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 in no way can properly be present here.  I will present only 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 is willing to 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 Racial Equity Office (REO) 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 and/or rule out 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 Dallas ISD 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, and others of the most critical variables, 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 

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

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. 

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