Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sounds Like Government Class To Me!

Before I was elected by the NEA-Dallas membership to serve as their President, I taught U. S. Government and AP U. S. Government at Skyline High School. One year there was a discussion at the DISD Board about trying to draw up a second majority Hispanic district. My students and I had many conversations about how that idea may or may not play out. I asked my students to think about this question: Since it will be the Trustees that vote to create a second district, who do you think that currently sits on the board will vote to put themselves into that district?

You see, if they would have appproved its creation, then one of the non-Hispanic members of the Board of Trustees would then be in a district that was majority Hispanic. What politician would vote do possibly get themselves defeated in an upcoming election? Their disappointed answer was, "No one."

Well, ladies and gentlemen, tonight's vote by the Dallas ISD Board to extend their terms of office is just like this one from several years ago. The three Trustees up for re-election next year were bound to vote for it. Then you have three more that get an extra year at the end of this thing bringing them up for re-election in 2012 instead of 2011. It doesn't take a rocket-scientist or Harvard graduate to do that math.

So, tonight, the Board of Trustees voted in THEIR OWN BEST INTEREST! They became typical politicians, except for Carla Ranger in the end, and became self-preservationists. They blindly accepted the independent ruling of Rolando Rios, Jack Elrod and some other attorney that Mr. Elrod had sitting next to him that the DISD Board could do this. Could do this even though none of the attorneys had spoken with the Secretary of State's Office or the Attorney General's Office to "make sure" that their interpretation was correct. Could do this even though Trustee Ranger presented a ruling from the Secretary of State's Office saying that the timeline had expired on December 31, 2007.

I presented each Trustee with a ruling from our state affiliate's General Counsel Joey Moore (Texas State Teachers Association) that also stated the timeline had passed. I guess, in the end, a judge will probably have to decide who's interpretation is correct.

We will be looking to find out. But, in the meantime, NEA-Dallas will re-double it's efforts to make sure that our children, our teachers, and our support staff are treated fairly and equitably by this Administration and the Board.

Because, believe it or not, after all of the things that have happened this semester, there are still Great Students and Great Teachers doing Great Things in the Dallas Independent School District!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have You Had Enough, Yet?

Trustees allowing the Superintendent to take clusters away from Skyline High School. Trustees voting to limit speakers to the same agenda item to a TOTAL of fifteen (15) minutes of speaking time for ALL speakers to that item. Trustees sitting idly by not doing their job and then being surprised that the Administration has just found a $64 million deficit. Trustees calling a special board meeting during the middle of Board Briefings to pass a policy amendment requiring two (2) Trustees to sign off on pulling an agenda item from the consent agenda for a separate vote. Trustees looking to pass another policy amendment on November 20 to require those two Trustees to request pulling an item for a separate vote by 5:00pm on the Tuesday preceding the Board meeting. Trustees allowing this Superintendent to lay-off nearly 1000 employees in the last fourteen months due to "delayering" or to "reduction in force".

And, finally, ladies and gentleman, these Trustees want to vote on November 20 to extend their terms of office from three years to four. They want to do this with no public hearings and hope they can pull it off on the consent agenda without having to actually put the check next to their name on a separate vote.

This vote would extend Trustees Flores, Ellis and Price's terms automatically by one year to at least 2010. They are the ones up for re-election this coming spring. The spring of 2009! Hmmm.. just extend your term of office with no input from the public... that doesn't sound much like a democracy to me. Sounds more like an autocracy to me.

So, when are you, the public, finally going to have had enough? You pay the bills for the Dallas ISD! You pay for the lack of an ability to do math by senior administrators! You pay the salaries for the Superintendent and his Administration. YOU ELECT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO RUN OUR SCHOOLS!

There is only so much the employees and employee organizations can do when it comes to fighting for the education of our children. We need YOUR HELP!

We need YOU to call, write, email and personally visit with YOUR TRUSTEE! Tell them that now is not the time to be extending their own terms of office! Then, call in and sign up to speak at the Board meeting on November 20! You simply call 972-925-3720 and sign up by 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 19.

Come early and join us in our protest of this idea. Or, have you still not had enough?