School Starts in Three Weeks But First, DISD Needs 348 More Teachers

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It's inevitable in a district the size of DISD that, in the lead-up to a new school year, there's a mismatch between the number of teachers the district has and the number of teachers it needs. But as DISD Blog pointed out, the district still has more than 300 vacant teaching positions with precious few days to go before August 27. Last check on DISD's employment website, the exact figure is 348.

"That's not unusual," said DISD spokeswoman Libby Daniels. "This time last year, there were 429 posted positions. Things continue to shift" right up until school starts.

Others beg to differ. DISD Blog compares the number with nearby districts'. Richardson, with a fifth as many kids, needs 14 teachers. Lewisville, with a third as many, needs 24. Fort Worth ISD, about half the size of DISD, needs 40 to 50. All of those districts are obviously much smaller, but percentage-wise, they're much better staffed to start the year.

Daniels said the district always makes do at the beginning of the school year by using substitute teachers and shuffling things around, but we're talking about nearly 4 percent of the teaching staff with 13 days working days until school starts. Maybe not debilitating, but it seems like a tall order.

So what gives? It seems to be a combination of things. Teachers, pissed about, among other things, that 45 minutes that was tacked onto their workday back in February have, anecdotally at least, been quitting and retiring at much higher rates than normal. Also, DISD waited until June to renew teacher contracts that are usually renewed by March, giving teachers time and incentive to shop around for greener pastures.


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24 comments
Banshee
Banshee

"That's not unusual," said DISD spokeswoman Libby Daniels. "This time last year, there were 429 posted positions. Things continue to shift" right up until school starts.

 

With DISD Communications, one has to listen and pay very close attention to the words.  Notice she said 429 posted positions.  The posted positions included other jobs besides teaching. Today's posted position count is 645.  Over half are teaching positions. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

This right here is why Dallas will never attain their coveted "World Class" status.  All the bike trails, hipster neighborhoods, arts venues, green spaces and sustainable initiatives in the world don't mean squat.  Every revitalization in an urban environment has to either start at, or be based on, a solid school district.  Solid schools will bring back the middle class.  The middle class, and their teenagers, are the economic engine needed to spur development, neighborhood revitalization and growth.

Fix the schools.  Stop funding Charters, if they're a viable business model, they'll survive; if they don't, screw 'em.  Don't just trim the tops off of Administration, cut it to the bone.  The chain from student/parent to Superintendent should only have about 4 steps in it (Teacher, Counselor, Principal, Superintendent).  Drop curriculum/lesson planning to the people who know best what is needed: Teachers.  Pay the teachers commensurate with their load and you'll solve both the teacher shortage and the need for incentive pay.

EducateDallas
EducateDallas

So, where do our illustrious trustees weigh in on this? And what about the new PAC's which spent  large sums of money to get these trustees elected?  Where are they now?  They had lots to say regarding the best trustees for DISD during the elections.  And the trustees had lots to say about all the ways they planned to make DISD a premier district.  Just what are these trustees doing to rectify this situation for the children of Dallas?

 

Educate Dallas?

 

Dallas Kids First?  

 

Any ideas from you on how to get qualified teachers in front of our kids?  How many of you have children who will have subs from the first day of school, and continuing for several weeks?  Would you put up with that for your own children?  Then why is it good enough for kids in DISD?

 

Perhaps these new PAC's could lean on "their" trustees and ask them to hold the superintendent accountable for the classroom conditions.  That is the way it is supposed to work, anyway.   Accountability for everyone.

gregpetty
gregpetty

Perry put 100 million guarantee  to auto sports in Texas, 10 million a year and we rank the lowest or low by every standard, in this country, Rick had a throne for to long, needs to be voted out asap

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"School Starts in Three Weeks But First, DISD Needs 348 More Teachers"

 

First, fire 348 administrators.

 

oh I forgot.

 

unions first, foremost and always

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

I suspect that many of those teaching positions aren't  filled from last year.  The district likely prefers subs, who get no benefits and cost far less.  DISD Teacher, I suspect that you focus too much on TFA and ignore the leaning on subs.  I'm not saying TFA is good or fine, I don't know.  But, some focus on the leaning on subs probably merits some comment.  At least I'd like to hear what you think about it.

bandito
bandito

Great quote from HR. Yes, they always start school with hundreds of permanent subs and get around to finding teachers around October. That is one reason the district is at the bottom. The schools with the lowest performance will start school in total chaos with no teachers, no books, and new principals.

