Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DISD School Board Meeting 7-22-14, 2:43 AM to 4:05 AM

7-21-14 at 5:30 PM the DISD Trustees began a board meeting to address a request for contract extension, retirement vesting, clearance to begin consulting, a "salary bump" and possibly other items not made public.  They went into closed session about 5:50 PM on 7-21-14.  They did not return to an open meeting until 2:43 AM on 7-22-14.



Dallas ISD Board Meeting 2:43 AM to 4:05 AM on 7-22-14
The video record of this exceptionally informative board meeting is online at http://www.dallasisd.org/Page/663 .   The meeting starts at 9:17:00, 9 hours and 17 minutes into the tape, at 2:43 AM.   The first action after the resumption of the open meeting was the reading of the proposed contract. 

It is strongly recommend everyone concerned about Dallas ISD students listen to all of this video tape.   The statements by board members were very informative.  Share it with your friends.

Ultimately the superintendent's contract was extended to July 1, 2017 but not until two critical, but failed, amendments were attempted.  That amendment process was exceptionally informative.

The first amendment was to delay the planned vote tonight until after the formal evaluation of Miles was completed.  There was much debate.  It was only supported by Trustees Foreman, Jones, Blackburn and Nutall and failed.   While Miguel Solis and others made statements that all the needed data is now available, what about the TEA school evaluation data that will not be available until August?

The second amendment was to eliminate the ability for consulting from the contract.  The proposed contract allows Mr. Miles to consult 8 days a year using vacation time for the consulting and then giving any money earned, less expenses, to the Dallas Educational Foundation.  Only Foreman, Blackburn, and Nutall voted for that, but Jones documented many excellent concerns in her statement.  

The final vote to approve the contract until 2017 passed 7 to 2 with only Foreman and Nutall voting against it.   This extension mandates that if Mr. Miles is terminated without reason that the complete liability of DISD would never go beyond one years' salary, or $300,000 presently since there was no raise given this evening.

Only media, from every TV station in town, and 3 of us "civilians," were present for this latest morning meeting in DISD history addressing a superintendents' contract extension.

Dallas can be thankful.  It was not an easy process for those involved.   A lot of work went on this evening behind closed doors.  Sadly the data on the student lack of achievement from the STAAR tests and the shrinking size of the most recent graduation class appear to have been ignored by the majority of the board.

What else counts?   Dallas needs this to be explained by the board members who supported Miles this evening.  If Mr. Miles had a principal whose school tested worse year to year in 4 out of 5 subjects by an average of over 3 percentage points, and only improved by 1.9 percentage points in only one subject, and had a minority achievement gap that virtually exploded, what would Mr. Miles do?  This is what has happened inside DISD to the 65,000 students grades 3 to 8 we have entrusted to Mr. Miles.   See data charts here. 

Regarding the vesting issue and a "salary bump," they were not granted.  The final agreement appears rather austere in detail, not granting many of the extras that were requested .   

Dallas needs a public debate of the data that is collecting about our children's progress in DISD.    

Dallas is loosing critical focus due to "home rule," while DISD has been deteriorating since July 2012 following the 5 greatest years of progress in DISD historyThe public must be contacting all board members about the damage now happening inside DISD.

Please listen to this 80 minute meeting that starts at 9:17:00 on the tape.  It exposes the DISD Board regarding dedication to detail, data, professional management, and following established procedures.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Best Years 2007-2012, then decline, since 7-1-15 recovery!

01-26-2017

The chart below was made from the recent letter grades given to all school districts and schools in Texas. 
These are the 10 largest districts listed in order by the average of the scores given with the grades translated to A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0.  Notice that DISD is third from the top with only school districts with significantly lower poverty levels with a higher average score.


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Link to testimony 6-23-16 at the 2016/17 Budget Hearing before the Dallas ISD Board:  http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2016/06/6-23-16-testimony-on-201617-dallas-isd.html 

Link to testimony 6-23-16 at Dallas ISD Board Meeting on the move of Dallas ISD Central Office 6 miles north to 9400 North Central Experssway: http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2016/06/06-23-16-board-testimony-regarding-9400.html 

=============== Data on Dallas ISD performance ================






Former DISD Trustee Mike Morath is now Texas Education Commissioner.  Look at his record:


Can anyone argue accurately against these numbers above, or below, that happened with the blessing of Mike Morath?

As of 10-3-15 DISD is facing the greatest enrollment decline in a decade:


Welcome back Dr. Hinojosa!  Finish the progress you had going in 2011!
The original for the above chart had much of the text inserted onto it after being downloaded from http://www.dallasisd.org/cms/lib/TX01001475/Centricity/Domain/1/GradCompletionDropoutRates-vsTexas-Ethnic-LEP.pdf

Much of this needed progress will come from K-8 schools. The benefits of k-8 schools are well documented, click here.  Now Dallas must allow every k-5 school, where parents want it to expand into being a k-8 school, to begin that process.  Now this must especially be allowed to happen in West Dallas. Click here for more details.

Changes in large school districts take a year or longer to be reflected in student achievement.  That happened with the massive changes made to DISD in 2012.  DISD had been making wonderful progress for over a decade in catching up with the rest of Texas.  The Class of 2013 was the largest in 32 years!  But then both graduation numbers for DISD and achievement on statewide tests dropped dramatically! Similar drops were also happening at other DFW area districts, but not as great as the loss in DISD, with rare exceptions.

The same data can be seen from several perspectives.

Below is the same data looked at as the percentage points of improvement since 2005 separated for Hispanic and Black students, including a repeat of the above data for all DISD students.  The data it gathered from each years' Snapshot at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/snapshot/ .

Data used in above chart and in related charts on exploding DISD achievement gaps, can be found at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2015/07/we-must-unite-against-achievement-gaps.html.


