Saturday, March 8, 2014

DISD Home-Rule effort based on incomplete data

The Home-Rule effort for DISD is living within a mass of incomplete data.

White Flight dominated DISD enrollment numbers for the first 40 years after 1970! 
1970-2013 Dallas ISD Demographics & Graduation History
(Click on above chart to enlarge and/or print.)
Notice that in 2010 something changed.  For the first time in 40 years, from 300 to as many as 8,000 White students did not leave DISD!  Instead the White student population grew by 25 students!  This change appears permanent based on numbers since 2010. 

Graduation rate records were being established starting in 2006.  DISD was very public with these achievements. Why are they suddenly being ignored by those pushing the home-rule effort?  This massive graduation rate progress has been verified with multiple other calculations. The information clearly shows that DISD improved faster than the rest of Texas from 2007 to 2011: http://schoolarchive­­­­project.blogspot.­c­o­m­/2012/08/dalla­s-­is­d-­is-catching­-up­-wi­th-­all-of.h­tml

Mr. Morath is part of this "see no progress" strategy.  He alleged there has been no improvement in college ready rates since 1996.  He spoke of the 7% college-ready rate in 1996 only growing to 8.1% by 2012. He forgot to consider the over 20 percentage point increase in graduation rates from 1996 to 2012 which generate a 70% increase in college ready graduates!   The DISD student body has increased less than six percent during these same years.

Is that enough progress? Absolutely not!  But it is misleading the public to only give part of the data, and then declare there has been "almost no progress for an entire generation," as Mr. Morath did in a Q & A session published by the Morning News this weekend.  

The refusal to acknowledge the progress within DISD by those pushing the home-rule movement is certainly not helping middle class enrollment in DISD to grow.  The Dallas Morning News must publish corrections to these data errors and omissions by those pushing the home rule effort! 

If current trends continue, and especially if the planned teacher evaluation system is implemented with no changes, no true input from teachers, DISD may have a second year of record setting 20% teacher turnover! 

Teacher/student relationships are the core of any educational success.  Repeated evidence, and statements by current DISD administration, indicate such long-term relationships are not the central focus of current DISD educational plans.

Can Dallas ignore what happened in 2013 in DISD?  It reflects some of the damage that has happened since the summer of 2012.  It shows some of the damage from ignoring teacher/student relationships.   It is reflected in the largest 12th grade enrollment drop for DISD in 29 years!  This loss is the same type of 12th grade enrollment loss that followed Mr. Miles the last 4 years he was superintendent in Colorado.   His high schools lost over 32% of their 12th grade enrollment during those 4 years.  The good news is that the remaining students provided a two point increase in average ACT scores for the district.   The bad news is that most of the leaving students went to District 11 north of Mr. Miles' district, and their average ACT scores went down.

The issue is not home rule in Dallas.  The issue is paying attention to the data and making decisions accordingly.   For some reason those pushing home rule only want Dallas to focus on a certain set of data, and ignore much of what has happened, and is happening.