Monday, February 15, 2016

Segregation in Dallas ISD

The current debates regarding the name of John B. Hood Middle School in Dallas ISD provide a priceless time for the students to both explore history and be actively involved in the decision making process.

DISD students need to study this issue more before they make any recommendation to the school board.  A super-majority of 80+% agreement among students should be required before there is any recommendations due to the importance of such a decision. This is an issue that should be a normal topic in History classes every year, and voted on until that level of agreement is secured one way or the other.

Until then do not change any of the names on our schools.  Why are we in a rush?  This is a priceless learning experience.  Based on the debate online, it will be a discussion that is of value to the entire city of Dallas!

Students must demonstrate a good understanding of both when "Jim Crow Laws" were thriving in the south, why they existed, and their relationship to what is called the Great Migration.

Jim Crow Laws required and reinforced segregation throughout the South.  They were born after 1877 when Reconstruction ended after the Civil War. They ultimately helped create part of the conditions that drove the Great Migration from 1910 to 1970.  That is when an estimated 6 million African Americans moved north to both escape such laws and find better economic opportunity. It was two generations after slavery before the ability and motivation for such moves was common enough for the victims of Jim Crow to escape the South.

It was in 1909 that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded. The name of that organization does not appear in the Dallas Morning News Archives until 1913, and does not appear again until 1923.  Then it begins to appear almost annually in the 1930's.  By 1940 there had been a total of  9 mentions of the NAACP in the Dallas Morning News. Within just 5 years that number was up to 22. By 1950 the work of the NAACP was being reported in the Morning News almost monthly. From 1945 to 1950 there had been 55 more mentions of the NAACP!   By 1955 there were several articles each month as work toward integration accelerated.

While few Confederate names existed on school buildings anywhere in the US before 1920, by the 1930's they became much more common.  The first in Dallas was Robert E. Lee Elementary in 1931, then Stonewall Jackson in 1939.  In 1954 Albert Sidney Johnson was named and the next year John B. Hood Jr. High was named.  Do you think these selected names are related to the growth in visibility of the issues reflected in the NAACP being mentioned in news articles and in the push to racial integration?

In Dallas the White school board reflected the White community that overwhelmingly did not want schools to be integrated. The battle for equal rights heated up leading to the 1954 decision declaring "separate but equal" unconstitutional.  While many states had integrated schools by 1971, Dallas did not achieve that status until 1976.  Dallas holds the sad status of being the last major U.S. city to integrate public schools.  Many valid questions remain as to integration that was achieved.

Did the political climate 22 years after the founding of the NAACP, and the increasing mentions of the NAACP in the Dallas Morning News, have nothing to do with the sudden naming by the White Dallas School Board of a new school in Dallas after a Confederate War hero over 65 years after the Civil War?

The chart below reflects the magnitude of the Great Migration happening from 1910 to 1970.

The Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North
Jim Crow laws were gradually weakened with Supreme Court decisions.  Finally the Voting Rights Act of 1965 legally ended their power.  But enforcement was slow.  It was not until 1971 the full integration of public schools was becoming normal and arrived in most urban areas.  Sadly, Dallas ISD was not fully integrated until 1976.  The chart below documents the horror of White flight as this process was happening in Dallas ISD. Notice how the numbers of White students leaving jumped in 1975 and 1976 as the final years before integration of public schools were happening in Dallas ISD.  White flight continued for another 32 years after 1976 with gradually decreasing numbers.
Dallas ISD enrollment by racial group, 1970 to 2015

In 1970 DISD was a school system with over 164,000 students, 95,000 of whom were White. DISD has never had a total enrollment that large since, and White Flight led to the current White enrollment of less than 7,500, a disproportionately high percentage of whom are attending the magnet schools, some of the best schools in the nation.
Notice above that the "Great Migration" ended with the legal integration of public schools across the South, most of which happened by 1970, except for Dallas ISD where it happened in 1976.  See the Dallas desegregation timeline as documented in the Dallas Morning News. 

