Some on City Council Continue to Pit Charters Against DISD. For the Children, Of Course.

CarolynDavisatUpliftBriefing.jpg
Carolyn Davis spent much of her time during today's briefing calling up websites.
A little after 2:30 the council got 'round to that Uplift briefing, which was supposed to be about the city's creating a nonprofit corporation to help the charter school sell tax-free bonds for its expansion into Deep Ellum and Fort Worth. Which, as the council's been reminded over and over, will not cost the city a cent.

But, of course, that's not what it was about -- at least, not when it got around to the council's questions about the deal. Because, once more, it became at times a rambling, unfocused and heated debate pitting charters in general and one provider in particular against the Dallas Independent School District. And more than a few council members tried to match the passion Mayor Mike Rawlings displayed during his wrap-up last week. It was quite the show.

We picked up today where we left off last week -- with Carolyn Davis trying to stick it to Uplift with random facts lifted from its website while grilling its CEO, Yasmin Bhatia, and interrupting her repeatedly when Bhatia tried to answer her questions. Davis read from Uplift's website, pointing in particular to the page showing that its students' TAKS scores are significantly higher than those in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving districts. At first it was unclear what she was trying to get it. But, in time, she got there: Davis kept insisting, over and over, that Uplift only takes "the best of the cream," unlike DISD, which takes everyone.

"DISD have kids in the system who go to truancy, and these are kids perhaps looking for a way out, but they are considered trouble kids, so you're only getting the best of the cream," she told Bhatia.

The Uplift CEO did herself no favors: Initially she told the council that Uplift doesn't take kids considered truants. Later she corrected herself. But the damage, for the time being, had been done.

"Those kids who are having problems in the system cannot go to your school, and yet you come down here and want millions of dollars not to even help kids in truancy," said Davis, who misspoke herself. Because, after all, Uplift is not asking the city for anything except a conduit through which it can sell tax-exempt bonds in the hopes of saving $300,000 annually it would then put back into the schools. (As Jerry Allen would later say: "If we do not do this, $300,000 a year will go to New York City or wherever ... but if we do do this, there's the potential for $300,000 to stay here and do some good.")

"You're only taking the best of the cream," Davis repeated. "I may not win this one .... but I feel good that I am supporting public school because it takes all kids."

Rawlings would eventually have to clarify this mess. And it was a mess.

Sheffie Kadane didn't have any interest in the back-and-forth over public education; that, after all, isn't the city's business -- not today, at least. He wanted from city chief financial officer Jeanne Chipperfield one simple answer to one simple question: "What's the cost to the city?" To which she said: "There's no cost to the city."

"What are they here for then?" Kadane asked. Chipperfield explained: They need the city to create the education finance corporation in order to take advantage of the tax break. Chipperfield said they guesstimate a $300,000 annual savings in debt service, "which goes back into the school and the kids." Which Kadane quite liked.

Also, he quite liked the fact "they do graduate every kid who goes through there, which is what this is about. I think they do DISD a service and help DISD by what they do, and more and more kids will be able to go through these schools as we get them. It's an asset to the city."

Tennell Atkins was up next, trying to keep pace with Davis and Rawlings by upping the volume. "Our schools is bad," he said. "We need more schools. We need competition. To be a great city we need great schools. ... We need to protect our children. They have a right to learn! I'll be durned if I sit here and they don't have no schools in the neighborhood and no choice, that's not a good city."

Dwaine Caraway agreed. Because, after all, "it is all about the kids."

Caraway then sang a familiar tune, about how folks are leaving Dallas not because of the city, but because of the school district -- scattering north and south to escape the DISD. "People chose to move away from Dallas because they did not want their kids enrolled into DISD," he said. "I am going to put the problem squarely out there. They moved to Cedar Hill because they wanted their kids go to Cedar Hill. They moved to DeSoto because they were disenchanted with DISD. They weren't disenchanted with the city of Dallas." But in the end, he too suggested he'd vote with the formation of the nonprofit, because it's open to other charters too. And "it's up to those schools to come in" and use it, he said.

