A senior Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt sales executive says Common Core is not about the kids - "it's all about the money".

The Common Core is a "standardized" curriculum now used in 42 states. On April 23, 2015 the DISD Board approved spending $22M (over an 8 year period) for K-12 books from Common Core publishers Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. It's more profitable for textbook publishers to support a unified national curriculum. Is Dallas ISD "adopting" the Common Core curriculum by default because of the textbooks selections they make? Take a look at the April 15, 2015 DISD Board Meeting document on the $22M textbook purchase and this just released video (January 12, 2016) of a senior Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt sales executive.

View the April 23, 2015 DISD Board Document on $22M textbook purchase - PDF


League of Women Voters DISD Bond Fact Sheet - October 28, 2015

View Document as a PDF

View League of Women Voters DISD Bond Fact Sheet - PDF


DFPE Board votes not to support the current DISD Bond - October 19, 2015

Our students deserve a better plan. Voters should demand one.

View information regarding the November 3 DISD Bond Election


Disproportionate Impact of K-12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in Southern States - August 24, 2015

By Edward J. Smith and Shaun R. Harper
Nationally, 1.2 million Black students were suspended from K-12 public schools in a single academic year - 55% of those suspensions occurred in 13 Southern states. Districts in the South also were responsible for 50% of Black student expulsions from public schools in the United States.
This report aims to make transparent the rates at which school discipline practices and policies impact Black students in every K-12 public school district in 13 Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Despite comprising only 20.9% of students in the 3,022 districts analyzed, Blacks were suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates.

View the Report as a PDF


2015-16 Data Packet for DISD - July 25, 2015

View the 2015-16 DISD Data Packet as a 4Mb PDF


Spring STAAR DISD Report from Pearson - June 01, 2015

This report has not been altered by DISD

View the STAAR Report as a PDF


Amended Title IV complaint - May 28, 2015

Budget director Gilberto Prado leaves amid questions of misspent DISD 'at risk' funds

View the amended federal complaint as a PDF


DISD Climate Surveys - May 26, 2015

Dallas ISD Climate Surveys - 224 schools in one PDF

View the Climate Surveys as a PDF


DISD Trustee Forum in Oak Cliff April 9, 2015

Dallas ISD Trustees meet with Oak Cliff citizens on April 9, 2015 to discuss how they will hold the superintendent Mike Miles accountable for the decline in student achievement and school morale in the wake of teachers leaving for other districts.


DISD Teacher Vacancy Report - April 6, 2015

As of April 6, 2015 there were 416 teaching positions open with Skyline having the most at 13.

View the Vacancy Report as a PDF


Destination 2020 Comprehensive Plan - Feb 3, 2015

View the latest draft (Feb 3, 2015) of the "Destination 2020 Comprehensive Plan" including the "Narratives of Key Future Academic Programs" including Early Childhood, Public School Choice and Career and Technical Education (CTE). In addition there are school-by-school facilities plans and funding implications that include no bond election for voter approval but a TRE and then a "Public Facility Corporation" that will raise your taxes to the maximum $0.14 and use the $1.5 Billion to build/purchase facilities and then lease them back to the district...a finance vehicle never before tried on this scale and where research shows it may be detrimental to the future of public education.

View the Plan as a PDF


Dallas ISD HR Department's (HCM) LYNC Instant Messages - Feb 6, 2015

Read all of the LYNC Messages fom the Dallas ISD HR Department's Instant Messaging platform.

View the Instant Messages as a PDF


Alliance/AFT President Calls for Full Inquiry of Personnel Practices - 'A Systemic Failure by Administration to Protect Employees from Mistreatment'

(January 30, 2015) Dallas, TX – Statement by Alliance/AFT President Rena Honea on the resignations of Dallas Independent School District Human Capital Management department officials.

“The members and leadership of Alliance/AFT are outraged by these latest revelations of misconduct within the administration of Superintendent Mike Miles. The superintendent would like the Dallas community to write this off as merely a case of individual bad judgment by one of his key deputies. But this episode goes way beyond that.”

“The school district has a legal duty to maintain a discrimination-free workplace and working environment for all Dallas ISD employees. That is a responsibility that extends all the way to the top, including the superintendent's office. The statements and messages revealed in the Dallas Morning News reports show clearly that the current school administration has failed to meet that obligation...”

View the Press Release as a PDF


Dr. Kyle Renard, MD, Announces Candidacy for DISD District 1

(January 28, 2015) Dallas, TX – Dallas County Schools trustee Dr. Kyle Renard, MD, announced her candidacy for the Dallas DISD District 1 position today. Dr. Renard is a board-certified pediatrician, fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, former TAG magnet high school PTSA president and Site Based Decision Making committee member who offers a unique perspective to DISD.

“Many people in the community have asked me to run because they feel that my experience as a physician offers a unique perspective when it comes to our children and education.” Renard said. “The amount of support I have received is encouraging because it is going to take all of us working together to shift the focus of DISD to putting children first.”

Renard agrees with citizens in Dallas who care about education and want to make exemplary schools a fulcrum of change in our community. Renard will focus on helping every child in DISD gain access to a high quality education.

“We have some great schools in DISD, and those examples prove that we can do better.” Renard said. “We need to replicate our successful schools so that DISD becomes the first choice for every family in North Texas.”

Dr. Renard will bring common-sense leadership and fiscally responsible decision-making to the board of trustees. She is the mother of former DISD students and has seen many changes in District 1 over the last 25 years, including the transformation at Withers elementary school which was shuttered for over a decade, and is now one of the jewels in the district.

Dallas ISD District 1 includes Northwest Dallas, North Dallas, Addison and parts of Carrollton and Farmers Branch.

Pol. Adv. Paid for by the Kyle Renard Campaign, Pat Cotton, Treasurer; PO Box 670041, Dallas TX, 75367; phone 214-714-2707

View the Press Release as a PDF


Carmen Darville Instant Message Excerpts - Jan 29, 2015

Excerpts released by the Dallas Morning News

View the Excerpts as a PDF


Questions on Home Rule in DISD with Election Study - Nov/Dec 2014

Public education in its pure and intended form is under attack nationwide and Dallas has become a battleground area for Texas. The effort to privatize education in the Dallas Independent School District has taken on the name of Home Rule Charter School District.

We hope that this notebook will help you understand the implications of the Home Rule Charter School movement in Dallas and what it might mean to other districts in the state of Texas. There are a few areas in which Dallas is unique due to legislation which applies only to DISD: for example, the requirement for 9 single member trustee districts. These situations have been noted where applicable. The material in this notebook is a credit not only to our work but to the work of many individuals whose writing educated us and whose research was invaluable. They are listed as authors and researchers within the notebook. We publicly express our appreciation to each of them.

View the Notebook as a PDF


Michael MacNaughton: Miles has demonstrated little progress in the Dallas schools

Opinion Column of the Dallas Morning News "...After The Dallas Morning News' editorial board recently gave the superintendent a B- in its annual scorecard, editorial writer Sharon Grigsby asked in a blog item: "If Miles is so wrong — what should we be doing instead?" Respectfully, here are some practical and successful approaches currently practiced in other districts that could be used in DISD..."

View the Article as a PDF


Miguelo Hildalgo AwardOur Community Our Schools received the Miguel Hidalgo Award September 14, 2014 for outstanding contributions to the Arts and Education for their work in uniting the communities of Dallas in a discussion of ways to improve the educational outcomes for Dallas area children. OCOS, a coalition of parents, community members, activists and leaders, organizations and faith-based groups opposes the proposal to turn Dallas Independent School District into a Home Rule Charter District and seeks to develop an alternate plan to raise student achievement with input from parents, educators and the community. Dallas Friends of Education and Stop the Take Over are proud to be active members of Our Community Our Schools and continue to support their mission.


Full Text of the Planned Remarks by the Hon. Harryette B. Ehrhardt to the Dallas Assembly, September 17, 2014 regarding Home Rule

"Thank you for this chance to discuss the proposed conversion of the Dallas Independent School District to a Home Rule Charter School District."

"I attended DISD, taught in the district, served as a principal and spent 5 years as a trustee, earned a doctorate in Education, taught teachers at SMU, am professor emeritus of the Dallas Community College District, have five successful kids who graduated from DISD, and I served in the legislature when this really poorly constructed legislation was drafted."

"I am a professional educator who has researched this issue from every conceivable side, and I have concluded, without a doubt, it is a disruption we do not need that would do great harm not only to our schools but to our entire community."

"Let's start with the financial reality. Currently, DISD has an AA- rating. They just had a clean audit and expect ..." MORE



When Dr. Walter Stroup showed that Texas’ standardized testing regime is flawed, the testing company Pearson struck back.

"Rebellions sometimes begin slowly, and Walter Stroup had to wait almost seven hours to start his. The setting was a legislative hearing at the Texas Capitol in the summer of 2012 at which the growing opposition to high-stakes standardized testing in Texas public schools was about to come to a head. Stroup, a University of Texas professor, was there to testify, but there was a long line of witnesses ahead of him. For hours he waited patiently, listening to everyone else struggle to explain why 15 years of standardized testing hadn’t improved schools. Stroup believed he had the answer..."



Value Added Assessment Models and Dallas ISD (Pay for Performance)

For years, assessment experts have said that Value Added assessment models, like the one Dallas ISD is about to implement called the "Teacher Effectiveness Index" (TEI), are an unfair way to evaluate teachers for pay and employment status. On April 8, 2014 the prestigious American Statistical Association slammed this model in a statement entitled ASA Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment.
Here’s part of what they said:

  • "Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality."
  • "VAMs are generally based on standardized test scores and do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes."
  • "VAMs typically measure correlation, not causation: Effects - positive or negative - attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model."

Why does Dallas ISD continue to pursue initiatives that are unproven or proven to be ineffective?

Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates
Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, and Jonah E. Rockoff
National Bureau of Economic Research



Dallas ISD 2014 Grade 11 SAT Scores by Latitude and Median Household Income

Dallas ISD funded school-day testing on the SAT for all students in grade 11 during the 2013-14 school year. More than 7,660 Dallas ISD 11th grade students sat for school-day SAT testing on February 26, 2014. Based on February 10, 2014, enrollment count, there were 8,549 11th grade students enrolled in Dallas ISD schools, meaning that 89.6 percent of 11th graders participated in school day SAT testing. Once they registered, students received one year of free online access to test preparation support. Data were not available on the extent to which students used these services. The College Board deadline to register for testing was February 12. SAT scores and median household income both increase as one travels south to north. Poverty, not teacher quality, is a determining factor in test scores. Poverty is not an excuse for poor instruction nor a statement of the ability of a child to learn - it IS, however, a reality that determines the amount of resources that a community needs to bring to bear on the problems associated with poverty that directly affect learning including early childhood development issues.

Learn About Tableau

Instructional Alignment as a Measure of Teaching Quality

by Morgan S. Polikoff and Andrew C. Porter. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis published online 12 May 2014.

"Overall, the results are disappointing. Based on our obtained sample, we would conclude that there are very weak associations of content alignment with student achievement gains and no associations with the composite measure of effective teaching."

"A third interpretation of our findings is that the tests used for calculating VAM are not particularly able to detect differences in the content or quality of classroom instruction. That is, rather than the instructional measures being the cause of our low correlations, it is the tests that are the cause.

"Before moving forward with new high stakes teacher evaluation policies based on multiple measures teacher evaluation systems, it is essential that the research community develops a better understanding of how state tests reflect differences in instructional content and quality...this study contributes to a growing literature suggesting state tests may not be up to the task of differentiating effective from ineffective (or aligned from misaligned) teaching."



DISD Spring Climate Survey Results and Survey Distribution Document

High marks go to Dan D. Rogers Elementary, Urban Park Elementary, Wilmer-Hutchins HS and Dr.Wright Lassiter Jr. Early College HS. Lakewood Elementary and Dealey Montessori rate themselves high but the district as low. Spence MS is the lowest-rated middle school with Dade MS and Zumwalt MS not far behind.




Letter to DISD Trustees Regarding HRSCD-C Process

Letter to Dallas ISD Trustees from Stop theTakeOver - Protect Our Public Schools - NO HOME RULE CHARTER regarding the processes surrounding the "daunting task of appointing the first Home Rule Charter School District Commission (HRSCD-C) in the state of Texas."



"Let's stop measuring fish by how well they climb trees."

Joshua Katz is a high school math teacher in Orange County, Florida. He gave the following speech about what he calls "the toxic culture of education today" in a TEDx talk this month at the University of Akron.



DFPE Founding Member Rep. Harryette Ehrhardt Calls HRD a "Trojan Horse"

Our Community, Our Schools (OCOS) is a coalition of more than 20 community groups which have come together not only to oppose the conversion of Dallas ISD to a Home Rule Charter District, but also to bring the community together in order to form a vision for what they believe Dallas ISD should become.


Our Community, Our Schools

The first public meeting of Our Community, Our Schools (OCOS) was held on May 13, 2014. A majority of the meeting time was spent in small groups discussing and gathering input from everyone regarding their ideas on improving DISD. These ideas were then presented to the group as a whole and were collected and will be collated. There will be more visioning meetings held in the future which will include students to be sure that there are multiple opportunities for the entire Dallas community to provide real input into the recommendations.

Dallas Friends of Public Education and Stop the TakeOver, Protect Our Public Schools (a subcommittee of DFPE) were both represented at the coalition meeting by Harryette Ehrhardt, Martha Parks, and Dr. Kyle Renard.

Former Texas State Representative Harryette Ehrhardt represented Stop the TakeOver and Martha Parks represented DFPE.

OCOS Kickoff Meeting OCOS Kickoff Meeting OCOS Kickoff Meeting OCOS Kickoff Meeting

Comparison: Home Rule District (HRD) vs Independent School District (ISD)

It has been proposed that voters in Dallas ISD sign a petition forcing the creation of a commission charged with developing a "home rule charter" which, after approval by voters, will replace the current district structure. This chart was developed to give a side by side comparison of the two forms of organization, the current "independent school" structure and the proposed "home rule" option and was distributed at the League of Women Voters forum at Townview on April 22, 2014.

VIEW THE COMPARISON - PDF (English/inglés)

VER LA COMPARACIÓN - PDF (español/Spanish)


The League of Women Voters of Dallas (LWVD) Education Fund - SOPS Panel Discussion

Panel Members: Dr. Kyle Renard (DFPE), Louisa Meyer (SOPS), Martha Parks (DFPE), Senator Royce West

| April 22, 2014 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Townview Magnet Center Theater | 1201 East 8th Street, Dallas 75203 |

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


Districtwide Advisory Committee Roster

Compiled from Public Information Requests we merged the original list of members with the most recent list that specified term expirations but not representative type. The last name was on the first list but not the second. Read the board policy on District Advisory Committee



"Teacher Excellence Initiative" - Letter to the Board from Michael Dryden, April 21, 2014

Dear Dallas BoT members,

This is a request to suspend the voting on the Teacher Excellence Initiative until it can be validated. The evidence on Dallas ISD students strongly suggests that the Teacher Excellence Initiative cannot produce valid and stable results to tier teachers into a bona fide merit wage system. Specifically,

  1. Measures of student progress like CEIs and median student growth percentile (SGP) are insensitive for placing teachers into more than 3 tiers of a merit wage system.
  2. Past performance and new analysis techniques on student surveys suggest many students, especially lower ability students, do not read the items closely and thus would be inappropriate for placing teachers in a merit wage system.
  3. It is inappropriate to ask young children to rate their teachers if the consequence is termination. They may blame themselves.
  4. Classroom observations or spot observations have a high probability of being rigged. The alleged rigging is testable with data analysis but obviously, the district will attempt to bury that data.

As currently designed the TEI system has a high probability of being catastrophic to the children of DISD. Data on DISD students indicates the TEI will falsely and almost randomly place many teachers into incorrect wage tiers. Of course, the bad teachers in high wage tiers will stay but the good teachers falsely placed in low paying tiers will quickly leave the district. Over time, most of the good teachers could exit the system.

It would be quite easy for a highly respected outside organization, like a university, to do a TEI simulation. I wrote a paper outlining my TEI concerns and another one attempting to explain the CEI scores and their inappropriateness for TEI. For those BoT members who like to explore with Excel, I am enclosing a three year CEI simulation of real CEI data to illustrate why ranking teachers in the middle will be problematic.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Michael A Dryden, LLC

View PDF: A Visual Examination of the Classroom Effectiveness Index

View PDF: TEI Letter to the Board of Trustees

Download (excel): CEI Math Simulation

FYI: For those who do not know me I am a retired 20 year evaluator of DISD. I evaluated most of the recent DISD reform programs like the Learning Centers, School Centered Education, Urban Systemic Initiative in math and science, and Edison Schools Project. My doctorate is in research and evaluation with an emphasis on math and science education. Before DISD I taught in New York, Australia, Samoa, Indonesia and had evaluated state (AZ), national (US) and international education systems, now called TIMSS. Even though I am retired I am still researching and learning about new statistical techniques to describe individual learners. I tried some of these personalized learning techniques at Conrad high school last year and they seemed very accurate. I hope you continue to support the personalized learning approach.


There is now organized opposition to the Dallas Independent School District home rule effort - "Keep Our Schools Public"

Dr. Kyle Renard

Keep Our Schools Public, made up of former staff and DISD parents, say home rule is not needed for reforming the district, and they believe the backers of home rule want to get rid of the elected school board.

The Hon. Harryette B. Ehrhardt, a former teacher, DISD board member, State Representative and founding member of DFPE, says that what Support Our Public Schools has said publicly are things that can be done without changing the district.

"We can change our board election date, have year-round schools, alter the school day, pay our teachers more, have full day kindergarten, reduce class size," said Ehrhardt. "All suggestions made by the Support Our Public Schools group, and we can do all of this without the very questionable legislation."

Dr. Kyle Renard (pictured), DFPE board member, Dallas County Schools Trustee and the parent of two recently graduated DISD students said "I am deeply troubled that we now have five people, two of whom do not reside in Dallas, who have decided they have the knowledge and credibility to create a new system of education in Dallas."

John Fullinwider, former DISD Teacher of the Year with 15 years teaching experience at DISD says Support Our Public Schools (SOPS) has put forward zero significant educational innovations.

Erhardt made it clear that this fight is not one that minority groups should fight alone.

"This is a DISD problem, and we're a part of that and we support their effort and we want to join them," she said.



"Redesigning Schools - Part 1", by Rose Parker, Founder of Schools by Teachers

In-district charters allow a structural change in the role of teachers. They allow decision makers on campus to allocate resources in a way that meets the specific mission of the campus. They allow huge pushback against constant testing. They can stabilize campuses that have been in constant upheaval and chaos for decades.

In exchange for these blessings, the process of planning to redesign a campus or feeder pattern or traditionally low-performing high school will probably take a year. Some band of Utopians including at least half the teachers and half the parents on a campus must agree to the process and outcome before the plan is presented to the board...



"The Conversation We Need to Have", by Rose Parker, Founder of Schools by Teachers

A little over a month ago, the structure of an innovative in-district charter school was presented to the Dallas Board of Trustees in an afternoon board briefing. The proposal included the first teacher-governed middle and high school in Texas along with a new twist on talented and gifted education, an innovative approach aligned with the state mission of giving students the time and resources to be creative producers in their talent areas.

Readers of this article probably never heard a word about this board briefing and the chance for trustees to approve a new middle and high school with a career focus on the visual and performing arts...



Dallas Friends of Public Education releases position paper on the SOPS proposed Home Rule District on March 27, 2014

Dallas Friends of Public Education (DFPE) was formed to affect policies for the benefit of our children. We have worked since inception to advocate for policies that positively influence the education of the students of the Dallas Independent School District.

The Home Rule School District Charter (HRD) proposed by Support Our Public Schools (SOPS), does not offer any identifiable policy innovation that would benefit our children and raise student achievement. The intrusion of SOPS into the District has created a climate of mistrust and uncertainty which has divided the community and diverted attention from the mission of the Dallas Independent School District: “To educate all students for success.” This intrusion is especially distasteful because of the involvement of founders and financial backers who are not residents of the District. SOPS was deliberately formed as a 501c (4) organization which permits their financial backers to remain anonymous. This is an affront to the call for transparency in public affairs, which is one of the founding principles in the DFPE Action Plan.



