, look over there at them teabagerz!!1!!11!1

dt&ot
dt&ot

I'm with Jim.  Why cut money to public schools.  The obvious fix for Low T (low test scores) is to throw more and more money at the problem.  Then we can have more administrators, more consultants, more of everything.    Historically, test scores in at-risk districts drastically increase when we spend more money on them and increase the salaries of the administrators that run them. 

It will be interesting to see how the test scores of the students in the DISD are affected by the budget cuts. 

For the record - never voted for Cheerleader Perry.

Tsigili
Tsigili

I'm confused about the pension thing: WHY does Mike Hinojosa get to draw a pension after working here for five years?  Every other DISD employee has to work here for THIRTY years.

Rooster
Rooster

Isn't blaming the problems at DISD on the state a bit dramatic?  Seriously.

I'm no fan of Governor Goodhair, but DISD was a clusterfuck long before his tenure.

The state of Texas could throw DISD a billion dollars, and they'd still find a way to piss it into the wind.  They always have before...

cheap air max
cheap air max

 That was the truth then...and then the board finally decided to extend his contract, not with a 100% vote, like Cobb County, but with a 5-9 vote, barely a majority.

trashtalk
trashtalk

Schutze-

Hinojosa is leaving for the same reason he showed up: pure greed.

He can leave with a lifetime salary of $200,000 from the taxpayers in Texas, take a less difficult job in Georgia and double dip out of the taxpayers there and give himself a $50K raise. This is the same greedy crap he intended to pull in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Texas teachers on retirement can't even take their spouses' social security benefits after death because of double-dipping laws.

As far as Hinojosa raising test scores, this district has the largest number of failing high schools in the state and the largest number rated in the toilet. Hinojosa was the willing hand puppet of the Citizen's Council and Dallas Achieves. Through the stoogest they put in place, he blew a giant hole in the budget, ruined teachers' careers, and then blamed the crooks who brought him to the party. He was a baseball coach at Adamson whose entire game has been to suck the system dry.

On top of his greed, he's pulled all his crony buddies in with him and gave them huge raises right before the debacle in January started in Austin. He knew it was coming, but he takes care of his own while throwing teachers under the bus at every opportunity.

Need we remind you of the Pcard fiasco, his personal use of grant money for first gen kids that was used to get his kid into Harvard, OHI indicators costing millions that outed the low quality of principals and were dropped, his grading policies to puff up scores,etc.

There hasn't been a problem Hinojosa encountered that couldn't be solved by millions paid to consultants, but the problems remained. The bottom was hit when the regional chamber took him on a trip to look at charters with the idea he might get some tips.

By the way--there is money that could be moved from 3700 Ross to improve the campus cuts, but that might cut into political hires that have been the mainstay of this administration.

Richardson has magnet schools. Plano is building one. The Austin fiasco hasn't stopped them, but they don't have layers and layers and layers of crud micromanaging the campuses.

The man arrived with no ideas other than how to stay 10 steps ahead of a board of fools that he has consistently played like a violin. He was best buddies with a board member who was taking in millions in vendor money. Best buddy gone, Morath asking way too many questions, and Hinojosa can't quite keep up.

If Dallas had a board with Morath-like intellectual abilities, the knave would have been shown the door years ago. Instead, Hinojosa threw money at every problem he couldn't solve. Money is gone, and so is he.

Poor folks in Georgia better have some brains in key positions on central staff because all they hired is a player.

 

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

The ship may be sinking, but the cuts to education came as a surprise to no one, especially after the Nov. 2010 election. Dr. Hinojosa knew this when he said last fall that he was committed to the district.Yes, he has the option of leaving. But he could have been more honest about the level of his commitment to DISD.

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

My problem isn't that the guy is packing up and heading to Georgia to be with his grandson...if you believe that. Hey, who wouldn't want to to escape this District and this State's woes?

My problem is he flat out lied to us about staying..."My name is off the list"...and he accepted another contract knowing he was still out looking. That's bad form.

