Scratch That: DISD Teachers Love Superintendent Mike Miles

Thumbnail image for Mike Miles DIsd.jpg
It wasn't so long ago that it seemed the relationship between DISD teachers and superintendent Mike Miles had gone sour. They bristled at Miles' reformist rhetoric, with its implication that steering the district in the right direction will require the heads of a lot of long-time educators. They didn't like the outsized salaries Miles doled out to his administrative team as their own pay (other than a modest, one-time bonus) remained flat. Those unannounced, discomfiting visits to classrooms by administrators haven't gone over so well, either, and teachers are still sore about that 45 extra minutes that was added to their workday in the spring.

What a difference a week makes. Yesterday, the Morning News' Matthew Haag dug up some 51 pages of teachers singing praises about the district and, more importantly, the changes Miles has implemented. DISD apparently intends to circulate the document among teachers to reaffirm their already drawn conclusion that Mike Miles is a fantastic leader.

Take a pair of elementary teachers cited by Haag. "I feel the Core Beliefs are great!" one gushes, while the other concludes, "We have a quality direction from our Superintendent to teach our students effectively." The document goes on in that vein for quite a while.

As you can see from teachers' spontaneous outbursts of approval, all those reports of disgruntled teachers and a growing rift with Miles were merely an illusion. The two parties are apparently on extended, possibly permanent, honeymoon.

If only. Not surprisingly, the 51 pages of praise for MIles' reforms does not represent a spontaneous upwelling of good feeling by teachers but by a ham-fisted attempt to boost morale from the top down. The Morning News' Tod Robberson found earlier this week that district officials had been telling principals to strongly encourage teachers to jot down three to five warm-and-fuzzy sentences about Miles' Core Beliefs are. No consequences were explicitly spelled out in the letter, but it was clear that it would be in everyone's best interest to comply.

This comes from the same administration that, not long ago, was caught feeding principals jingoistic buzzwords and catchphrases to use when dealing with parents. Maybe such tactics worked in Colorado Springs, but here our bullshit detectors are highly developed, and they tend to sound the alarm at such egregiously bad attempts at spin.

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13 comments
OldTimeTeacher
OldTimeTeacher

I am soooooo happy when reading these posts...I was so concerned that no one outside our schools were hearing the cries of the enslaved. The metaphor likening the propaganda to Hitler are spot on. I was telling someone today that we will keep track of the collaborators...our first year principal has her little stoolies all lined up, I'm the only one on campus willing to stand up and they've tried to marginalized me. Won't let that happen!

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

How's this for disturbing (from a commenter on www.disdblog.com):

 

Does anyone know if this is true? I’ve heard it from several sources.

Floyd Mike showed the principals a clip from “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the part where Atticus Finch shoots the rabid dog. This came with the message, “sometimes hard things must be done”.

I take this to mean that Floyd Mike was saying to his principals that they would be expected to fire people they like.

 

Another person responded that it is true and was shown to principals in July.

Teachers get very nervous when shooting anything is linked to a school.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

How sad that this superintendent is employing the same methods one sees when hostages are forced to read scripts in front of cameras.

 

Teachers had no choice.  If you were asked, you wrote it whether you meant it or not.

 

1 person tried to weasel around it and wrote praise for the other teachers and the kids; that teacher's submission was replaced with another from the school.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Mike's Mash Missives? WTF for? Why not just take a loyalty, love oath, televised, transcribed and signed. This is both stupid and repulsive.

drtz
drtz

What has this guy done that's getting everybody so riled up?  I know it's not right, especially with the high stakes in public education, but lots of professionals are being tread like shit by their employers right now.  Unfortunately it's part of the game when the job market is down.

dariot1729
dariot1729

Thank you Mr. Nicholson. It's encouraging to see someone on the outside not buying into the bs. You don't know how much this means to those of us in the trenches fighting this bull everyday.

observist
observist topcommenter

I wonder if this was another effort by the over-compensated and under-qualified Communications Director?

frenchunderground
frenchunderground

We all remember those who collaborated with the Nazis during their occupation of Paris. And we remember the underground: disdblog.com who used a system of communications to boost morale. The collaborators have families who must have shelter, food, etc., and we understand the stress they are under. We will all celebrate the day the invaders are thrown out of town, and we are taking names of board members who simply ignore the invasion.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

We had an anonymity protected  style how do you think Management doing questionnaire about five years ago .

If asking which facility you worked at and what your job title was on the final page wasn't a give away it wasn't that anonymous having a bar-code that matched your employee id on the envelope and all the pages inside certainly did..

 

Well ,at least they had the decency to act  surprised when all the Positive results came on ..

TitusGroan
TitusGroan

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

nomoredirtylooks
nomoredirtylooks

@drtz Kim Jong is running off teachers much faster than they can be replaced. Around 400 teachers are MIA leaving thousands of high school kids with no teacher in a core academic. Those high school kids will have to take end of course tests in those classes in order to graduate from high school. Kim Jong spent all summer doubling the pay of administrators to join his "cabinet." Lil Kim forgot we don't need administrators to play school, but we sure need teachers. No talent, no scores.

Frenchresistence
Frenchresistence

@frenchunderground

Poor DMN’s Matthew  Haag failed to put on his big boy pants yesterday.  He naively put up 51 pages directly from BSMountain and by doing so played into the hands of Miles and his ridiculous edicts.  I am quite sure that Chief of Communications and Miles were high fiving and fist pumping well into the night celebrating the victory they had not even orchestrated.  And much like those in the underground decades ago, sometimes the most well meaning inadvertently had others killed off.  We will survive Miles. We will outlive his soon to be negated or bought out contract. If this board does not send him packing, the citizens of Dallas will pack up the board members.  

 

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