Photo courtesy Flickr/Arul Irudayam

Photo courtesy Flickr/Arul Irudayam

I’ve been working on this deep dive into national and local policy and data regarding discipline for almost a week now, ever since trustee Miguel Solis introduced a proposal to ban most suspensions at the pre-K through second grade level, and place a moratorium on them in the third through fifth grade level at a recent Dallas Independent School District board of trustee briefing.

I’ll be honest – I’ve been reading ahead. I’ve been reading ahead since taking a series of classes on the state of public education, an activity that predates last week’s board briefing by a whole year. I’ve been waiting for someone to address this.

Sometimes, I forget that other people aren’t raging policy wonks who consider US Department of Education materials and other data light reading, so the pushback surprised me. The meeting yielded a whole lot of “who moved my cheese” responses. The comments on subsequent stories written about that meeting yielded much more.

But it was a response from an actual teacher that tells me we all really could benefit from not only a good dose of reality but also a whopping dose of “how did we get here.” I hope to provide some of that today by sharing what I’ve learned about suspensions and elementary students. (more…)


Candy is in Miami right now, wading through all of the amazing real estate news at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference. While we are a little jealous (OK, we are A LOT jealous) of her temporary location and proximity to so many brilliant minds at #NAREE15, we did score this bit of news from’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, who was on the “Mortgage Availability for Millennials and Other First-Time Buyers” panel:

“Despite the slow indicators we saw earlier this year, 2015 is on pace to be one of the best years for housing since 2006 due to strong sales and higher than predicted home prices,” said Smoke. “Additionally, we’re observing an uptick in millennial traffic and sentiment that we expect will result in more first-time home buyer sales in the later part of the year.”

This conclusion comes from a survey conducted by, showing a slight increase in Millennials ages 25-34 visiting the website with the goal of buying a home.


Nassau3.23.13 (10).jpg Hilton beachThese and other soothing post-summer-vacation thoughts will make you happier than ever to be land-locked in Dallas… over on…Nassau3.23.13 (46).jpgbeach private

Over on, our Miami correspondent, Andrea Kavanagh tells us the South Florida market is sizzling — just what I heard at NAREE. It’s from foreigner’s buying up Miami real estate with hard, cold cash. Speaking of cash, Versace said “money was not just no object, it was irrelevant” when he built his waterside mansion and lined the 54-foot swimming pool in 24 carat gold. Kind of makes a $3 million backyard water park not such  big deal, doesn’t it?

Too bad Versace is no longer with us to enjoy it.

You must have heard by now that we here in Dallas are not living in sync with the rest of the nation. I had to make a quick trip to Rockford, Ill. over the weekend and was that an eye-opener real estate wise: things just are not moving, values just stuck. So it did not shock me at all that Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index came out Tuesday and Dallas is one of seven cities where prices are improving. Like, inching upwards. That would be us, Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix, the ONLY cities in the 20-city metro composite where the annual rates of return, or home prices, are getting better.

Detroit, I get. When you can buy a $500,000 home for $49,000, folks go shopping. Ditto Phoenix, though I think that market still needs vitamins and then still has a way to go. What can you do in Phoenix besides wear a lot of sunscreen and golf, which is a dying game? Miami? Easy, water. Lots of foreign buyers sweeping in to buy up deals, and the deals are there. I’d buy in Miami in a heartbeat. A high-end agent I met a few weeks ago, Eloy Carmenate, tells me Miami luxury properties are selling like hotcakes.

And now, Dallas-area home prices are up 1.5% in March from a year ago, up for the first time in more than 20 months. We are obviously doing something right.

Nationwide, home prices continued to fall — down 2.6 percent from March 2011, according to Case-Shiller. The last time the Dallas Case-Shiller index showed an increase was in June 2010, when prices were 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier and following the “First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit” deal that accelerated a lot of purchases. The price index then fell for 20 straight months. Kaput.

Dr. James Gaines with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University has good vibes about the market this year. Good — not great. We may start seeing some fairly significant percentage increases during the next couple of months or so, he says, in some coveted areas, but his projection for the year as a whole is conservative.

I’m impressed: local reports show that pre-owned home sales prices in North Texas are up 6 percent so far this year compared with the same period of 2011. Pre-owned home sales were up 14 percent in the first four months of this year.

I just don’t understand Atlanta, where home sales prices fell 17.7 percent in March, according to Case-Shiller. Or Las Vegas, where prices were down 7.5 percent. Chicago, and really most of northern Illinois are hurting down 7.1 percent in Chicago from a year earlier. And that’s Obama territory.

Keep in mind Case-Shiller tracks single-family homes, no condominium and townhouse sales, and no new construction sales are included in the index. Knowing what’s happening development-wise in Frisco and McKinney, I would call our Case-Shiller numbers conservative.

But why are we doing so well? I know that some parts of town are still sluggish, while others are experiencing multiple offers and a one-month supply of inventory. Park Cities and parts of Lakewood are now a seller’s market. Sunnyvale doing well, too. In fact, lack of housing stock seems to be our biggest concern right now. In fact, I am starting to write about homes not in MLS, on the market, that are selling without ever touching MLS. Example: 4001 Turtle Creek.

I dialed up David Brown at MetroStudy and hope to hear from him soon. Meantime, please tell me what you think. Why is the Dallas market doing better than so many others — and why is Houston not up here with us? And why is Atlanta tanking? Does it have anything to do with how the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area adds another person every four minutes and 10 seconds, making us the fastest-growing metropolitan area in America?

Dallas-Fort Worth swelled with 126,037 residents between July 1, 2010, and the same date last year, according to newly released population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau . So I guess everyone’s moving here, and working, and buying homes. Is there anything else we do right?

We now have a Miami correspondent over on SecondShelters, and this is her first find! This home is right on the beach, a waterfront Mediterranean built in 1925 with 4659 square feet, asking $2.4 million. On the beach, very convenient, no? Guess what’s also convenient? Having a toilet smack in the middle of your very (messy) den! 3591 Flamingo Dr Miami Beach FL 

And check for more fun posts fresh from Miami by Andrea Kavanagh!