An Open Letter To Commissioner Robert Scott

(Robert Scott is the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas)

Robert, I'm going to get straight to the point: please do us a favor and take over DISD.

Get our school board out of the way.

Get the politics out of the way.

Appoint experts, with oversight, to fix the problems our administration can't.

You have had this as an option on the table before. I know. We've talked about it.

This time, please just do it.

We're at a critical point with our school district.

You have pointed out, in your January 13 letter to Lew Blackburn and Alan King ("Fiscal Mismangement of Grant Funds; Failure to Provide Supplemental Education Services; and TEA Monitor Changes"), our District is seriously breaking the law.

You acknowledge, in your letter, DISD's long history of non-compliance with Federal and State laws.

You point out that DISD's "failure to comply with Federal NCLB/ESEA requirements could jeopardize DISD's ability to receive $79,235,287 in Title I, Part A Funds."

Your letter correctly points out that DISD has more than 80 campuses that missed AYP ("Adequate Yearly Progress").

You point out we have identified 29,349 students who are eligible to receive tutoring--yet only 40 have actually received any.

You assert that should DISD "fail to expediently provide proof of compliance [with Federal law], the agency is prepared to take [serious] enforcement action."

I read DISD's reply back from Blackburn and King. We haven't. We're not complying. We're not going to comply. We're not capable of complying and, like the letter you received from King, all you're going to get from DISD are excuses.

There are many of us who, over the years, have tried to make a difference. Many of us have come and gone. Many of us don't have the time to devote to it anymore. Don't get me wrong, we've made some minor dents.

We find, however, our efforts are akin to using a pocket torch to melt an iceberg. The heat certainly stirs up the water--but the problems are too big. Eventually everything refreezes and becomes an iceberg again.

As a public, in general, we don't care. Our tax dollars are wasted and we don't care. Most of us don't understand the issues well enough to care. The issues are to voluminous to wrap our minds around.

Clouding it all are the politics.

Our teachers fight with the administration and the board. The board fights with the administration and the teachers. Right now, we're in the process of getting rid of our institutional knowledge base--in favor of an even more political system of "who you know" gets you that high-paying job you may not even understand.

We are cementing a process we've been working on for years: we are setting our District up for decades of institutional failure and mediocrity that will be difficult to undo.

We are damaging our childrens' hopes of graduating with the skills they will need to survive--let alone succeed.

Please, Robert, fix DISD.

At this point you're the only one who can.

Out with the experienced old, In with the inexperienced new

Much too much politicking going on. Too many inexperienced Directors that are in place not because of experience, but because of who they know. I guess you can say timing plays a part of the top positions in departments. The top person usually does not have time (experience) learning what is required, but move up based upon the short time working under upper administration. This makes for those working under their Director more knowledgeable and deemed as defiant to the people placed in those positions, mainly because they have more experience doing their jobs and should be the ones considered for those positions which are said to be posted but really have not been. The District does save money, because they get rid of big salaries, unfortunately the District gets rid of experience. The replacements have lower salaries and a lot less experience.

SES

WOW! I didn't realize DISD stated they only had 2 reputable providers back when this story first broke. Almost 200 providers are approved SES providers in Texas. DISD began the year with over 100 providers; all of them entered into contracts with DISD in September 2011. The SES Department of the Student Improvement Resource Center (SIRC), a division of TEA is the departments that approves provider applications and lists companies as approved providers. In my opinion, all these companies are reputable unless proven otherwise. It appears DISD wants to continue using and favors the two largest companies, Group Excellence and Tutors with Computers. If these companies are performing so well, why are so many schools where they have worked still low-performing this year?

It seems like DISD should be doing everything they can to give all providers equal access to parents and students. DISD has fallen down in this area. Many schools did NOT have designated SES Provider Fairs per SES/SIRC. Guess things are just hopeless in DISD again.

Another Dedrie Bell-Hunter Hatchet Letter

Well another DISD teacher has received one of Ms. Bell-Hunter's nasty letters that he has been put on administrative leave for "potential misconduct." The misconduct was that he wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency citing numerous illegal acts going on at the school where he worked. TEA even acknowledged that his concerns were legit and demanded an investigation, yet still the infamous Ms. Bell-Hunter, who by the way has risen to the title of Director of Employee Relations simply because of who her daddy was, felt the need to send him one of her nasty letters. I know there are those who say "this is just her job," but anyone who enjoys ruining people's lives as much as she does needs to work at the state prison or somewhere else besides a school district. While DISD is cleaning out the Human Resources department, they need to take a very close look at Ms. Bell-Hunter and her attitude and poor people skills. And to the poor teacher, another DISD victim, I hope everyone will rally behind him just as they did the other gentleman who was forced to go through the same heck.

