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Why School Boards Matter


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A short presentation on why School Boards matter in Texas, with a Dallas ISD example.

A short presentation on why School Boards matter in Texas, with a Dallas ISD example.

Published in: News & Politics, Education

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  • Please note - while a lot of noise is being made about the Texas State Board of Education, the real power and final jurisdiction rests with the Independent School Boards (ISDs). There are more than 1,000 across Texas.

    While the State Board of Education does set things like curriculum and testing standards, the implementation of such standards varies across the state. Each local ISD makes decisions on whether or not and how they will implement the suggestions of the State Board of Education.
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  • 1. Why School Boards Matter
    Tanya Tarr
    Texas AFT
    March 18, 2010
  • 2. Overview
    • Elements of a School Board Race
    • 3. Dallas
    • 4. Key Takeaways
    • 5. Discussion
  • “I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work.  Of course it doesn't work.  We are supposed to work it.”
    ~Alexander Woollcott
    The New Yorker Magazine
    in the 1930s
  • 6. Elements of a Race
    Activist Recruitment
  • 7. The Candidate
    • Was the candidate recruited from our strong community alliances?
    • 8. Does the candidate hold up against a rigorous endorsement review process?
    • 9. Is this candidate fearless and willing to work harder than volunteers?
    • 10. Does the candidate have financial resources?
    • 11. Will this candidate take direction?
  • Dallas ISD 2009 Races
  • 12. Dallas
    Endorsed 3 candidates in the special election
    Two seats - Parrott and Nutall - were elected
    Even when you don’t win, you win.
  • 13. Tactics and costs
  • 14. Why we won
    Overlapping groups of voters
    Aggressive voter contact of known school board voters
    Robust voter contact of all ISD employees by our members (expansion universe)
    Partnering with the candidates
    Phonebanking out of the Alliance-AFT office
    Technical assistance (list management)
    Encouragement and coaching
  • 15. How elections support Organizing
    After filing a grievance, more than 100 teachers received $222,875 in performance pay
    Parrott was one of three members of the grievance board
    DISD Trustees that had been non-responsive or hostile changed their attitude towards the local president.
    The DISD School Board stopped threatening consultation
  • 16. WE have the POWER!
    Questions? Please feel free to email me: