In Dallas, billionaire John Arnold is supporting an initiative to turn the whole district into a “home rule district” or a “charter district.”
The organization that is collecting signatures has a typical reformer name: “Support Our Public Schools.” When today’s reformers say they want to “support our public schools,” it usually means the opposite. Buyer beware.
But what is a home rule district?
Wade Crowder, a veteran Dallas teacher, explains that the goal is to remove the elected school board and replace it with an unaccountable appointed board. As is usual with today’s corporate reforms, the prelude to a sweeping plan for deregulation is claims of failure, failure, failure.
Actually, the supporters of the home rule district have been vague about their goals.
But Julian Vasquez Heilig says that what is happening is a “hostile corporate takeover.”
If you open the link in Julian’s blog, you will see the names of the extremely wealthy people who are behind “Support Our Public Schools.”
None of them has a record for having supported public schools in the past.
They have contributed to school board races, but not to Carla Ranger, who is the most outspoken supporter of public schools on the Dallas school board.
Early indications are that voters are suspicious of the motives of the monied clan that wants to control the public schools their children attend.
“Home Rule is an emerging story currently flying under the radar in the national and statewide Texas media. Millionaires and billionaire(s) are quietly funding a “Home Rule” hostile takeover attempt of all public schools in Dallas, Texas. Yes, that’s right… ALL OF THEM.”
And he adds:
Who is Support our Public Schools?
Who are the behind-the-scenes players in the Home Rule takeover proposal?
Who is John Arnold?
What are the steps to the Home Rule takeover in state code?
What “rules” will Dallas not be “free” from as a Home Rule Charter District?
What “rules” will Dallas be “free” from after a Home Rule takeover?
Is the Home Rule takeover really necessary?
Is a charter district takeover more democracy and local control or less?
Have a politically appointed school board and mayoral control been a successful approach?
Have charters outperformed traditional public schools across Texas?
How does the Texas and Dallas investment in education compared to peers?
If not Home Rule, what reforms should DISD and SOPS commit to?
Some of the questions addressed in the brief are more specific to the Dallas community. However, several have import for the state of Texas and public education nationally such as: Who is John Arnold? and… Have a politically appointed school board and mayoral control been a successful approach?
Keeping up with the billionaires and millionaires’ education privatization hobby is a lot of work. Maybe we could suggest to them that they get a regular hobby like N-scale model trains or do more snow skiing?”