Why Mike Miles Needs to Stop Defending High Salaries and Start Riding a Bike to Work ... Now

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Mike. I'm talking to you. Your whole story now, your profile, is all about the Miles-high salaries.

"DALLAS ISD SUPERINTENDENT DEFENDS HIGH SALARIES..."

"DISD'S NEW COMMUNICATIONS CHIEF WILL MAKE $185,000..."

Wrong. So wrong. One hundred and eighty degrees wrong. Think in terms of sack-cloth and begging bowls. That's what you want to project. Not the high-roller thing. You want to know what story lines you need to be projecting for the school system? I'll tell you:

"DALLAS SUPERINTENDENT SPENDS LUNCH HOURS PANHANDLING FOR NICKELS TO SUPPORT BELEAGURED SCHOOLS."

"IN AUSTERITY MOVE, DALLAS SUPER ORDERS TOP EXECS TO EAT LEFTOVER FOOD ON CAFETERIA TRAYS FOR LUNCH."

"ALL TOP SCHOOL EXECS ORDERED TO RIDE BIKES TO APPOINTMENTS."

"DALLAS SUPER SELLS BIKES, ORDERS TOP EXECS TO USE BUS PASSES."

"DALLAS SUPER SELLS BUS PASSES, ORDERS TOP EXECS TO WALK TO APPOINTMENTS."

"DALLAS SUPER ORDERS TOP EXECS TO CARRY POOR KIDS AROUND ON BACKS WHILE WALKING TO APPOINTMENTS, EVEN BIG ONES."

Since you took over as superintendent of the Dallas schools, the thing you've been in the news for the most is doubling the pay of your top executives. You've got four employees earning over 200 grand each.

You are putting the knife in the hand of the political forces that want to stab you in the back. Don't give them that knife! Damn, guy! DUCK!

It's right now, sir. I know you keep up with the news, so I know you heard or read about the heartbreaking testimony in Austin yesterday in the school district funding lawsuit. Rick Perry and the Legislature slashed their own support of Texas schools in 2006 and tried to cover it up with temporary Obama stimulus money. This was while Perry was bragging how independent Texas is of Washington.

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"Anyone wanna buy this computer? Schutze said I should sell my possessions and donate the money for new desks."
Now the stimulus money is gone, of course. Districts are firing teachers and slashing programs. Witnesses told the court yesterday that the poorest, most minority kids are the ones who will pay the bitter price of educational neglect.

OK, it's disgusting. You know it. I know it. I know it's not your fault. But here's the reality, sir: Between Rick Perry's lies and the legislature's chicken-shit double-dealing, public schools in Texas have been boxed into a death trap.

Yes, sir. Death trap. They hate public education. They despise poor minority kids. They are running the public schools into the grave, because they want to run the public schools into the grave. It's not a mistake or an accident. It's an agenda.

And every time anybody tries to defend the schools, somebody brings up the Miles-high salary thing. Don't ... no, don't even try ... do not tell me all about attracting top talent. I get it. I know you're right. Sort of. You do need top people to bring about the kind of fundamental change you are seeking.

But you're never even going to get the chance, because you're about to wind up in the political alley with a Tea Party knife in your back. And somehow you don't seem to be even faintly aware of that very immediate threat.

The real stakes in the school finance battle right now in Austin really are not about school finance. The game now is about the extinction of public education in Texas. And the principle political ammunition in the hands of the Tea Party seeking that extinction is their argument that you and your profession are a bunch of freeloading, high-rolling, party-time fools living on the public tit.

Yeah, it's a libel. And yeah, maybe my suggested headlines above would be insulting, humiliating and way beneath your dignity on a normal day. But this ain't a normal day. This is a knife-in-the-back, dead-in-the-alley day.

You know what I don't get? I don't get how you can not get this. I'm starting to wonder if you're missing some nuts and bolts. You need a wake-up. If a masked man comes into your office and pours a pitcher of cold water on you, you need to say, "Thank you, Doctor."

An earlier version of this story inadvertently overstated the number of employees making $200,000 or more. By, like, a lot. It's been corrected above.



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22 comments
TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Sledgehammers have no awareness. They are purpose built tools, designed to break things.

FrancisofAssisi
FrancisofAssisi

First of all, I have to say that Jesus loves Mr. Miles. I pray that he realizes the great opportunity he has to change himself and lead this great district as a servant leader. I say this because I come from three distinct yet inter-related fields. I started my career path in the non-profit sector, then I went into local government and then as an ac teacher in disd. In all three of these professions I have seen the most selfless people in the trenches. People who make very little compared to their upper echelon bosses but almost always are willing to give more to those who could never pay them back. They give without any hope of reward or recompense other than what they meagerly earn. I truly believe that teachers are one of God's gift to men (see Ephesians 4:11), and it is truly a calling of divine self-sacrifice. Over the years, I have seen teachers give until they can give no more...I've truly never seen a more tired and anxious bunch. They (usually) don't worry about stock portfolios,investment ROIs, or market crashes. They worry about our true future--our children. They know a nation is built on a community and its families. They buy jackets and beds, provide for canned food drives, and help with dental and healthcare problems. They buy countless schools supplies, running from store to store hoping they are not recognized from their multiple trips. They provide for the physical, social and spiritual needs of children who are not of their flesh and blood because they know what matters most. It's not a $200k bonus.

