Former DISD Superintendent’s Past Scrutinized

Mike Miles | Image by Stephen Spillman for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) appointment of former Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles to head up operations at Houston ISD following its takeover by the state has prompted renewed scrutiny over Miles’ controversial tenure in Dallas.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath named Miles as superintendent of Houston ISD and appointed nine board managers to replace the locally elected school board. Chronic underperformance at a district campus had triggered a state takeover law.

Miles’ appointment raised some eyebrows from observers who wonder whether his leadership style and proposed reforms will actually improve student outcomes at Houston ISD.

“[His] approach created a ton of controversy in Dallas ISD and it did lead to an increased rate of teacher turnover relative to the rest of the state,” said David DeMatthews, a professor of education at the University of Texas at Austin, speaking with The Texas Tribune.

“Hopefully, he learned his lesson in Dallas.”

Miles only held the superintendent post for three years (2012-2014), but while at the helm, he completely redesigned Dallas ISD’s teacher evaluation system. The system tied teacher pay to student feedback surveys and standardized test results instead of work experience and education, allegedly prompting resignations and retirements.

Several scandals also plagued Miles’ time in Dallas.

His chief of staff tendered his resignation after being hit with a federal indictment for accepting bribes in his previous position in Georgia. His head of human resources also resigned when it was revealed she apparently made inappropriate jokes about race, religion, and age and discussed strategies to terminate employees in private messages with another administrator.

“The attitude, the atmosphere, in most of the worksites and campuses was one of fear and intimidation,” said Rena Honea, president of the Alliance-AFT teachers union, according to Houston Landing. “That’s how his rule was. Not a lot of collaborative input, which is what education should be: people working together.

In terms of academics, Miles reportedly had a negligible impact on student achievement outcomes at Dallas ISD, which has long suffered from poor marks in its TEA accountability reports.

“Miles has said it’s too early to see the positive results that will come from his changes. An analysis of various indicators bears that out, showing no consistent improvement in test scores or other measures,” read the blurb for a comparative graphic published by The Dallas Morning News at the time.

The graphic indicated flagging STAAR exam scores in Dallas ISD compared to Houston ISD and statewide averages. The number of Dallas campuses that received failing marks from the TEA also increased under his tenure.

Dallas’ school system still struggles to impart its students with quality education, despite the best efforts of the district’s dedicated and hardworking teachers.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, only about 40% of students scored at grade level on last year’s STAAR exams, and only roughly 80% of its Class of 2022 graduated on time. As of the 2021-2022 school year, 57 Dallas ISD campuses have a D rating in student achievement — 29 have an F.

Given his legacy at Dallas ISD, it is unclear whether Miles can turn things around in Houston.

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  1. Former DISD Superintendent’s Past Scrutinized – Round Up DFW - […] Dallas ExpressJune 28, 2023Uncategorized […]

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