Firing DISD Superintendent Mike Miles is not the answer

By Rebekah Tate
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Dallas ISD board members are calling for a meeting to discuss firing current superintendent Mike Miles. The board claims Miles misled them in October when it approved a $6.4 million budget amendment to hire more teachers and staff members.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said firing Miles would be “the worst decision in DISD’s history.”

And he’s right.

When Miles was hired in July of 2012, he was supposed to be the savior DISD had been waiting for. Board members and DISD parents alike hoped Miles would quickly turn the struggling district around. Reality check, this isn’t a Lifetime movie, and Miles isn’t a superhero who can miraculously make a district do a 180 in just one calendar year. No, this is real life, a real school district, with real teachers, real kids, and real problems.

A Dallas Morning News analysis of academic data has found no overall trend of gains or losses since Miles was named superintendent three years ago.

While most view the lack of positive or negative change negatively for Miles, the truth is turning around a district with 223 schools and more than 160,000 students is not an easy, and by no means quick process.

Everyone is on the same team here. We all want DISD to improve, and the fact that it’s a very slow process is frustrating for everyone. But firing Miles because we’re frustrated with a slow process is not the answer.

In the past quarter century, no DISD superintendent has lasted more than six years. This is a major problem. Reforming DISD is not a simple process, thus it is going to take time. And it seems time is one thing that Dallas trustees and residents aren’t willing to give.

More important than trustees hashing out the he-said-she-said of a budget proposal that has already been passed, is keeping consistency in leadership.

In a Dallas Morning News article, Rawlings stresses that if Miles is fired, the “drama” will only increase, the children will be hurt, and Dallas will be back to square one.

Don’t get caught up in the drama. The answer isn’t firing Miles. The answer is patience. The school board needs to give Miles time so the effects of his reform effort can be felt and measured and Dallas residents should support such a decision.

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