At which point Vonciel Jones Hill noted that her kid graduated from Greenhill -- but she's so committed to DISD she's not going to support this particular proposal. "I lean towards what helps and affirms DISD, and I am not convinced this does that," she said. "I disagree respectfully with our mayor that this enhances rather than detracts from DISD."

Jerry Allen kinda scratched his head over how "we've morphed it into an issue with charter schools." So long as the city's not on the hook for this nonprofit and the sale of Uplift's bonds, he wondered, "what's the problem?"

And on and on the council went, arguing over the make-up of the proposed board for the corporation (Delia Jasso wants it to be more "diverse") and student-retention rates and past zoning issues involving other charter schools denied permits. But the mayor tried to cut through all that -- "without becoming verklempt," he said, apologizing for last week's outburst.

In an effort to clear up Davis's -- what, misstatement? misinformation? -- the mayor asked Bhatia to come back to the podium. He asked her, point-blank:

"Say I've got a third-grade kid, he's in the bottom of his class, he's shown up but he's just not putting forth the effort and I want to put him in your school. If there's a spot do you take him?"

"We would happily accept him," she said.

"If there's one spot and my kid's there and Ms. Medrano's kid is the top of the top, how do you choose?"

"It's a blind lottery," she said. "We draw a name out of a hat." And she attempted to set the record straight: "As part of our lottery system, we accept any student who has a truancy record."

This comes up for a vote next week. Set your DVR for "rerun."
My Voice Nation Help
146 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Here is some VERY good news for our schools and the budget.  Texas tax revenue is up.  The planned 2012/13 school cuts can be covered!  This needs to be circulated!  It is from http://cppp.org/files/7/2012_0... and needs to be acted upon.  A large rally in Austin on 3/24/12 is planned: http://savetxschools.org/2011/...   The information below gives this rally a chance of being successful!  Thousands of jobs can be saved.  Unemployment will really go down!:===============================Time Proves State's Refusal to Spend Rainy Day Fund Misguided; What We Should Do Now and for the Future

February 21, 2012 Contact: Dick Lavine, lavine@cppp.org

During the legislative session, the Center for Public Policy Priorities recommended that the state spend the Rainy Day Fund to prevent damaging cuts to vital state services, particularly public education. See Using the Rainy Day Fund to Ensure our Recovery and Prosperity (Feb. 21, 2011). The Rainy Day Fund is a constitutional fund designed to save money in good times to pay ongoing expenses during bad times when revenue is short. After the economy improves, and revenue rebounds, general revenue once again pays for ongoing expenses. During the 2011 legislative session, with billions available for appropriation from the Rainy Day Fund, the state had no need to cut spending on public education—the proven path to good-paying jobs. Unfortunately, the state cut public education spending by $5.3 billion.

What We Can Do Today Time has proven our recommendation to use the Rainy Day Fund a sound one. The Comptroller's December 2011 certification revenue estimate projects a $1.6 billion ending balance by August 2013, because of improved tax collections since the 2011 legislative sessions ended. The economy has begun to recover. The state sales tax brought in more money in the first five months of fiscal 2012 than in the similar period of any previous year, including 2008—the current record year for sales tax revenue. At this rate, sales tax collections for 2012 may be some $1.4 billion higher than predicted by the comptroller when she certified the current state budget.

If the governor called the legislature into special session today, $1.6 billion (the currently estimated ending balance), along with $400 million from the Rainy Day Fund, could be appropriated to restore public education spending for the upcoming 2012-13 school year. With the Rainy Day Fund expected to have a balance of $7.3 billion at the end of the present biennium—more than enough to cover any supplemental General Revenue needed for Medicaid in 2013—the state could confidently restore Foundation School Program spending before school districts are forced to make additional damaging cuts in the next few months.

From: http://cppp.org/files/7/2012_0...

trudat
trudat

Charter schools are a continuation of the effort to turn every human endeavor into a money making enterprise.  Some things are so important that they should not be reduced to the question of whether or not a student will pay cold hard cash for an education. Education is one of those things.  That is why we have free public education.  Before the city council does anything to aid and abet the development of a (for profit) charter school, it should bend over backwards to help  fix the free public school system which (we all know) needs serious help.  Of course, some people from the business community (like Mayor Make Money Mike) wouldn't understand that.