It's not a cabinet of self important people. Nor is it self-promotion or micromanagement. It's not products, but rather process that matters most. It is the example of showing mercy not so the children of our great city will one day show their beloved teachers the same, but that one day when the children of today are the parents,teachers and leaders of tomorrow they will show that same mercy to their children. True teachers engage so well that students do not even realize they are learning. They teach through their example, overcoming test pressures and failing health. They provide instruction where no sane person would go. Our examples teach firefighters to go into the fire-filled building and men and women of courage to run into the firefghts and the danger zones to try and do the impossible. Teachers release unlimited potential where others see just overwhelming odds and statistics. 

Mr. Miles, if you want to lead this great cadre of teachers, you must do the right thing that no one will ever see. You must learn to give until it becomes overwhelmingly natural. You must run from the spotlight into the depths of obscurity where the children live....without cameras, twitter feeds and youtube posts. Then you can become a true hero, the unsung one who is honest and noble.

Wondering
Wondering

And while he is busy defending the high salaries and putting the spin on how happy the employees are he is doing nothing for the district. He always talks about how change is hard and that is why the teachers are so stressed. The thing is I don't think this man has a clue about education. All of his reforms amount to just a few teaching strategies After sitting through months of staff development about these strategies that no one could really define or explain I had this terrible thought that this was all he had. There is no big change or leap in education for Dallasisd. There is nothing but micromanagement and bull shit. Someone is trying real hard to ruin Dallasisd

rpb008
rpb008

Blame the school board for letting Miles have his way.

Newtonianphysic
Newtonianphysic

@Dallas_Observer It will just leave institutional education with little hope of a strong future or sustained employment.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Is DISD's phone number written on some bathroom stall wall in Nigeria?

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

If any of Miles top hires performance is lacking after one year, is Miles strong enough to fire the person?  Or, will he keep them on because he doesn't want to hear "I told you so"?   If we see vast improvements in the positions they are hired to fill, then fine, let them stay and carry on.

URBogus
URBogus

By the way, where is the fraud audit exposing the relocation expenses of these "top executives?"

ocbanshee
ocbanshee

No need to worry about paying top salaries.  Citizen Mike and Ranger Mike will be able to continue these salaries even if the State does not contribute.  It is already in the works to earmark the revenue from removing the homestead tax exemption from your DISD tax bill to increase the cash flow.Seems to be a continued topic at Budget meetings.  

dallasmedia
dallasmedia

Teachers are poorly paid and held to Mike Miles exacting merit standers. Meanwhile, Miles's top aids get six figures. The DISD school board president is even asking for people at the top to take a 25% pay-cut.

Talk about a PR nightmare! Only top-level talent could mediate this controversial issue. That's why Miles pays his Communications Chief $185,000 to say "No Comment." 

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

The problem is, as I recall, that when Miles defends these salaries, the competitives from other similar districts around the state and nation never seem to back him up. It's starting to smell kind of like the stuff the last guy was selling.

Most of us who have something at stake in DISD actually understand what a hellish job the Super has just stopping the rot, let alone eking out some kind of progress. And we can damn well spot the difference between self-promotion and improving schools for our kids.

Right now, for example, I'd be a lot more impressed to know that every school is properly staffed and heated than I am to hear about inflated graduation rates or bogus test scores or great hires at 3700 Ross.

Teachers and heat (or a/c when it's hot). Start with the damn basics. We'll move on to textbooks next.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

What gives you any idea the Tea Party members care one iota about Mr. Miles. He and his supposed missteps are a Dallas problem. Their children and grandchildren do not attend DISD schools and they do not usually employ DISD graduates. The ones with knives aimed at his back are city politicians and teachers. The only other players,, business executives, have no problem with the salaries since they can do algebra and know what a drop in the bucket those salaries are. They were probably happier he canned half the incumbents and were amazed at how the other half held on to their jobs after years of leading such a corrupt and poorly performing organization.Also, if you are going to lambaste some group on educational support, learn to use the terms. Principle is the noun, principal is the adjective. I am sure both words passed spell check, but your usage is incorrect.

