Preemptive Warning on School Boundries

What is happening in Plano will happen in the Keller School District in the next decade, diversity trumps everything:

At the center of a heated debate over school boundaries in Plano is the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in schools.

 LARA SOLT/DMNBoundaries are changing primarily because of new students moving to the district’s eastern side and new schools being built in that area.

The school board will discuss options tonight, though it won’t vote until December.

 BEN TORRES/Special Contributor
Several initial proposals for east side schools would split the attendance zones along socioeconomic lines for two high schools, which serve ninth and 10th grades. One side would have 10 of its 11 feeder schools receiving Title I funding because of their high percentage of low-income students. The other side, which includes nine schools in far East Plano and Murphy, would have no Title I schools.

After community outcry, the district proposed other attendance zones that had more of a mix of low-income and middle-class neighborhoods. But those would have to be applied districtwide and would require busing some students farther to school.

On Friday night, more than 100 people packed Holy Nativity Church near downtown to hear Father Noe Mendez explain the issues.

“I saw in my people a lot of sadness and anger,” he said. “I’m very concerned. The people with an economic advantage are trying to destroy our community.”

While an abundance of research over the years shows that a diverse student body creates the ideal environment, parent choices have caused some Plano campuses to be less than diverse.

“Ideally, all of your neighborhoods would be racially and socioeconomically integrated,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a New York-based nonpartisan public policy research group. “But it’s not the reality. We have to find creative ways to put kids from different backgrounds together.”

Schools mixed with students of varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds perform best academically, said Gary Orfield, an education professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and an expert on race relations. At those schools, low-performing students’ grades improve, and high-achieving students’ grades remain elevated.

“But if they create highly segregated schools by race and by class, it will create schools with gigantic educational problems,” he said.

Go read the whole thing, and then read the companion blog piece by the author here:

“Some of us see it as white flight and that parents are trying to get away from the diversity,” said Cyndy Schrader, who is white and whose children attended east Plano schools. “My neighborhood is white and Asian, and they have all transferred.”

The author has such a liberal bent that it makes you wonder how this got past an editor, oh, nevermind, I know the answer.

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One response to “Preemptive Warning on School Boundries

  • Frank Flanagan

    Nothing will surprise me given the tendancy of the current administration and board. While I am years removed from this issue I empathize with the Brentwood Estates parents of school age children or those approaching school age. Many who recently moved here chose to live in my neighborhood of Brentwood Estates because of the Hidden Lakes elementary school. It was a real benefit being able to have their child walk or bike to the school. I never had the opportunity of HLES or Shady Grove for that matter – neither were here when my boys were elementary age.

    Many of us “old-timers” remember when the the Hidden Lakes Developer finally got off and running. KISD was not thrilled with the original school site dedicated by the developer. It was farther east and in the hilly more expensive to build area. A swap took place and the customary P&Z hearings took place. Many discussions took place involving Brentwood Estates residents. Some residents were not enamored with the school possibly backing up to their back yards (lighting, noise, traffic, etc.). In an effort win support from the neighborhood, the site was proposed as you see it today. The cul de sac treatment at the end of Brentwood Tr. was said to be for the benefit of our residents. While I cannot attest to this, I have been told the verbal commitment to Brentwood was that they would be in a protected attendance zone and HLES would be the neighborhood school. It did make sense to me — 40% of Brentwood homes can SEE the school. The farthest home in BE is less than 6/10 of a mile from the school. All of BE is closer to the school than 85% of the rest of Hidden Lakes. I don’t think any other non-HL neighborhood that is being removed from the HLES attendance zone has this strong of an argument. To my knowledge only one board member has bothered to respond email and letters. The others don’t seem to want to discuss it and I am getting a sense it is a lost cause. Given the mature nature of BE, my best estimate at any one point in time of the number of elementary school age kids is around 12.

    KISD no longer needs Brentwood for anything so the verbal commitment is worth nothing. (And YES – I know a verbal commitment is always worth nothing). It just seems to me every possible thing was done to keep all of the HL development in the HL school, rendering other nearby residents 2nd class citizens. (I in no way want to imply there is a deficiency with SGES as far as education is concerned — it is a great school.) I just think when common sense tells you it is safer for kids to walk to a school they can see from their driveway, you do everything to make that happen.

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