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

WHEREAS Houston billionaire John Arnold, a hedge-fund manager and former Enron trader, is bankrolling an effort to transform all of the Dallas Independent School District into a so-called “home-rule charter district” that would not be subject to essential safeguards in state law for students, parents, teachers, and citizens of the district;

WHEREAS John Arnold is notorious for funding a nationwide attack on public employees’ pension funds, including state pension funds for school employees, and for funding various efforts to privatize the operation of public schools, including substantial financing of organizations that promote private-school vouchers;

WHEREAS the “home-rule charter district” idea that Arnold wants to impose on Dallas ISD is the brainchild of former Republican state Rep. Kent Grusendorf of Arlington, who managed to insert this option into state law in 1995 as a vehicle for nullifying many educational quality standards and safeguards in the Education Code and for facilitating private takeover of public schools;

WHEREAS a “home-rule district charter” in Dallas ISD would be a Trojan horse allowing John Arnold and his allies, in the name of local control, to kill state class-size limits for most K-4 classrooms, eliminate teachers’ professional contracts, wipe out parents’ and students’ and teachers’ rights to due process in student-discipline matters, nullify the entire parental-rights chapter in the Education Code, and eliminate accountability to the community through an elected school board;

WHEREAS the wholesale “charterization” of Dallas ISD through a “home-rule district charter” designed to suit the likes of John Arnold would actually be the very opposite of local control, transferring power from the parents and citizens in the neighborhoods of Dallas ISD--especially predominantly minority and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods--to special-interest elites and private operators likely to double down on top-down policies that already have disproportionately hurt those communities within Dallas ISD, like recent controversial school closures and layoffs of school personnel;

WHEREAS the “home-rule district charter” scheme in Dallas ISD would undermine genuinely democratic, grass-roots efforts to improve struggling schools, such as (1) community-initiated school turnarounds that provide wraparound community health and social services at school to students and their families, thereby building up rather than tearing down neighborhoods and (2) in-district “campus charters” initiated by teachers and parents at a campus working together with community partners to provide innovative educational programs while preserving important state safeguards such as class-size limits, due process in student discipline, and teachers’ contract rights;

WHEREAS the “home-rule district charter” initiative in Dallas is part of a national campaign by self-styled “education reformers” like John Arnold that is ultimately about profits, not about kids, employing a clear strategy to underfund our public schools, declare them a failure, contract out those schools to private operators, disenfranchise parents and community stakeholders, and deprofessionalize teaching;

WHEREAS the state Democratic Party has a duty to help ensure that all Texas Democrats and all supporters of public education see through the false rhetoric of “home rule” and “local control” that masks the real agenda described above;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Texas Democratic Party stands in opposition to the “home-rule district charter” proposal now being promoted in Dallas ISD and rejects its underlying agenda of privatization of control over public schools and destruction of democratic school governance.

Permalink or Download the Resolution as a PDF


SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNITED: Home rule districts – a Trojan horse

— Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of commentaries presented by the undersigned superintendents and board presidents concerning funding for public schools.

"The danger to advocating Home Rule District charter schools is in the misrepresentation of the benefit itself.

We do not need an alternative form of local governance to run our schools. We respect and defend the very democracy that allows us to govern by electing local school board members from within our own communities."

Read the full article, "Home rule districts – a Trojan horse".


Teacher Turnover in Dallas ISD, A Sign of Progress or a Symptom of Failure?

by Michael A Dryden, LLC - February 2014

After various media outlets implied that teacher turnover is acceptable if ineffective teachers are removed from the teaching profession, the Dallas Morning News editorial board called for more research to answer whether the turnover rate is a sign of progress or a symptom of failure in the Dallas ISD. In this report the evidence points towards an unacceptable number of high quality teachers voluntarily leaving. The work environment created by the Board of Education and current administration has led to unprecedented voluntary separations from Dallas ISD employment with the most common exit reason being “employment in another district.” When examining the Classroom Effectiveness Indices (CEI) it can be shown that the year preceding the increase in turnover rates 81.1% of highly effective math teachers (CEI >55) returned to teach math. After the start of extensive teacher turnover, this rate dropped down to 66.5% returning in 2012-13. While this is based on teachers with math CEI scores and not all math teachers, losing one third of the district’s top math teachers in one year is nothing less than a symptom of failure.

