IMG_1589We couldn’t be more pleased to have Bethany Erickson on our team. She’s our dedicated education reporter, covering a contentious school board election, expounding on Dallas ISD’s ongoing struggle to expand pre-K, and dissecting the relationship between real estate and education.

Erickson, who doesn’t shy from the difficult subjects, sat down with the Dallas ISD education blog “Turn And Talks” to discuss her son, who starts kindergarten next year, as well as how to change the widespread misinformation about the district and its performance on their latest podcast.

This is what the teacher-run Dallas education blog has to say about Bethany:

“There are few people in Dallas I pay attention to more than Beth.

Her election coverage for Candy’s Dirt was solid, she’s not afraid to mix it up in the comment section, and she does everything she can to give everyone, especially people who like to pretend they know what they are talking about, an honest picture of Dallas ISD.”

You can listen to the whole podcast right here. Follow Bethany on twitter at @BethEricksonTX.

DISDd22016runoffSo we’re still working on getting District 2 representation on the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees because basically nobody voted in the election. Less than five percent voted in the election in May, forcing a runoff between Dustin Marshall and Mita Havlick.

Remember this map? This is the map that showed how poorly people showed at the polls. Less than 50 votes separated Havlick from Suzanne Smith in the May election. Less than 50 votes may very well decide this runoff, too, which is asinine.

Early voting starts today and lasts until June 14. Election Day is June 18. For information – including polling places – on early voting, click here. For information on voting on Election day, click here.

Now, in the meantime, I thought I would provide a brief primer on the two candidates. A previous rundown is here, but I reached out to both candidates last week with a quick second set of questions to augment the information found in the rundowns and in other responses from Dallas Kids First (Marshall, Havlick) and the Dallas Morning News, as well as responses at Turn and Talks (Marshall/Marshall podcast, Havlick/Havlick podcast).

My questions and each candidate’s answers follow. None of the responses have been edited. (more…)

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…)