Friday, October 17, 2008

Who Believes in Dallas?

Is there anyone in the education world who wasn't motivated to tears at the beginning of this school year by a fifth grader named Dalton Sherman? The words "Do you believe in me?" were evangelically shouted over the cheering audience of 17,000 educators in the Dallas Independent School District at their beginning of school convocation. The YouTube video of the inspiring speech has been shown all over the country in schools and board meetings. Teachers from Maine to New Mexico have asked themselves "do we really believe in our students?" Dalton has continued to inspire, even sharing the stage with Maya Angelou, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and being interviewed by numerous news outlets.

But in an emotional twist of fate, some teachers in Dallas may have to find something else to believe in besides students. Today 460 teachers are scheduled to be laid off due to the budget shortfall. Originally, 560 teachers were to be let go until a couple of hundred were "bought out." It is painfully apparent that more is at stake here than the fact that there will be 460 people packing up rooms and leaving. I picture bewildered children having to sever relationships that have been built since August. I see remaining teachers struggling to move their own classrooms in order to spread human resources around the district. And, although I'm aware that we're in a budget crisis, is this really the best time for this type of disruption?

All I can think of is Dalton's face, and the hope that school system began the year with, and I have to wonder...who's left to believe in the children of the Dallas ISD now?

Update: Dallas didn't fire the predicted 460 teachers today. Instead 375 were given the bad news . The stories of crying teachers and students, teachers returning to pack up classrooms, and distressed children who are unsure about what will happen on Monday when they return to school are heartbreaking. How can this be the answer?!


Unknown said...

If the teachers are being let go, how about the individual/s who made a blunder in miscalculating the budget?
This is sad since we all know who's going to be losing out with this decision. In my opinion, only the non-performers should be asked to leave.

Luc-Ferris said...

It saddens me most that the national media has only gotten wind of this story today, AFTER these teachers were fired. This story has been in the eye of the city of Dallas for almost a month. The people have begged and pleaded with local, state, and federal agencies to not let these teachers be fired. We've been screaming for this cause for the sake of the students. Have you seen the videos? The children are LOSING their mentors. It is shameful I say. Shameful!

edw said...

I agree with you vic and luc-ferris 100%! Hinojosa needs to be fired and brought up on charges. How can you NOT know there is an $84 million budget error. It's sad that the kids are on the losing end of this. Qualified teachers who have a passion for teaching are a dying breed and this is how DISD and the nation repays them? With all the turmoil, theft and politics just to name a few that DISD has encountered they're lucky that people want to teach there. With dropout rates, low test cares and academically unacceptable schools in DISD, we should all shake our head in shame.