[Ed Note: He should send us the letter he wrote and the letter she wrote him. If it is interesting, we'll publish them both. Until then, we have to consider everything hearsay.]

His letter to TEA and the

His letter to TEA and the letter he received from DISD are both on the Dallas News blog.

Off the subject a little,

Off the subject a little, but if this latest teacher who has been put on administrative leave wants to join the lottery group at Conrad he's more than welcome........there were 63 teachers who contributed to the mega millions jackpot the other day......and they'll try it again this Friday. Why not winning that thing would solve a lot of problems. Yes things are that bad and morale is this low at said school. It's rotten to the core in the administrative office; the principal has done nothing constructive this year except harrass the teachers and make their professional lives a living heck. She is the worst joke of a principal that has ever been at this school. You are reminded of the movie "MASH" daily......inane comments over the intercom system which people suffer through 2 times a day. The kids blew her off long ago and so did everyone else. Yesterday she decided to have a no tolerance policy for piercings for all students and earrings for boys......Sunday will be April 1st. You do things like this the first day, week and month of school not this late in the game. This school will ruin the careers of many very competent people and it's a crying shame. A pox on DISD and the idiots in charge.

not so sure...

I'm not so sure having the state, in essence, take over our district is the answer. I want to think a visionary superintendent of schools would make a huge impact.. Why it's taking so long to find him/ her I'm not so sure. But the state taking over? Wow I didn't think we were there yet.

[Ed Note: Maybe the fact that we haven't been able to find anyone with substance, to take the job, should tell you something about the kind of person willing to take the job! Good people know when they are being set up to fail.]

Robert Scott is so very

Robert Scott is so very inept! TEA has failed to go after federal funding that would relieve some of the financial "burden" that the state has encountered (by their own doing). TEA is like a puppet moving only at the whim of the governor and the legislature. TEA has RIFfed down to the bare bones. It would be hard-pressed to "take over" the Dallas ISD.

[Ed Note: I realize there are differing opinions of Robert Scott. I've always thought of him as too hands-offish.]

Lew Blackburn wants to

Lew Blackburn wants to control the district and Alan King is just a figure head. If you check all Lew's record, this can be very bad for DISD.

Jon Dahlander

Does anyone remember when Cindy Goodsell was escorted from her office and when Jon Dahlander was asked why she left? If I recall, his replay was, "her job has been done away with." If that was the truth, which most things he says are not, then why has Vicki Mitchell been placed over the North Secondary Learning Community (Goodsell's old territory), and Mary Roberts been brought back to take over the other Learning Community where Dorothy Gomez was before she mnysteriously left. Is there like a big hole that these people who are leaving are falling in never to be hearde of again? What on earth is going on with this? Don't ask Dahlander, he'll just say "it's a personnel matter and he can't talk about it."

Reasons????

Reasons????
The word in our administration offices roll off as a list of improprieties.
• Jealous of somebody got a promotion, it was like a bunch of pit bulls fighting over a bone around here.lol
• More serious like things like manipulating promotions.
• Falsifying evaluations to get somebody fired or a promotion.
• Constant reprimands to eliminate employees on a perceived high pay scale. Except them administrators, of course.
• Bullying employees under their supervision.
• Not giving school selection committee or principal applications of all qualified applicants. Mainly because there experienced personnel. Unfortunately most that were sent were of one race.
• Poor management of taxpayer money.
• Not properly reporting requirements to government agencies (TEA).
• Illegal, dropping students without their knowledge and then adding students and then back after the test is taken, to gerrymander test results.
• Manipulating results to receive cash reward (questionable fraud).
• Not recording drop out statistics properly.
• Promoting people that have no qualifications and job and Certified people were available.
• Multiple gender discrimination acts.
• Making false representations to the school board.
• Forced employees write favorable reviews or rebuttals to blogs, while they were on the job or at home. Under implication of being fired or bad evaluation.
age discrimination issues
not Wanting to accommodate handicap employees.

Some people in other departments could help add to this list this is just the tip of the ice berg. These administrators needed to go for one reason or another.

