Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Dade Middle School Crisis in Dallas ISD

The school year started at Dade Middle School with one of the lowest tenured teaching staffs in all of DISD!

This happened in spite of the fact that Dade is an inner city middle school with a record of intense discipline problems and violence, rated "improvement required" for the second year in a row.  Dade began this school year with over 54% of teaching staff, 32 out of 59, having one year or less tenure with DISD.  The teachers may have had more teaching time, but were new to DISD, and DISD would not release more details.  

This was a recipe for failure that ultimately exploded with the report posted 10-10-14 by the Dallas Morning News online Friday evening and linked here.  The Dade leadership team and 10 Dade teachers were suddenly replaced by Mr. Miles.  More details are constantly emerging. Get updates at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/ or from Dade and other sources.

But, this crisis started two years ago! Plans to merge two rival middle schools into the new $53,000,000 Billy Earl Dade Middle School were being made.  Advice of local educators to work in the community before the opening to ease the merging of two rival middle schools was ignored by Mr. Miles and his staff.

The local principal with a positive history managing the original Billy Earl Dade Middle School, who was there when Mr. Miles started with DISD, was presumed to be the first principal over the new Dade.  He was the first principal under Miles. However he was suddenly removed along with many of the experienced teachers from the old Dade by Miles.  A principal from outside the community, unknown to the community, with no secondary school experience, and many Teach for American teachers, and other new teachers, were assigned to the new building.  Achievement fell and the Dade was rated "Improvement Required" the first year in the new building.  Principal number two was replaced by a third principal this past summer who lasted 6 weeks into this school year.

Now as of  10-14-14 almost half of the teacher replacements assigned last week, have quit.  See a local news report linked here on these sudden resignations.

The fourth principal is still there with the new leadership team assigned last week. (Note: this was posted 10-14-14 and things are moving fast in DISD.  If you know more of the history and see errors please email corrections: bbetzen@aol.com )

Repeat, the new Dade principal as of last week is the fourth principal at Dade since Mr. Miles came to DISD.  The teaching staff at Dade has evolved since 2012 to become one of the least tenured and lowest paid at any school in DISD.  Dade teachers have an average of 5.3 years in DISD while the average teacher in the district has an average tenure within DISD of 7.9 years.  While DISD already has a terrifyingly high percentage of teacher staff who are new to DISD, 32.8% having one year or less with DISD, at Dade that percentage with one year or less in DISD is over 54%!   (Please let me know if you are aware of any DISD school with a greater percentage of staff with one year or less time with DISD! bbetzen@aol.com )

Consistent with such exceptionally high turnover, Dade staff have some of the lowest average salaries in DISD.   While DISD has over 18% of classroom teaching staff with salaries over $58,000, at Dade that percentage was only 10% as of 8-18-14.  

What happened in DISD to the idea of encouraging the most experienced staff, the best paid staff, to be working in our most demanding schools?

Problems at Dade have deteriorated under Mr. Miles' leadership due to his habit of ignoring local history and not respecting local advice in his planning.  This is a dangerous and repeated pattern that has resulted in ending much of the progress being made in DISD as a whole when Mr. Miles arrived in July of 2012!  See the documentation of that decline at www.dallasisd.us .

Dallas must pay more attention to what is happening, the data coming from our schools, and compare that to what is being said by Mr. Miles.

===========================================

A separate but major element with the Dade crisis is unrelated to Mr. Miles beyond the fact that he also followed the lead of previous DISD administrations and has done little more than talk about it.  They have all virtually ignored the growing research that shows middle schools are not good for student achievement.   Some of that research is described and linked to a blog at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2012/02/separate-middle-schools-vs-k-8.html .   DISD must begin moving away from the use of middle schools.  The focus must change to the use of K-8 schools in our communities throughout Dallas.

After the current leadership crisis in both Dade and DISD is managed, DISD must deal with the damage being done by the very existence of middle schools in DISD. 

But DISD cannot wait for that to rebuild H.S. Thompson, a feeder school to Dade, as a K-8 school.  That must be started now!

That critical and urgent step could begin the slow transition over the next decade to having local community centered K-8 schools wherein walking to school will become more normal once again and achievement will soar while behavior problems are almost eliminated.   If the transition is done right, so our students are focused onto their own futures at the same time, Dallas will ask why we ever had middle schools.  The progress of 2008-2012 will fade into history and become a faint shadow of the progress DISD will have in the future!

===========================================
The following statement signed by many community leaders was circulated 10-15-14:

A COMMUNITY STATEMENT CONCERNING THE TURMOIL AT

DR. BILLY EARL DADE MIDDLE SCHOOL



The Dr. Billy Earl Dade Middle School opened in 2006 with much optimism and enthusiasm for a school of excellence to serve the middle school students in sunny South Dallas.  The former elementary school transitioned well to a middle school feeding into Madison High School, giving the two high schools in south Dallas pure feeder patterns.  The excitement continued as the principal was one who was well known to the community and many of the students, teachers and ancillary staff were committed to making this an oasis in sunny South Dallas. 

