Hurrah for a Hero at DISD

Categories: Schutze

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May I offer one more word about Joseph Drake, the Dallas teacher put on suspension last week after sending an argumentative email to school board member Edwin ("Snidely Whiplash") Flores?

Fourth-grade teacher Joseph Drake, who told Flores that his depiction of teachers as lazy slug-a-beds was demeaning, has now been reinstated. But before he shuffles off this immoral stage we call "media attention," I want to extend one last word -- more about him than to him.

Hero.

joseph_drake01.jpg
WFAA-Channel 8
You're a hero, buddy. You stepped up. You gave voice to the anger and pain of thousands of teachers who were wincing under Flores's snide lash.

Your message was plain and true: How dare some rich lawyer serving on the school board to enhance his own professional profile imply, as Flores did in a debate over teacher workdays, that teachers don't do enough?

Some anonymous blog commenters suggested your mistake was calling Flores "greedy" in a private communication to him and reminding him how much real estate he owns. Other commenters derided you, as a father of six living on 55 grand a year, for having too many kids instead of making more money.

So, listen. I have one word for a guy who has lots of kids, doesn't think enough about money and devotes his life to a government job serving others.

Hero.

That's what I would call you if I were a school board member. You have heart. Heedless heart. Heart bigger than self-caring. Heart that outweighs caution.

Men and women like you are the people who pull the wagon. It's not the moneymakers. (Although, I'm sure you would admit that some moneymakers have big hearts too.) What counts is the heart.

Your heart gives you the courage to go into every chaotic crazy unstructured day full of wacko kids and sweet kids and criminal kids and hungry kids and brilliant kids and drug-addicted parents and devoted parents who would die for their kids and just do what you can do. Again. Like yesterday. Like tomorrow.

You have brothers and sisters in all the people who choose your kind of life, who choose to be cops and emergency room docs and firemen and public defenders and code inspectors and preachers and parks department employees -- all the people who give much more than they take.

There's a downside. In your position it's hard to go to the line and speak truth to power. The Snidelys have got you pinned down -- pinned down by money, pinned down by fear, by their sheer political weight. They have the power, with the click of a mouse, to ban you from your classroom and send you home like some dirty child molester, because you dared to piss them off.

So I have a word for the man or woman who does it anyway, who says to himself or herself, "Damn it, this is America. I'm sick of their Snidely Whiplash crap, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Hero.

Have a good day, every little chance you get.

My Voice Nation Help
50 comments
Steve
Steve

Edwin Flores is a closet case pig

Larry
Larry

so, why don't you guys run for School Board??  raise the bar; where's the outrage/

OCCUPY DISD!!

Stephenb5
Stephenb5

"What is truth?" Pontius Pilate. 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

That is the Dallas many elected Officials in Dallas think they are God and how dare anyone disagree with them.It's in all branches of government in Big D. Remember Bruce Sherbet, Carla Ranger,then reinstated after outcry.Flores statement was wrong,Mr.Drake was correct and what he said is public information,I saw nothing wrong with it private email to an elected person.

One Who Thinks Things Through
One Who Thinks Things Through

I think everyone here forgets Mr. Drake included Mr. Flores' HOME FREAKIN' ADDRESS WHERE HIS WIFE AND KIDS LIVE in his email.  This kinda subtle "I know where you live" message is enough to make a reasonable person forward the email to DISD Admin to check and see if he has anything to worry about from Mr. Drake.  I sure as heck would, given the crude threats the DISD board members recieve (and that I recieved when I served in a public position).  AND NO ONE HERE HAS PROVEN FLORES HAD ANY CONTROL OVER THE ADMIN'S DECISION TO SUSPEND DRAKE!  We do not know if Flores even intended that to happen.  Of course he and admin are constrainted by privacy policies, while Mr. Drake's martyr status can't ever be questioned.  Now was the suspension by the DISD Admin unwarranted?  Yes.  But it is no where clear that the suspension was the intent or desire of Flores. 

But you haters don't WANT to think this through, you just want to crucify someone to make yourselves feel self-righteous and special.  So sad, especially since a lot of you are teachers, who supposedly value the mind & reason over angry emotion.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Thanks to the media, for they are the ones who truly got him his job back. I suggest an in-depth look at how this whole thing occurred.

