Mike Miles is a Dead Boss Walking

Thumbnail image for SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
OK, business-community school reformers. I believe you mean well. But your guy is toast. You recruited a school superintendent who cannot and will not make it in the big city.

You can get all stubborn about it and defend him to the last ditch. If I had to bet, I'd bet that's what you will do, mainly because you're human beings and human beings are assholes. But the last ditch is exactly where you and your asshole buddy will wind up.

See also:
The North Dallas Plot to Take Over Dallas' Schools

Dallas' new school superintendent isn't toast already because he got slapped by a bad audit. He's toast because he called the audit a witch hunt. He called the audit a witch hunt because he's thin-skinned and arrogant as hell.

Instead of taking it, squaring his shoulders, putting his head down and publically eating some crow, he threw his head back and started barking like a dog. The audit castigated Miles for bending rules on a bunch of hurried-up hires as he came into office last July. Five days ago, an executive involved in an allegation of expense account fakery resigned suddenly.

Think about this. In a very public office like this one where you are scoured by public scrutiny 24/7, you get accused in an audit of handing out public money under fishy circumstances. One of your fishy new hires takes a powder. Are you really in a good position to shoot your mouth off?

It would be one thing if Miles' reaction to the bad audit were a one-off. But it's not. In fact he's been like this from the start.

When he brought his PR lady here from Colorado Spring at double what she was making at her old job, he tried to make it sound to reporters like he barely knew her, as if this were an arms-length hire after a national search or something. Miles also suggested his PR lady was being discriminated against because she was so good-looking.

Oh, there's a great cause to fight. Equal rights for hotties.

Tim Rogers at D Magazine wrote what was probably the best analysis of that stupid chapter. He quoted a writer in Colorado Springs who suggested Miles may have gotten his head screwed on wrong because of the fawning coverage he received from some local media in that bastion of right-wing nutballery.

Mike Miles Billboard.JPG
Look, let's not go on ad nauseum here. C'mon. You know who you are. You're the well-meaning business leaders who brought Miles here in what I have always believed was a well-intentioned and resourceful attempt to rescue our beleaguered school system. You have been absolutely right to approach this problem as a matter of true urgency. We should all be shocked and appalled, as I believe you are, by the number of poor minority kids dumped out of DISD every year as functional illiterates cruelly condemned to lives of crime and punishment.

But you found the wrong guy. You looked for outcomes. I get that. But this is public office and public theater. You have to look for temperament, too. An arrogant son of a bitch who shoots all his messengers may work fine in corporate climes. But this isn't corporate. It's public. It's on TV every day and every night. If he can't control his mouth, the same guy who may look tough and decisive in a board room will wind up looking like a lunatic clown on TV.

Miles can't control his mouth. He shows nothing but disdain for public process and public sensibility. You have to know that's not going to work. Ever.

So drag it out if you want to. Prolong your agony. But you know in your hearts you're better off cutting your losses. That does not mean you should go away. The urgency that a new generation of business leaders brings to this table is a breath of hope. Just try again.

This time, when you're meeting your candidates, try some tricks like they use on candidates for medical residencies. At lunch, say something like, "I hope if you come here you'll dress a little sharper." See if the candidate hurls a fistful of pasta salad in your face or says something like, "You hate me because I'm hot."

Yeah. Those are red flags. Red red red.


My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
secretburrito
secretburrito

Kudos to you Jim Schutze!  Just one day after your article was published, we read about a more "contrite" and "humbled" Mike Miles in the article published in the DMN yesterday.  And now today we hear of Jennifer Sprague's resignation!  Could this day get any better?  It's about time!

I credit your recent articles for having a positive impact in recent developments.  Yes, indeed - it's Christmas time!  Now if this guy can claw his way back to some level of credibility and do the job he was hired to do (i.e., raising education standards for the kids of Dallas and hiring and maintaining quality instructors), PERHAPS, he may have a chance of succeeding and redeeming some level of respectability before he gets run out of town on rail!

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Miles keeps saying that these salaries are needed to get "good" people.  I keep looking for where these "good" people are.  Obviously the liar Sauceda is not one of them.  Some these people got 60-70-100 % raises to join DISD.  Most people in the real world would change jobs for much less than that.  Interesting how that communications director has to spend so much time communicating about her 100% raise for joining DISD and about what the hell she actually does here?  Anyone know what she actually does to earn that money?

