Saturday, December 20, 2014

Parents, students & teachers speak out 12-18-14 to DISD Trustees

The 12-19-14 editorial in the Dallas Morning News about not letting the Home Rule Charter District debate die was continuing the distraction from the current crisis in DISD that it appears this "home rule" idea was designed to achieve!   It is trying to avoid talking about the many issues inside DISD that parents, students, and teachers are crying out to the school board about.  These issues need attention!  The crisis is growing.

The 12-18-14 Dallas ISD Monthly Board Meeting was a powerful reflection of parents, students, and teachers working to restore integrity inside our school system.  THE MORNING NEWS VIRTUALLY IGNORED THEIR TESTIMONY!  The video of the meeting where this progress in community engagement is visible can be seen at     

Go down that page to the board meeting for Thursday, December 18, 2014. 

Click on the “View Video” link for that meeting and go to the 56 minute mark on the tape where the public testimony starts. What follows is a powerful affirmation of the power of public involvement!   During most of these 20+ speakers there were an additional 70 people standing in support of each speaker.

The first speaker, Amy Lee, is a parent who gives a very good summary of the issues addressed by most speakers in one way or another.  Every speaker made additions.

A powerful series of first person testimonies followed, by parents, students, and teachers about the evils of TEI (the teacher evaluation system) and the resulting testing fixation in DISD.  (Again, home rule is a distraction from these issues we need to address that have nothing to do with home rule!)

At 1 hour 21 minutes into the tape possibly the most powerful and terrifying testimony given was started by Elizabeth Akin, a History teacher for the past decade at Greiner Middle School.  She speaks of students being tremendously stressed by testing.  

As she spoke I asked myself: WILL IT TAKE A CHILD COMMITTING SUICIDE before DISD TRUSTEES OR THE MORNING NEWS realize the dangers of this testing fixation!

The next testimony immediately following this powerful presentation by a teacher was a junior at Erma Rangel. WOW!  She was an exceptionally perceptive and articulate student who received the loudest applause and affirmation of the evening!

Similar powerful witness from other parents and students on the crisis in DISD continued for another half hour.  Many of the parents were professionals.   Audrey Pinkerton, at 1 hour 33 minutes into the tape, an experienced ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE professional, spoke of how Mike Miles is not following good change management practices! She pointed out that change in high performance agencies is only achieved with committed employees, a quality reflected in low turnover!  (I am requesting a transcript of her presentation to post.)

Will Dallas allow the DISD Board, OR THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, to ignore testimony like this about our students being abused, stressed, and endangered for reasons NOT NECESSARY for learning?  

This process of active public involvement is how the broken DISD system will be healed.  Yes, the Home Rule Charter District Commission process has been a factor in helping this dialogue to begin, but we do not need a Charter to do this!  We must return to the century old basics of teacher/student relationships as the foundation of education.