Forget the fact that his letter was NOT threatening. Let's say it was. You get a threatening letter, so you go to his boss? THAT would make him what, LESS threatening? If he was so threatened, why did he not call the Dallas Police? Ahhhh, see, there's the rub.

And I still have not found the exact policy that they used to suspend him.... Anyone? This whole thing, like so many others in DISD, would be solved if the administration would STOP and THINK for a minute.

We know they read these blogs, so let me help: When I was an education student, the prof said in prep for the state exam, "Do not go with what you would really do. Go with the answer you would have if the parents were in one corner of  your room, the principal was in the other and the media was filming it."

DISD: We are in the social media age. Friendly tip: Everyone is watching everything, everywhere now. I suggest a senior review committee be formed to go over how this whole fiasco happened. We have a RIF coming, this might help, you think?

Larry
Larry

School board member Edwin Flores is so insecure or power-mad that he can't take a little criticism. In fact, very mild but pointed criticism. The poor dear. Maybe his mommy will make him some hot cocoa.2 solutions:1 Let him switch places with Joseph Drake for a week.2 Save the endangered Texas burros - replace the School Board with them.  Think we could tell the difference??

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And kudos to Jim AND Wilonsky for always keeping us informed!Every teacher I know is sincerely grateful.

Drake's reinstatement was cheered by everyone on my campus.

Cujo
Cujo

This is my second favorite Schutze column. It's right behind the one where Laura Miller and smacked the crap out of City Council for trying to steal a man's land for one of their buddies.  http://www.dallasobserver.com/... <- for those who missed it...

Guest
Guest

Looks like Michael Greenberg is a legitimate candidate.  If we get behind him we can ensure that we put people into office that have respect for our teachers.  I for one am ready to start focusing on getting Michael into office!     

CEC
CEC

When you have 6 kids and you're the sole income earner for the family, teaching is a bad choice. I'm sorry he's got money problems, but maybe he should have considered that before having 6 kids. I would suggest finding a better paying job.

I'm kind of sick and tired of teachers bitching about their jobs. Here's the deal, it's the same crap today as it was yesterday. If these people didn't expect it to be like this, they aren't smart enough to be teachers. Low pay, disrespect, out of touch administrators, etc. are the hazards of teaching. Don't like it? Do something else.

Have a passion for teaching? Awesome! Then do it and quit complaining. 

It bugs me that if you have an interest or passion (or desire to have summers off) and become a teacher, you're considered humble and noble. But if you have a desire to get involved in business or practice law, you're greedy. Some people, wait for it, don't want to be teachers. Not because they're greedy or money hungry, but because they just don't have an interest in it. I don't think the profession is tantamount to being a saint.

The only reason this really ruffled the feathers of the community is that it's a rich guy vs. poor guy situation. I'm not rich (far, far from it) and I don't think those that are, are intrinsically bad people. I don't think it's a crime to be financially successful.

Finally, it angers me that Mr. Flores is being made out to be the villain. There's probably a protocol to follow when a moronic teacher emails you (and in it tells you he's stalked you enough to discover where you live) and Mr. Flores was obligated to follow it.

Mr. Drake is as pathetic as the school district he teaches for.

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

Thank you, Mr. Drake, for loving our brats, because you must. Thank you, Mr. Schutze, for walking the positive side of your street, albeit in your own curmudgeonly fashion.

Jd
Jd

Was Edwin Flores anking the teachers to work a full eight hours in the summer as well?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Flores hides behind the need of children to enrich his misguided agenda.   What a piece of work.  The DISD upper management needs a good spring cleaning.  I concur with your assessment of Mr. Drake-he is a hero.  

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Its why DISD needs a house-cleaning on the admin level, as these people barely do any work as-is. I would highly recommend EVERYONE go and vote these bums out when their term is up, as they have failed our teachers and their students time and time again...

RSF
RSF

He is a hero. So are most of the teachers I know who work in my local DALLAS schools. As are many of the kids.  So that's why I get so riled when I hear  "DISD sucks" on the latest youtube viral video.

Dallas Dad
Dallas Dad

I agree completely Mr. Schutz. Joseph Drake is a hero. I also applaud Alliance - AFT President Rena Honea and her organization for calling out the district. It's unfortunate that teachers need unions but at least they have someone like Mrs. Honea fighting for them in Dallas.

