Morning News vs. Damarcus Offord: "Racist" Paper Says He "Doesn't Know What a GPA Is"

offord_nutall (1).jpg
I got a call from Damarcus Offord yesterday. The 20-year-old school-board candidate sounded excited, energized.

"Did you read the email I sent?" he asked. "Did you see the poll?"

I did not, so then I did.

"Damarcus Offord is a candidate running in the May 12 election for DISD School Board Trustee, District 9," it read, "where he currently leads in a district-wide poll 60-40% over the incumbent, Bernadette Nutall."

If what I read was to be believed, Offord was opening up a can in South Dallas.

"Where'd this poll come from?"

"Alliance-AFT," he said. Alliance-AFT is the teachers union that endorsed Offord. "They put phone calls out to the entire district, and asked: Damarcus or Bernadette?"

"Voters are clearly unhappy with their trustee now and want something to change," Tammy Tijerina, the organization's political coordinator, told me yesterday.

We're not sure whether Offord sent the poll results to The Dallas Morning News, but if he did, the newsroom should be on the look out for pieces of opinion writer Tod Robberson's head. Robberson happens to have just penned a gloves-off beat-down of Offord and Alliance, headlined "Alliance-AFT embarasses itself with endorsement of Damarcus Offord for trustee." Here are some excerpts:

His highest educational degree obtained is high school. I asked him what his grade-point average was. He answered "85." I repeated the question. He said about a B average. I told him that normally GPAs are on a four or five-point scale. He answered, "Yeah, that's about what it was."

It's pretty clear Damarcus Offord doesn't know what a GPA is.

And:

I asked him why voters should choose him over Nutall, the incumbent. What does he bring to the table in terms of experience and maturity that Nutall can't offer? He said he has 20 years of experience living in South Dallas. "She's from Alabama. So she doesn't know the community. So the decisions she makes on the school board is against the community." He has a community mentality; she has a "business mentality," Offord said.

Just for the record, Nutall has lived in District 9 -- as an adult -- since Damarcus Offord was 5 years old.

And the kicker:

Thanks, Alliance-AFT. I'm very impressed with your endorsement, and I hope voters use it to know exactly how NOT to vote in the future.

I called Offord to ask him if he saw the article. He hadn't. He asked me if it was good. I told him it wasn't.

He called me with a response last night.

"They lie about everything," Offord railed. "And they pretty much had their mind made up about who they were gonna go with.

"I'm straight for the facts. They're liars. They knew they were going with Bernadette. It's obvious Bernadette is a business establishment person. The guy wanted to get in a debate conversation over the phone, and I didn't get into it with him. I told him, 'Sir, you have a great day.'"

Offord said that Nutall wasn't doing what was in the best interest of the South Dallas community.

"Bernadette voted to close the six schools in our community. She voted against the teachers 10 out of 12 times. She has not been with the community. They're gonna be bussing 4-year-olds at 6 o'clock in the morning. It's time for someone in the community to step up and fight for these schools. She's a sellout. And it's obvious.

"The Dallas Morning News can write what they want to write," he finished. "It's a racist newspaper. They target people who are for the community -- they try to destroy them -- and they support people who aren't for the community."

He reiterated his sentiment by sending a letter to District 9 voters:

Hello District 9 Resident: Thank you for taking the time to email me and thoroughly look at the candidates on the District 9 May 12 ballots. I won't give you a long campaign speech, but there is a big difference between me and my opponent. I want teachers and parents and community members making decisions about DISD. MY opponent wants businessmen, the Dallas Regional Chamber and people that plan to make a profit off DISD, she wants those people making the decisions.

Clearly my vote won't be for sale. My opponents vote is for sale and it was demonstrated when she voted to close down the schools and the Dallas Regional Chamber deposited a $10K check into her campaign account the week of the vote. Recently the Dallas Morning News had a lot to say about Alliance-AFT (Teacher's Union) endorsing me, but no one seems to want to look at the facts that Bernadette Nutall voted against the teachers 10 out 12 times in her 3 year term.