Over the past two years only 56% of teachers across the district remained on the same campus and 75 campuses retained only half of their teachers or less. Nationally about half the teachers leave teaching within five years, not two years. Based on the pupil-teacher ratio of the 2010-11 academic year, the district is currently operating with 1,275 less teachers. While there has been a dramatic drop in the number of teachers, the teacher population bottomed in summer 2013 and is slowly rising due to a massive hiring effort. These new hires are overwhelmingly younger than in previous years. However, there is no evidence of age discrimination among teachers involuntarily separated from service.

The impact of churn, or the constant replacement of teachers, has risen exponentially since the start of the current administration in May 2012. In the 18 months prior to May 2012 the district hired 853 teachers and 1,153 teachers separated from service. In the 18 months since May 2012 the district hired 3,469 teachers and 3,263 teachers separated from service. This will result in the next TEA reported teacher turnover rate at around 20% in Dallas ISD and is due to current BOT and administration practices, not state budget cuts. This churn seems to accumulate over the child’s years of education until high school. At high school for every 10% increase in teacher retention the STAAR accountability achievement rating goes up 9 points on a 0-100 scale. Three premier high achieving, high teacher retention campuses, the Arts Magnet, Sunset and Spence, had dramatic drops of more than 30 positive percentage points in a climate survey item related to the direction their campus was headed. One interesting commonality is that each campus has a new principal with no Dallas ISD experience. The current personnel database has a number of discrepancies that need to be resolved. It is suspected that substitute teachers and certain central staff have been reclassified as teachers. The BOT should ask for the number of substitute teachers in 2011 versus 2013.

While the evidence so far indicates teacher turnover is a symptom of failure, the qualifications and assignment of entering versus exiting teachers need to be better understood. If students have new teachers with fewer qualifications than the exiting teachers, especially bilingual, math and science teachers, then the disruptive forces behind teacher turnover have been a total failure. Consistently ineffective teachers must be replaced but not at the expense of highly qualified veteran teachers.

Downoad White Paper: Teacher Turnover in Dallas ISD, A Sign of Progress or a Symptom of Failure? by Michael A Dryden, LLC as a PDF


Working for Superman

Struggling school districts often bring in hotshot superintendents to save the day. But is star power what schools really need?
by Patrick Michels, Texas Observer


Foundation for Empowerment (FCE) releases 3 white papers:

1. Disruptive Change: Mike Miles and the Crisis In Dallas ISD, which has been prepared with consultation by education academics, extensive research, review of data and education literature, and meetings and interviews with people of Dallas holding varying and sometimes conflicting points of view;

2. Digging Into Data and Evidence: Mike Miles, Dallas ISD, and Trickle-Down Education Report, by Dr. Julian Vasquez Helig, Lindsay Redd, M.A. and Dr. Ruth Vail; and

3. The Challenge of Disruptive Leadership in Dallas ISD, by Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D. and Matthew Birkhold, M.A.

"You will see from these papers that, after much research and discussion, we believe the current Superintendent lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the Board terminate his contract."


P4P is a horrible idea in education. 

There is quite a bit of scholarly, recent research on P4P (Pay for Performance) and almost all of it looks like this:

Title: Teacher Pay for Performance: Experimental Evidence from the Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT) 

The research questions are: 
1: Does performance-pay alone improve student outcomes? 
2: Does the opportunity to earn bonuses alter teachers’ instructional practices and attitudes? 

Conclusions: Given the limited scope of the effects and their apparent lack of persistence, we conclude that the POINT intervention did not lead overall to large, lasting change in student achievement as measured by TCAP. There is little evidence that POINT incentives induced teachers to make substantial changes to their instructional practices or their level of effort, and equally little evidence that the changes they did make were particularly well chosen to increase student achievement. 

Download the PDF: http://www.dfpe.org/pdf/p4p-point-study-2011.pdf 
Check out the Eric web site: http://eric.ed.gov/


New Study Says Market-oriented Education Reforms' Rhetoric Trumps Reality

The impacts of test-based teacher evaluations, school closures, and increased charter-school access on student outcomes in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. - April 18, 2013

The reforms deliver few benefits and in some cases harm the students they purport to help, while drawing attention and resources away from policies with real promise to address poverty-related barriers to school success.