They have started a petition to speak up for for our hardworking teachers and end the bullying they suffer in DISD. (I'm glad that Mr. Drake has been reinstated but I've heard from teachers that administrators are threatening and bullying them across the district.) Everyone that supports the teachers should sign the petition. If you work for DISD you can sign anonymously.

http://action.aft.org/p/dia/ac...

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

VERY well said Jim.  Now help us finish what Drake was trying to do.  Encourage folks to contact all the DISD board, except for the three (Medrano, Parrott, and Nutall) who did NOT not support this insulting change.  Contact the other board members with a simly request something like this:

"Would you please change your vote on the 45 minute issue for teachers' daily work schedules?  That would restore work-time flexibility to overworked teachers. We need a real healing so morale can somewhat recover from all the events of this past week."

Contact information for DISD Board is at http://www.dallasisd.org/domai... 

phosho-n-dimsum
phosho-n-dimsum

Yes, a big thank you to all the brave and selfless public equity firms, attorneys, lobbyist, and let us not forget the endearing and all-too-often lost in the shadows....loan officers! True heroes, indeed!

Heywood U Bozzoff
Heywood U Bozzoff

From http://www.edwinflores.com/vis..., Eddy's vision for the DISD:• Challenging course work for all students at all grade levels• A partnership in education between teachers, administrators, parents and the School Board• Preparing students for the future by emphasizing science and languages• Working with the legislature to improve and simplify funding for public schools• Increasing harmony and improving morale among all district employees

Well, he seems to be batting 0 for 5.

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

Hey Flores - you are an elected public official - a "servant of the people".  The people do NOT serve you.  You are supposed to listen to ALL input - good and bad.  If you cannot handle that, then go away and don't run for any elective office.  Your claim that you had "nothing" to do with Drake's suspension is just not credible.  Your denials are cowardly.

Subnx
Subnx

I think it's Snively Whiplash.

OC Banshee
OC Banshee

And the truly lucky ones....those in his 4th grade class. Hat tip to you, Mr. Drake!

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

Good stuff, Jim.  "Hero" - you nailed it.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

They're letting this guy return to the classroom? What next, women's suffrage?

High five, chest bump and bro hug to Mr. Drake!

Clipper
Clipper

Jim - WOW, again and again.  Powerful message you wrote.  Thank you for putting it out there.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Even when I was in school, DISD never understood what the 1st Amendment was. Pretty much there like Que? Que? Just like George Lopez, Free Speech, ta loco Free Speech!

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

And the waters have parted.  Steve Blow sorta agreed with you today.

Edwin Flores is a self-serving twit.  Okay, let's see how long it takes him to get me fired.

Chickenpants
Chickenpants

What's going on with the random capitalization?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

THEN CALL THE POLICE IF YOU'RE SO FREAKED OUT.

Calling the person's boss?  Give me a break.You're not scared.

Flores called the district instead of the police for a reason.

And Admin should be investigated for apparently being so eager to jump on it.They won't be, of course.  Only teachers get in trouble.

And keep in mind that this wasn't the first time Dallas voters have been treated to Flores' personality.  How about "So sue us!  Wait, you can't!"?   This incident was FINALLY the straw that broke the camel's back for Dallas voters.

If you ever wonder why DISD cannot keep good teachers, this situation makes it very clear.  

JimS
JimS

Only a really delusionally paranoid person could interpret Drake's email as "I know where you live," and delusionally paranoid people should not seek pubic office. Oh, wait. How would we fill the seats?

Larry
Larry

he was only calling Flores out for being an comfortable, elitist ass.

Guest
Guest

I'm with you!  Elect Michael Greenburg!!!

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Settle down, Edwin. We know your feelings are hurt.

We don't hate you because you're rich... We hate you because you're an asshole.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

You have it wrong. We don't bitch about teaching. That, we love. What we bitch about is: uninvolved parents, uninterested kids who have never been taught at home how to behave, trustees who do not show us respect, ditto for the State of Texas Governor and Legislature, too many tests which PREVENT us from TEACHING, etc....  We, like you, pay taxes, and want those dollars spent wisely in educating the future workforce of this country. But if you are any indication about how you mother raised you (by the way you make snap judgments about people  and situations you don't know).... well, I guess she just did the best she could, poor thing.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I think what really ruffled the feathers of the community is the appearance of  blatant abuse of power by an elected official.  That might fly where Flores grew up, but it isn't okay here. 

The fact that it involved DISD is secondary to most people.Americans are very touchy about abuse of power by elected officials.As for teacher pay, I don't hear many teachers complain about pay.  I hear teachers--who are taxpayers--complain when the taxes are completely wasted on people at the top who make up more work for teachers to do without paying teachers for their extra time.Most teacher complaints involve campus conditions that affect the kids as well.Freezing rooms, broiling rooms, no toilet paper, excessive testing, endless meetings where kids get stuck with subs, terrible curric...etc.Look, I get paid whether I make your kid sit still for 2 hours after they have finished yet another multiple-choice test or not.  If you don't want to know what the kids are enduring, wow is all I can say to that.Someone on another thread posted this excellent explanation, by the way, of "summers off":  We don't get paid over the summer.  We used to be able to receive our pay in 9-month installments.  Now, we are all forced to have it spread out over 12 months so someone else gets the interest benefit.Flores is seen by many as unnecessarily condescending and mean-spirited.  It has nothing to do with his profession or how much money he makes.How you treat OTHER HUMAN BEINGS is what people notice.Sadly, for Flores, what people took notice of is not very positive.What's he's done to his own reputation is on him.Thank goodness there is a person running against him.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Opps, I did NOT mean the double nots in that posting.   Those three members are the good guys on this issue.  They only need thank you contacts.

Anon
Anon

I hope you don't work for DISD. linking to a publicly accessible website can be considered a threat. think of the children!

World Class Clown
World Class Clown

There's really something wrong when Shutze and Blow agree...  Hmmmmm... Shutze and Blow didn't they do the morning show on the KZEW in the 70's?

Clarence
Clarence

Why would Flores' home address be material to a disgruntled teacher's rant? Was Drake suggesting that Flores is so wealthy that he'll never understand the daily hardships of the common man? If so I think he could have made his point in much more general terms. Drake must not be very intelligent if he never imagined that his email might be percieved as a veiled threat.

heyheymama
heyheymama

You will need to work hard to beat the DeGolyer/Dealey/Marsh/White machine that got him re-elected.  District 13 folks aren't upset with him.  They don't show up to his public forums.  They don't hold his feet to the proverbial fire.

CEC
CEC

Nope, just a person with common sense who works hard and takes care of my family. I probably make a tenth of what Mr. Flores makes in a year. I just believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with financial success. 

CEC
CEC

Diane- My mother taught me to take responsibility for my actions. To make educated decisions and live my life well. She also encouraged me not to procreate to the point where I couldn't pay my bills.

Furthermore, I didn't make any snap judgments. Mr. Drake made the decision to put his private life out there in the public eye. I inferred nothing. Did he not say he had six children? Did he not say he was part of a one income family? He chose to teach, he chose to have 6 kids and in making those two choices it appears that he subsequently chose financial hardship. I'm just saying that if times are really that hard, he should find a job where he can support his family. There are millions upon millions of people who work at jobs they don't particularly care for to take care of their families, that's what responsible people do. Perhaps he is passionate about teaching, kudos to him! However I think a man should be more passionate about providing for his family.

There are many hazards that come along with teaching. Do I think it's right? Absolutely not. Do I think it's fair? Absolutely not. But for the time being that's the situation. I believe that many teacher truly love teaching. However to accept one, by default, you accept the other. I think it's great that teachers and the public alike try to get the bar raised and hold school administrators/trustees accountable. Sending an email in the tone it was sent along with the mention of the addresses was a foolish idea.

So, that's why I cannot agree that Mr. Drake is a hero. I still think he is a sad example of a teacher.

G_David
G_David

Don't remember that one, though I'm sure there was plenty of blow involved.

cp
cp

No, it's something wrong when Shutze and Rod Dryer agree...

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Don't be an idiot. I know, that would be out of character, but just try.

In the age of Google, how hard do you suppose it is to find out anyone's home address? Anybody that desires to know where Flores lives could most certainly find out in about 5 seconds.

Your overheated defense of the first idiot poster here gives away your true motivation.

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