Mayor Rawlings, If You Want Better Schools, Why Not Ask a Mexican?

Categories: Schutze

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is allowed to ramble on at some length about public schools in a blog piece by Robert Wilonsky on today's Dallas Morning News web page. It's a Q&A. Rawlings comes across, as usual, as a smart decent man who cares.

But is he the right smart decent man who cares? And what does he care about? That's what I always wonder when I see this stuff.

In the piece Rawlings makes reference to a long litany of help-the-schools groups over time. The hot one now is something called Commit! That's their name. Commit! Something to do with the Chamber of Commerce. Makes me want to form a group called No! You Commit!

Smart aleck, right? Not helpful? Right. OK, here is all I have to say. We've got all these groups calling for more accountability and more collaboration and more leadership, stuff like that. Not to paint too broadly or anything, but I think we can summarize that as things white people like. If I were to come up with a name for that, I would call it, "Ask a White Person."

Last time I looked, the student body of DISD was 87.1 percent poor and 68.2 percent Hispanic. In Dallas that means Mexican-American. So it seems like we should have some big help-the-schools group called, "Ask a Mexican."

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Just saying. Isn't that the shortest route to creating a school system that the populace will trust? What kind of stuff in a school system would make poor and working class people of Mexican heritage really buy in?

Hey, I'm not writing off the rest of the student body, which is 25 percent black. Ask a Black Person! As the proud parent of a DISD graduate, I'm not even writing off my own ethnic group. Ask A Pushy Weird White Person Who Didn't Move to Plano Like He Was Supposed To! We make up 4.6 percent. I like us the best, because ... you know ... we're just us!

I'm semi-serious here. Why don't I see an enormous outreach and commitment to finding out what the core constituency wants out of the school system? I think we all know the Chamber of Commerce is not the core constituency.

The thing white people always say is, "You know, those Mexican parents just won't get involved in American public schools." Kind of like: So screw them. Well, let me ask you a question. Frito-Lay didn't say, "Those Mexican people won't get involved in potato chips, so screw them." They found out that they would pay for tortilla chips, so they made tortilla chips.

Isn't that what we want to do with the schools? In order to make public school successful, don't we have to market them to their target demographic?

I don't know what would appeal. You get a lot of answers. Try asking a determined upwardly mobile immigrant family about English as second language. It's like, "First year here from Mexico, yes, second year, no."

That's why you have to ask.

I'm not tearing down Rawlings. I'm just saying ask a Mexican. Is that so hard?

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TheRealDallasKidsFirst
TheRealDallasKidsFirst

I always wonder why so many people that talk about helping kids and doing it for the kids and stopping the injustice to our kids...why don't they just talk to the kids. For the last decade I have been working in education but when I tell people that as consumers our kids aren't buying the educational product our school's are selling they think I'm crazy to think we should treat kids like customers. But guess who does treat them that way. Go into any title I "low income" school and look at the vast amount of $150 Jordan sneakers or ask them the lyrics to that Lil Wayne song and I'll bet they know. tell them to add you as a friend on Facebook and they will pull out their cell phone. Jim, I read you all the time but if you really want to start a controversy rewrite your story to say young people instead of mexicans so that they realize if they don't show up nobody gets paid. i will hand deliver the article to schools myself. I think they would rather enjoy reading that they should have a say in how they are educated...who knows maybe they have had the answers all along.

Joe L
Joe L

The flaw in this theory here is that the kids will get out of school and be confronted with the reality of having to compete against "white", Asian, Jewish, etc. kids whose education will not be limited to what a majority of Hispanics may want in the school system.  Astute Hispanic parents realize this.  That's why they take their kids and head to Plano or other suburbs as soon as they are able, like 'white', Asian, Jewish, etc. parents.

Slw13
Slw13

Jim Jim Jim,Its really simple.  White folks still control the principle economic resources of the state.  And they don't really give a damn about Mexicans or Blacks...that is, unless they can find a way to profit off them.  As in "privatization".  One day that will be different.  One day white folks will wake up and the Guv'nor will be named Jesus (or something like that), and Mexicans will run the school boards, and the rest of the state.  The white folks will realize the Plano wasn't far enough out of Dallas, and they will all move to OKC (or Norman).  Won't that be fun.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 that won't change anything.  It still takes green to get political power, and that set tends to attract itself.

Patton252
Patton252

oboma wants to keep pumping $ into public schools...... teachers now (maybe not all) are more interested in what the union is going to do for them then they are about the kids.  most don't want to learn anyway! i think we should go euro style and test kids to see what they are good at and go from there!weed out the ones that don't want to learn and are just a drag on everybody else.

