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DISD Teacher Morale Addressed At Board Briefing

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There is a consensus among many that the morale of teachers in the Dallas Independent School District is at an all-time low. The issue was a topic of discussion at Thursday’s DISD board briefing.

One issue concerning teachers is the fact they now have a longer workday. Teacher work hours were extended from 7 hours 45 minutes to 8 hours 30 minutes, without an increase in pay for the increased time.

Reviewing the workday time change was among the issues being reviewed by DISD board trustees and some teachers and city leaders were on hand to express their displeasure.

Dallas teacher association Alliance-AFT president Rena Honea said most teachers feel the extra time has not been used to benefit the children. “What I hope they will do is absolutely rescind the 45 minutes, take it back. Because most teachers are there working past their allotted time anyway,” she said.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price even made an appearance at the briefing. He criticized the resignation of DISD Assistant Superintendent Shirley Ison-Newsome, and chastised the board and Superintendent Mike Miles over teacher morale. He told the board, “My problem is the district seems to be in terror and that’s no way to run a district. There are a lot of individuals who feel they are terrified [to say anything] who won’t come forward.”

As far as the longer workday, Honea says the time has not been used to increase education quality, but rather for mundane tasks. “Some of the things that we’ve heard, that we’ve had reported, have been – copying down the core beliefs of the district, looking over data and recopying things off of one sheet onto another, to turn in,” Honea said. “They [teachers] feel like it’s a waste of time and they would much rather be working with their students and preparing for their students to do a much better job.”

There are other issues that could also be having a negative affect on teacher morale. DISD teachers are at the midway of the school year and the district is still looking to fill more than 300 teaching positions. Honea said the number of vacancies is exceptionally high. “They’re [teachers] resigning from the district. They’re finding employment closer to where they live. Because the additional time that they’re having to spend, and the increased amount of work that’s not directly related to the students, is keeping them from their families.”

Public comments were taken during the briefing, and then the board went into a closed-door session. While the board isn’t expected to make any teacher schedule changes today, they are looking to eventually revise or possibly rescind the policy requiring teachers to work longer.

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