Yesterday, Rawlings Repeated What He's Said All Along: Charter Schools Need to Expand

RawlingsPoorKidsSpeech1.jpg
At the end of yesterday's lengthy, heated debate over hopping into a bed made of tax-free bonds with Uplift Education, Mayor Mike Rawlings delivered the passionate testimonial Jim and I referenced. Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked to hear the entire thing, the "Our Poor Kids" speech, so I've snipped out the excerpt and dropped it below. Long story short: "I believe freedom is choice, choice creates excellence, and excellence graduates kids." And, far as he can tell, there ain't a lot of excellence in the Dallas Independent School District: "Twelve percent of our students graduating from DISD schools are ready for college. It's only 12 percent. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem."

On Monday, Rawlings will debut his Southern Dallas Economic Growth Plan, which will include DISD; how, he won't say just yet. But it wasn't long ago that Rawlings offered a sort of sneak peek in The Dallas Morning News, providing the paper with his report card for the district. To summarize: Amongst a few "signs of hope," he wrote, "we have a lot of ground to make up." At which point the mayor laid out a handful of "tactics critical for our success," among them:
Continue to foster our high-performance public charter schools such as Uplift and KIPP, which are growing and preparing students for college at a record pace. We must find facilities for them to expand.
The entire city council will be briefed on the Uplift bond issue next week, after which there will be a vote the following Wednesday -- Carolyn Davis v. Mike Rawlings, rounds two and three. As the mayor said yesterday, "This is a tough time in this city."

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41 comments
GarLand
GarLand

The video says students are chosen by a lottery. Does this mean kids who do not live in Dallas will be able to attend?

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

Just saw the video where Mayor Mike is upset that people are asking questions?  We have only begun to ask questions about this private non-profit organization, called UpLift. The State Fair of Texas is a non-profit and so is KERA, however, they are private non-profits, just like Komen. Excuse us for being just a little bit suspicious.

If we want to help poor children, create choices where people can live and what kind of school they can attend. As a sociological professional, the reality is, not everyone is college material. Not everyone will succeed in college - not even the white kids.

I would like to see bond money used for the following

A.  Build technical schools!!!!  We need plumbers, electricians, computer programmers and other licensed working men and women, that are free.  Did you know 70% of licensed plumbers are over the age of 60?  We need working folks and we need them to live in the city.  What is wrong with having technical high schools?

B.  Use bond money to build low income housing so families can afford to buy or earn a home.  As a volunteer in DISD for more than 20 years, transient student population was the biggest contribution, behind income (see A) to poor test scores.  The availability of low income homes to purchase, will lead to stabilized  neighborhoods, thereby stabilizing the schools and our tax base.  Ownership in a neighborhood is key!

C.  Use bond money to do job training for the parents, of DISD students, at the school where their child goes!!!!  Let the parents have lunch break at the same times as their kids so they can eat together.  The children will take pride that their Mother is bettering herself.  At the end of the day, the children will have been better behaved, while at school, and the parents will learn a skill. 

This problem is bigger than just adding more schools.....

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I asked the Dallas City Council to VISIT their schools, to meet with teachers.... Anybody seen any of them on your campuses so far---7 months later?

I spoke before the council, unlike 98% of my fellow teachers, because I saw this coming. Until teachers take ownership of their careers and campuses, the rich of this city will continue to use local tax dollars to enrich their friends, nothing will change. Nothing will ever change.

But since most teachers don't live in Dallas, they stupidly think this does not apply to them. So they don't pay attention. But I predict the 11 campuses that are being closed will be rented out to charters---you wanna bet?