Gueck
Gueck

Nice post! Why dont we just figure out a way to get rid of the kids that dont meet your standards? Mr. President?

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

One thing wrong with most Dallas Leaders in Dallas they ask people like them how to solve problems of People they don't know other than shaking hands at a public event.In Dallas the 4% wants to run the 96% and take all the money and run District in ground.DISD is a cash cow for the construction industry.It does not take much to teach kids,Teachers decent facility up to date materials and basic strong curriculum.Foreign language,physicial education w health and etc. All the special programs are not working picking up programs after Grants end another mistake.Paying 200,000 to find scholarships, a function of school counselors.Mike Rawlings talks a good game but it sound almost identical to Tom Leppert's big, IDEA ,that went no where.If you ever get a chance to serve with a Mayor,don't, you learn who and what they really are and it's not a good feeling.

Sroberts999
Sroberts999

"Why don't I see an enormous outreach and commitment to finding out what the core constituency wants out of the school system?"

A better question might be "Why don't I see an enormous commitment by hispanic parents to force (politically) what they want onto the school system?"

We live in Oak Cliff. As soon as we had our first child we were bombarded with admonitions to join RECEPTA (Rosemont Early Childhood PTA, or something to that effect). If you are white, and live in Oak Cliff, and have children, you are *required* to join RECEPTA. Not doing so is social suicide. What does RECEPTA do? They use the political muscle of the entire white population of Oak Cliff to get what they want at Rosemont Elementary. Maybe there is a latino version of RECEPTA for Hogg Elementary ... but I doubt it.

There is one place in Oak Cliff (at least, maybe there are more) where hispanic students get an awesome education. The J. Erik Jonsson Community School. We applied there, but I think we're too white to get in. That school *requires* parental involvement. One parent is *required* to volunteer at the school at least one day per month. Then they also have home visits, where one of the staff visits each students home every semester. Incidentally, it's run by white people.

You know, the more I think about education the more I'm convinced that race has nothing to do with it. I'm thinking that parental involvement is the key. If you see a school where parents are involved, it's always a "good" school. If you see a school where parents don't give a shit, it's always a "bad" school. You can try to make it about race all you want, but the fact of the matter is - it isn't. The government can't fix broken homes, no matter how much we wish it could.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I think you're spot on that race has nothing to do with educational success.DISD's rampant, profound mismanagement has driven away almost all of the functional, healthy families of all races.So DISD has become the district for the dysfunctional families.  Domestic violence, incarceration, drug/alcohol abuse, generational welfare, up all night, sleep all day....great kids stunted by the people they are forced to live with.

jane phillips
jane phillips

this is not hard; English should be our only language ...

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

English IS our only language and every single parent wants their child fluent in it.  Again, parents who can afford to get out of the bilingual ghetto that DISD is, do.Don't mistake what Flores and others have shoved down the throats of poor parents as a representation of what the parents want.  70-something percent of incoming 6th graders last year had only taken state tests in Spanish, but not because the parents wanted it that way.

The problem is that school boards no longer serve the public; neither do the top-level, overpaid bureaucrats they hire.  Public schools have become an unmonitored cash cow for the strongest and politically connected.  Turn off the money and the parasites will go elsewhere.

Joe L
Joe L

I'm so glad you wrote this.  I remember seeing Flores give a speech when he was first running and he said he wanted to make every student (Hispanic or not) bilingual in Spanish.  Speaking 5 languages myself, and having lived among multilingual people all my life, I know that it is really only possible to master one language to a professional level completely, except for a tiny elite.

The priority should be English.  Otherwise the Hispanic child is relegated to less competitive status through no fault of his/her own (unless he/she is going to live in Mexico).

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

All parents of every demographic want the same thing for their children:-good teaching-freedom from disruptive kids-freedom from a dumbed-down curriculum-freedom from testing, test prep, and using kids as lab rats

LULAC does not represent ANY parent I know.NAACP does not represent ANY parent I know.

I have never, ever met a parent who wanted a Black History program.I have never, ever met a parent who wanted their child taught in their home language.

Mexican and Black parents are no different than White parents, other than the fact that when the race-based everything, when the tolerance for all sorts of behavior, and when the total sell-out of kids for testing arrived on the scene, only the White parents could get out.

It wasn't White Flight--it was We Can Afford to Get Out Now That Education Isn't the Priority Flight.

The ones who have stayed are the poor and a handful of not-poor.Blacks and Hispanics and Iranians and Vietnamese and You Name It all continue to move out as soon as they can afford to.  I see it every single semester:  "My family bought our first house, but not in DISD!"

The whole Ask a Mexican thing will just change the race-based emphasis from Blacks to Hispanics.  It will not quench the thirst of 99% of parents who simply want a good education for their kids.

