Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dallas Mayor appoints himself?

Dallas Mayor Looks at Taking Over DISD

As the news broke that Mayor Tom Leppert was considering a take-over of the Dallas Independent School District, emotions start rising.

When asked for a comment, all Mr. Leppert would say was, "The statement speaks for itself. I'm sticking with the statement," he said, adding only that "in the end, the kids have to be the priority. We're having a lot of conversations."

However, some school board members are questioning his motives. "Why would he want to be in charge of the school district?" Lew Blackburn wondered. Other board trustees from the southern sector (a primarily African-American section of the city) are stating their concern about a mayor from the northern sector (a primarily White section of the city) running the Dallas district (which is primarily African-American and Hispanic).

I get the sense that there is some defensiveness and territorialism going on. But, the truth of the matter is, our district teeters on the edge of a downward spiral. Though blame has been freely placed on Superintendent Hinojosa, blaming people does not fix the fact that our school system is not doing well and our children are suffering.

In the past, I don't know that I would've been on board with a city take over. However, I think we need to consider our needs and our resources.

DISD hasn't been thought of as a quality district for quite some time. If Mayor Leppert is serious about making the children a priority, it doesn't matter to me what color he is or where he lives. Our children deserve better than what they're getting.

I actually like Hinojosa. I like his passion; I like his approach. However, just because he has the best in mind for the kids and may be a great educator visionary doesn't mean he's got great business sense.

What I notice in non-profit is that most of us come from social sciences fields. We have been taught to be social workers, ministers, educators, etc. We have not been taught how to create a business plan, develop outcomes, and have a solid sense of budgeting. Yet, we are expected to wear that hat. Even the president of the United States has a team of people to figure out the economic piece.

So...if a successful business man who graduated from Harvard and was the former CEO of Turner Construction is committed to education and can help us get our financial piece in order, why not take him up on the offer? I don't get the sense he's wanting to tell educators how to teach. I would hope he is willing to listen to the educators and work in conjunction with them so that we can have a financially viable and educationally strong school system.
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