NO money, NONE, not even a dollar, should be spent by MY city to help a non-public school with funding. They have admitted they could do it on their own, so let them. But the charters are stacked with board members from the rich white North. Duh,

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Before anyone decides that Charter Schools should expand they need to read these facts from  Diane Ravitch (Author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education and nationally known education expert.)1.     Both Republican candidates and President Obama are enamored of charter schools—that is, schools that are privately managed and deregulated. Are you aware that studies consistently show that charter schools don’t get better results than regular public schools? Are you aware that studies show that, like any deregulated sector, some charter schools get high test scores, many more get low scores, but most are no different from regular public schools? Do you recognize the danger in handing public schools and public monies over to private entities with weak oversight? Didn’t we learn some lessons from the stock collapse of 2008 about the risk of deregulation? 2.    Both Republican candidates and President Obama are enamored of merit pay for teachers based on test scores. Are you aware that merit pay has been tried in the schools again and again since the 1920s and it has never worked? Are you aware of the exhaustive study of merit pay in the Nashville schools, conducted by the National Center for Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt, which found that a bonus of $15,000 per teacher for higher test scores made no difference?  3.     Are you aware that Milwaukee has had vouchers for low-income students since 1990, and now state scores in Wisconsin show that low-income students in voucher schools get no better test scores than low-income students in the Milwaukee public schools? Are you aware that the federal test (the National Assessment of Educational Progress) shows that—after 21 years of vouchers in Milwaukee—black students in the Milwaukee public schools score on par with black students in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana? 4.     Does it concern you that cyber charters and virtual academies make millions for their sponsors yet get terrible results for their students? 5.     Are you concerned that charters will skim off the best-performing students and weaken our nation’s public education system? 6.     Are you aware that there is a large body of research by testing experts warning that it is wrong to judge teacher quality by student test scores? Are you aware that these measures are considered inaccurate and unstable, that a teacher may be labeled effective one year, then ineffective the next one? Are you aware that these measures may be strongly influenced by the composition of a teacher’s classroom, over which she or he has no control? Do you think there is a long line of excellent teachers waiting to replace those who are (in many cases, wrongly) fired? 7.     Although elected officials like to complain about our standing on international tests, did you know that students in the United States have never done well on those tests? Did you know that when the first international test was given in the mid-1960s, the United States came in 12th out of 12? Did you know that over the past half-century, our students have typically scored no better than average and often in the bottom quartile on international tests? Have you ever wondered how our nation developed the world’s most successful economy when we scored so poorly over the decades on those tests?  8.     Did you know that American schools where less than 10% of the students were poor scored above those of Finland, Japan and Korea in the last international assessment? Did you know that American schools where 25% of the students were poor scored the same as the international leaders Finland, Japan and Korea? Did you know that the U.S. is #1 among advanced nations in child poverty? Did you know that more than 20% of our children live in poverty and that this is far greater than in the nations to which we compare ourselves? 9.     Did you know that family income is the single most reliable predictor of student test scores? Did you know that every testing program—the SAT, the ACT, the NAEP, state tests and international tests—shows the same tight correlation between family income and test scores? Affluence helps—children in affluent homes have educated parents, more books in the home, more vocabulary spoken around them, better medical care, more access to travel and libraries, more economic security—as compared to students who live in poverty, who are more likely to have poor medical care, poor nutrition, uneducated parents, more instability in their lives. Do you think these things matter?10. Are you concerned that closing schools in low-income neighborhoods will further weaken fragile communities?   11. Are you worried that annual firings of teachers will cause demoralization and loss of prestige for teachers? Any ideas about who will replace those fired because they taught too many low-scoring students? 12.  Why is it that politicians don’t pay attention to research and studies?Add end And another question that came to mind after the initial posting of this article:  13.  Do you know of any high-performing nation in the world that got that way by privatizing public schools, closing those with low test scores, and firing teachers? The answer: none. 

Ginsle
Ginsle

Lew Blackburns salary from Texas Can is $115,000. How is he part of both Can and DISD?

RTGolden
RTGolden

I hear a lot from the Uplift cheerleaders about 100% college acceptance.  Does that percentage of college entries really mean anything?  What are the percentages of Uplift students, entering college and coming out with a degree vs percentage of DISD students entering college and coming out with a degree?  I could take any school that draws it's student population exclusively from Dallas County and get 100% college acceptance.  Just make them fill out the application to DCCCD.

