Thursday, June 11, 2020

6-11-20 DISD Briefing Testimony: Creating a single spreadsheet for Racial Equity data

Honorable Trustees and Dr. Hinojosa. I am Bill Betzen.

I am honored to be a member of the Racial Equity Office Advisory Committee and am extremely impressed with the team. The specific recommendation from each of the four committees formed is in the presentation the Racial Equity Office will give today. It is item 6 B on your agenda.

On page 13 are the recommendations from each of the four committees. 

Notice the similarities of focus.  Three of the four committees recommended annual reports, audits, or the establishment of a DISD Racial Equity Dashboard related to their area of responsibility. All are recommendations related to the reporting of data. The fourth committee, “Community Involvement” recommended making certain every DISD home has access to the Internet in their home. How else can our students and their families be involved?

These recommendations must be achieved.

Three of the committee's recommendations can pull their data from the same single annual spreadsheet. That School Information File, under "Resources" in the DISD Data Portal, must include all data the public requests on each school, stored in one single spreadsheet with each school covered in one row and 250+ columns of data to include all the most critical data the public is requesting about our schools.

It only needs more columns of data to be added to this single spreadsheet. Data will be added to the School Information File for use in Racial Equity reports as available throughout the school year.  This School Information File spreadsheet is then frozen into an Annual School Information File at the end of each school year. Nothing fancy is needed. The history of DISD racial equity will be shared as never before as data is pulled from this central source for the recommended reports.

The public will be able to follow racial equity, along with thousands of additional components building DISD success. They will be able to follow it in a way that has never to-date happened in Dallas ISD!  All that is needed is a 7th grade understanding of spreadsheets, the subject I taught for the last 8 years before I retired from DISD.
The urgency of transparency is reflected in a 22-year-old article about Dallas ISD from 1998 titled "Corrupt Empire."  It is initially hilarious, but not for long. As you read the humor disappears.

Think of how students in the 1990's were neglected due to this theft of both money and attention. Nothing like this can continue

But still, 22 years later, Dallas does not have needed, easy-to-use transparency. That needed transparency must be the work of the Racial Equity Office.