Sunday, November 24, 2013

Three questions Mike Miles must answer

Since the official DISD enrollment count of 11-01-13 it is clear Mike Miles must answer three questions regarding current senior enrollment:
  1. Is it true both that student loss has made the DISD Class of 2014 the first senior class in 7 years that is not larger than the previous year’s senior class, and that their loss is so large that DISD has now suffered the greatest loss in senior enrollment year to year of any senior class in 29 years? 
  2. How is this senior student enrollment loss in Dallas different from what happened from the Class of 2009 to the Class of 2012 in Harrison School District Two during which time 1/3 of the senior enrollment was lost?
  3. What are the reasons for this massive loss happening to the DISD Class of 2014?

========== Addendum 4-18-15 ====================

We now  know that these three questions written over a year and four months ago only pointed to the tip of the iceberg.  By the end of the 2013-14 school year DISD suffered one of the largest increases in PEG and Improvement Required schools, failing schools, in the history of DISD!  It appears Board President Miguel Solis knew that this tragedy was probably coming so he and a few other board members pushed to extend Mr. Miles contract before the information on failing schools was made public.

Now, a Civil Rights Complaint was filed with the Department of Education on 3-25-15 due to apparent funding irregularities within DISD that appear to have helped lead to these failing schools, and to the probable budget surplus that also helped Mr. Miles secure his contract extension early.

The reasons for the complaint are concentrated between two words, supplement and supplant.  Google both of them at the same time and in a nutshell you will see what has been going on inside DISD since 2012.  

That appears to be the source for the "Dallas ISD Miracle" with the sudden growth of the surplus inside DISD while suddenly having money for massive growth in administrative staff, salary, and expenses.  Can anyone else explain where this money came from?  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dallas ISD Student Attrition Explodes! - as in the last district Mike Miles managed.

This school year, 2013/14, is the first school year in 7 years that DISD did not have a senior class that was larger than the previous years' class.  The tragedy is that this years' senior class is so small it represents both a 6% loss in enrollment and the largest loss of senior DISD enrollment in 29 years!   Why is the media not covering this tragedy?

Senior enrollment for the Class of 2014 has dropped by 531 students below the enrollment for the Class of 2013, over a 6.34% drop!  (NOTE: this is the result using DISD data from the DISD My Data web pages showing a 8,382 senior class enrollment for 2012/13.  The 2012/13 senior enrollment according to the PEIMS Standard Reports from the Texas Education Agency web site is lower than the DISD count by 34 students at 8,348. Either way the trend is the same, a disaster!)  This is the first drop in DISD senior enrollment since 2006/07.  

The Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) is a graduation rate measurement that is among the most predictive, timely, and the least vulnerable to manipulation.  The CPI for Dallas ISD has now dropped to 62.5% for a drop of  3.6 percentage points!  This is also the first drop since a dramatic rise in CPI started in 2005/06 when this rate was only 40.7%.  Since then it has constantly gone higher until last year when a CPI of 66.1% was achieved.  Now DISD suddenly drops 3.6 percentage points.

Below is a chart with the data.  Click on it to enlarge it.   Excel copies are available.  Email and describe the report you want.  Corrections and comments are welcomed!

2003-2014 Dallas ISD Enrollment by Grade
Click on above image to enlarge, or download, to study.
The major reason for concern is that these same student attrition patterns happened in Colorado Springs when Mr. Miles was Superintendent over Harrison School District Two from 2006 to 2012, just before coming to Dallas. While it took 16 months for the senior losses to show up in Dallas after Mr. Miles started, in Harrison it took two years longer.  Once they started in Harrison School District Two, within 4 years 1/3 of the Harrison senior class had been lost!  The total high school student enrollment loss was 26%!

While the Dallas CPI rose a total of 25.1 percentage points from 2006 to 2012, to the high of 66.1%, in Harrison District in Colorado the CPI went down 15.2 percentage points.  Then Mr. Miles comes to Dallas and CPI improvements stopped for Dallas ISD.  Within 16 months of his arrival the CPI went down for the first time in 7 years, going down 3.6 percentage points.

How long will Dallas allow this deterioration to continue?  See the Colorado data at .

No drop in senior class enrollment larger than 531 students can be found in DISD History until you get back to 1984.  That year, 1984, DISD lost 825 seniors.

Dallas ISD is facing a crisis now, in 2013!

(In 1984 DISD also lost 1,544 Anglo students from total enrollment as White-flight was slowing down, never loosing that many Anglo students again.  Many years of much greater annual loss of Anglo students had preceded 1984. The healing process finally led to 2009 being the first year with an actual increase in Anglo enrollment in DISD. See the enrollment chart going back to 1970.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Questions for Miguel Solis - Transparency?

The contrast between DISD, as managed by Mike Miles, and the most high achieving school systems on earth must be talked about. Miguel Solis must address these contrasts and the questions below.  The entire DISD Board should join him. These questions and contrasts reflect issues of growing urgency for many in Dallas, especially our children.