Title IX violations are just the beginning of the questions to a

Today the latest news from DISD is the report of the 5th graders are segregated by sex and the males are taken to a theater to watch a PG13 movie while the girls are determined to not have any reason to be interested in history, and are kept in the school to watch a more appropriate story about the experience of a girl.

Why is the school paying 250% more for a $5 matinee? $57,000 for a movie trip? Why are these children age 10-11 being taken to a PG13 film? This is a violent and sexual film. Were the parents informed of the potential mature content their 10 year old would be exposed to?

If the administration want to show a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, what is wrong with the PBS or other documentaries? Who made all the extra money spent on this field trip?

That is why the school has not enough funds to spend on toilet paper and other school supplies.

TEA will not do anything about this sort of bad planning of the school board and administration. Who thinks this is a good idea? The one getting the kickback? Who is that, I wonder?

Bullies thrive

Bullies thrive where leadership fails!

Is that letter available for

Is that letter available for public viewing?

[Ed Note: I'm working on getting it online.]

SES Provider Qualifications

I am curious as a SES/Provider it is apparent that you are experiencing difficulty recruiting kids. How long have you been a SES/Provider and were there difficulties obtaining certification by DISD? I am desireous of being certified as a SES/Provider but have encountered various obstacles and roadblocks. It is obvious that they DISD has made it difficult but state that there is a shortage of providers.

Gov't management as an alternative? I don't think so.

No question DISD can't get out of its own way. The SES "problem" bubbled up last fall when an OPR investigation was opened into possible tutor "double dipping". Apparently the problem was at the vendor level and not the employee level. And I also agree that there are still some Trustees that have been here too long. The public demanded that cronyistic and nepotistic hires be stopped; that "peter principle" employees who have risen to their level of incompetence be eliminated; that the administration be de-layered; that principals be put back in charge of their schools; and that forced placement of teachers be eliminated. It's a messy process but that is what is being done. Kudos to the Superintendent. It takes more than a few months to undo 40 years of cronyism, nepotism and corruption. Your comments about the elimination of the institutional knowledge base is perfect...only difference is that I think that it's a good thing. For the first time in quite a while politics is actually taking a back seat.

[Ed Note: Politics isn't taking a back seat to anything. Cronyism, nepotism, etc., hasn't gone anywhere. It's just swinging a different direction. We are incapable of managing our District. The best thing parents can do is to write State Senators and Reps demanding that they put pressure on TEA to come in and make the hard decisions that our Board/Administration won't or can't make. Sorry to be pessimistic, but that's the only hope at this point.]

wasting my time working with DISD

5 years ago my acquaintance, in HR, informed me that Dallas I.S.D. was gearing up to not have any Teacher or At Will Staff with more than 5 years experience because that is when they start to get on higher pay scale. I laugh, and said what “about the good of the child” the administration is always quoting? She got very somber and said it’s all about the money, or more correctly money for administration. Not cracking a smile.
5 years later I now know she was telling the truth. I think I am wasting my time working DISD

The best thing parents can do is to write State Senators NOT

Like Royce West would give anything Ed will not edit!

The only thing to do is demand that the districts be held accountable, and deny pay to the administration until the job is correctly administered!

I think we need to have the administration put on a piece rate, calculated by the success of the child, based on improvement, regardless of the ability. The strong learner needs to show growth, as much as the SPED child does. If the school fails, then the administration should be denied a paycheck, or fired. If a family needs to enroll in Shelton or DA, then the State should give a voucher.

Royce West

Don't waste the ink. He and his firm make mega bucks processes grievance and termination issues for the district. He has a financial incentive to keep administrators and teacher/staff at odds.

Royce West

That is for sure, what a scoundrel!

Always nice to get the full story

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2012/02/disd_says_its_not_sit...

[Ed Note: Yep, sure is. Makes you wonder that if this is indeed "the full story" why they didn't just simply tell that to Brett Shipp the day he did his story--and why they waited until a story was run before they said one thing!]

The FULL STORY!!!!!!

First off, the public will never know all the story or "facts".
Please look at the latest youtube posting about the TEA paid hearing officer that is asleep on the job with complete disregard to the responsibility to the child and the family for just FAPE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLN5vhAsi1Y

The people hired by the TEA are just as worthless, if not even more corrupt and contemptible to the rights of Texas children as any other education unprofessional out there. Just because the TEA assigns someone, does not make it acceptable.

