Texas schools continue to suffer under the oppression of the Republican state legislature (“the Lege”) and Gov. Rick Perry’s assault on education funding at all levels.
Last Thursday, May 19, some of the seams that hold Texas education together unraveled enough that problems spilled out for the public to see and wonder. In Dallas, school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced he plans to take the job open in the Cobb County, Georgia, school district. Hinojosa signed a three-year, more-money contract extension with Dallas Independent School District (ISD) earlier this year when he was passed over for the top job in Las Vegas, Nevada schools.
His announcement that he was leaving caught school board members flat footed, and not necessarily happy.
Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Melody Johnson announced her resignation at about the same time. She said she was resigning for personal reasons — her mother is ill — but it is also true that she has not had a good relationship with the board of the district, and things have been very contentious over the past several months.
Hinojosa made a statement to teachers and others working in Dallas ISD:
Two weeks ago, I was contacted by the Cobb County School District in Georgia about the position of superintendent. This past Sunday, I met with their board and tonight I was named a sole finalist for the position. This process has moved very quickly, to say the least.
It is an honor to be considered and is yet another indicator that the achievements experienced in the Dallas Independent School District are being noticed by other school districts throughout the country. I did not seek the position in Cobb County, nor have I been looking to leave Dallas.
I am enormously proud of the accomplishments that have been achieved with our Board of Trustees during the past six years. The number of Dallas students passing statewide exams at both passing and college-ready levels has increased every year. The number of students graduating from our schools has increased during the last three years. The number of students taking and passing AP exams is going up every year. The number of schools considered exemplary by the state of Texas has increased each year.
This did not happen because of any one individual. It happened because of a shared commitment from the staff of the entire Dallas Independent School District. To be part of the progress that has been made has been something very special.
I am not certain how things will play out in Georgia during the next few weeks. Please know that, regardless of what happens, your work on behalf of the students of Dallas ISD continues to be deeply appreciated.
One might hope he’s up to date on the creationism-evolution controversy for the sake of his new job; evolution is not controversial in Dallas ISD. It’s been a tough year for most Texas school superintendents.
When schools are supposed to be planning for fall, most districts in Texas still don’t know how deep will be the cuts in funding from the state legislature. Consequently, schools do not know how many faculty they will have to lay off, and that makes planning for the coming year all but completely impossible. We should expect more than a few of them to be weary of these fights, and wearing out.
Mick Jagger sang about the Texas Lege:
Raise your glass to the hard working people
Let’s drink to the uncounted heads
Let’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leaders but get gamblers instead