Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent Dallas ISD

By Michael Hinojosa

In my professional opinion, in this day and age of high stakes accountability many school districts are taking short term actions that will cause long term pain.  There is significant research that the arts will improve the academic performance of students.  The results will not come immediately but will appear in the long run.  I am not an artist nor a musician, I am a former athletic coach, but I have seen enough research both quantatative and qualitative that indicate that the arts have a big impact on students socially and academically. 

The Dallas ISD has committed to funding art and music teacher at all 130 elementary schools.  We recently had an unexpected significant budget shortfall.  But there was no discussion of reducing our commitment to the arts.  We have had significant external support from the City of Dallas, the local arts community and the Wallace Foundation.  What was refreshing is that no one waned in the commitment we have made to the arts despite the very public budget difficulties we recently experienced. 


December 2, 2008 7:27 AM | | Comments (2) |


To the Board of Trustees:

My husband was recently laid off as a Community Liaison Person, after 5 years, 6 months from retirement. Prior to the Community Liaison position he was a teacher for 17 years. He has recently been applying for several Community Liaison jobs with no success.

So the current opening at Field ES Principal was called since he’s been to Ross numerous times. The Principal’s secretary said that the opening is vacant but that they will probably prefer a bilingual person since the school is 80% Hispanic. I have a problem with that statement because I thought the whole point in having an expensive Bilingual program was to encourage English and not the other way around. Also it’s starting to feel like we beginning to have a Segregation Problem. Segregation is defined as such:

Racial segregation separation of different racial groups in daily life, such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a rest room, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home.[1] Segregation may be mandated by law or exist through social norms. Segregation may be maintained by means ranging from discrimination in hiring and in the rental and sale of housing to certain races to vigilante violence such as lynchings;[citation needed] a situation that arises when members of different races mutually prefer to associate and do business with members of their own race would usually be described as separation or de facto separation of the races rather than segregation.

If this is your intention or our intended goal, then we are heading in the right direction. We will soon have a separate community of Hispanics in DISD, a community of Blacks in the Subs and the Whites in far far north Dallas. If that is the case, we don’t need Bilingual Classes after all. So I what I need to know is why are we wasting my tax dollars if the purpose is not to educate but separate instead- cultures and people???

As a nurse in the Dallas area I’ve taken classes and seminars to be exposed to different cultures in order to be more sensitive to their ways, habits, religions, customs, etc. So why aren’t we moving toward learning from each other rather than pushing non-Hispanics farther away from each other? Does anybody have a clue? Does anybody care? Are just letting nature and selfish rule? Why are we doing that? Why isn’t somebody speaking up? Why are we elected for positions? Why are silent about this trend? What is the end result of this segregation? I have gone to some Dallas schools and actually felt like I was in Mexico-the principal Hispanic, the assist. Principals Hispanic, the secretary Hispanic, the attendance clerk Hispanic, the cafeteria people Hispanic, the bus drivers Hispanic, the janitors Hispanic, the librarian Hispanic, the counselors Hispanic, the Art teachers Hispanic, the Math teachers Hispanic, the yardmen Hispanic, the repairmen Hispanic, the taxi cab drivers Hispanic and the mail man Hispanic, the dogs Hispanic, the maintenance Hispanic, etc. Then let’s forget the Bilingual propaganda. Come on now, why did MLK die for segregation or desegregation? Then why are we condoning Segregation or just letting it happen??? We will be like the African tribes separated and fighting each other more and more possibly in 2020, all because -----nothing was done.

“Dallas ISD is allowing jobs to be segregated.” Then we might as well stop Bilingual classes. Who is that helping?

Thank you for reading this letter.

Mrs. G. Lilly RN

School Nurse

Thanks for your comments and commitment, Mr. Hinojosa. I am very heartened to hear of your support for arts education, and for the display of support you're receiving from your colleagues. I have a suspicion, entirely unfounded, that the arts will fare better in this recession than they have in former economic crises (despite NCLB). I am part of a state wide arts program in NY State, based in NYC, so I have a rather rarified position; even so, I think there is a vigorous dialogue about arts education, and arts-in-education that didn't exist 15 - 20 years ago.

Here's a question for you: What would you tell other District Superintendent's who are facing budget short falls about why they should retain arts funding and cut other areas (such as literacy, or professional development, or sport)?

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