Tuesday, January 21, 2020

1-23-20 TAPR Hearing Testimony: Progress, but not enough! Transparency for Customers.

The 2018/19 Texas Academic Progress Report for Dallas ISD can be celebrated by Dallas, but DISD must do better.

The DISD/Texas Achievement Gap has shrunk to only 5 percentage points, one point better than Houston ISD who has twice the percentage of students NOT suffering from poverty as DISD!  Dallas can be proud, but not for long. 

During the 6 years prior to 2013 the DISD/Texas Achievement Gap had gone from 14 to 8, a 6 point gain, one point a year!  Then the Achievement gap exploded back to 11 points in 2014 as teacher turnover set all time records due to the movement toward TEI.  In the past 6 years the Achievement Gap has finally made progress back to a gain of 3 points past the 2013 record.  Annual improvements are now only one point every two years.

Yes, DISD is still making progress, but we must be careful.

For Dallas ISD to progress more both in achievement and in strengthening community support, and in confidence for a possible 2020 Bond, the level of transparency at all levels inside DISD must improve!

Yesterday I called the 972-925-5555 line, the DISD parent information line, pretending to be a grandparent searching for PK-8 schools. The results were telling! The person I spoke to did not know of any!!  They took my information and said I would be sent an email with all K-8 schools in DISD. 

The email I received only listed one school as being K-8 and listed multiple magnet schools and other schools with a mixture of elementary level configurations, but only one K-8!

This is NOT the fault of the person who wrote the email. It is systemic to Dallas ISD. It was one of those "DeVos hired to run DOE" experiences on steroids! It is as if someone is working to maintain separate middle schools and increase fragmentation within DISD grade configurations as much as possible to weaken and destroy DISD!

DISD Administration has been parroting their agreement that K-8 is superior for about a decade. But their "body language" results a decade later is terrible.  Only ONE K-8 school the public is advised of, and apparently only two available that are not magnets of some type! (Rosemont is a K-8 campus with two schools.)


DISD enrollment is now lower than at any time in the past quarter of a century. 
Yesterday what I experienced one of the reasons with this continuing drop in enrollment. 

Due to the fact that only parents who research education are aware of the K-8 advantage, the two true K-8 schools probably have more parents driving distances to bring their child to them. The K-8 neglect in DISD must change!

Why did DISD not develop a team to attend all public DISD planning meetings about the massive benefits of K-8 schools. Academic results are superior and DISD saves on transportation costs as K-8 are more truly neighborhood schools with a fraction of the behavioral issues of middle schools.

EVERY parent in every Dallas ISD feeder pattern should have a K-8 school to chose from inside their feeder pattern! That goal must drive the 2020 Bond program. Just look at the research!!

Transparency for all academic achievement and financial information by school must be more easily available and easy to understand, and easy to compare schools. One large spreadsheet can achieve that similar to the School Information File under Resources on the Dallas ISD Data Portal. 

See https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/Master_Ref.jsp for the current format on the School Information File. 

Such a Dallas ISD All Schools TAPR Spreadsheet would expand this demographic and achievement information for each school in the assigned row for each school.  The variables to be added would all come from the Dallas ISD annual Texas Academic Progress Report (TAPR) files collected at https://www.dallasisd.org/Page/873 for each academic year.

A separate Dallas ISD All Schools TAPR Spreadsheet for each academic year should be made for each academic year going back 10 years.

It would add many more variables including the 32 financial variables per school showing moneys allocated by school as reported in the PEIMS Financial Reports linked on this page.  Multiple variables from the TAPR report for each school should be added judged on their significance for the academic, parent, and taxpayer community.

A decade of such reports will expose the Dallas ISD record so that corrections can be made, and confidence gained for future bond elections, and for Equity adjustments that would be mandated based on such records. Such transparency would allow DISD to develop a truly effective data-driven Equity & Excellence Program!  

Dallas would really lead the nation!

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