After Scoring Two Wins Against John Wiley Price & Co., Mike Miles Looks Like a Contender

Categories: Schutze

Two big ifs. If you don't happen to be employed by the Dallas school district. If you are not a member of the African-American old-guard elected leadership in southern Dallas with strong personal ties to certain school district employees. If neither of those categories applies to you, then you may not realize the degree to which those groups have been able to paint the picture and frame the debate.

According to those two groups, the debate over public school reform in Dallas is focused almost entirely on the personality of the new superintendent, and the debate is this: Is Mike Miles totally Nazi, only half Nazi or really just somewhat Nazi? Has he ruined the school district, messed up the school district or pretty much had no effect?

Notice how in those framings of the conversation there is no option for: Is Mike Miles doing exactly what he said he would do, and has he won every single big battle over fundamental school reform in the year he has been here?

Think about it. The two big Waterloo moments for Miles came in May, when the school board had to vote on a list of principals he wanted to remove from troubled schools, and last week when the black caucus on the school board tried to scuttle the budget for his special training academy of new principals. Miles won both of those battles.

See also:
- Bernadette Nutall: Miles "Experiment[ing] With Our Children" By Pouring Resources into South Dallas Schools
- Last Night's Vote in Dallas ISD Was a Win for Mike Miles and a Loss for John Wiley Price

Remember. The region's most powerful elected African-American official, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, has been carrying out a "Mike Miles Must Go" campaign in which Price consistently paints Miles as an incompetent. Price's mantra is that Miles came here from a much smaller school district and can't get up to speed in the big city. The organized employees of the district, meanwhile, have been painting Miles' reform campaign as a smoke-and-mirrors voodoo that can never achieve true success in student performance.

Mark Graham
DISD Superintendent Mike Miles
So what's up with that? The challenges to the reform itself - questions about whether it will really help students -- are still on the table and still valid until the numbers begin to come in. That's at least a year out, maybe longer.

But Price's challenge, that Miles is a hick not up to the rough and tumble of big-city politics, would appear to be flat wrong, already deflated and off the table for future conversation. If we were to view that scenario as a straight-up shootout between Miles and Price, then Miles shot Price's gun out of his hand last May in the principals debate; he shot Price's belt-buckle off with embarrassing consequences to his pants last week in the budget debate; if Price were smart, he'd wave a white hanky at least long enough to get himself put back together.

Did you happen to catch any video of the protest Saturday outside Miles' house? May I point something out for you? The leadership in that protest group is the same leadership that brought us another recent great failure on the social activism and community organizing front in Dallas -- the February 2012 mobilization against a Korean-owned convenience store on Martin Luther King Boulevard. I do not say this with any glee or gloating: I am familiar with and have personal respect for some of these people. I have covered them over the years.

But look carefully at their last two major adventures. The first was an unsuccessful attempt to force the sale of a business to politically wired insiders. This second is an effort to protect the jobs of politically connected school principals at the expense of and in total disregard for the well-being of children.

Why would we allow people with this kind of clearly demonstrated self-interest to paint the picture for us? And what about the teachers organizations? Certainly they have a right and a mandate to stick up for their members. We should expect them to resist any change that may threaten a single teacher's job, because that's what their members pay them to do.

But take a moment with me. Let's peel away the portraits painted by these two strongly self-interested constituencies and take look at the new superintendent strictly in terms of what he set out to do here and the battles he has fought to get there. All of his program is intact and still under way. He was the victor in his two major political battles.

Look, I'm not saying anything is over, and I am fully aware that the big jury is still out on the question of whether any of this helps kids do better in school. I'm saying only one thing. Look at the picture behind the picture painted by the two big self-interested categories, black elected leadership and the teacher unions. Who's got both boxing gloves up in the air after the bell? Sure looks like that Miles guy to me.

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Jim, you hard on against J WP is taking control of you.

Let me do some basic journalism  questions for you. Take a seat and get out a piece of  paper.