 


For two years, the principal and staff worked toward improving the academic progress of students while at the same time fostering basic social skills development of students, giving students a sense of their personal worth, and engaging the community and community partners in what was slowly but surely could become a beacon of hope and sunshine in sunny South Dallas.  The Bond Program provided for a new school, and the Dedication of the new school took place November 2012 under the administration of the principal and staff who had transitioned the school from elementary to middle school.  However, the optimism that had carried forth from 2006 through the dedication of the new building in November 2012 was cut short when the principal and teachers were summarily replaced before the move to the new building in the fall of 2013.  This transitional staff was replaced with a principal who had no experience as a secondary principal and no experience in sunny South Dallas.  To add to this lack of experience, the school was staffed with approximately 13 Teach for America teachers and 7 first year teachers.  These individuals with NO prior teaching experience replaced experienced teachers.   To further complicate matters, the central administration ignored information that two rival schools would be combined into one.   No plans were made to proactively address these teen rivalries.  The results: Dade went back academically in every measurable area, chaos was the order of the day, and the principal who was selected by the DISD Senior Administration was released to become a principal facilitator – one who coaches other principals! Another selection of the DISD Executive Administration was brought in for the next year ---and summarily removed six weeks into the school year!  The stellar replacement for this middle school placed in turmoil by actions of the DISD Executive Administration is another elementary principal who has no secondary experience.  Simultaneously, the experienced assistant principals were removed and replaced by another group of those who have no ties to this community --- coming in well after the start of the school year.  The student demographics for Dade are 69.5% Black; 29.3% Hispanic and 1 percent other.  The administration is:


1 Principal – Hispanic Female


4 Assistant Principals:  2 Female Hispanics; 1 White Female; and 1 Black Female (an all-female administrative team for a campus in turmoil and where there is a clear need for strong male models for both the female and male students.)   Additionally, the Executive Administration decided to remove teachers and replace them with Instructional Coaches from around the District – the result –day 1, over half of the Instructional Coaches were no shows, so the classes were doubled up; a food fight ensued, and the chaos continued.  Day 2 -three of the Instructional Coaches resigned leaving classes without assigned teachers; students continued their protests for the removal of trusted teachers and leaders.  The Superintendent canceled the Parent Meeting to brief parents --- a meeting scheduled on Middle School Parent Conference Night which was an optimum time to reach the most parents, and a continued sense of chaos and disorganization continues. These missteps orchestrated by the Executive Administration of DISD are a disservice to the Dade School Community. 



Ø We, the community, call upon the Superintendent to host a town hall meeting to address the future of Dade Middle School to ensure a semblance of stability and opportunity for student growth; 


Ø We call upon the Superintendent to give respect to the parents of Dade students by addressing this directly with them and answering any questions they may have;


Ø We call upon the Board of Trustees to review this situation which has placed a troubled school in greater harm; to remove a current DISD School Board member from a public school is highly unacceptable and an appropriate remedy MUST be developed and enforced.

 

Ø We call upon the Superintendent to cite specific statues that would allow for the ejection of an elected official from pubic school property, within that member’s Trustee District. We call upon the superintendent to address the criteria for permitting one trustee to attend staff meetings while excluding other trustees.  We call upon the superintendent to adhere to his amended contract that requires him to foster positive relationships among school board trustees.


Concerned citizens of the Dade School community desire a stable learning environment filled with high expectations, dedicated, competent educators with a successful track record of working with diverse urban students.
 

October 15, 2014                 Contact:  Dr. Roscoe C. Smith
                                             972-741-8213


 Partial list of supporters:

The Honorable Mavis Knight, Texas State Board of Education, District 13                                                      

The Honorable Carolyn R. Davis, Dallas City Council District, District 7

The Honorable Harryette Ehrhardt, former, State Representative

Dr. Michael L. Bowie, Pastor, St. Luke “Community” UMC

Dr. Zan W. Holmes, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, St. Luke “Community” UMC

The Honorable Diane Ragsdale, former Dallas City Council member

Minister Jeffery Muhammad, Muhammad Mosque

Rev. Bryan Carter, President, African American Pastors Coalition

Dr. Ronald Jones, Pastor, New Hope Baptist Church

Dr. Harry L. Robinson, Jr., resident of South Dallas

Shirley Ison-Newsome, retired DISD administrator

Dr. Alfred L. Roberts, Sr., retired DISD administrator, resident of South Dallas

Dr. Roscoe C. Smith, retired DISD administrator

===========================================


Friday, October 10, 2014

Tenured Teachers Leaving Dallas ISD as of 8-18-14

Through an open records request I received an Excel spreadsheet listing of the 10,197 teachers within DISD as of 8-18-14 with their certification and DISD tenure given.   DISD in press releases was stating that all teaching positions were filled at the start of the current school year except for 16.  Thus the following report on this data on 10,197 positions should be a rather complete accounting for all teachers as of 8-18-14.  Since then it appears DISD has been losing over 100 more teachers a month.  See last paragraph below.  More data is being requested.

Number DISD teachers with 0 years with DISD: 1866
Number DISD teachers  with 1 year with DISD: 1477
Number with 2 779
Number with 3 294
Number with 4 352
Number with 5 255
Number with 6 376
Number with 7 535
Number with 8 472
Number with 9 358
Number with 10 310
Number with 11 278
Number with 12 328
Number with 13 334
Number with 14 262
Number with 15 204
Number with 16 179
Number with 17 150
Number with 18 168
Number with 19 131
Number with 20 129
Teachers with 21 years or more with DISD 938
Total with number of years given 10,175
NULL 21
#N/A 1
Total number of teachers as of 8-18-14 10,197

Notice that 32.8% of all teachers have either no experience within DISD (1,866) or have only one year with DISD (1,477).   These two numbers represent 32.8% of all teachers within DISD.  We have not yet found any school district with almost 1/3 of all teachers having one year or less of tenure with the district.

Research is consistent in finding that new teachers are the least effective teachers. "Teachers in their first three years do a less satisfactory job than they will with more experience."   Such sentences in academic research are not news, but look at the chart below and notice that DISD now has the highest percentage of teachers in their first three years in history!

Over 40% of teachers in DISD, 4,122 total, have been with DISD for two years or less, however they may have more years teaching than their years with DISD reflect.  (This is from the above chart.)

