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Mass Exodus Of DISD Teachers, End Of Year Vacancies Double

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Steve Pickett
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - In a room surrounded by glass, four current Dallas School District teachers compiled a list of reasons why so many of their colleagues decided to resign or retire before the start of the 2013 Fall semester. Micro-management of competent teachers. Bullying and intimidation. Lack of confidence in (their) expertise in teaching. And the list went on with other complaints.

“If you’re not being supported academically….and you can walk across that bridge to (another district), you will,” teacher Diane Birdwell said.

According to officials with teacher association groups that represent the 10,000 Dallas ISD teachers, an estimated 1700 teachers have either tendered resignations, retirement notifications, or received contract non-renewal notification from the district. On average, DISD sees about 800-1,000 teacher vacancies yearly.

Where is the spike in teacher vacancies coming from? Alliance AFT President Rena Honea pointed to the working conditions under Superintendent Mike Miles.

“People do not want to stay under the leadership they feel is not going to be effective, and not provide the best service for our kids,” Honea said.

NEA Dallas President Angela Davis echoed the leadership anxiety. “They (teachers) feel like they’ve been bullied, because of the micromanagement from the head down.”

Dallas ISD Spokesman Jon Dahlander said the school system anticipated a higher teacher turnover.

“We’re clearly a school district in transition right now,” Dahlander said.

Superintendent Miles has removed 50 principals from school leadership positions, and change of campus leadership means change within the classroom ranks, according to Dahlander.

But teacher organizations say teacher morale is at an all-time low. Educators have complained about Miles’ oversight, direction and expectations from classroom teachers.

DISD officials say they’ve had little problem recruiting new classroom teachers. 800-1000 new teachers have already been hired, according to DISD. Another job fair is set for next week.

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