Is Destroying the DISD Really the Best Way to Fix It? Seriously.

Interesting how these things go. Yesterday I posted an item about DART. The comments thread turned into a discussion of DISD. Did people just get confused about the acronyms?

I don’t think so. I think the school system is very much on people’s minds now, mainly for bad reasons. The discussion was beginning to get good.

I want to post this new item as a way of bringing that string forward today, focusing it directly on DISD. A commenter who uses the nom de guerre Billy offered the following idea:

“As I have argued on this blog before, DISD is an unfixable cluster-fuck. Period. The way to return the families to Dallas to take advantage of all our city has to offer is to break up DISD into 25 small scale independent districts. Districts where normal people and parents can understand the budgets, planning, and curriculum.

“Each district would be a minority majority district. Each district would be a single small high school, one or two middle schools, and four or five elementary schools. What we lose in economies of scale, we make back twice in productivity gains.”

Billy’s idea struck me, because it’s one I am hearing more and more often from all sides of the fence. There are thoughtful people north, south, east and west of the Trinity who are toying with the idea of a disaggregation of the district.

The one great good I can see is that it’s probably the only way to kill the cancer of 3700 Ross Avenue. A half-century of using the school district as an engine of patronage and racial accommodation has created a culture within school headquarters that cannot be reformed. Billy is right. It is a clusterfuck -- a permanent, ongoing, deep-rooted, incurable clusterfuck.

If I back way off from it, put one hand over my eyes and try to fake like I’m an objective onlooker, I can almost feel sorry for the parade of hapless buffoons, from district superintendents to board members to business leaders, who have ruined their reputations and probably broken their own hearts trying to clean that house.

The real truth about the place is the story told in the story about those fake Social Security numbers. They handed out phony digits to foreign nationals new hires. The state called them up and told them it was illegal. They kept doing it. There is only one remedy for that. Burn down the house.

But is breaking the district up the best way to do it? Really? --Jim Schutze