The chart below is centered on experience as a teacher as reflected on about page 17 in each of the annual Data Packets posted at the end of each summer for planning purposes for the new school year as linked here. This is not just time with DISD as had to be used above.  (I do not understand why DISD could not respect my open records request for teaching experience for teachers on the payroll as of 8-18-14.  We debated that request back and forth by email until I gave up so as to receive the above data.)

History of tenure teaching among DISD teachers as reflected in annual planning documents.
From DISD Annual Data Packets under Statistics at: https://mydata.dallasisd.org/
Both of these lists indicate a record turnover rate among DISD teaching staff since 2012.  This does not look good for DISD student achievement in 2014/15.   Turnover must be slowed down!  

Sadly I can find nowhere in the news, or by observation of DISD Trustee meetings, that DISD administrative staff and leadership are showing any concern whatsoever about this destructive staff turnover.   What efforts are being taken to stop teacher turnover from growing?

DISD Administration claimed they started the school year with only 16 vacancies.  A week ago there were about 125 teacher positions posted as vacant and open for filling on the DISD web site.  Today there are 184 positions posted.   See http://www.applitrack.com/dallasisd/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Teacher+2014-2015+School+Year .   Will this number continue to grow or will DISD be able to hire teachers fast enough to replace the teachers who are now reported as leaving out of frustration?  

How many DISD teachers have been resigning each month?  Since DISD claimed only 16 vacancies as of 8-18-14, and there are as of 10-12-12 a total of 184 vacancies, and it is certain that many vacancies, possibly hundreds, were filled since 8-18-14, it is safe to say that over 100 teachers are leaving each month.  Hopefully, for the sake of our children, this estimate is a gross exaggeration of teacher turnover in DISD.

I sent in an open records request to DISD on 10-12-14 to secure teacher turnover information since 8-18-14.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dallas Home Rule Charter Commission Meeting Monday 9-22-14

Thank you Tawnell for posting this valuable data.  This priceless video record of an often tense meeting has much of value that is on it.  Commissioner Marcus Ranger begins a wonderful set of statements at 1:09:50 on the tape linked above.  I strongly recommend it be listened to carefully.  Many other Commission members were in agreement. In response to attempts to have the Commission break up into committees to listed to testimony he relates experience observing committees in DISD History.  It helps explain what happened later in the meeting with the walkout by one committee member who was placed as the chair of what would have been, in my strong opinion, the most powerful committee.
Fortunately I was at this meeting.   For anyone concerned about Dallas ISD it was the best entertainment possible to watch so many people passionately concerned about the need for progress in DISD discussing the potential for such plans to be made.  The agreement is growing that the needed changes can be made without a misnamed "home rule" charter district taking control of Dallas ISD away from the people.
Dallas must pay attention to what is happening in DISD!  "Home rule" is a dangerous distraction!
As of 8-18-14 there were 10,758 teachers on the DISD payroll.  23 have data missing in the open records request spreadsheet I received last week.  That leaves 10,735 with time with DISD given. (Note: this is not time as a teacher.  DISD would not release that data claiming it was not in digital form: "The breakdown requested is not information that is maintained electronically by the District.")   1,938 of those had 0 years experience being new hires this year.  1,538 were new hires last year and now have one year teaching in DISD.  That means that a total of 3,476 teachers, or 32.3%, have one year or less teaching within DISD!  
Thank you Tawnell for posting this valuable data.  This priceless video record of an often tense meeting has much of value that is on it.  Commissioner Marcus Ranger begins a wonderful set of statements at 1:09:50 on the tape linked above.  I strongly recommend it be listened to carefully.  Many other Commission members were in agreement. In response to attempts to have the Commission break up into committees to listed to testimony he relates experience observing committees in DISD History.  It helps explain what happened later in the meeting with the walkout by one committee member who was placed as the chair of what would have been, in my strong opinion, the most powerful committee.
Fortunately I was at this meeting.   For anyone concerned about Dallas ISD it was the best entertainment possible to watch so many people passionately concerned about the need for progress in DISD discussing the potential for such plans to be made.  The agreement is growing that the needed changes can be made without a misnamed "home rule" charter district taking control of Dallas ISD away from the people.
Dallas must pay attention to what is happening in DISD!  "Home rule" is a dangerous distraction!
As of 8-18-14 there were 10,758 teachers on the DISD payroll.  23 have data missing in the open records request spreadsheet I received last week.  That leaves 10,735 with time with DISD given. (Note: this is not time as a teacher.  DISD would not release that data claiming it was not in digital form: "The breakdown requested is not information that is maintained electronically by the District.")   1,938 of those had 0 years experience being new hires this year.  1,538 were new hires last year and now have one year teaching in DISD.  That means that a total of 3,476 teachers, or 32.3%, have one year or less teaching within DISD!  
Does anyone know any school district where almost 1/3 of their teachers have one year or less experience in the district?  Why are teachers leaving DISD in such great numbers?   See more DISD teacher turnover data in section 6 at www.dallasisd.us  
Tawnell reported in the Morning News on the Monday 9-22-14 meeting with a link to the video of the meeting and some very valuable data.  This is a priceless video record of an often tense meeting. 

Commissioner Marcus Ranger begins a wonderful set of statements at 1:09:50 on the tape linked from the article linked above.  I strongly recommend it be listened to carefully.  Many other Commission members were in agreement. In response to attempts to have the Commission break up into committees to listed to testimony he relates experience observing committees in DISD History.  It helps explain what happened later in the meeting with the walkout by one committee member who was placed as the chair of what would have been, in my strong opinion, the most powerful committee.