What is a contract anyway? It must not mean a thing other than a super wouldn't come here without one. Seems very one-sided without any protection for DISD.

Whether he's a nice guy or not...he pulled the wool over everyone's eyes and I'm with those that said at the next board meeting...he needs to be shown the door for good. Hey, he's still got that fat old retirement check a-coming from the state after his years of service here.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I do not mean this comment to imply that I think Hinojosa is competent. But smart people almost always see the writing on the wall. This has already occurred at City Hall. The smart people left before the painful cuts that would leave them little choice in their collective fates. For the most part, the incompetent among them stay on, and get shuffled from department to department as the budget shifts. And then the Republicans get their wish: government is run by the incompetent because they made it so unappealing for the good people to stick around. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as this inspires more people to run on the basis of cutting taxes and public funding.The reality is that there are problems with government and its tendency to become bloated. But there are still legitimate functions that it serves, and you need good people running those departments. As long as the people running the show think that government serves no roll in the economy, this will not happen.

Rooster
Rooster

I'll go ahead and speak for the rest of us when I say, "Please don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.  We don't remember inviting you here to begin with."

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

As many others do - you do not differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants.  I am the son of LEGAL immigrants who filled out the proper paperwork, waited for their time, and came into this country not expecting any welfare, free health care, or free education.  They always paid their taxes and my father even did an hitch in the army.  Legal immigrants are welcome.  People sneaking over the border with their hands out for freebies, not speaking any english, and having anchor babies are the problem.

trashtalk
trashtalk

It's been apparent to some of us for a long time that the deregulation of university tuition in Texas was a Republican way of pushing the lower class (i.e, top 10%) right out of the way of Buffie and Mindy as they make their way to UT Austin just like their daddy and his daddy before him.

Too many poor kids taking the place of the mediocre wealthy? Raise tuition and get rid of college grants. Increase class sizes in those "government schools" to the point no matter how pathetic the spawn of the "titans of industry,' their class privileges will overcome their lack of brains.

Course, at some point, the teabaggers will realize they really aren't in the inner circle. They're just toting water for the privileged, and  kids of the hicks in east and west Texas aren't ever going to attain even the little their parents managed to put together.

In the meantime, Sandy Kress will continue to profit off justifying NCLB for the masses while he fills his back pockets with lobbying money from Pearson and sends his own kids to private school along with Obama Too Much Testing is BAD for My Own Kids and Bill Gates.

By the way, misspoke earlier. Hinojosa isn't laughing all the way to Georgia with the $50K raise he just charged another set of marks.

The loser stands to make a $100K off this deal. Get it, Jim, it's always about the money. We're not talking Mother Teresa here. We're talking another urban superintendent robbing another district blind.

And whose name comes up most frequently as the poster child of why school districts "deserve" to have their state funds cut? None other than the most bloated, corrupt, Big D.

Darrylrs
Darrylrs

 ONLY two things improve test scores: good teachers and small class sizes. Hell, those two items improve all educational activities. And what does the state want to do? Increase class size and make teaching such an lowly paid position that the best folks take other jobs. I taught in DISD for ten years and was frustrated with a bureaucracy that was broken years before Hinojosa got there. He wasn't great, but he was better than some who came before him. There was a better educational climate in many schools, but if you ask most teachers and principals, it's the directors and other staffers at the district offices that have always been the real problem.

Augie
Augie

No one is asking to throw more money at the problem. Since you just woke up from a Rip Van Winklesque nap, I'll fill you in.  The problem is all ISDs are being asked to make enormous budget cuts because in 2005, the Leg "swapped" property taxes for school taxes.  Hell of a swap in that it results in $10B less in revenue per year.  Rather than fix the problem of cut revenue, the TEA PARTY thinks making ISDs get by on many millions less per ISD per year is the fix.  Somehow, in a state ranked between 48 of 50 to 50 of 50 on the education front, the people elected believe that hundreds of millions of less dollars are the way to shore up education.  