1. The Roosevelt HS principal, black , was *allegedly* misusing THOUSANDS of dollars in Title 1 funds. What, exactly, did Miles and his minions do in tracking this down and getting rid of her?

----Answer: NOTHING. It was a local media story that blew the whistle. Had they not, she would have been renewed for next year.

2. Marion Willard, black, principal of Madison HS, was also let go? Why, exactly?

-------Answer: Oh yes, the "ACT/SAT rubric, which is NOT USED IN ANY WAY as an indicator of principal effectiveness. Your own lack of serious reporting was fully blasted on a while back. They showed how you and Belo-cats cannot understand how to read educational data.

3. That is all he had? All those very bad principals, and what? TWO? Some of the ones who LEFT were not the worst, far from it: Conger, Tovar, the guy at TAG, and so on... Explain why they left?

-------------Answer: They left because they saw through the false evaluation system, which was brought in to them after 5 months of the year. They saw how it was a set up to get people, not on bad behavior (Roosevelt), but on COMPLIANCE. Did the person do enough "spot observations or not?" That is like judging the success of police department by how many tickets for speeding it issues.

 4. Will you ever compare what happened in Colorado to what is happening here?

----- Answer: NO, because it would screw up your persecution complex about J W P. Leave him out of it. He is a nobody on this gig,

We ask you look at one thing: remediation rates. That is how many college freshmen have to take remedial math or English to be at the right level for college coursework. In Colorado, the average is 29%. Under Mr. Miles, the HD 2 rate went up to 65%. They went up over 25-30% during his time of "reforms." Numbers don't lie--when you aren't using them to lie for you Also ask the USAF community why they pulled their kids from the high school there?

----Answer: They saw the excessive stress on teachers, causing the BEST to leave in droves and less learning occurring because of his fake reforms. Military people are very sophisticated about education, and they voted with their feet. So did the kids....

5. You have made a career of connecting the dots of the power structure controlling City Hall. You have also made the correct correlation between the rich whites and the black leaders of South Dallas doing their bidding, whether it is for the AAC vote, the hotel vote, the mayor's power vote or whatever. How can it escape your common sense that they were ALSO doing the bidding in DISD?

------Answer: They were. But demographic changes mean he will bring in a good old brown boy system. You hail the end of the black gang, but why do you not see the literally brown nosing Hispanic leaders lining up people to take those same jobs?

6. Will adding more layers of bureaucrats, mostly those who have not taught long, or in an urban school or taught at the high school level--where accountability really hits the fan---help? Does weighing the pig more often make it fatter?

---------Answer: No. It is a way to look like he is doing something, when in fact, he is---lining his pockets, trying to prove his Focal Point consulting group CAN succeed, even though it has failed everywhere else--- and that he knows what he is doing.

7. Go visit Paterson, New Jersey.

--Ask how his Focal Point group is doing up there.

8. Then go visit Union City, New Jersey.

----Ask them how they got it right WITHOUT his dog and pony antics.

Until then, teachers have lost respect for you. We used to count on you to tell it like it is, to bring truth to power. Now, you are a shill of the same people who have made this dysfunctional city what it is: a joke.


Let's look at Miles 2 big wins.

First, the firing of principals.  Schutze do you really think Mike Miles is the first Superintendent in DISD history to fire principals?  I will bet you that the majority, if not all, of Mile's predecessors fired or demoted principals in the DISD.  The key difference is they, unlike Miles, didn't make a grand publicity stunt out of the endeavor; for them it was called doing their job.

Second, getting approval of the Leadership Academy for a second year.  Miles had already signed employment contracts with next year's Academy attendees.  So the Board was left with the choice of what, spending money on an Academy for a second year or spending money defending themselves against breech of contract lawsuits.  Sounds like a loose-loose, at least in terms of money, situation to me not some grand win.


To: All DISD Professional Administrators and Educators

The vision that Superintendent Miles has put forward is warranted. We have watched year after year our so called "professional educators" lose sight of the true meaning behind public education. 

