Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dallas Mayoral Runoff Election June 8, 2019


Selecting the next Dallas Mayor from among two excellent candidates may come down to which one both knows best, and is most transparent, about where the "bodies are buried" in Dallas. Griggs edges forward here as he clearly has much more time spent "finding bodies" on the Dallas City Council. Most critically, he has a solid reputation of blowing the whistle on "bodies found," often issues the "Dallas Establishment" wanted kept quiet. Is this an accurate perception of the major differences between these two candidates?

If you look at who is financially supporting each candidate, and having their photos taken with each candidate, this difference is painfully reinforced. If they were in charge Dallas would be building a Trinity River Toll Road now.

The detailed campaign finance reports are online at 

http://campfin.dallascityhall.com/search.aspx 
Using the data from that site, the chart below was made showing who the big donors like and who the small donors like. If this were a democracy ...

I believe Representative Johnson can rise above this fray and be as big an advocate for the entire city of Dallas as Scott Griggs has been.  Sadly it is painfully certain the big donors supporting Johnson do not agree, and have been right for the past several mayors they funded. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Dallas ISD Racial Equity Office & 15 Documented Civil Rights Violations

This past Tuesday evening, 5/7/19, at the Oak Cliff Tower basement meeting room, I attended a very crowded and tense meeting of the District 5 and South Oak Cliff community group with Leslie Williams, the Dallas ISD Deputy Chief for Racial Equity.

Many frustrations were voiced that I in no way can properly present here.  I will only present one.

Dallas ISD has a massive history of racial inequities that are not being openly talked about or admitted by either the Dallas Racial Equity Office, or by other Dallas ISD Leadership.  Many of these civil rights violations happened as recently as during the past 10 years, and nobody can provide needed documentation to say that they have stopped.  A federal complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Civil Rights Division on 4-21-15 by 15 Dallas residents against DISD for a multitude of civil rights violations. 


During the next 2 years and 5 months over 300 additional pages were given to the DOE Civil Rights Division documenting these allegations. There were several in-person interviews.  This 9-page letter from DOE, Civil Rights Division dated 9-22-17, is the response and is copied below.  It closes the case by giving technical reasons for not doing an investigation into each one of the 15 allegations identified. It does not invalidate a single one of the 15 allegations. 

How can the DISD office of Racial Equity achieve their goals and ignore these 15 allegations? DISD must resolve these alleged and well documented violations first.  DISD must show ample documentation to verify they have ended, and ongoing public documentation from this day forward so the public can always verify they are never repeated!


Mike Miles, the superintendent during the 3 years the supplantation situation in DISD  significantly deteriorated, resigned 6-23-15.  That was 3 weeks after a comprehensive report on the major Dallas evening news station, WFAA, Channel 8, about these allegations. If that resignation had not happened, the continued fighting of this case would have been necessary.  


It appears the degree of supplantation has definitely lessened in DISD since that resignation. Work must continue to document the extent to which it continues, and to determine how widespread it is throughout Texas, and in other states.  (See the creation of the School Equity Spreadsheet as one tool in this battle.)


Few things reflect the lack of racial equity inside Dallas ISD more than the potential for a hidden, ongoing supplantation of need-based federal funds to be continuing.  Why is data, in a format with which the public could easily verify inequity, hidden? 


Below is the listing of the 15 allegations.  Below that listing is the full 9 page letter from the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights closing the complaints filed 4-21-15, but failing to invalidate any of these 15 allegations identified in the letter:

  1. The DISD illegally supplants Title Icareer and technical education (CTE)state compensatory education (SCE), and high school allotment (HSA) funding for regular education spending.
  2. The DISD illegally supplants funding for supplemental programming such as programming for special education (SPED)homeless studentssuspended and expelled students,students failing any testand limiteEnglish proficiency (LEP) students for regular education funding for students.
  3. The DISD's planned Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) budgets filed with the State of Texas have not complied with House Bill 5 (HB5) requiring accelerated instruction for all high school students who failed an end-of-course (EOC) exam.
  4. In 2014, the DISD gerrymandered the attendance boundaries for Lakewood Elementary School (LES) to intentionally exclude poor students that could decrease property values for LES. 
  5. The DISD's April 24, 2014 decision to not consider redrawing the attendance boundaries for LES created de-facto segregation to limit LES to wealthy white students.
  6. The DISD denies at-risk and low-income students equal access to equitable education resources with respect to magnet, talented and gifted (TAG), and performing and visual arts programs, support services (e.g., counseling, SPED and LEP resources), adequate facilities, and teacher equity and instructional leadership.
  7. The DISD's principal and teacher hiring and evaluation practices have created excessive turnover and high teacher-student ratios at the DISD's campuses serving majority at-risk and low-income students.
  8. The DISD disproportionately assigns African-American students to exclusionarydiscipline. 
  9. The DISD denies African American and Hispanic students, special education (SPED) students, and limited English proficiency (LEP) students equal access to equitableeducation resources with respect to magnet, TAG, and performing and visual arts programs, support services (e.g., SPED and LEP resources), adequate facilities, counseling and teacher equity and instructional leadership.
  10. The DISD's principal and teacher hiring and evaluation practices have created excessive turnover and high teacher-student ratios at the DISD's campuses serving the majority of African American, Hispanic, SPED, and LEP students.
  11. The DISD discriminates against students with disabilities by denying them admission into the magnet and TAG programs.
  12. The DISD discriminates against national-origin language minority students who are LEP by denying them admission into the magnet and TAG programs.
  13. The DISD discriminated against minority students when it flagrantly refused to provide Accelerated Instruction as required by the state of Texas for all students failing an end of course exam in the 2014-2015 school year. The affected minority students were located on the same campuses whose regular education dollars were not comparable to that of magnet school campuses with high percentages of white students, and whose turnover rates in principals and teachers far exceeded that of magnet school campuses.
  14. The DISD disproportionately assigns African-American male students to exclusionary discipline; and this occurred mainly at campuses where no supplementalprogramming existed because of illegal supplanting of Title I funds.
  15. The funding of non-Title I campuses and magnet school campuses is not comparable to the funding of Title I campuses for the required foundation programs.