Miles' style of leadership will lead to more chaos by this time next year. His play in Colorado was to fire teachers and principals and create constant bullying and fear. If that had turned his district into a powerhouse, it would have still been counterproductive, but his district was a constant low performer with his delusions of pay for performance and his coaching.

It's rather pathetic to see principals sitting there like lapdogs listening to Miles' crap training when they need to be in their buildings filling teacher vacancies and seeing if they can locate some textbooks. Dallas doesn't believe in spending money on textbooks or supplies when they can continue to hire high priced administrators who will have no effect on anything. There needs to be a way of reporting how many kids will sit with permanent subs for the opening weeks of school, how many will never have a textbook to take home, and how many high school students are sitting in classes of 40 students or more.

The convocation day will be another waste of time when principals could be organizing campuses for learning, but Miles' priority is getting as many eyes on him as possible. Classical narcissist, it's all about him.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

This is another example of the kids suffering because the trustees have handed over the reins and the checkbook to out-of-towners with no record of success.

 

"That's not unusual," said DISD spokeswoman Libby Daniels. "This time last year, there were 429 posted positions. Things continue to shift" right up until school starts.

 

Well, Libby, DISD's history of failing schools is not unusual either.  Maybe the 2 are related?  Ya think?

 

Miles has simply hired all sorts of TFA people who got the heck out of the classroom ASAP (after a measly 2 years) and failed to work their way up through the ranks of any other field as well.  No wonder things aren't getting done.

 

Meanwhile, over on DMN, Miles is shown telling principals to expect resistance to his "new" ideas and to expect the this-won't-last-either mentality from all of those pesky teachers.  

 

The problem is, Mr. Miles, that we'e been-there-done-that with useless convocations, "new" and excessive requirements, and more punitive measures aimed at teachers.  

 

Lots of tough talk from our superintendent unless Shirley Ison-Newsome is involved.

 

 

bandito
bandito

 @RTGolden

 Yeah all the hipsters are totally for urban renewal as long as their kids don't have to attend the neighborhood middle school or high school. Then they elbow the lower classes out of their way and take their seats or move to the burbs. This group will be no different. As far as those PAC parents, same story.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

 @holmantx 

I think we should require every DISD employee with a 6-figure salary to fill in as a sub to save the taxpayers' money.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

 @scottindallas TFA teachers are fine*.  However, hiring ex-TFA people with no HR experience simply bc they taught for 2 years under TFA is not a recipe for success.  TFA is making MILLIONS off of school districts and all the admins want a chunk of that cash by affiliating with TFA.  

 

I'd bet that Glover still has the same passive-aggressive-useless staffing person running things for him to compensate for his lack of experience.  Hence, the hundreds of unfilled slots.  

 

*TFA teachers teach 2 years and then 99% of them leave.  That means that EVERY school year, we have to find dozens of new teachers who must be trained and spend a year learning how to teach.  That's like using plastic plates instead of permanent dishes on a daily basis.  

 

As for the subs, it probably does benefit the district financially to use subs as long as possible.  The kids suffer, of course.

bandito
bandito

 @scottindallas

 Miles' playbook seems to be the chaos in Houston where trustees are tied into developers and there is total bedlam due to churn in teachers and principals. This is where Dallas is headed with Miles.

In Houston, there are "associate teachers" known as subs in other districts. Non degreed "associate teachers" earn $56 a day. Long term associate teachers who are degreed and certified earn less than $100 a day.Houston schools have as many as 14 of these of some campuses.

Why? Terry Grier loves TFA and has fired as many veteran teachers as possible on low performing campuses. Some of these campuses have seen 5 principals over the past 6 years. Grier continues to insist that high turnover is a mark of quality in education. So does Miles who has never supervised a high performing school or district and is a bottom feeder.

What is Grier's solution to the disaster he has created in Houston? Build 20 more high schools to keep low income students in failing schools. Grier thinks building new schools will bring the middle class back to Houston. (Sound familiar?) With all the operating money going to bond programs, got to have those permanent subs to lower payroll costs.

Grier rakes off huge bonuses. Just like Miles, Houston's board is corrupt and inept and Grier has 5 votes.

Houston is spending a grand per kid on bond debt and a grand per kid on administrative overhead (the highest in Texas). No money left for experienced teachers, so the use of subs is a way of delivering shoddy instruction. This has always been a way that Dallas saves money also.

