Friday, June 21, 2013

DISD Middle Schools: 65 teachers lost in budget!

In the currently planned 2013/14 budget for Dallas ISD 65 teachers will be cut from middle schools! One more student is added to the average teacher.  Since DISD middle schools already account for 60% of all discipline referrals within DISD this is a planned disaster! While 9th graders, due to other progress, now account for less than 14% of all referrals, both the 6th and 7th grade each account for over 19% of all discipline referrals, and 8th graders account for 21%!  Compared to the number of referrals in the 5th grade, in the 6th grade discipline referrals increase 441%!!!
Disciplinary actions against students by grade, Dallas ISD, 2012/13
Click on the above image to enlarge.
The discipline problems in middle school are nothing new.  Yes, parents are watching, and have been watching for some time! Notice how the number of children being withdrawn from DISD after 5th grade has been increasing, especially since 2006 when the transfer of 6th grade into middle school started:
Students leaving Dallas ISD after 5th and 9th grade over past decade.
Click on above chart to enlarge.

This chart also shows the wonderful progress DISD has made with the transfer into high school and then from 9th grade to 10th grade. We are now loosing less than half of the students we used to loose during this critical transfer. Our 10th grade enrollments are some of the largest in DISD history while the 9th grade enrollments are some of the lowest in decades due to the elimination of the "9th grade bulge."  That "9th grade bulge" was created by 9th graders failing and repeating 9th grade, sometimes even more than twice.   We now have more students getting past this barrier and graduating than at any time in 30+ years!  That is the good news.

But patterns relating to the discipline problems in middle schools have been documented across the nation and ignored in DISD. Thousands of middle schools have closed over the past 20 years. School districts have paid attention to mounting research that middle schools are damaging to children. (See a collection of such research at .) 
But the immediate crisis in DISD is the current budget!

This Thursday, June 27, 2013 the proposed 2013/14 budget will be approved with a 65 teacher decrease planned for middle schools, moving from 24/1 to 25/1 student/teacher ratios. This move will only increase the damage to achievement already happening in DISD middle schools.  Discipline problems will only get worse in middle schools.  They are the only schools loosing teachers in spite of the increased funding from Austin.  More teachers will resign from middle schools.  We must work to reverse this tragedy set to happen in DISD.  We cannot ignore our middle school children!
Please contact your DISD Board Member to correct this assault on DISD middle schools!  Contacting them makes a very real difference!
Call DISD Board Services by Wednesday to speak at 6/27/13 5:00 PM Board Meeting to give opinion of 2013/14 Budget as presented in public PowerPoint presentation. See for agenda.

Addendum 6-28-13:

The Board Meeting went past midnight, ending just after 1:00 AM this morning.  The 65 middle school positions will be saved!  Six out of the 8 Board members voted to support an amendment to the budget to restore the middle school formula to 24-1.  That amendment will be drafted for final approval in August.  Thus the 9,585 positions in this budget will be amended to 9,650 positions with this amendment in August.