What a difference a Williams makes. This morning -- on the day Dallas school trustees are supposed to decide whether to pull the rug from under reform Superintendent Mike Miles -- I looked at two sets of reports on the school district, one from Don Williams, the retired real estate executive who wants Miles fired, and another from Todd Williams, the retired Goldman Sachs partner who says we can't afford to let him go.
The Don Williams reports are scathing and uniformly ideological, based on belief that school districts should be managed by cooperative committees and the only way to help students afflicted by poverty is to end poverty. These ideas, if we took them up now, would be a return to business as usual for the Dallas school system before Miles showed up a year and a half ago.
|United States Navy|
|The way some people in the school district feel about testing is probably how the crew of the Hindenburg felt about gravity in those final moments.|
The Todd Williams reports, on the other hand, are uniformly data-driven and indicate the last thing Dallas should even think about now is business as usual. The Todd Williams data show Dallas schools lagging disastrously behind the other big Texas districts, offering strong evidence that Miles' tough reforms are just what the doctor ordered.
But first a word of context. Don Williams, the retired real estate guy, has been active in and committed to the betterment of minority neighborhoods in Southern Dallas for a decade. For whatever reason -- I really do not have a clue -- his primary vehicle for those efforts, the Foundation for Community Empowerment (FCE), seems to be dying on the vine.More »