Susan F
Susan F

 Tom Pauken - Chairman of Texas Workforce Commission Supports Employer Fraud susanflander 0 minutes ago  On January 10, 2012 and January 11, 2012 a claimant participated in (12) twelve unofficial hearings with AT Appeals under allegations of Fraud / Partial Fraud and violation of Section 214.002 and 214.003 of the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act. In each case, employers, mostly staffing agencies indicated dates start and end dates of employment inaccurately causing overpays.  Some of the employers did not pay the claimant at all and others claimed the claimant was employed in quarters where the claimant was not employed by them.  Yet, AT Appeals ruled in favor of the client (Employers) stating that the claimant did not willfully disclose proper information during claim filing. In response, a CA Appeal was filed by the claimant and a signatured letter by Tom Pauken himself affirmed the AT Appeals decision which supported the Fraud by the twelve (12) employers, resulting in an unemployed worker to pay $36,000 worth of overpayments on government funds management mistakes and fraud and tax fraud committed by client (Employers) and Texas Workforce Commission staff. It is  believed that has Tom Pauken has abused his rights as a public official to allow the unemployed workers in Texas to be harmed by Texas Workforce Commission's client (Employers).  Thus, being a conflict of interest to re-employment, temporary financial stabalization, and ethical business practices relevant to government regulated public unemployment assistance.  As of yet, no penalty has been enforced by the Commission for its employees and client (Employers) that were in violation of  Section 214.001 of Texas Unemployment Compensation Act.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

The problem I have about the suggestion that Charters are destroying public schools, is generally the same people are saying that the Magnets are destroying public schools.  So basically they are pissed for some schools messing up the curve when comparing schools to schools.  No wonder when these kids are forced to go to low performing schools they don't do as well often due to peer pressure.  The parents hate people that mess up the curve, why wouldn't their children.

Several people have hit on a very good point, people are leaving or initially avoiding Dallas due to the schools, not the City.  Without the Magnets or Charters, that trend would be greater.  The flight this time is not just white and not just rich.  This time we are having a "I give a shit about my children" flight. Giving a shit about your kids is blind to race, income or even education.  Go to many of the charters and magnets and what will you find - lots of minorities, lots of economically disadvantaged and many have parents who do not have a lot of education themselves.   If you can't get into a magnet or charter and your attendence zone campus is not up to standards (and there are many that are up to standards) you get the hell out of Dallas to wherever you can.    

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

We need more magnets.Every neighborhood campus should be a magnet, where only the kids who pass all classes, all state tests, and those who conform to dress and behavior codes, are accepted.The busings across Dallas should be reserved for the kids who need intensive intervention for drugs, pregnancy, constant failing, violence, intentional nonlearning, etc.

Heck--give those kids the nicest, newest campuses.  Just get them the help they need.

DISD is doing it exactly backwards by busing the cream of the crop out of the neighborhood schools.  Most neighborhood parents are merely choosing magnets to escape the thugs and the problems. 

Neighborhood schools should be a privilege, not the other way around. 

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

The problem with DISD (and when I say DISD I mean 3700 Ross) is the concept of educational socialism.  When looking for short-term results, it is generally easier to make everyone equal when you eliminate the top.    When you eliminate competition, the inequality also disappears.

Several neighborhoods schools (Woodrow and Rosemont EL come to mind) have developed innovated programs to curb the exodus to the suburbs, private, magnet and charters.  3700 Ross is in, and has been for a while, just trying to maintain rather than innovate.  So instead of trying to innovate the neighborhood schools Districtwide they have made several attempts to eliminate the magnets and now the charters our in their sights.

We are close to having to make some "unfair" decisions.  We need to stop educating kids who have absolutely no desire to be educated.  Not everyone gets or wants to go to college, but almost everyone has to get a job eventually.  At least by late middle school or early high school, we need to be ramping up our college readiness for those kids who so desire and for the others, scaling back the academia and starting some skill training.

