DALLAS — In a damning letter sent to more than 75 local pastors, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price likens the superintendent of Dallas schools to Pontius Pilate or a "fake Jesus" — he won’t say which.
"I’ll leave that for interpretation," Price said.
The reference was made to warn houses of worship against listening to Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles, who often visits churches to explain his plans for aggressive school reforms.
Price says those reforms are overly aggressive, and will likely include the unfair removal of many principals.
"This is Dallas, and we have some challenges, and we have people on the ground who understand those challenges," the commissioner said. "They have been vetted, and they need some support."
Rev. Ronald Jones of New Hope Baptist Church was one of those on the commissioner’s mailing list. He said this isn't the first time he's heard complaints about Superintendent Miles.
"I was getting feedback before the letter came," Jones said. "Some are students and some are retired educators, and they say, 'Reverend, I don’t like the fact that things are moving so fast, and people I know have great reputations and are suddenly considered inadequate for the job.'"
Still, Rev. Jones said Miles is welcome to address his congregation.
Miles, who doesn’t often publicly comment about criticisms directed his way, did speak up on Tuesday.
"I think when you have transformational change, there is going to be some disagreement," he said.
Despite the strong statements being made against him, Superintendent Miles said he will continue with his plans, adding that he hopes the very public debate will be about more than public officials.
"I like when leaders talk about education," he said. "I think we need to raise the level of discourse so we are talking about solutions and we are focused on kids."