Residents within the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) recently weighed in on issues facing their public schools in a poll conducted by The Dallas Express.
The residents were asked why they believed DISD was among the worst-performing school districts in the state and were presented with a number of choices from which to select.
Some of the choices presented to those polled were: a lack of sufficient funding, lack of parental involvement, lack of charter school options, and a self-focused board or self-focused administration.
The far-and-away highest selected choice in the poll was “mismanagement” by the DISD school board, at 49% of those polled.
That number was even higher among residents who also voted in the May 2022 municipal elections, at 54%.
Kelly Neidert is with Protect Texas Kids, an organization whose mission is to protect children from what it deems harmful agendas and indoctrination. Reached for comment by email, Neidert said, “DISD definitely has a mismanagement crisis. Nothing coming out of that district is positive, and that’s directly reflected on the incompetent board/administration.”
Neidert told The Dallas Express she believes that the school district has lost its focus on “actually teaching students” and is instead more concerned with “forcing diversity and inclusivity.”
“At every DISD board meeting I’ve been to, the word ‘equity’ is said every other minute,” remarked Neidert. Protect Texas Kids is exceptionally active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The latest Texas school accountability ratings were just released and show that DISD has struggled with students meeting grade levels across all subjects compared to the rest of the state.
Just 43% of DISD students “met grade level” on the reading STAAR compared to 53% of students across the state. Similarly, science and social studies significantly lag behind state performance as well.
Math is the subject in which students, on average, most closely meet state performance, with 39% of DISD students meeting grade level compared to 42% across Texas.
DISD also suffers a dropout rate of 4.5%, nearly twice the state average of 2.4%.
“Taxpayers in the district and parents who previously had children in DISD schools are overwhelmingly disappointed with what they’re seeing,” Neidert commented.
Yet despite these challenges, Cynthia Hawkins-Bowland, a retired DISD teacher and member of the Dallas Retired Teachers Association, believes that the current “DISD teachers and all DISD employees continue to give their best to the students.”
Hawkins-Bowland said she admires current teachers who are “working and giving their all during times of great political uncertainty.”
She cited the renewed discussions on so-called “school choice” policies, poor employment benefits, and a lack of respect from many state legislators as concerns she has for current teachers, as well as those considering the profession.
She believes these concerns may cause people to avoid the teaching profession or leave it prematurely. “It would be a great loss to the state of Texas and DISD,” she added, “or any school district,” if not addressed.
The Dallas Express reached out to each member of the DISD school board for comment on these poll findings, but as of the writing of this article, all had refused to respond.
Neidert called for an overhaul of the current school board. Voters should replace the existing members with those who “want [to] work in the best interest of kids,” she said and vowed, “My organization, Protect Texas Kids, plans on working with parents and concerned community members within the district to fix these ongoing problems.”