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Dallas ISD Climate Survey Mostly Good News for District

The fall 2014 DISD “campus climate” survey was just released, and as you can see from the chart above (click to embiggen), the top-line numbers reveal mostly good news for the district. A whopping 85 percent of teachers filled it out. I know this isn’t what you’d expect if you subscribe to the local media narrative, but it doesn’t surprise me that much. A friend was talking to two DISD assistant principals yesterday, and both said that Miles had been much better this year about communicating with and listening to campus leadership. But, you know, you can choose to ignore this and wallow in the status-quo muck if you so desire. Free country. Here are the full results, btw.

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Stop by Booker T on Saturday To Tell a Story About Your Favorite Teacher

Maybe you saw this DMN blog post last week about a cool program tied to the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, to be held in Dallas on January 10. Pretty cool deal: Teachers tell their story “about their life as an educator” in an attempt to win a speaking spot at the summit. (The event is designed to support and cheer North Texas teaches as they head into the second half of the school year.)

On Saturday, the summit’s organizers are staging a pretty cool event where you, normal non-teacher Frontburner person, can tell your story about a teacher who made a difference in your life. There will be a video booth outside of Booker T. Washington HSVPA at Flora and Jack Evans Streets in the Arts District tomorrow from 1 to 5 p.m. Some of the footage will/may be used for the summit.

I will be out of town this weekend, so I can’t make it. But here’s the story I would have told, which I call, “The Second Best Memory I Have That Involves A Teacher”: […]

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Marcos Ronquillo Ends Worst-Kept Secret, Will Announce Run for Mayor

Dallas lawyer Marcos Ronquillo will announce today the thing that everyone has known for months: that he plans to run for mayor. Ronquillo opposes the Trinity toll road project and will make that the centerpiece of his campaign. He will probably announce other stuff, but all anyone is going to talk about is that Rawlings=pro-toll road, Ronquillo=anti-toll road. Including me, apparently.

UPDATE: Rudy Bush on why it’s a good thing for Dallas that Ronquillo is running.

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SAGA Pod / Learning Curve 12.03.14 — Mayor Mike, the Sequel

Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer (and his dogs) join me in Jim’s living room to discuss Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ announcement that he will run for re-election. Do his opponents have a chance? What has the mayor accomplished? How can he help DISD reform? When will Eric pay Rudy Bush of the DMN the $20 he now owes him? Will the tollway be built? Why is DISD so important to this election? Why can’t Jim ever talk directly into a microphone? And why does everyone hate Eric so much? We answer-ish all these questions and more in […]

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Learning Curve’s 10 Suggestions for the Dallas ISD Home Rule Commission

Over on LC, I’ve put all 10 of my recommendations for the Home Rule Commission onto one post. I’ve also added a few additional links at the bottom of the post that I think are worth reading. And I’ve emailed it to the Home Rule commissioners, because I’m a full-service advocacy journo.

Oh, also, I’m about to send out my first Learning Curve newsletter, if I can ever figure out MailChimp. If you want to be added to the distribution list, send an email to eric.celeste@dmagazine.com with the words “SUREWHYNOT” in the subject line, and I will make it so.

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SOPS Presents Draft of a Charter to Home Rule Commission

Last night, Support Our Public Schools, the organization that began this home rule movement early this year, presented its proposed charter to the Home Rule Commission. It contains several things I’ve been talking about on Learning Curve, including moving trustee elections to November, adding a student trustee, and starting the school year earlier. I’ll have a dissection of it on Learning Curve in the next few days, but here it is for your perusal.

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Anchia Announces Town Hall Meeting on Tollway

In the release announcing this, State Rep. Rafael Anchia says 93 percent of respondents to his poll were against the tollway. We’re aghast. The release is below, the release with pictures and sample quotes from respondents is here:

(Update note: I’ve been gone, so catching up on a lot, including that the town hall debate is not a surprise, as I learned from this Unfair Park post.)

(Dallas, TX) State Representative Rafael Anchia will host a town hall meeting on the Trinity Tollroad Project on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Chris Semos campus of Rosemont Elementary School. The town hall meeting is open to the public and does not require a pre-registration.