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6-20-15 the 6-22-15 bond election planning meeting was announced.  This letter was sent to the board about issues that must be discussed first: http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2015/07/urgent-credibility-issue-for-trustee.html 
5-28-15 news coverage on the Title VI complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education against DISD on 4-21-15, can be located at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2015/05/dallas-isd-title-vi-complaint-staar.html.  It explains how money and teaching positions were removed from the most poverty stricken schools in DISD in 2012/13 and achievement dropped for the next 2 years at the greatest rate in decades!
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First 10 year DISD School Time-Capsule Project reunion: See Facebook page .
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The best concentrated years of progress in Dallas ISD History since WWII were 2007-2013!  Then the progress stopped! That is reflected in the Minority Achievement Gap as reflected here:
Dallas ISD Minority Achievement Gap 2005-2014
Before the decline, teacher numbers were decimated as teachers left by the thousands and the ratio of new first year teachers went up over 250%!
Teacher turnover explosion at Dallas ISD with no-experience teacher numbers increasing 250%.
Then principal turnover almost tripled and the DISD student achievement gap with the state of Texas increased over 60%.


The Gap is difference between the low percentage of Dallas ISD students who pass all statewide tests and the usually higher percentage of all Texas students who achieve the same goal. That gap has shrunk from 20 percentage points in 2000 to only 8 percentage points in 2013.  Someday the gap will be gone, but first DISD must overcome the ground lost these past 3 years.


From 7-1-12 to 7-1-14 over 6,000 teachers left breaking all turnover records! (DISD has 10,600 teachers.)

The final loss was the first smaller graduation classes in 7 years with the Class of 2014. Now the Class of 2015 is again smaller and may be the smallest graduation class in 5 years once the final numbers are in.
 

Dallas ISD Graduation Class Size, 2006-2015

The chart below covers the 5 years before 2008 and the two years since 2012, covering 12 years total to clearly show how these 5 good years stick out.  The gray squares show when the measurement indicated became worse compared to the immediately previous year.
Dallas ISD Graduation Rate Measurements 2003 to 2014
Click on above chart to enlarge.  Email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel spreadsheet with formulas and data.
During 5 academic years, from the Class of 2008 to the Class of 2012, these 11 measurements only had one out of the 55 total measurements that was negative as a step backwards.  Then progress stopped!  For the Classes of 2013 and 14 there are 21 measurements available.  11 of them are negative!    Can Dallas continue to ignore these numbers?

There is reason to believe that the "home rule charter district" distraction was initiated to take Dallas public attention away from this data above and below, and the damage represented by it all!  To see more data on the "home rule charter district" distraction go to http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/05/dallas-isd-home-rule-effort-ignores-data.html
  
Anyone who finds mistakes in this data is encouraged to review the data below, the data sources, and contact bbetzen@aol.com with your findings and/or concerns.
  1. Texas Education Agency School Ratings: With 9 more DISD schools rated "Improvement Required" in 2014 (43) than in 2013 (34), Dallas has the sad distinction of deteriorating with more new failing schools than any district in Texas!  The rest of Texas improved with 5% fewer schools rated “improvement required” while DISD had 26% more. (T.E.A. 8-7-14, see links below.) 
  2. College Readiness: The number of SAT “college ready” scores above 990 went down for the first time in DISD history with the Class of 2014 when 195 fewer DISD students received scores above 990 than in 2013.  This was a drop of 16%, from 1,212 to 1,017. (D.M.N. 6-23-14, see links below.)
  3. Academic Issues:  The percentage of the 65,000 third through 8th grade students with passing grades on STAAR tests went down an average of 3 percentage points the spring of 2014 compared to the spring of 2013 in 4 out of 5 subjects.  The Minority Achievement Gap grew.  TEA did not raise passing standards for 2014. (See page 4 of 5-22-14 STAAR Report at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/STAAR2014/2014_STAAR_38_AD1_PERCENT_LVL2_DISTRICT_C.pdf .) A higher percentage of DISD students failed in every subject in 2013/14 compared with the rest of Texas!
  4. Graduation Issues:  The Dallas ISD Class of 2014 was 427 students smaller than the Class of 2013. The Class of 2014 was the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous years’ graduation class. (See chart below for more details.)
  5. Discipline Issues:  Total discipline problems increased 26% during 2012/13 school year.  The shift in 2013/14 to out of school suspensions continued while in school suspensions dropped to the lowest level on record, less than a third of what they were prior to 2009/10. (DISD records)
  6. Teacher Turnover Issues:  Since 2010/11 teacher turnover percentages have increased over 120%, going from 12.9% to 28.5% by 2013/14.  The 2014/15 school year began with DISD having the highest percentage of new, 1st year teachers in DISD History! As of 8-18-14 there are 3,343 out of 10,197 DISD teachers who have one year or less with Dallas ISD.  (DISD records)  Related to this are an accompanying explosion of the highest number (174) of $100,000+ administrative positions in the history of DISD.  From 8-18-14, when there were reportedly only 16 teacher vacancies, to 10-31-14 DISD hired 375 new staff as teachers but still had 233 vacancies.  This calculates to over 11 teachers resigning each school day!
  7. Needed Public Debate:  Only those with something to hide do not want information shared and publicly debated about what is happening in DISD.  The public must be allowed to ask questions, especially to explore the truth of "data cherry picking" allegations that demand constant exploration. Additional blogs and web sites dedicated to open discussions about what is happening inside DISD can be found at: http://live.dallasnews.com/Event/Talk_DISD,
    http://www.disdblog.com/, http://www.dfpe.org, http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/,
    http://trueschoolreform.org/ . 
    Many others are on Facebook. No web sites have yet been found that engage in such open dialogue and also support what is now happening inside DISD since 2012.  If you know of one please email the URL to bbetzen@aol.com .

