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Poll: Is Mike Miles Underpaid?

Over on Learning Curve, Eric Celeste yesterday ran through some of the numbers relevant to a discussion about whether Mike Miles, superintendent of Dallas ISD, is being paid what he’s worth for the job he’s required to do.

Miles makes $306,000 a year. Eric, after comparing that base salary to other Texas school superintendents and to CEOs of similarly sized companies and nonprofits, reaches the conclusion that it’s perfectly reasonable for Miles to be seeking more money.

What do you think?

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The Dallas Miracle: How Data Show Mike Miles Deserves a New Contract

Over on Learning Curve, I tell you about how the most rigorous ISD analysts in the state say DISD made astounding gains in 2013. Which, when we consider that Mike Miles wants a contract extension, leads us to the classic line from Rounders, issued by Teddy KGB:

“Pay him. Pay that man his money.”

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on DISD Board Cock Fights and Car Wash Drug Lords

How’s THAT for a headline? SEO, baby.

It also has the advantage of being true. It’s another edition of the SAGA Pod, Learning-Curve-syle (ish!). Jim Schutze from the Dallas Observer is back, ready to talk DISD board and car washes. For the first half half of the show, we discuss the naming of the 15-member home rule commission, analyzing just how long it will take for Shirley Ison-Newsome to make the teachers on the commission rethink their life choices. We talk about the donkey punch Bernadette Nutall delivered to the rest of the board, and how she may still be standing behind the DISD horseshoe with two middle fingers in the air. Then we talk about Jim’s car wash — not Jim Schutze’s car wash, btw — and why the city and the Dallas Morning News have decided that this place needs to be shut down. Jim says it’s a legitimate business, unfairly targeted, and that the city is ignoring real drug houses nearby because they don’t understand the cultural importance of car washes in poor black communities. We do all this while drinking beer. Well, I do, anyway. (Which may explain the gratuitous swearing.)

If you need background on the DISD board stuff, see my post from Friday, as well as the comments, where Lew Blackburn Jr. and I have a little back-and-forth going on.

As always, please listen with your ears.

The iTunes link is here.

The webpage is here.

The rss feed is here.

Or you can listen here:


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Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs, a Gay Couple, Can’t Be the Fathers of Their Own Children

There’s a story making the rounds about a Dallas couple, Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs. Adorable couple. Let me see if I can explain what’s giving them trouble. Hanna and Riggs got hitched in D.C., where gay marriages are legal. They came back to Dallas. They wanted kids. Why they would want to screw up their lives by 1) getting married and 2) having kids is a discussion for another post. I’m going to focus on the logistics. They find an egg donor. They find a surrogate mother, who in April bears them twins, Lucas and Ethan. And — this is the wild part — each of the men is a biological father to one of the babies, meaning, I gather, that two embryos were implanted. It makes my head spin.

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Jo Lynn Haussmann Maybe Shouldn’t Be on the Keller School Board

Hat tip to Unfair Park for bringing to our attention the below video on Vimeo, which offers evidence that Jo Lynn Haussmann says she is suffering from dementia. Haussmann is the Keller ISD trustee I mentioned in today’s Leading Off. Last night, she apologized (not really) for making anti-Muslim remarks on Facebook. Well, this video serves as a repository of some other remarks that Haussmann appears to have made on (and deleted from) Facebook. Such as:

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The SAGA Pod, Learning Curve-style — DISD, Home Rule, TEI, DHA, SEX, Etc.

By popular some a tiny bit of demand, the SAGA Pod is back! With all new equipment! If this doesn’t address most of Tim’s issues with sound, then I’ll just give up again. But I think we’ve got it figured out. Also, no intro, no outro, no frills. That’s fun the first half-dozen times, but it means every pod takes two hours just to edit. Now, we record, upload, and move on so we I can blog about DISD and Jim can go back to hating Tim. This week it’s all DISD: We talk about: [...]

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FW’s Superintendent Resigns — Why This Means We Should Extend Miles’ Contract

If you haven’t seen this short video from Monday’s FWISD board meeting, do yourself a favor and watch. You might want to start screaming “NO!” as soon as it starts, just to get into the correct frame of mind. After that, head over to Learning Curve to read why I think Walter Dansby’s resignation as FWISD superintendent should signal to the DISD school board that it’s time to give Mike Miles a new contract.

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Poll: Will Merit Pay For Teachers Transform Dallas Schools?

Yesterday on Learning Curve (our new education blog, if you haven’t already heard), Eric wrote about how it’s not the possibility of becoming a home-rule district that is the most significant reform effort under way in Dallas ISD. It’s instead a measure that the school board approved last week: merit pay for teachers.