I have several issues with this whole thing.
1. There are only 36 weeks in a school year, or possibly 40 if the child "qualifies" for summer session. The district dragging their feet to service them is a crime! I know the DISD did EVERYTHING to not provide the required services to my child. The long time excuse is we don't have the money or manpower to do it, is consistent year after year.

2. There needs to be a tutoring program monitored by someone, and it needs to be done effectively and efficiently. If double dipping is occurring, just get another provider, or simply charge back or not pay the provider until the invoice is straight. Using the reason as an excuse to deny appropriate service is consistent with DISD's M.O. and should not be tolerated under any condition.

3. Personally I think that tutorial is a band-aid action and is denying the true issue of not correctly identifying and evaluating the children for FAPE. That is, again, another issue, I personally experienced and called the school out for. If the tutorial offered is truly ineffective, then:
a) do the thing that is effective, and
b) do it today, not next school year!
The special education department is not willing to provide the resources to my child's peers, as are available to my child in LISD. I know that for a fact! You may say that each case is individual, but I was unable to get any cooperation from our DISD school, and that is why we moved away.

4. The best solution is to divide DISD into manageable smaller districts with experts and qualified staff to do the job correctly. We need enough qualified administrators and special education professionals to do the job as well as it is performed in LISD.

The best option is the break up the district and hire several proven superintendents and have several school boards to really represent the children and schools, so the needs are met and the children have an opportunity to be educated.

Mr. Scott has no option but to withhold the funds. No matter how it plays out the kids will be the victim, and the administration will be paid long after they are "resigned" without normal professional notice!

Why is it that hundreds of

Why is it that hundreds of thousands of dollars of Title I money was spent to pay all core teachers at W.T. White $20 an hour to tutor students who WERE NOT Title I, and yet only 40 of the students that qualified for it in the district got tutored and thousands of others got nothing. As an elective teacher at White, I was appalled when teachers were being paid $20 and hour to tutor before school, after school, at lunch, during their conference period and during their collaborative period. Some of them made as much as $500 per week all paid from Title I Funds. I watched some teacher punch in at the beginning of the conference period, go sit at their desk and play on the computer for an hour without one student present, and then go back and sign out to get the $20. They did the same thing during their collaborative period. The principal was notified and not one thing was done about it. How does anything ever get changed when people who are suppose to be leaders just ignore it when they are made aware of these things? The thing about it is that all of this could be proven by looking at the paycheck log and wondering where all the extra money came from. Both Goodsell and Yarbrough were made aware of this and not one thing was done to correct it or change it.

Ed, do you think the TEA cares about the kids? I doubt it!

I am at a loss for words. I hope the systematic changes will continue, but the big question I have is; are we going to get any opportunity for the kids in DISD to be educated, or are the changes only more smoke and mirrors and an expression of the extreme lack of professionalism that still exists? Who at the TEA will respond, and in what way will the laws created in Texas allow the funds to be used ONLY for appropriate education and not wasted on the mindless evil nonsense that was established for the many decades prior to the past 7-8 months.
Years ago I talked to Mr. Scott, personally, and he was not able to do anything helpful. He said incompetence in not against the law. The politics are designed to make the legal industry fat off of the taxpayer funds allocated to DISD.

One thing I do say is THANK YOU MR. KING

Signed, your biggest fan!

[Ed Note: I think the TEA cares about how the money is being spent. Hopefully it will translate into them doing more than just talking this time.]

Coverage

Has the Dallas Morning News in its hard left turn politically just turned a blind eye to this issue? This obvious corruption is destroying this city's young people. The true fruit of Political Correctness, corruption.

Sure, blame the DMN and

Sure, blame the DMN and throw in your extremeist right-wing jab all in one sentence. Let's elect Newt - he'll make the moon a state and the DISD problems will disappear, right?

SES/ DISD

I feel the same as the above comment. I was treated the same way. The favoritism is out to control. The would send emails to only certain providers for open house at the schools. Some providers would sign kids up illegally. I started taking video and pictures of these providers. I emailed the video/pictures to DISD AND SIRC. To these date nothing. They are good providers out there, but you don't stand a chance if you small provider. We are a non profit so we are not out for the money. We are here to help the kids. We are not here to pay off DISD,the kids and the parents like the other provider. And that is what is done and DISD JUST TURN A BLIND EYE.

