Twice in recent weeks I've heard Dallas ISD trustee Edwin Flores discuss his proposal to rework how the district determines who its "best teachers" are -- the first time, when we spoke two weeks ago about the district's offer to buy out full-timers, then again at his budget town hall last week at E.D. Walker. You'll have the chance to hear it discussed at length at Thursday's 11:30 a.m. board briefing, where it'll be one of many significant issues discussed, along with that possible declaration of financial exigency and tthe second version of the could-be budget.
The proposal's on the other side, and in it Flores writes that should the superintendent have to "recommend employees within the affected employment area(s) for discharge or nonrenewal because of a reduction in force," then there should be a new set of criteria in place to determine who should be RIF'd first. Long story short: It eliminates seniority and "professional background" from the equation and instead puts "Highly Qualified" and performance (including both the Professional Development and Appraisal System and the Classroom Effectiveness Index) at the top of the list. (And, if memory serves, teachers -- and former News education writer Kent Fischer -- aren't very fond of the CEI.)
"This is more rigorous and methodical than our current RIF policy," Flores told me a few days ago. "The system I want to come up with is performance-based and will give that kind of flow chart." And, he added, "It's also campus-based."
Flores wants the board to vote on his proposal this month -- and put into place before the reduction in force begins, as dictated by the state's budget shortfall. DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander, who acknowledges Flores's proposal is "very significant," says he's not sure how the board will proceed. "As I've said many times before," he told me this afternoon, "I've given up predicting what the board will do on any given day." He is, however, certain of one thing: "I would imagine there will be a very hearty discussion about this."
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