  8. Listing of the most recent letters sent to the Dallas Board of Trustees:

Progress will only resume with more DISD openness to public involvement, similar to 2005-2007, when the seeds for these 5 years of record progress were planted within a UNIFIED DISD! 
See below for details and data sources for these 7 points above.

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1) Texas Education Agency School Ratings -
DISD, like the charter districts, getting worse in 2013/14! 

On 8-7-14 TEA released their 2014 school evaluations.  There was progress in public schools all over Texas as 5% fewer schools were rated as "Improvement Required."  Only 8% of normal ISD's in Texas are now rated as "improvement required." However, the charter districts in Texas continue to have problems with 22% of charter districts rated as "improvement required." Charter school districts in Texas in 2013/14 were over 2 and a half times more likely to be ruled as "improvement required" when compared with normal ISD's.

DISD was not like the other ISD's in Texas which improved on average in 2013/14.  DISD now has 26% more failing schools rated as "improvement required" compared to last year.  No district in Texas has 9 more such schools this year!  DISD  must become more like the rest of the "regular" districts in Texas and improve!  DISD must not continue to be like the charter districts getting worse! See the data at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release.aspx?id=25769815103 .

In 2013 there were 778 schools in Texas rated as ”Improvement Required.”  (http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_and_Multimedia/Press_Releases/2013/TEA_releases_2013_accountability_ratings/)  Minus the 34 DISD schools rated IR that leaves 744 other than DISD that were rated IR. 

In 2014 the number of Texas public schools rated IR went down to 750. (http://tea.texas.gov/news_release.aspx?id=25769815103)     Minus the 43 DISD schools rated IR that leaves 707 other than DISD that were rated IR.   This reduction of schools other than DISD going from 744 IR to 707 IR was a reduction of 37 IR schools, or a 5% improvement for the rest of Texas.  This improvement in the rest of Texas happened as DISD went from 34 to 43 IR schools, a 26% increase in IR schools for Dallas ISD.This hints at the "home-rule" confusion that has been pushed on Dallas.  It appears to have been designed to distract the people of Dallas from studying the data accumulating that documents the ending of the recent record setting positive changes in Dallas ISD from 2008 to 2012.  

Here are some of the sites created by various Dallas volunteer and non-profit groups who are dedicated to home rule charter district issues in Dallas and in our nation:
The data concerns are documented in more detail below.

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2) College Readiness

DISD constantly had an increasing number of seniors who scored "college ready" (990) on the SAT.  That ended in 2014!  Here is the report of the Dallas Morning News:
Of the 7,663 DISD students who took the exam, only 1,017 of them received a combined score greater than 990 on the math and reading portions of the test. In comparison, 1,212 of the 5,237 students who took the exam last year hit that mark.
In 2014 with encouragement and payment by DISD for the tests, there were 2,426 more students taking the SAT exams.  That should have increased the number with at least a few more "college ready" scores.  That did not happen!   Instead the number of students with "college ready" scores went down by 195 students even with 2,426 more students taking the test!

Yes, you can expect the percentage getting above 990 to go down when all students are tested, but to have the absolute number getting above 990 to go down by 195 students indicates a very major problem in achievement.   This is the greatest step backward in SAT testing results in DISD History!

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3) Academic Issues:

Based on the passing rates achieved in 2014 compared to 2013 passing rates, academic achievement for DISD has fallen in 4 out of 5 subjects as reflected in the most recent STAAR testing of over 65,000 students in grades 3 to 8!
Results are at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/TAKS/index.jsp 

2014 STAAR grade 3-8 Results by Student Group for DISD
Click on chart to enlarge.
The above 2014 STAAR test report is from taken from page four of the document at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/STAAR2014/2014_STAAR_38_AD1_PERCENT_LVL2_DISTRICT_C.pdf  

The minority achievement gap increased for every subject for both African American and Hispanic minority groups. 

The minority achievement gap is "exploding" based on these most recent STAAR tests.

Compared with the rest of Texas, DISD is doing worse in every subject:

Dallas ISD compared to the rest of Texas
TEA, Texas Academic Performance Report 2013-2014 
Again, the data used to make the above spreadsheet comes from page three (p 5 of the pdf document) of the TAPR for 2013-14 found at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker?_service=marykay&year4=2014&year2=14&_debug=0&single=N&title=2014+Texas+Academic+Performance+Reports&_program=perfrept.perfmast.sas&prgopt=2014%2Ftapr%2Ftapr.sas&ptype=P&level=district&search=district&namenum=dallas+isd&district=057905

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4) Graduation Issues

Graduation rates remain the major issue within DISD.  For generations the percentage of 9th grade enrollment who were represented in the number in the graduation class was less than 50% in DISD!  When the majority of students are not even graduating, graduation is the major crisis to be solved! Over 50% of 9th grade enrollment continued to be missing at graduation in DISD until 2011.  The actual size of graduation classes in Dallas had already been breaking records since 2008 at that time, and continued to break records until 2013, recording 6 years of constant progress!

But then the DISD Class of 2014 became the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous year’s graduation class.  

The Class of 2014 was over 400 students smaller than the Class of 2013!


