James Ragland is back writing a metro column for the city's only daily newspaper, and that's a good thing. But Ragland, who took a sabbatical from columnizing to do actual journalism, may need to give himself some catch-up time before launching too many more opinion epistles. He wrote a piece yest ... More >>
I always feel better after I talk to Larry James. I was worried. Now I'm not. James, president and CEO of CitySquare, the city's biggest and most comprehensive private anti-poverty organization, had an op-ed piece in The Dallas Morning News yesterday, one of those things about who to hire for the ... More >>
One big lesson to draw from Tuesday's special election to fill an empty school board seat: The public school employees unions in Dallas are weak tea, indeed, when it comes to any kind of a shootout at the polls. Take away a couple of pissed-off rich supporters with axes to grind, and teachers union ... More >>
Is it possible to tell a good teacher from a bad one?
UPDATE, 11:45 A.M.: Manuel G. Berrelez, one of Miguel Solis' lawyers, just called to tell me that Kristi Lara has withdrawn her lawsuit. The original post follows: Yesterday afternoon we told you the big lawsuit over residency requirements for a Dallas school board candidate got kicked up to a high ... More >>
A lawsuit against the Dallas school district and a candidate for election to the school board brought by his election opponent Kristi Lara was stopped by court order this afternoon until after the November 5 election, according to a lawyer for Lara's opponent. Jeronimo Valdez, lawyer for DISD Distr ... More >>
Kind of a hilarious war of words going on right now between me, Dallas political activist Rene Martinez and a UT Austin Education School professor named Julian Vasquez Heilig. Heilig has threatened to call the cops if Martinez emails him again. I think Heilig might do better calling his mom. Heilig ... More >>
So the Dallas ISD Board of Education, which decided at its last meeting to keep but humiliate its superintendent of schools, will meet again tomorrow, locked inside another closed-door "executive session," to decide whether to keep, fire or further humiliate the superintendent. A person looking on ... More >>
The special election for the school board will decide his fate. For now.
Why do trustees think they can ignore the law to protect their reputations?
What a difference a Williams makes. This morning -- on the day Dallas school trustees are supposed to decide whether to pull the rug from under reform Superintendent Mike Miles -- I looked at two sets of reports on the school district, one from Don Williams, the retired real estate executive who wan ... More >>
The pressure to spit out news stories as fast as they happen, a disinclination to provide linkages that might look too subjective, a simple failure in our own ability to see: for whatever reason, we in the news business seldom show you how the stories we present to you are tied together. And yet, be ... More >>
Channel 8 WFAA TV investigative reporter Brett Shipp had a big piece on last night's 10 p.m. News Update newscast about Dallas school Superintendent Mike Miles facing "new allegations of policy violations." I disagree with the piece, especially as it painted media relations consultant Lisa LeMaster ... More >>
Love of children, compassion for children, the instincts that propel us to shelter and nurture our young: These are profound and innate. But that doesn't mean they can't be tricky. Back in the '90s I was on the board of directors of Head Start of Greater Dallas. Briefly. African-American leaders ca ... More >>
More than just today, maybe every day this week we need to talk here about the Dallas school superintendent and school reform, mainly because this may all be over by the end of the week. The school board will meet later this week, and the anti-reform wing of the board probably will move to fire Supe ... More >>
Follow-up question: Will he survive?
Dallas ISD's Board of Trustees argued into the early morning hours before approving a $1.2 billion budget for the coming year. It includes a two-percent raise for almost all employees, as well as funding for Superintendent Mike Miles' year-old principal training academy, which some trustees wanted t ... More >>
Heed what just happened in the battle over next year's school budget for Dallas. Black elected leaders on the school board voted for segregation and failure. It's time for everybody -- I mean everybody -- to rethink the role of black elected leadership in this city. Of course the traditionally seg ... More >>
Type Jerome Oberlton's name into Google, and one of the first things to pop up is a Baltimore Sun article detailing all the places he used the local school district's credit cards. These included businesses like Bath & Body Works and Ross, which would seem to provide little of use for the head of a ... More >>
In Dallas ISD, a fight over principals, race and a slice of the pie.
Today is a key moment in the battle for school reform in Dallas, as a list of school principals to be fired goes before the school board. (Check back tonight for the body count.) The main opposition to the reform effort has come from southern Dallas black leadership allied with the district employee ... More >>
Working on a big story about school reform these days. (Note to editor: definitely see completion this year, possibly early next. Best way you can help -- make sure I keep up my darned morale.) Speaking of morale, I wanted to go ahead and share a bit of the reporting with you in advance of the stor ... More >>
Three prominent Dallas business leaders have written a caustic public letter to Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles, taking him to task generally for not conferring with them personally on school reform and specifically for threatening the job of a particular high school principal popular in South ... More >>
They say the devil can quote scripture as well as the righteous, which helps explain the confusion sown by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who whipped out his New Testament this week and rained thunder down on Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles. Price is burni ... More >>
Too bad they won’t do that for the students
What's happened at Sunset High School over the last seven years has been, if not quite a miracle, than at least proof that a struggling inner city school with a highly impoverished, almost entirely minority student body can be turned around. Dropout rates have gone down, graduation rates up. More st ... More >>
On March 22, I penned a story for this page in which I portrayed school district trustee Bernadette Nutall as appearing to be "neutral" on school reform. Her apparent neutrality made her a very singular exception to the rule at a heated community meeting the night before at Madison High School, wh ... More >>
Everybody in school politics always says it's all about the children. That's almost never true. If you don't believe me, you should have been there last night. At a spirited, sometimes cantankerous meeting in the auditorium of James Madison High School in South Dallas, prominent black elected offic ... More >>
Are Dallas ISD trustees already preparing to protect the principals Mike Miles wants to fire?
