Mayor Mike Rawlings Walked Out of a Meeting Last Night on the Dallas ISD Takeover Push

Categories: Schutze

RawlingsatUpliftBriefing.JPG
Apparently the mayor doesn't always have an answer.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings last night walked out of a meeting he'd called to engage a broad cross-section of Hispanic leaders about the "home-rule" push, an effort to strip control of Dallas ISD from the board and possibly put it in the hands of him. Multiple sources who were at the closed meeting, held at an East Dallas church, called me last night to tell me Rawlings blew it -- big-time.

Led by trustee Mike Morath, Houston billionaire John Arnold and others, the home-rule push, if approved by voters, would blow up the school district's current governance structure, place control in the hands of a new commission and free it from some state regulations. Rawlings is heavily involved in the effort, and sources said he called last night's meeting to rally the troops.

But it unraveled quickly. People at the meeting told me political consultant Anna Casey challenged Rawlings when he presented statistics to show how badly the Dallas school district does at educating kids. She questioned the validity of his numbers and said she had numbers of her own, the sources said. They said Casey continued to ask Rawlings tough questions, but in a businesslike fashion.

Rawlings told Casey something to the effect that he did not intend to be grilled. When she persisted, Rawlings stammered and then stalked out without saying a word, the sources said. The 25 to 30 attendees were apparently astounded. His behavior was denounced as thin-skinned and disrespectful, even by conservative Republican Latino leaders normally in the mayor's camp.

I have messages in since last night to Rawlings, the political consultants running the home-rule push and to Jeronimo Valdez, who was supposed to be Rawlings' Latino consigliere for the meeting. I told them I was hearing that they'd botched the meeting, and I asked for comment. Valdez texted me back saying he would be happy to chat in the morning. I will let you know what he says and, if I hear from the other two, I will pass on their version of things as well.

Two sides to every story, right? But, man, I sure got an earful last night from the people Rawlings walked out on. They were not impressed.

When word of the upcoming meeting began to circulate early in the week, no contact yet had been made with many of the city's most powerful Hispanic leaders. District 3 LULAC Director Rene Martinez told me he immediately advised Valdez to call off the meeting, schedule smaller meetings instead first with surrogates to work out the issues and then bring the mayor in later, only after an agenda had been set. Obviously Martinez's advice was not taken.

What did happen from that point forward was that Valdez got on the phone and started calling the people who had not been invited earlier. That guaranteed a diverse but broadly representative crowd, which meant it was going to be a free-wheeling meeting.

I also knew early in the week that Casey would ask tough questions at the meeting. How did I know? I own a telephone. Anybody who bothered to pick up a telephone and call around town for a couple hours would have known in advance that Rawlings was going to walk into a bit of a wood-chipper.

But here's the other thing. After everybody got done being shocked by his performance last night, the conversation turned to the fact that few of the people at the meeting really want to be on the other side of this from him. The people who were invited early to the meeting -- the crowd Rawlings did want to see -- included a lot of contractors. One strategy of the takeover group appears to be to get the word out that contractors who want to be on the gravy train need to get up on that train early.

But many in the Hispanic community who are not contractors also have been broadly supportive of the school reform efforts underway within the school district under superintendent Mike Miles. Many agree that fundamental change is overdue at the school system. But last night's meeting made them uneasy.

A topic that came up after Rawlings left was the takeover process itself. A lawyer at the meeting told those present that the takeover group already has a contingency plan in case the school board fails to take action after the petitions have been certified. Many had assumed a refusal by the board to act on the petitions would stop the plan.

Instead, according to multiple sources at the meeting, they were informed that the takeover group can take their petitions to court and ask a judge to set up the rest of the process. Any ultimate new design for governance of the district would still have to be approved by voters, but people capable of putting on a $3 million campaign would be hard to beat at the polls.

Last night's little debacle may have begun to sketch a line in the sand. There is a difference, some people told me, between school reform and this takeover plan. No one doesn't want the former. But a few more disasters like last night and the city's Hispanic leaders might jump ship on the latter.

These responses this morning by text:

Mayor Rawlings:

"Jeronimo is a hero to me for what he has done and his poise. I don't know Mari had anything to do with this. It was supposed to be a meeting with a small group by invitation only to have a healthy give and take. There were a few people that crashed the party. Jeronimo and I decided to hold the meeting anyway. After three interruptions and angry comments it was obvious I had walked into an ambush and a few people were high-jacking the meeting. When that happens it's always best to de-escalate a situation so I left so the community could discuss amongst themselves Our Latino community is critical to the future of our schools and city. I respect the leadership immensely. I plan to reboot and continue the conversation."