Below are 10 points about DISD graduation history drawn from the 1970-2014 DISD enrollment and graduation spreadsheet below.  It is beneath the "Five Best Years" spreadsheet. Numbers in the left hand column of the 1970-2014 spreadsheet correspond to each of these 10 points:
  1. 1970 - Dallas ISD had a total of 164,726 students of which 94,383 were Anglo.
  2. 1971 - Integration was happening, perceived as a threat, and DISD lost about 9% of Anglo students both in 1971 and again in 1972.  That loss, 8,698 and 7,945, represented more students lost each of those years than the total of number of Anglo students remaining in DISD now since 2008.
  3. 1984 - When you look at the graduating class as the percentage of the entire DISD enrollment, this year was the last time, until 2013, that the graduation class would represent over 4.7% of total DISD enrollment. It was 5.3% that year, the lowest percentage, and the smallest graduation class, since 1971 and probably before.  Then it fell to 4.7% in 1985.
  4. 1994 - The graduation classes of 1994 and 1993 were the smallest DISD graduation class in the last 44+ years! They also represented only 3.2% of the enrollment of DISD, the smallest such percentage, possibly in all of DISD History, but definitely since the end of WWII.  It certainly represented a graduation rate painfully far below 50% of the 9th grade enrollment.  No graduation class was larger than 50% of their 9th grade enrollment under current higher graduation standards until the Class of 2011.
  5. 2008 - From 2008 to 2012 were the most productive years in DISD History! High school graduation rates grew by 20 percentage points no matter what formula is used to calculate the graduation rate! 
  6. 2009 -  The year with the lowest Anglo enrollment on record for DISD, 7,207 students, was 2009.    It was less than 8% of the Anglo enrollment of 1970.
  7. 2010 -  The first year in 40 years that the Anglo enrollment in DISD did not go down was 2010. White flight had ended! Anglo enrollment grew by 25 students.  By 2014 DISD Anglo enrollment was 339 students higher than the low point of the 2009 enrollment.
  8. 2011 was the first time in over two decades that DISD had more than 50% of the total original 9th grade enrollment represented in the graduating class. (Remember the graduation standards that Texas has now did not exist in 1981.) The Class of 2011 was the largest graduating class in over a quarter of a century, one of 6 such record breaking classes in a row from 2008 to 2013. 
  9. 2013, with a graduation class of 7,691 students DISD had the largest graduation class since 1981!  It was a 32 year record!  The size of this graduation class represented 4.8% of total DISD enrollment, the largest proportion since 1984!
  10. 2014, the Class of 2014 was 427 students smaller than the record breaking Class of 2013. This was the first graduation class in 7 years that was not larger than the previous graduation class.
This 44 year history of DISD graduation rates shows DISD progress since 2006, then the decimation since 2013.  Progress must be started again!
Dallas ISD Enrollment and Graduation numbers 1970 to 2015
Click on above chart to enlarge.  (email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel copy of spreadsheet.)

In the above spreadsheet the “% Total Enrollment” column, second to the last on the right, is the percentage of the total DISD enrollment that year who are receiving a diploma with that graduation class.  In a perfect world with stable populations, 100% graduation rates, k-12 school systems, and zero population growth, 7.67%, or 1/13th of the enrollment, would be graduating each year.  That never happens in any school district. Instead, as is shown in the above chart, the highest percentage of enrollment ever graduating from DISD was 6.2% in 1979. That was probably due to the massive flight of over 49,000 Anglo students the previous 8 years in mostly the lower grades combined with the older Anglo students probably wanting to remain until graduation.  Thus it may have been the best graduation rate for DISD.
 
White flight decimated DISD with enrollment going from 164,726 in 1971 to only 127,462 in 1984. During the 9 year tenure of Nolan Estes reflected in this chart the Anglo enrollment dropped by over 50,000 students.  Only 42,000 Anglo students remained when Nolan Estes retired.  
 
Then in 1984 "No-pass No-play" and higher graduation requirements were added during the legislative session. That led to the largest drop in graduation numbers during these 44 years with over 800 fewer students graduating with the Class of 1985!   Graduation numbers continued to fall from 1985 onward.  The "Percentage of Total Enrollment" number for graduates fell below 4.5%, falling as low as 3.2% for the Class of 1994. 
 
From the Class of 1986 to the Class of 2010 the percentage of full DISD enrollment represented in the graduating class never went above 4.5%.   That barrier was broken with the Class of 2011.  Then the Class of 2013 set another record by being over 4.8% of the student body! Now that measurement appears to have fallen to 4.6% with the Class of 2014. 

It became obvious that the progress improving graduation rates was slowing to a stop when the
official enrollment count on November 1, of 2012 was made.  Those measurements showed that year to year growth in senior enrollment had slowed to the lowest percentage growth in 6 years!   That rate of growth had suddenly fallen by November of 2012 to only 0.76% after 5 years of growth of 2.66% or higher!  Then with the Class of 2014 we had the first year with a smaller senior class in 7 years.  It was 500 students smaller, a 6% drop!  In the previous 16 years the largest such drop in DISD had been 3.84%.


Dallas ISD Enrollment 1996 to 2015 with graduation rate calculations
Can Dallas Ignore the Graduation number History for Harrison School District Two in Colorado?

If Mike Miles had come to Dallas with a record of having turned around falling graduation numbers in Colorado, then Dallas could have reason for hope.  But the opposite happened in Colorado! Senior enrollment and graduation numbers went down for the last 5 years Mike Miles was in Colorado.  A total of 1/3 of senior enrollment was lost!  

See details about Harrison School District 2 in Colorado in the charts and data linked from http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2013/05/damage-by-mike-miles-in-colorado.html .

Mr. Miles was hired due to a record of increasing the average ACT scores in Harrison Two School District. 

What was not pointed out to the Dallas Public, and may have not even been explored by the DISD Board doing the hiring, that this increase in the average score was happening with fewer and fewer students being tested since Harrison high school level enrollment, and especially upper class enrollment, was shrinking at the same time!  Ultimately 1/3 of Harrison senior enrollment was missing after 5 years.  That fifth year was the year Mike Miles came to Dallas ISD!

