Everyone knows who Jim Schutze is. But you might not know about his connection to Houston. Once upon a time, he was the Dallas bureau chief for the Houston Chronicle. In that capacity, he made a lot of hay writing about the shenanigans at the Dallas Independent School District. Then Jim took a job at the Dallas Observer, where he wrote about the district’s turnaround and two people who had a hand in it: then trustee Mike Morath and then superintendent Mike Miles. Now Morath runs the Texas Education Agency, which is taking control of the failed Houston ISD. The tip of Morath’s spear, as Jim puts it, is none other than Miles.
Jim explains all this with typical Schutzean wryness in a new Substack he just launched called Shoots. The first installment, titled “Houston at the Spear,” went up yesterday. In the coming weeks, he intends to help Houston understand the people who’ve come to take over their public schools. He writes:
Do I understand how little anyone in Houston will want to hear from anybody from Dallas about how to run the Houston schools? My, yes. I already told you. I used to earn my living that way.
Worse, I intend to write about it here myself. For Houston. Oh, my goodness, it’s awful. Me. An old, white ex-hippie guy in Dallas. I venture, I dare, I presume to tell Houston in the months ahead what’s going on in Houston. And in all candor, I confess that a minor part of my motivation will be knowing exactly how irritating and preposterous that will be for Houston.
I asked Jim whether he’d pitched this idea to the Chronicle, and, if not, how he settled on Substack. “Me no talk Chronicle,” Jim texted back. “I have no idea what I’m doing. A friend has been nagging me to break the Facebook habit. He’s right. It makes me feel stoopit. Supposedly Substack is smarter. Why, I don’t fully know yet.”
I asked him if he plans to write something every week. “Yes, at least that,” he texted. “Looks like, if I write 12 columns a week and charge for them, I can equal what I would get as a part-time Walmart shopping cart dispenser.”
So there you go. Jim’s Shoots is obviously aimed at Houston, but I think a fair number of folks in Dallas will want to follow along, too. Sign up and let’s see if his revenue projections are accurate.