This is admittedly a long story, and you have to be interested in public schools to get something out of it. But if you are, read this New York Times magazine story about a public school principal fighting against indifferent parents, disinterested students, limited resources, a bloated bureaucracy and wary teachers as he tries to build a top-quality middle school in one of New York City’s most challenging neighborhoods.

Sound a little like many of our DISD schools?

That was my thought as I read the story of Ivy League-educated principal Ramon Gonzalez, who was hired at age 31 to turn his neighborhood middle school around. Thanks to some significant reforms in New York’s public schools, Gonzalez — as school principal — is given a school budget and is pretty much free to do with it as he wishes in terms of getting students to achieve academically. So he’s doing all kinds of creative things that principals in DISD would be unlikely to get away with under current DISD guidelines.

Given the funding issues here in Texas, if DISD is ever going to make dramatic changes in how schools are run here, this would seem to be the time, and this story would seem to present a possible model.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.