Saturday, November 8, 2014

What damage will Mike Miles leave behind in Dallas ISD?

Dallas ISD rarely deteriorates enough during the tenure of a superintendent to generate significant news coverage of that damage as a superintendent leaves.  That will change when Mike Miles leaves!

An article from Colorado dated April 5, 2012 started that discussion in Colorado when Mike Miles' leaving Harrison School District Two to move to Dallas was announced. They printed the following:
Has he (Mr. Mike Miles) been worth that much? ($260,000 annually)  Probably not. District 2 should be in the middle, not at the top, in executive-level compensation.
D-2's board has a chance to rectify that now. It also can re-evaluate Miles' methods, especially the teacher evaluations and whether D-2 might have discarded low-performing students to help overall test scores.
In Harrison School District Two there was ultimately no re-evaluation. The changes Mike Miles instituted remained. Teacher turnover is still now over 30%.   The shrinking 12th grade enrollment has stayed down in Harrison since the 33% reduction in 12th grade enrollment during the last 5 years Mr. Miles was there.  With the resulting smaller graduation classes, as failing students were pressured to leave, Mr. Miles had been able to raise ACT average scores.  Most of the leaving Harrison students went to District 11 nearby where ACT score averages went down.

Trustee Mike Morath and other trustees were very impressed with that average ACT improvement in Harrison.  Apparently they were not aware of the 33% reduction in 12th grade enrollment at the same time, or of Harrison students from these classes being tested leaving Harrison for District 11 where the ACT averages went down.  They have never spoken about the 33% 12th grade reduction in Harrison.  Only the rise in the average ACT score in Harrison impressed them. 

Once in Dallas, an attempt was made to try to impress Dallas with suddenly rising ACT scores the first year Miles was here, but when the still mysterious, first time ever, 20+% reduction in minority students taking the ACT was made public, any attempt by Miles to benefit from such claims quickly disappeared. 

Dallas has not yet allowed Mr. Miles to reduce 12th grade enrollment more than 6%.  While DISD is now testing almost the entire class, with over 2,400 more students taking SAT exams last year, the number getting "college ready" scores above 990 has gone down by 195 students in DISD under Mr. Miles.

When Dr. Hinojosa left, DISD had reason to celebrate the progress made during his tenure.  The graduation rate had set new records constantly during his final years, and that progress peaked with the Class of 2013, two graduation classes after he left in June of 2011! Rarely, if ever, has a superintendent left behind such a positive legacy.  He had allowed DISD staff to develop programs that focused on the painful middle school/high school transition.  The 14,500 9th grade student "bulges" that were common following 8th grade enrollments below 11,000 began to disappear as the 9th grade failure rates, and resulting high discipline problem rates, began to go down in 2009.   This was real progress, but it did not receive the media and public attention it should have received.

What will Mike Miles leave behind?  It appears to be the following:
  1. Graduation rates going down as the progress from 2007 to 2012 has been reversed with a returning larger "9th grade bulge." For the first time in 7 years in DISD, in 2014, a graduation class was smaller than the previous years class. It was over 400 students smaller! The growth has stopped.
  2. Teacher turnover has broken all time records and is still growing.  Final reports for 2014/15 may show over a 35% turnover.  
  3. While average teacher salaries have gone down as tenured teachers were pushed out of DISD, over-priced administrative positions with record breaking salaries have multiplied, leaving behind 175 administrators in highly paid positions filled with many relatively in-experienced staff with meager resumes for the work they are doing.  The justification for these higher salaries is especially questionable due to deteriorating student achievement happening under their leadership.
  4. Crowded classrooms are accepted as normal.
  5. The number of "improvement required" schools is one of the highest in DISD history, increasing 26% after the 2013/14 school year alone!  At the same time in the number of "improvement required" schools in the rest of Texas went down 5%.  The large majority of urban districts in Texas improved as Dallas deteriorated!
  6. College Readiness rates dropped for the first time in over 8 years since 195 fewer students received SAT scores of 990 or above!

What other damage will be left behind in DISD as Miles leaves?   Dallas must have this discussion.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tenured Teachers Leaving Dallas ISD through 10-31-14

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
#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:
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 .   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 school day?  Since DISD claimed only 16 vacancies as of 8-18-14, and there are as of 10-31-14 over 200 vacancies posted on the DISD web site, and from 8-19-14 to 10-31-14, DISD hired an additional 375 teachers.  On the average school day since school has started 12 DISD teachers have resigned!  This is not at the end of the school year, but during the school year! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A pivotal question for DISD history

Hopefully this question will be guiding the current meeting in progress for the DISD Trustees, but with a logical decision coming from their work. 

What evidence exists of "substantive steps in good faith" being taken by Mr. Miles before he lost 5,000 teachers who have now left DISD since he arrived, the largest loss of talent in DISD history?  Has Mr. Miles ever expressed concern about this loss?  What "substantive steps in good faith" were taken before dozens of PTA's dissolved until DISD now has what is probably the smallest percentage of schools in DISD history with functional PTA's actively in operation?  Has Mr. Miles expressed concern about the loss of PTA's and active relationships with parents by DISD?
11:30 update   - The 11-6-14 DISD Board meeting discussing this issue just ended.  No action was taken against anyone other than a request for investigation sent to TEA, the Texas Education Agency, to both verify facts and secure an attorney generals opinion about the right of a trustee to be on school property and the right of a superintendent to deny that right.   There is precise wording given to all of this tonight I do not recall. 

It appears to me to have been a solid meeting with good cooperation resulting in a unanimous decision for this request to TEA.   These were good steps that will ultimately lead to the resolution of this issue.meeting just ended.  No action was taken against anyone other than a request for investigation sent to TEA, the Texas Education Agency, to both verify facts and secure an attorney generals opinion about the right of a trustee to be on school property and the right of a superintendent to deny that right.   There is precise wording given to all of this tonight I do not recall. 

It appears to me to have been a solid meeting with good cooperation resulting in a unanimous decision for this request to TEA.   These were good steps that will ultimately lead to the resolution of this issue.

It appears to have been a solid DISD Board meeting with good cooperation resulting in a unanimous decision for this request to TEA.   These were good steps that could ultimately lead to the resolution of the ongoing crisis within DISD.   DISD must return to the progress that was happening until July of 2012.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Data Dallas ISD does not want to advertise

On 8-14-14 DISD published the following 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 120% and the number of new teachers teaching their first year as a teacher has increased over 150% in the past 2 years.    See this edited copy of the graph from the CORE Network News that provides a more accurate image of the crisis being inflicted on Dallas ISD students.

Edited copy of DISD teacher vacancy graph showing the rest of the story
of the Dallas ISD growing crisis in teacher turnover.

Click on above image 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 teacher turnover has gone from 12.9% to 28.5%, well over a 120% increase.   

Remember, these are last years numbers.  The numbers for 2014/15 are slowly being gathered and appear to be growing.  
It has now been verified that the 2014/15 school year started with 1/3 of DISD teachers having one year or less with the district!  Since the school year started over 200 more teachers have already resigned as of today.  The highest percentage of teachers leaving came from the record number of new teachers hired by DISD this summer.