Sandy
Sandy

So what happens to the 88% that dont go to college?  they are just turned out into our streets after graduation with no real skills or education, not really fit for any job.  Why doesnt DISD offer a jobs training program in their schools?  i came from another state and at the end of 10th grade you had to make a decision if you wanted to take the college-prep curriculum or the VO-Tech program for 11th and 12th grade.  Most kids stuck around even if they went the vo-tech route becuase they were trained to be certified mechanics, nurse assistants, hairdressers, admin assist etc.  AND most of them got jobs.  I know we want everyone to aim for the sky but not eveyone is capable of or interested in navigating college.  I am sure mechanic doesnt sound like a worthy job but they are a necessary part of society.

Sandy
Sandy

So what happens to the 88% that dont go to college?  they are just turned out into our streets after graduation with no real skills or education, not really fit for any job.  Why doesnt DISD offer a jobs training program in their schools?  i came from another state and at the end of 10th grade you had to make a decision if you wanted to take the college-prep curriculum or the VO-Tech program for 11th and 12th grade.  Most kids stuck around even if they went the vo-tech route becuase they were trained to be certified mechanics, nurse assistants, hairdressers, admin assist etc.  AND most of them got jobs.  I know we want everyone to aim for the sky but not eveyone is capable of or interested in navigating college.  I am sure mechanic doesnt sound like a worthy job but they are a necessary part of society.

Guest
Guest

First of all, why is Mayor Mike even mentioning the graduation rate of DISD students? That's outside his purview, and he promised he'd keep his nose out of stuff that wasn't part of his official duties.

Secondly: As I've learned from the state, the way to fix education is to:

- Design an incentive program for teachers and then take it away after it's implemented (studies have shown that lowering a person's pay greatly impacts their productivity).- Take away local control by mandating statewide standards that are often influenced by political opinions rather than true educational goals.- Require a lot of standardized testing- Require districts to cut their property taxes, telling them that the difference will be made up with a statewide business income tax.- Don't actually generate enough money to make up the difference, require large cuts in all districts, including the ones that are successfully educating students.- Blame the unions even though districts don't negotiate contracts with teachers unions.

 

biscuit98
biscuit98

Mayor is a clown and  an idiot or he thinks everyone else is.

Q: Are charters nonprofit, so they make no profit?A: Is the mayor an idiot? Does he think nonprofits don't have a surplus of cash? Look at DallasCan, for example. Look at the salaries being paid Lew Blackburn and Marquez. Komen Foundation isn't running over with dough?

100% college acceptance = enrollment in DCCCD. Which part of that does the Mayor not understand?

Kids accepted by lottery and removed for failure and behavior issues. Give DISD the right to do the same and there will be a different school district. Don't provide transportation and make motivated parents drive across town and adhere to the rules and there will be a different district.

Mike
Mike

Whether DISD the organization does well does not matter. The only metric is whether any program moves the metric upward for the city's students. If we somehow get all the good students in some other organization, all the other students in another organization called DISD, sufficient room exists if you are a good student, the good students thrive, and the other students plod along filling out time as they now do, then what is wrong? We will have moved the metric higher and made the city a better place to live.

Charter schools are lifeboats sailing back to the Titanic to rescue the strong swimmers. They are not providing best practices to DISD. DISD has no intention of following best practices. We have a need to get our hands on the students that care beyond the tiny expensive lifeboats called magnets. Charter schools by definition use the same amount of funds as the regular schools. That means we should be able to expand them by simply dividing the pie.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Shorter version of the Citizens' Council Mayor:

"The only way to save DISD is to:

-provide less funding;-help DISD's top students leave the system for charter schools;-segregate the schools with de facto segregated charter schools;-subsidize charter schools that exclude high risk kids;-promote charter schools even though there's not one study that demonstrates they do any better than public schools, when adjusting for students background."

Yeah, that should work real well.

Another Park Cities Right Winger wet dream of killing public education.

Foolish question: If the Mayor is soooo committed to educating kids in Dallas, why is he letting the Dallas library system die a slow death via reduction in hours, services, and less funding?

It's not that he doesn't love kids, he just loves Far Right Wing sophistry more.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Wow.  Very impressive performance by Rawlings!

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

 clarification...We need schools, for licensed working people, that are free.

Guest
Guest

The voters picked him is how.  Of course, he, like all the other trustees who are not independently wealthy, has a job because the DISD doesn't pay its trustees. 

