The first letter listed is the one supporting a petition, started by Stand For Children, asking to have Mike Miles' contract extended. Both are copied directly as they were found online:
As you consider whether to extend Superintendent Mike Miles' contract in the coming weeks, please take into account the following:
This administration has fostered an unacceptable level of teacher churn and outright loss. Together with an increase in the use of Teach for America graduates, these practices have deprived students of the wisdom and experience of veteran teachers who have the skills and ability to recognize and address the needs of our children, including fostering social-emotional learning, one of the claimed goals of Destination 2020.
Superintendent Miles implemented a new principal evaluation system that positions compliance with district mandates as a priority. The system does not take into account the unique nature of each campus and the positive relationships principals have built within their community and has resulted in the loss of several effective well-loved principals. A principal turnover rate of 45% had the effect of undermining community relationships and campus stability, adversely affecting student discipline and established campus initiatives.
The Leadership Development Academy Mike Miles developed incurs an ongoing cost of several million dollars a year. The Academy has an emphasis on Core Beliefs and not the administrative and leadership skills needed to create a positive campus culture. Of the 19 campuses headed by fellows in 2013-2014, eleven had climate survey results placing them in the bottom half on campus leadership and improved morale. Two campuses, an elementary and a middle school, ranked at the very bottom in these categories.
Superintendent Miles developed and plans to implement a teacher evaluation instrument based on flawed metrics that recent research, including studies funded by the Gates Foundations whose METs study was the basis for the district's plan, has cast doubt on. Research suggests that this plan will serve only to increase teacher churn and may indeed unfairly target teachers who may be effective. The TEI will require a minimum of $8 million a year to implement and will undoubtedly lead to expensive litigation in the future.
Plans to tie teacher evaluations to compensation will deter experienced teachers from applying for district positions, and encourage the departure of veteran teachers who are not valued in a system that rewards a narrow range of achievements and relies on subjective observations and surveys. The loss of their experience and wisdom will be felt by students for many years to come.
The Imagination 2020 initiative diverted millions of dollars, including transportation cost overruns estimated at $8-$10 million, to three high schools and their feeder schools, with no significant results.
In an effort to increase the fund balance Miles implemented budgeting schemes involving planned teacher vacancies, the use of substitutes, and class size waivers. Students suffered as there were permanent substitutes in many classrooms and unacceptably large class sizes in others.
The installation of a fiber optic system in the district was initiated before the current administration, yet some campuses report limited access and availability in all areas. Both the nature of the system and the contracts involved tie the district to this technology for many years, with an impact on the physical location of district facilities and future options that may be more desirable.
A new emphasis on Pre-K initiatives, including the hiring of a new director with an emphasis on the number of enrollees rather than knowledge of early childhood development, threatens to undermine the stability of established community Pre-K programs that have demonstrated good results. It does not appear that the district has adequately planned for expansion and, in fact, district programs may be inferior to community programs in terms of teacher-student ratios and a reluctance to emphasize English acquisition skills.
2012-2013 academic results showed slight gains in closing the gap with the state, but DISD still lags behind state averages. 2013-2014 initial results do not show any significant improvement, and in fact show decreases in 18 out of 22 comparisons for AA students and 14 out of 22 comparisons for Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged students. High school EOC results were flat last year, and this year 42.1% of district high school students are in the position of having failed one or more of the tests needed to graduate.
Superintendent Miles has spent millions of dollars on administrative reorganization, the principal fellows program, Imagination 2020 and the Teacher Excellence Initiative, with no significant impact on student achievement or college and career readiness.
Campus morale is at an all-time low and the district is experiencing an unheralded exodus of veteran teachers, even before the new evaluation system is in place. Our children need stability at home and when they do not find it there they rely on stability in the classroom. Miles, and you, have denied them even that brief respite.
It is clear Mike Miles' priorities are misguided and not in the best interests of our students.
We urge you to deny Mr. Miles his contract extension and to thoroughly examine the effects his administration has had on the students and teachers of Dallas ISD.