Election 101: Dallas ISD District 6 Needs A Collaborator

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Writer Bethany Erickson voted in less than five minutes yesterday, between tutoring readers and carpool.

As we take a look at Dallas ISD District 6 today, keep in mind that through next Tuesday, early voting means you, too, can walk in, do your civic duty, and walk back out in less time than it takes to pick up your dry cleaning.

catYesterday, between tutoring for Reading Partners and carpool, I stopped in to vote. It took me exactly three minutes from parking the car to getting back in and starting the engine. Just saying.

I know it may seem unimportant, but you probably do 500 unimportant things all day. Even if you think this is unimportant, too, maybe decide not to Google to see what happened to that guy who toured with Hansen, and go vote instead.

Or tell Janice you don’t have time to gab at the coffee pot today because you have to duck out and vote. I mean, given that it takes less than five minutes to vote, you still have time to pick up tacos on your way back. And bonus: then you get to be smug because you went to vote, and you have tacos.

See? Voting = Tacos. Tacos > Janice (sorry, Janice, but seriously, how often can you hear her story about what happened at the raw foods store she stopped at after Crossfit?). I repeat: Tacos.

Yesterday we reviewed the District 2 race, and today we’ll take a look at a much less contentious and quiet race — District 6.

As I have in previous elections, I will be breaking down each race and assigning a mathematical value to key endorsements for a final score.

District 6 is in southwest Dallas and has had a fierce and ardent advocate in Foreman, who has probably not had an opponent with the money and support she enjoys since she first ran in 2014. As you’ll see below, once again she is facing a candidate that cannot seriously contend for the seat.

So first let me explain my methodology for coming up with this scoring system. Experience, I think, should be given some weight. So it is assigned a number value of one. Endorsements should matter too, so those are also given a value of one.

I considered four sets of endorsements in this system, largely because the organizations providing them have a regular history of endorsing candidates, are involved in education, or are involved in real estate. Since school board elections are traditionally nonpartisan, we do not include partisan endorsements. Those endorsements are The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Kids First, the NEA, Alliance AFT, and The Real Estate Council PAC. In this race, Dallas Kids First did not endorse a candidate and I can find no announcement of a TREC endorsement, so there will be a possible score of 3, plus one more in the case of an incumbent (DMN, DKF, NEA, TREC). Because of this, there is the potential of receiving a 4/3 score.

The Candidates

joyce foreman district 6Joyce Foreman

NEA +1

Alliance AFT +1

Dallas Morning News +1

Incumbent +1

Total score: 4/3

While I don’t always agree with Joyce Foreman, I have found myself agreeing with her at least once as of late — we both dislike the A-F system state legislators foisted on districts. And she has worked hard to make sure District 6 facilities also benefit from bond money and improvements. And I don’t think you’ll find a more ardent advocate for her district. And judging from her Twitter and Facebook accounts, she routinely visits schools and celebrates successes with the teachers and students in her district.

However, the Dallas Morning News endorsed her with reservations. Dallas Kids First declined to issue an endorsement in this race at all. Some of her votes seem to be against the best interests of the most vulnerable students in her district. Votes against home visits, raising starting teacher raises, and even improving professional development to provide training in emotional support are puzzling, as all of these things are data-supported ways to support students.

Phelesha Hamilton district 6Phelesha Hamilton

No Endorsements

Total Score: 0/3

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you’re the underdog, and you don’t have campaign cash, it behooves you to invest in shoe leather, and seek out every opportunity possible to tell people about why they should get your vote. Don’t do that, and you’re merely a collection of letters on a ballot.

Hamilton didn’t attend the Dallas Morning News candidate interview. In fact, it looks like she blew them off completely. She didn’t demonstrate a good grasp of the facts in her DKF interview or questionnaire, either.

I don’t doubt her smarts and drive — but I do wonder why she filed to run if she wasn’t going to well, run.

My two cents about District 6: District 6 is a district that has a lot going for it — it’s moved from eight at-risk schools to three, and boasts a STEAM school (Hulcy) and Gilliam Collegiate Academy within its bounds.

But be clear — advocacy isn’t always about saying no. In fact, advocacy is a lot about saying yes. District 6 deserves a collaborative trustee that sees that the health of the head (the district as a whole) directly impacts the health of the limb (the individual district), and factors that in the decision making process.

And this doesn’t mean someone who falls in line — those who pay attention to school board meetings will tell you that nobody agrees with the entire board every single time, otherwise the District 2 race would be a lot sleepier than it is. But bringing ideas to the table, reaching out to neighboring trustees on common issues to work together, all of those things are important. A good leader, I’d posit, brings at least as many ideas to the table as he or she shoots down.

walkenEarly voting began Monday, and goes until May 2 (hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday, 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 1 and 2). For early voting locations, click this handy map.

Editor’s Note: Overviews of Dallas ISD races should not be construed as endorsements. CandysDirt.com does not endorse school board candidates.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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