Jeronimo Valdez:

"Last night I invited a group of Hispanic leaders to a conversation with Mayor Rawlings about how we can improve Dallas ISD in an effort to better prepare our children for college and the workforce. Unfortunately, a very few people who came to the meeting had a different agenda. Disrespectful things were said and the Mayor left so we could refocus the meeting on education. I don't blame him. It's a shame because the majority is focused on improving Dallas ISD. Having Hispanic parents and the community involved in any effort to improve Dallas ISD is critical to the success of our schools. We're already moving forward, meeting with more members of the community meeting with the Mayor and anyone who truly cares about improving our public schools."

Also this morning, Dallas city councilman Philip Kingston, who attended the meeting, confirmed general characterizations of the events that I had heard from others.

"The first part of the meeting was useless, because he left," Kingston said. "The second part of the meeting had some interesting exchanges in it. I think there was some learning on both sides. But it raised almost as many questions as it answered."

Kingston said he thought the mayor stumbled immediately by identifying the takeover movement with charter schools, which are regarded with skepticism by many Latinos.

I asked Kingston to tell me, based on this meeting, if he thinks school construction and maintenance contracting will be a major issue or driving force in the upcoming debate over home rule.

"Regardless of anyone's intentions about the outcome of the process," he said, "when you change governance you change the way contracting is done, and it's a really big number in the case of DISD. That's not a criticism of home rule. That would be true of any attempt to change governance."

Also this morning: Multiple sources speaking not for attribution said they see a basic deception being practiced in the home rule campaign already. In response to a question last night, Valdez denied there was an agenda in place to put the schools under mayoral control, according to people present at the meeting. Those people told me they believe the home rule idea is being pitched in other parts of town as a plan for mayoral control.

Also this morning: Mayoral spokesman Sam Merten told me he thinks the sneak-attack theory on mayoral control is misconstruing how the process has evolved. He said early on the thinking among the Support Our Public Schools group pushing home rule was that they needed to present specific outcomes to people in order to explain the potential for change. He said one of those ideas may have been mayoral control, because it has been done in other cities.

Merten said the early feedback led the SOPS group to change its mind and stop presenting specific outcomes of any kind. The decision instead was to emphasize the open-endedness of the process -- the fact that it could produce any of a zillion different possible formulations on governance.

"One of the hiccups may have been not going back to those people who were spoken to early on," he said. He said he thought they were hearing the new open-endedness rhetoric and assuming duplicity or a hidden agenda based on what they had already heard. Instead, he said there has been a genuine change of strategy reflecting a change of heart on how to present the underlying concept of home rule.

Spoke with Anna Casey just now. She is the political consultant who grilled the mayor at last night's meeting, apparently causing him to bolt the meeting. I asked for her version of their exchange.

She said, "He goes, 'Well we all know what the facts are.' I said, 'Mr. Mayor, do you mind going over and telling us what you believe the facts to be, because I am not sure we all agree with that?'

"He said, 'Well, OK,' and he started over, and he said, 'Well the facts are that our public schools are dark places without hope, and charter schools are bright. They're optimistic.' He flat out said that he was against public schools and for charter schools."

Another person present at the meeting confirmed to me that Rawlings did begin early in his remarks speaking favorably about charter schools.

Casey told me she said to the mayor at that point, "I don't think we agree on that."

The mayor went on to talk about the need for a provision allowing recall of school board members. Casey says she told him that school board members, who must run for election every two years, are already more subject to dismissal by the voters than he is with a four-year term. She said Rawlings said he still thinks there is a flaw in the system of electing board members.

I asked Casey to confirm what I had heard from other people at the meeting -- that at that moment in the dialogue, she asked Rawlings if he was a flaw in the system.

She said, "Oh yeah, I think I might have said that."

At that point Rawlings walked out.

Casey told me her impression was that the original list of attendees was weighted heavily to contractors, many of whom do not live in school district. She said the concern that caused her to attend was her belief that Rawlings doesn't believe in public education and that the line he and the SOPS group are pursuing is damaging to the district.

"He said things, Jim, that to me hurt Dallas and hurt the district. It's the kind of thing that the suburbs and the private schools want out here. They directly profit from the perception that our public schools are bad, and the mayor is just feeding that. He's feeding our enemy."

Casey -- pretty well recognized in Dallas, even by her foes, as an expert grassroots election tactician -- said she believes the outcome for the home rule process is being gamed much more closely and cleverly than people realize. She said the timing of a charter election to coincide with a gubernatorial rather than presidential election is a move to guarantee maximum older white Republican turnout.

She called it "the best shot that they'll have for getting an electorate that hates public education." She said, "They want an increased Republican turnout of older white people who don't want to pay any of those taxes and they don't want their dollars to go to educating those little brown and black kids.

"It's very calculated," she said. "They act like, 'Well, we're just trying to shake it up and do something positive,' and this is really, really frightening. I'm afraid." She called home rule "a power grab to control all the money, control all the contracts."

I told her, far from frightened, I heard a rumor she had a den at home with all kinds of moose heads and bear heads on the wall and that one of the new heads on her wall was Rawlings. I said, "Is that true?"

"No," she said. She paused a beat. "But I'm holding a spot."

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315 comments
swilson14
swilson14

Who do you MAYOR RAWLINS and Judge Jenkins think you are? These illegals and their families DO NOT NEED TO BE HOUSED IN DALLAS COUNTY!!!!!! STOP ENTICING ILLEGALS TO COME HERE. TAKE THEM BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES! TEXAS DOESN'T WANT ILLEGALS HERE.  ARE YOU LISTENING??????? GET THEM OUT OF HERE!

emeismer
emeismer

I just had a canvasser knock on my door and ask me to sign the petition.  She intentionally gave me the impression that she worked for DISD, which after I thought about it, clearly she did not. Until now, I was completely unaware of this specific threat to public education in Dallas.  When I started asking questions, she acted like she knew absolutely nothing about it (and maybe she didn't, but either way...), and quickly left.  My red flags went off immediately and I did a little research, and now I have another ultra conservative issue to fight.  Citizens of Dallas, these people are not being honest with us. Do your homework before you sign this petition.

bbetzen
bbetzen

Here is the data that the three Mikes (Rawlings, Miles, and Morath) appear to want to avoid talking about:  http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/ . Look at the most recent blog posted 3-16-14 and titled "Dallas ISD Progress 2007-2012 & Problems Now."


It includes data on 6 critical measurements of student movement inside DISD for each year going back to 2002.  The cells with gray background show measurements getting worse.  Notice that of the 30 measurements during the 5 years from 2007 to 2012 there was only one gray cell out of the thirty!  That was wonderful progress!  Then Mike Miles took over and we are now batting 50/50 with 5 of the 10 measurements being worsening measurements, even worse than the time before 2007!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

What's with trying to tie this to charter schools?  It seems that the mere notion of invoking the term "charter schools" is supposed to spontaneously conjure up widespread panic in the certified and self-credentialed "educator" industry.

New York, Chicago, and the War on Charter Schools - Chicago Tribune

The problem is that your performance numbers are so bad a little improvement is being laughed at.  The citizen has had enough.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

To the SOPS people monitoring this article's comments....

Down below, you will find an account from a former DISD teacher WHO LEFT to teach in a neighboring district.

Like so many I have heard from, their story is the same, and you should really pay attention. There is no home-rule in Mesquite, garland, Coppell, Lewisville, and so on. They have poor kids, refugees, truants, teen parents, teen criminals and so on.

Why do you think they always seem to get the job done?

Why do you think they don't have the harassment of teachers, the way we describe it to you? The frustration, the tears and finally, the bailing out? You don't see many coming INTO DISD from the 'burbs. But 2,000 left DISD last year.

TWO THOUSAND. And those who did not retire? They all found jobs. Again, so much so, the Superintendent had to send a threatening letter to stop the rats from leaving the ship... not to call teachers rats, but often, you hear the words, "deck chairs" and "Titanic" used in teacher conversations.

If you REALLY, sincerely, and truly want to have a "conversation," then stop this HRD thing and have one. Shouldn't cost much, just a place, some snacks--and open it up to the city to come. But make sure you are doing the listening, not the talking.

That is why people like me and missxedu comment so much: too many others are afraid to, even anonymously. Doesn't that alone tell you something?

So, list all your donors. Show us the charter we know you already have drawn up.... We sincerely, honestly, truly want to see what about HRD is so different, that the changes you want---and list them, too--- cannot be done in the DISD with elected trustees.

Teachers are NOT the problem. They have never hired or fired a superintendent, chosen his/her staff, selected consultants at millions of dollars--and so on.

Quit beating that dead horse and get to the point.

WHAT DO YOU WANT?  

missxedu
missxedu

I hesitate to post something related to partisan politics, but this resolution is newsworthy, and makes me wonder what the Republicans will have to say on the matter: 

The Texas State Democratic Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution on Saturday March 15, 2014 in opposition to SOPS (Save Our Public Schools)

http://www.dfpe.org/

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"Rawlings said he is not in the driver’s seat on the home-rule effort, and it wasn’t up to him to decide when to go public. Because the city has no authority over DISD, “I’ve got to be very careful about the role that the mayor plays,” he said. Rawlings stressed that in supporting the aims of the petition effort, he is acting only as “a citizen.”"

this is true.  

Sooner rather than later the Trustees, administrators and teachers are going to come out of the box on the Mayor.

It would be like the DISD meeting to change the form of city governance to a Strong-Mayor form.

It is inevitable that there is going to be a civil war over this.  Hopefully, they will include the citizen and our almighty vote to decide the issue.

moncha
moncha

The corruption in Dallas ISD has grown hugely over the years. It is time to clean the house. Well, happy Sunday to everybody and enjoy today's good things. http://ow.ly/uDicQ

Catbird
Catbird

Is it:


"...they don't want their dollars to go to educating those little brown and black kids."


Or is it:


"...they don't want their dollars to go to indoctrinating those little brown and black kids."


abhaille
abhaille

I am a stakeholder. I live and pay taxes in Dallas.  My four children were well educated in DISD.  I taught in DISD.  


There is some rotten stuff going on.  More rotten than the circumstances that led me to leave the district.  I worked with some talented educators, my children had some brilliant teachers. 


Very few of them remain in the district.  


I personally spent way too much time and energy trying to get DISD to adequately serve my students with minimal supplies.  I worked very hard, with a lot of extra hours and I can assure you that I spent several times my annual budget out of my own pocket.  I spent time with after school activities and working with my kids. I met with my kids during the summer on my own time to prepare for academic competitions.  I had to fight nearly every step of the way JUST TO DO MY JOB.  My administrators did little to facilitate me doing the right thing.  I know my subject, I know how to teach it.  I don't need dilettantes who "dabble" in education to tell me how to teach.  I seek training for improvement every year because it is the right thing to do to serve my students.  I study tried and tested educational theory rather than following the "biennial acronym."   


I left DISD several years ago for a more congenial placement in one of the suburban districts.  I am well funded to do the best possible job and provide the best possible opportunities for my students.  The superintendent came in my classroom and smiled and waved at me. There are frequent walkthroughs by administrators. I get real and helpful feedback instead of "gotcha!"   


When I ask about doing something new or different I am asked "How will this help our students?"  That's how it should be.  


I'm really tired of public education in DISD being treated like a cash cow.  There are too many people that have profited on the backs of our teachers and children. 


Quit blaming the teachers for this debacle. They've been hostages in this "corporate" mess. 



outbeforemytime
outbeforemytime

If an unelected board or only partly elected and partly appointed board runs the schools with "experts" in some positions and magnet schools and their policies exist subject to the whims of a few, then Dallas will be back where it was about 1967. Single member districts, inclusion of all stakeholders and having to answer to the public are safeguards against cronyism, discrimination and favoritism. Did Dallas heroes like Sam Tasby spend 30+ years in court in vain? Could be.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

The breakup of the Dallas education cartel will never happen.

UnderWhlemedDog
UnderWhlemedDog

I don't have a dog in this fight but I think it is disingenuous for this to be made out to be some money grab on one side or the other. It takes away from the fact that DISD is broken, people with the means to do so either move out or send their kids to private school, so what you are left with is a system of mostly under privileged kids that few actually care about and everyone else is gaming the system for their own self interest. Whether that is teachers unions, contractors, administrators, or politicians most are using the district to further their own goals rather than try to educate poor kids. 


I don't know the answer, but I think the fact that people are gathering signatures has already started a much needed conversation. I'm not sure where it will go but lets stick to the actual impact on public schools rather than listening to scare tactics from either side. 


If you do a quick google search of Anna Casey it says she represents tow truck companies that were involved in ripping people off (http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/tag/anna-casey/). 


She was part of some shady no-bid deals at Love Field (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2010/06/at_city_hall_democracy_had_not.php) "The glue down there is somebody most people don't even know -- Anna Casey, the political consultant handling all this for concessionaire Gilbert Aranza. She's spending most of her time leaning over the rail at the west end of the dais mumbling to minority council members and giving council member Pauline Medrano in a big whisper-hug. Casey's trying to sell them something."  - Jim Schutze


From what I found she doesn't even live in Dallas. So she is probably representing some special interest group (contractors, teachers union, or someone else who has something to gain financially). 


The other side has some Houston billionaire that I don't really know much about other than he fights against public pensions (http://pando.com/2014/02/12/the-wolf-of-sesame-street-revealing-the-secret-corruption-inside-pbss-news-division/), but he also gave $10 million to keep Head Start programs open during the government shutdown (http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-couple-pledges-10-million-for-Head-Start-4876927.php). He went to Hillcrest High School but I don't see any other real ties to Dallas otherwise. I don't think he is in this thing to make money because he could make much simply running another hedge fund. It could be a conservative political ploy but then again Anna Casey is on the other side of that coin. 


