John Wiley Price bashes DISD. Why does the DMN facilitate it?

John Wiley PriceThere’s an interesting story in the Dallas News today by Matthew Haag (it’s behind the paywall) about DISD Supt. Michael Miles becoming the media punching bag for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. One could argue, I suppose, that Price sees bashing DISD as a way to divert attention from his own legal woes, but that is just speculation on my part.

The issue at hand boils down to Miles’ oft-stated intent to replace principals who aren’t performing with better-trained ones who might perform; that’s kind of how things are done in the private sector. Miles has established a training academy for principals, he has warned those he believes aren’t performing, and he appears ready to cut loose quite a few in May following the upcoming board elections.

Meanwhile, Price has written the pastors of select South Dallas churches to denounce Miles as akin to Pontius Pilate (or “fake Jesus”, depending on your interpretation of what he’s saying), and he appears to be discouraging church pastors (some might say “threatening” considering Price’s perceived political pull there) from engaging Miles or supporting him.

Not surprisingly, according to the DMN story, Miles is being hung out to dry by the school board, some of whom (Bernadette Nutall and board president Lew Blackburn, to name two) seem to be actively undermining Miles in public and in private.

This is not a commentary on which principals are doing a good job and which aren’t, nor is it a dissertation on how, if it’s possible, to accurately and fully measure if a principal is doing a good job.

But here are the facts as they relate to Madison High School laid out in the DMN story: “Across Dallas ISD, only 9.7 percent of seniors last school year were deemed ready for college with an ACT score of a 24 or higher, according to district data. At Madison, only 1.6 percent of students hit that mark. Nationally, 26 percent of students do.”

The Madison principal, apparently someone Price and Nutall support, appears to be in Miles’ crosshairs, and from looking at the numbers, the attention is deserved. But many on the school board and PR magnets such as Price have their favorites, and they’re willing to meddle in district personnel matters to protect their friends.

It’s unfortunate the Morning News sees fit to cover Price’s comments at all but especially on the front page (today’s story), even as the paper editorializes against him inside the paper (the editorial is free to read); Price has no more expertise on DISD than I do, so why is his opinion about DISD front-page news anyway? Yes, he’s a taxpayer and entitled to his opinion; I’m a taxpayer and entitled to mine, too, but you won’t be reading that on the front page.

For all of the talk in the News about making DISD better, covering Price’s uninformed ramblings about the district simply makes the situation worse.

When Miles took the job a year ago, I predicted he’d be lucky to last three years here, primarily because politics typically trump common sense when it comes to running DISD. He’s going on one year in the job now, and this is where the proverbial stuff hits the fan.

His honeymoon, such as it was, is over, and he’s taking buckshot from all sides. Maybe he lasts another year or two. Maybe he doesn’t.

The guy was hired to do a job, so why not let him do it and fail or succeed on his merits, rather than run him out of town on the political rail?

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  • Diane Birdwell

    This is mighty curious. One could say, “Oh, there goes JWP, sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.” I would agree. However, we DO NOT hear the same comments about the Mayor doing the same, even to the point of helping PICK A NAME to be chosen for su[erintendent.

    And I also have been in Dallas LONG ENOUGH to know when what appears as one thing,that means it is not. Could it be, just possibly be, that JWP is being urged to do this to HELP Mike Miles? Yes, in the world of Dallas Politics, it is entirely conceivable that someone has asked JWP to put on a show to shore up support as people question what is going on at 3700. I could guess that in return for that, he will get help with his personal legal problems. Would not be the first time someone south of the Trinity River carried the water for those on the north side of town.

    I am not saying this happened, but having lived in Dallas most of my life, I can certainly see it happening.

    Think about it.

  • Diane Birdwell

    Please tell me where the *reforms* you believe have been done are verified as successful? Look at Harrison, Colorado and show me.

  • Diane Birdwell

    .Except the mayor went to DC to help pick a new superintendent by talking with Arne Duncan. Last I checked, NEITHER of them were on the board of trustees.

