I just returned from viewing the education documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman'” when I heard the news: The Clark County, Nevada, school board decided to offer their job to Dwight Jones rather than DISD Supt. Michael Hinojosa. The 6-1 vote, along with some of the “judging” materials turned in by the 200 or so Clark County stakeholders who met with or “viewed” the two superintendent candidates ranked Jones higher than Hinojosa. But since DISD’s board voted 5-4 to extend Hinojosa’s contract through June 2015, he’ll presumably stay in his job here — at least until one or two more trustees cross over and decide Hinojosa needs to be gone.
In a weird way, this whole thing could be a turning point (to use a DMN phrase) for DISD. The board has now given Hinojosa more than four additional years to run the district. And once he signs the contract, he’ll have his money guaranteed. That puts him in a unique position to take some dramatic action in Dallas to continue turning around the district, and it could make him a motivated man on a mission because he really has nothing to lose. Think D.C.’s Michelle Rhee with a whole lot more guaranteed money.
As for the documentary, if you’re at all interested in public education in the U.S. you should check it out when it opens here Friday. The basic premise of the movie is that the public education system in this country is irretrievably broken, primarily due to what the film paints as self-absorbed bureaucracies and power-hungry teachers’ unions, and that perhaps charter schools are the way to dig out of the hole. DISD trustee Edwin Flores, who attended the screening and was part of a panel discussion afterwards, said something interesting: He predicted that within 10 years, DISD will have one of two structures — either the district will be a veritable multi-pronged collection of public and charter schools or it will have 130,000 of its 160,000 students will be enrolled in charter schools. The movie opens Friday at the Magnolia and the Angelika Plano.