Keep in mind that these ridiculous salaries are paid with taxpayer money.  It is not monopoly money.  Excessive money spent in administrator salaries is money that could have been used to hire another teacher or for school supplies or rehabbing a rundown school library.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

THE FACT THAT MILES IS CALLING LEGIT INVESTIGATION OF A TAX FUNDED ENTITY a "witch hunt" is indicative of the mentality that goes with the Entitlement Crowd


sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

Miles should already be gone 


like most who seek power, they are the last ones who should get it

BobLowlaw
BobLowlaw

Everyone has an opinion on everything, no matter how ill informed.  Personally, I'm not reading anymore articles that don't begin with "I have kids in DISD and . . ."  

DISD is fine.  The kids are doing fine.  The guy has been in the job for, what, 6 months?  Give him a chance.  Besides which, as far as I can tell, the Superintendent has no effect what-so-ever on my kids.

--Parent of two kids getting an excellent education at DISD.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

The campuses are a mess.  Miles has done a big bunch of nothing about fixing the problems.  Banning crayons is not anyone's idea of addressing the issues that face DISD.

90% of the kids are wonderful; the other 10% are wonderful but need serious help and they aren't getting it.  Meanwhile, the board, the Citizens Cartel, TFA, Uplift/charters, Miles' "cabinet" hires etc are luxuriating in our tax dollars.

We need a completely different paradigm.  We need a super like John Kuhn(s).  Google him.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Miles is not the one on probation.  The District is.  If they cannot hang on to this one, then we need to execute the final solution:  break up the DISD into five smaller, more responsive districts.

halldecker
halldecker

Another Chief Bolton.  Q is how much longer will the Board put up with it.

We should demand a refund from the Executive Search company that found him.

MisterMean
MisterMean

Nothing ever changes at the DISD.  Ignorance can be fixed but stupidity (and the DISD) are for ever.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

The business community should let DISD go its own way. While likely done with best intentions, its efforts do not provide solutions and somehow makes things worse, however difficult you might think achieving that result could be. While I agree DISD is important to Dallas City, it is not critical to the metroplex. We have plenty of schools to provide people that fill high school level jobs. No shortage exists. Get out of the way and let the city leadership own and solve this problem. Continued involvement simply provides another target at which these groups can strafe, avoiding acceptance that they are the real problem.

dejahooty
dejahooty

Bill Murray ought to play in this eternal loop that never ends.You just don't get it, Schutze. You've put out some pretty funny crow to eat, but it's still crow.Where do people get the idea that sending a bunch of plutocrats, or the mayor, or Arne Duncan (who's never taught or been the principal of an urban school) or Sandy Kress to go crown the newest DISD emperor is a great idea?Crooks are perfectly happy in the company of other crooks. They smile down on normal people and point out the marks and stooges. Send a bunch of crooked politicians or the latest version of Dallas school reformers whose own kids have never attended a neighborhood high school, and the eternal loop begins again. Ground Hog Day every day.These high school kids got it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNjnYIAlTjIThey are a better judge of character than Todd Williams or the mayor's PACs or Arne Duncan. They had seen Miles up close and judged him a fraud.Want Dallas Ground Hog Day every day? Let the Regional Chamber choose. Let Todd Williams play education reformer. Let Bill McKenzie choose. Let the Citizen's Council choose or call Sandy or Bob Weiss if you want another Yvonne Gonzalez. All these people think they are superior to the mom or dad whose children have to use these schools. If the trustees don't have the sense to choose a candidate, pull together a committee of parents from some of these low performing schools and ask them what they smell in potential recruits.But that's not the Dallas way of doing things. The big dogs choose, the litte dogs eat the crap from the big dogs with their puffed out chests and games of status seeking.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

DISD is too big and too unwieldy for any one person to fix. There are too many people and companies that have a financial interest in the status quo. It reminds me of a pig trough. 

After Miles is fired or leaves, it's time to consider breaking up DISD into smaller, more manageable-sized school districts. I'm not seeing a benefit from DISD's economies of scale.

Daniel
Daniel

"An arrogant son of a bitch who shoots all his messengers" doesn't work in corporate climes , either -- or in the military, or in the professions, or in sports, or just about anywhere. Not at the executive leadership level. Maybe a surgeon can get away with it, or some suit in the entertainment industry.  

