Alliance-AFT, a Dallas teachers union that was making robo-calls a year ago to get Dallas school Superintendent Mike Miles fired, is about to endorse one of his strongest supporters for re-election to the school board.
The union will inform members Friday that it has endorsed Miguel Solis for the Place 8 school board seat in the May 10 election, in which he again faces community organizer Kristi Lara. When Solis ran in a special election to fill a vacated seat last November, the union's political action committee endorsed Lara and the union accused Solis of being a tool and a plant for Miles, whom the union was bitterly fighting over school reform issues.
AFT President Rena Honea emailed me late this afternoon: "The endorsements from Alliance are going to our members today (I've had some issues w/ the system that I use to send messages out). I prefer not to discuss it before our membership knows."
Sure. OK. I emailed her earlier in the week saying I was aware of written confirmation of the endorsement. No matter how they may try to couch it tomorrow, given their past track record and pronouncements on Miles, the AFT turnaround on Solis is also a 180 on Miles.
I have been working on a column for next week's paper about Miles and school reform, talking to people all over town, many of whom referenced Eric Nicholson's piece here last week suggesting that the so-called "home rule" campaign to establish a whole new system of governance has helped Miles by making him the lesser evil. They said Eric was right: it's a bad-cop/good-cop deal in which Mile is now the good cop.
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I tried to get one person close to Miles to tell me they did it on purpose, but that person said, "I wish we were that smart."
Miles is coming off a series of significant personal victories including the recent joint school board/City Council meeting in which praise was lavished on him by Southern Dallas council member Carolyn Davis. I attended a public meeting last year in which Davis went after Miles so bad I wondered later if it was why Miles sent his wife and child back to Colorado to live.
Something is up. A lot is up. People familiar with AFT are telling me they think the AFT nationally may be going back to the legacy of the late and great longtime AFT national President Albert Shanker, who supported some ideas that today would be identified with school reform, including merit pay for teachers.
There is no way to interpret an AFT endorsement of Solis except as a major change of direction on all of the above. It is huge. Now the AFT will have to do a recall on all those Mile Miles voodoo dolls.