Fortunately I was at this meeting.   For anyone concerned about Dallas ISD it was the best entertainment possible to watch.  It involved many people passionately concerned about the need for progress in DISD discussing the potential for such plans to be made.  The agreement appears to be growing on the Commission that the needed changes can be made without a misnamed "home rule" charter district taking control of Dallas ISD away from the people.
Here is the committee plan that suddenly appeared over the break during the 9-22-14 meeting:

Home-Rule Charter Commission Committees presented 9-22-14

Study the above list as you listen to Commissioner Rangers comments mentioned above.
Dallas must pay attention to what is happening in DISD!  "Home rule" is a dangerous distraction from data as to what is happening now within DISD!
As of 8-18-14 there were 10,197 teachers on the DISD payroll.  22 have data missing in the open records request spreadsheet I received last week.  That leaves 10,175 with time with DISD given. (Note: this is not time as a teacher.  DISD would not release that data claiming it was not in digital form: "The breakdown requested is not information that is maintained electronically by the District.")   1,866 of those had 0 years experience being new hires this year.  1,477 were new hires last year and now have one year teaching in DISD.  That means that a total of 3,343 teachers, or 32.8%, have one year or less teaching within DISD!    

Does anyone know any school district where almost 1/3 of their teachers have one year or less experience in the district?  Why are teachers leaving DISD in such great numbers?   See more DISD teacher turnover data in section 6 at www.dallasisd.us  
anyone know any school district where almost 1/3 of their teachers have one year or less experience in the district?  Why are teachers leaving DISD in such great numbers?   See more DISD teacher turnover data in section 6 at www.dallasisd.us  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Data DISD did not want shared.

On 8-14-14 DISD published their most recent copy of the CORE Network News for DISD. It included a graph documenting the increased speed with which teacher vacancies were being filled. 

CAPE Network News for 8-14-14
Click on above image to enlarge.
The Cape Network news only gave a graph underlining the increased speed with which they are now able to fill teacher vacancies in DISD.  It failed to provide additional information as to how turnover has gone up over 100% and the number of new teachers teaching their first year as a teacher has increased about 150% in the past 2 years.    See this edited copy of the graph from the CORE Network News.

Edited copy of staff graphic from 8-14-18 CAPE Network News.
Click to enlarge
When the numbers are compared across time you can see the number first year teachers has gone from 460 a year to 1,285 a year in just 3 years.  The percent of turnover has gone from 12.9% to 28.5%, well over a 100% increase.   

Remember, these are last years numbers.  The numbers for 2014/15 are slowly being gathered.  We already know the number of new, first year teachers is as high as last year, within 50, but that resignations are still being counted and positions filled. 
 
The 2014/15 school year is finding DISD with the smallest percentage in history of teachers with over three years teaching experience, and the highest percentage of teachers ever with one year or less of teaching experience. 


The Best Schools Master Relationships

This weekend there was a powerful article in the NY Times about education that said more about personal relationships that are the heart of the Time-Capsule Project than any article I have seen yet.   Here is that article from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/opinion/sunday/teaching-is-not-a-business.html?smid=fb-share
                               
Below are some of the most powerful quotes from the article.

Teaching Is Not a Business

....
... It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.
....
 
Charter schools have been promoted as improving education by creating competition. But charter students do about the same, over all, as their public school counterparts, and the worst charters, like the online K-12 schools that have proliferated in several states, don’t deserve to be called schools. Vouchers are also supposed to increase competition by giving parents direct say over the schools their children attend, but the students haven’t benefited. For the past generation, Milwaukee has run a voucher experiment, with much-debated outcomes that to me show no real academic improvement.
 
While these reformers talk a lot about markets and competition, the essence of a good education — bringing together talented teachers, engaged students and a challenging curriculum — goes undiscussed.
...
....  public schools have been spending billions of dollars on technology which they envision as the wave of the future. Despite the hyped claims, the results have been disappointing. “The data is pretty weak,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. “When it comes to showing results, we better put up or shut up.”
...
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DISD School Board Meeting 7-22-14, 2:43 AM to 4:05 AM

7-21-14 at 5:30 PM the DISD Trustees began a board meeting to address a request for contract extension, retirement vesting, clearance to begin consulting, a "salary bump" and possibly other items not made public.  They went into closed session about 5:50 PM on 7-21-14.  They did not return to an open meeting until 2:43 AM on 7-22-14.



Dallas ISD Board Meeting 2:43 AM to 4:05 AM on 7-22-14
The video record of this exceptionally informative board meeting is online at http://www.dallasisd.org/Page/663 .   The meeting starts at 9:17:00, 9 hours and 17 minutes into the tape, at 2:43 AM.   The first action after the resumption of the open meeting was the reading of the proposed contract. 

It is strongly recommend everyone concerned about Dallas ISD students listen to all of this video tape.   The statements by board members were very informative.  Share it with your friends.

Ultimately the superintendent's contract was extended to July 1, 2017 but not until two critical, but failed, amendments were attempted.  That amendment process was exceptionally informative.

The first amendment was to delay the planned vote tonight until after the formal evaluation of Miles was completed.  There was much debate.  It was only supported by Trustees Foreman, Jones, Blackburn and Nutall and failed.   While Miguel Solis and others made statements that all the needed data is now available, what about the TEA school evaluation data that will not be available until August?

The second amendment was to eliminate the ability for consulting from the contract.  The proposed contract allows Mr. Miles to consult 8 days a year using vacation time for the consulting and then giving any money earned, less expenses, to the Dallas Educational Foundation.  Only Foreman, Blackburn, and Nutall voted for that, but Jones documented many excellent concerns in her statement.  

The final vote to approve the contract until 2017 passed 7 to 2 with only Foreman and Nutall voting against it.   This extension mandates that if Mr. Miles is terminated without reason that the complete liability of DISD would never go beyond one years' salary, or $300,000 presently since there was no raise given this evening.

