Dear Mayor Mike Rawlings,
Tonight I attended the Come Together forum. It’s the first time I’ve heard you speak in person or ever put a face to the name. I have to commend you for sitting down to talk about this contentious issue. There is really no way to talk about the disparity between North and South Dallas without talking about race (although ya’ll did your best to avoid the topic). It wasn’t until I lived in other cities that I realized how severely divided Dallas really is. With a few exceptions, the majority of racial minorities live on the south side of the Trinity River. I agree that bridging these communities to create a more collective Dallas identity is the next step to becoming a truly great city.
Education is a topic everyone can agree on and dominated the evening’s talk. Undoing decades of institutionalized segregation starts (but doesn’t end) with the schools system. No easy answers here unfortunately. It’s not just an issue of funding or quality teachers or improving graduation rates. It is a systemic hopelessness that has contaminated DISD.
You said plenty of insightful things at Come Together, but one quote really stood out to me: “You’re hopeless without hope, but hope is not a strategy.” People already voted for hope (twice) and not much changed for them. They are tired of ideology. They are tired of being tired.
I left the forum feeling hopeful. I also left without hearing a strategy.
PS: Tear down IH 345
RESPONSE (from the Mayor’s office):
Thanks for reaching out and attending last night’s event. The Mayor’s education strategy includes several components and continues to evolve. He has been working closely with DISD and various nonprofits to create new programs and promote existing programs that will improve academic achievement. He has publicly supported Superintendent Mike Miles in his efforts to reform DISD and integrated education into his GrowSouth initiative. And he has used his position as Mayor as a bully pulpit to shed light on and raise awareness about the alarming statistics we face in Dallas as it relates to education.
Those are just a few examples, and much more is on the way in 2014.
Manager of Public Affairs and Communications
Office of Mayor Mike Rawlings