This may seem a little unfair on the surface, however making a child miss out of gaining a skillset to become a productive member of society and obtain a little piece of the american dream is a far greater injustice that giving them the remote chance that they will go to college, when most of the times they have no desire to do so.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 again, the logical conclusion of your argument is that DISD should raise taxes, improve their schools, which would increase demand in DISD, raising more revenue for DISD.  

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

Is that such a bad thing if we can finally get something for our money?  We are paying taxes anyway, and that is not going away ever.  Governmental entities has distanced themselves from the free market for so long, they do not even know that it exists.  The Post Office is one of the best examples. Commercial enterprises generally don't just sit back and bitch when they lose market share, they analyze the cause and innovate if necessary.  Innovation costs money.

The City is starting to get this.  I may not agree with most of the decisions they have made, but at least they are having the discussion.  A business needs to set objectives and what the risks are against achieving the objectives.  Dallas had an objective regarding bringing more conventions to town and they responded with the Hotel.

When we said government should run itself more like a business, we didn't mean layoffs, elimination of pensions and large executive salary contracts.

Paul
Paul

Yeah right ... The $300k a year will go right back into education ... right back into the executives pockets ... after all they are educating the children ... so it follows ....

(He says with a heavy helping of cynicism that is oh so appropriate for anything being done by Dallas County, City of Dallas and DISD.)

I have one simple question, what collateral is Uplift providing for these bonds?

Jay
Jay

I believe we should demand that several of these council members complete some remedial education, particularly English and possibly critical thinking, before they are again allowed to comment on anything concerning education.

"Our schools is bad".   Really Tennell? Really?

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

 How about this one..I'll be durned if I sit here and they don't have no schools.."  He could use some time in the classroom himself.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

As someone else pointed out, he is speaking the language of his constituents and their community.

I personally love the non-standard English.  It enriches our world.

Tennell is no dummy.  His non-standard English actually conforms more to logical rules than standard English does.  

He's wrong about charters, though.  They will enrich him, but do nothing for all the kids in his district.

RTGolden
RTGolden

This right here is one reason that any child of mine will NEVER attend a DISD school.  For a teacher to display a preference for 'non-standard' English (proper terminology is INCORRECT English, or just plain POOR English) over standard English in a professional, educational or governmental arena is an offense to educational progress everywhere.Children will learn 'non-standard' english on the street, in the playgrounds and on TV, they don't need it reinforced in schools, by public officials, or by their parents.

Jay
Jay

DISD Teacher, your response reveals quite a bit about the root problems at DISD. "Non-standard English." Right.

biscuit98
biscuit98

None of you are questioning why the author decided to include these quotes that make council members opposing Uplift appear illiterate. Not one of you questioned the slant of the article which is intended to support Uplift. Lottery? For kids whose parents can magically appear at 1pm every Wednesday for early release and for kids whose parents can drive across town for every dress code infraction or after school detention. For kids whose parents can wait in line an hour to pick them up or drop them off because Peak backs up traffic for that long. Uniform costs? No transportation? Want to discuss the lottery again in terms of who can actually participate?

Uplift's Dallas schools include a 33% Academically Unacceptable rate out of its three major campuses, higher than Dallas ISD's rate of failure. No one is discussing the failure at Hampton which is one out of three of the campuses near build out. We didn't see that published in this article. Instead we see the council members who were opposed surfing the net and we have quotes that make other council members appear to be illiterate.

Bias, through and through, along with continual belief of Flores-produced successful results of TFA. Anytime DISD's Research department produces any figures, suspend belief when they happen to coincide with what a trustee like Flores wants. Last election time, Flores took district produced research which was false for his campaign literature. Against the law, Flores.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 It's funny that you charge Rob't with supporting a position he doesn't support.  You're flattering him, and his objectivity.  It may very well be that the council hearing was slanted to support for the charter schools, but that doesn't allow you to attack Rob't, which in this case is inaccurate.

biscuit98
biscuit98

Yeah, Mike, there is a world where a successful business or school states the following:

"We do not care about employees. We only care about the customers."

Where, sweatshops in China?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Also, I'm not sure how familiar you are with Unfair Park, but I AM a DISD parent ... and a DISD product ... and the son of a DISD graduate. I'm not taking sides.

biscuit98
biscuit98

The segregation is the segregation of low income students with parents who have the means to get them to charters and pay the required fees, versus those who don't.

