Three new reports from the Foundation for Community Empowerment recommend the firing of Dallas Independent School District superintendent Mike Miles. This news comes on the heels of an independent investigation that found Miles violated district policy when he offered a sizable severance package to an employee who filed a complaint against him.
Former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins cleared Miles of wrongdoing, and the board said it did not wish to terminate him for his actions. But other DISD stakeholders are whistling a different tune.
The reports, Disruptive Change: Mike Miles and the Crisis in Dallas ISD; Digging Into Data and Evidence: Mike Miles, Dallas ISD, and Trickle-Down Education; and The Challenge of Disruptive Leadership in Dallas ISD, were released September 25 and include insight from academics, community members and established education research.
"We believe Mike Miles lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the board terminate his contract," Don Williams said.
"You will see from these papers that, after much research and discussion, we believe the current superintendent lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the board terminate his contract," Foundation for Community Empowerment chairman Don Williams said in an email.
An excerpt from the "Disruptive Change" report says Miles' pedagogy and leadership style are not working in Dallas. "Miles’ series of top-down, one-size-fits-all reform initiatives fail to take into account the economic and social conditions of Dallas ISD students — i.e., low-income ethnic minorities," the report reads.
It goes on to address a popular theory that Miles would succeed if he were surrounded by a competent team. Citing business expert Peter Drucker and comparing Miles to a stinking corpse, the report plainly states "Miles should be terminated before further damage is done."
In "Digging Into Data and Evidence," authors Julian Vasquez, Lindsay Reed and Ruth Vail applaud former DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa as a true education reformer. They criticize Miles as a "top-down reformer" and say his approach has not produced significant increases in academic performance.
"While Mike Miles' propensity to attract criticism relative to his trickle-down approach to school reform is not under debate, his track record for improving student success is," the report states, adding in conclusion, "Our democracy now depends on communities holding politicians and school leaders accountable for the persistently failing top-down educational policy approaches."
Miles came to DISD in July 2012 and has been the subject of a number of controversies ever since. Messages left for Miles with DISD were not immediately returned.