Group Therapy: Listen In As Dallas ISD Trustees Discuss How to Be Less Dysfunctional

Anna's going to swing by Midway Hills Christian Church tonight at 7, where Dallas Independent School District trustee Edwin Flores will host a town hall. The point of this meeting, per a DISD heads-up: "Dr. Flores requests input from the public on selecting a new Superintendent of Schools." Oh, I know, I know -- somebody good?

To that end, on the other side you'll find the entire audio from Saturday's board workshop, during which trustees discussed the three search firms they'll interview at tomorrow evening's called board meetings, where they may well vote to use one of the three to find Michael Hinojosa's replacement. But that's not the interesting part of the audio that follows. What is? Well, early on, the trustees discuss the public perception of the board -- which ain't good, like I need to tell you.

Says board president Lew Blackburn, "We need to speak as one voice, and when we talk about [a] decision it needs to be: 'The board made the decision.' I would like to get to the point where we stop providing negative comments about the decision. I've been on the board 11 years, I guarantee I've lost some votes." Some laughs. "Once the board has decided on a course of action on an item, let's move on."

Mike Morath, the newest trustee, agrees: "That's completely critical. So much of the perception of the district as a whole stems from the perception of us as a team, which is somewhat unfair, since we're unpaid volunteers. We're the only non-employees of the district, yet the district's health and future is judged upon us. But it makes sense since the buck stops with us, and if we can't agree to disagree and move on and accept the decisions of the majority, people will look at this district as non-functional, and that hurts our ability to recruit talent, that hurts our ability to gets parents engaged, that hurts our ability to educate kids."

Flores says, the fact is, the board just wastes time -- whether it's someone repeating himself or herself over and over, or spending far too much time at board meetings discussing things that have nothing do with actually educating children ... which, you know, is kinda the point?

"There is the business of the district," he says, referring to "contracts, buildings, things like that, but if we spend five minutes on data and student achievement and some kind of new effort that's being made by the district and three and a half hours talking about other things, that's what the community sees, and they would be correct in having that impression."

Jump for the whole soul-searching.

Dallas ISD Board Workshop 9-17-11 from DSTV~Dallas Schools TV on Vimeo.

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