Only media, from every TV station in town, and 3 of us "civilians," were present for this latest morning meeting in DISD history addressing a superintendents' contract extension.

Dallas can be thankful.  It was not an easy process for those involved.   A lot of work went on this evening behind closed doors.  Sadly the data on the student lack of achievement from the STAAR tests and the shrinking size of the most recent graduation class appear to have been ignored by the majority of the board.

What else counts?   Dallas needs this to be explained by the board members who supported Miles this evening.  If Mr. Miles had a principal whose school tested worse year to year in 4 out of 5 subjects by an average of over 3 percentage points, and only improved by 1.9 percentage points in only one subject, and had a minority achievement gap that virtually exploded, what would Mr. Miles do?  This is what has happened inside DISD to the 65,000 students grades 3 to 8 we have entrusted to Mr. Miles.   See data charts here. 

Regarding the vesting issue and a "salary bump," they were not granted.  The final agreement appears rather austere in detail, not granting many of the extras that were requested .   

Dallas needs a public debate of the data that is collecting about our children's progress in DISD.    

Dallas is loosing critical focus due to "home rule," while DISD has been deteriorating since July 2012 following the 5 greatest years of progress in DISD historyThe public must be contacting all board members about the damage now happening inside DISD.

Please listen to this 80 minute meeting that starts at 9:17:00 on the tape.  It exposes the DISD Board regarding dedication to detail, data, professional management, and following established procedures.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Best Years 2008-2012 - Dallas ISD Data - updated 10-12-14

The five best years of progress in Dallas ISD History since WWII were 2008-2012!   The chart below covers the 5 years before 2008 and the two years since 2012, covering 12 years to clearly show how these 5 years stick out.  The gray squares shows when the measurement indicated became worse:
Dallas ISD Graduation Rate Measurements 2003 to 2014
Click on above chart to enlarge.  Email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel spreadsheet with formulas and data.
During 5 academic years, from the Class of 2008 to the Class of 2012, these 11 measurements only had one out of the 55 total measurements that was negative as a step backwards.  Then progress stopped!  For the Classes of 2013 and 14 there are 21 measurements available.  11 of them are negative!    Can Dallas continue to ignore these numbers?
 
There is reason to believe that the "home rule charter district" distraction was initiated to take Dallas public attention away from this data, and the data below, and the damage represented by it all!  To see more data on the "home rule charter district" distraction go to http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/05/dallas-isd-home-rule-effort-ignores-data.html
  
Anyone who finds mistakes in this data is encouraged to review the data below, the data sources, and contact bbetzen@aol.com with your findings and/or concerns.
1.      Texas Education Agency School Ratings: With 9 more DISD schools rated "Improvement Required" in 2014 (43) that in 2013 (34), Dallas has the sad distinction of deteriorating with more new failing schools than any district in Texas!  The rest of Texas improved with 5% fewer schools rated “improvement required” while DISD had 26% more. (T.E.A. 8-7-14, see links below.) 
2.      College Readiness: The number of SAT “college ready” scores above 990 went down for the first time in DISD history with the Class of 2014 when 195 fewer DISD students received scores above 990 than in 2013.  This was a drop of 16%, from 1,212 to 1,017. (D.M.N. 6-23-14, see links below.)
3.      Academic Issues:  The percentage of the 65,000 third through 8th grade students with passing grades on STAAR tests went down an average of 3 percentage points the spring of 2014 compared to the spring of 2013 in 4 out of 5 subjects.  The Minority Achievement Gap grew.  TEA did not raise passing standards for 2014. (See page 4 of 5-22-14 STAAR Report at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/STAAR2014/2014_STAAR_38_AD1_PERCENT_LVL2_DISTRICT_C.pdf .)
4.     Graduation Issues:  The Dallas ISD Class of 2014 was 427 students smaller than the Class of 2013. The Class of 2014 was the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous years’ graduation class. (See chart below for more details.)
  1. Discipline Issues:  Total discipline problems increased 26% during 2012/13 school year.  The shift in 2013/14 to out of school suspensions continued while in school suspensions dropped to the lowest level on record, less than a third of what they were prior to 2009/10. (DISD records)
  2. Teacher Turnover Issues:  Since 2010/11 teacher turnover percentages have increased over 120%, going from 12.9% to 28.5% by 2013/14.  The 2014/15 school year begins with DISD having the highest percentage of new, 1st year teachers in DISD History! As of 8-18-14 there are 3,343 out of 10,197 DISD teachers who have one year or less with Dallas ISD.  (DISD records)
  3. Needed Public Debate:  This data must be presented and debated in Dallas public meetings!  The public must be allowed to ask questions, especially to explore the truth of "data cherry picking" allegations that demand more exploration.

Progress will only resume with more DISD openness to public involvement, similar to 2005-2007, when the seeds for these 5 years of record progress were planted within a unified DISD!

See below for details and data sources for these 7 points above.

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1) Texas Education Agency School Ratings -
DISD, like the charter districts, getting worse in 2013/14! 

On 8-7-14 TEA released their 2014 school evaluations.  There was progress in public schools all over Texas as 5% fewer schools were rated as "Improvement Required."  Only 8% of normal ISD's in Texas are now rated as "improvement required." However, the charter districts in Texas continue to have problems with 22% of charter districts rated as "improvement required." Charter school districts in Texas in 2013/14 were over 2 and a half times more likely to be ruled as "improvement required" when compared with normal ISD's.

DISD was not like the other ISD's in Texas which improved on average in 2013/14..  DISD now has 26% more schools rated as "improvement required" compared to last year.  No district in Texas has 9 more such schools this year!  DISD  must become more like the rest of the "regular" districts in Texas and improve!  DISD must not continue to be like the charter districts getting worse!  See the data at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release.aspx?id=25769815103 .
 
This hints at the "home-rule" confusion that has been pushed on Dallas.  It appears to have been designed to distract the people of Dallas from studying the data accumulating that documents the ending of the recent record setting positive changes in Dallas ISD from 2007 to 2012.  

Here are some of the sites created by various Dallas volunteer and non-profit groups who are dedicated to home rule charter district issues in Dallas and in our nation:
The data concerns are documented in more detail below.

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2) College Readiness

DISD constantly had an increasing number of seniors who scored "college ready" (990) on the SAT.  That ended in 2014!  Here is the report of the Dallas Morning News:
Of the 7,663 DISD students who took the exam, only 1,017 of them received a combined score greater than 990 on the math and reading portions of the test. In comparison, 1,212 of the 5,237 students who took the exam last year hit that mark.
In 2014 with encouragement and payment by DISD for the tests, there were 2,426 more students taking the SAT exams.  That should have increased the number with at least a few more "college ready" scores.  That did not happen!   Instead the number of students with "college ready" scores went down by 195 students even with 2,426 more students taking the test!

Yes, you can expect the percentage getting above 990 to go down when all students are tested, but to have the absolute number getting above 990 to go down by 195 students indicates a very major problem in achievement.   This is the greatest step backward in SAT testing results in DISD History!

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3) Academic Issues:

Based on the passing rates achieved in 2014 compared to 2013 passing rates, academic achievement for DISD has fallen in 4 out of 5 subjects as reflected in the most recent STAAR testing of over 65,000 students in grades 3 to 8!
Results are at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/TAKS/index.jsp 

2014 STAAR grade 3-8 Results by Student Group for DISD
Click on chart to enlarge.
The above 2014 STAAR test report is from taken from page four of the document at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/STAAR2014/2014_STAAR_38_AD1_PERCENT_LVL2_DISTRICT_C.pdf  

The minority achievement gap increased for every subject for both African American and Hispanic minority groups. 

The minority achievement gap is "exploding" based on these most recent STAAR tests.

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4) Graduation Issues

Graduation rates remain the major issue within DISD.  For generations the percentage of 9th grade enrollment who were represented in the number in the graduation class was less than 50% in DISD!  When the majority of students are not even graduating, graduation is the major crisis to be solved! Over 50% of 9th grade enrollment continued to be missing at graduation in DISD until 2011.  The actual size of graduation classes in Dallas had already been breaking records since 2008 at that time, and continued to break records until 2013, recording 6 years of constant progress!

But then the DISD Class of 2014 became the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous year’s graduation class.  

The Class of 2014 was over 400 students smaller than the Class of 2013!


Below are 10 points about DISD graduation history drawn from the 1970-2014 DISD enrollment and graduation spreadsheet below.  It is beneath the "Five Best Years" spreadsheet. Numbers in the left hand column of the 1970-2014 spreadsheet correspond to each of these 10 points:
  1. 1970 - Dallas ISD had a total of 164,726 students of which 94,383 were Anglo.
  2. 1971 - Integration was happening, perceived as a threat, and DISD lost about 9% of Anglo students both in 1971 and again in 1972.  That loss, 8,698 and 7,945, represented more students lost each of those years than the total of number of Anglo students remaining in DISD now since 2008.
  3. 1984 - When you look at the graduating class as the percentage of the entire DISD enrollment, this year was the last time, until 2013, that the graduation class would represent over 4.7% of total DISD enrollment. It was 5.3% that year, the lowest percentage, and the smallest graduation class, since 1971 and probably before.  Then it fell to 4.7% in 1985.
  4. 1994 - The graduation classes of 1994 and 1993 were the smallest DISD graduation class in the last 44+ years! They also represented only 3.2% of the enrollment of DISD, the smallest such percentage, possibly in all of DISD History, but definitely since the end of WWII.  It certainly represented a graduation rate painfully far below 50% of the 9th grade enrollment.  No graduation class was larger than 50% of their 9th grade enrollment under current higher graduation standards until the Class of 2011.
  5. 2008 - From 2008 to 2012 were the most productive years in DISD History! High school graduation rates grew by 20 percentage points no matter what formula is used to calculate the graduation rate! 
  6. 2009 -  The year with the lowest Anglo enrollment on record for DISD, 7,207 students, was 2009.    It was less than 8% of the Anglo enrollment of 1970.
  7. 2010 -  The first year in 40 years that the Anglo enrollment in DISD did not go down was 2010. White flight had ended! Anglo enrollment grew by 25 students.  By 2014 DISD Anglo enrollment was 339 students higher than the low point of the 2009 enrollment.
  8. 2011 was the first time in over two decades that DISD had more than 50% of the total original 9th grade enrollment represented in the graduating class. (Remember the graduation standards that Texas has now did not exist in 1981.) The Class of 2011 was the largest graduating class in over a quarter of a century, one of 6 such record breaking classes in a row from 2008 to 2013. 
  9. 2013, with a graduation class of 7,691 students DISD had the largest graduation class since 1981!  It was a 32 year record!  The size of this graduation class represented 4.8% of total DISD enrollment, the largest proportion since 1984!
  10. 2014, the Class of 2014 was 427 students smaller than the record breaking Class of 2013. This was the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous graduation class.
This 44 year history of DISD graduation rates shows DISD progress since 2006, then the decimation since 2013.  Progress must be started again!
Dallas ISD Enrollment and Graduation numbers 1970 to 2014
Click on above chart to enlarge.  (email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel copy of spreadsheet.)
In the above spreadsheet the “% Total Enrollment” column, second to the last on the right, is the percentage of the total DISD enrollment that year who are receiving a diploma with that graduation class.  In a perfect world with stable populations, 100% graduation rates, k-12 school systems, and zero population growth, 7.67%, or 1/13th of the enrollment, would be graduating each year.  That never happens in any school district. Instead, as is shown in the above chart, the highest percentage of enrollment ever graduating from DISD was 6.2% in 1979. That was probably due to the massive flight of over 49,000 Anglo students the previous 8 years in mostly the lower grades combined with the older Anglo students probably wanting to remain until graduation.  Thus it may have been the best graduation rate for DISD.

White flight decimated DISD with enrollment going from 164,726 in 1971 to only 127,462 in 1984. During the 9 year tenure of Nolan Estes reflected in this chart the Anglo enrollment dropped by over 50,000 students.  Only 42,000 Anglo students remained when Nolan Estes retired.  

Then in 1984 "No-pass No-play" and higher graduation requirements were added during the legislative session. That led to the largest drop in graduation numbers during these 44 years with over 800 fewer students graduating with the Class of 1985!   Graduation numbers continued to fall from 1985 onward.  The "Percentage of Total Enrollment" number for graduates fell below 4.5%, falling as low as 3.2% for the Class of 1994. 

From the Class of 1986 to the Class of 2010 the percentage of full DISD enrollment represented in the graduating class never went above 4.5%.   That barrier was broken with the Class of 2011.  Then the Class of 2013 set another record by being over 4.8% of the student body! Now that measurement appears to have fallen to 4.6% with the Class of 2014.
 


It became obvious that the progress improving graduation rates was slowing to a stop when the
official enrollment count on November 1, of 2012 was made.  Those measurements showed that year to year growth in senior enrollment had slowed to the lowest percentage growth in 6 years!   That rate of growth had suddenly fallen by November of 2012 to only 0.76% after 5 years of growth of 2.66% or higher!  Then with the Class of 2014 we had the first year with a smaller senior class in 7 years.  It was 500 students smaller, a 6% drop!  In the previous 16 years the largest such drop in DISD had been 3.84%.


18 Years of Dallas ISD enrollment by grade, 1996 to 2014, with the best 5 years since WWII
The gray cells in the last 15 rows of the chart show loss of progress.   Clear cells show progress.
Click on above image to enlarge. (email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel copy of spreadsheet.)
 
Can Dallas Ignore the Graduation number History for Harrison School District Two in Colorado?

If Mike Miles had come to Dallas with a record of having turned around falling graduation numbers in Colorado, then Dallas could have reason for hope.  But the opposite happened in Colorado! Senior enrollment and graduation numbers went down for the last 5 years Mike Miles was in Colorado.  A total of 1/3 of senior enrollment was lost!  

See details about Harrison School District 2 in Colorado in the charts and data linked from http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2013/05/damage-by-mike-miles-in-colorado.html .

Mr. Miles was hired due to a record of increasing the average ACT scores in Harrison Two School District. 

What was not pointed out to the Dallas Public, and may have not even been explored by the DISD Board doing the hiring, that this increase in the average score was happening with fewer and fewer students being tested since Harrison high school level enrollment, and especially upper class enrollment, was shrinking at the same time!  Ultimately 1/3 of Harrison senior enrollment was missing after 5 years.  That fifth year was the year Mike Miles came to Dallas ISD!

Many students transferred out of Harrison into District 11 to the north in Colorado Springs during this time.  Then the District 11 average ACT scores were reported in the Colorado Springs media as going down.  Which students, the higher scoring or those struggling with grades, were for some reason leaving Harrison and transferring into District 11?
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5) Discipline Issues

Current reports from teachers indicate that discipline problems have never been worse within DISD, but the reporting of those problems has apparently been massively discouraged by current DISD Administration.   A student reportedly cannot now be sent to Lacey, the DISD off-campus school, for fighting until after their 5th fight!
When Mr. Miles started he came into a district that had enjoyed falling discipline rates for three years.  Then discipline problems exploded:

Here is another breakdown of those numbers:

The discipline reports from 2013/14 reflect several major changes in the management of discipline in DISD.  In School Suspension was only use 8,152 times last year, the lowest usage on record.   Out of School Suspension continued to be heavily used with 24,667 recorded in 2013/14.
Another way to look at discipline issues is by grade and by grade over time.   Here is that history from 2006 to 2012 by grade focusing on 6th through 9th grade.   Those years are generally acknowledged as the worst relative to discipline problems, but why?
Notice how 6th grade went from being almost no discipline problem in 2006/07 to being one of the worst grades by the first semester of 2012/13.   What happened?   It was during these 6 years that the 6th grade was pulled from the elementary schools and placed in all of the middle schools all across Dallas.  This explosion of discipline problems points to other research across the nation indicating how destructive separate middle schools are to student achievement compared to K-8 schools. 
Fortunately some DISD schools are beginning to change.  This year DISD will have Rosemont, it's first former K-5 schools transformed into a K-8 school in full operation.  The transition to a full K-8 school takes three years.  It is certain Rosemont will have some of the best behaved and highest performing 6th through 8th graders in the district!
Here is a chart on discipline problems by grade comparing 2011/12 (red) with the first semester of 2012/13 (yellow).  The 2012/13 year was the first year when all 6th graders were in middle schools across Dallas, except for Rosemont.

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6) Teacher Turnover Issues

 
According to annual reporting found in the DISD annual data packs, teacher turnover went from 12.9% in 2010/11 to 26.5% in 2012/13, and is now 28.5% for 2013/14.  This most recent number from page 17 in the Data Packet for Planning 2014/15 just posted 8-1-14 at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/CILT2015/DP1000.pdf  .  The following charts come from this data source inside DISD.
 