News articles since 2-4-16 with hundreds of comments:
Hundreds of comments have been made over the past week online as the Confederate School Name/Rename debate waged in Dallas.  It followed the two initial articles in the Dallas Morning News, the one about the planned vote in the middle school on the name, then on the results of that vote.  Multiple comments also followed an opinion piece, an editorial supporting the name changes, and many letters to the editor that were published this past Sunday.
Too many of those commenting to the above articles posted the idea that the major reason for the Civil War was not slavery.  That is not true for Texas for a multitude of reasons that are often covered in articles such as this one from the Texas Observer.     Part of that documentation is in the Declaration of Causes written and approved by Texas leaders for entry into the Civil War:

Here is a link to the full Declaration of Causes document for Texas.
Similar statements exist for most states entering the Civil War against the North.  Several of them are linked here.
From the Texas Declaration of Causes 02-02-1861

Dallas ISD must not waste this priceless learning opportunity for DISD students.
Dallas continues to be the center of a very segregated area of the US where progress has been slow. DFW media provides ample evidence of the segregation:

Normal advertisement 2-16-14 in Dallas Morning News

Friday, February 12, 2016

DISD not collecting most basic data to help fight with charters

Letter sent 2-12-16

Sent: 2/12/2016 2:47:12 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: How is DISD planning to fight Charters with this data being ignored?
Dear Dr. Hinojosa and President Cowan,

This morning I received the following response to an open records request asking for data on student transfers both into DISD coming from charters and out of DISD going to charter schools.  This may be a goldmine of data for use in the battle with charter schools, but apparently such data is not even being collected based on the email below.

How can DISD plan to combat charters if data is not being collected on the students being lost to charter schools and on students returning from charters, and on how often are these round trips for student both leaving DISD and then returning after time spent in charter schools?

Either DISD truly is not collecting this data, which the public will find amazing, or there is an error in the response to this open records request.  What is the correct answer?

Are there any plans to begin collecting this data now that the battle with charters is more public and open?

Bill Betzen
Dallas ISD Achievement Data
Dallas, Texas

Sent: 2/12/2016 9:55:02 A.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Public Information Request #14944
You have requested demographic information related to Dallas ISD students transferring from and to charter schools. Please note that the District does not collect the information of students, longitudinally, who left the district for a charter school or returned to the District from a charter school. Students going to other public school districts or charter schools are coded the same. Therefore, there is no information responsive to your request.  Please contact Ms. McGowan at if additional information is needed.

Rita Sanchez
Office of Legal Services
Dallas Independent School District
3700 Ross Ave., Box #69
Dallas, TX 75204
Direct Line: (972) 925-3291
Legal Main Line: (972) 925-3250
Legal Fax: (972) 925-3251
Public Information Request Fax: (972) 925-3230

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message, including all attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential student and/or employee information. Unauthorized use and/or disclosure is prohibited under the federal Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g, 34 CFR Part 99, 19 TAC 247.2, Texas Government Code 552.023, Texas Education Code 21.355, 29 CFR 1630.14(b)(c)). If you are not the intended recipient, you may not use, disclose, copy or disseminate this information. Please call the sender immediately or reply by email and destroy all copies of the original message, including attachments.

Socio-Economic Diverity, value of and DISD plans - video

The case for socio-economic diversity:

See the video on these pages which was followed by Item 6-a in the 2-11-16 briefing:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Student Exodus from DISD to charter schools: motivation to change!

Dallas ISD leadership has finally acknowledged the loss of students from DISD to charter schools that has been happening for over a decade!  As is quoted in a 1-21-16 Dallas Morning News Article:
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says Dallas ISD has acted “fat, dumb and happy” for too long as charter school enrollment exploded within the district’s boundaries, taking away millions in state funding.“We kind of fell asleep,” Hinojosa recently told the school board. “We were losing kids without even realizing it.”
This loss is well documented as going on for over a decade in DISD.  Dallas population was growing and DISD enrollment remained flat and even dropped.  The constant annual loss of over 1,000 students between the 5th and 6th grade has gone on for a decade in DISD!  Was anyone watching?