View the Report Summary PDF - For the full report, please visit www.boldapproach.org/rhetoric-trumps-reality

1. Test scores increased less, and achievement gaps grew more, in "reform" cities than in other urban districts.
2. Reported successes for targeted students evaporated upon closer examination.
3. Test-based accountability prompted churn that thinned the ranks of experienced teachers, but not necessarily bad teachers.
4. School closures did not send students to better schools or save school districts money.
5. Charter schools further disrupted the districts while providing mixed benefits, particularly for the highest-needs students.
6. Emphasis on the widely touted market-oriented reforms drew attention and resources from initiatives with greater promise.
7. The reforms missed a critical factor driving achievement gaps: the influence of poverty on academic performance. Real, sustained change requires strategies that are more realistic, patient, and multi-pronged.


Mrs. Laura Bush to Help Celebrate the Contributions of Harryette Ehrhardt at Library Naming Ceremony

Dr. Harryette EhrhardtFormer first lady Laura Bush will lend her support to a ceremony to celebrate the naming of the library at Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School in honor of Dr. Harryette B. Ehrhardt, former Dallas ISD teacher, principal and trustee, and retired state legislator. Dr. Ehrhardt is a founding member of Dallas Friends of Public Education (now retired) and was nominated to have a school named after her by DFPE member, Texas State Senator John Carona. Dr. Ehrhardt was one of Mrs. Bush's professors during her time at SMU, and Mrs. Bush cites Dr. Ehrhardt as an inspiration on her love of children's literature.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 9, at the school located at 2939 St. Rita Drive. The program will feature remarks from Mrs. Bush, Dr. Ehrhardt and Dallas ISD District 6 Trustee Carla Ranger, as well as student performances.

The Dr. Harryette B. Ehrhardt Library houses more than 10,500 items and is accentuated by expansive glass walls that overlook the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve.

Dr. Ehrhardt's grandfather was the first engineer for the (then) brand new Woodrow Wilson High school almost 100 years ago and her aunt was in the first graduating class. Dr. Ehrhardt's five children are Woodrow graduates. Dr. Ehrhardt started school at Stonewall Jackson its second year in existence and her first teaching job was at Preston Hollow 55 years ago. Dr. Ehrhardt served as a DISD consultant with 20 elementary schools prior to becoming principal of Arlington Park Learning Center, then an experimental one-room school. One of Dr. Ehrhardt's outstanding teachers when she was a principal (which was, incidentally, the first year of DISD desegregation) was the late Dorothy Holmes. Rev. Zan Holmes was a regular mentor to Dr. Ehrhardt and she is particularly honored to be a part of his school. Dr. Ehrhardt then served on the DISD Board of Trustees for 5 years and worked for education for 8 years as a member of the Texas State Legislature. While in the legislature Dr. Ehrhardt's legislative office adopted Mount Auburn Elementary School on East Grand, served as principal for the day and donated books to the schools. Dr. Ehrhardt's academic field is children's literature. First Lady Laura Bush publicly credits Dr. Ehrhardt's SMU children's literature course for Mrs. Bush making the decision to become a librarian and her strong interest in literacy. Dr. Ehrhardt and her husband Jack were honored with a private dinner at the White House when President Bush was in office. Dr. Ehrhardt also taught librarians while a professor at Texas Women's University. Last year, Republican State Senator John Carona put forth Dr. Ehrhardt's name to be considered for a new school. It is very appropriate that a library be named for Dr. Ehrhardt especially at Zan Holmes Middle school, a man for whom Dr. Ehrhardt had such admiration.


Dallas TAG Foundation Donation

The Dallas TAG Foundation Board presents a $5,000 donation to Principal Mike Satarino Monday evening, October 22. Members of the Foundation include DFPEs Michael MacNaughton (far left), Dr. Kyle Renard (far right) and Joan Chalkley (third from right).
TAG Foundation Check Presentation
Donate to the Foundation
whose web site design and hosting is donated by DFPE.