DISD leadership can no longer ignore data slowly being exposed regarding the results of Mike Miles management of DISD.  It's having the same results as his management of Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs where 1/3 of senior class enrollment was lost the last 4 years before he came to Dallas!  

Miguel Solis repeatedly spoke during his own campaign for office of his commitment to transparency.  He was sworn into office as a DISD board member 11-21-13.

To support transparency the following questions  were sent to Miguel Solis on 10-22-13 and never answered.  Miguel is now the official DISD Trustee for District 8.  Answers to these questions are much more important now.  Will Mr. Solis achieve the transparency he often spoke about? 

Here are updated questions.  They use new data available since the election including the painful documentation of 531 fewer seniors in the Class of 2014 compared with the Class of 2013:

1)      Before he was hired in Dallas ISD there is no evidence that Mr. Miles was asked about the 26% drop in high school enrollment during the 6 years he was superintendent over Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs.  During a time when elementary enrollment rose over 20% in Harrison, indicating families were moving into the district, this loss of high school enrollment is an exceptionally dangerous sign.  Does this loss bother you?  What does it mean to you?  Can you secure, or did you ever receive an answer from Mr. Miles as to what happened in Harrison to cause this student loss?   Are you comfortable with his answers?   Would you allow such a loss to happen in DISD?

2)     Mr. Miles is known for a policy of not allowing students to move to the next grade unless they can do the work well.   That policy, strictly interpreted with no extra help for students, would eliminate low scoring students, encourage students to transfer out, and encourage higher testing students to remain. Hundreds of students left Harrison and transferred to District 11 to the north where ACT averages then went down.  Is graduation a priority for you, or are higher average ACT scores a priority?  In what solutions to this issue would you place your energy?

3)     The majority of the above mentioned loss was to seniors.  The Harrison District senior class lost 33% of their enrollment during the 6 years Mike Miles was superintendent.  Now in Dallas, during Mike Miles second year in DISD, the senior class has lost 531 students compared to last year’s enrollment, 6% loss.  Does this loss bother you?  What accountability would you require from Mr. Miles if such senior enrollment loss continues?

4)     Mike Miles’ behavior necessitated a $100,000 investigation exposing many unethical actions by him against DISD policy, and against the board itself.  You have probably read that investigation.  What discipline would you have required as a board member?

5)     Mike Miles has alienated some of the most respected and accomplished leading education professionals in DISD.  It has resulted in many of them leaving their critical leadership positions as reflected in this article:   Does this leave you comfortable about his leadership style?   What issues do you see?

6)     Mike Miles has had monumental difficulty in hiring and keeping staff who work closest to him in spite of the exceptionally high salaries he has given them: .   What is your opinion of this turnover?  What issues does it present that you can identify?

7)     Mike Miles has paid some of the closest staff he had conflicts with to keep quiet. Are you comfortable with that?   What actions would you take, if any, to allow the board to freely speak with all such departing staff?

8)    Miguel, you have said you support transparency.   Would you vote to require DISD to have the same level of transparency regarding teacher positions filled, and vacancies, as we now enjoy with student enrollment? (I am thinking of the enrollment listings at    That is, would you require that within the next working day every new vacancy would be public and listed online by school as well as totaled for the entire district?   This would allow the public to know exactly how many classrooms in their local school are not filled on any day with a full-time (not substitute) certified teacher for those students and subjects, as required by law.  How concerned are you about the record number of over 1,700 staff who have already left DISD these first 16 months of Mr. Miles tenure?

9)     In 2013, when reported at the end of July, DISD did not officially notify the board that, for the first time in DISD history, the proportion of DISD students taking college entrance exams went down.  The percentage of DISD Minority students taking the ACT exam fell by over 23% while that percentage was virtually unchanged for the SAT exam.   Does it bother you that Mike Miles did not point out these reductions in the student population tested to the Board?  Does it bother you that instead, through reports given, he claimed very questionable and unjustifiable student progress with higher average grades reported for the ACT? 

10) In 2013 Mike Miles decreased the public transparency relative to the average ACT scores reported to the public.  Historically they had been reported to the first place after the decimal point.  In 2013, due probably to the 23% decrease in the minority percentage tested, the scores increase from 17.2 to 17.6.   Then for the first time in history these results were reported to the nearest whole number only.   The result was that it appeared the scores went from 17 to 18 instead of  the 4/10 of one point improvement that actually happened.  Does that reduction in transparency bother you?  What do you think explains this? What would you have done if you were on the Board when such reporting was attempted with no clarification of the changes?   Nothing?

The responses of Miguel Solis to these questions will be posted here if and when they are received.   (Note: as of January 1, 2015 Miguel Solis has continued in his refusal to answer or even discuss these questions.  Meanwhile, look at the continuing failures in performance for DISD: )