The town hall will feature a panel of supporters, as well as representation from the opposition. Among the panelists are Michael Morris from NCTCOG and Councilman Scott Griggs from the City of Dallas, District 1. Additional panelists will be announced prior to the meeting.

Mr. Anchia represents Texas House District 103, in which a large portion of the Trinity Tollroad would lie. “In talking with constituents about the Trinity Tollroad Project, I was hearing a constant message of dissatisfaction with the proposed road. I conducted a survey to gauge the climate in and around Dallas, and the respondents were startlingly opposed to the project,” Representative Anchia said. The results of the online survey, along with a sample of public comments, are attached for review.

In the interest of efficiency, the public is encouraged to submit questions for the panel in advance by email to info@rafaelanchia.com.

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Speaking of the Mayor and the Toll Road, Let’s All Hear Him Talk About It

The below email went out yesterday. I’m out of town, so I haven’t been able to determine if Mayor Mike typed “Citizens List: All of Dallas” into the “cc” field. But since this issue is “critical to the future of our city,” I’m going to assume everyone is invited. See you there!

Friend,

If the schedule goes as planned, work on the Trinity Parkway will begin in early 2015. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is in its final stages and is set to be completed soon, the Record of Decision will be signed soon after the study is finalized. We have teams in place that are working to complete the design on the Parkway in preparation for the construction phase. Currently, about 30% of the design work is done. This project is critical to the future of our city, and how the design is finalized is one of the most important things we can do. I believe this project should be studied and reviewed by recognized experts using the best urban design principles that exist as we move to our next phase.

I invite you to join me for breakfast at Babb Bros BBQ & Blues in Trinity Groves on November 19 at 8:15 a.m. to hear my thoughts on how we can accomplish this goal.

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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Schutze on Ebola and DISD

I think the headline is pretty straightforward. A few other things you should know:

• Jim starts off the podcast by coughing. He is so old and broken.
• We record it in his house, because he forgot that he didn’t have a car that day.
• At one point he tries to silence one of his dogs. I don’t even want to get into how he did this.
• If you’re wondering where ALL the antiques are, they’re in Jim’s house. I think you hear eight different clocks clang and ring and cuckoo during our talk.
• About Ebola, we focus on our officials’ reaction, the question of whether Presby can recover from its bad PR, and Peter’s question about how many will be infected before we panic. On DISD, we talk about the proper role of school board trustees, why black trustees ignore those rules, and how the city’s racial history fits into all this.

Here is the embed:

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Mayor Rawlings Learns How to Be Humble in the Face of Ebola

Jim Schutze and I recorded a podcast yesterday afternoon in which we discuss the city’s reaction to the Ebola crisis (and DISD stuff). It’s very timely. It’s also sitting in the trunk of my girlfriend’s car, somewhere in her office parking garage. Since I won’t be able to get the pod up until tomorrow, here’s an example of one item we discussed: How officials have learned to temper their confidence, and how doing so actually inspires more confidence in the public.

Remember what Mayor Mike Rawlings said eight days ago:

Rawlings said that he remains [..]

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Update on the Miles-Nutall-Dade Fight

The DMN today has a story saying that three longtime anti-Miles trustees — Bernadette Nutall, Joyce Foreman, and Lew Blackburn — want a board meeting to discuss the superintendent’s authority. In a blog post yesterday evening, I pointed out that said meeting is unlikely to happen until the board reviews its own lines of authority. Why? Because when Blackburn says in the DMN story that he will openly violate board policy whenever he wants, the root of the problem is exposed. Also because in the Dade matter, Nutall clearly was in the wrong in trying to attend a school staff meeting over Miles’ objections, and Miles was 100 percent right in having her removed when she didn’t comply. For background on school board policy that states this, see my post from Monday.

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Jim Moroney Will Look Everywhere for New Revenue, Even Other Papers

I have a column coming out in a few weeks in which I argue that Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney must get right the enormous task before him: finding a new editor to lead his paper for the next decade. I give voice to those who express concerns about Moroney’s track record, but I ultimately believe he’s doing the best job he can in such a turbulent industry. (I like the guy. SUE ME!)

Another example of his innovation (or his deck-chair rearranging, if you believe his critics): His efforts to partner with other top newspapers across the nation. If you’re a news junkie […]

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