John Wiley Price is not a fan of DISD superintendent Mike Miles. He made that much clear when he appeared before the yesterday's board briefing to chide Miles on his first few months with the district.
"My problem is, this district seems to be in terror, and this is no way to run a district," Price told the board, though it was clear that his real problem was with the departure of longtime administrator Shirley Ison-Newsome.
"I know you can't talk to me about personnel matters, but it concerns me when you have a 40-year tenured individual, Dr. Shirley Ison-Newsome, all of a sudden disappears from the landscape," he said. "A lady who has given so much to this district, who has provided so much direction and value, even in the interim has been that bridge that this district has had reliance on, and to find out that all of a sudden she gets dismissed." Price, paraphrasing LBJ, warned Miles that "sometimes when you try to save face you usually lose your (pauses to search for word that's not "ass.") glutes."
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There are relatively few who mourn the departure of an administrator whose political connections have seen her through several superintendents and any number of minor scandals, particularly given her golden parachute. But Price's broader point -- that the district's rank-and-file are very, very concerned -- is spot-on.
George Rangel, executive vice president for Alliance AFT, addressed the board on a festering source of low morale among teachers: the extra 45 minute workday. He rattled off a list of things teachers were being made to do during the extra time (e.g. hand-copying and listening to handouts read aloud, and what they didn't have time for (e.g. tutoring students and contacting parents).
"DISD does not allow teachers to give students busy work, and it shouldn't allow administrators to assign busy work to teachers," he said, urging the trustees to reconsider the policy
Board members promised to do so, but not until next month. For now, teachers will have to suffer through boredom and hand cramps.