There is currently a home rule campaign drive in Dallas, Texas that, if successful, would let the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) sever its ties with the state. Dallas residents would then have the ability to design their own governing body from scratch and the current DISD would cease to exist. The campaign drive is working to gather about 25,000 signatures to request forming a committee to draft a new DISD education charter. There would have to be approval from 25 percent of the city’s eligible voters for the charter to pass. Concrete information on what is expected to occur after that process is difficult to find.
CBSDFW reporter, Doug Dunbar, explains the home rule charter is similar to charter schooling. The home rule charter would allow the Dallas school district to put in place its own laws and ignore some of the laws of Texas. In the CBSDFW interview Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, “I don’t know what people are holding onto. I don’t. I think this system is broken and now we can build a new school system the way we want to, and we can be accountable for.” In the state of Texas, Dallas is the largest district, and it is the first district to attempt to implement the home school rule. An anonymous source in Fort Worth, Texas expressed concern that if this campaign is accepted in Dallas, their city might be the next to adopt it.
DISD trustee Mike Morath said, “Nobody really knows what that commission is going to write,” according to correspondent Brett Shipp. In addition, Shipp states Mayor Rawlings says revamping the system will provide students with a higher quality education experience overall. When asked for specifics of what will be set in place, his response was “I don’t know, but we will talk about it.”
Linda Isaacks, executive director of the Dallas School Administrators Association and Hector Flores, executive director of the Association of Hispanic School Administration of Dallas wrote “We do not know if a home rule charter is the answer for any other large urban district but we do not think it’s for DISD” in a letter in response to the campaign according to writer Tawnell Hobbs of the Dallas Morning News.
Dan Micciche, DISD trustee for District 3 feels the home rule petition campaign is built on good intentions. He states similar disheartening factors are what led him to take steps to improve the academic situation of the city. Similar to putting new clothes on the same person, Dan surmises the new system would address the same students and that is not necessarily the best solution. Economic challenges, contribute to the lagging behind education system in Dallas schools. Micciche suggests educating parents on the importance of education even before their child begins school. Educating three and four years olds and overall implementation of curriculum that has been proven to be successful would be a step to minimizing the achievement gap are some of his other suggestions. Dan provided phone number 972-925-3920 and email [email protected] for people who are interested in volunteering to assist with improving the education situation in Dallas. Flores and Isaacks wrote having Dallas leave the Texas state public school system is not he answer. DISD is not a lost cause; support from the community is key. Isaacks and Flores wrote, “Why can’t we give them support together instead of experimenting with an unknown and divisive alternative?”
By Dada Ra