So, I just encourage everyone to look at the facts, look at the fact that Trust Nutall had 6 schools close down in her district. Out of the other trustees that voted yes to the school consolidation, they had no schools close in their district. (Their districts were completely unaffected!)

The voter in district 9 has to make one crucial decision. If they want Big Business, Wall Street bankers, making the decisions for our kids in DSID, vote for Bernadette Nutall.

If you want teachers, community members and parents making decisions for DISD, vote for Damarcus Offord.
Damarcus Offord

The liveliest DISD trustee race just got a little livelier. In the words of the immortal Terrell Owens, getcha popcorn ready.


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Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

DISD report cards show the average on a 100 point scale, so he was recalling what DISD gave him. An 85 is a solid B. GPA is a minor point.

I tried to submmit a rebuttal to that man's op-ed piece, but it was rejected by the DMN... Go figure.

Zamora Carl
Zamora Carl

what Steve responded I am amazed that you able to get paid $8751 in one month on the internet. have you read this web page makecash16.comONLY

Guest
Guest

What about Nutall's alleged ethics violations? Am I the only one who has heard from DISD insiders that her conduct has been called into question on multiple occasions?

Cares About Kids
Cares About Kids

Bernadette Nutall, along with 5 other trustees, reluctantly agreed to consolidate schools because resources were being denied those schools because their costs per student were too high and in violation of federal Title 1 requirements...violate the requirements and DISD risked having to give back over $100 million dollars of Title 1 funding.  In order to comply, DISD has to take away resources that other, larger schools have in order to stay in compliance.  Consolidate them, and the resources get reinstated.  Simple as that, but her opponents have no desire to let facts get in the way of their story.  Ignore the real reason and make up conspiracy theories instead.

The opponents of Nutall, including the AFT, oppose her because she wants to hold teachers accountable and wants a great teacher in front of every classroom.  She voted for a policy of performance over seniority in evaluating teachers.  She supports Teach For America as one source of teachers for the district.  Two positions AFT absolutely hates.  So they get in bed with Joyce Foreman and support and fund a young man who is not even close to being prepared to serve.  They don't care about kids.  They care about supporting trustees who vote for what best serves the adults they represent.  And they embarrass the good teachers who know they are good and want to be surrounded by other good teachers by instead protecting the weak and trying to install a puppet.  How very, very sad.

East Dallas Dad
East Dallas Dad

 Nutall doesn't have a clue about what really goes on in Dallas ISD. She acted shocked when told by teachers and administrators that teachers had been physically and sexually assaulted by third graders. She was a counselor who blames teachers for everything. No matter what the issue is, she can find a way to blame teachers. She is hostile and argumentative when approached with anything that contradicts her opinions.

From what I've heard through the DISD grapevine she really didn't want to vote to consolidate and close the schools but her North Dallas backers told her she had to if she wanted their endorsements and contributions. 

trudat
trudat

...lies and half truths...

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

This young guy should  go to college while he is still young and get himself a mentor. There are colleges here he can attend, DB, Paul Quinn, UTD, or  UTA,. His "85" or "B" GPA should suffice to get him accepted.   He is too emotional, explosive, and dramatic. With that type of combination, if he wins, he will be ineffective.  What does this guy do for a living?  I'm very suspicious about broke ass people running for public office. It's too easy to influence them. Look what we have already. Just look at the people who are running for office....At this point, there are no viable candidates running I would support at this time or until I hear their platform other than  "I'm from Dallas". We have an uneducated young man running for the "School"  Board, a preacher running for the Dallas County Commissioner. Why do preachers always want to be politicans?

trudat
trudat

College can be a good thing but if a person goes to college and becomes a thief - like many do, what's so good about it?  And who says he has no mentor at this point?  And I have known of many emotional and explosive politicians who are very effective....etc.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I think the mere fact that the DMN leveled their aim at Offord reveals what is at stake.Millions of dollars for that whole DCC, Regional, Belo crowd to share with each other is what is at stake.Why else would the DMN spend so much energy on this issue?$$$

For what it's worth, the many teachers I know who live in Nuttall's district loathe and disrespect her.  

Alliance/AFT is far from perfect, but they see what the trustees have "accomplished" so far on behalf of the kids and they know that anyone is better than what we currently have.