Sorry, but someone who

Sorry, but someone who cannot write a grammatically correct sentence does NOT need to provide tutoring service! And for the record, Allen, I agree with McNaughton. King is making progress. He came into a huge administrative nightmare of nepotism/cronyism/politicalcorrectness that will take more than just a few months to make right.

DISD/SES

I am an SES company and I had the hardest time with DISD. They have kept me from going to any of the campuses to get to any of the students. They require me, a single individual to have all types of insurance, workers comp, one million dollar automobile insurance just to drive on their campus. That is crazy! The students need help and we can not get to them. We are being charged $150 an hour just to use a classroom for tutoring. Someone needs to take over DISD.
They are saying they only have two reputable SES companies......I would like to know who they are. Too much favoritism!

DISD/SES

I do not deny that the DISD and specifically responding to this entry SES, need an overhauling. But do you understand that without the insurance DISD or for that matter, any other district in Texas requires provider's to carry, you and/or your company would be in deep water if anything happened while you or your employees were tutoring on a campus (I haven't even mentioned lawsuits).

The SES business has gotten so large that if your company does not have enough employees to spread across the district to sign students to your program, if your company is not aggressive, if you do not have incentives for students, and most importantly, if your curriculum is not reaching all students, then your get very little business.

Again, the SES department needs work, but remember they get their orders from the TEA. I called TEA after being informed that parents would have to enroll their child in tutoring on-line, not the provider (now that's difficult) and suggested that since there are so many providers and to make the program equal to all that they should assign students to ALL providers. That way ALL students that need to be tutored are, and all providers are working. Parents WILL complain is the quality of tutoring is unsatisfactory and the weak providers will have to go. Just as the weak teachers are let go.

I received the response from the TEA that it would not be fair to the parents, they need to select the provider for their child. Really? When was the last time providers and parents met to get acquainted, discuss needs, wants, etc?, and I don't mean after sitting in a hot auditorium for an hour attending a parent meeting, after a long day at work, trying to ditch providers that are shoving papers in their faces. All they want to do is get home. How can parents choose a provider if they don't know them?

The problem is a Local problem

The SES/No Child Left Behind has it's critics inside and outside of Congress that have stated that the present law is "too rigid and unrealistic" and "needs fixing". And to that end, President Obama by Executive action is allowing states to apply for "exemptions" to develop more flexible programs with achievable and realistic goals. There have been numerous responses (blogs) to this subject of DISD/SES and there is one common theme, the system is not working in Dallas. Undoubtedly, there may be problems in other districts but my focus is local. TEA can't be blamed for our local problems relative to SES except for their ineptitude in holding DISD/SES accountable. In fact,there is a bigger problem in Texas and TEA. For example, Texas to date has not applied to the FEDS for an exemption that would allow more flexibility in the use Title I funding use in SES. The system is not going to be perfect but as some respondents infer there is gross mismanagement, abuse, i.e. in the local system as operated.

contact Brett at WFAA

contact Brett at WFAA bshipp@wfaa.com he wants to hear your story.

DISD/SES

I concur with your sentiments that DISD may be giving preferential treatment to the "two reputable" providers in Dallas. It is also apparent that despite the need for "reputable" and qualified providers, my company's effort to become a provider as been thwarted. Incorrect information regarding timelines for the submission of documents is one example. I am curious did you experience roadblocks becoming a provider?

SES acceptance by DISD

It is apparent that you have experienced difficulty in your efforts to recruit kids, my question is did you have difficulty being certified by DISD. My company has been thwarted in every way possible in my efforts to become a Provider despite my qualifications.

It is a disgrace that DISD

It is a disgrace that DISD is in jeopardy of forfeiting $80,000,000 in funding for not being in Title1 compliance. Please think about the positive impact that can be made with our students that are so deserving if the program was operated correctly. It is obvious to me and other rational individuals
that those in charge of the SES program are incompetent or just don't care. This is evidenced by there being "29,000" eligible students and only 40 being tutored to date.This is ridiculos! There should be a Federal investigation to determine why this is the case. When it is said by DISD officials that there are "two reputable" providers available, common sense should prevail that this is not true. Approved Providers should be offended and as a group voice opposition. If true, perhaps that if school officials are held accountable and have processes that facilitate recruitment of "reputable" and qualified Providers this would not be the case. My personal experience is that the process is so cumbersome and that some individuals have their agendas that negatively impact services and thus our students. 29,000 eligible
and 40 (forty) tutored, OMG!