11 December 2006

Dallas Calling Puerto Rico

Sometimes stuff just falls into your lap...(Actually, Mine, but you get the idea.)

I noted to a friend of Mine that the Dallas Independent School District is advertising for bilingual teachers. Here's My comment:

Over the past two weeks, the Dallas Independent School District has been advertising on local cable. It offers a base salary almost double that of starting teachers here, and the thing I noticed most about the ad is that it seems "crude," i.e., not a slick polished piece. Maybe it's a budgetary constraint (go for placement and repetitions rather than production values) or a deliberate choice to avoid "glossy" oversell. Find it interesting.

My friend, a Dallasite, (that is a word) of many years, had this to say:

DISD (Dallas Independent School District) should also be (re)-advertising for an "ethics oversight" person... Seems that the one they recently hired (stellar qualifications on paper) was missing those little initials "CPA" after his name... those little initials that were present on his resumé... Yep, it appears he let those little initials lapse about 10 years ago and just sort of forgot that little detail. DISD didn't uncover that in their "due diligence" process - but the Dallas Morning News took about 15 seconds to unearth it by perusing the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy's online registry... And that was a $125k/year position... apparently it's hard to hire "good ethics" these days... and the position is definitely needed - seems that the last few DMN series have (un)covered DISD credit cards run amok (a secretary running up $220k?? at places like Pier One and Target?? lots of Ipods and gift cards??), and employees who should never have passed even a rudimentary background check (felons? child molesters?? who's checking??).

The "technology" guy was fired not too long ago- seems he was taking a lot of really nice trips on some really big boats, courtesy of some really friendly vendors... So maybe there's not too much technology left to create slick ads... But good news for teachers - "bilingual" testing is minimal (I think five questions) - not much pesky testing in Spanish... PITIFUL. (This partially explains why my child is not in a DISD school....) I know they do have a dire shortage of bilingual teachers.

Okay, as much as I lambaste the local miseducation system, it seems the sheer incompetence of so-called educators is not limited to Our Island alone. But I wonder:

--Is fraud and corruption a universal "need" in governmental and pseudo-governmental systems?

--Is an offer based largely on salary (though the ad talks about "changing the world one student at a time") ever any good?

--If Our "too lazy and too stupid" teachers go to Dallas, will they be assets or just asses?

--Can Dallas, Puerto Rico or any other educational district in the U.S. systematically rise to world-class standards without resorting to creating "artificial" school districts that "keep out the riff-raff"?

--Does the DISD have any idea what they're getting into by seeking teachers here? Not that We lack talent, but We're certainly not "American" teachers, used to "American" resources and "American" ways. Maybe that's the point, but I don't see how that can be much of an advantage.

Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. Maybe there's more in common between Dallas and Puerto Rico than I give credit for. Maybe there's a golden thread that both sides can weave into a shining tapestry of educational excellence.

Maybe both sides will learn even more ways to shaft the taxpayers by stealing, bribing and simply not seeing what is patently obvious. Who says a lousy educational system--or two--can't produce some "positive" result?

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bureaucratic organizations with inadequate controls will always be good targets for those lacking a moral compass who seek personal enrichment at the public trough (the Dallas Independent School District and FEMA are two good examples of this).

Dallas does have some very dedicated teachers (and some good schools), but the leadship at the top (with the "moral tone" set by their example) has often been lacking.

There are some charter schools showing great promise. The East Dallas Community School is a small, private school in a poor area of Dallas. It is a Montessori school (preschool through elementary) with about 90 students (and a waiting list of over 400). The head of the school decided that the easiest way to replicate the school would be to start a charter school. Now they have two schools demonstrating that excellent results are possible even when working with students from difficult backgrounds.

Both schools REQUIRE parental involvement, which I think is key. Parents understand that they are in partnership with their kids' school. The school can't operate in a vacuum.

School problems are not unique to Puerto Rico; we have them in Dallas, too. Solutions will take cooperation from many different groups if they are to be successful.

"The Dallasite"/ TPGL