DISD's Next Superintendent Needs "Cultural Competency in LGBT Issues"

cece cox.jpg
Cece Cox
Back in January, Robert watched as the DISD board, which has the amazing skill of stretching out any conversation to 10 times its natural length, debated the qualities they'd like to see in a new superintendent. Last night, Resource Center Dallas CEO Cece Cox sent the board an open letter, reminding them not to forget about reaching out to DISD's LGBT students and parents.

"It is important that the next DISD superintendent have cultural competency in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, especially in educational settings," Cox wrote. She also praised the district's nondiscrimination policies, which were revised in 2011, saying, "Clearly with the recent policy changes DISD is ahead of most, if not all, Texas school districts. Yet, far too often, there is a gap between policy and practice. Whoever is chosen to lead DISD should champion the expectation that policies are more than just words on paper, they are how the district conducts business."


"If that policy is going to have any teeth to it whatsoever, they need to be paying attention and providing support," Cox told us by phone this morning. "If that's not on the radar screen of our superintendent, then is the policy really going to get implemented in the district?" Making sure "all LGBT students are safe," she said, is something that starts with the superintendent.

To that end, in her letter Cox also asked the board to remember the lesbian and gay parents in the district, to enforce the new anti-bullying policy, and to "provide appropriate support to LGBT students."

"That's a message that gets established and then implemented at the top down," Cox said. She's not saying that DISD doesn't already do its best to support LGBT students, she added. "But in large systems, there are sometimes gaps in the culture, and I want the superintendent to be caring about these issues and paying attention to them."

We couldn't recall LGBT issues specifically coming up in any of the previous discussions about superintendency, so we called the DISD HQ.

"LGBT?" asked the lady answering the phones at DISD's media relations office. "What's that?"

We told her. She took the message and said a spokesperson would get back to us. We'll update accordingly. Cox's full letter to the board is below.

Update, 12:35 p.m.: DISD spokesperson Jon Dahlander reminds us that tomorrow is, as it happens, the deadline for superintendent candidates to submit their applications. DISD board president Lew Blackburn hadn't yet seen the letter, he said, but added that DISD strives to create "not just a tolerant but a welcoming environment for everyone."

Resource Center Dallas Letter to DISD Board

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23 comments
Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I can understand her concerns, but God, please, not another group that wants "more considerations" on who the next Sup't needs to be. People, let me make it plain here: We have gay teachers, parents and students. DISD was one of the FIRST in Texas to have a non-discrimination policy. Some campuses have GSA's, and EVERY campus (just about) has openly gay teachers. There is NO need to MAKE an issue where there is none. Has there been a serious problem with parents, because I have not seen it. The more every single group piles on "requirements," the fewer candidates we can get.... Consider, from various groups we need someone who:

1. Is sensitive to blacks and their problems...

2. Is sensitive to Hispanics and their "unique" problems, i.e., immigration, Spanish language required for this group... 

3. Is aware of the unique problems of non-Hispanic ESL kids, since we have over 60 languages spoken from families from over 80 countries in DISD...

4. Is aware of bullying, ad nauseum, as we now are. (Sorry, but the beating a dead horse leaves us teachers feeling bullied. Don';t even ask about the new paperwork trail for any instance of it)

5. Is aware of how poverty affects students....

6. Is aware of the special needs and programs for Talented and Gifted....

7. Can attract the middle and upper class white families so long missing in DISD, except at some few schools and the magnets...

8. Can read financial spreadsheets, so they MUST come from a business background...

9. Understand curriculum, so MUST come from an educational background....

10. Must be able to work with other gov't entitites...especially law enforcement...because, you know....

11. Knows how to supervise an institution with over 16,000 employees and 250 buildings.

12. Understands the various laws that apply to education, labor, environment, construction, medical, etc... , from local to state to federal.

13. Has the stomach to be vilified by any group at any time...

14. Can stand up to the traditional oligarchy from North Dallas....

15. Or conversely, can surrender to the oligarchy from North Dallas.

I get what she wants, but teachers want to TEACH. We want someone who knows how to LEAD as well as manage. Someone who can LISTEN, not just issue "non-negotiables." and someone who can clean house of the Relics of Feudalism who are at 3700. All the rest is just that.

cliffhanger
cliffhanger

Well, being competent in LGBT issues would put the new Super one up on the old Super, who was incompetent at everything.

Crap Detector
Crap Detector

How about just supporting STUDENTS?  I don't think they should be treated any differently because of their race or sexual orientation - they need to LEARN.  Reading, writing, math, history - you know, the educational pillars? What next - we need to TEACH differently based on whether the teacher is LGBT, Hispanic, or African-American??? 

momof3inbigD
momof3inbigD

I am more and more convinced that being gay is the number one factor in most suicides.  Just not reported as such.  I think it is an extremely important issue.  And unlike poor Max, I own a home in Dallas, making me qualified to speak on the subject of what my taxes should support.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I think The Resource center just stepped in it .OTG "Oh Their G*D" This Organization  Gets some funding from the UNITED WAY ?I am not sure our Towns Reactionary Right Wing folks are going to like this kind of intervention ...Using some of what they might believe is their donated money .On Behalf of "Those People" Don't know What valuable service these fine folks provide for the area  but how about just serving the community and Stay out of the Political Arena .Getting involved with this school board will eat you alive .Not to mention putting your Group on the RADAR of Some of the Less than cordial  ( but well funded) grown ups  with their ever active e-mail and phone trees just aching to become involved in a skirmish at the Local level.

Perhaps this letter should have been done as a private citizen rather than a Groups Executive Director ?

Paul
Paul

I want to know what they are going to do about the transgendered transsexual transvestite gay and lesbian refugees who are facing potential deportation proceedings because of the hostile political climate in their homeland.  When are they going to have their rights protected?

"Ummm, Medizin, is for goats ... Baaa ....."

Anon
Anon

this has nothing to do with this post - but we are only like 2 days PW (post Wilonsky) and you've already been scooped by Oak Cliff People regarding Domingo Garcia and Jason Roberts running for Congress in the 33rd?

Albert
Albert

I would think competency in Spanish would me the most pressing requirement for anyone joining DISD, then they can tackle the big issues in a language the student body can understand.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

That's nice and all, but DISD needs a superintendent that can turn DISD into a school district that teaches students, without any specific attention to black, white, Latino, LGBT, Asians or scientologists. I want all families treated with respect and dignity.  But I really don't care how DISD deals with any particular group.

It won't matter a hill of beans that a LGBT parent feels safe in DISD if their kids fail to learn the essentials. We are not yet to this level on the Maslov hierarchy of needs.    

WatchingSouth Detroit
WatchingSouth Detroit

Do they ever talk about honesty, integrity, and the ability/will to push those qualities down to the rest of the screwed up DISD bureaucracy?  If you don't have hoensty and integrity - other qualities won't mean much and DISD doesn't have it right now.

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Don't worry, we'll have a big round-up of all the candidates tomorrow morning.

I'm sure you're not actually worried. I'm just making conversation here.

nope
nope

and I think you should give them a break. Those are big boots to fill, and I still support this blog.  Why pick on them 2 days into it?

nope
nope

Actually, the Morning News had the Domingo story yesterday morning.

DaTruth
DaTruth

I prefer competency in English. DISD students should be learning it as well.

Alfredo
Alfredo

That's not going to happen because to some including Ms Cox, social issues are more important than giving kids a good education

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

They don't care about any of that stuff like I do, hell they don't even bother to vote for the School Board Elections, and they might never have been to the search meetings that they had back in January,

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Bingo! and Ditto! That's what I'm saying!

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

That's to be expected, though, right? It'll settle down. Fear not. And thanks to those of you who are still having reasonable conversations up in here.  

jfpo
jfpo

Not directed at you or any of the writers...just seem some the comments are getting nastier.

jfpo
jfpo

Welcome to the new Unfair Park.

Jason
Jason

"Fagonics"?  Really?  And five other people "like" this comment? 

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