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

They have a high drop out rate, combined with limited time enrollment, caps on enrollment and standards of enrollment we in DISD cannot get. They damned well better have 100% going after all that.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 Charter schools are lifeboats sailing back to the Titanic to rescue the strong swimmers.

In the DISDs Case it the DISD  making a wide circle to Hit the Iceberg again .

Why?
Why?

Hey FEDs, please ask UpLift why their organizations Leadership team, that serves a city where presumably a few kids might be Hispanic, does not have one single Hispanic on their Leadership Team.       http://www.uplifteducation.org...

A Charter School that serves a large urban city, and asking for taxpayer money, should have a Leadership Team, Stakeholders and "profiteers", with an ethnic and minority representation that is the same as the city it serves. Did we not learn anything from that other private non-profit, Komen?

Everyone wants the business community to get involved in making our public schools better. What we don't want is, two school systems segregated by socioeconomic class.  Judging by UpLift's Leadership Team and the years they've been in business, UpLift has not proven itself worthy of this kind of rushed investment.

Let's remove property tax discounts for seniors. They make up 10% of the city and own 70% of the homes.  The other 30% of us cannot afford to support the city and schools with 100% of their property tax.  We can no longer afford to carry seniors. Most can afford to pay their property taxes.  Besides, by removing the exemptions, we will be able to lower the property tax rate for everyone, which will give younger families and seniors some financial relief.  Hey, then maybe young families will be able to afford to buy tickets to arts district venues.  We also need to take 1/2 of the sales tax from DART and give to DISD, and have a non-partisan non-profit maximize the management of it.

This feels rushed and it doesn't feel like the business community really tried to do anything to help DISD. Why?

  

CV Gilkeson
CV Gilkeson

Too many generations of kids have been sacrtificed on the altar of teachers unions and the gigantic numbers of administrators that seem to be "necessary" at institutions such as DISD. Uplift gets results. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. This has nothing to do with Right Wing and everything to do with the abject failure and insularism of American public education.

Rangers100
Rangers100

You realize he's a Democrat, right?

Guest
Guest

-Charter schools take away expenses from the DISD in the same proportion as they take away funding.  A smaller DISD isn't necessarily a worse DISD. 

-Top students already leave the DISD or go to magnets.  If they stay in the DISD and can't get into magnets, they go to one of two or three high schools, and are effectively segregated from the general student population while in classes. 

-Charter schools are not de facto segregated.  Most students are admitted by lottery.  Most urban charter schools are majority-minority students, just like the public schools the kids would otherwise attend.     

-We already subsidize schools that exclude high risk students, for example, all of the magnet schools in the DISD. 

I'm not really for charter schools or against them.  I am confident some are good and some are terrible.  The same can be said for DISD schools.  The reality is that no one has come up with a way to educate a large poor, urban, minority population.  No one.  It is a mystery that is as elusive as the cure for cancer.  Everyone is grasping at straws, and I don't fault anyone for wanting to try something different.  I hope someone figures it out soon.        

Ross3700
Ross3700

wow...could not have said it better myself!

RTGolden
RTGolden

Or backing up to get a better look at what they hit.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Charters might benefit a few kids, but the rest of the district as a whole will remain broken?

What about all of those kids?

Giving money to Uplift does not fix DISD.Unless DISD is fixed OR you give every single child a voucher, Dallas is doomed.

Teachers unions?  Are you kidding me?

And who says Uplift gets results?  Uplift?

jfpo
jfpo

DINO. So was Ron Kirk. Once you go to work for the citizen's council, party affiliation means little.

Rangers100
Rangers100

School performance is all about the local resources: mainly, the affluence and education of parents feeding into the school.  White kids of educated parents at Woodrow Wilson score no differently than white kids of educated parents in Highland Park.  They just make up a smaller percentage of Woodrow than they do Highland Park.  That's it.  The teachers at Woodrow are no worse, the same AP courses are there, etc., etc.  

So how do we move resources back to Dallas?

