The real stakeholders in Dallas ISD – parents and taxpayers who actually live in the district – are starting to weigh in on the money-backed effort to hijack the district and convert it into a home-rule charter operation, and they are making it clear they don’t like the idea.
Supporters of the scheme, which was kept secret for who knows how long, finally hosted town hall meetings in Dallas last night and were greeted with a barrage of justifiable complaints and questions. According to the Dallas Morning News, parents and taxpayers wanted to know who is paying for the campaign, why it is being moved so fast, what organizers want to do with the locally elected school board and why no promotional materials were published in Spanish, the first language of many DISD families. And, real answers still are in short supply.
The only source of funding for the campaign who has been made public so far is former Enron trader John Arnold, a billionaire who lives miles away in Houston and who already has declared war on teachers and other school employees by seeking to abolish their hard-earned, defined-benefits pensions.
The group fronting the takeover attempt has deliberately misnamed itself as a grassroots organization professing to “Support our Public Schools,” when, in truth, it is a well-financed, outside group seeking to offer more opportunities for corporate interests to take over neighborhood Dallas schools.
“This is not a debate,” state Rep. Jason Villalba, who supports the takeover effort, tried to tell the audience at one town hall meeting. Oh, but it is a debate, and so far Villalba’s side hasn’t been very convincing that the effort is anything more than a privatization grab.
Villalba also was quoted in the Dallas Morning News, “This is not something that is meant to be done by billionaires from another place.”
Oh, yeah? Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, smells like a duck….You know the rest.