Many students transferred out of Harrison into District 11 to the north in Colorado Springs during this time.  Then the District 11 average ACT scores were reported in the Colorado Springs media as going down.  Which students, the higher scoring or those struggling with grades, were more likely to be leaving Harrison and transferring into District 11?
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5) Discipline Issues

Current reports from teachers indicate that discipline problems have never been worse within DISD, but the reporting of those problems has apparently been massively discouraged by current DISD Administration.   A student reportedly cannot now be sent to Lacey, the DISD off-campus school, for fighting until after their 5th fight!
When Mr. Miles started he came into a district that had enjoyed falling discipline rates for three years.  Then discipline problems exploded:

Here is another breakdown of those numbers:

The discipline reports from 2013/14 reflect several major changes in the management of discipline in DISD.  In School Suspension was only use 8,152 times last year, the lowest usage on record.   Out of School Suspension continued to be heavily used with 24,667 recorded in 2013/14.
Another way to look at discipline issues is by grade and by grade over time.   Here is that history from 2006 to 2012 by grade focusing on 6th through 9th grade.   Those years are generally acknowledged as the worst relative to discipline problems, but why?
Notice how 6th grade went from being almost no discipline problem in 2006/07 to being one of the worst grades by the first semester of 2012/13.   What happened?   It was during these 6 years that the 6th grade was pulled from the elementary schools and placed in all of the middle schools all across Dallas.  This explosion of discipline problems points to other research across the nation indicating how destructive separate middle schools are to student achievement compared to K-8 schools. 
Fortunately some DISD schools are beginning to change.  This year DISD will have Rosemont, it's first former K-5 schools transformed into a K-8 school in full operation.  The transition to a full K-8 school takes three years.  It is certain Rosemont will have some of the best behaved and highest performing 6th through 8th graders in the district!
Here is a chart on discipline problems by grade comparing 2011/12 (red) with the first semester of 2012/13 (yellow).  The 2012/13 year was the first year when all 6th graders were in middle schools across Dallas, except for Rosemont.

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6) Teacher Turnover Issues

According to annual reporting found in the DISD annual data packs, teacher turnover went from 12.9% in 2010/11 to 26.5% in 2012/13, and is most recently 27.8% for 2014/15.  This most recent number from page 17 in the Data Packet for Planning 2014/15 just posted 7-25-15 at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/docs/CILT2016/DP1000.pdf  .  The following charts come from this data source inside DISD.

The most damaging number such turnover points to each year is the annual number of teachers who are teaching for their first year.  

The data from the above chart was used to create this illustration of how experienced levels have reversed in the 40% of teachers who are now in the 0 to 5 years experience group.



As to student/teacher ratio history before 2010, in 2007/08 that ratio was 14.8 students per DISD teacher (156,708 students and 10,568 teachers).  The next year 2008/09 the ratio was 13.7 students per teacher (155,949 students and 11,388 teachers due to infusion of Federal Funds).  In 2009/10 the ratio fell to 14.3 (155,441 students with 10,898 teachers).   The student/teacher ratio has risen every year since 2008/09 until this past year 2014/15 when it fell from 16.25 the year before to 15.26.

Remember, the most recent numbers above are last years numbers and neither reflects the current turnover that is unknown at this time. How can the falling Texas/DISD achievement with the continuing falls in teaching experience? Unless students can be more directly motivated to work in their own best interest, DISD will not see progress.

The data request for teachers in DISD as of 8-18-15 will be made within the month. Last year that report showed 1,866 teachers new to DISD with 0 years with DISD.  A total of 1,477 had one year of experience with DISD.   This is NOT the same as years teaching which is now in the above chart.  That is usually a higher number as some of these new hires will come as experienced teachers.  

These two numbers mean that over 32.8% of all DISD teachers, 3,343 out of 10,197, had one year or less of time with DISD and were very new to DISD.  Do any other school districts have that high a percentage of teaching staff who are so new to the district?   See more details and sources on DISD teacher turnover at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/10/tenured-teachers-leaving-dallas-isd-8.html .

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7) Needed Public Debate

Recent events in Dallas, attempting to support a move toward a "home rule charter district," tried to focus on selected, "cherry picked," data to put all of public education in a negative light.  Similar events are happening across the nation as part of a national assault on public education in the name of "reform."   It is a "reform" that is micromanaging data to manipulate the public.  In Dallas they ignored the positive data showing record setting annual progress that DISD was enjoying up to 2012!  A 20 percentage point improvement in graduation rate since 2006 cannot be ignored!
The complicating factor in Dallas is that negative data began to accumulate in 2012 in many areas in addition to those above.  
Dallas needs to have public debates on this data because there are at least two sides to the data, each side trying to justify their own goals with the data.  Who is truly guilty of "cherry picking" their data? The public should see such debates in an orderly, civil setting so they can decide.  Questions from the public must be allowed following the presentations, but they must be strictly limited to one minute so that more questions can be addressed in a more timely fashion.  We must create a setting where more and more will attend future debates.  Our city will benefit!

If Mayor Rawlings wants to support Dallas public schools he would encourage such debates on data within DISD.  He should be there to be involved.  It should be a regular event, at least annually, if not at the end of each semester as a public DISD Report Card Meeting with all data released beforehand so the public can prepare questions.  Our students could only benefit, with many hopefully being present to hear the issues they live every day in DISD classrooms.

Ultimately such a debate will help positive changes to evolve for DISD.  It is certain such change will include four basic elements as outlined at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/changing-school-culture-four-steps.html :
  1. Transparency
  2. Parental Involvement - and how to achieve it
  3. Developmentally Appropriate Grade Configuration: allowing more k-8 schools
  4. Visibility and open debate of research
A note of encouragement: the last time the people of Dallas united to improve our schools we had the greatest success on record.   Here is one slide from those original plans from Dallas Achieves:

Dallas Achieves Plans 2002-2007
Click on image to enlarge.
Compare these plans to the chart at the top of this page.  Dallas Achieves was an overwhelming success!   The Home Rule Charter District Commission must repeat that success. They must do it with solid recommendations to avoid "home rule."  Then they must focus their time and energy directly onto the ongoing changes needed inside DISD, as Dallas Achieves did a decade ago.  The road to success constantly evolves.  Recommendations must be updated for DISD.   We must follow the map, the data, and not be distracted.  The data clearly shows DISD has current problems and must change.