12-year history of Dallas ISD enrollment by grade 2004-2016
The dysfunctional dynamics and damage from the forced middle school move have been documented in research also proving the value of Pk-8 schools.  It is long past time for DISD to pay attention to that research!   Charter schools have been following that research for years.  Of the 61 charter schools now within the DISD boundaries, only 21 are not on campuses allowing for the Pk-8 configuration on one campus:
61 Charter Schools within Dallas ISD Boundaries & PK-8 combinations on one campus.

The reasons for the value of Pk-8 boil down to teacher/student relationships.  The start of each year at Quintanilla Middle School involved after school duty to keep our students away from the elementary school next door where our middle school students would often enter that school to visit their former teachers.  We had to break that bond!  Why were we not using that bond to motivate more achievement?
When a child is in the middle of, or about to start, the puberty transition is about the worst time possible to tear them away from the adults in the schools that they have often known most of their lives to only place them among strangers.  It is any wonder that documented discipline problems increase 400% in 6th grade, and stay that high until 9th grade when they again go down in DISD?  
Dallas ISD must have a team that will both inform parents about the values of, and problems with the transition of Pk-5 schools into being Pk-8 schools, and allow the parents to decide within DISD, without having to leave for a charter school to have that alternative!

If enough parents in a school want this change, will DISD allow more Pk-5 schools to become Pk-8 schools?  

Two factors in West Dallas make this Pk-5 to Pk-8 transition especially timely.

First, the current middle school serving West Dallas is Edison Middle School.  It is located in about the worst location possible with pollution and noise on all sides of the campus with more in the planning stages. A 30-truck-per-hour cement batch plant was approved by the Dallas City Council for construction within 300 ft upwind of Edison.  This will add to a roofing factory on the east and a former lead pollution super-fund site to the west. 

Second, families in the 7 elementary schools that feed into Edison are already avoiding Edison for their children to such an extent that less than 1/3 of the children from those schools actually attend Edison!   Study these  numbers from the Edison Feeder Pattern:
Pinkston/Edison Feeder Pattern West Dallas, loss of over 65% of students!
DISD must allow these seven schools feeding into Edison to study the Pk-8 alternative and use the $100 million already allocated to Pk-8 education improvements in West Dallas to be used for the transition of these 7 schools, but ONLY if the parents at those schools want the change.  This should include the development of a middle school band/sports/elective center near the new Pinkston High School so that in the afternoon students wanting such involvement would travel from the 7 schools to Pinkston for such activities.

With these changes West Dallas may develop some of the best sports teams, and the highest academics!  

DISD teacher opinions of progress are starting to improve, hopefully only starting.

On 2-6-16 the Morning News published a positive article about the staff climate surveys recently made public: .

But this is only a start given the massive decline since 2012.  Here is also the link to check climate surveys for each school: .

Here is a November of 2015 article about the effectiveness of teachers by school: .

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Is Dallas building a charter school bubble in Southwest Dallas that could eventually burst?

Over 50% of the children attending school within the Carter Feeder Pattern in Southwest Dallas are already attending charter schools. More such charter schools are being planned and built.

A critical question must be asked.  Is Dallas building a charter school bubble in Southwest Dallas that could eventually bust?

On December 16, 2015 a new study was published pointing out the parallels between the housing mortgage crisis and the growth of poorly granted mortgages and the charter school crisis that may be forming due to the very similar growth of poorly managed and funded charter schools where the public is taking the risk but not carefully watching how millions are being invested.

See an article about this thesis titled "An alarming new study says charter schools are America's new subprime mortgages" at

The research is titled "Are We Heading Toward a Charter School 'Bubble'?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis" and is published online at 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ISD's and Charter Schools compared, Snapshot 2014 Data

The following data is from the valuable Snapshot pages that provide 98 critical data items on each school district in Texas, both charter and ISD district, going back 20 years.  Notice the differences.  Go to the web site at to see the data on any school district you are interested in.   Below is a summary of 2013/14 data posted online last summer. Each summer another year is posted.  The data is captured in three pages.  Click on them to enlarge them for study.  Many questions are indicated by this data:  Why do charters choose to pay teachers less when they get more operational money per student than ISD's?

Enrollment decline 5th to 6th grade to avoid middle schools in DISD.

Dallas ISD worst enrollment loss is 5th to 6th grade.