The charters are NOT part of DISD. What all charters do is separate those with parents who have the means to support charter rules from kids who have not advocates or who are not able to get to the charter school or who don't have the means to get the uniforms, fees (No one has yet mentioned the $100 fee). Charters segregate those students with advocates from those with none. While they may say they serve low income, requiring fees, uniforms, transportation says otherwise in terms of the types of low income students served by charters.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That's just a photo of Davis excerpted from a city council picture. We've run it many times before. How you choose to interpret it is your business.

biscuit98
biscuit98

Bullshit. Look at the picture you have chosen to demonstrate your feelings toward Carolyn Davis, or anyone else who disagrees with the version of UPlift being hyped. It's in a thumbnail at the top of this page. Looks like it belongs on a postcard, post reconstruction to support the KKK, or in this case, the WCC.

Mike
Mike

If they are getting the same dollars per student as the OTHER DISD schools (yes charter schools are part of DISD), and have the potential to do better, then why not. DISD is already 95 per cent non-white. Issues of purported segregation no longer apply. It is really just how we offer no worse than what we now and good potential to improve success for our better, not just our best, students.

If one group of employees, non-charter employees, of DISD feels bad, so what. We do not care about employees. We only care about the customers. Customer metrics as a group will improve.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I was merely attempting to be accurate in capturing the quotes, which were delivered with no small amount of passion. No doubt some phrases were mangled in the delivery, but the quotes are accurate. Here's the link to yesterday's briefing, posted this morning. I have gone back and cleaned up some remarks, as I was not attempting to make anyone appear anything.

dallascityhall.com/council_bri...

Grammarplease
Grammarplease

Here is the best example of why we need better schools and better council members.

Tennell Atkins was up next, trying to keep pace with Davis and Rawlings by upping the volume. "Our schools is bad," he said. "We need more schools. We need competition. To be a great city we need great schools. ... We need to protect our children. They have a right to learn! I'll be durned if I sit here and they don't have no schools in the neighborhood and no choice, that's not a good city." 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Wonder if they get to bill for those ad spots like on radio, or perhaps it's more on the legal model.  

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Two points:

1) If it's really "not costing the city any money", is Uplift reimbursing the city for all the staff time and expense involved in creating this special bond issuer? How will they ensure the city's bond rating won't be sullied or involved in litigation without the "expense" of legal over site. So no outside attorneys are involved, no staff is involved no resources of any kind are being used by the city? Does this finance entity just appear by magic?

2) Why does the City of Dallas need to help a private company build schools in other cities that don't benefit Dallas?

Looks like the Citizens council's just want their private segregated school system to be tax payer subsidized with Dallas' help.

scottindallas
scottindallas

one way or another, it's about kick-backs. How much do you have in your campaign coffers? These incumbent sleaze balls have some from several sources. How can conservatives be so naive to this game and exploitation of government? They don't know how firms lobby gov't for private contracts? Don't they know history, business?

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

"Our schools is bad."

And Caraway is correct.  In a few years, we plan to sell our M Streets home and move to UP or HP.  We love Dallas, but are not going to pay for DISD and a private school.  The more I read about the dysfunction in DISD (not only in the school board and administration, but also in the schools...like that principal that only taught some subjects to third graders), the more I want to get the hell away from it.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

Which part of the M Streets? Are you Stonewall, Lee, or Bonham?

The most expensive houses in the M Streets right now sell for about 500k, the cheapest in HP is about 650k. That 150k will pay for a lot of private school, and if you're Stonewall already you're in a good situation.

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

I have more than one kid, and I need to save for retirement too. Tuition at places I've been looking at would run 20-25k all in (uniforms, books, extra doodads like trips and donations) per year per kid.

Stonewall is great, but what about Long or Wilson?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

90-something % of the middle class families in the district boundaries see things your way.No matter what the few say, making DISD work after elementary is a beating for the parents.I teach in DISD as an act of service to the kids--who are fabulous--but as a parent, DISD was too much stress and grief in middle school.  As for HS, we didn't want to drive all the way to a magnet or put our kids on a bus for an hour, so we went private.

