The biggest surprise of 2008, so far? Other than the economic calamity, of course.

That DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa has weathered the budget crisis story and held onto his job.
At least that’s the subtext of a Dallas Observer cover story this week about Hinojosa. It’s a fairly long read that offers a few details about the guy that you don’t find in most of the media’s DISD coverage these days. The story is relatively empathetic toward Hinojosa, interviewing his father (an Assembly of God minister who wondered aloud, as his son took the DISD job, whether he would be able to avoid the "troublemakers" in DISD) and his sister, who says Hinojosa as a child was focused, serious and hard-working.

The story depicts Hinojosa interacting with DISD teachers at the schools he visits each week (he has visited all 255 DISD schools at least once during his tenure), allows  a few of his detractors to repeat their belief that Hinojosa is a deeply flawed superintendent, picks on the school board for unilaterally extending their terms, and reiterates that the black members of the school board who voted against hiring him now are most eager to see him go. The story doesn’t talk with DISD parents, and that’s probably wise considering the incendiary nature of parents talking about their children’s education, but it does point out DISD’s clear and measurable academic gains since Hinojosa took over.

If you already have made up your mind that Hinojosa should be fired, you won’t find much in this story to dissuade you. If you believe Hinojosa should stay and DISD’s problems aren’t completely his fault, you’ll find some support in the story. If you want to get a glimpse inside the mind of a guy with an impossible job, read a book written by one of our former presidents.

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