Photo courtesy DISD

Photo courtesy DISD

For $1.6 billion, Dallas ISD says it will build nine new and replacement schools, add almost 300 more classrooms, expand space for pre-K, as well as new science and technology labs. But before that can happen, the district has to sell everyone on a bond election to raise the money.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but I’ll tell you how I’m going to vote in the November 3 bond election for Dallas public schools. And furthermore, I’ll tell you why.

A few months ago, I literally drove from one end of the district to the other. I stopped at schools in every single feeder pattern and noticed a common thing – portable buildings. Have you ever been inside one? They’re often nearly windowless, they’re completely devoid of charm, and we also subject our elementary students to walking to them in all the elements.

Almost every single campus has ‘em. One campus has almost 20. And no, this bond election won’t end the scourge of portable buildings, but it will give some feeder patterns and schools some much-needed breathing room through re-opening and building new schools and renovating and adding on to existing schools. It will make sure that students have the opportunity to learn STEM skills in cutting-edge labs. It will make sure that we have enough space to address the ever-growing need for pre-K space.

And the latter, I promise, is something we need to invest in especially. Want to see test scores go up? Improve early education. You’ll have to pack your patience, but when the reading and knowledge gaps are addressed early and kids are reading at grade level by third grade, organically test scores can improve. It’s not rocket science, it’s simply putting the cart and the horse in the appropriate places. (more…)