Private school is wonderful.  Every child deserves what my children get.  Teachers surrounded by professional staff and administrators.  First-class facilities.  No testing.  Excellent lunches.  A community of parents who sacrifice time and money for the greater good.  Bad teachers are bounced out forthwith.  Parents have the final say-so since parents are writing the checks.  No nepotism, cronyism, or race injected into every single moment of school.

Public school--like in HP--could be like this in Dallas.  But it isn't.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And you know what happened at that middle school?

Teachers and parents signed a petition to promote one of the APs to Principal, but Goodsell picked some guy from out of town.  She got fired pretty much right after that, but still.  The damage is done.  As when ED Walker was assigned an out of town person instead of the incredible assistant principal and the teachers are miserable, scores are down, and everyone is quitting. As was done when Franklin's AU principal was promoted to Hillcrest (beloved school and principal of frequent contributor Amy S.)  Now Hillcrest is AU and parents are going berserk over a freshman science teacher who announced--to the gasps of her co-teachers--that NO CHILD CAN MAKE AN A IN HER CLASS.  And what has happened?  She's still there.  Parents are leaving in droves, but this woman still has a job.  Un-be-lievable.  A slap to all DISD teachers.  But we are at the mercy of whatever principal we get assigned.

The district DID NOT yank the Marsh principal; he applied for that position after YEARS of being overlooked and recognized for his excellence.  And you probably never met Brian Lusk (former ED Walker)--one of the most impressive principals I have ever met.  My GOD that man should be superintendent.

And guess who many of the DeGolyer/Marsh/White parents support like lemmings?  Edwin Flores.  The driving force behind keeping DISD crappy.

I have been a DISD parent and a private school parent.  You can't meet better kids than DISD kids.  And my children's DISD teachers are still their hands-down favorites.  But the constant testing?  The crappy facilities?  The principals who don't know how to hire and fire?  Elementary is one thing, but high school  is a whole nother ball of wax when it comes to your child.

Even the best principals cannot overcome what the trustees sell out for.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Woodrow has lower scores than Spruce.That should change soon bc of the new principal, but wake freaking up.

And I would NEVER EVER send a child to Long Middle School.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 even Communists don't neuter the golden calf.  That IS the most prestigious neighborhood/High School in the District.  The Magnets will go before Woodrow.  The Magnets by the way are extraordinary opportunities that HP and Southlake wish they could dream to imagine providing their kids.   If you want to make a move, move over to Lakewood, better location, better elementary, closer to the lake, safer, less traffic, higher values, safer investment.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Rob't, I think you missed to opportunity to say that regardless of your advocacy, that the Woodrow Chain is far above par for DISD.  I think you yourself might be a bit jealous of that.  Though perhaps more excited for the greater potential for change at TJ.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Woodrow is one of the best experiences in the country.  It is priceless, and will do a lot to dislodge the entitled corn-cob lodged so deep in your rectum.  Seriously, it's an incredible school.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Robert, we are in the same boat, I was just there 26 years ago when I pulled my kids out of a private school and put them into DISD.  They graduated from DISD and have their college degrees and one teaches there.   They also had another advantage, they got to know Dallas, not Plano/Richardson/Coppell or some other suburb. As the world grows and develops, being comfortable in a truly multi-cultural setting, often as the minority, will be an ability that will be useful. My kids benefited being in Dallas. They seem to agree as they have purchased homes here.   Yes, DISD has problems, but there are more and more parents (& grandparents) like us that will make a real difference.  As DISD improves for everyone, we all benefit.  That is the value of the educational equity goal in Finland, everyone wins!   Dallas just passed a 52% graduation rate.  Can you imagine what it will be like when DISD passes the 70% graduation rate barrier?!! (2020?)  Then 80%!! (2025?)  That is getting closer to the kind of town I want to be an old man in, and have great grandchildren in.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

I actually did not say anything about DISD. I am speaking to your specific situation. You live in a premier elementary school zone.

And I attempted to address your concerns. You're worried about campus closures and teachers being fired, but that is not, and will not, be a problem for your address. If you want to help voice the concerns of the Bonham parents, please go ahead, but do so with the understanding that Stonewall parents have very different experiences.