Both sides have agendas which isn't necessarily a bad thing but the only good that can come out of this is if we all agree there are agendas and good people and bad people on both sides and figure out how we can take that huge mess of baggage and cobble together something that helps educate kids in Dallas because fixing that will impact us much more than just screaming at each other. 


Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

Good night, Dallas.

Good night, SOPS.

Good luck with huddling together quickly to defend yourself against all the common sense, facts and sheer knowledge of the history of Dallas and its schools, businesses and politics. We showed Dallas today what you are: a shadow puppet.

Make sure you get your new, reorganized talking points for tomorrow and next week.

Make sure you write down all we said. We will be saying it again and again. --And again. Until you either stop this charade of a "conversation," or no... just stop. That would be good enough.

So, now, I am off to sleep. Honestly, I will sleep better tonight than I have in a week, because now I see how weak you are. I do not underestimate you,though. Never do that with anyone. You will double down on meeting with people without us knowing it. You will double down and pull the mayor out of it.

You will start your march into South Dallas churches sooner, and to LULAC free breakfasts sooner than you planned.  You will ask your anonymous donors for more money and start putting up billboards along Central Expressway.


You will start hunting for a token teacher or two to be your beard... and it will almost certainly be a photogenic TFA'er, with bonus points if they are pretty and speak Spanish, right?  

Sweet dreams, SOPS.





bbetzen
bbetzen

The lie that DISD has not been improving is being used in an attempt to drive this misnamed “home rule” effort.


In 2006 DISD began a record setting increase in the graduation rate the culminated with the Class of 2013 being the largest DISD graduation class in 31 years.  DISD broke the 50% graduation rate barrier (diplomas given out as a percentage of full 9th grade enrollment three years earlier) for the first time in two generations in 2010!DISD quickly went on to break the 60% barrier with the Class of 2013!


(Then things changed, dramatically!After 6 years of constantly growing 12th grade enrollment, Class of 2008 to Class of 2013, the enrollment for the Class of 2014 has gone the other direction.After 6 years of constantly bigger 12th grade enrollments, the Class of 2014 has dropped by over 530 students, the largest year to year loss for 12th grade students in 29 years. But this is a story about Mike Miles and will not be continued here.)


From 2007 to 2011 DISD improved their graduation rates for every demographic group and did so with progress that was greater than the rest of Texas.For example, in 2007 the difference between DISD Black Student graduation rates and those for Texas was nine percentage points.By 2011 this difference between DISD and Texas  for Black students was only 2.7 percentage points!  


I have heard some say that graduation standards were dropped these years to allow more students to graduate.Then using Mike Morath’s own data, why did the so-called percentage of “college ready” DISD graduates increase from 7% in 1996 to 8.1% in 2012 as graduation classes increased by 46%?


It was from 2007 to 2011 that DISD improved official graduation rates, for the entire district as well as for each demographic group, faster than the rest of the state of Texas: http://schoolarchive­­project.blogspot.co­m­/2012/08/dallas-is­d-­is-catching-up-wi­th-­all-of.html


Those pushing the misnamed "home rule” charter want to forget about this monumental progress.  That progress clearly shows a change in governance is not needed for progress to happen.The "home rule" charter attempt must not distract Dallas from progress that has been made, and from the disasters now happening in DISD with student attrition and discipline problems worsened by record setting teacher turnover.


A clear understanding of current student 12th grade attrition, and the progress made in DISD from 2006 to 2012, is needed.This must be shared with more of the public. I welcome a very critical reading of the above facts by anyone, especially Mr. Morath. These facts must not be ignored!

E_K_Selim
E_K_Selim

The Dallas city charter has a code of ethics that says, (1) city officials and employees be independent, impartial, and responsible only to the people of the city;

That does not mean the people from the DISD cities of Balch Springs, Seagoville, Addison, Wilmer, Hutchins and parts of Carrolton, Farmers Branch, Lancaster, Duncanville or Cedar Springs.

missxedu
missxedu

@holmantx  Charters are being sold as a panacea, when in fact they are often outperformed by the much more democratic public schools. What is wrong is tying taxpayers' education money to endeavors from which private businesses are only too eager to profit.

