Superintendent Michael Hinojosa drew a roomful of huzzahs two weeks ago when he announced that DISD was getting involved in a new effort for school reform in West Dallas. A handful of DISD trustees were among the cheering crowd, including Lew Blackburn and board president Adam Medrano, but not Carla Ranger.
On her blog the next day, Ranger wondered why she'd heard nothing about the program before, especially given that the plan put DISD in partnership with Uplift Education, which runs a handful of local charter schools, and the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition. Ranger wondered what the district was getting into, and why Hinojosa had never brought it in front of the board. (Blackburn, whose district the initiative is based on, said he's been in the loop for the last year.) Ranger demanded a special board meeting to help clear the air.
Well, that meeting's just started at 3700 Ross Ave., where DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander says Hinojosa "will likely try to clarify what discussions he has had with different entities about some of the initiatives there, as well as provide an update." While there won't be time for public comment, teachers' union leaders and community groups involved in the so-called West Dallas Education Initiative will be filling the board room as well.
Update: Jump for a recap of the one-hour meeting.
We'll recap the meeting in the morning, but
"What we're doing is so helpful. It's training for teachers," Nippert says. "I'm surprised that the teacher's unions haven't clicked to this, because part of the problem DISD has is that it's hard to hire tecahers and principals for these schools because nobody wants to teach there."
"I'm a little concerned that we're looking at partnering with private ocmpanies to do education in the city," says Dale Keiser, NEA-Dallas teachers' union. "We've been through this once before with Edison," he says, recalling the charter company DISD contracted with until breaking off the partnership in 2003.
"The faith-based organization [DFCC] has been doing this operation for three years, so why are we just now hearing about it?" wonders Alliance-AFT president Rena Honea. "There's some concern here, Honea says. "If it checks out to be on the up and up, whatever's best for children is in our interest."
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