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DMN Offers Buyouts to 167 Employees

Here’s the letter DMN editor Mike Wilson sent to staff yesterday. Takeaway: The paper is getting younger/cheaper/more digital-y in the newsroom. Which should shock no one.

Colleagues,

Today the News is offering a buyout to 167 newsroom employees whose age and years of service total at least 60 years. All editorial areas, including Al Dia, NeighborsGo, FD, Briefing and GuideLive.com, are included.

This is a voluntary program. Eligible employees […]

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SAGA Pod: Exit Interview with Former DISD Supe Mike Miles

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. On his way out of town, former DISD superintendent Mike Miles stopped by the SAGA Pod world headquarters to discuss all things education: teacher evaluations, pre-K, bonds — you know, the sexy stuff. Also, I tell him he’s “stubborn as hell” — so that was fun. Remember, the iTunes link is here if you wanna subscribe. As always, please listen with your ears.

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DISD Trustees Plan to Name Michael Hinojosa Interim Superintendent

After days of negotiation, a majority of Dallas ISD trustees plan to vote tonight to name Mike Miles’ predecessor, Michael Hinojosa, as the interim superintendent, according to multiple administration and board sources.

Hinojosa left the district in 2011, went to Georgia to run a suburban Atlanta district, then quit in 2014 to return to his family in Texas and work for an education company. The reason trustees see him as the best possible interim superintendent: he won’t want the job full-time, he has credibility with many disparate stakeholders in the DISD community (Bill Betzen loves him!), and yet he will gladly sign on to promote the district’s (likely) bond package (he sold the last bond package) and protect Miles’ key reform initiatives. That’s because Hinojosa was seen as sort of a “pre-reformer” — laying the groundwork for teacher evaluation, bringing in TFA, etc.

The key quality trustees feel that he brings: stability. He’s likely to keep the cabinet in place, and gives hope that the full-time successor will do so as well.

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Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles to Resign

Barring a last-minute change of heart or trustees changing their minds, DISD superintendent Mike Miles plans to resign at a morning press conference, according to multiple sources.

The decision comes after the board refused to consider amending Miles’ contract to protect him from repercussions if he was fired this year — an increasingly likely scenario given some board members’ seething hatred of the man who tried to break up their fiefdoms.

But that is really just the culmination of a long slog Miles has endured as he fought to pass reform initiatives, including a revolutionary teacher and principal evaluation system, school choice, preK expansion, and others.

If you care about kids, especially poor kids, make no mistake: This is a sad day for Dallas.

I’m out of town but will have much more to say about this later in the week.

UPDATE (7:49) Miles confirms via text that he will resign.

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DMN Education Blog Poll on DISD Elections Pretty Funny in Retrospect

All apologies to the many fun polls on FrontBurner, but online polls are notoriously poor gauges of public opinion. They are, however, a good vehicle to determine the thoughts/feelings of a site’s audience.

If this is true, then I submit that the readers of the Dallas Morning News education blog are out of step with the rest of the city.

Example No. 90illion of that theory: The online poll the paper put up asking readers to pick the winners of each of the three DISD trustee races. Here are the final online poll results: […]

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on Trinity Toll Roads New and Old; Also, DISD

It’s SAGA Pod After Dark! We stop by Schutze Manor to discuss the Trinity Toll Road, the Mayor, the people who really run this city, the group trying to get the Toll Road done at any cost, the Dream Team plan and more traffic noise. Then we go over the latest non-scandal scandals in DISD and wonder if the Bad Guys have finally won. Also, you can find it on iTunes here. As always, please listen with your ears.

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Brett Shipp E-Mail Suggests He Reports DISD Stories With a ‘Miles Is Evil’ Mindset

On Learning Curve, I have a post that mentions Schutze once again criticizing Brett Shipp for his willingness to believe anything bad about the DISD administration and Mike Miles. I’ve written about this many times. But I just thought it would be helpful to let Shipp respond, in his own words, about why he does these things: Because in his mind, Mike Miles is evil.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But look at the potboiler language he uses and tell me he doesn’t at least see Miles as a cartoon villain.

Below is an email response Shipp sent to a 20-plus-year WFAA viewer. This person […]

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Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)

In the paper today, Avi Selk has a lengthy story about some anti-Muslim foolishness going on in Irving. It centers on a religious tribunal that is supposedly going to usurp the U.S. Constitution and ruin America. (I’m exaggerating only a little bit.) Last night, the City Council voted 5-4 to support a bill authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) that would forbid such tribunals from using foreign law in their rulings (which is already illegal).

I wrote about all this for the April issue of D Magazine, which won’t mail to subscribers for another three days. So I’m posting the article here. Before I wrote my story, I spent some time with Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, the head of the Islamic Center of Irving and a man who has far more patience and compassion than I do. For your edification:

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Anchia Files DISD Reform Bill That Home Rule Foes are Certain to Love

A lot going on in Austin right now relating to education. Several bills have already been filed that could affect how school boards govern. I’ll write a post on those soon. Also, be sure to voice your support on social media for Rep. Eric Johnson’s pre-K bill, HB 1100, which will be discussed in the Public Education Committee tomorrow. But today a very DISD-specific bill was filed by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Funkytown). I’ll have a breakdown of it on Learning Curve when I write about all the ed bills out there, but here’s what you need to know: It’s awesome, and it would dramatically help DISD’s governance problem.

The deets: This bill (HB 2579) affects school districts larger than […]

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SAGA Pod / Learning Curve with City Councilman Philip Kingston

Shy, quiet District 14 Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston stops by world SAGA pod headquarters to discuss his ongoing opposition to the Trinity toll road — including, but not limited to, bashing the mayor and his “dream team” of architects and urban planners. We also discuss the new PAC co-founded by D Magazine Group chairman and D Magazine publisher Wick Allison, and its efforts to back politicians for city council who support restoration of urban neighborhoods by replacing and rerouting I-345 and I-30*. We then touch on what the city could learn from DISD and its comprehensive plan. And, oh yeah — we talk about Kingston getting kicked out of […]

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on DISD, DMN, and Mayor Mike’s Money

Jim Schutze stops by the World SAGA Pod Headquarters to discuss all things DISD: the current HR scandal, a huge DISD effort not covered by the local media (warning: I say bad words), and how Mike Miles has survived every attempt to run him out of town. Then we segue to talk about the squishy accounting system used by Mayor Mike Rawlings and endorsed by City Hall: where sitting officeholders can take as much money as they want from rich people, but the folks running against him are limited on how much they can take. Nice gig if you can get it!

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Helping the City Council Understand What DISD Really Needs From a City Partnership

James Ragland wrote a column the other day that said (as summarized by his headline writer) that he was against DISD drama but for game-changing ideas in education. And I thought, me too! (Semi-related, things I’m also for: game-changing ideas in politics, religion, space traveling, weight losing, ninja training, tile laying, #longforming, Tim irritating, and gaming.) Ragland then pointed out some game-changing ideas that are to be discussed today in the game-changingest venue one can imagine: a joint DISD-City Council task force meeting.

Now, I’m all for making the city more accountable in fixing DISD’s problems. (Thus, the 10k-plus words I spilled over on Learning Curve in making suggestions to the Home Rule Commission, some of which dealt directly with ways to make Dallas and the other 15 cities that DISD touches have more skin in the game. But that ship has sailed.) But I also want to make sure the city is focusing on helping in ways that make sense. So I just wanted to provide a little context for today’s meeting. […]

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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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