The new superintendent of the Dallas public schools, Mike Miles, is off to a rousing start. He is a military man, and he thinks in terms of organizational goals, the mission, the beliefs.
The story about Miles’ plan appears in the Dallas Morning News behind a paywall, so I can’t link to it.
But here are the essentials:
Like his predecessors, Miles has a long list of impressive goals.
He wants the district to embrace “a vision and a mission of raising academic achievement, improving instruction and not accepting excuses.” (What were they doing before Miles arrived?)
He said at a meeting of the school board:
“We cannot just post it and market it and put it in little brochures. We have to practice this,” said Miles, adding that he wants 80 percent of DISD employees to be “proficient” on those beliefs in a year. It is not clear how he plans to test the proficiency of all DISD employees, whether the test will be multiple-choice, and whether the test will be created by Pearson.
By 2020, he says, the graduation rate will be up to 90% from the 2010 rate of 75%.
By 2020, SAT scores will jump by 30%, and 60% of students will achieve at least a 21 on the ACT.
80% of students will be workplace ready, as determined by assessments created by the business and nonprofit communities.
He will create a new leadership academy to train principals in one year, based on what sounds like NYC’s unsuccessful one.
Teachers will be observed up to ten times a year, and these observations will factor into a pay-for-performance plan.
All classroom doors must be open all the times. so that teachers may be observed at any time, without warning.
Principals will have one year “to demonstrate that they have the capacity and what it takes to lead change and to improve the quality of instruction.”
Miles did not say how he intends to measure whether principals have this capacity.
By August 2015:
“At least 75 percent of the staff and 70 percent of community members agree or strongly agree with the direction of the district.
At least 80 percent of all classroom teachers and 100 percent of principals are placed on a pay-for-performance evaluation system.At least 60 percent of teachers on the pay-for-performance evaluation system and 75 percent of principals agree that the system is “fair, accurate and rigorous.”
Create a rubric to assess the professional behavior and effectiveness of each major central office department.
Miles is one heckuva corporate reformer. Nothing in his plan refers to the quality of curriculum, instruction or teaching. Nothing about meeting the needs of children. It’s all about the carrots and sticks, all about the shape of the container.
He not only has big goals, but he demands that DISD employees and the community agree with him. Wonder if Pearson has a test for that?
PS: I neglected to mention, when I put up this post, that Mike Miles is a 2011 graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy. Perhaps that explains why he is focused solely on organizational and management goals and overlooks anything having to do with raising the morale of teachers or addressing the needs of children. Thanks to commenter Jack Stansbury, for reminding me of the BS background.