DALLAS (TIP): For the first time, members of the public are getting to listen to presentations and ask questions about the DISD Home Rule initiative March 20 night. The face of the Home Rule initiative is a non-profit group called Support Our Public Schools (SOPS).
SOPS is pushing the overhaul of governance at DISD, which must first be supported by roughly 25,000 petition signatures. Once that happens, the board of trustees would appoint a committee to craft recommendations on exactly how DISD should be locally run. The founders of the movement are a handful of Dallas residents whose faces most won’t recognize, but they have the support of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who said he wants change at DISD and wants it now.
“I think what I’m trying to say is we’ve got such a serious situation that we are going to have to do something disruptive,” Rawlings said. “Incremental steps are not going to help a fourth grader in his or her next eight years.” But six months ago, Rawlings was the chief defender of DISD Superintendent Mike Miles and his reform initiative Destination 20-20. Today, Rawlings said Miles initiatives are not enough.
“These things have got to change faster, better, and with a greater sense of urgency,” Rawlings said. “So let’s not change anything Miles is doing, let’s take the handcuffs off on something’s that he articulated that would be great for him to do.” What could be a problem for Rawlings is that Miles is not supporting the Home Rule concept. He’s not opposing it either, but told the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Wednesday, “I didn’t initiate this and I didn’t say we should have this. You asked me whether there was a wish list of things we could have.
I’m not the one pushing for a change.” News 8 asked the Mayor if not getting the superintendent’s endorsement could hurt the Home Rule campaign. “If you look at his quotes, I applaud them — that’s the sort of superintendent I want,” Rawlings said. “It’s not his job to whine that he doesn’t have enough resources, his job is to get the job done.” The question is, will the mayor need Mike Miles support to sell the Home Rule initiative? Maybe not. A check of the “Support Our Public Schools” Facebook page reveals an impressive list of luminaries who are supporting it. But even more important are the voters and what they are saying about it, and Thursday night, there is sure to be a segment of those who believe the governance of DISD is just fine.