Thursday, July 9, 2015

Priceless Critical Thinking Lesson for Dallas ISD Students in Three Charts

Four years ago two good changes were happening at the same time regarding Dallas ISD.  As an urgently needed taste of transparency was exposing how truly terrible DISD graduation rates were, that rate was breaking all records for progress! That is the power of transparency, but Dallas leaders were complaining about Dallas ISD schools due to the increased transparency.  At the same time they were ignoring other clear data showing a decade of solid progress!

They did not understand the requirements for such progress in a school district plagued with 89% poverty levels. They did not understand the DANGER of sudden massive changes in a system that was already showing consistent improvement.  Everyone agrees that we still had a long way to go, but the facts of the constant improvement were ignored.  Massive changes were allowed which destroyed the progress that was happening.  Now we can document that deterioration since 2012.

Probably the most critical measurement to show this process is the DISD/Texas Student Achievement Gap. See this link to the details of how the DISD/Texas Student Achievement Gap is calculated so as to be only minimally affected by annual changes in the tests given, as well as links to data sources given.

Dallas ISD Student Achievement Gap History with Texas 2006-2015

Dallas leaders had believed a Colorado quick change artist who spoke of making massive changes with almost no adequate research supporting his methods. They did not study the data back in Colorado as Trustee Carla Ranger pleaded with them to do before hiring him.  She was the only trustee to not vote to hire Mike Miles.

Now Dallas can look back and see that he did the same thing to DISD graduation numbers that he did to the graduation numbers in Harrison District 2 in Colorado Springs:

Dallas graduation class size, 2006 to 2015
The above charts reflect the results from this set of experiments that DISD Trustees allowed over the objections of teachers.  They document a massive deterioration of the progress in Dallas ISD. 

The major cause was teacher turnover as thousands of experienced teachers left DISD.  The losses started in 2011 with a major budget cut from Austin, then they accelerated in 2012 with Mr. Miles and a new set of rigid directions for teaching that were insulting to professional teachers.  Experienced teachers began to leave immediately.  Similar turnover had been well documented in Colorado Springs.  By the time the 2013-14 school year was started DISD had already lost thousands of such teachers!  The chart below reflects the 200% increase in zero experience new teachers in DISD classrooms within just 14 months of Mike Miles' arrival.

In 2010-11 only 4.3% of teachers were new to teaching.  By 2013-14, two years ago, over 13% of teachers were new to teaching! That increased the potential for a child to have an inexperienced teacher in their first year teaching by over 200%!  The details on how this data below, and much more turnover data was collected, are available online.

The Probability Increase since 2010-11 that a DISD child in 2013-14 would have a zero experience new teacher with no years teaching experience was over 200%!
We now have the data to document these costly mistakes by DISD leaders for which our students have paid the real cost. We must learn from this data, for the sake of our children!  We must show our children that we can admit that we made a mistake.

Look at the comments to the article in the Colorado Springs Gazette about Mike Miles return to Colorado Springs:   How did DISD ignore these sentiments over three years ago?

What more valuable lesson in critical thinking, and admitting mistakes in the process, can we give our students?  
We must admit the mistakes made in DISD since 2012, and do it BEFORE we undertake a $1.5 billion bond election described at this link!  A bond election is needed to rebuild many of DISD's old schools, but it must not evolve from the disaster of these past three years!