DALLAS — For months, there has been outrage over rumors that as many as 50 Dallas Independent School District principals would soon lose their jobs.
On Thursday evening, the DISD Board of Trustees is expected to vote on a list of principals recommended for non-renewal, but News 8 has learned the number is much lower than previously believed.
Students at James Madison High School demonstrated Friday in support of their principal, Marian Willard. Willard has been said to be one of dozens of DISD principals who will not return for the next school year because they failed to meet certain benchmarks under Superintendent Mike Miles' controversial principal evaluation system.
Trustees delayed voting on a list of principals recommended for termination last month, and since then, the number has dropped from reports of dozens to far less than that.
“I heard that there was only about five,” said Linda Isaacks, executive director of the Dallas School Administrators Association.
In March, Isaacks told News 8 she believed the number of principals that would not be renewed was at least a dozen. On Wednesday, she said that number had dwindled because principals were given other options, such as retirement or finding other jobs.
NAACP Dallas Chapter President Juanita Wallace said many principals who would have been recommended for non-renewal have simply decided not to fight the system.
“The bottom line is, we have to look at the fact that a lot of the principals caved in,” Wallace said. “They caved in because of economic reasons. They caved in because of personal reasons. But nevertheless, they caved in."
Earlier this month, Wallace called for Miles' dismissal, partially because she believes his principal evaluation system unfairly targeted black principals in the district.
Isaacks disagrees with that assessment. “Those principals having some options, and a longer time to contemplate those options is a good thing,” she said.
Principal support has been most vocal at Lincoln and Madison High Schools. Their most recent Texas Education Agency ratings were academically unacceptable, but both parents and students have vowed to fight for their principals.
Meanwhile, the organization Dallas Kids First started an online petition in support of superintendent Miles and his reforms, including his principal-evaluation system. You can see and sign the petition here.