Fb2012
Fb2012

I think Miles and company need time to clean up the mess they inherited. If administrators aren't showing progress to that end they should be fired. I have a problem with trying to nickel and dime top executives. I don't have a problem with showing them the door if they can't do the job after a fair opportunity and with adequate resources. If the CEO picks ineffective people then eventually they leave as well. I have been watching this soap opera for more than 30 years. I hope someone finally gets it right.  

marple
marple

@Fb2012: You are correct regarding the communications chief. However, I think the case could be made for other senior level hires by Mike Miles.  Charles Glover is a nice guy, but he is in way over his head as the Chief Talent Officer.  There are over 245 teaching vacancies and it is almost Christmas. No other district in our area is in such a condition. He is not doing his job. Kevin Smelker was supposed to "find millions" in wasted money in the budget- he has found nothing so far. The only 2 hires with real talent have left: Alan King (who took a voluntary pay cut when he became interim superintendent) and Jamal Jenkins.  You could possibly justify some of this money if these people really were the "best in class" but most of them are not. Their resumes are just as inflated as their paychecks.

Fb2012
Fb2012

You should care because the poor performance of the DISD as well as its long history of corruption have hurt the city's economic development. The first thing I was told when I moved to Dallas decades ago was not to buy a home in DISD. We didn't. Poorly educated kids don't get good jobs, some turn to crime and generally can't make a contribution to the economy. Businesses and leaders looking for good schools move to the suburbs leaving us with the likes of JWP and Don Hill as elected officials. I could go on. Miles should stay if he performs and leave if he goes. What he does in his bedroom is none of my business. What he does in the classroom is. 

Daniel
Daniel

Why should I care one way or the other if Mike Miles digs his own grave? It ain't my funeral. As far as I'm concerned, the clueless, arrogant fool can pack his bags and go back to shagging Jennifer Sprague on the sly in Colorado Springs while collecting unemployment checks. How exactly would this be a loss to Dallas?

Fb2012
Fb2012

While I agree the communications chief received much too big a raise to come to Dallas, I think you are being short sighted for many other senior level leaders. Because of the size of the district they probably have supervisory responsibilities in line with being a superintendent in a smaller district where they would make as much or more. DISD is desperate for competent stable leadership. If these folks are performing they should be paid what they are worth or they will simply move on.   

tootingyourownhorn
tootingyourownhorn

Thank you Ms. PoleDancer. Your loyalty to your self is noted. Continuing to scapegoat principals, are we? Miles does that every time he appears in public. The best that can be done with the mess the trustees made by allowing Miles to run off with the public's purse is to cut salaries and see just who is "here only for a pay check." That would be all the administrators Miles bribed to show up in Dallas for Mikey. He pulled the same thing in Harrison since he knows he is toxic and needs layers of insulation. These salaries are way above market, and apparently the last hire found out Miles won't be here that long and decided not to relocate for the extra $100K.

The argument of these bloated salaries being a drop in the bucket doesn't cut it when DISD cut stipends for math and science and special ed and is now without teachers. Starving the classroom while treating the pigs at the trough is classic Dallas corruption.

Defend the kids-- disdblog.com

herepiggypiggy
herepiggypiggy

These aren't top executives Miles has hauled in. Since Alan King didn't want to lie for him and left (by the way where is that disappearing fraud audit on these "top executives'" relocation expenses--the audit Morath was trying to conceal) the only thing Miles has is a bunch of low life bottom feeders.

Throw money and these sharks show up. Meanwhile, leave the LEP kids with no teacher, 40 kids in a classroom all day at White, and no teachers for Samuell.

Not a problem--Miles is busy doubling the salaries of those who can hold their noses for the stench.

URBogus
URBogus

Thanks to the Spaeth swiftboating generator, we have an answer that combines DISD + corruption+ don't buy a home+ blah, blah, blah.

Fb2012, your canned response is laughable, really laughable. The idea of corruption before Miles got here, but a tryst with the pole dancer being in bounds is laughable. The tryst couldn't be related to the salary, right?

Who knows what has hurt the city's economic development, but Mike Miles spreading taxpayers' money to those who work for the district but refuse to live here should be something for trustees to change. Want those huge salaries? Move to Dallas and put your kids in the district. Maybe those teaching vacancies would be filled.

ItsSoSad
ItsSoSad

@Fb2012 Just who the hell are they supervising? What are any of them doing that has ANY EFFECT IN A CLASSROOM?

The teachers are doing their job DESPITE everything that comes out of the administration.

Tomorrow afternoon I have to attend a training session picked from a list. NONE of the sessions are applicable to my subject or my students. I can't go work on something useful. Is this a great system or what?

And there won't be any of our highly paid administrators here teaching the teachers. They'll be too busy having meetings with the rest of Miles' cabinet.

Is this why we need a new, exclusive golf course?

herepiggypiggy
herepiggypiggy

What exactly are they "performing?" Playing yes mam to the board and no sir. Glover thinks he's still in Mississippi. DISD is desperate for 250 teachers whose jobs they refuse to fill to pile up some money for more administrators. This is despicable beyond belief.

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