Where are the parents you are talking to and what are they bringing to the table? The experience of a Stonewall, Lakewood, or Hexter family is dramatically different from the experience of everyone else. The experience of highly educated upper middle class parents is very different from everyone else. This is possibly problematic, but it's the truth. It's much like the picture of the Woodrow parking space that the DO likes to use: DISD, results may vary.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

The most critical decision a parent makes is in finding and working with a school for their child that they have confidence in. You must do that in a manner that you and your children are both comfortable with. But never think you can let down your vigilance.  The grass is rarely "greener on the other side of the street."  You must always be watching.  Drug use does not go down in the suburbs. Be prepared to work closely with your schools, wherever you locate.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

For what it's worth: I hear ya. I'm a DISD parent filled with all the frustrations of which you write. And yet I can't and won't leave the city or the district. Because I do believe that when it comes to DISD, it IS possible to make a difference -- at least, on the campus level, where it matters most. For me it's always come down to one thing: being involved, being there, being present for my son and his friends and his classmates.

And not just at our school: I've watched in awe as parents in our neighborhood struggled mightily to remake a troubled junior high. And, yes, the district did it no favors by yanking a popular, powerful and enlightened principal. And, yes, there is frustration. And, yes, I sometimes wanna throw my hands up in despair. But we continue to fight. Because I believe in public schools, the DISD (where I went, and my brother and my father went) and the city, despite all they do to convince me otherwise.

I know -- I'm a Polyanna, a sucker. What can I say? I went to DISD.

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

But I AM leaving Dallas because of DISD, and that's a fact.  I'm not following my friends as you so graciously put it, I'm just a part of an ever growing trend.  You've said nothing in any of your comments (DISD is great, DISD has a better k-12 experience blah blah blah) that convinces me otherwise.  Even when I outline very specific concerns (seemingly interminable teacher layoffs for one), you don't bother to respond to it, but instead offer empty platitudes about DISD.  PARENTS AREN'T BUYING IT.

The funny thing is that the reason we bought this house is because we wanted to go to DISD.  The more I talk to other parents, though, the more I realize that the problems in this district are endemic, from the classroom all the way to Ross.  DISD doesn't pay teachers well, can't retain or attract good teachers, and has too many failing campuses for it to be successful in the long term.  Who can prevent the school board from closing any school and merging it with another?  It just happened a few weeks ago!  Savvy protest-sign carrying parents aren't going to save anyone, and there is no rhyme or reason for anything the board does.

I feel that my decision is the right one for my family, and that's more important to me than conducting a DISD experiment.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

Are you from the city? The M Streets have been fancy pants since at least the 70s.

If you're following your friends that's one thing and that's fine. But don't go around saying you're moving to HP because of DISD's woes. Stonewall/Long/Wilson is a better k-12 experience than just about anywhere in the country, portables bedamned.

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

I live in the Stonewall zone, but to be honest, I look at those ugly portable buildings and they don't do much for me.  All of DISD is suffering from a lack of care.

I'm from Dallas and I know how quickly things can change.  When I was in high school, the M Streets was considered a hole and now it's the it neighborhood.  Just as quickly, those savvy Woodrow parents can have their kids graduate and turn their attention to something else.  I'm not a betting woman and am not willing to stick around to find out.

All of my friends have made the move to HP already and I've met a lot of people there.  They are all very nice and not at all what people have made them out to be.  I guess stereotypes can work both ways.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

My assumption is that Lee's student body dropped dramatically in size because of the apartment tear-downs near there. Lee might end up being a quality school in 5-10 years but it's not somewhere I'd send my kids when Stonewall is a few blocks away. Which zone do you live in?

http://www.dallasisd.org/cms/l...

Woodrow schools have not had to deal with any of the cuts, closures, etc in recent years and they aren't likely to in the future. The parents there are organized and savy and when push comes to shove they step in and fund their programs themselves. You really don't need to be worried about them.

Ivy stats are just a proxy, but if you're really cool with technical schools why move to HP? The culture there frowns upon that. It frowns upon a lot of things.

Are you new to the region?

