Friday, April 17, 2009

DISD Morale: Let's Get It Straight!

I recently read a Dallas Observer article where Dr. Hinojosa was proud to point out that when he came to the Dallas ISD employee morale was at a dismal 14% and now it is at 48%. Well, let's get the statistics straight!

Mr. Superintendent when you came to the Dallas ISD employee morale was judged by what the DISD called it's "Climate Survey". This "Climate Survey" was not administered to all District employees. It was ONLY administered to schools in which there was an identifiable problem and then the survey had to be requested to be administered by that school's Area Superintendent.

Three or so years ago, the DISD decided to bring in the OHI instrument. That instrument IS administered district-wide. BIG DIFFERENCE between just a few schools that have a problem and all of the schools in the district!

So, the numbers are correct. Fourteen percent to forty-eight percent. However, you are comparing apples and oranges. Your growth in employee morale cannot be judged by comparing two different instruments administered in two different ways. But, then again, that's exactly what your beloved CEI does to too many of our teachers.

What I have seen, Mr. Superintendent, is that employees all over our district have come together to support each other because they have survived YOUR RIF; YOUR changes in grading policy; YOUR elimination of longevity pay; YOUR involuntary release of hundreds of employees from their campuses; YOUR idea to reduce teacher contracts from two-years to one-year; and, YOUR proposed idea to change your teacher's pay date from the 15th of the month to the 30th!

The morale increase that you so proudly tout has come, not because of you, but, quite honestly, in spite of you. Our employees are resilient. Our employees find ways to adapt, to evolve, to SURVIVE! They have come together all over the DISD to support each other because they do not feel that you, your Administration, or the Board of Trustees care about them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dallas County Schools Unveils "Fryer Flyer"

On Thursday, April 2 Superintendent of Dallas County Schools Dr. Rick Sorrells and DCS Board President Mr. Larry Duncan unveiled the district's first "Fryer Flyer" and their bio-diesel facility at the Kleberg Service Center.

The "Fryer Flyer" has been fitted to run on waste vegetable oil as well as bio-diesel. Built with factory stock items by DCS technicians, this school bus includes a computerized switch to maximize fuel efficiency based on engine temperature.

DCS is shifting their diesel school buses to bio-fuels, developing their own "home-grown" fuel source. DCS President Larry Duncan and the Board of Trustees, with support from NEA-Dallas, set using alternative fuels as a priority for the county-wide school bus provider in 2007, and the testing phase is complete.

DCS will be doing their part to cut our nation's dependency on foreign oil while greatly reducing the amount of pollutants their buses spew into the air. Additionally, tests show that diesel pollution conncentrates inside of bus and that will be reduced as well.

Working with Two Podners Restaurant, Frito Lay, and an assortment of restaurants and food manufacturers, DCS is collecting "post-consumer grease" - waste vegetable oil (WVO) that's been used to fry foods and is no longer fit for human consumption. This oil is the basis of DCS' alternaive diesel fuel program.

DCS will use this WVO to produce its own bio-diesel to power its buses until the fleet can be converted to run on straight WVO. The District intends to construct other bio-diesel production facilities at its other service centers around the county.

I want to encourage the members of NEA-Dallas and all of you that read this to save your waste vegetable oil. Do not just put it out to be picked up and dumped in our land fills. Keep it in a container and call us, 214-821-2061. We will arrange with DCS for a pick-up location.

That way, YOU TOO, can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve the air that all of us breathe.