Now that you see the insanity of what you are being asked to believe, you must ask "what is really going on here?"  While I'd like to believe Schutze is a conspiracy theorist, I have yet to see any explanation other than the TEA PARTY hate public education and would like to see it demolished.  In favor of what?  I suppose charter schools, home schools and church schools.  So, keep on voting R and watch this states populace decline from barely even close to worst of the worst states for education to a true third world education experience.  If you aren't sick, nervous, angry and want to puke, you aren't paying attention. 

Gabe
Gabe

The pension is from the Texas TRS (Teacher Retirement System). It's an alternative, for educators and others working in education, to Social Security. It allows you to pay into the TRS fund instead of paying into social security. When you retire, you don't get social security. Mr. Hinojosa HAS worked in Texas education for more than 30 years, paying into the TRS instead of SS, and (like SS) the TRS makes retirement payments based on the salary of the last five years before retirement.  

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

Rooster...like trashtalker keep telling it like it is!   We must blame DISD they've done nothing to help the students or teachers!  Hinojosa smiles as schools are closed, demolished and new ones arise he claims bond monies are used for all these projects.... well the taxpayers want those bond monies to be utilized towards better education and better compensation for teachers.HAS anyone noticed that DISD's 3700 Ross building is being renovated while the budget fiasco is going on?    We won't be surprised if they turn around and try to demolish it after the renovations are complete like they are doing with the newly remodeled O.M. Roberts 

ConcernedinTexas
ConcernedinTexas

2006 tax cuts caused the debt. Schools are closing, teachers are being fired, programs closed. Who else to blame but Perry? 

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

trashtalk...keep punching...we love how you tell the truth! Mike Morath  please...please start asking questions about the millions in wasteful spending that is occurring at O.M. Roberts Elementary!  And the community that will be just a memory if DISD continues with their current plans. Hinojosa turned a deaf ear to the cries for help from a community made up of Seniors, Veterans and Disabled in Jubilee Park. The school seized or should we say stole homes with the guise of building a new school (after spending millions to remodel the original school) and now is demolishing those homes to pave in NOT a parking lot but, small parking lots in-between the remaining homes!   The taxpayers have requested copies of the plans but, DISD refuses to reveal those plans.  The land they stole will be very valuable when I-30 is expanded.... guess what.... town homes are in the plans for that area...again DISD takes care of all their buddies in the land development business instead of focusing on better education, better compensation for our teachers and preservation of our schools and neighborhoods. Keep making lots of noise trashtalk cause Dallas ISD lies, cheats, steals and conceals all their dirty deals no newsreels to reveal so surreal. Visit www.StopDISD.org or StopDISD on Facebook to learn more. Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...  

DISD Parent
DISD Parent

Be careful about calling someone a LIAR.  That is a very serious accusation.Dr. Hinojosa said that in September, when he returned from Las Vegas, that his name was off any lists.  That was the truth then...and then the board finally decided to extend his contract, not with a 100% vote, like Cobb County, but with a 5-9 vote, barely a majority.  Would you want to work under those conditions, after what he HAS accomplished.  We should not be hiring a new Superintendent, we should be abolishing the school board system that we have give a Super the room to do what is needed for our kids. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Point of Order for the Super....

If his was the only name was there really a list ?

cp
cp

Paging Ron Swanson:

"Why does government matter?"

"It doesn't."

guest
guest

 Why should DISD teacher weep? DISD cut the online learning position....

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Why would I read it and weep?Are you that excited that such an awful prospect is the future of public education simply bc you think it might cost the job of some teacher on a blog you don't even know?

Sit, look, click.Sit, look, click.

Wow.  Not much of a childhood for those kids, but I least I got even with that DISD Teacher on the Unfair Park blog.

Meanwhile, my own children and thousands of other lucky children won't be subjected to such mistreatment bc their families will pay for private school.  Only the poor kids whose parents have no other choice or who don't care to find another choice will have to endure this kind of "learning".

What DOES make me weep is the endless test prep and test taking public school kids already endure so some testing company can make a billion dollars and kick a lot of it back to political campaigsn.The testing nightmare is neither Democrat nor Republican; it is G for Greedy.

Of course, there are currently thousands of  lucky kids whose parents pay private so they don't have to put up with the months of prep, the literal weeks' worth of testing, and the stressed out teachers whose jobs depend on wringing a certain score out of a child who may or may not live with drugged-out, up-all-night-fighting grownups. 

I don't get your triumphant tone We're talking about kids here.Online learning, like the current testing obsession, will come at the expense of children.

 

Anonymous
Anonymous

Uh, you do understand clever online help doesn't remove the need for in-person help and individual attention, right? 

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

And this is the usual response instead of addressing any issue. Pathetic

RS1963
RS1963

I wouldn't want to be a superintendent (or a teacher!) in a Texas school right now. I can easily see why he would leave, take a salary + retirement, and move to a state that might not be as screwy financially.

Plus, wouldn't he also earn some kind of additional retirement in Georgia? So when he finally REALLY retires, he would collect Texas and Georgia retirements.

You are exactly on target with the attack on the middle and lower classes. The way the rich and powerful are able to get even more rich and powerful is to make it harder for those "beneath" them to succeed. Make it harder to get an education, and you make it harder for someone to be more successful.

Anonymous
Anonymous

It has nothing to do with pay (well, not specifically anyways). People will work in jobs that pay less than jobs that require the same education if they are fulfilling and command respect. Teaching does neither.

ConcernedinTexas
ConcernedinTexas

Every good teacher i've worked with is fed up with what is being done to Education in Texas. We're all getting out. Bad teachers seen no problem. That's because they're bad teachers. 

matilda of tuscany
matilda of tuscany

Probably in favor of the elite getting educated with their own money, while the working poor are marginalized as modern slaves. Modern day plantation mentality.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

School funding for Cobb County is $1.37 billion for 1/3 fewer students, 1/3 fewer schools and 1/3 fewer staff vs. $1.47 billion for DISD.

Tsigili
Tsigili

You wrote:"Mr. Hinojosa HAS worked in Texas education for more than 30 years...."

THANK YOU!  I've asked this question at least a dozen times all over the place, and never gotten the answer.  I didn't know that Hinojosa had been working in Texas education for so long. So it's not DISD paying him a pension, it's TRS.  Thanks for the information and for putting things straight.

Rooster
Rooster

You can't be serious..... 

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Read. The. Article.

There is no endless test taking because each teacher gets "real time" feedback on how each student is doing via the classroom network when they do their homework on the IPad. And it has invited learning interaction between the students in the classrooms it is being used in.

And before you slam the quality, you need to look at the people they are drawing to their efforts - John Resig is teaching how to program using OpenSource, he is one of the leading experts on this language. And it's FREE, FREE, FREE. Goodbye overpriced textbooks, goodbye committees who oversee content.

Read. The. Article. 

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

I did not intend my tone to be triumphant, only to point out where the reduced funding initiative the STATE has mandated to the districts is leading public education. Do I think it's the right move? No. But it seems to be effective in some sort of measured way. Would it be better to ignore it? No. It has been used for years in universities and colleges, with teachers assistants and students HAVE BEEN PAYING TUITION to take these very video-based classes. Private money is chasing this inititative, I'm just saying it's moving down the education chain over the next few decades as money is reduced to public education.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

I do, but it appears the powers that be in Austin do NOT. As the article mentioned there are schools is LA whose instruction is entirely made up of these on-line tutorials. And kids scores are rising.

And Oak Cliff Townie is exactly correct, this was the result of replacing school property taxes with a Business Franchise tax, of which little audit has been performed to see where the projections fell short.  Tax Cut not shortfall.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I. have. read. the. article.

Even the article says the "studies" are small and not peer-reviewed, so I view it with a skeptical eye.