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Jim, Jim, Jim. It's not the arrogance. It's the malfeasance. We're are as fiscally broke as we are functionally broke, and this guy is, as your yourself put acting like he's floating on a river of money.

Miles was warned he was doing things wrong, and he did them anyway.

As for the folks in North Dallas who want to save Dallas schools, I'd still be a lot more impressed if they enrolled their kids, volunteered, provided internships, etc.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

All I want for Christmas is to never have the Observer publish an article or blog entry on the DISD again.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Paying ridiculous adminstrator salaries helped Miles blow any good will he had.  Hiring that Isom Newsome (I think that was her name) for a raise after her track record of waste, mismangement (sending male kids to go see a movie??), and debit card fraud (never held accountable) helped blow any good will- especially after she resigned with a year's salary as a buyout.

Miles in his 6 months has demonstrated that he has a disregard of sound fiscal management and a disregard for the value of taxpayer money.  If you feel that strongly about Miles, then why don't you write a personal check to cover these salaries - feel free.  Miles could have instituted change at DISD headquarters by cutting the waste and mismanagement there.  Instead he just added to it.

By the way, I doubt many people care if you read any articles or not.  If you think DISD is "fine", then you are the one who is ill-informed.

engmofo
engmofo

@BobLowlaw From what I hear, from teacher friends,this guy has done more to KILL teacher moral in the last few months ,than any that came before him.

plfarmer
plfarmer

@BobLowlaw Parent of three kids getting as good of an education as anywhere in the metroplex. But the whole Prussian template is a failure. DISD is the perfect place to find a better way to educate.

The academies are as bad as the charters.

. Excellance for all!

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

Oh--and in the meantime, can we have Alan King back?

TitusGroan
TitusGroan

@holmantx Actually sounds more like we might want to execute the final solution if they do hang onto him.

At this point I'm willing to let the courts appoint a special master to oversee some sort of transition, or yeah even a break up.

TitusGroan
TitusGroan

@halldecker Testify.  Why the hell do we need a search firm anyway?  You post the job, you review the resumes.  How hard is that?

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

@MikeWestEast The City of Dallas has little to do with Dallas ISD, and vice versa. I encourage the business community's participation in local schools, but being a volunteer and/or simply enrolling your children in your neighborhood school may be the best solution.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

@RobertStinson Agree.  Can't we collect the taxes per usual (city-wide) and let them follow the kids to the school?  

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@RobertStinson in theory, that's a great idea. Practically, that just means more overpaid bureaucrats.

markzero
markzero

@TitusGroan @holmantx Perhaps instead of a simple breakup into smaller districts, pieces should be given to neighboring districts. Schools near RISD go to them, those near GISD go there, etc. At least some of those surrounding districts already have experience (and better results) working with non-white and/or poor majority populations.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@TitusGroan It's hard. Executives don't look for jobs on the web and many are passive candidates. Search firms are critical to finding top leaders. That's not going to change. Most exec search firms will refund their fees if the candidate leaves within the first year.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@Chuck_Schick @MikeWestEast In reference to Dallas City, I meant the people inside its geographical boundaries. Everyone knows Dallas City Government has no input or leverage at DISD, regardless of how much time the Mayor claims to spend on the issue.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

Overpaid? That's for my vote to decide. At least the Board would be from my neighborhood and understand my local issues. 

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@joe.tone @SuperfuzzBigmuff i love reading the Observer, especially love Unfair Park. You've got some great writers and it's a far more honest source of local news than Belo's rag.

But if someone hasn't realized by now that DISD is a corrupt, ineffective, money pit by now then they never will. Every article is the same.

Back in high school we were asked every Monday to name a significant world event from the weekend on mondays. The defacto answer was always "they're fighing in Israel."

Likewise every DISD article is a) it's corrupt, b) it sucks, or c) it's wasting money on bureaucracy and screwing the teachers. All of which are true, by the way. But how many times do we need to hear it to know that? If you live in Dallas and care enough about this city to read the Observer and it's blogs, this is not a revelation.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

Chuck - Exactly. Carve off the rotting meat so that we can isolate and focus on the issues. We don't need to let the rot affect the whole carcass.Splinter the tax base? Isn't that why we have Robin Hood?

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

@SuperfuzzBigmuff You wouldn't happen to work for DISD would you?  I can understand 3700 peeps not wanting a spotlight on DISD.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...