Wanted - Fact Checker

January 16, 2019

Dallas Kids First (DKF), a local political action committee says they are dedicated to electing education Reform trustees to the Board of Dallas ISD. They sent out a fundraising email this week and indeed they need funds - to pay a fact checker.

 

Here's the first erroneous statement:

Under the Accelerating Campus Excellence Initiative (ACE), Dallas ISD has reduced the number of lowest-rated campuses from 19% to just 1%!  In four years, the district went from having 43 of the lowest-rated schools in the state to just 4. 

 

Here's the fact:

Dallas ISD removed 52 campuses from "lowest-rated" or what the state refers to as Improvement Required (IR) by non-ACE means. DISD removed 12 IR campuses via ACE means. Or we can look at it this way, in four years 81% of the IR campuses were removed with zero help from the ACE program. 

 

The next erroneous statement:

Dallas ISD is retaining an average of over 90% of its top-rated teachers. Dallas ISD introduced a performance-based evaluation and compensation system that gives insight into teacher performance and strategic placement across campuses.

 

Here's the fact:

The more you pay someone the more likely they are to stay. The "top-rated" teachers in DISD are those teaching gifted and talented students at magnet campuses, those at predominantly white and choice campuses, and those at higher socio-economic status campuses. Below is the list of the twenty highest median salary schools in the district. 

 

And here's the other thing, Dallas isn't strategically placing these top-rated, aka highly effective, teachers across campuses. They sure didn't move them to the 52 IR campuses noted above; in fact, in 2016-17 those non-ACE IR campuses were staffed with 97% "less effective" teachers. (DISD Report, Appendix G)

 

And finally this statement:

The key strategies that have led to this success are being replicated in other Texas districts and studied nationwide. 

 

Here's the fact:

The TEI merit-pay program in DISD has indeed been studied, nationwide, and proven a failure. The exact TEI program was studied for six years in a $575 million dollar project by folks that wanted nothing more than for it to be a success. But it wasn't, and the Gates Foundation admitted that and are no longer funding teacher evaluation research because of it. The non-partisan RAND corporation published a 500+ page report on it saying this:

Education is complicated, facts matter, and elections have consequences. Make sure you get your facts from a reliable source. 

 

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