"If you can't do the the job, than you don't need the job" 

Do you know the minimum salary a principal make in Dallas ISD?

How many scandals have we watched on the news? 

How many out of control schools do we have? 

How many AU schools do we have? 

How many Dallas ISD educators actually reside in the community in which they teach? 

"Educators are the community intellectual body" 

City Domino Effect: 

Redistribution of wealth ( Dallas to Suburban Areas) 
Redistribution of intellectual knowledge ( Dallas to Suburban Areas) 
Increased unemployment in the City of Dallas 
Increased government housing / assistance in the City of Dallas 
City property value is lowered
Reduction in citizens participation 


Rural Domino Effect: 

Monetary wealth is recycled in the rural city 
Intellectual wealth is recycled in the rural city 
Unemployment in the city is reduced
Decrease government housing / assistance 
City property value is increased 
Increase in citizens community participation 

" Districts are not forced to adapt to the community, they are the community"


In case you didn't notice, many poor blacks are leaving DISD, in fact the numbers are astounding.  Whatever power they had is shrinking rapidly. So, they are freaking out and the black children who are left are attending mostly integrated, not "historically black" schools. Integrated with hispanics that is.


I wonder how much of this is based on a changing of the faces and phone numbers in the old Rolodex when it comes to providing the on camera community  Leadership that has had ease of two way street access to the limelight for years when it came to anything South Dallas ?


Your article headline should really read 'What smells nastier cow or pig poop and who can catch it better". I understand the excitement of taking on JWP and his goons to be exciting, but Miles obviously has some leadership issues he cant seem to keep a staff member and lets say....bringing your old "information officer" (fancy word for another assistant), renaming them communications specialist and giving them a pay raise of $100k was not the best way to start out of gate


Yo rarely iz da queshun asked: what’s iz our chil'ns learning?


Why Dallas hired a non-Latino to head a Latino school system is anyone's guess.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"If neither of those categories applies to you, then you may not realize the degree to which those groups have been able to paint the picture and frame the debate."

Jim, I may be dumb, I may be a cracker, but I am not a dumb cracker.

Jim, follow the money ...


People keep saying someone like Commissioner Price have power because he gets re-elected and is rude at Court meetings. He has a base that wins elections when 8 per cent vote. Same thing with Ms. Nuttal. The Citizens Council is in charge and it already made its bed with Mr. Miles. It wants change and it does not give a rip about teachers or principals. DISD had become so dysfunctional that it began to hurt regional interests. The approach means Mr. Miles has to endure a lot of verbal abuse, but he likely has full backing to keep moving. He was probably told the CC could not really stop the loud mouth carping, but promised when he needed the votes, the CC people would deliver.


Simple question.

How many Superintendents has DISD shoved through the revolving door in the last 15 years in an effort  to clean the place up?

At some point, must you not have faith in the person you hired to turn the district around?

Why then would you hire the person in the first place? If it ain't working school board, isn't it then on you to accept responsibility for faulty hiring?

Either that or sit back and let the man do the job you hired him to do.


"The challenges to the reform itself - questions about whether it will really help students -- are still on the table and still valid until the numbers begin to come in." 

All of us paying attention to this "reform" would have a good deal more optimism and perhaps a bit more "give the guy a chance" attitude had there been any successes in major urban districts using Mile's (Eli Broad's) market-driven reform methods in the past ten years.  But there have been none - zero - nada - zip.

I stand by my opinion article last month:


I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.


What about the 1,700 - 1,800 teachers who have left DISD? You make it sound as if John Wiley Price and Joyce Foreman are the only people that disagree with Miles' "reforms". Miles is a first rate huckster and slicker than snot snake oil salesman and it looks like you've stepped right up to purchase the BS he's offering. 

Before you regurgitate another Miles PR line, keep in mind that almost all of these teachers left voluntarily for jobs with private, charter or surrounding school districts. 