How to Fix DISD:-Make neighborhood schools magnets for the kids who pass all courses and state tests.-Channel all other kids to remediation campuses or behavior campuses.  Get those kids the help they need-Stop the testing.  Private school students don't take the state tests and they all get into and excel in college.  Obviously, the tests aren't needed.  Unless you are selling the tests.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 the tests are an easy way to evaluate teachers.  Evaluating teachers is subjective and difficult to standardize.  tests do that.

Mallett
Mallett

See DISD teacher response below, then YOU go try to figure out CEIs.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

You're wrong.Test scores do not equal the teacher's rating.If it were as simple as that, no teacher would complain.

They take the test scores and do some funky computation to them so that if you have 100% of your students make a perfect score, your CEI score can go down.

By all means use my students' test scores to evaluate me.  Please!  Since 10K teachers can't convince them to do it, maybe you can call up a trustee.Just get rid of the voodoo CEIs no one can figure out.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Every now and then someone pops up on this blog and tells i like it is. Thanks, DISD teacher.

elsando
elsando

 Kudos! A bit of clear focus. My experience in the past few years with an  Irving elementary school with a Hispanic majority enrollment is limited to the PTA meetings followed by the kids' programs. The place was always packed -  us whities (with cameras) and a bunch of Hispanic families armed with cameras capturing the kid's performances. It seemed to me that all the attending families cared about their children and grand-children and I assume, their success in school. What the heck is going on?

Yay
Yay

Say, remember when Dallas schools were full of those evil white kids? Think Schutze ever thought about asking white people how to make better schools then? Nah, he was demanding those evil white kids be bused all over the place, for diversity dont'cha know. Now that whitey has been successfully run off, cuz they're racist of course, not because they got the feeling they just weren't wanted cuz why would they think that with tolerant, diversity lovin' folk like Schutze around, but gone they are and now that the schools are full of mexicans Schutze and his diversity lovin' peeps aren't so concerned about diversity are they? No demands for bussing, no complaints that there aren't enough white kids, just a shrug of the shoulders and a hey, let's let mexicans do what they want attitude, funny how that works.

JimS
JimS

So Yay: You have the impression that the white kids were bussed? And you think the white people were forced to leave the cities? Some year before you die, open a book and see if you can figure out what planet you're on. 

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Nice "educated white person" retort, but on a certain level, Yay has a point.

I'm almost 50 and for as long as I can remember (including when I was in school), the "big city" school districts have worried about minority constituencies.  I'm not saying that it is the driving force behind white-flight, but I bet it played a huge role.  

Upwardly mobile individuals relocate more frequently than individuals in the more traditional blue-collar roles.  When those individuals get jobs that move them to another city, do they buy a house in the city and have their kid get ignored; or do they look to the suburbs where the schools challenge the students without the need to worry about bringing along the students that are in households which don't value education as highly?

When those upwardly mobile individuals don't relocate, at some point they realize that to maintain their family's upward trajectory; their children need more than can be provided in the schools that are constantly being drug down by the families without the commitment to education.  Those individuals seek private schools or home schooling.

What's left?  The children of people who don't value the educational system. 

Don't Ask a Mexican.  They don't care and don't see the value.

Ask the parents of the kids at Jesuit, St. Marks and Hockiday what it would take for DISD to motivate them to pull their kids out of private schools.

Seriously.  Do you see the big private schools in Highland Park?  No. Their schools kick ass.  You don't see big private schools in Southlake for the same reason.  

RJ
RJ

About 25% of Park Cities kids attend private schools. It's only about 5% more in the DISD schools in the Lakewood area where Jim's son attended school.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Ah, Plain old Dave, nail on the head! It's not just Jim, though. It's what so frustrating on the blogs, where snarkiness and one-offs substitute for thought and discussion. But, then, thought and discussion are so...linear. So yesterday.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Jim, 

You would be entertaining in a political debate.  You are frustrating in a normal discussion.

Read the comment you made above.  That is why Robert is over at the DMN instead of you, and why you will be stuck writing for a free rag instead of playing for a real team, despite the fact that you have excellent journalistic skills.

JimS
JimS

History according to PlanoDave: In early America everyone lived in the suburbs and there were no cities. The "People who value an education," held for centuries as slaves by the black people, were freed after the Civil War. But the People Who Value an Education were still subjected to the brutal laws of segregation, sometimes known as the "Chip Crow" laws. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the mid-60s,  the People Who Value an Education gained full citizenship, but those bad racist black people still wouldn't accept them, so the black people engaged in "black flight," whereby they all left the suburbs and created what we now call cities. Poor poor People Who Value an Education. Think how they have suffered, poor dears.