  • Rick Wamre

    Michael, I can’t argue with you there, either.

  • Michael MacNaughton

    Mayor Rawlings has no more expertise on DISD than Price does, so why is his opinion about DISD front-page news anyway? What’s good for the goose…?

  • Knowyourfacts

    As well as they know DISD’s address. On second thought ,maybe not. FBI has and will spend much more time at 3700.

  • Rick Wamre

    Michael, good to see your comment, too. I notice you didn’t address the issue at hand, though: Is what Price doing regarding DISD and Miles OK with you or not? I’d be interested in your opinion.

  • Michael_Ham_Dallas

    The FBI and Dallas Police know the correct address.

  • Knowyourfacts

    Thanks for the comment, MacNaughton.

  • Knowyourfacts

    Apparently, M Ham, you are as informed on Miles as you are on Geography. Mr. Price lives near Lake Cliff Park, not Kidd Springs. Kidd Springs would put him Elba Garcia’s District.

  • Michael MacNaughton

    Mile’s track record in Harrsion D2 – a much wealthier and MUCH smaller Colorado district shows minimal to zero gains in student achievement over a 6 year period. In that time Miles’ methods created disarray as 30% of the teachers left, or were fired, based on an evaluation system that does not work as advertised – by the very consulting company that Miles owns. The teacher survey, just like the Dallas survey, was not anonymous so only the majority of teachers in favor of the system (or those teachers who were resigning) responded. Oh, one more thing…25% of the high school students and their parent LEFT THE DISTRICT to go to other schools because of the chaos Miles caused. Take out the magnet school and Mile’s track record on student achievement is much worse than Dallas ISD. We bought a pig in a poke.

  • Michael_Ham_Dallas

    Price is a self-admitted racist and defends his tactics. His hoodlum style antics and amateur grand standing are both boorish and trifling. I was born and raised the first nine years of my life in Oak Cliff and then the next nine in Pleasant Grove. I’ve observed the irreparable bamboozling he and other “public servants” like Diane Ragsdale, Al Lipscomb and Don Hill have rot… Grow up Price and get a real job.

  • Michael_Ham_Dallas

    His home where the FBI raided and seized his property is located across the street from Kidd Springs park in Oak Cliff.

  • Michael_Ham_Dallas

    Mike Miles is doing an excellent job and precisely the job he was interviewed to perform. It is our self-serving board members and
    their shortsighted fiefdom protecting agenda’s that has crippled the DISD for years. I am a proud product of the DISD but am now ashamed of the back room antics of some of our lackluster board
    members. They should be ashamed of their behavior.

  • Rick Wamre

    Thanks for the comment, Edwin.

  • Rick Wamre

    momto3inDISD, unless he has moved, Price lives in Oak Cliff and pays taxes to DISD.

  • bookworm

    JW Price needs to keep his mouth shut when he isn’t informed on the subject. And why did DMN put him on the front page spouting nonsense?? Both should be sanctioned.

  • momto3inDISD

    actually, I don’t think JWP lives and pays taxes in DISD.

  • Edwin Flores

    During every public meeting (including those in south Dallas) prior to the superintendent search the #1 and #2 requests from the community, without fail, were: (1) Dallas ISD needed to select, grow and keep the best principals; and (2) Dallas ISD needed to recruit, grow and keep the best teachers.
    Based on such clear input, the school board sought and found the one superintendent in the entire US that had a complete, comprehensive, tested, and fair method to evaluate employees using multiple measures (subjective and objective), multiple in-person observations, etc. It was so fair that 80% of the teachers voted in favor of the evaluation system and the performance pay package he developed. Mike Miles is now implementing EXACTLY what the public said were their #1 and #2 priorities. If you are reform-minded, and think that Dallas ISD needs change, then please let your Dallas ISD trustee know that you support Mike Miles’ reform efforts.