PhilanderingMoustache
PhilanderingMoustache

Ivy league statistics don't do much to blow up my skirt.  How about comparing the entire graduating class in both schools?  That's the rub.  My kids are only 3 and 1.  I don't know if they are going to be headed to Ivy league.  I'm just as fine with technical school as I am with Harvard or Cornell, but I sure as hell know that in my tax bracket, the kids won't be getting any merit scholarships, so I'd have to pay for it out of pocket or they'll have to get loans, which I'm vehemently against because who knows if they'll recoup their investment if they majored in underwater women's studies at Harvard?

What really gets under my skin is DISD itself.  I don't want my kid to come home from kindergarten one day and say that his teacher was crying because she lost her job and he won't see her again.  Or that X program that he loved is going away and he won't get to garden or paint or whatever anymore.  Or that his school is closing down and he will miss his old classroom and he'll have to learn a whole new school.  With DISD, there is always an element of (unpleasant) surprise.

I look at Lee elementary down the way, and it went from failing to Exemplary in 3 years (give or take).  Is that legit, or are they fudging the numbers somehow?  I am so skeptical of any program that DISD has that they tout as successful.  I don't TRUST them with anything, especially not with the nurturing and education of the two people I love most in the world.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

Are you asking earnestly? Long and Woodrow (not "Wilson") are both great. They have been getting better for over a decade now and offer entree to the nation's elite universities. And they accomplish this while offering a full comprehensive experience (as opposed to TAG or Hockaday) and not skewing their worldview (0% reduced lunch at HP).

Woodrow is presently about 30% upper middle class. A number that I would expect to grow as gentrification continues and the IB program is put in place. 

At the end of the day that's what it's about, right? If you send Johnny to school X what are his chances of getting into Princeton versus school Y? If I am correct in presuming you are a white college educated man married to a white college educated woman, then the odds are better for you at Woodrow than HP. In fact, Woodrow would be the number 1 school in the region in that regard. Woodrow send about 3 of 50 to Ivy's where HP sends about 8 of 400. 6% vs 2%.

Mike
Mike

What is wrong with collecting the best of DISD with more involved parents and getting them in the same schools? Why have a process that causes us to lose any of these young people to the burbs or worse to the bad habits of other students? If someone is a truant or a discipline case, that is his or her problem. The 21st century really has no place for people that cannot figure how to survive grade school. Life in this century in America is a sifting process and they volunteered to get cut right out of the gate. The military takes its very best and makes them Green Berets, next best as Rangers, next best in some other better unit, and then the rest. Our magnets produce Green Berets. We need schools that find and build the next two tiers. Those people are going to be our stars, the reasons for middle class to stay in city or return. As long as effort and intelligence are the bridges to get to the next level, what is the problem?

scottindallas
scottindallas

Screw those left behind eh?  We won't have to worry about ever again. 

You reap what you sew.  The problem with your proposal is it's a burden on parents and the schools logistically if nothing else.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I look at the debacle like this: Two Confederacies Of Dunces, one for profit and the other governmental, seem to want the same things, which is to educate children. One side seems to only accept the best of the best, which is their right and I respect that. The DISD, however, has become nothing better than a publicly-funded babysitter for a majority of parents who can barely be considered that themselves. Like i've said about DISD time and time again, there needs to be a serious change of culture and atmosphere for the district before it can be taken serious again. Im still curious why uplift hasnt looked at taking on the 11 campuses the DISD is shutting down at the end of the school year, not to mention extend employment offers to said affected teachers AND extending a hand to those great students/parents being screwed over in this decision? If they did that, I might consider giving them my support...

cp
cp

How in the hell did I lose a city council race to this moron? Oh wait, I remember, in a debate in South Dallas when I said that charter schools ARE public schools. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Except they aren't exactly.They get public dollars, but no public oversight.They get public dollars, but no public rules (like educating special needs kids).

Private school vouchers are charter schools' worst nightmare.  

Anon
Anon

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

cp
cp

I know but, Davis has excelled in being the Queen of the dumbasses. After last year's campaign, I just don't think I want that title...

Anon
Anon

But you could provide an entirely different kind of entertainment value. Just think of all the possibilities!

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...