I’m sure you could guess the basics even before reading the details: The best teachers will be paid significantly more, and the evaluation system will identify the worst teachers:

The program will be watched by educators around the country because it’s designed very differently from similar (often failed) merit-pay plans across the country. (For details on this TEI plan, go here, but bottom line is that a teacher’s performance grade is based 50 percent on classroom performance, 35 percent on student achievement/tests, and 15 percent on student surveys.) Bottom line: this is incredibly important change in the way the district compensates teachers

Do you agree with Eric that this change will lead to positive transformation for DISD?

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D Magazine Debuts Learning Curve, a Blog Dedicated to Education in Dallas

There’s a new blog in the D media empire, and it’s run by little ol’ me. It’s called Learning Curve, and it will be devoted to education in Dallas (Dallas County, actually). I’ll still write for FrontBurner (more often, probably) and write my column for the magazine, but I’ll spend most of mhy time with Learning Curve. I’m very excited not only to have a forum to discuss education topics with you, but also to have a special place where my fans can gather to discuss what a sell-out/tool-of-the-man I am.

Fair warning: although I encourage gratuitous shots at me and/or Tim Rogers (just because), I will be policing the comments to make sure you folks stay on point. Have you seen the comment section of the other eduction blogs in town? It’s like a climate-denier’s convention, only liberal. I’m like you guys, educating myself on these issues as I go along, so I welcome help from folks showing me where I’m off-base. Which we all realize will be often, because I’m not that smart. I grew up in Oklahoma, after all.

With that out of the way, what are you waiting for? Come by, read my first post, bookmark the page, and let’s chat. Maybe we can all learns us a little sumthin.

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Leading Off (5/30/14)

Disaster Averted in Athens. A fire burned down a building that stores ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the same substance that resulted in the deadly explosion last year in West. The place is a block from the town square. Maybe that’s not an advisable location?

Euless Boy Wins National Spelling Bee. Technically 13-year-old Ansun Sujoe is co-champion, having battled another teenager from New York state to a draw. It’s the first time in 52 years that the event concluded with joint title holders. The judges had simply run out of difficult words with which to continue the contest. Sujoe’s final word was “feuilleton,” which is a part of a European newspaper or magazine that caters to popular taste and aims to entertain general readers.

UNT Owes Texas $83.5 million. Apparently the university drew state funds it wasn’t entitled to over the course of a 10-year period to pay benefits and salaries. It’s unknown yet how much of that the school will have repay.

Water Company Padlocks Fire Hydrants. The Lavon Special Utility District took that step, it says, because of water theft. But the city’s police chief isn’t aware of any thefts, and the mayor and fire chief are concerned about public safety in the event of a fire. Firefighters are now carrying bolt cutters.

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Leading Off (5/20/14)

Dallas ISD Trustees Aren’t Happy About Home Rule. Eight of the nine school board members oppose the proposal to transform DISD into a home-rule district, but they are compelled by law to form a committee to draft a home-rule charter for voters to consider. That’s because more than 48,000 signatures were gathered by proponents of home rule. At Monday’s meeting the board outlined its plan for the process of appointing members to the committee, which they have 30 days to create.

Couple Accuses Mailman of Killing Their Dog. Allegedly the postal carrier hit their pet with a rock, shattering its skull and severely injuring its spine. The dog had to be euthanized. The post office is investigating the incident, but stated that in this instance the mailman was defending himself from a dog attack.

Naked Man Jumps Through Sunroof, Attacks Woman. Near the intersection of Zang Boulevard and Oakenwald Street in Oak Cliff, the nude guy dove through the opening on top of a car and started choking the driver and pulling at her hair. This was after he’d already attacked a woman jogging with her baby. Police responded quickly and arrested 23-year-old Nicholas Dyll.

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Home Rule Backers Probably Have the 25k Sigs They Need, So What Happens Next?

Last week, people who know people were telling me that Support Our Public Schools, the group trying to gather 25,000 signatures so it can put a home rule measure on the November ballot, have met that goal. Now I’m hearing that number is closer to 30k (which makes sense — always build in a buffer) and that the group could present them at any time. Officially, the group’s PR firm, Allyn Media, says it won’t confirm or deny numbers.

So why hasn’t it presented these signatures and started the home rule-on-the-ballot process? And will they present them soon? And what happens then? All those questions have different answers, but they are linked to another question that is much harder to answer: Will the DISD board implement Home Rule-style changes and make this entire movement moot?

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