Last Night's Vote in Dallas ISD Was a Win for Mike Miles and a Loss for John Wiley Price

Categories: Schutze

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Look, life is not football. It's more important. I do get that. But, sorry. At a certain point in last night's Dallas ISD board meeting, a big scoreboard flashed in my mind. MIKE MILES, 7. JOHN WILEY PRICE, 0.

Very, very superficial of me, I know. But, hey, I am not the one who set it up this way. Last night, when an overwhelming majority of the Dallas school board voted to support Miles' program of reform through replacement of principals, the obvious score was inescapable.

See also:
Mike Miles' vs. the World

A month ago Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price not only called for Miles to be ousted as Dallas superintendent of schools, he urged that Miles be locked out of local churches. Price, always described as the county's most powerful black politician, sent a letter to Dallas pastors more or less telling them he wouldn't be satisfied until Miles was banished not merely from the school district but also from the Christian religion. As pre-game challenges go, that's a high bar.

Only two trustees voted against Miles last night -- Carla Ranger and Bernadette Nutall, both of whom represent the city's southern sector. They only voted on the principal thing, not the Christianity. But I figure a loss for Price on one is a goose egg on both. If they're not going to block Miles from firing his own principals, they're not going to kick him out of his religion. (Is Miles even a Christian? Do I have to ask him next time I see him? Sometimes I hate this job.)

mikemiles_markgraham.jpg
Mark Graham
DISD's Mike Miles
The issue as finally voted on was weird enough. Billed by critics in the month beforehand as a mass slaughter of loyal school principals, it wound up being a mainly procedural question of only two principals, neither of whom was named last night. The Dallas Morning News names them in a story today, but I'm not sure they're right. District spokesperson Jon Dahlander told me in an email: "I absolutely will not confirm the names of principals or their schools." So that's absolute. But we do know from last night's debate that it was only two.

Apparently dozens more principals targeted for replacement settled their differences with the district before last night's meeting, some retiring, some accepting transfers. The question concerning the two who didn't settle beforehand was odd, as it finally came to the table.

Trustee Dan Micciche, who represents northeast Dallas/Lake Highlands, evinced from board lawyers that a board vote to support management on the dismissals would give the fired principals a legal right to come back to a special panel of the board with an appeal. Only at that point would the board really know any of the issues in a specific case.

"If we don't approve the list," he said, "then we are in a situation where the evidence in favor of the employees will not be presented to us. We have to go on to the hearing in order to have the evidence."

So, in an odd way, the people calling for the board to vote against management on the firing list were calling for the system of due process to be cut short. That way no one would ever hear the evidence. One reason that seems fishy is the insistent rumor out there, some of it from good sources, that some of the original full list of firings had to do not with academic issues but with investigations into corrupt practices.

Ranger, who represents far southwest Dallas near suburban Duncanville, wanted the board to vote on each principal separately. Elizabeth Jones, who is from Far-Nosebleed North Dallas, suggested diplomatically that she thought voting to fire or keep specific individuals, blind and without any information, was wacko.

"Trustee Ranger, with all due respect, to try to second guess something where I haven't even seen a fraction of the evidence, because what's presented to us at this stage is very limited, troubles me," Jones said.

She said: "Fairness is a critical part of the decision that we always must make, but we can't do that by interjecting opinions or even a half a story about anything, and I think as the board goes, we should respect that part of the process."

Some of the public speeches were moving and kind of painful if you knew the players. Calling for a moratorium on firings was African-American community activist and former regional transportation agency board member Joyce Foreman, who was, as always, forceful, persuasive, penetrating.

But just as forceful and persuasive on the other side, in favor of the firings and in support of Miles, was Latina activist and former regional LULAC director Beatrice Martinez. She complained of school principals who were "arrogant and incompetent" and of "previous area superintendents who created firewalls of defense for them.

"Parents had no place to go. It is for this reason, unusual for me, I am here to support Mike Miles plan to hold campus leaders accountable."

The two views reflect a larger cultural tension between black people and Hispanics looming over the entire school debate but seldom addressed explicitly in public. Last night's speeches by the two women were especially poignant for me because I happen to know they are personal friends and longtime allies.

Some of this stuff ain't easy.

On the other hand, some is. Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas branch of the NAACP, gave voice to a point of view we all need to know about: "A hundred and forty-eight years after slavery, and we are still trying to convince some of you people that we are free," she said.

Wallace painted a picture - not uncommon in black southern Dallas - in which Miles, who happens to be black, is actually the agent of a secret conspiracy to enslave minorities: "Mike Miles has found some billionaire donors," she said, "and they call the shots. The money calls the shots.

"The same people I am talking about send their children to private schools, and they could care less about the blacks and browns here in this district. The long-range plans are to send the blacks and browns to prison (as) free labor, mis-educate the girls and build psychological slave ships on the ground for the rest of us."

