It’s going to be an important week for DISD. On Thursday, the school board will most likely remove a controversial teacher time-limit rule that added 45 minutes to their school day.
This comes after nearly a year of vociferous complaints that the time-limit rule was ineffective, forcing teachers to fill the time with busywork and preventing them from doing important work like meeting with parents or grading.
I’ve written already that I think district administrators get a raw deal in news coverage — today’s BS story on how many DISD administrators make more than $100,000 is a prime example — but, in this case, teachers are right: The time-limit rule is not efficient, it hurts morale and it should be removed.
I think there’s a way to do this where DISD Superintendent Mike Miles can go a long way toward helping reestablish his reputation with all but his most vocal critics.
Tawnell Hobbs of the Dallas Morning News makes two points about the upcoming board vote this week. One, she cites an online survey (a model that can easily produce skewed results, but still) that shows an overwhelming number of teachers complaining about the time-limit rule and its effects:
The online survey had 1,149 entries, with a vast majority of educators — 93 percent — saying that the extra 45 minutes has not been helpful. In addition, 92 percent felt that the extended day wouldn’t have a direct impact on improving student achievement or the quality of instruction. As for morale this school year, 98 percent felt teachers are discouraged, exhausted and ready to leave DISD.
Two, she notes that the board action won’t really do away with the rule. It simply means the board will step out of the controversy and allow Miles to make the time-limit proposal himself.
On one level, this seems like a huge wussy move by the board. As board member Carla Ranger noted on her blog Friday, if they truly believe the time-limit rule was a mistake (and she does), then board members should vote to rescind it completely.
I totally agree. But we shouldn’t be surprised; cowering when things get hot is what “boards” do.
Besides, this is a huge opportunity for Miles. He can come forward, hat in hand, and say he’s no longer going to recommend the time-limit rule. He can say he’s heard the complaints, that the concerns were valid and that he was dead wrong.
He can praise the work ethic of his teachers. He can say he learns more from them than they learn from him. Etc. and blah and yada and so on.
This would be huge. This would be the first sign that a man who, while I think very smart and qualified, can act in a way that doesn’t suggest (at least publicly) arrogance and disdain for those not in his inner circle.
We already know he is willing to take bold steps to reinvent the district. This is needed and welcome. But true leadership also means being just as decisive when you’ve been proven wrong. We’ll see if he has it in him.
The story I mentioned above, about $100K folks in DISD. Let me just say that it shows there are 129 folks making more than that arbitrary number in DISD, up from — gasp! — 121 two years ago. It’s meaningless, a morning-radio trolling story. The proper context for the story is, of course, not found until the last few graphs:
Board President Lew Blackburn has said that he doesn’t have a problem with the salaries as long as Miles stays within budget. He’s taking a wait-and-see approach to the changes. “Salaries don’t bother me as much because I know that they can attract top quality people,” Blackburn said. “Whether that means that we have them right now, I don’t know.”
Eric Nicholson at Unfair Park posts the video I saw on Channel 8 last night, showing a Hurst cop delivering a running, flying knee to a 17-year-old kid. I generally suggest that if you don’t want to be roughed up, stay out of trouble, but this is impossible to defend.
Thanks for the Wikipedia link, Pete! Can you also give me a search engine link?
For all of you that are interested. Here's what the Fujiwhara Effect means. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujiwhara…— Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) November 26, 2012