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Broad-Trained Superintendent Mike Miles: No Miracles in Dallas

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Three years ago, the Dallas Independent School District hired Mike Miles as its superintendent. Miles, a military man, had been trained by the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy. When he arrived, he set a series of targets that he expected to reach as a result of his  leadership. One was to see a significant increase in test scores in three years. He declared that he would drive change by bold leadership.


The test scores were just released for Dallas. They are flat. Some declined.


Miles has removed many principals; teacher turnover has soared under his leadership.


STAAR test results released Friday by Dallas ISD offer little evidence of systemic progress under the leadership of Superintendent Mike Miles.


Compared with last year, the passing rate dropped for eight of 11 exams in grades three through eight. On three exams, passing rates increased by 1 or 2 percentage points. The results are for tests taken in English.


Similarly, compared with results from 2012 — the school year before Miles arrived — a higher percentage of students failed this year in eight of 11 exams.


Miles and his supporters had promised broad academic gains and said that this year’s results — the third State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams under his leadership — would prove his reform efforts had taken hold. But if STAAR is a good measure of achievement, those gains haven’t materialized despite numerous changes in the district.


Miles, however, expressed optimism about the latest scores in a written statement Friday.


“The results indicate progress and stability in most of the exams compared with the previous year. … The modest gains of our STAAR results this year confirm how I have been describing our last three years of work: That our staff has been focused on establishing the foundation on which we can build,” said Miles, who came to DISD in July 2012.


Well, this is a new definition of progress. It is called “progress and stability” and “establishing the foundation.” Of course, there is always next year. Or the one after that one.



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