When will the S. Dallas community address the self enriching politicians who are feeding off the future of their children?  Neither DISD, nor any other school district in the U.S., can afford to leave any child behind.  NO DISTRICT in the United States can afford to continue doing the same things and expecting different results. We cannot stand still, we must progress... ( China has more gifted and talented students than there are people in the U.S., and they are in the process of attempting to create a genius breeding program that will appreciably boost the IQ of their population over the course of the next several generations (;  China is not our only competition.  Our competition is global, not local, and the tide is turning quickly.  We must focus upon educating every child to his/her highest potential!  We must also understand that not every child wants to go to college, and that there is honor and value in doing all legal jobs well.  The most important thing that we can do is to encourage the student who aspires to the blue collar job as well as nurture the gifted and talented student to create the inventions that will develop the industries that support the blue collar jobs so that we can reinvigorate our middle class.  This should be our focus.  If it is not, we fail our future generations and those past generations that sacrificed so much for us.


@frederick Black people are not freaking out.  Blacks are leaving the city of Dallas for suburban cities just as Whites did.  Look at the school districts in DeSoto, Duncanville, Lancaster, Cedar Hill, Frisco, Coppell, etc.  There are still schools in the district that are mostly black, just go to South Dallas, South Oak Cliff and Southwest Oak Cliff and most of the schools are integrated just as they always have been. Don't forget that many Blacks are attending charter schools in Dallas also.



JimSX has been writing for the past few weeks that Miles' staff departures are actually the result of targeted intimidation and threats from black board members, particularly Nutall. An article laying out this charge (and more?) is reportedly coming soon. 

What I really want to know, is when will the John Price indictments come down, and how wide has the investigation grown? I assume the delay has to do with a larger scope of inquiry, and likely someone in JP's inner circle (or his handlers) has flipped.


@MikeWestEast  Yes, the same politicians continue to get re-elected year after year, and they and the community complain year after year that it's the Citizens Council's fault for hiring the superintendent... The teachers complain year after year about the superintendent's reform plan, whichever superintendent happens to be in office at the time, and the parents complain about the teachers and the superintendent.  Meanwhile, tens of thousands of students graduate without the skills that they need to compete in a global society and repeat the cycle. As OakParkStudio points out, over the past 15 years, several superintendents have been hired to implement various types of reform, not just market driven reform, and all have been "shoved through the revolving door." At the same time, business owners in the Citizens Council complain that they would love to hire people locally, but S. Dallas citizens don't have the education and the skills needed for the jobs of the future and the DISD community keeps kicking out superintendents that the Citizens Council believes can reform the system. 

It is said that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  Which begs the question, why would a voter continue to vote for the same politicians over and over again if the school system continues to fail? Why would the Citizens Council continue to support those politicians?  Would any other community accept such circumstances for one or two years, let alone 15?  Why should the DISD community continue to accept failure, including failure of its politicians, the Citizens Council, the teachers, the students, etc.? 

If a party has been in a position for 15 years and cannot get a job done, should they stay?  Would your employer allow you to stay if they gave you a top priority and you failed to successfully address it year after year, and the company's future depended upon success?  Should a politician continue to be re-elected if they have had 15 years to address this school system, and they cannot get the job done?  I submit to you that our country cannot continue this cycle.  The stakes are much higher than they were just 15 years ago.  Texas is a bell weather state and DISD is one of the most important school districts in the country.  The future of the country depends upon the success of its school districts, especially its largest school districts.  We expect the largest school districts with the greatest resources to lead the way.  We must graduate students who are prepared to lead in their chosen fields, not just survive. 


"Ich werde in meinem Grab lachend springen, denn das Gefühl, dass ich fünf Millionen Menschen auf dem Gewissen haben, ist für mich eine Quelle der außerordentlichen Zufriedenheit." Adolph Eichmann 

This is an ethos .... a real cesspool of an ethos, but it is an ethos.