Work is needed to verify these allegations are not continuing to happen within Dallas ISD. A decade of history with the school by school funding from all sources as reflected in the PEIMS Financial Reports is needed first.  The reports should be annual reports, one for each school year, in Excel format spreadsheets with all schools listed, one per row, with 200+ columns of data including the 32 financial items reports in each PEIMS Financial Report for each school. 
Here is the letter from the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, documenting these needs for Dallas ISD.








===================================================================The work to be done within Dallas ISD as reflected in the above letter must not be slowed down by the conflicts happening in Washington as reflected below.  How else can we claim to be authentically pursuing racial equity here in Dallas, the former national headquarters for the KKK?===================================================================On 5-26-18 an NPR article explained why this Civil Rights Complaint against DISD from 4-21-15 was closed 9-22-17.  The article stated:
"Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, asked DeVos about the department's Office for Civil Rights, which began dismissing claims of civil rights violations this spring, under updated guidance for responding to cases. Department representatives have said the changes were meant to help the office manage its caseload.
DeVos said she was confident that the Office for Civil Rights was committed to upholding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"How do you do it if you continue to try to dismantle and defund the office?" Fudge asked. "I'm not understanding."
"We haven't done any such thing," DeVos responded."
You can find this full NPR article online at  https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/05/26/614008167/teachers-win-at-the-polls-devos-fields-questions-on-the-hill?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social 



Below is the 9 page 9-22-17 letter from the U.S. Department of Education, Office For Civil Rights, that closed the then 2-year 5 month old complaint filed 4-21-15 by 15 DISD parents, and residents against Dallas ISD for multiple civil rights violations including the supplantation of Federal need-based funds in hundreds of schools. The need-based Federal funds were supposed to be supplementary funds above and beyond regular funding.  Instead they were being used to replace regular funding. The students in need were not benefiting. A summary of the complaint can be found at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2015/06/title-vi-complaint-against-disd.html

Consistent documentation going back a decade on each DISD school is needed to document that none of these 15 allegations have existed.  If this documentation proves that they did exist, then continuing documentation must verify year to year, school by school, that these situations are corrected, and remain corrected.  This must be constantly reflected in annual, public, auditable information, online, from this day forward. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Districts closing schools!

The tragic news of neighborhood schools being closed due to budget mistakes or charter school losses is a disaster if all alternatives have not been tried. $150,000+ "miracle worker" administrators are NOT needed when that same money can fund three teachers!

Student achievement is driven by motivation, students knowing where they came from and were they are going.  Most parents and their students do not keep a constant focus on either.  When parents see that change in their school and realize there is a focus on their child and their parental goals in a school, they will not transfer their child to another school!

Imagine parents being asked, every time they enroll their Pre-K child, to submit letters each parent writes to their child about their goals for their child. Imagine this happening every year through second grade. Imagine a 700-pound vault at the school designated as the School Time Capsule.  It holds these priceless records of child development and parental development in an envelope for each child.  Can you see the feelings of the parents for the school changing?

Each school has two or three volunteer Time Capsule Postmasters who help these letters follow the child and their parent as change happens.  The Postmasters help the third graders write letters to each parent and close relative asking for a letter back about their dreams for them, and with a story from their history they want the child to know.

Such letter writing happens once in every grade.  The Postmasters hand out the previous years letters in each class as the next letter writing assignment starts. From year to year each child sees the goals of their parents and relatives and their own plans for the future as they evolve. 

Changing plans is never a problem.  The disaster is when a child has no plans for their future.

Postmasters help the 5th grade letters find the child in middle school 6th grade to help make that often hard transition a bit easier.

As students experience the power of writing year to year, their dedication to writing improves.

In the 8th grade all letters from parents, family, and the student are focused on dreams 10 years into the future.  These letters stay in the vault until the 10-year reunion for that 8th grade class coordinate by the Postmaster.

This no-cost (beyond the money for the vault) volunteer-ran project helps students see the power of writing, their family history, and planning for the future.  Achievement soars!  The attachment to these community schools soars!  Rarely will students transfer their child to another school.  No need for any closure.

Would you like to be a Time Capsule Postmaster and see your favorite school improve?

This is a way to save money and massively increase student achievement while decreasing behavior problems, and the probability of a school closing, at the same time.  See https://schooltimecapsule.blogspot.com/