***************************

8) Letters Sent Dallas Board of Trustees
Letters are in order with most recent first:

========== sent 2-27-2015 =================

From: BBetzen@aol.com
To: miguelsolis@dallasisd.org
CC: ecowan@dallasisd.org, elizabethjones@dallasisd.org, danmicciche@dallasisd.org, nbingham@dallasisd.org, lblackburn@dallasisd.org, joyceforeman@dallasisd.org, benutall@dallasisd.org, mmorath@dallasisd.org

Sent: 2/27/2015 1:35:17 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Fwd: Information Request staffing budget amendments

Dear President Solis and DISD Trustees

Here is the open records request that I said I would make and also forward to you.

The history of such budget amendments as the one approved 10-22-14 will help provide direction for additional areas of questioning.

Thank you for the work you do for the children of Dallas.


Bill Betzen



From: BBetzen@aol.com
To: LMcGowan@dallasisd.org
Sent: 2/27/2015 1:26:38 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Information Request staffing budget amendments


Dear Ms. McGowan,





I am making an open records request regarding the recent history of staffing budget amendment requests. 

A spread sheet is given below to illustrate the data items requested.  The data for the current school year is inserted as it is understood.   I am asking for that data to be affirmed, and for the data for the past 5 school year back to 2009-2010 to be provided to fill in this spreadsheet. 

This data will include for each budget year: the budgeted student enrollment and the date that target was expected to be achieved, the actual enrollment and date that was recorded, was a budget amendment approved or not for that year, the number of staff the amendment was for, the amount of money involved, and the date that amendment was approved by the DISD Board.





Thank you very much for the service you provide to Dallas.
Bill Betzen

 

========== sent 2-23-2015 =================
From: BBetzen@aol.com
To: miguelsolis@dallasisd.org
CC: ecowan@dallasisd.org, elizabethjones@dallasisd.org, danmicciche@dallasisd.org, nbingham@dallasisd.org, lblackburn@dallasisd.org, joyceforeman@dallasisd.org, benutall@dallasisd.org, mmorath@dallasisd.org
Sent: 2/23/2015 8:57:15 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Five alternatives for 10-22-14 $6.4 million budget request

Dear President Solis and Trustees,


I have continued to study the available data which has led to the following.


The DISD 2014-15 budget was based on an enrollment of 161,521 students according to page 20 of the budget presentation at http://www.dallasisd.org/cms/lib/TX01001475/Centricity/Domain/78/FY2015%20Proposed%20Budget%2014July2014.pdf  That was projecting an enrollment increase of 1,808 students.

According to the 10-22-14 BOT meeting statement by Gilbert Prado, budget director, the official DISD MyData enrollment that day was 160,498.  That is just over 1,000 students BELOW the budget projection.  How could Terry even suggest DISD enrollment was 164,000, or 2,500 students over the 2014-15 budget during the same meeting?  He did say "Don't hold me to that" but how could he "accidentally" be off by over 3,500 students?

I down loaded the MyData enrollment on 11-2-14 and it was 160,188 on that date. (I download this data about that time annually as this is the time official annual counts are recorded.  This number is usually close to the official annual enrollment count which will be posted on the TEA web site by the end of March.  Decreases daily in enrollment are normal during this time of year. Today, 10-23-15, the DISD official MyData enrollment from
https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/SD/ENROLLMENT/Enrollment.jsp?SLN=1000 is down to 159,477. )

It appears that DISD was over 1,000 students BELOW budget projections on 10-22-14.  By the time of the official count November 1st it appears to have been over 1,300 below those projections!  Mr. Miles was requesting $6.4 million to cover the “EXTRA” 137 teachers needed.   Why? What went wrong?  Where are the "EXTRA" students?  Why was the budget that far off?
A more detailed position by position accounting for this 137 teacher “need” should be demanded immediately.  The big question is "Why was it not in the 2014-15 budget?" The truth of what was shared on 10-22-14 must also be explored! Facts indicate five possibilities:
1) $150,000+ annual salary staff were intentionally lying.
2) Staff were incompetent in making the 2014-15 budget.
3) Staff made terrible errors in managing of the 2014-15 budget.
4) The leveling process in 2014-15 was exceptionally unusual and could not be anticipated based on previous budgets, even though over 1,000 FEWER students showed up than were budgeted for.  (This is the only "clean" way out, but it will take some major work to be credible!)

5) The Superintendent is not competent enough to be aware of which of the four above possibilities are most true, or else he is orchestrating this manipulation himself.   
The truth is missing. That is certain.


Bill Betzen, volunteerwww.Dallasisd.us
Dallas ISD Achievement Data

===========================

From: BBetzen@aol.com
To: miguelsolis@dallasisd.org
CC: ecowan@dallasisd.org, elizabethjones@dallasisd.org, danmicciche@dallasisd.org, nbingham@dallasisd.org, lblackburn@dallasisd.org, joyceforeman@dallasisd.org, benutall@dallasisd.org, mmorath@dallasisd.org
Sent: 2/23/2015 2:52:15 A.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Documentation for the need for 137 positions on 10-22-14

Dear President Solis and all DISD Trustees,


In re-reading Dr. Smiskos' email to the BOT I am again fascinated with these last two paragraphs:


In the Fall of 2014, an additional 137 teacher FTEs (which is an average of less than one per campus) were added via a budget amendment. In the majority of cases, the FTEs were new and no staff had been hired for them. In some cases, the requested FTEs were to sustain FTE positions on campuses that had been determined to be above formula and therefore a teacher might have already been in that position. Once those positions were determined to be over formula, “overfill” positions were used to cover the salaries of those teachers until a budget amendment could be made. Overfill positions are existing vacancies on other campuses. Since we have never been fully staffed, as has been well-known throughout this school year and others, this means that money was always there to pay them.
The administration has made every effort to clearly communicate the need for increases in FTE allotment, especially given the complexity of the leveling process. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have.