Wallace is more or less in the same camp with Commissioner Price, trying to protect every job, especially his own, with a call for revolution. The trouble with that, as we saw last night, is that people don't want to go to the bother of a whole revolution - you have to live outdoors and maybe get killed and stuff -- just for one job. Or even two jobs. It's a scaling issue.

The bitter joke last night, I thought, came after the vote on the two principals. A second vote was on several hundred other district employees, mainly teachers, who are being let go for various reasons but who lack the political wiring of the two fired principals. The union reps spoke up for them, but nary a word was said in their defense by the so-called community activists. Zip. Silence. Out the window. See you, wouldn't want to be you.

Meanwhile, I'm just sitting there when it's all over, being my own superficial self. My man Price set the challenge. He needs to do some serious worrying about his stroke after last night's match-up. That's what I see on the board.


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29 comments
paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

Much ado about nothing and still the whole shitbox continues its slow burn unabated. Until one day we all wake up look at the last smoldering embers and wonder, What the hell happened?

gpulte
gpulte

How many teachers were fired and why? Why is this not a story? How many of the principals were demoted at pay in order for Miles to install his corrupt 'fellows'?

LULAC wants to remove the blacks from positions of leadership in order for them to be replaced with their Latinos; yeah good luck with that.

Who is Miles and to whom is he giving this district?  

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

The article said the truth.  This is not about getting good principals or good teachers or about getting the kids a good education so they can come out of DISD ready for college or a job.  It is about jobs held by certain "protected" black administrators.

John Wiley Price is mad that they got rid of one of his cronies - the lady that sent the kids to the movies.  Few people in Dallas would have done that - go against JWP so JWP wants him out.  ITs about power and cronyism, that is all.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

I wonder how much heroin JWP was running through DISD, before Miles stepped in.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

The problem is that we cannot believe he wanted to fire principals, good bad, or indifferent--BEFORE test scores came back, but THEY DELAYED HIS FOR THAT VERY REASON. Any problem for anybody with that?

Don't forget the race thing is textbook Dallas, but also don't forget, it is also Kabuki theatre. Until the masks are pulled off, you never know who is representing whom.

The very blacks yelling and screaming could be on the payroll of the rich and famous to garner support for Miles. It would not be the first time in Dallas that black folks sold out their own to the white business community.

But the funniest of all was watching the Hispanic leaders---all who have sucked at the teat of DISD for DECADES and are all over 55-60 years old, practically kiss his feet in reverence for the *reforms* he is doing.

In other words, "We will get more jobs now for those with Spanish sir names." Ka-ching!

Notice how there is no younger following of them? Go to the LULAC Chorizo Breakfasts. Might as well be a jobs program and Hispanic AARP meeting in one place.

I could almost hear the slurping sounds on Thursday night, they were sucking so hard.

They are literally selling their souls at the expense of the thousands of Hispanic kids in DISD they claim to be representing. Again, textbook Dallas. Cry a river of tears about how "your people" suffer, and fill your pockets at the same time. His reforms cost teachers time, wasted effort and will NOT bring any good results. But do they care? Hell, no. They are deaf... all that mouth noise.

Don't believe me?

How come Adam Medrano finally showed us he had a voice box? His LAST meeting, and he TALKED--more than once?

Why so quiet for so long? Muy interesante, mis Amigos.

exdallased
exdallased

During my 10 years in DISD I worked with many many amazing teachers and some really gawdawful people who were never really in the classroom but had some function in the district because of 1)who they were related to 2)what church they went to 3)what college they attended.  In my time there, the biggest impediment to effective long-term success was the constant change of programs and revolving door of people on that DISD career track.  We would have effective mentoring and tutoring programs in place at the schools that allowed us to collaborate about students and work as a team and then the "Blue List" would come out and in with the new, out with the old no matter how effectively it served our kids.  Ironically, I am all for great change in this district, but I want to see people who have a vested in my kids in charge.  I want to see teachers have real input and value in this district.  Mr. Miles, listen to the teachers.  Listen to them.  Pay attention to those school surveys and make sure that they are indeed private and secure.  So far the only really change I am seeing is a lot of evaluators evaluating objectives on classroom boards but no tools being put in place to support those teachers and to actually affect instruction in the classroom. 

bbetzen
bbetzen

If DISD Board members had done their home work in Colorado Springs before hiring Mike Miles they would have looked at the enrollment by grade numbers for the Harrison 2 School District and noticed a very troubling pattern. While the total district enrollment was constant, 11,218 when hired and 11,203 as he came to work in Dallas, the enrollment in high schools dropped over 26% during his tenure!  Over 740 students were missing by the time he moved to Dallas.

