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Dallas Justice Now: DISD Has ‘Shocking Level of Dysfunction’

Education

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Local advocacy group Dallas Justice Now strongly believes there is an education crisis in the city, so much so that it has led protest marches, spoken at board of trustee meetings, and issued scathing press releases about “injustice and inequality” within the school district.

The group “is currently shining a light on the failing schools of the Dallas ISD along with those who have no choice but to send their children to these institutions,” said Michelle Williams, the organization’s founder.

Williams said there’s a “shocking level” of dysfunction within DISD leadership that has eroded teachers’ passion for educating and jeopardized students’ futures. She added students are being short-changed in the arts and trades, saying courses such as gym, arts and crafts, and shop classes are often being replaced with courses designed to help students pass standardized tests.

“Public schools shouldn’t be reduced to industrial conveyor belts that produce broken young adults,” she said.

But industrial conveyor belts are what DISD is producing, especially in “underserved” neighborhoods, Williams said.

DISD has several ongoing themes, she said. The first, she explained, is inequality between zip codes. While students in “underserved” neighborhoods are forced to attend poorly rated or ‘not rated’ schools, Williams noted, students attending schools in wealthier zip codes are afforded opportunities to aspire to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, or some other high-earning occupation.

“And the cost is our future … which is our children,” she said.

Williams said the DISD needs to invest more in vocational education. She believes this would help students in the district find a career path in welding, truck driving, mechanics, or heating and air conditioning repair/installation.

“Not all of us were meant for the kind of higher education proposed by a liberal American model,” she said. “There are opportunities in trade schools and as well as agriculture that lead not only to gainful employment but to business ownership and entrepreneurship as well.”

DISD is plagued with failing schools. One example, at Samuell High School in South Dallas, less than a third of students scored at grade level or above on this year’s STAAR examination, 10 percentage points below the district’s already meager 41% average.

Samuell High also suffers from an alarming on-time graduation rate. Only two-thirds of the students in the graduating class of 2021 earned their diplomas in four years, 14% less than DISD’s lackluster graduation rate of 81.1%.

The Dallas Express’ calls to the DISD and the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce went unreturned as of Friday afternoon.

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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Don M
Don M
1 month ago

Of course, let’s throw taxpayer’s money at the problem. Create a new department to solve the issue and spend $500k/ year on salaries and benefits. And the problem never gets solved because the employees will be out of a job.
Same as every single governmental agency ever created.
The issue here is a cultural one, not an educational one. These kids don’t do well because they don’t have the support at home, for whatever reason. Solve that issue and things will change. Until we make the necessary societal change, nothing will improve.
I do very much agree with vocational education. Not everyone is suited to be a keyboard jockey or a doctor, lawyer or whatever.

Val
Val
Reply to  Don M
1 month ago

This is our 2nd year in DISD. I have kids ranging from 31 to 14 and have lived in many states due to military travel and this is the absolute worst district of them all. It is now October and my son still has no bus route to get him to school. To your comment about no support at home..my son has been reading since the age of 3. He is an honors student who won a national award last year, yet here we are with no way to get to school because he chose to explore a collegiate program with robotics and culinary duo major. I have emailed SEVEN higher uos in the district and not a single call or email back. Communication from the school staff took me threatening to seek legal counsel. You shpukd probably not put poorer districts in a box with your “no support at home” line. While it may be true for some individuals it’s not for all. My 14 yo honors student sitting at home because the district can’t get it together while I work 12-15 hour shifts in healthcare is proof that DISD is less than impressive.

JP Maxwell
JP Maxwell
Reply to  Don M
1 month ago

Have you considered that students don’t have support at home because their parents never received a decent education and that had led to a generational decline? Education is the problem. I’ve taught in these schools and they are not trying to teach. They are trying to create good minimum wage employees. Students in economically disadvantaged areas arent even given teachers. They aren’t being taught at all and then society wants to blame culture. I agree. We have a societal issue. The problem is we give millions to a government ran education system that funnels all that money back into the pockets of the wealthy and ignores poor communities.

Last edited 1 month ago by JP Maxwell
Amy
Amy
Reply to  JP Maxwell
1 month ago

Well said 👏🏾!

S. Smiths
S. Smiths
1 month ago

All they care about is the athletic programs that’s why.

Last edited 1 month ago by S. Smiths
J B
J B
Reply to  S. Smiths
1 month ago

I’ve been teaching in one of DISD’s challenging middle schools for 7 years and have concluded that the problem is the administrators and parents want the teachers to change too many unprepared and unmotivated students into strong learners on their own. It can’t be done. In general, DISD alliws the weakest, most undisciplined students to ontrol the level of teaching and learning in each classroom. It is very sad for the bright and aspiring students mixed in with them.

Darrin G
Darrin G
Reply to  S. Smiths
1 month ago

I went the said mentioned school, class of 97, the teachers taught most students had no care to learn, big district like DISD should be broken up into smaller more responsive and easier to manage districts based on neighborhood. Oh and it’s not athletic programs I assure you, inner city schools have the worst and under funded athletic facilities, that’s why rich suburban schools win all state titles.