The current Dallas board is clueless as to how campuses actually operate. In Dallas, skim, skim, skim money off campuses to pay administrators, consultants, build new schools, and for endless vendors.

There is no news in opening school with subs greeting teachers. It will get worse under Miles.

bandito
bandito

 @DISDTeacher

 Are you questioning the idea that keeping your door open and having 15 appraisals a year where your principal generally has little knowledge of your content area won't save us all?  Don't you see the Promised Land of Education Reform is captured in the open door policy and constant 15-minute snapshots of your performance?

Miles kept his Colorado Springs district in constant turmoil with this method and even TFA made it clear they weren't biting. Most principals in Dallas never had a track record as an instructional expert, so Miles' instructions to keep teachers on edge by having constant surveillance ought to make the DISD experience even better.

Waiting to see the AYP list for Dallas in a few minutes. HR has been pulling the substitute teachers in instead of getting off their butts for at least 30 years. That way the real teacher who arrives in October has classes that are totally out of control and students who have learned nothing for 3 months. Miles will insure this gets worse.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @mdcunningham In Texas, after 3 years, public school teachers receive what's commonly called "tenure," a special employment protection that teachers unions defend. As federal statistics indicate, tenured teachers (as opposed to less-senior "probationary" teachers) are practically impossible to fire.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @mdcunningham don't bring your "facts" in here.  We've got big national narratives to adhere to.  What are you an apologist for those caviar eating teachers?  We all know they're crazy rich, with their bloated salaries, fancy offices, and afternoons spent on the golf course.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

 @bandito I know: far be it for me to question the experts like Mike Miles....

 

The open doors and constant appraisals are educational kabuki because here's what Dallas doesn't know:

 

If your principal likes you, whether you are good or not, you WILL get a good evaluation.

If your principal dislikes you and you abuse kids, but you deliver the scores on test day, you WILL get a good evaluation.

If you teach science, math, or are bilingual, you WILL get a good evaluation--at least good enough to not get fired.  The district needs you more than you need them.

 

I know 2 principals who, despite years of parent and student complaints, cannot seem to muster the wherewithal to get rid of 2 exceptionally awful teachers.  In both cases, the teachers fill hard-to-staff positions.

 

So, sure, those 2 principals--and dozens more-- will see the open doors and they will check off their zillion appraisals, but with DISD chasing off anyone decent, the principals have no choice.  They will keep the devil they know vs. having a full-time sub in there.

 

And that's how DISD works. 

 

bandito
bandito

 @holmantx

 Are you a liar or an idiot? Dallas teachers have one year contracts that can be non-renewed on any pretext. There is no tenure in Texas.

bandito
bandito

 @scottindallas

 Miles and principals wanted the doors kept open so they could sneak into classrooms. This puts teachers on red alert all day every day. It is a way of terrorizing teachers. It has nothing to do with monitoring the darned halls. Miles is sick with trying to micromanage every action, including those of the board, in the district. He will now try to persuade the board that he needs to boil policy down to suit him and further decrease any power they have over him. By the time everyone figures it out, it will be too late.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @DISDTeacher I would think that in many cases keeping the doors open (lunch hours excluded) might well help keep the halls better monitored and quiet.  I could see how that alone isn't such a bad idea.  But, I imagine that's not among the top 5 most pressing issues.

bandito
bandito

 @DISDTeacher

 And here is how Miles' appraisal system works in reality:

 

http://www.csindy.com/colorado/school-house-rocked/Content?oid=1706050

 

The performance snapshots are totally subjective and used to run off teachers who are not totally subservient.

 

Miles is now on the prowl to do the EXACT same thing he did to his board in Colorado Springs--tell them what they can say in public and boil down policy to his liking. This is what parents and the public were ready to riot about in Colorado Springs and the reason they wanted him gone. Their test results were horrible and the district was run off pure fear. So Belo and the mayor decided he was a good fit for Dallas. Welcome to years of trying to find teachers. No one will want to work here.

 

Morath and the jerk Flores along with Bingham made it clear they have no respect for Dallas teachers. The last three rounds of layoffs made talented teachers stear clear of this school district and using subs saves money. Many more talented teachers left over being told they needed to stay for busy work after having class loads over 200 students.

 

As far as the really bad teachers kept in place by their principals, they are simply a link in the chain of really bad principals and really bad Exeuctive Directors and really bad assistant superintendents all kept by political connections.

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