Why does there not exist one spreadsheet with a listing of all the needed positions, with the school names given, and with columns explaining the various unique situations for each position that was not yet funded as of 2-22-14? 

Everyone can understand that the 137 position number is a constantly changing estimate, but a working spreadsheet as of one date in time with the schools and positions needed given by school, and additional columns explaining the various characteristics of each position, would help to document the reality of this need. 

Such a spreadsheet should exist, or could be created in a few hours with staff working together.  

Why can't such a spreadsheet be created to document the need as it allegedly existed as of the 10-22-14 meeting?  

How did anyone in DISD know that 137 positions were needed?  Is there no documentation?


Bill Betzen, volunteer

===========================


Sent: 2/18/2015 9:58:05 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Almost ten-fold increase in new teacher hires leaving within 3 months!

Dear President Solis and all DISD Trustees,

It appears that the quality of the teacher candidates being hired by DISD has gone down significantly since 2012 based on the almost ten-fold increase in the number of teachers leaving within 3 months of being hired. Should this massive increase be one of the factors included in the current HR investigation?

While teacher turnover has doubled over the past 6 years, the number of new hires leaving DISD within 90 days during the first half of the school year has increased almost ten-fold.  That would indicate that the quality of candidates being selected is going down. This pattern was first noticed by studying those teachers who leave during the first half of the school year which for this study was defined as 8-19 of each school year through January.


In the 2010-11 school year, 11 teachers with 3 months or less tenure left from 8-19-10 through January 2011.
In the 2011-12 school year, 10 teachers with 3 months or less tenure left.
In the 2012-13 school year, 34 teachers with 3 months or less tenure left.
In the 2013-14 school year, 80 teachers with 3 months or less tenure left.
In the 2014-15 school year, 97 teachers with 3 months or less tenure left.

This means that the number of classrooms suddenly without their newly hired teacher during the first half of the school year has increased almost tenfold in DISD since 2012.  This is part of the explanation for the drop in student achievement that will probably be continued for the second year with this years STAAR tests when you compare Dallas ISD with the rest of Texas.

The file used to secure this data was open records request #13765.  Since it is a rather small file it is attached if you want to double check these numbers, or search out other patterns.  This file is a listing of all separations since 1-1-2010 through 2-6-2015 with type of separation given along with hire date and school.

There are certainly many other conclusions that need to be studied with this valuable set of data such as which schools are suffering the worst turnover.  Is the most severe turnover being suffered by the most poverty stricken segments of the DISD student body?




Hopefully this data is helpful in the exceptionally difficult job you face.  It is strongly recommend you advise Mr. Singleton of this pattern of poor hires if he has not already noticed it.  The quality of the new teachers being hired as reflected in this pattern certainly should merit research so it is not continued.

Bill Betzen, volunteer
================================


Sent: 2/9/2015 12:05:03 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Conflict of Interest & HR crisis

Dear President Solis,

I and many others are very puzzled by your promise 2-3-15 to, “in an expeditious fashion,” repost a more detailed and transparent new posting for the critically needed discussion of HR issues and responsibilities in DISD. 

First, there was no expeditious reposting on the next working day, but it was delayed and ultimately moved to the 2-12-15 briefing just as you had originally wanted, with not a single change in the wording of the posting.  That will make for an exceptionally long board briefing on 2-12-15 with no improvement in transparency.

I hope you are prepared to explain no improvement in public transparency and the delay of the meeting until this Thursday on an already very critical and crowded agenda.  The reports alone being made that day urgently need public attention due to the misleading “cherry picked” data they contain.

Sadly these actions underline why myself and many others are asking you to recuse yourself from supervising this discussion of the ongoing indications of performance issues with your former boss, Mr. Miles.
There are many reasons for this request beyond his being your former direct supervisor. There are multiple additional reasons for this conflict centered on your current employer who appears to have a significant investment in Mr. Miles remaining superintendent. Here are 5 facts contributing to this conflict:

  1. Ken Barth, owner of Symphonic Source, was a major instigator and funder of the major PAC's that funded all the campaigns of all the sitting DISD Trustees, except for candidates actively dedicated to public transparency.  All of those PAC funded trustees hired Mike Miles without questioning the student attrition history under Miles in Harrison School District 2. 
  2. Ken Barth had Miles’ current Chief of Staff, Justin Coppedge, working for him at Symphonic Source for many months, if not years, and volunteering heavily in education forums before he became Miles' assistant and then Miles’ current Chief of Staff.
  3. Justin Coppedge initially replaced (I think directly) you as Mr. Miles’ assistant.  You left DISD to accept a position at Symphonic Source, Ken Barth’s company, and you continue to work there today.  Thus Ken Barth hired away you, Mr. Miles’ Assistant, but appears to have sent one of his then current employees, Justin Coppedge, to replace you as Mr. Miles’ Assistant.
  4. Once outside of DISD, you ran to become DISD trustee in District 8.  You are now President of the DISD Board, and remain employed by Ken Barth. 
  5. It appears your current employer, Ken Barth, probably provided more support toward the initial hiring and then the reinforcement of Mike Miles as DISD Superintendent than any other person.

Please email me immediately if any of these 5 facts are in error, or if somehow you do not understand how the public would see any conflict of interest.

Transparency that is accurate and inclusive of all data is critically needed.

