Who is Behind the Corporate Education Reform Agenda in Dallas?

While many parts of the country have abandoned the corporate education reform model in light of its failures and corrosive effects on public education, recent changes in the laws of the state of Texas have made it open season for entrepreneurs seeking to make a profit off of public education in the form of consulting fees, contracts, and charter school and charter partnership expansion.

Bolstered by the wealth of billionaire donors and PACs that have pumped millions of dollars of  dark money into Dallas School Board Elections, Dallas ISD has become the State of Texas’ laboratory for the corporate education reform model under the influence of Greg Abbott appointed TEA commissioner and former Dallas ISD Trustee Mike Morath, as well as Commit Chairman and former Goldman Sachs Executive, Todd Williams. Together, these two (in conjunction w/Mayor Rawlings and former Supt Mike Miles) helped to introduce so called “Excellence Initiatives” and “Schools of Choice” in Dallas ISD in an attempt to transform the district, education in North Texas, and eventually the state of Texas.


Organization Profiles:

Below is a working document outlining the organizations and players promoting the Corporate Education Reform Agenda in Dallas ISD. Big thanks to Lori Kirkpatrick for her contributions to this document.

Leadership ISD

an organization that coaches community advocates and potential board candidates in the Corporate Education Reform Model. Creates a pipeline of CER Trustees for local school boards. Has taken in over a million in gift contributions since its founding with very little expenditures.

Board Members: Todd and Abigail Williams - both associated with Goldman Sachs, and national CER program

Founding Financial Contributor: Ken Barth (documented in Dallas Observer article: http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/the-north-dallas-plot-to-take-over-disd-6426627 and documented at http://thegroundfloor.org/mentors/barth-ken/ )

Leadership Isd - Nonprofit Explorer

Dallas Kids First PAC

a PAC that contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to Dallas School Board Candidates.

Founding and ongoing financial contributor: Ken Barth

Founders 2011: Daniel Muzquiz (Former CEO of ExamSoft), Robert (Monty) Bennett, Nelson Hsu, James Ray; in 2012 filed for San Antonio KidsFirst and Austin KidsFirst

Candidates they’ve endorsed:

https://finance.transparencytexas.org/filer/kids-first-67707-gpac

Camp

For profit business, dba Deinde, started by Charles Glover (TFA, DFW/TFA ED—>HR Director under Miles, Board member City Year) and John Hill (TFA), now solely Hill, to enroll and train Fellows on school board elections, campaign strategy, and canvassing activity. End goal is to canvass and encourage votes for their endorsed candidate.

Funded by DKF (pay Fellows), and candidates

Commit

Non Profit Education Partnership that develops and markets programs to school districts. Teacher’s Excellence Initiative (TEI), Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE), Early College Programs (PTECH), subsidiary non profit: Dallas County Promise employs Dallas Trustee Karla Garcia

Founder and Chairman: Todd Willliams

Other board members: Ellen Wood

Partners: Teaching Trust

Accelerating Campus Excellence via Garrett Landry with Commit subsidiary Best in Class: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Dallas-Aldine-ISD-gains-money-school-district-15057712.php

Strive Together documents Landry’s association w/Williams Family Foundation and ACE:

“A former Dallas school district official, Landry helped launch the turnaround initiative before joining the staff of the Williams Family Foundation. The foundation is led by Todd Williams, executive director of Dallas’s Commit! Partnership, a member of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.”

https://www.strivetogether.org/impact/stories-of-impact/texas-style-turnaround/

Commit 2 Dallas - Nonprofit Explorer

Dallas County Promise

A non profit partnership that provides Dallas students with free tuition at DCCCD, where students can pursue technical certifications and associate degrees.

Teaching Trust

Nonprofit Education Partnership that has partnered with SMU to create a pipeline of administrators into Dallas ISD trained in the Corporate Education Reform Model. As of 2019, Teaching Trust has secured a $12 million contract with Dallas ISD to run professional development across the district. This training is largely centered around collecting data on students with the goal of increasing performance on standardized tests

Teaching Trust - Nonprofit Explorer

Educate Dallas PAC

A PAC representing the interests of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Seek candidates that promotes Corporate Education Reform and private partnerships with businesses and corporations in order to create pipelines of laborers from poor urban schools.

Transparency Texas - Educate Dallas

The Real Estate Council of Dallas PAC

Contributes thousands of dollars to candidates. Real Estate Interests seem to be rooted in the closure of schools in poor neighborhoods, which forces families to leave the area and allows developers to gentrify the neighborhoods and raise property values. Other potential interest may be attracting wealthier families to Dallas Schools, often through the means of pushing struggling students to charter schools like Dallas Can Academy

City Year

Manages Americorps members in Dallas, TX

City Year Dallas - Board Chair: Ken Barth

Former Executive Director: Alex Enriquez - resigned to run for school board in Dallas District 2

City Year Inc - Nonprofit Explorer

Symphonic Source

Cloud Computing Solutions based in Dallas, TX

Chairman: Ken Barth

Employed: Miguel Solis, Justin Coppedge, Andy Canales (all 3 TFA)

Speculation: Will pay salary of district 2 candidate Alex Enriquez if elected for school board.

***UPDATE February 25, 2020*** The Alex Enriquez for DISD campaign denies this speculation. Their campaign manager states, "Alex will not be working for Symphonic Sound or be otherwise employed by Ken Barth during his tenure as DISD trustee."

***UPDATE February 29, 2020*** Alex Enriquez tells us he will work as an independent consultant to steer vendor contracts to other school districts besides Dallas ISD if elected as DISD trustee. He would not say what vendors he would be contracted by at this time.


Dallas Social Venture Partners

Another Ken Barth led organization.

Dallas Social Venture Partners - Nonprofit Explorer

TFA