Dallas ISD

Fresh from his runoff win Saturday, Justin Henry was sworn in as the trustee for Dallas ISD District 9 before the school board worked its way through Thursday’s agenda. The district announced preliminary school accountability ratings revealed a significant drop in Improvement Required schools (Photo courtesy: Dallas ISD).

Super nerdy confession: The original title of this piece was “Dallas ISD May Have Just Done Something Miraculous.”

But then I remembered a long senior year where my Honors English teacher insisted that we study S.I. Hayakawa’s “Language in Thought and Action,” a book about semantics so revered it’s currently in its fifth edition.

I may not remember much from high school coursework, but I do remember that book, and what it taught about language, and why the words we choose can impact the message. And miracle is not the right word, really, for what has happened in Dallas ISD.

You see, four years ago, 43 of the district’s 230 schools were labeled Improvement Required in the state accountability ratings — meaning that those schools weren’t just at risk, or struggling, but that they had actually failed to meet state standards. (more…)

electionWhen Justin Henry received the most votes — but not enough to avoid a runoff election — in May, a mere 69 votes separated him and Dallas ISD District 9 incumbent trustee Bernadette Nutall.

Saturday night, with all 47 precincts reporting, Henry won by more than 600 votes.

(more…)

election

Monday, we published a piece regarding the Dallas ISD District 9 runoff election. At the time, we only had responses from Justin Henry.

Tuesday evening, citing campaign obligations and scheduling conflicts that kept her from responding earlier, incumbent candidate Bernadette Nutall responded. We have included her answers in the original story, which can be found here.

Live in District 9? Election Day is June 16. Polling locations can be found here.

election

Only 69 votes separated Justin Henry from Dallas ISD incumbent District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall in the regular called election on May 6. But Henry failed to get the necessary 50 percent of the vote (although he came close at 47 percent), so the two have been forced to hit the campaign trail again for a runoff election June 16.

Early voting starts today and lasts until Tuesday, June 12. For information – including polling places – on early voting, click here. For information on voting on Election day, click here.

So far, early voting is a mere trickle — something many worried would happen when it became apparent that a May 5 school board election followed by a May 20 primary runoff followed by a June 16 school board runoff election would be in the offing. As of Sunday’s report, 3,592 people have voted in runoff elections in Dallas County. (more…)

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney. Photo courtesy of CNN

We get emails from people all the time, asking where the best place to live in North Texas is if you seek a high quality public school.

Tonight, the answer would be McKinney. 

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney is the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. He won Thursday night, by spelling the word “koinonia” . Media outlets said he survived “arguably the most intense competition in the bee’s 93-year history.”

Karthik is 14 and he beat a record-shattering 515 contestants at the national spelling bee, plus six other Texans. Five of the champion spellers were from the DFW area. Even more, the number of contestants nearly doubled (not exactly, 515 compared to 291 but this is a spelling bee story, not math) after bee organizers expanded eligibility this year.

Along the way, he had to outlast a field of 16 finalists who vanquished words such as “Praxitelean,” “ispaghul” and “telyn” — sometimes without batting an eyelash — in a breathtaking show of spelling skill broadcast live on ESPN.

But Nemmani, who was competing at his first national bee, displayed the poise of a veteran, seeming to sail through his words: “condottiere” (knight or roving soldier available for hire), “miarolitic” (of igneous rock), “cendre” (a moderate blue), “ankyloglossia” (limited normal movement of the tongue), “grognard,” “passus,” “shamir” (tiny worm capable of splitting the hardest stone) and “jagüey” (an East Indian tree).

Dear me, I can even screw up spell-check. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD District 9 school board trustee Bernadette Nutall (far left), is facing three candidates (from left to right): Justin Henry, Ona Marie Hendricks, and Edward Turner.

This just came across our desk today, but if you live in Dallas ISD District 9 (the only contested school board race this year), or if you just want to see what the four candidates say and where they stand on the issues, the students of three high schools  Skyline, Lincoln and Irma Rangel — are hosting a forum tonight at El Centro College, 801 Main St., Dallas, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (more…)

Property Tax

(Courtesy the Center for Public Policy Priorities)

Yesterday morning, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees met for several hours to review next year’s proposed budget.

It ain’t good.

And yes, being able to maintain the great strides the district is making is going to cost money that may only be available through a tax ratification election — meaning superintendent Michael Hinojosa is proposing for the third time (maybe three times is a charm) that the board consider sending a 13 cent property tax increase to the voters come November.

I mean, you can only cut so much before you have, as Hinojosa said yesterday, cut your way to the bottom.

It’ll be an uphill climb. People will blame the district. People will ask what the heck the district does with all its money, and how it can afford to open new schools and start a transportation department and still apparently poor mouth the taxpayers.

So let’s talk about that. (more…)

NAEPDepending on who you talk to, Texas’s score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, was either better than expected, flat, or horrible.

Often referred to as “the nation’s report card,” the NAEP assesses a sampling of fourth and eighth graders every two years. Roughly 7,500 students in Texas participated in the 2017 NAEP.

“NAEP scores offer something rare in education policy: data that are standardized across states and across time,” the Urban Institute explains. (more…)