While there is a glut of valuable data on the Dallas ISD and Texas Education Agency web sites for the very few people who know how to navigate those sites, an ordered monthly system of much more timely DISD reports is missing. Monthly reports should be designed and then consistently attached to the agenda to be presented as part of the superintendents' report at each school board meeting.
As issues evolve in DISD the format of monthly reports can be modified, with board approval, to meet such needs. Here is a list of the variables that should be included in such a monthly report:
- Student movement that month including students entering or leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, with a demographic profile of these groups provided that includes reasons for the movement. Include notice of any schools overcrowded that now have more students or any schools underutilized that are now with fewer students due to such movement
- Teacher movement that month including teachers hired and leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, with a demographic profile of these groups with reasons for the movement given. Include specific mention of the frequency of the use of substitute teachers by location with a separate tabulation by school of the frequency of substitute teachers not being available and a class having to be moved to other locations to spend the day.
- Reports of any testing results received that month with all the associated details to help in the assessment of performance.
Without a much more consistent system for transparency, reforms being attempted inside DISD have little meaning. The potential for problems to be hidden and grow increases with the level of secrecy.
Immediately after writing this blog I began to study the annual reports for DISD on which there is supposed to be a "public hearing" at 5:30 this afternoon. I called to speak and was told I had to call yesterday. Nobody else was signed up to speak at this "public hearing." So I sent the following email to the DISD Board with the attached spreadsheet I created from the data in one of the reports that was supposed to be discussed today. This data was not discussed at this evenings hearing and the hearing closed with the president's statement that "since there were no speakers the meeting is adjourned."
Two in the audience had tried to sign up to speak today with no success due to the 24 hour rule.
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Sent: 1/22/2015 2:29:46 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Todays' 5:30 public discussion of TAPR Annual Reports
Dear President Solis and all DISD Trustees,
I regret that I did not call in time to address the Texas Academic Performance Report today. I have been studying the report and have focused on the summary chart on page 3 of the report on DISD. It is linked from the TEA web site found in the slides that are part of today's presentation. Hopefully you will be addressing the significant decline in DISD student performance in all subjects compared to the State of Texas achievements from 2013 to 2014.
Attached please find that summary chart with one column inserted showing how much DISD fell behind in every subject from 2013 to 2014. I will be present for the hearing if there are any questions, but I understand that your time schedule is tight, almost as if you expected there to be nobody from the public making comments.
Some of you have been complaining in public that too little of the time at your meetings are spent discussing student achievement. I agree. This is a time to change that.
I am very disappointed that it was not more clear that public comments could be made and when you had to sign up to talk. I called today and was too late. It is almost as if DISD Administration wanted to keep this hearing hidden so nobody paid attention to the declines in student achievement and the frightening data in these reports.Respectfully,Bill Betzen, volunteer
Dallas ISD Achievement Data
|Annual comparisons of DISD academic progress with Texas for the past 8 years are needed.|
Dallas residents must have a much clearer view of the direction DISD schools are going.