The most damaging number such turnover points to each year is the annual number of teachers who are teaching for their first year.   Here is the progression over the past 4 years in two different charts:
 
School year:   Turnover:    First year teachers:  Percentage of teachers who are new to teaching:
2010-11          12.9%                 460                     4.3%
2011-12          19.5%                 515                     5.1%
2012-13          26.5%                 871                     8.9%
2013-14          28.5%                1,285                   13.2%
Note: the percentage of teachers new to teaching in 2013/14 was up over 200% while the number of teachers with over 3 years experience dropped 17.5%! 



As to student/teacher ratio history before 2010, in 2007/08 that ratio was 14.8 students per DISD teacher (156,708 students and 10,568 teachers).  The next year 2008/09 the ratio was 13.7 students per teacher (155,949 students and 11,388 teachers due to infusion of Federal Funds).  In 2009/10 the ratio fell to 14.3 (155,441 students with 10,898 teachers).   The student/teacher ratio has risen every year since 2008/09.

Remember, the most recent numbers above are last years numbers and neither reflects the current turnover that is anticipated to be over 30%, nor the number of new teachers this year which will again set a new record for DISD for new, first year, teachers. 
 
How can DISD have achievement with over 200% more new teachers facing growing discipline issues in an urban district with a worsening student/teacher ratio?  Unless students can be more directly motivated to work in their own best interest, DISD will not see progress.

The only DISD publication that addresses these issues brags about the ability to hire more teachers in time for the start of school. It does not address the turnover explosion data. That CORE Network News, the graph DISD produced, and a corrected form of that graph with the data above reflected, can be found at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/08/data-disd-did-not-want-shared.html .

Maybe the idea is that with more data sources created you can focus on the positive data and ignore any negative data.  That is exactly what is happening now with the teacher turnover crisis inside DISD.   They are focusing in the media on the improvements made in hiring more teachers more quickly in time for school.  They are ignoring the turnover data and the explosion of first year teachers inside DISD, possibly now as high as 15%.  Just 4 years ago that painful number was only 5%!  


See the data along with a DISD CAPE Network News and the graph DISD produced with the rest of the data inserted into it.   http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/08/data-disd-did-not-want-shared.html
Maybe the idea is that with more data sources created you can focus on the positive data and ignore any negative data.  That is exactly what is happening now with the teacher turnover crisis inside DISD.   They are focusing in the media on the improvements made in hiring more teachers more quickly in time for school.  They are ignoring the turnover data and the explosion of first year teachers inside DISD, possibly now as high as 15%.  Just 4 years ago that painful number was only 5%!  


See the data along with a DISD CAPE Network News and the graph DISD produced with the rest of the data inserted into it.   http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/08/data-disd-did-not-want-shared.html

The data request for teachers in DISD as of 8-18-14 was received and shows that DISD had 10,197 teachers on that date.  Of those teachers, 1,866 were new to DISD with 0 years with DISD.  A total of 1,477 had one year of experience with DISD.   This is NOT the same as years teaching.  That is usually a higher number as some of these new hires will come as experienced teachers.  

These two numbers mean that over 32.8% of all DISD teachers, 3,343 out of 10,197, had one year or less of time with DISD and were very new to DISD.  Do any other school districts have that high a percentage of teaching staff who are so new to the district?   See more details and sources on DISD teacher turnover at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/10/tenured-teachers-leaving-dallas-isd-8.html .

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7) Needed Public Debate

Recent events in Dallas, attempting to support a move toward a "home rule charter district," tried to focus on selected, "cherry picked," data to put all of public education in a negative light.  Similar events are happening across the nation as part of a national assault on public education in the name of "reform."   It is a "reform" that is micromanaging data to manipulate the public.  In Dallas they ignored the positive data showing record setting annual progress that DISD was enjoying up to 2012!  A 20 percentage point improvement in graduation rate since 2006 cannot be ignored!
The complicating factor in Dallas is that negative data began to accumulate in 2012 in many areas in addition to those above.  
Dallas needs to have public debates on this data because there are at least two sides to the data, each side trying to justify their own goals with the data.  Who is truly guilty of "cherry picking" their data? The public should see such debates in an orderly, civil setting so they can decide.  Questions from the public must be allowed following the presentations, but they must be strictly limited to one minute so that more questions can be addressed in a more timely fashion.  We must create a setting where more and more will attend future debates.  Our city will benefit!

If Mayor Rawlings wants to support Dallas public schools he would encourage such debates on data within DISD.  He should be there to be involved.  It should be a regular event, at least annually, if not at the end of each semester as a public DISD Report Card Meeting with all data released beforehand so the public can prepare questions.  Our students could only benefit, with many hopefully being present to hear the issues they live every day in DISD classrooms.

Ultimately such a debate will help positive changes to evolve for DISD.  It is certain such change will include four basic elements as outlined at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/changing-school-culture-four-steps.html :
  1. Transparency
  2. Parental Involvement - and how to achieve it
  3. Developmentally Appropriate Grade Configuration: allowing more k-8 schools
  4. Visibility and open debate of research
A note of encouragement: the last time the people of Dallas united to improve our schools we had the greatest success on record.   Here is one slide from those original plans from Dallas Achieves:

Dallas Achieves Plans 2002-2007
Click on image to enlarge.
Compare these plans to the chart at the top of this page.  Dallas Achieves was an overwhelming success!   The Home Rule Charter District Commission must repeat that success and do it with solid recommends to avoid "home rule" but focus time and energy directly to the ongoing changes needed inside DISD.   The road to success had been outlined over and over for DISD.   We must follow the map, the data, and not be distracted. 
9-4-14
Bill Betzen