Saturday, May 25, 2019

Dallas Education Mayors Are Needed, but Rawlings?

Dallas definitely needs more “Education Mayors,” mayors who will watch DISD closely, have increasingly competent advisers, and make their most certain observations known from their pulpit.  Our students need more people watching the details inside DISD carefully!  How could that be wrong?  

Sadly Mayor Rawlings is an example of how this could be wrong.

Dallas has made almost constant progress lowering the Dallas ISD/Texas Achievement Gap since 2000 when the gap was 20 percentage points! (The Gap is calculated by subtracting the percentage of DISD students who pass all statewide tests from that same number for the state of Texas. It is how far Dallas ISD is behind Texas.)  In 2011 Rawlings began 8 years as the Dallas Mayor. Dallas ISD has just finished the progress of an almost constant drop of the Gap, going from 20 percentage points in 2000, to 15 percentage points in 2003, 8 years before Rawlings, to only 9 percentage points behind the rest of Texas when Rawlings became Mayor.  

For the 6 years before Rawlings arrived DISD had a low teacher turnover rate that was an average of 2.8 percentage points below the state average. Since Rawlings selection for Superintendent, Mike Miles, finished his first full year at DISD, since 2013, that teacher turnover rate is now an average of 3.7 percentage points higher than the state average!  That is not progress!

Bottom line: progress in Dallas ISD started long before Mike Rawlings became Mayor, and long before Mike Miles arrived.  Then Mike Miles set that progress back due to the painful lack of progress with the Dallas ISD/Texas Achievement Gap during his three years. It is virtually certain this loss of progress was caused by explosion of teacher turnover until over 6,000 teachers were lost!

Mayoral attention on Dallas ISD is generally positive if the mayor listens to everyone. Sadly it appears that Rawlings focused on listening to the TFA minority of teachers.  It is also certainly too early to say what happened under Rawlings was positive.  There is much evidence that the progress could have been greater without the loss of 6000 teachers in just three years, mostly due to a bluntly implemented Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) where experienced teachers were ignored.  

Dallas had already been piloting value added bonuses for years in the salary mix for teachers with great success before Miles arrived.  Expanding that would almost certainly have avoided the record turnover in teachers.  The record teacher turnover has still not ended almost 4 years after Mike Miles left!  Last year's 18.4% teacher turnover is still higher than any year before Miles arrived!  That is because a relatively unchanged TEI has remained. Look at the teacher turnover back to 2000 in the chart above.  The highest before Miles was 17.1% in 2003.  The lowest turnover years were 2010 and 2011 at only 8.5%, years when the lowering of the gap continued from 11 percentage points down to the then record of 9 percentage points. Then turnover headed up rapidly and was at 21.9% by the second year with Mr. Miles.

Many disagree with Rawlings and the painful and destructive changes he helped bring to Dallas ISD. While the established improvement momentum from Hinojosa pushed the Gap down to only 8 percentage points by 2013, in 2014 the record-setting teacher turnover generated by Mike Miles move toward TEI, and abrasive management, caused the gap to explode to 11%, the largest gap in 5 years!  It did not get down to the 8 percentage points caused by the Hinojosa Momentum in 2013 until a full 2 years after Miles left!  His three years hardly established a positive momentum of achievement relative to the rest of Texas.

The supplantation of Federal need-based funds that exploded under Mike Miles also pushed the number of failing schools to 43 in 2013/14, the highest number in memory.  In 2015 a group of 15 residents signed a 76-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Division for this supplantation of high poverty and other need based funds.  Miles resigned 6/23/15, just 20 days after this complaint was well explained on the evening news.  One of the responsible accountants had left the district very soon after the 4/21/15 complaint was filed, well before it hit the news. He seemed to know what was coming.

The good news is that with Mike Miles gone and Dr. Hinojosa back in DISD, by 2016 a significant reduction of supplantation had happened.  That reduction pulled significant funds from the DISD budget back into investment in instruction for high poverty, high need schools, resulting in a $123 million drop in the Fund Balance as reflected in the current fund balance chart on the Dallas ISD At-a-Glance 2018:

Other positive changes happened centered on once again having a superintendent who identified with Dallas and with teachers. The magic worked.  By 2018 the Dallas ISD/Texas Achievement Gap was down to only 6 percentage points, an all time record!  The number of failing schools was down to only 4!  It is very possible that 2019 will find Mayor Rawlings leaving Dallas ISD with an even lower record setting gap having been achieved.  We will not know for months, but it is very possible.

Dallas needs an Education Mayor!  It is critical that more eyes are on what is happening inside Dallas ISD.  We cannot have too many eyes looking at what is happening to our students. But we must have transparency. Rawlings too often appeared to only be a verbal supporter of transparency.

Many disagreed with much of what Mayor Rawlings tried to do. Mike Miles and the misnamed "Home Rule" were terrible mistakes that only led to lost time and resources. We would have continued the lowering of the Dallas ISD/Texas Achievement Gap more if Mike Miles had never been hired in Dallas.  We certainly would not have set the all time teacher turnover records if the value-added teacher bonus systems had been expanded to become the foundation of a real Teacher Excellence Initiative, a real TEI.  Since Miles' version of TEI is unchanged and still in operation, Dallas now still has the record teacher turnover.

We must return to an expanded value-added teacher bonus system and call that TEI!  It would respond much better to year to year fluctuations in teacher performance.

It is also not helpful that the TEI has exploded the average teacher pay difference between low poverty (below 70%) schools and high poverty schools (over 70%) from $423 in 2015/16 to $3,953 in 2017/18!  That is a 9-fold increase! How can that help our lower achieving schools?  

What has helped our lower achieving schools the most is the lessening of the supplantation and the return of those thousands of dollars back to the classrooms in our highest poverty, highest need schools.  That is why Dallas ISD is making progress!  DISD is getting closer to obeying the law! (Lack of transparency does not allow full verification yet!)

Bill Betzen

Perjury Complaint against Karla Garcia for District 4 Trustee Candidate Documents

From: Bill Betzen <>
To: edwinflores <>; Hinojosam <>; (& all trustees)
Sent: Sat, May 25, 2019 6:35 pm
Subject: Perjury Complaint Documentation against Karla Garcia, D4 Candidate
Dear President Flores, Dr. Hinojosa, and all Dallas ISD Board Members,

This past Wednesday, 5/22/19, I filed a formal perjury complaint with the DA's office against Karla Garcia, current candidate for DISD District 4 Trustee. A full copy of the complaint, and the 11 attachments documenting the perjury found in the documents Karla filed with DISD, are online linked to  

By filing this complaint I joined three others who filed identical complaints with the Dallas County District Attorney.

This morning these allegations were mentioned in a Dallas Morning News story online titled "Residency concerns linger in Dallas ISD runoff as resident alleges violations by candidates."  Documentation missing from this Morning News article is attached to the 5-22-19 complaint documentation at

The position of trustee must be one beyond any questions about integrity. There are problems with Ms. Garcia's current campaign.  Does any DISD Board members have any concerns whatsoever with what is happening?

I presume the Board will be going over this documentation with legal council during your 5-30-19 noon and/or 1:30 meetings.  We are looking forward to your guidance on this issue.

Bill Betzen
It was good to finally read about the well documented residency concerns against Karla Garcia as a candidate in DISD Trustee District 4 in today's Dallas Morning News.  Here is the article:

In summary, she filed one affidavit which disqualified her from being a candidate, then filed a second affidavit claiming a 15-year residency which is erroneous as she voted repeatedly in another state during that time.  Investigation by Brett Shipp documented well her residency in North Carolina and voting there 2014 through 2017.

I joined 3 others in filing a formal complaint with the Dallas County District Attorney's office.  On 5-22-19 I filed my notarized complaint.  Here is the exact wording that I filed but with the "Information about you" section left blank so anyone who wants to join us in these complaints can just print out these 16 pages and file their own complaint with the Dallas County District Attorney's office. Just cross out my name on the statement on the bottom of page 1 and write yours in.

How can a person file for a position with the word "trust" in the name with such obvious evidence of perjury in her notarized affidavit?  If she did not understand what she was signing, do you want her as a trustee?  See page 9 below for the requirements to register as a voter in North Carolina.  On page 10 below is Karla Garcia's voting record in North Carolina.  She is recorded as voting four times, in November of 2014, 2016 and 2017, and in March of 2016.

Here are 16 pages of the complaint, the three page complaint along with the 11 attachments on 13 pages making up the full complaint:

Again, you may print out these 16 pages, insert your name and address information on page 1, and then cross out my name on page 3 and insert your name, notarize your signature on that page, and turn in the complaint at the DA's offices on the top floor of the Judge Crowley Court Building. An assistant DA will come to take your complaint.  On 5-22-19 Assistant DA Kevin Feinglas took my complaint.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Brett Shipp for seeing the need and gathering the documentation.