Did you read the comments after the article?  If you did, you'll see that while probably not detrimental, these types of programs are not the magic bullet bc one does not exist.  And tech is only as strong as the infrastructure that exists to maintain it.  Not DISD's strong point.

Now, so that you will understand where I am coming from how about these things work in most places :

Teach. For. A. Year. In. DISD.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I want public ed to be better for my kids, for your kids, and for all the other fantastic kids who attend public schools like DISD.  I believe in publicly-funded education for all kids.  I have been a DISD parent and I know how great the students and teachers can be.  My children could not have had better teachers than most of the teachers they had in DISD.

But more funding does NOT trickle down to the campuses.This year, they (the school board and administrators) will take it out on the campuses and children.Next year, the only place they'll be able to cut will be at the administrative level, or parents really will go after them with torches and pitchforks.

And here is how that will benefit YOUR children:-no more vendors giving kickbacks to district personnel who buy worthless programs that require your child to take ANOTHER test/survey bc there won't be personnel and money to do the buying-no more awful CPGs (Curriculum Planning Guides) written by race/crony/nepotism hires at 3700 who dictate what your child's more qualified teacher has to teach-no more district benchmarks that are riddled with mistakes that end up confusing kids-no more grading policies dreamed up by bureaucrats that allow kids to bother and disrupt YOUR child without consequence

Fewer bureaucrats = more freedom for your children's principals, teachers, and, ultimately, for your probably pretty bright kids.

I feel our school board members have cared more about wheeling and dealing to benefit themselves than they have cared about the kids. 

Bad ideas will stop moving inevitably down the chain if WE stand up and tell our school boards that it's OUR money, OUR children, and they serve US.  Not the other way around.

I've been a DISD parent and a private school parent and I can tell you:  the difference is incredible.  And it's possible for DISD.  It all hangs on the school board members doing the right thing.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I would go further and say that testing came about because of an unfortunate intersection of taxpayer cash, business interests (both the test-makers and the politicians who need campaign money), and the reality that too many ineffective teachers were allowed to stay in classrooms.

The waste of tax money on off-campus, incompetent bureaucrats who come up with anti-child "initiatives" AND the soul-crushing, business/profit-driven testing machine are killing public education.  

Why do we even need a "central office"?  Just fund the schools directly.  Teach the TEA curric and give kids the STAAR tests if you must.  Replace ineffective principals (based on school STAAR scores) and pay effective principals extra to monitor the struggling school and the replacement principal.Let parents, principals, and teachers at individual campuses decide how to meet the needs of their students. Eliminate all the needless "departments" with all the needless paperwork and job-justifying projects the bureaucrats come up with.

The only way to somewhat ameliorate the testing situation is to at least make the tests timed so kids don't have to sit there alllll day waiting for the 1 student who slept all morning to finally finish.  Eliminate  all the benchmarks and district-written final exams. 

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Cute saying, but if I'm either the seller or the buyer of a cow, I want to know how much the fucker weighs so I receive or pay the correct amount of $.

Testing came about because taxpayers had the impression that schools weren't performing up to standards, it has morphed into it's own mini-industry within education.

Again, I'm not supporting testing, or the video-educating thing (although colleges do it successfully), I'm just pointing out the growing popularity of effective, cost saving alternatives to traditional education.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Scores are BOGUS - which is why we have so much testing.  I'm not disagreeing, I'm just pointing out the reality of political love with "scoring" education. 

anonymous
anonymous

But scores are BOGUS.  I'm all for accountability, but one of the main reasons we are falling behind is because education has become the business of testing and not teaching.  Learning is not the main goal.  Those tests are jokes!

Howard Gardener identifies 8 different intelligences in his Harvard theories of multiple intelligence learning.  These test focus on two: verbal/linguistic and mathematic/logical.  There are other areas that are never addressed by the fucktards in Austin's testing.  NCLB is the dumbest policy ever created - thanks to that dipshit Bush.  

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