Beware: A Hostile Takeover of ALL Dallas Public Schools is Underway

Home Rule is an emerging story currently flying under the radar in the national and statewide Texas media. Millionaires and billionaire(s) are quietly funding a “Home Rule” hostile takeover attempt of all public schools in Dallas, Texas. Yes, that’s right… ALL OF THEM.

For those of you who are just now encountering Home Rule, the newest neoliberal assault on democratically-controlled public education…Here is an introduction to the story…

At the end of February 2014, Support Our Public Schools (SOPS), a small group of prominent Dallas area citizens funded by wealthy individuals, revealed their support for a “Home Rule” scheme to take over Dallas ISD. Many community members, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders were surprised by the sudden promotion of the Home Rule takeover and questions about the group and the scheme have arisen rapidly.

Tonight I am in Dallas for two meetings with community stakeholders. First, I will join a meeting convened by the Dallas NAACP and then attend a second event with the Dallas School Administrators Association (DSAA). The purpose of the visit is the public release of a new Texas Center for Education Policy (TCEP) policy brief entitled Dallas Home Rule Takeover Q&A. Click on the brief below to see the final version.

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Citation: Vasquez Heilig, J. & Riley, J. C. (2014). Dallas Home Rule Takeover Austin, TX: Texas Center for Education Policy, University of Texas at Austin.

The TCEP Home Rule policy brief seeks to answer some of the most prominent questions related to the Home Rule charter district takeover. By presenting information gathered from a variety of sources including the Texas Education Code, media reports and empirical research, this brief provides information that Dallas stakeholders can use to decide whether the takeover is the most appropriate action to address the longstanding gaps and inequities facing Dallas area schools. The questions that are addressed in the new policy brief are:

  • Who is Support our Public Schools?
  • Who are the behind-the-scenes players in the Home Rule takeover proposal?
  • Who is John Arnold?
  • What are the steps to the Home Rule takeover in state code?
  • What “rules” will Dallas not be “free” from as a Home Rule Charter District?
  • What “rules” will Dallas be “free” from after a Home Rule takeover?
  • Is the Home Rule takeover really necessary?
  • Is a charter district takeover more democracy and local control or less?
  • Have a politically appointed school board and mayoral control been a successful approach?
  • Have charters outperformed traditional public schools across Texas?
  • How does the Texas and Dallas investment in education compared to peers?
  • If not Home Rule, what reforms should DISD and SOPS commit to?

Some of the questions addressed in the brief are more specific to the Dallas community. However, several have import for the state of Texas and public education nationally such as: Who is John Arnold? and… Have a politically appointed school board and mayoral control been a successful approach?

Keeping up with the billionaires and millionaires’ education privatization hobby is allot of work. Maybe we could suggest to them that they get a regular hobby like N-scale model trains or do more snow skiing?

See also Diane Ravitch address Home Rule and privatization on Bill Moyers:

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s post on Dallas click here.

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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Please blame Siri for any typos.



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