When Mike Miles was hired last year as superintendent of Dallas ISD, he was rewarded handsomely. His base salary of $300,000 per year put him near the top of the list of the state's highest-paid superintendents. Meet all the metrics for his possible $200,000 annual bonus, and his place at the top of ... More >>
Buzz looks back on 2012 before the memories go where they belong: up in smoke.
On Friday evening, after schools had closed and most everything else was winding down for the holiday, the Morning News reported DISD communications chief Jennifer Sprague is resigning. Sprague's abrupt departure is the surest sign yet that Superintendent Mike Miles' administration is in crisis. Sh ... More >>
Lots of people have nightmares. I do. So what? I've never covered that up. I told you about the one in which I work for The Dallas Morning News and I have to go in every day and write positive stories about the Perot family. See also: - OK, We Get it Already. The Perot Science Museum is Freakin' W ... More >>
There has been a lot of ink devoted over the past few days to Dallas ISD being named a finalist for $40 million in federal Race to the Top funds, which built to a crescendo yesterday when Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to town. That all sounds fantastic, but what does it mean? We decided to b ... More >>
For several weeks I have been wondering if anybody else was hearing the same drumbeat of deep bitter dissatisfaction from Dallas public school teachers that I've been getting. So now it turns out somebody else has been hearing the same thing. But guess who! Tod Robberson! Oh, no! Not Tod Robberson! ... More >>
Shirley Ison-Newsome is a survivor. The longtime DISD administrator, currently assistant superintendent, has managed to stay afloat at the district even as administration after boss after boss, administration after administration, have sunk to the watery depths. That she has managed emerge unharmed ... More >>
We touched yesterday on what has been a bit of a rough start to the school year for Dallas ISD, and today's news won't help: Alan King, who led the district in the aftermath of former Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's departure last year, has resigned from the district. King served as CFO from Janu ... More >>
Performance pay in public education is a touchy subject. It seems like a good enough idea in theory, but once you get into the details of how exactly performance will be defined and measured in practice, things start to get thorny. One option for avoiding controversy: Define performance as attendanc ... More >>
Incoming DISD superintendent Mike Miles might have been getting the impression that Dallas wasn't as friendly as billed, what with all the pointed questions about administrators' pay scale. So, to prove we really do love him, the Dallas Regional Chamber is unrolling a billboard campaign timed to co ... More >>
Jennifer. May I call you that? This is just between us. I like your picture. There's a certain assertiveness there. I just like it. And this has all been so unfair so far. These news hacks -- guys like Dallas Observer Editor Joe Tone, Unfair Park EditorEric Nicholson and that TV guy over at Channe ... More >>
Update at 5:19 p.m.: Dahlander provides some additional context for the numbers: Apparently OPR had not received the campus incident reports previously, which can be as minor as an injury on the playground to an upset parent in the office. Now that they receive them and review each one to determin ... More >>
Oh. Right. That. After all the candidate forums and the radio debates and the mayor-izen endorsements, it turned out that the roughly 117 people who care about the politics of Dallas Independent School District were just extras in the occasional stage play put on by the North Dallas elite, who thi ... More >>
We tuned in to the Dallas ISD's District 9 school board trustee forum on KHVN 970 yesterday between incumbent Bernadette Nutall and her challenger, 20-year-old Damarcus Offord. Host Robert Ashley and his station, it turns out, moderated the best debate thus far. The two clearly don't like each oth ... More >>
Yesterday, Mike Miles, an Army Ranger turned education reformer, was named the lone finalist for Dallas Independent School District's superintendent job. Today begins 21 days of tire-kicking, a mandatory waiting and vetting period before the district and Miles can officially wed. Plenty of people ... More >>
Not sure what to think of Mike Miles, the Dallas school board's pick for new superintendent? Here's a shortcut. Decide what you think of the Broad Superintendents Academy (BSA). Miles is a 2011 graduate of a boot camp for school superintendents in Los Angeles founded and funded by a foundation nam ... More >>
Prediction: The next few weeks may not be a ton of fun for Mike Miles. Miles, the superintendent of Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, was named the lone finalist for the top job in Dallas ISD at a meeting this afternoon. The board, which voted 8-0 (with Carla Ranger abstaining), now ... More >>