At the end of yesterday's lengthy, heated debate over hopping into a bed made of tax-free bonds with Uplift Education, Mayor Mike Rawlings delivered the passionate testimonial Jim and I referenced. Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked to hear the entire thing, the "Our Poor Kids" speech, so I've snipped out the excerpt and dropped it below. Long story short: "I believe freedom is choice, choice creates excellence, and excellence graduates kids." And, far as he can tell, there ain't a lot of excellence in the Dallas Independent School District: "Twelve percent of our students graduating from DISD schools are ready for college. It's only 12 percent. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem."
On Monday, Rawlings will debut his Southern Dallas Economic Growth Plan, which will include DISD; how, he won't say just yet. But it wasn't long ago that Rawlings offered a sort of sneak peek in The Dallas Morning News, providing the paper with his report card for the district. To summarize: Amongst a few "signs of hope," he wrote, "we have a lot of ground to make up." At which point the mayor laid out a handful of "tactics critical for our success," among them:
Continue to foster our high-performance public charter schools such as Uplift and KIPP, which are growing and preparing students for college at a record pace. We must find facilities for them to expand.
The entire city council will be briefed on the Uplift bond issue next week, after which there will be a vote the following Wednesday -- Carolyn Davis v. Mike Rawlings, rounds two and three. As the mayor said yesterday, "This is a tough time in this city."
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