boogerleo
boogerleo

DISD is a dead horse and needs drastic action. This cant be done with an enept school board and more inept city council. All are only concerned with their area of the city so nothing gets done for the good of all.Other small scale districts have less red tape than a 180,000+ student DISD that has slid further over the last 20+ years.The teachers gone should have been years ago as the 4th and 5th chances given for bad teaching, insured that they could never be fired!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@missxedu

don't know why you would "hesitate to post something related to partisan polictics", that is pretty much the lifeblood of the DO comments section...

it is truly amazing, I must say, that all these people already know what the Charter Commission, a group of DISD residents that is yet to be formed, will determine is the format of the revised governance structure of the proposed Dallas Home-Rule Charter District. their crystal ball is incredible in its ability to see the future!

would they help me with my NCAA bracket? if they can see the future as well as they say they can we could win that $Billion award for completing the perfect bracket!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

maybe you can find an article on how to cut/paste and link...

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/homeworks-emotional-toll-on-students-and-families/

frankly, this is similar to the whine of teachers being too tough on the students. the best teachers my kids were fortunate to have demanded they work harder because the teacher knew they were capable. if teachers do not push the student, the average student will not reach their potential.

the problem most students have with the workload is they do not understand how to organize themselves and how to study. those skills need to be taught  when the student is just beginning to get work outside of school, in the 3rd and 4th grade.

Curiouser_II
Curiouser_II

@s.aten  Hope Schutze, et al read this.  Some healthy investigative reporting by the free press could help us voters....at least those of us trying to figure out the straight poop.  Hoping the top editors are willing to redirect appropriate funds to support this...and hoping said editors have not already subcumbed to the same kool-aid as our friends associated with SOPS. 

mindingthestore
mindingthestore

The mayor's idea of "experts" is ludicrous. Todd Williams (former Goldman Sachs) is an education expert; Arnold from Houston (former Enron and hedge fund guy) is also an "expert" on education and philanthrophy. Mike Morath, a business owner in the government funded day school program is an "expert" on everything (just ask him and he'll tell you so). "Houston, we have a problem."

These are businessmen who know little about education but do know how to make a buck. We don't mind their money, but we don't want them making money on the backs of poor children. This week's cover of The Economist is aptly titled:

The New Age of Crony Capitalism

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall  

No shit.  Reminds me of last year when Bernanke commented "Ya know, I think that if the economy holds we might begin to taper off on the $85 BILLION a month purchase of our own debt with fake money we issue ourselves."

The stock exchange boys and girls collapsed the market by over 500 points the next day, letting the Fed Chairman know who really runs the printing press.  Bernanke apoligised and it was back to business as usual.

And it's like this all along the public sector.  It is a perpetual motion machine where even a lineman for the county can have a shot at retiring like the cops and the firemen.


How to Become a (Public Pension) Millionaire

womder
womder

@UnderWhlemedDog  I just love your neutral stance on this issue.  You accuse others of having agendas. You falsely imply that Anna Casey is doing this for the teacher union. THERE IS NO TEACHER UNION IN TEXAS! Do you read anything except your own posts? This whole repeated post in a cut down to Anna Casey.  She is being held responsible for Rawlings embarrassing himself to the community.  You make accusations about the teachers, yet you have no knowledge of what they have to say.  But through all of this you maintain your neutrality.  You must work for either Rawlings or the SOPS.

Curiouser_II
Curiouser_II

@UnderWhlemedDog  


The $10 mln the Arnolds gave to re-open HeadStart was not a donation, but a temporary, interest free loan.  Suspicious to some was the timing of this since it gave Arnold some positive PR on the heels of scathing investigative reports revealing his motives and activities concerning pension funds.  


http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=266465

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/08/scandal_plagued_plutocrat_suddenly_loves_poor_kids/

http://ourfuture.org/plotagainstpensions

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/looting-public-pensions-a-new-think-tank-study-20130926


Re John Arnold's connection as a Hillcrest High School alumn being a satisfactory explanation of his sudden interest in reforming Dallas schools -- as an active Hillcrest parent, I am unaware of any history of Arnold's support to HHS or DISD through the years, but maybe he has a long track record and it's not well-known.


True, all involved may have degrees of ulterior motives; but when the motives are not clear, look for the economic gain.

missxedu
missxedu

@UnderWhlemedDog  You posted this exact same comment, word for word, in this thread 21 hours ago. Your "I don't really have anything invested here, but oh let's have this conversation" act is now beyond stale.

Stating "I think it is disingenuous for this to be made out to be some money grab on one side or the other. It takes away from the fact that DISD is broken" and then mentioning teachers' unions, which technically do not exist here in Texas, indicates that you do indeed have a dog in this fight.

If you're going to re-post something, blog etiquette might include mentioning that it's a re-post. it received comments and subsequent discussion the first time. Do you have anything new to say today? Cutting the faux neutrality might be appreciated.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@bbetzen They sure tout BTW and Townview when it suits them, or when a school wins a basketball championship.

But other than that, they don't care about our kids. Never have. To them, like for profit prisons, they are dollar signs with legs.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Flabbergasted No skin in the game?  The opinion was drafted and signed by school superintendents and board presidents.  Were this to be implemented in Dallas, you don't think all of their districts would be watching to see if it were successful?

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@E_K_Selim Where was it that Trustee Jones asked about what would happen to all the stuff DISD owns?


RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@E_K_Selim DISD is not an organ subject to the Charter of the City of Dallas.  Nor would a home rule district be.  I'm not seeing what point you're trying to make.

The state reg clearly points out that the election in which there is a vote for or against a home rule charter must be district wide, not city wide, county wide.  It must have participation of 25% of the registered voters of the District, not the city.  In addition, the commission must include members from across the spectrum of demographics in the District, meaning there must be members from south Dallas County schools, Far North Dallas schools, rich, poor, middle class, and across all races represented in the district.  If you will actually read the law regarding the process required to make this change, this question never would have popped into your head.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@E_K_Selim That is right! ANY school which is partially drawing kids form other towns --what will happen to them?

Talk about no representation. Anybody asking all of them to vote, too?

missxedu
missxedu

@boogerleo  Booger (your username is similar in quality to your comment...)


Flabbergasted pretty much said the same thing I am about to say, but with different working: you clearly don't know what you're talking about, and you seem incapable of even communicating it intelligibly.


Try thinking for yourself and exploring reality before attacking a group of professionals like teachers.


Oh, and for the record, "drastic action" showed up over a year ago, and has taken the district nowhere positive. Its main achievement has been to chase away many of the best teachers we had.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@boogerleo Wow, where to start?

Your English is hard to understand, but you seem to be making the erroneous statement that they cannot get rid of *bad teachers.*

Yes, they can. They do. Unless they are related to the principal, or were in their sorority or church. Then they choose not to.

DISD contracts are for one year only, and they are not worth the paper they are written on. In them, they CAN let you go for almost any reason, as long as they have the documentation to back it up.


The myth about strong unions in Texas is so absurd. We are  right-to-work state. Unions have NO ability to negotiate contracts, teachers DO NOT get "tenure," and again, their contracts only bind them to DISD, not the other way around.

If you are going to insult hard working and underpaid professional educators, at least do it coherently and with facts.

missxedu
missxedu

@bvckvs @Flabbergasted  We still reside, first and foremost, in the democratic republic known as the United States of America. Too bad if a small group of wealthy well-connecteds don't want government oversight of PUBLIC education. That's just absurd. 

I actually do not even believe that "good schools that produce good results" are the primary objective for these particular people. They can't even answer basic questions about what we have in place right now!

missxedu
missxedu

@mavdog @missxedu  I usually stay away from the DO and its comments section ever since the author of this article joined the education deformers. Over on the DMN comments sections, even the whisper of anything lefty/righty can cause all kinds of foolishness to take place! There's a guy who actually believes that every road should be a toll road!! LoL.

As for the Dems coming out early on this, I think we all know enough. In the emergency board meeting, attorneys admitted that this home-rule business could result in taxation without representation.

Too much of the (apparently, not yet ready for prime time) SOPS approach involves "trust us - we are in it for the kids!" Ummmmm, just ... no. When in the history of humankind have people gone out of their way to gain extra control, only to turn it back to the people in an act of supreme benevolence? Hahaha.

The few specific arguments SOPS tried to use on their own behalf have been deflated all too easily when countered with facts and data. The Mayor's immediate and total support does not bode well either, considering that he essentially released the Kraken on DISD already.

Plus he uses us for photo ops one minute, then declares the district a dark place devoid of hope the next! Oh, but now he's reminding us that he's just a citizen in all this...(eye roll.)

(PS - I realize that none of this helps with your NCAA brackets.)

missxedu
missxedu

@mavdog @ruddski  The link in ruddski's comment worked fine for me. What doesn't is the cliche of "whining." in a freaking democracy, people are allowed to express dissent! Labeling it "whining" is discouraging freedom.

And I don't even completely disagree with you on pushing students to reach higher. There does need to be some kind of balance, so that the child is not a student every waking hour. Science lessons mean more if you're allowed outside into the natural world on a regular basis. Daydreaming is often the state from which creative geniuses get the seeds of their ideas. Intellectual and social development does not only take place through the completion of homework.

But back to the topic of this article... Rawlings cares nothing of these things, is in it for all the wrong reasons, and I continually delight at his fleeing the room.

abhaille
abhaille

@Flabbergasted @abhaille  It blows my mind still.  I just didn't realize that it doesn't have to be so hard all the time.  DISD does not serve its children or teachers because they are so busy being up the anal orifice of folks they see as "helpful."  


When the focus is on doing the best thing for the students the attitude is different.  There are still issues in my new district, but I cannot fault the management structure.  There are still parents who are unwilling to be accountable for their children.  We still have to tame some wild critters but it's nice to have support to do it.  My admin tells me not to take abuse from students.  They are swift to respond when there is an issue.  



Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@RTGolden1 @Flabbergasted Let me clarify. Sorry.

This piece came out 13 months ago. It has nothing to do with Dallas, so therefore, no skin in the game here.

These are reasonable people, not part of any machine in Dallas.

Oops, as our governor says.

E_K_Selim
E_K_Selim

The point is the mayor cannot act an official of the City of Dallas to tell other municipalities how to reform the school district in their city. He can act as a private citizen like Leppert and Kirk but he should not violate his city charter. If he acts as a private citizen he cannot use city resources.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@missxedu

"When in the history of humankind have people gone out of their way to gain extra control, only to turn it back to the people in an act of supreme benevolence? Hahaha."

if that is accurate, it surely applies to both sides of the argument.

The discussion should focus on what conversion to a home-rule charter district would provide to the district in its ability to better educate the students, and if those tools are currently available or needed.

the chatter on John Arnold, the ridiculous comments regarding a plan to turn the district into a "for profit" corporation, the statements that home-rule is a stealth attack on the teacher's pensions needs to stop.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski

and here I thought I was being a good person for reposting the link that would wouldn't work for me. go figure.

The thrust of the article had zero to do with single-parent households. absolutely nothing.

it's a much more conpetitive world today than "in earlier days", and frankly there's no reason to lighten the load on the students. as I stated it is more an issue that students are not prepared with good study and organization skills than having too much work to do.

ruddski
ruddski

@missxedu

Don't be too hard on mavdog or his complaints, he's morally bound to whine about anything I post, whether it's warranted or not.

The issue raised in the blog post is not new. Somehow, in earlier days, we were able to produce competent students without what essentially amounts to a ten to twelve hour workday. Sure, it's a new world, the "American dream" will be a lot harder to achieve for kids in school today, and maybe they will have 12 hour days just to pay for the bills the Choom Generation ran up.

And the "family time" referenced in the article - does that even exist any more? With the progress towards mom-only households, maybe it's best that the kids are kept busy at something other than The Simpsons while Mom works late, or cooks, whatever.

mindingthestore
mindingthestore

Of course the commission will be stacked with people who'll agree with whatever

the "home rule" folks want them to do. No dissenters will be allowed.

It's not that difficult to recruit people who hope to profit from the new home rule. Why else would Rawlings invite so many contractors to the meeting for Latinos? Why else would the vendor for the after-school program be one of the members of SOPS?

All of these people either have "skin in the game" or wish to have it. It's all about money, folks---not about kids' education.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Flabbergasted

"They already have chosen whom they want..... "

what? who do you mean by "They"? The Board? The Board is in control of the process:

"The Board shall appoint a charter commission to draft a home-rule school district charter

The charter commission shall consist of 15 District residents. The membership must reflect the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity of the District. A majority of the commission members must be parents of school-age children attending public school.

At least 25 percent of the commission must be classroom teachers selected by representatives of the professional staff as provided by the planning process under Education Code 11.251(e)."

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

@RTGolden1 @E_K_Selim Attack it how? They already have chosen whom they want..... D-Day did not start the night before, you know. It started months earlier. They will have the obligatory number of blacks and Hispanics, but trust us, they will be the usual suspects... Go back to Dallas Achieves, and then look at Commit. Same clowns, different circus.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@E_K_Selim I believe the law simply states 15 members.  regardless of the intent of the law, the commission would have to be selected in accordance with the law.  A stacked commission would be way to easy to attack.

E_K_Selim
E_K_Selim

I read the law and understand it. If DISD becomes DHRD the same rules apply getting it back to DISD, petition and election with 25% of electorate. There is no oops sorry we made a mistake and once the petition has enough signatures or BOT approval, SOPS can try another election if they fail without another petition or new BoT approval. As for your assertion the commission must have 15 people across the spectrum, the home rule law was meant for smaller districts. Tell me the representative composition you envision without going over 15 people. I need to go back the law to see if 15 was the required or the minimum allocation.

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