The normal percentage of 9th graders not reflected in 12th grade enrollment three years later increased over 500%! It went from an average of less than 5% to 30%! This leads to many questions that should gave been asked of Mike Miles before he was ever hired, and should still be asked now, before Dallas ISD looks like his old Colorado District and looses 26% of high school enrollment!

Why did Harrison 2 District high school enrollment drop 26%?

See more details at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2013/05/damage-by-mike-miles-in-colorado.html

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

So a simple question from my simple MIND ?Are these changes in the Staff employment status are being done in a way that will prevent  serous financial harm to the DISD ?

Is this what DUE Process should look like when it comes to these kinds of dismissals?



everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

A second vote was on several hundred other district employees, mainly teachers, who are being let go for various reasons but who lack the political wiring of the two fired principals. The union reps spoke up for them, but nary a word was said in their defense by the so-called community activists. Zip. Silence. Out the window. See you, wouldn't want to be you. 

Of course.  Rank and file teachers can't be cogs in the kickback machine.  Wallace already laid it out for everyone:

"The money calls the shots."

Wallace is just mad that Miles has different money backers than the traditional bribers she's used to working with.

hohummmzzzz
hohummmzzzz

Reading what JS has to say about JWP is getting to be like reading what John Cornyn has to say about Obama...let me slap myself before I slide off my chair....

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

Other than Micciche, who stated his vote may be voted on allowing the procedural machine to start, I think we are giving the other trustees too much credit of whether they intended to start of derail the possibility of the appeal process. 

Rangers move reeked of either a weak attempt to compromise (take one and leave one) or maybe she really only cared to protect one of the principals (i.e. friends in high places).

I will have to disagree with you however Jim.  While JWP might have lost on the surface, he needed to lose in order to put a fire under the troops.  HIs message will just switch from "what might happen" to "what did happen". 

EastDallasDad
EastDallasDad

Anyone that follows DISD closely should realize that this is a routine procedural vote. The DISD budget which will be approved in June and Miles' evaluation which will be completed sometime in the future* are the real battles to watch.

 * Miles' contract specifies it is to be done on May 15 because Miles wanted it completed before newly elected trustees are sworn in. When all three incumbents won, it was moved without a public vote to July and may be moved again. Miles wants time to cherry pick data to counterbalance his numerous mistakes and missteps.

rain392
rain392

I think good teachers should be respected and honored.  The parents, the kids and the teacher's peers and supervisors know who is good.  This data can be captured on evaluations throughout the year.   The bad ones need to go!   Do you remember your really good teachers?   I do.  Do you remember your bad teachers.  Yes, I certainly do and to spend a whole year in their classroom was torture. I can still give you specific examples from 65 years ago.

A child's life can be changed by one really bad or one really good teacher.  The classroom atmosphere, the clarity, creativity and excitement of the instruction by one teacher in one year can turn on a kid for life.  Kids without much support at home need more at school to catch up and feel supported but they too benefit from good teachers.


Lakewooder
Lakewooder

"The long-range plans are to send the blacks and browns to prison (as) free labor, mis-educate the girls and build psychological slave ships on the ground for the rest of us."

ELP song is doing perpetual loop in my head.

JohnWiley
JohnWiley

WAAHH!!! ah NEEDS muh MOMMY!!!

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@bbetzen simple and same tool used by my HS Kaufman..I started in 98' as a freshman with about 300 kids walked with 150....thats around a 50% reduction..Kaufman ran off every bad kid...hell I got in trouble and I was a ghost at that place.   Dallas should run off every bad kid, NCLB is bullshit you cannot educate the unwilling at the detriment of those kids that want to be there.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@oakclifftownie 

Last night's vote was a vote to do it as the law provides and as it has always been done in the past. By balking and talking,the board got razor's edge close to some serious exposure, as when Ranger moved to split the vote on the two principals, which could have publicly conveyed what the different grounds were for terminating them. That begins to be grounds for a pretty nice little lawsuit maybe, depending, but Miles and the rest of the board reined it back in and got Ranger to undo her motion. Nutall also seemed to be messing around with getting some of the specific grounds out in public. It didn't happen. But that could have been a nice Christmas present for the fired principals, at heavy taxpayer expense.

EastDallasDad
EastDallasDad

@Rumpunch1 The principal at Roosevelt is facing serious accusations of nepotism and misuse of Federal funds. I suspect that is why Trustee Ranger wanted to separate the vote. 

observist
observist

@Lakewooder   Yeah, that's not playing the race card, that's playing about 2/3 of the race deck. 

Emerson Lake & Palmer, right?  Don't know the song / get the reference.  

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

@JohnWiley Don't worry... the paper sacks full of cash will still arrive on your doorstep the morning of the really important votes.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@observist @Lakewooder 

Good line. Needs work. Not playing with a full deck of race cards? Sorta long. One race card shy of a deck? Complicated. 

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