Here's a start: tear down Central.  Tear down I-30.  Cut the cord from the far-flung sprawl pods.  No more quick hit-and-run relationships with Dallas.  Companies that moved to the sprawl for tax breaks and cheap office space would be forced to include the costs of doing business in suddenly much more isolated places (making for much tougher sells to creative workers, potential clients, top executives, etc.). 

San Francisco, Milwaukee, Seoul, New York, Madrid, Portand... just some of the cities that have in recent years boulevarded these disastrous elevated highways.  All have seen tremendously positive results.

A 2006 study out of Brown University found that each intra-city highway results in an 18% decline in city population.  Don't want to decrease the city population?  Tear down the highways.  

Anon
Anon

if you are repeating that line, you've already bought their bullshit. the very act of entering the lottery system signals that a parents cares enough to make the decision. even if every objective demographic about two students is the same, if one has parents who care enough to demand better for their child through a charter school and enter the lottery, and the other assumes things will just work out in DISD so why bother, you are not dealing with the same two students. once charters automatically sign up every student for the lottery, choose students at random, offer them a spot in the charter school with no conditions, and have no recourse to kick them out, then we can start talking about whether charters have the same demographic as neighborhood schools.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

But the charter schools we're discussing in this case don't cull students-- rather, they are chosen by a blind lottery system.

Guest
Guest

There are no highways splitting up the Woodrow feeder area as far as I can tell.  In other words, getting rid of highways may be good, but it wouldn't solve this problem.  

Rangers100
Rangers100

Good points and I agree.  It's not as simple as putting a minority of white kids into the schools, especially if the kids are just meeting up at the schools from - and returning to - different neighborhoods.

What works is integrating cities.  Urban highways dramatically reduce integration.  They are what allow people to sprawl out and isolate but use the city for the occasional things they need (i.e. there's a reason these people don't just move to small, detached towns).

Even in density, people can still segregate residentially, but it becomes much more difficult to do so across all phases of life (i.e. commerce, leisure, etc.).  Density reduces privately controlled space and increases the relative amount of public space.  For example, sidewalks, transit systems, and mixed-use parks become much more necessary to daily life.  

Guest
Guest

Have you looked at Woodrow's numbers?  The school is rated unacceptable.  The white kids there do fine.  Sadly, the other kids don't do nearly as well.

http://www.scribd.com/fullscre...

So, for example, 81% of white students at Woodrow passed all TAKS tests in 2011 but only 39% of Black students passed all TAKS tests.  The DISD average for all high schools was 67%.  Black students don't appear to do better at Woodrow than they do throughout the DISD. 

Another example.  The average white student's SAT score at Woodrow was 1113 with more than 90% of white students taking the test.  The average Black student's SAT score was 802 and only 67% took the test.  Again, Black students at Woodrow did worse than the average SAT score of the entire DISD, which was 860.

The point isn't to say that Woodrow is a bad school or that these are bad kids.  I moved into the neighborhood so my child could attend there.  The point is that no one has a silver bullet to solve the problem of education among poor minority children.  Just throwing them into the same classrooms as white kids from educated families doesn't seem to help.  Again, I desperately wish for this problem to be solved.  I think it is the single most important issue to maintaining a high quality of life for Americans. 

Ben
Ben

You are so full of it, and are definitely not employing facts to make such a statement. 

Guest
Guest

It's not about "local resources."  The black poor children of uneducated parents at Woodrow do just as poorly as the black poor children of uneducated parents in South Dallas despite having access to better "local resources." 

Guest
Guest

What evidence is poor minority children benefit from being schooled with white children of educated parents?

Rangers100
Rangers100

There has been no greater tool of neighborhood segregation in the last 50 years than urban highways.

MBO
MBO

Dallas would have to stop segregating housing for what you speak of to be accomplished. We know that is not likely, unless they pay dearly. It's on the horizon:

http://www.dallasobserver.com/... 

Rangers100
Rangers100

I was just noting the case of kids of white educated parents.  Those who have already made it.  The less fortunate much more greatly benefit from being around the resources of these people.  

Guest
Guest

Why pay money to change anything if the kids will do just as well wherever they go to school?  Are you suggesting that poor minority kids are just doomed, no matter what we try?

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