As a Dallas ISD ex-pat, it’s often aggravating and comical to watch current goings on in the district, none more so than today’s story in The Dallas Morning News about an organization attempting to drum up petition signatures for an August vote in Dallas County about changing the school district’s governance structure.
With only just preliminary information about the idea, the squealing sounds of stuck pigs are filling up the comments section under the story on the DallasNews.com site.
The saddest part is that rather than having an open mind about whether a new governance system would work, the idea is summarily getting attacked as one that won’t.
Now comes the curious part of looking at who is doing most of the commenting.
Dallas ISD has had serious financial and operational issues for years. The six years I was in the district (2001-2007), I gave making daily improvements there all I had and more sometimes. I was fortunate to serve under two strong leaders and I won’t go into the facts surrounding the one I left under. History has proven my predictions correct, (let’s leave it at that.)
One of the common threaded attacks today is that because one of the people funding the organization proposing the change is a former Enron employee, well, then it has to be corrupt. The story doesn’t say anything about whether or not the billionaire in question did anything wrong at Enron, just that he was there. The people attacking him are likely the very same ones who when they heard someone around DFW say, “Ewww, you work(ed) for DISD” would say, “Hey, just because I worked at DISD doesn’t mean I wasn’t a good employee.” But apparently it does in this case. Shame on them.
One of the provisions of the idea is to set up a broader governance commission of teachers, parents, and possibly appointed persons to run the district. In a time where there is constant infighting about factions having too much power, the threat of this seemingly would be that those who are holding power for power’s sake might lose out on what they have instead of it being applied even more fairly across the district. Now honestly, how could that be a bad thing? Fair representation is one of the founding principles on which this nation was established to begin with.
The Texas Legislature, in its wisdom, set up this mechanism for school districts many years ago. Apparently it has never been done, but it exists on the books as an option.
What is certain is that there are schoolchildren in Dallas ISD who continue to struggle because of infighting, the racial divisions, and problem pockets here and there.
What also is certain is that there are many good and even great teachers, principals and administrators in the district who get up every school day of the week, and some weekend days, too, to do their level best to make sure the 150,000-plus students in the district get the best chance they possibly can in receiving a good, solid education.
Now if furthering that cause is indeed the true mission of the group that’s making this proposal, isn’t it at least worth getting some more information about it before making a judgmental decision about how it won’t work?