How’s our old co-worker Eric Celeste doing in Atlanta? I’m glad you asked.
Awhile back, I pointed you to a study the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did on cheating on standardized tests across the country. The AJC found 196 districts — including DISD and more than a dozen other North Texas districts — with data that strongly suggested hanky-panky. Just hang on there, Eric says. In a 2,000-word post to his paper’s blog, he explains how the AJC blew it. Sample:
The paper knew [it was overstating how many districts were cheating and that the data used to arrive at its conclusions were] deeply flawed and decided to publish anyway, because it didn’t have the time, resources, or desire to dive deeper into these numbers. I say this based on conversations I’ve had with school administrators, detailed responses by the districts themselves, and an expert who advised the paper and told it specifically why these numbers were not only wrong, but irresponsible to publish. In fact, I’m more certain of my conclusions than you should be of the notion the AJC‘s report indicates widespread cheating on the level the story asserts.
Eric says that an expert hired to help the AJC parse the data was astonished that the paper prematurely published the story.
No more astonished than Jon Dahlander, the public information officer for the Dallas Independent School District. On Friday in the afternoon, he received a call from the AJC, alerting him that Dallas’ school system was flagged in the AJC report. He was not asked to respond, but was told the report was going up over the weekend, so he was asked for his cellphone number in case the paper wanted to follow up on Sunday. (I guess to, I dunno, ask “How did THAT nutkick feel?”) He did find an email address for a reporter at the paper so he could quickly give some sort of response. He says two hours later he received a call from NBC Nightly News, asking him to respond to the report.
“Respond?” he said. “I haven’t even seen it.”
How did NBC Nightly News see it? Because the paper had apparently hired a TV marketing firm, A-1 Broadcast, to pimp the project.
You know, reading all this carefully reported, well-written copy on an important topic, it almost makes me wish that I hadn’t fired Eric.
I can’t even… There’s just no… Ugh.Â This.
I’ve talked a little about the playwright Tom Stoppard on this blog before. My favorite of his works, The Real Thing, starts previews today at Stage West in Fort Worth.
But a close second, Arcadia, end its run this weekend at the University of Dallas. I love this play not in the least because it starts off with a precocious young woman inquiring about “carnal embrace.” Her tutor, Septimus Hodge, first attempts to define it as “the practice of throwing one’s arms around a side of beef.” Stoppard is so smart and clever, and the slippery wordplay, rather than coming off as intellectual and inaccessible, belies a passion that practically steams up off the page. I’ve read Arcadia many more times than I’ve seen it produced, and I confess that I haven’t seen this particular production. But the play alone is worth the investment of your time.
If you’re thinking about Easter, head over to SideDish and peruse the places accepting brunch reservations. And then consider tickets to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s interpretation of St. Matthew’s Passion. Johann Sebastian Bach was so moved by the Gospel of Matthew’s account of the Messiah that he set two chapters of it to music. It was intended for Good Friday services, and so serves as a dramatic reminder of the passion for mankind that led to Christ’s suffering and death. Jaap van Zweden conducts, and the first concert is tonight at the Meyerson.
Finally, for people who enjoy physical fitness, a new pilates studio opens up in the Park Cities, co-owned by Highland Park resident Laurie Gatlin. You can see what BodyBar has to offer tonight at a grand opening party that includes a DJ and raw food and juice samples. If you like what you see, you can try a week of classes for free.
For more to do this evening, go here.
A co-worker and I were just discussing the fun story about whether Augusta National will finally be forced to allow a woman to join (don’t hold your breath). Got me wondering how many Dallasites belong. Here are the three I can think of: T. Boone Pickens, Tom Hicks, Harold Simmons. I’m sure the FrontBurner Nation has a name or two to add. Go!
What does the CEO’s resignation mean for the AT&T Performing Arts Center? Find out on FrontRow.
Here is a little something that Zac and I put together for the back page of the April issue, the entire contents of which do not automatically go online. We gave it the same headline you see on this post and offered no other explanation. See if you can figure out who on this list called because h/she was upset about his/her made-up quote.
Jean Baptiste Adoue Jr. (mayor 1951—1953): “Being the mayor of Dallas is like being one of the best tennis players in the state of Texas in 1915. It’s okay, but you won’t impress anyone from New York.”
Dwaine Caraway (2011): “Being the mayor of Dallas is like being Will Smith in I Am Legend. You’re a badass. You can drive any car on the street. You have your pick, whichever one you want. The keys are in the ignition. Jaguar, Escalade, maybe even one of those Smart cars, just to mix it up. You can haul ass down every street because there aren’t any cops, and you can shoot antelope and tigers and everything with an M16 right out the window as you drive. It’s a total rush. Except then one day everyone comes back, and they’re like, ‘Gimme my damn car.’ And your wife tries to stab you.”
Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Is a Blank Canvas for Graffiti Artists. As you know, the MHH Bridge opens today to traffic. But the city is worried about vandals, and, to a lesser extent, terrorists. Graffiti artists have already tagged the ramps leading to the bridge. A visible police presence and cameras on the bridge are attempts to lessen the chances of any damage to the bridge. I give it a week.
DISD Teachers Sends Letter to TEA, Placed on Leave. Elliot Monteverde-Torres can’t figure out why he was placed on paid administrative leave. All the Felix G. Botell Elementary teacher did was send a letter to TEA alleging that the school he works for has a staff that doesn’t do its job and violates the law. He cited examples of a student being shot in the arm with a BB gun; misuse of federal funds; and possession of prescription drugs. The TEA has asked for a response from DISD by April 20.
Woman Uses Stolen ID To Get Job at a Bank. I’m betting Bank of America is going to step up its screening process of applicants after this situation. A woman stole an ID and used that ID (and Social Security number) to get a job at a Plano Bank of America. The police were about to close in on her when she left the temporary position.