A Real DISD embarrassment
A Real DISD embarrassment

This Offord boy and his whole entourage of not so smart supporters crack me up. He's 20 years old, does not have a job, can't write a speech, can't answer questions, with a GPA of "85"' he graduated a year late than his peers, and he cant see past color and race card issues. Oh well, he definitely has 20 years of DISD experience.

trudat
trudat

...and he's still a better choice than the alternative...

trudat
trudat

That is so...He is better in that he has not demonstrated a lack of fidelity.  A faithful everyday person is better by far than an untrustworthy genius - not that the other candidate has shown evidence of genius. Look at it this way;  If (for whatever reason) you pick up a snake who bites you, you'd be a plain fool to pick up that same snake in the same manner on a necessary second occasion especially if you had an possible alternative.

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

That's not so. He is not the better choice. The fact that everyone is disappointed with the DISD Board does not mean voters should vote further downward. This guy is a blast from the past on political strategy. Dallas should be tired of electing community activist who lack the basic education to oversee the process of educating children. There is a fundamental problem with the education system and although I am not a fan of some of the members, at this time, there are no viable people to replaced them. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Then don't freaking vote for him.

If you don't respect dropouts, I feel sorry for you.

What a shallow pool you swim in.

Not good enough, sorry
Not good enough, sorry

 Offord is a recovering dropout? LOL. I wonder about that too. He's 20 and still a freshman in college, or probably a dropout now? He does represent DISD experience. I would not want him to represent me.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

You're not fit to tie the shoes of most DISD kids.To belittle him shows your ignorance of the quality of the kids.  Whether he knows his actual GPA or knows that he had about an 85 average overall?  Seriously?  That's the best you've got?Our current trustees:  a blown budget, DOZENS OF ACADEMICALLY UNACCEPTABLE SCHOOLS, a district the middle class will not use and moves out of Dallas to avoid, constant corruption and turnover at 3700....shall I go on?I'll take a not-so-smart 20 year old who can't write a speech any day over the "accomplishments" our current board--with Nuttall's votes--is responsible for.

Edwin Flores has multiple degrees and look what he did (or tried to do) and how he ended up.  No thanks.

If nothing else, Offord will serve as example of what happens to trustees who fail to put kids first.  If he wins, the trustees will have to finally see the writing on the wall and do what's best for the kids.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Ummm, okay, except I have nothing to do with AFT.And my last several PDAS scores have been perfect.My TAKS scores?  My kids score in the HP range; my kids beat the district by double-digits.

A Real DISD embarrassment
A Real DISD embarrassment

And AFT will serve an example of teachers organization that look after incompetent members. Have a good day AFT. You are better off spending time to taking care of grievances than supporting a nincompoop. PDAS season is almost over. Line up your lawyers now.

Cares About Kids
Cares About Kids

If Demarcus Offord is elected to the DISD board, then the district he would represent will have put a final nail in their coffin.  He will likely be the worst trustee in the history of the school board, which is saying something.  He has no clue what he is getting into, he has no idea of the facts that he is supposed to know being in that role.  He will be played as a puppet by the people who put him up to run and have financially supported him.   He understands little, is not intellectually curious, has avoided many debates and interviews because at times he realizes what he doesn't know, and better to be a on-track, one idea politician and no one know.  

trudat
trudat

...seems to me - the coffin is already full of "last nails" ...this one might bring a little life back...and I would rather see if he could really be the "worst" than continue with business as usual...

OCGeezer
OCGeezer

Since his writing is so full of errors, perhaps he could ask someone to proofread his messages. Maybe a teacher...

RTGolden
RTGolden

Polished writing skills are not a prerequisite for any elected office in Dallas County.  In many cases it seems our elected officials go out of their way to appear more ignorant than they really are.

Evan
Evan

Yeah, let's embrace a culture of ignorance for our political figures involved in education. That's a winning idea.

trudat
trudat

...and Offord offers more - even though he's short on conventional experience and such...

