Inside D Magazine’s April 2014 Issue

When Zac Crain set out to profile Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles, the goal was to humanize the man with what could be the hardest job in Dallas. We’d seen his very public flops and read about the troubled district over and over and, yes, over again. But Miles was a bit of a mystery. Who is he? And why is he here while his family is back in Colorado? Oh, and does he have a shot at doing anything productive with DISD? Frankly, a cursory glance of local media, including D Magazine, would have you believe Miles was a lost cause. That disdain, in fact, has already surfaced in the comments of “Who’s Out to Get Mike Miles?

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Stop What You’re Doing and Watch This Inspiring Video of Mayor Mike Rawlings, Ctd.

The paper is coming around. On Wednesday, James Ragland wrote a column that clearly took aim at the home-rule movement, saying its backers wanted to “blow up the district.” An accompanying news story about the signature-gathering efforts painted a picture of confusion. Now this.

The DMN just put up an editorial endorsing the home-rule movement, saying, “It’s clear to this newspaper, as it has been for some time, that this is the conversation we must have to reform and improve public education. If it takes signing this petition, you should. It beats running to the suburbs.” Tod Robberson, too, posted an item a few minutes ago that supports the movement. You know who made that happen? Rawlings. As Robberson writes, “It’s wonderful when a politician throws caution to the wind, abandons political niceties and tells it like it is.”

It’s too early to say for certain, but we might be watching the defining moment of Rawlings’ tenure.

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Stop What You’re Doing and Watch This Inspiring Video of Mayor Mike Rawlings

I read the front-page DMN story today about the home-rule movement for DISD, and I thought, “Oh, man, they still don’t have their messaging together.” Here’s how the story in the paper wraps up:

Rawlings and the group said they did not have a grand vision for a DISD charter. When asked why the community would support a plan that hasn’t been outlined, some group members said the effort would give the public a blank page and lets them write the future of Dallas ISD.

“The power is the blank page,” Rawlings said. “The citizens for the first time get to decide what they want to do.”

What? They have no vision? The power is the blank page? No, no, NO. People are going to hate that. But then I watched this video.

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Rena Honea and Mike Morath Debate Making DISD a Home-Rule District

Today is D Academy’s education day. We’re holed up in a classroom at Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. Students were telling me how they’re learning Chinese and might go to Japan. I would like to do both of those things, but no such luck. In any event, as part of the day, Eric Celeste was set to moderate a panel with Mike Morath, District 2 Dallas ISD board member; Rena Honea, Alliance AFT president; and Tarick Ward, who is literally a rocket scientist but now works at Commit! I’m sure this panel would have been perfectly interesting if it had occurred a few weeks ago. But holy hell, it got interesting in light of the current home-rule discussion. Video to come, but for now, here are some highlights.

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Leading Off (3/3/14)

Can Dallas ISD Turn Into a Home-Rule District? Technically, yes, because of a 1995 state law. And the group Support Our Public Schools is trying to do it. On Tuesday, petitioners will meet Dallasites at the primary polls, looking to collect nearly 25,000 signatures. With the necessary signatures, the proposal could get on the ballot as early as November. No specific changes are on the table yet beyond the home-rule proposal, which would allow DISD to largely operate separate of state control. It would be the first district in the state to do so.

Part of Sylvan Thirty Burns Down. The West Dallas project was engulfed in flames (video) Saturday afternoon, setting off a two-alarm fire allegedly started by someone welding inside. The two-story building, the remnants of which will now be torn down, was going to house a yoga studio and a restaurant as one part of the $50 million project.

Steve Blow: Stop It. Just Stop It. It looks like he’s talking to us, all of you in the comments section, and certainly Patrick Kennedy. We all need to stop talking about tearing down I-345 because, “It’s never, ever, not-in-a-million-years going to happen.” Okay then.

Today Could Be the Coldest Day of the Season. That’s according to meteorologist Jesse Moore. Schools are closed, there’s a wind chill advisory until 8 a.m., and it’s cold. Very cold. Stay safe out there. More updates here.

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Memo to Tawnell Hobbs: The Answer You’re Looking for is ‘Yes’

This headline just trolled me showed up in my Twitter feed:

Should Dallas ISD have paid Superintendent Mike Miles’ legal bill in Coggins case?

Oh my stars. Okay, if you don’t remember all the details of this absolute b.s. investigation, I don’t have the energy to recount it again. Just know I wanted to call your attention to this because, really, it’s the perfect DMN DISD blog post. Its construction is a thing of beauty:

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Morning News Stories on DISD’s Overpaid Real Estate Broker Were Top-Notch

I give Dallas’ Only Daily a lot of grief in this space for its education coverage, so I think in the spirit of fair play I should single it out for praise: This week’s stories (first on here, second here) on the goofy real estate deals — wherein a real estate broker was paid an exorbitantly high commission of 9 percent — were great watchdog-y stuff.

The lead from the follow-up story neatly sums up what was at issue here:

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Did Don Williams Hire Lisa Blue to Represent a DISD Board Candidate? UNSURE.

So the District 8 DISD school board race (the vote is tomorrow) is between a pro-Miles candidate, Miguel Solis, and an anti-Miles candidate, Kristi Lara. This is important because there are currently four anti-Miles votes on what will be a nine-person board. (If you think that school board member Elizabeth Jones is pro-Miles just because […]

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What Do Mike Miles’ Critics on the School Board Have in Common? Expense Reports.

I’ve made the case that the four Dallas ISD school board members aligned against Mike Miles – Lew Blackburn, Elizabeth Jones, Bernadette Nutall, and Carla Ranger – are odd bedfellows. IMHO, they each have very different reasons for wanting to run Miles out of town. If you want to hear what those are, as well […]

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Brett Shipp’s DISD Story Shows How Much He Wants Mike Miles Run out of Town

Here’s my takeaway from Brett Shipp’s exclusive story that ran on Channel 8 last night: a disgraced former DISD employee says a contract should have gone to a PR expert from Highlands Mall in Arlington. Please read the story now and then let’s discuss. (If you’ve already seen the report, maybe take some time to […]

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My Takeaway From the Dallas ISD Guestigation: Paul Coggins and the Morning News Have No Idea How Reporting Works

So, Paul Coggins gave the trustees what many of them have long wanted, which is a b.s. excuse to get rid of the guy they were so happy about bringing in here a few years ago. The guy who is angering people because of his sweeping reforms (the ones trustees and many parents asked for). […]

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