Sunday, April 22, 2018

Can we make the Dallas Confederate Memorial inclusive?

Today, Sunday 4-22-18, this photo was taken today of the Dallas Confederate Memorial.
Is it humanly possible to adequately correct the message of this monument so all the victims of the Civil War, and the Jim Crowe abuse and lynching horrors that followed, are appropriately included? The innocent young men and women on both sides of the war, who were called into battle from their work, or who simply suffered and/or died in the Civil War, certainly were all victims. The thousands who were abused, with many killed in the 153 years since the Civil War, due to the inhumanity that the Civil War was waged to defend, are also victims! That abuse continues to this day. These victims must be included. Is such an artistic creation possible? A challenge must be issued to the Dallas arts and history community to unite and correct the message in the Confederate Memorial while honoring all the victims: soldiers, slaves, everyone, both in the 1860's and during the 153 years since the Civil War! A new inclusive understanding is needed. It must be reflected in a re-designed memorial that can include and dominate the current, abusively one-sided memorial. Maybe bronze sculptures 1.2 times life-size of African Americans responding to the 0.8 size Confederate figures now in the Dallas Confederate Memorial. Their verbal responses could be included somehow. Maybe the data of deaths and destruction of the Civil War. Maybe sculptures reflecting on the lynchings both before and after the Civil War in Dallas that the inhumanity of racism allowed, with the names of those known victims in Dallas. This could become a powerful reflection correcting the inaccurate history reflected in the current Confederate Memorial. Hopefully is can reflect true progress, acknowledging the suffering and wrongs in the past. Maybe Jane Elkins, probably an ancestor to hundreds if not thousands, many possibly still in Dallas, can be remembered. Her name was lost to history until discovered about 30 years ago when files were found in Dallas court records. She was the first female legally executed in Texas, but probably killed her master defending herself either before or after a rape by him:

The above idea has been submitted to the City Council.

Friday, April 20, 2018

“Full Transparency” still keeps secrets within Dallas ISD

All Dallas ISD trustees say they support “full transparency.”  Now the meaning of that claim is being tested. 

An open records request has been submitted for a set of 10 School Equity Spreadsheets covering the current year and the past 9 years. The name School Equity Spreadsheet is being given the requested spreadsheet. It will allow the public to immediately compare any single school, or set of schools, with any other single school or set of schools on any one of 95 pieces of information. This can be done instantly, possibly showing patterns between different types of schools. If resources available to schools are not equitable among all schools, what is happening?

Currently such comparisons are only possible for the most dedicated DISD advocate willing to spend sometimes hundreds of hours studying and compiling the online data that is available in multiple different locations. In effect the current “transparency” system is keeping these school to school equity patterns secret.  

Yes, secrecy that relates to equity within DISD!

The data needed is in a multitude of different locations only known to education bureaucrats and advocates.  The School Equity Spreadsheet would pull together the most valuable variables from each school, found in multiple online data bases, and make this information available to everyone in one location with the potential for additional variables to be added as needed, and for comparing them instantly, using that data, to every other school in the district.  Here is a description for the proposed School Equity Spreadsheet:

Questions like these three will be able to be answered, using these 10 spreadsheets, for every year of the past decade:
1) Were schools with over 98% minority enrollment funded from all sources equally with schools with higher White student populations?
2) Were schools with less than 50% high poverty populations receiving the same “regular” funding as schools with over 95% high poverty populations?
3) Were schools with students who qualified for high funding from need-based sources such as Federal poverty funds or English as a Second Language funds still receiving their full “regular” funding from local taxation sources?

These three questions are only a tiny beginning. Thousands of additional questions can be asked from this data, both for all of DISD and for individual schools. 
Is there a valid reason the public should be denied this level of transparency? 

Unless all trustees require a level of easily studied transparency before supporting a TRE, with all the data for one year in each school in one spreadsheet, like the DISD School Equity Spreadsheet, several dangers are presented.

Not only do we risk never getting these 10 priceless spreadsheets, but we also risk losing the TRE election! Dallas cannot risk that! Thousands firmly believe that we need the money from the TRE, but it must be spent very transparently. Massively expanding bus expenses are only part of the issues DISD faces.

Dallas can become the city with the most equitable high achieving education system in the nation. All the good words supporting transparency and equity are worthless unless we have data clearly backing up the truth supporting the equitable distribution of resources within Dallas ISD.  It must be data that everyone can verify and study. We do NOT have that now. Now only diligent academics can find the data after many hours of work. That must change. The DISD School Equity Spreadsheet will change that.

The additional positive of the School Equity Spreadsheet is that since it is using already public data, anyone can verify the data they find in it from other sources. That will add to the credibility of the data if there are patterns shown that are hard for some members of the public to accept.

DISD may well not want some of the data from the past 10 years released. Be prepared for the resistance. Once we get through this, DISD has the potential to really shine with powerful leadership willing to lead with such transparency!

Support the School Equity Spreadsheet!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dallas ISD Progress as of 4-18-18 with schools south of I-30 leading!

I started posting online about academic progress in Dallas ISD ten years ago, in April of 2008.  One of my first posts was this one:

Sadly, that posting made the point that Dallas ISD had the highest dropout rate of any city over a million population in the nation.  We started at the bottom, but by that time the Time Capsule Project was in its third year and the data was looking good.  Students were staying in school.  Enrollment in high school was going up.  A posting was written in June 2008 projecting that by 2010 we would have a graduation rate at Sunset as high as 50%, which would be an all time record.  See

That 2010 goal was achieved with 10 percentage points to spare!