Evan
Evan

And my point is that we absolutely should rail against it - Dallas needs to demand more from their leaders. Period.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Did reading comprehension leave these boards with Wilonsky?  Where in my comment did I 'embrace a culture of ignorance'?  I'm merely pointing out the situation that exists currently, whether we embrace it or rail against it, our elected officials, as a group do not present themselves as learned, considered, or willing to become so.

RTGolden
RTGolden

There are a lot of comments here about Offord's lack of experience, education, and accomplishment.

In 1808, a boy was born into poverty in Raleigh, NC.  His father died when the boy was quite young and his mother bound him to a tailor for apprenticeship.  The boy taught himself to read and write.  The boy escaped his apprenticeship and bounced around for a number of years before moving with his mother, stepfather and siblings to Tennessee.  At age 18 the boy married the daughter of a local shoemaker.  He started a successful tailoring business in the front of his family's home.  His young wife taught him arithmetic and helped to polish his reading and writing.  At age 21 he was elected an alderman.The boy went on to become a state representative, a state senator, a US senator, Vice President of the US and, after Lincoln's assassination, VP Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States.From small and insignificant beginnings can great things be accomplished.  Like Offord, Pres. Johnson, President Lincoln, and even Bernadette Nuttall had no experience, until they gained some.

pencil
pencil

Great example.

"This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."—Andrew Johnson, 1866—

Worst President till November 2012, escaped impeachment by one vote.

RTGolden
RTGolden

You fail to grasp the point I was making.  Of course A. Johnson was a racist.  The society he grew up in gave him no other way to go.  He didn't know any different.  I'm not condoning his views (which were shared by Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, by the way, the Todd family were large slave holders and traffickers).  I'm pointing out that humble beginnings don't have to lead to poorly lived lives.  The accomplishments of Johnson speak to his drive, ambition, and intellect overcoming his poor, destitute station of birth.

Lets see:  George Washington - owned slaves                Thomas Jefferson - owned slaves                James Madison, Monroe, Van Buren, Jackson, Polk, Tyler, Taylor, Harrison,                         and the General of the Union Armies Ulysses S. Grant - all owned slaves.

Do you judge them by their accomplishments or by the circumstances of the times in which they lived?

By the way, Johnson, like Clinton, was impeached.  He was acquitted, like Clinton.  Also like Clinton, his impeachment was against the will of the people.  The charge against him: defiance against an unconstitutional piece of legislation.  Like Clinton the impeachment of Johnson was a matter of political expedience, not legal necessity.

jfpo
jfpo

But he's "passionate."

Gary
Gary

"I won't give you a long campaign speech, but there is a big difference between me and my opponent."Is basic grammar too much to ask of a school board candidate?   

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

If that's the litmus test, we'd have to elect an entirely new board.

Greg Howard
Greg Howard

I don't know, Gary. For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure the grammar is on the money.

Gary
Gary

The word "money" makes me think you're slipping something clever past me.  But I always learned it should be "between my opponent and me."

Texasdav60
Texasdav60

Why am I thinking it should be "my opponent and I"?  Oh yeah, I went to school!

Gary
Gary

Well, time to stop nitpicking and just say we're glad you're with the Observer, Greg.  You've already earned a solid fan base on this blog.  

Greg Howard
Greg Howard

No slippage here, brother. A cliche, is all. Don't think it matters much. Of course, I lean heavily on editors and spellcheck, and thus, I may or may not have any idea what the hell I'm talking about.

Tod Robberson
Tod Robberson

I would urge readers to take a look at the what I wrote, and not just the short excerpts that Greg Howard chose to cite. I will let Damarcus Offord's words speak for themselves. Let's pick up the interview after the initial discussion of his GPA. From my blog item:

I asked him why voters should choose him over Nutall, the incumbent. What does he bring to the table in terms of experience and maturity that Nutall can't offer? He said he has 20 years of experience living in South Dallas. "She's from Alabama. So she doesn't know the community. So the decisions she makes on the school board is against the community." He has a community mentality; she has a "business mentality," Offord said.Just for the record, Nutall has lived in District 9 -- as an adult -- since Damarcus Offord was 5 years old.Speaking of business, I asked him what is the biggest budget he's ever managed. "I have never managed a budget," he said. Not any kind of budget? "No sir." I asked if it was important to know how to manage a budget if you're going to oversee more than $1 billion in expenditures. He said Nutall hasn't. (I guess her experience as a trustee doesn't count.)Well, then, can you tell me the difference between bond revenue and tax revenue? "Bond money, there's certain stuff you can spend it on. Tax revenue is used for, uh, what taxpayers pay to keep the schools open because taxpayers pay for a lot of things in the school district. That's where most of our money comes from, the taxpayers."How is bond money raised? There was a long pause. He asked me to repeat my question. Another long pause. "Sir, I'll have to get back to you on that question. The citizens of Dallas pay taxes to the school district. That's all I can tell you right now."I explained why it is important for any DISD trustee to understand the function of bond money in running a school district. This all goes to your point about having "business mentality." How is bond money raised?"Ok. Why are you sitting there screaming all these questions, asking all these questions?" he said.He calmed down and said, "It's to build facilities. You see the facilities they're building? The bond money. The bond money that they use now, from my perspective I took, as for I never really did research thoroughly the bonds, on what bond money is used for, But it's used, from my standards, they build schools with the bond bond."I explained why these questions are important. It's about the ability to manage a budget, the basic understanding of what a budget involves, I said. Is it important to have some business or financial understanding?"It's important. But at the end of the day, you have a lot of people who serve on the school board who have no business experience."Name one."You've got a guy who's in Maryland who's 19 years old who serves on the school board."Let's keep it local, I said, since you criticize Nutall for being from Alabama. Name one trustee in Dallas who has no business experience."Sir, I'm not going to argue with you on the phone."He hung up.

trudat
trudat

Nutall could be brilliant in her ability to undertand and explain the technicalities and details of how things have operated in the past and are going now, but if she is not trustworthy or if she represents the interest of people outside her district as opposed to the people in her district she is clearly the inferior candidate...and she is - clearly the inferior candidate...

cp
cp

Tell the truth, Todd. You hate South Dallas. 

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

I did read what you wrote. The first time you came across as an arrogant, ignorant bully who doesn't know anything about the BOT's history over the last couple of bond issues or the daily functioning of DISD.

Now you come across as a whiny little b**ch.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Me likey, Todd "whiny little b**ch" Robberson either that or anti-union McCarthyite smear artist, tough choice.So where's the transcript Todd?I would call what you do "carrying water" but that make the whoring you do for Belo sound too nice.

Sammy
Sammy

I would like to ask Mr. Offord if he thinks we need to keep schools open when they are half-empty.  I would be interested to know his opinion of the Madison and Lincoln situation. Those schools are hundreds under capacity.

Los_Politico
Los_Politico

South Dallas High! (aka combine 'em at Lincoln; turn Madison into an all girls high school. Name already sounds like a trendy girl anyway.)

cp
cp

You sound exactly like Ron Price.....

I call BS!
I call BS!

Tod Robberson, why didn't you include in your article ANYTHING you said to him?  You included only his responses.  And as a legitimate an ethical reporter when he answered your questions, why did you feel the need to argue with him about what he said instead of accepting his answers and moving on the the next questions?  

Also, while reading your article, I read a few more articles from you that report on UpLift Charter, and articles about what we could learn from Charter schools.  Your bias is evident through out your article. But your links to Uplift Charter, presumably EducateDallas, Dallas Regional Chamber shows me why you would call a candidate with such a hostile tone in order to try to paint him in a bad light.  

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Welcome to politics, a game for adults.  If Mr. Offord has the fortitude to lead a large school district, he should have the fortitude to stand some grilling by the media.  This is just a taste of what he'll have to put up with IF he's elected.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

If you think the DMN is a media outlet that is responsible and truthful then I have a toll road to sell you in the Trinity River (don't worry it's already paid for, honest!)

I call BS!
I call BS!

Welcome to politics.  How idiotic of me to think a reporter and news media outlet would be responsible with the truth and their approach.  Thanks for reiterating my point that Tod Robberson's OPINION is tainted and fueled by dirty politics and greed.  However, Mr. Offord is doing a stand up job and will only excel once he is elected.  

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