DISD to Test Program That Lets Parents Virtually Peek Over Kids' Shoulders

Just went over to the Dallas Independent School District's Web site to look at something else when I found this newly posted release: "Three schools launching a pilot program to give parents online access to their child's academic progress." It's pretty self-explanatory: In May the DISD will let parents at three schools -- Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School, Ewell D. Walker Middle School and Franklin D. Roosevelt High School -- keep tabs on their kids' "academic progress, attendance, homework, class schedule" and whatnot via the Internets.

Should the district and the parents like what they see, the district hopes for a "phased rollout of additional schools," in the words of district chief of staff Arnie Viramontes, by fall. Adds the husband of recently ousted chief technology officer Patricia Viramontes, "The parent portal will eventually give all Dallas ISD parents online access to their child's academic records."

In other district news: Trustee Carla Ranger posted late last night a March 29 letter from someone at textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in which this someone tells DISD super Michael Hinojosa that its controversial Spanish-language textbooks approved by the board will be fixed before they see the inside of a classroom. Says the missive, "We value our longtime partnership with Dallas Independent School District, and like you, we consider it unacceptable for any student to use an incorrect textbook, regardless of his or her native language."

Ranger and four other trustees voted for the Houghton books, while four of her colleagues -- among them Jerome Garza and Edwin Flores -- did not. Ranger wrote on her blog last week that she was particularly offended by no-voting Nancy Bingham's remarks that "every Hispanic parent in this city [should get] up in arms because they have a right to."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky