Monday, July 20, 2015

Urgent Credibility Issue for Trustee Wednesday Evening Meeting

A meeting was announced this afternoon that the DISD Trustees were having a Board Meeting this Wednesday to discuss the potential for a bond election in November.  In spite of ample evidence gathering rapidly that Destination 2020 has been a dramatic failure the Board of Trustees appears ready to move rapidly forward with a $1.5 billion bond election based on it, complete with "schools of choice" that will help the re-segregation process in DISD, this time separating the rich from the poor even more.

Following an online discussion this was sent to the Board about 6 PM. 
Dear President Cowan,
I became very involved in the discussion following the 3:20 PM article posted today announcing your Wednesday evening meeting.  That article is online at

I posted the following that cannot safely be ignored for your Wednesday meeting.
This planned bond election comes from the work of the Future Facilities Task Force.   As described at the core purposes of the Task Force are:
- Understand the concepts of Destination 2020 and how its initiatives impact the need for facility improvements.
- What are the Destination 2020 initiatives?
- How will these programs benefit students and improve academic improvement?
- How will implementation of these programs shape the need for facility improvements? 
- Review state of existing facilities and proposed new programs, and recommend facility improvements that will accommodate program implementation.

Major problems with Destination 2020 initiatives, including the massive failure of Imagine 2020, are being documented, including in a recent DMN Editorial,

There has been a 60% growth in the Student Achievement Gap between Dallas ISD and the State of Texas.  We now have the largest achievement gap in 8 years!  The Class of 2015 may be the smallest graduation class in 5 years! Such data demands a major re-assessment of the Destination 2020 concepts and initiatives before going forward with this election. 

It must be addressed Wednesday night.

Absent such a complete and credible re-assessment it will be very difficult for DISD to regain public credibility after the damage that has been done to student achievement over the past three years, as well as the increases in student attrition, and the record teacher turnover.  See the data and sources at

DISD already has a credibility problem due to the long term refusal to be transparent in a timely fashion.  That problem worsened significantly during the past 3 years!

Nobody wants DISD to succeed more than I do.  The plans for several K-8 schools are definitely positive!  But we need a solid foundation.
============ second posting ==========
I neglected to mention below the 76 page Title VI Complaint filed 4-21-15 that is being worked on by several U.S. Department of Education attorneys at this time.  I strongly recommend you read the documentation yourself.   There is a four page summary of the complaint at

At the bottom of that page is a link to an excellent 5 minute coverage by Channel 8 of the issues involved and a link to the entire 76 page complaint.

In  summary, all the evidence indicates that schools getting larger amounts of poverty based funding, English as a Second Language based funding, and/or Special Needs funding were having their regular funding, which should generally be equal in each school, lessened significantly.  Such supplanting of need based funds is illegal.  Page 17 of the complaint gives examples with several schools of how millions of dollars were removed over the years, especially since 2012.

Until the multitude of questions raised by this complaint are addressed in an open and credible fashion by DISD Trustees and Administration, I do not see how the people of Dallas would trust them to properly spend additional bond money.

This bond election is needed, but making the operations inside DISD Administration more transparent is mandatory!

Bill Betzen
Dallas ISD Achievement Data