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.Boundaries 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.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.