Tag Archives: Dallas ISD

What would you do?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s play this drama out a bit longer, shall we?

Dallas public school superintendent Michael Hinojosa has become a bit of a household name in just a few hours. He decided to defy an executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by ordering that everyone who works in or visits a Dallas public school wear a mask to prevent exposure to the COVID virus.

Abbott’s order said local public officials cannot do that.

I have been asking this of myself: If I were running a school district would I have the guts to defy a gubernatorial order? My own bias tells me I would. I dislike Abbott’s ham-handed approach to dictating to local officials how to protect their constituents. Still, to defy the governor in this fashion is to tempt political fate, given that school superintendents do represent fellow citizens who might disagree with a decision of such controversy and consequence.

Could I withstand the heat? To be honest, I cannot answer that question as I have never faced such a possibility … ever!

Dallas Independent School District is the second-largest district in Texas. The other Texas mega-districts sit in communities such as Harris, Travis, Tarrant and Bexar counties. They all have something in common.Β All of those counties voted in the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. They opposed the 45th POTUS’s bid for re-election. I strongly suspect the former president’s blundering, feckless and untruthful response to the pandemic had something to do with voters’ decision to reject his re-election.

So now the politicization of this fight continues.

I happen to believe we well might see similar demonstrations of defiance in places — just like Dallas ISD — where residents are likely to endorse decisions such as the one handed down by Michael Hinojosa.

As for the smaller, more rural districts populated by voters who endorse the fecklessness of POTUS 45, they well might have to face their consciences if their refusal to take action results in more sickness … or worse.

DISD boss plays it right

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The limb on which I will climb may be about to splinter and break, but I’ll venture out there anyway.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, in issuing his mask-wearing order for all students, teachers, staff and visitors to the public school system, is playing a sound political hand.

He is defying an order from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits local officials such as Hinojosa from issuing such directives. Hinojosa appears to be ignoring that edict from Austin, even though we are fighting a surge in infections from the Delta variant spawned by that damn pandemic.

Why? Because the voting constituency he serves — the parents of the students and the teachers who work in DISD — are likely to oppose Gov. Abbott’s ham-handed approach to telling school districts what they can and cannot do.

Were the superintendent in charge of a district parked in the middle of a rock-ribbed Republican-leaning county, such as, oh, Collin County (where I live), he might not have the guts to do what he did today in issuing the order in a district that sits primarily inside Dallas County (which by the way voted overwhelmingly for President Biden in the 2020 presidential election); Dallas County also voted by large margins for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Do you get my drift here?

Thus, it is with sadness that I will probably have to wait forever for other school district chieftains to follow Superintendent Hinojosa’s lead in demonstrating courage in our national fight against the COVID pandemic.

Dallas school boss to Gov. Abbott: Take your order and …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Well, you know the rest of it.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa today well might have become the first domino to topple in the state’s effort to stop the spread of a killer virus among our public schools.

He said that effective Tuesday, all schools within the DISD will require everyone to wear masks while indoors. That means students, teachers, support staff, visitors. Everyone, man!

This is a big deal. Hinojosa’s order flies directly counter to an executive order that Gov. Greg Abbott issued that prohibits school districts from taking any additional measures to fight the virus.

I am going to stand with the superintendent on this one.

Hinojosa is taking an important step to protect the individuals for whom he must care. He said today that he realizes he is in for a fight. Gov. Abbott won’t like being told to stick his executive order where the sun don’t shine. My response? Too … damn … bad!

Might there be more independent school districts to follow suit. I surely hope so. As the grandfather of one third-grader who attends school in the Allen ISD, I want to implore that district’s administration to show the courage being exhibited in Dallas to order everyone to mask up — at least temporarily.

And spare me the crap/trash/nonsense about infringing on “individual rights.”

The ultimate end to this pandemic and the variants it has spawned surely are the vaccines. However, we can take other preventative measures — such as masking and maintaining our social distance — to stem the outbreak.

If we are not going to do so individually, then I have zero problem — none at all — with those who care for my loved one during the school day to take the steps they need to take to protect her.

Mayoral candidates reach beyond their limits?

Dallas is going to elect a new mayor this weekend. Voters in Texas’s third-largest city have a huge slate of candidates from which to choose.

I’ve heard TV ads from at least three of them say something quite unusual for candidates for municipal office.

They vow to “strengthen” Dallas’s schools. My reaction is a simple one: Huh?

I covered a lot of mayoral and city council races over many years working for newspapers in Oregon and Texas. I’ve never heard a sound from any of those municipal candidates say a word about public education.

Why do you suppose that is? I have a thought: It’s because school policy ain’t their concern.Β 

So, what am I missing here as I listen to these Dallas mayoral candidates vow to shore up Dallas schools?Β 

The Dallas Independent School District elects a board of trustees to do that work on behalf of children and their parents. Yes, I am aware on the edges of the problems concerning DISD and some of the financial woes that have bedeviled the district.

The TV ads from these mayoral candidates make no specific mention of those woes. They merely declare candidates’ intention to create better educational environment.

If that includes strengthening law enforcement presence on school campuses, or if it means providing clean water, or providing good lighting on public streets surrounding these schools, then . . . fine! Go for it!

Setting school policy and implementing it is the sole province of, um, independent public school systems.