Bill Betzen

5-25-19 email to Board: Why secret swearing in of new trustees 9 days early?

Today the Dallas Morning News reported as if the new trustees were sworn in at the usual time of the May Board meeting:

This article is in error as the 5/23/19 swearing in was a formality for the audience only. There had been a secret swearing in for both new trustees on 5-14-19. Why? This email was sent today to the Dallas Board President and Dr. Hinojosa in search of an answer: 
From: Bill Betzen <
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2019 
Subject: Why were new trustees sworn in 5/14/19, & why kept secret? 
To: edwinflores <>, Hinojosam <>, miguelsolis (copied all trustees) 

Dear President Flores & Dr. Hinojosa, 

Why were the two new trustees sworn in 9 days before the regular monthly meeting? 

Why was it kept secret? 

Bill Betzen
Now, on 5-28-19, I have received this email from Ben Mackey pretending that his 5-23-14 swearing in was the only and officlal swearing in and the 5-14-19 swearing in never happened. 

Does this qualify as a lie by Trustee Mackey?  See the wording below of the email.

Mackey was officially sworn on on 5-14-19 by someone other than Rep. Rafael Anchia. 


Bill Betzen

-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Mackey <>
To: bbetzen <>
Sent: Tue, May 28, 2019 3:59 pm
Subject: Time to Get to Work!


Last Thursday, I was honored to be officially sworn in by former DISD District 7 School Board member and current State Representative, Rafael Anchia.  I am so thankful to everyone who supported me in getting to this moment;  this would not have happened with you! Now it's time to get to work!

Are you interested in staying connected to the work we'll be doing for the students and families in District 7 and Dallas ISD at-large? Please sign up here to get involved and stay tuned for more details!

I shared a few remarks at last week's ceremony and wanted to share an excerpt with you here:

Good evening. I am humbled to be here and entrusted with the monumental task of serving as a trustee in Dallas ISD for District 7. Every day, parents across this city send their kids to our schools and trust us to keep them safe, care for them, teach them, and prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity and success. This immeasurable responsibility and privilege has always driven each of the decisions and actions I’ve made over the course of my career as a teacher and principal.  I pledge to my community, this city, and, most importantly, to our Dallas students, that I will never forget the gravity of that responsibility as a school board member and will use it to guide each of the decisions I make in this role, as well.

As I assume this seat, I want to thank my predecessor, Trustee Audrey Pinkerton, for stepping into this role and devoting herself to the work that this task requires. I’d also like to thank the former trustees for this district for their service as well, specifically two that are here tonight – the Honorable Eric Cowan and State Representative Rafael Anchia. I hope to build on the legacy that you all have established.

If I were to thank everyone who believed in me and supported me up until this point, we would be here all night...  So to everyone that has supported and believed in me, whether you’re here tonight or not, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.  I am forever grateful for the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears and laughter that you contributed to my campaign.

I pledge to you, and all the students in Dallas ISD, that I will approach my work here as trustee with fidelity, integrity, and a focus on how what we do here, impacts your education and your life.

I pledge that I’ll focus on policies and not politics.

I pledge that I’ll work to engage all parts of our community in District 7 and Dallas ISD.

I pledge to work closely with all of the other trustees here, and the administration, in our relentless pursuit of a public school system that ensures that ALL of our students have access to an excellent education that provides them with opportunities for success, regardless of where they live, what they look like, or the language they speak.  The circumstances we are born into should never dictate our trajectory in life.  I have seen our schools and teachers beat the statistics and change kids’ lives and I will continue to work to spread that same equity and access across our entire district.

I’m thankful to be entrusted with this position. I’m honored. And now, I’m ready to get to work.

Thank you,

Get Involved
Copyright © 2019 Ben Mackey for DISD, All rights reserved.
Pol. Adv. Pd. for by Ben Mackey for DlSD Campaign

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Friday, May 24, 2019

5-24-19 email sent DISD Board: Data driven racial equity in Dallas ISD

From: Bill Betzen <>
To: edwinflores <>; Hinojosam <>; miguelsolis <>; danmicciche <>; maxiejohnson <>; joyceforeman <>; justinhenry <>; dustinmarshall <>; benmackey <>
Sent: Fri, May 24, 2019 12:46 pm
Subject: Data driven racial equity in Dallas ISD

Dear President Flores, Dr. Hinojosa, and members of the Dallas ISD Board:
Racial equity progress must be data driven, like all progress in Dallas ISD, with both cause and effect documentation!

Dallas ISD has a massive history of racial inequities that still in 2019 cannot be openly talked about or documented due to the minimal resources and authority given the Racial Equity Office. These issues are not being addressed by any Dallas ISD Leadership! The issue volatility, and the lack of clear causative data covering the past decade of continued inequity in Dallas ISD, limit such discussions to being weak and opinionated.  Too many civil rights violations have continued over the past 10 years. Nobody appears willing to provide needed documentation to prove such violations have stopped causing inequity. We must be able to speak in terms of documented causative factors here in Dallas ISD. 

You know about the federal complaint 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 2 years and 5 months after the complaint was filed over 300 additional pages were given to the DOE Civil Rights Division documenting these allegations. There were several in-person interviews.  Finally a 9-page letter from DOE, Civil Rights Division, dated 9-22-17 was received to document 15 violations and then close each violation without investigation. That letter is copied at the link given below.

This letter closed the investigation 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.

The DISD Racial Equity Office (REO) cannot achieve their goals and ignore these 15 allegations! DISD must first resolve these alleged and well documented violations.  DISD must show ample documentation to verify violations have ended, and then ongoing public documentation from this day forward so the public can always verify they are never repeated! The REO does not have needed resources or authority and administrative support for such an effort.

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 and this Federal complaint. If Miles' resignation had not happened, the continued fighting of this case would have been necessary.

It appears the degree of supplantation lessened significantly in DISD since that resignation. Work must continue to document the extent to which any level of supplantation may continue. One small hint of the progress is on the current Dallas ISD At-a-Glance page. Comments are inserted on a copy of the small chart from the lower left side corner of the current Dallas ISD At-a-Glance page:

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 and/or rule out inequity, hidden? 

Below is the listing of the 15 allegations.  At 
you will also find the the full 9 page letter from the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.  It closed the investigation of the complaints filed 4-21-15, but failed 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 exclusionary discipline. 
  9. The DISD denies African American and Hispanic students, special education (SPED) students, and limited English proficiency (LEP) students equal access to equitable education 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 supplemental programming 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.
Again, how can Dallas ISD try to hide their less than equitable history behind a Racial Equity Office (REO) 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 continue providing such ongoing public documentation from this day forward so the public can always verify they are never repeated with equity maintained.

The last line in the "elevator speech" circulated by the Racial Equity Office is "Our goal is for Dallas ISD to become a national model for Racial, Socio-Economic and Educational Equity." 

That goal will never be achieved without addressing these 15 allegations, and in the process documenting the past decade of inequity evidence, making it public. Using the causal data indicated, Dallas ISD can build a Racial Equity Plan that will be more truly accountable and data driven. They will be able to create a system where the public can check at any time as to how funding of each school is fully equitable, as well as the progress toward more equitable achievement outcomes.

Thank you for your service,
Bill Betzen 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Concerns Presented to Dallas ISD Board:

School Time Capsule Project: Improving schools at almost no cost by helping students connect roots & goals.

3-12-20 Testimony School Choice: 7th grade Excel Lesson using DISD Family Information file, Single Spreadsheet Transparency Benefits!

2-27-20 Board Meeting: Testimony on Supplantation, 2020 Bond, and Single Spreadsheet Transparency

1-23-20 Board Meeting: TEI Hurts Student Achievement

1-23-20 TAPR Hearing Testimony, Progress but not enough!

1-9-20 Board Briefing: Construction & Maintenance Transparency

12-19-19 Board Meeting: DISD Transparency War 2019, Summary

11-21-19 Board Meeting Testimony: Dallas ISD pays teachers of wealthy & White students even more under TEI!

10-17-19 Board Meeting Testimony:  Detailed proposals for change, publicized before Board Meetings, are needed.

Many Dallas ISD Trustees over the past 50 years:
Photo taken of all Board Members present at 5-23-19 celebration of service by Trustees Blackburn and Pinkerton.

6-18-19 Dallas ISD invests more money in teachers of wealthy students.

6-10-19 Racial & Ethnic Balance at Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet

5-25-19 Email: Why secret swearing in of new trustees 9 days early?

5-24-19 Email: Data driven racial equity in Dallas ISD

4-25-19 Testimony: Conflict of Interest Complaint against Dallas ISD Trustees

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 Johnson's supporters, such as Mayor Rawlings, were in charge, Dallas would be building a Trinity River Toll Road now.

The detailed Mayoral campaign finance reports are online at 

Using the data from that site, the chart below was made. It shows 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 former Dallas mayors and big donors supporting Johnson do not agree. This group has been right for the past several mayors they funded.