Edward
Edward

Sadly, the answer to the question is always "Get the parents to value an education". For some reason it's tough to get Hispanic Mom and Dad to want to keep their kids in school.

In fact, DCCCD has had ongoing issues in trying to convince Hispanic Mom and Dad to LET their kids go to college. It's really tough for Hispanic students when their own parents are trying to convince them NOT to get an education.

BL
BL

This is because of years of programming these minorities to believe they are lessor than whites. It trickles down from the parents because its all they know...its all they can see......that is what will change as minorities become the majority in America. 

Guest
Guest

What are you talking about?  Most Mexican Americans are immigrants or first generation.  Their parents grew up in a culture entirely dominated by Mexicans (you should see the way they look down on South Americans).  The richest man in the world is Mexican.  Mexican Americans did not grow up under White oppression, they grew up believing Mexicans are superior or at least equal to Anglos. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

 many of them, particularly these poorest immigrants grow up suspicious of the US.  We've occupied Mexico at least twice.  Just the sight of that border shows something is suspect. 

Anon
Anon

nice try. that's entirely untrue in the Mexican American community (if we're talking black community, there's a legitimate conversation to be had). I know that it's fun to blame whites for all the world's problems. I mean, if it isn't someone else's fault, it could be my own, and that just doesn't compute.

JimS
JimS

Very tough to sell refrigerators to Eskimos, too, but if you're in the refrigerator business at the North Pole , what else are you gonna do?

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

JS,Give Bob Weiss a call over at the Meadows Foundation.It's my understanding they have worked on an outreach program to the Hispanic Community for the last few years - I don't think they've achieved much success.  There are probably a few good insights from their efforts.Past that point I could not agree more that hizzoner should not make political endorsements in these races. His confidants don't exactly include teachers or principals or folks that may take a divergent view from Flores and the new Chamber education PAC.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I suspect Mr Arellano will come after you for royalty off this blog entry, after ripping his title into your headline.  

Maybe you should have 'Asked the Mexican' in your own organization.

Albert
Albert

If you're going to ask mexicans how to get American schools to assimilate to Latino culture, the first answer will be "get rid of all the non-Latinos"

That's how we handled it in S. California, and look at how well that's turning out.

JimS
JimS

Some grad student did a study on student comfort levels with diversity at Woodrow when my kid was there. The one group that really did not like diversity much at all was the Mexican American kids. Hey, soemtimes the world refuses to comply with libtard paradigm. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

There are other studies that back up the grad student's study re Mexican Americans.

There are also studies that show that Af Am students do better in Af Am schools so they don't feel forced to choose between being black and being smart.

The kids will work this out.  They have this bizarre ability to actually judge each other based on the content of a person's character and not skin color or last name.   Imagine that.

Every parent of every race wants the best doctor for their child, regardless of race.Every parent of every race wants the best education for their child, regardless of the race/sexual preference/economic standing/etc of the superintendent or teachers.

The suburbs offer this type of setting and so do private schools.  If DISD would offer what the privates and suburbs are offering, Dallas would benefit.

Whatever!
Whatever!

There are studies and stats to back up anything!

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

Weird because some of my best friends are Mexican American from Woodrow and I'm about as Anglo as they come...from my own experience at The Shrine I would say that would be the feeling of the more recent immigrants.  However I'm old enough that some of those from my days now have students at the school and seem much more interested in education as a parent than they were as a student.

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

How about "ask a teacher(s)"? I'm sure a few of them, know, what would make a good superintendent....and they could be from any of our illustriously hyphenated American groups(Irish, Mexican, African, Polish).

Phelps
Phelps

I can't tell if this is a racist slam on Blackburn or on Medrano and Flores.

Tom L (No, not that L)
Tom L (No, not that L)

I read the whole article but I didn't see a reference to Gustavo Arellano in there anywhere!

JimS
JimS

Gus who?

Tom L (No, not that L)
Tom L (No, not that L)

Oh, he's just an obscure columnist whose column is carried in a local weekly that I'm sure you never read ... ;)

Ed D.
Ed D.

I hear that this "Ask A Mexican" column can be found in the dead tree edition of this obscure local weekly as well as on its website. No reason for Jim to have encountered it before now.

Albert
Albert

He has a column dedicated to helping Americans assimilate to America.

Albert
Albert

LA did it, you can too.

JimS
JimS

Never happen.

Guest
Guest

If the Mayor wants to help the schools, how about being a better role model and not lying to his constituents by telling them that he'll keep the hell out of things that aren't within his official duties as Mayor.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 That only applies to homosexuals seeking equality.

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