Again, I hope you will volunteer to allow another board member to oversee this most critical discussion regarding your former boss.
Bill Betzen, volunteer
(Note:  No  response  received.)


Sent: 2/3/2015 2:27:29 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Meeting today to discuss a lack of transparency

Dear President Solis and DISD Trustees,


Today's meeting is all about a lack of transparency, something that has plagued DISD for years with results like those of the past month.  Please join together to require public monthly reports on DISD data that would have helped you avoid the crisis you are meeting about today.  Transparency is your best supervisory tool as Trustees.  Many of you have complained both publicly and privately of not having needed information about DISD.  Do you see a pattern?   Transparency is not micro-management!

Please join together to mandate monthly reports containing the information your find most valuable.   Some suggested items are listed below.  It is all information that is public information but is never made public consistently, if at all.

Even if Mr. Miles contract is ended tonight, as is required due to the ongoing crisis of deteriorating student performance and staff morale under his direction, you must initiate a practice of such monthly reporting to plan forward and help clean up the current crisis ridden atmosphere.  You must lessen the potential for the next such crisis.  Such transparency is obviously critical for the cleanup no matter what your decision about Mr. Miles today! 
Below are four areas of data to be included in a monthly report. This report should be an attachment to the Superintendent’s Report on the board’s monthly meeting agenda, available before the meeting to the public.  It should include:

1. Student movement by school including students entering or leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, including demographic profiles and a third party managed survey to protect privacy asking parents for their three main reasons for the transfer. The monthly report should include notice of DISD schools becoming overcrowded or underutilized due to such movements.

2. Teacher movement by school including teachers hired and leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, including demographic profiles, CEI averages, and a third party survey to protect privacy of separating teachers asking for their three main reasons for leaving or transferring. The anonymous survey should somehow separate teachers into three general CEI levels to report reasons for leaving by such levels.  (Is DISD losing their best teachers and why?)

3. Use of substitute teachers by school. An additional tabulation must be included by school of the frequency of substitute teachers being needed but not being available, and therefore of any class having to be split up or moved to other locations to spend the day due to the lack of available substitutes. Hopefully all parents of all children involved in such neglect on the part of DISD were informed the same day such incidents happening. Such a public monthly report by school and date of occurrence would help assure that such parental notice is happening!

4. Reports of any district wide testing results received that month, both by school and for the district, with all the associated details to help in the assessment of performance, should be a normal part of all monthly reports. If the test results are a state test, then how DISD compared with the state averages outside DISD must be provided to help place the data in perspective.
These reports should be designed and approved by you.  They should be completed going back at least five years, and then archived online so month to month and year to year patterns are easy for you and the public to explore.  This would help us all see current data in the context of recent history.

Imagine how such monthly data available over the past two years would have helped alert you to growing issues and possibly have eliminated the disaster that became public last week!

Dallas should have no more nasty surprises. I hope such improvements in transparency are already included in your planning for the future in DISD. This problem is much bigger that any one superintendent.


Bill Betzen, volunteer
=======================


Sent: 1/22/2015 2:29:46 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Todays' 5:30 public discussion of TAPR Annual Reports


Dear President Solis and all DISD Trustees,


I regret that I did not call in time to address the Texas Academic Performance Report today.  I have been studying the report and have focused on the summary chart on page 3 of the report on DISD.  It is linked from the TEA web site found in the slides that are part of today's presentation.   Hopefully you will be addressing the significant decline in DISD student performance in all subjects compared to the State of Texas achievements from 2013 to 2014.



Attached please find that summary chart with one column inserted showing how much DISD fell behind in every subject from 2013 to 2014.  I will be present for the hearing if there are any questions, but I understand that your time schedule is tight, almost as if you expected there to be nobody from the public making comments.  

Some of you have been complaining in public that too little of the time at your meetings are spent discussing student achievement. I agree. This is a time to change that. 

I am very disappointed that it was not more clear that public comments could be made and when you had to sign up to talk. I called today and was too late. It is almost as if DISD Administration wanted to keep this hearing hidden so nobody paid attention to the declines in student achievement and the frightening data in these reports. 


Respectfully,



Bill Betzen, volunteer
=================================================

Sent: 1/7/2015 8:01:37 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: I agree, Let’s call on the better angels of our nature!

Dear DISD Board President Solis,

While it had misleading elements, it was still good to see your opinion piece published today in the Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20150107-miguel-solis-lets-call-on-the-better-angels-of-our-nature.ece

I hope it is a move toward true dialogue with the public.

Many of the issues you did not want to talk about in November of 2013 are now more relevant than ever.  Those unanswered questions you were given over a year ago remain online at
http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2013/11/questions-for-miguel-solis-transparency.html.

The lack of transparency within DISD, the acceleration of staff turnover, and the lowering student achievement are all continuing to be problems. Will you now discuss these issues with us?  

The old data (i.e. anything over 3 months) indicates an evolving DISD crisis.  See
http://www.dallasisd.us

Will you vote to require the superintendent to submit a timely online monthly report for each board meeting that meets all the basic data needs regarding student achievement and staff turnover? Will you engage in a conversation with the public as to variables needed for such a monthly report? 

I hope you agree that a detailed current monthly report of all classes without an assigned certified teacher in the subject taught, and how many days of the month that condition existed, is needed, with the schools and classes identified. 

I hope you agree that such reports should include details on the dates, school names, and the classes identified which also suffered when a substitute teacher was not available to cover a teacher’s absence, and that teachers classes had to be split or merged into other classes, or moved to a gym or an auditorium for part of the day to allow for supervision by other staff.

Are all parents with children who are in such classes notified the same day, and then given on going notice for everyday their child remains in such a class?

Please show us the details of how you will support the transparency you claimed to support during your campaign to become a trustee.

Sincerely,



Bill Betzen
==================