JimSX topcommenter


The 1800 departures are troubling. But we do have to put the number in some kind of context. The TEA website  puts the 2012 roster of teachers for DISD at a total of 10,276. So 1800 departures would represent 17 percent of the faculty. Does seem high. A closer look shows that 4,504 teachers in DISD last year -- before Miles -- had less than five years experience. So that's 47 percent of the faculty.  Older more experienced teachers -- 11 years or more behind the plow -- amounted to 41 percent of the faculty.  The number of teachers with 20-plus years, who could be assumed to be among the most likely to retire, was 1,884 -- enough to cover all your departures.

I certainly am not saying all the highly experienced teachers should go and good riddance. But I am saying that you need to put those departures in some kind of context with normal turnover, and then add this factor: yes, this is a year of major reform. Yes, this is a year of new pressure on  teachers. Yes, there is an extraordinary effort underway to root out and get rid of teachers who fail to engage their students and achieve measurable improvements in the performance of students.

Let's still say the 1800 number is extraordinary. Brand-new teachers last year were 522 in number.  So let''s imagine that's the typical turnover number.  I don't think it's a good number, because I think the district was still in contraction mode in most of 2012. But I'll take it for the sake of argument. If we discount your 1800 departures by the 500 in normal turnover, we have 1300 departures that we could call extraordinary and maybe assign to the reform effort.  Is 1300 too high a price to pay in a faculty of 10,000-plus for turning the district around?

That's the question.  Well, it's my question.


@KnowsBetter I regurgitate no one's PR line. Rather I recite facts based upon 3rd party scientific and business sources that have no ties to DISD or any other school district.  It is a fact that the U.S., including DISD, is falling behind in educating U.S. children.  This is not debatable, and the citations are irrefutable.  It is a fact that the DISD community continues to struggle with superintendents that seek to make reforms, whether it is Mike Miles or others.  It is a fact that Dallas is one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. in terms population.  It is fact that if S. Dallas and the DISD community, generally, continue to ignore corruption and allow DISD to languish, this situation will continue to have a dramatic impact on the ability of the U.S. to be successful.  This problem is bigger than 1800 teachers.  Rather it is generational and involves tens of thousands of students who have graduated from DISD schools who cannot successfully contribute to society because they do not have the skills needed to compete in a global society.  We are dooming these generations to a life of turmoil at best, and incarceration at worst.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  We must do better if our society is to be successful in the future and build upon the sacrifices of the past.


@James080 @whocareswhatithink It did take many years for Don Hill fiasco to finally end. I would love to see Dallas politics get out of the grime, but given the status of the Federal govt grime level, Im not holding my breath.


Any race will do, as long as they speak Spanish.


@IMHO Okay sir, you're a Lebowski, I'm a Lebowski, that's terrific, but I'm very busy, as I can imagine you are.  You told Brandt on the phone, he told me.  Where do I fit in?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter


For those that don't speak German ...

" I'm going to jump into my grave laughing because the feeling that I have five million human beings on my conscience is for me a source of extraordinary satisfaction." -- Adolph Eichmann


@JimSX @KnowsBetter

The average turnover in the district is between 700 and 800 teachers per year.  In the last 3 years the board has paid teachers (incentivized) to resign in order to offset the budget shortfall by the state and 4 years ago fired 700 teachers in 30 days to balance the budget in order to make payroll.  We have seen a permanent reduction of a total of 2,300 teachers in the last 4 years.  This year a minimum of 1,700 teachers have left the district. However, the final decision deadline to leave the district without the possible penalty of losing your teaching certificate (Mile's threatened to follow through with the penalty last month) is 45 days before class starts on August 26 so that puts the date at Friday July 12.  The exodus isn't over yet.  Taken in aggregate the loss creates much larger class sizes and strains the current HCM efforts (now without TFA recruiter and Miles cabinet member Charles Glover) to "put a highly qualified teacher" in front of every student. I believe it will be difficult to put a warm body in every classroom - period - and we will see yet another year of permanent substitutes with emergency credentials teaching classes they have no business trying to teach.  Welcome to Miles' "reform".


Ein fahrender Skolast? Der Kasus macht mich lachen.

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