The progress continued at Sunset and at the middle schools with active Time Capsule Projects.

By 2017 there were 6 active Time Capsule Project Middle Schools who had actively written letters for 4 or more years. Of those 6, 4 were among the highest SEI scoring middle schools among all 33 DISD middle schools. All five of the best middle schools were south of I-30.  See

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Exposing Racial Inequality in Dallas ISD: School Equity Spreadsheet design 4-16-18

A spreadsheet with one row for each of 228 Dallas ISD schools, and 95 columns of student, teacher, achievement, and financial data by student in each school, will quickly expose any racial equity issues in Dallas ISD!  It will also expose how need-mandated funds are being used, if they are truly supplementary, or if they are being supplanted by the reduction of regular funds in schools with a large population of students receiving such need based funds.

Such a School Equity Spreadsheet will allow anyone to explore instantly any of these 95 variables and the relationships between them in any single school, or in any sub-grouping of Dallas ISD schools.  Here is a first detailed draft of suggested variables being requested 4-16-18 from the Public Information Request Division in Dallas ISD for this proposed School Equity Spreadsheet:

Item #
School Equity Spreadsheet Column data - one school per row with one column for each following data item:
Date Data is recorded
School Year represented in this data
School Name
Street Address
zip code
Census tract

Student Enrollment:
# in pk
# in k
# in 1
# in 2
# in 3
# in 4
# in 5
# in 6
# in 7
# in 8
# in 9
# in 10
# in 11
# in 12
total enrollment
total enrollment capacity
White student enrollment
African American Enrollment
Hispanic Student Enrollment
American Indian Enrollment
Asian Enrollment
Hawaiian Enrollment
Multi-racial Enrollment
Ethnicity not reported
Total Female Students
Total Male Students
LEP total
Not Served
BE not LEP
LEP exit
At Risk
Economically Disadvantaged
Special Education

Teacher Information:
Total number teachers
White teachers
African teachers
Hispanic teachers
American teachers
Asian teachers
Hawaiian teachers
Multi-racial teachers
Total Female teachers
Total Male teachers
SPED teachers
% teachers 0-3 years experience
% teachers with 11+ years experience

Achievement information:
School Effectiveness Indices (SEI) for this school year
Percentage of students approaching standards in STARR
Percentage of students meeting standards in STARR
Percentage of students mastering standards in STARR

Expenditures by Object (Objects 6100-6600) - Data from PEIMS Standard Financial Reports
Total Expenditures all funds per student
Operating-Payroll all funds per student
Other Operating all funds per student
Non-Operating(Equipt/Supplies) all funds per student

Expenditures by Function (Objects 6100-6400 Only)
Total Operating Expenditures all funds per student
Instruction (11,95) * all funds per student
Instructional Res/Media (12) * all funds per student
Curriculum/Staff Develop (13) * all funds per student
Instructional Leadership (21) * all funds per student
School Leadership (23) * all funds per student
Guidance/Counseling Svcs (31) * all funds per student
Social Work Services (32) * all funds per student
Health Services (33) * all funds per student
Food (35) ** all funds per student
Extracurricular (36) * all funds per student
Plant Maint/Operation (51) * ** all funds per student
Security/Monitoring (52) * ** all funds per student
Data Processing Svcs (53)* ** all funds per student

Program expenditures by Program (Objects 6100-6400 only)
Total Operating Expenditures all funds per student
Regular all funds per student
Gifted & Talented all funds per student
Career & Technical all funds per student
Students with Disabilities all funds per student
Accelerated Education all funds per student
Bilingual all funds per student
Nondisc Alted-AEP Basic Serv all funds per student
Disc Alted-DAEP Basic Serv all funds per student
Disc Alted-DAEP Supplemental all funds per student
T1 A Schoolwide-St Comp >=40% all funds per student
Athletic Programming all funds per student
High School Allotment all funds per student
Prekindergarten all funds per student

The above 95 data items come from the Dallas ISD Data Portal (items 2-63, except for item #22 from 2015 Bond Data, but hopefully more current enrollment capacity data for each school is possible) and from the PEIMS Standard Financial Reports maintained by TEA (items 64-95).

This data is freely available online on each school, but not now in this spreadsheet format allowing comparisons. This format with a row dedicated to each school and 95 data items in the columns makes it very easy to compare equity between schools.  It saves hundreds of hours of work.  That required work in fact keeps the equity comparisons hidden from the public. 

The possible inequalities between the schools are not easily transparent, not easily visible.

The general concept of the School Equity Spreadsheet has been approved unanimously at a meeting of about 70 NAACP members and a meeting of the Our Community Our Schools Coalition.  Other groups concerned about equity in DISD schools are being approached and are asked to join in this effort, and/or provide ideas and direction for this effort to expose the equity or inequity between Dallas schools.

The effort to make this information visible is much bigger than any of us.  Ideas are welcome at   This data must be made public before Dallas ISD considers a 13 cent tax increase in a Tax Ratification Election. 

What other variables should be added to this list of 95?

This open records request was submitted to Dallas ISD on 4-9-18.  A more detailed listing of the variables was requested.  This list will be submitted on 4-16-18.  Suggestions for improvement are valued!

Since this was submitted it was suggested that trustee district # be added as well as if the school is north or south of the Trinity on the west side of Downtown Dallas, or I-30 on the east side.