Seats shall be awarded to District students based on the following
Thirty percent of the seats awarded Districtwide by rank ordering applicants based on overall criteria score; and
Seventy percent of the seats awarded within the four Elementary Learning Community Areas (adjusted proportionally for student population) by rank ordering applicants based on overall criteria score.
The sibling rule shall be applied to the Vanguard programs for grades 4-5, the prekindergarten-grade 8 Montessori programs, and grades 6-8 for Academies.
Nevertheless, parents and some teachers, concerned that the docs don't show everything expected to thrown on the table at the first read-through tomorrow, are sending out e-mails this afternoon rallying the troops. (I've gotten half a dozen from various sources in the last 30 minutes alone.) They're especially concerned about an alleged provision they insist will allow "students of promise" -- which is to say, students who "exhibit resilience and interest but do not meet the entrance criteria" -- into magnets. Two letters I've received follow. Did I mention Schutze was covering the meeting? No? Well, he is.
Your Urgent Action Is Needed Today!
At Tuesday night's PTSA Board meeting, we learned that at this Thursday
morning's briefing, DISD administrators plan to present the Trustees with
suggestions for changing entrance/selection requirements at ALL DISD magnets.
Most of the options would be unfair and unjust and would have a highly negative
impact on magnet schools, such as TAG.
What Is the Problem?
Part of the problem is that whatever perceived problem exists has not been
articulated. We need to ask: What is the actual problem the administration
thinks needs to be fixed through these proposed options?
The magnet admissions selection system currently in place has produced
high-caliber learning environments, such as TAG and SEM: TAG was #1 in the
nation in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, and #2 in 2008. SEM has placed in the top
5 from 2006 through 2009.
In the last 3 years, no child who qualified was turned away from TAG. We see no
compelling reason to radically change a system that has been this successful and
has been able to accommodate all of the students who qualified and sought
admission. Our selection process has been audited and found to be extremely
The Proposed New Admissions Selection Criteria:
1) All students will be chosen by lottery.
2) Students will be selected through a process that involves the individual
school selected 30% of students based on grades scored on entrance portfolios,
with the remaining 70% selected by lottery.
3) Students will be selected through a process that involves the individual
school selected 80% of students based on grades scored on entrance portfolios,
with the remaining 20% selected by lottery.
4) Principals suggested a compromise of allowing the schools to select
students based on existing requirements, agreeing to a proposed-by-the-district
caveat of having the district's English Department selected essay prompts and
develop rubrics for grading essays.
5) A fifth option, which does not appear to be included in the current list
of proposed solutions, would be to change nothing at all.
Why Oppose an Entrance Lottery?
Entrance to TAG, in particular, through a lottery would place all students in
the same basket, regardless of how hard they worked or how well they did in
school. A lottery system is unfair to those students who have excelled and
serves as a disincentive to achievement. For example, a student with a 95 grade
point average would be included in the same pool as a student with a 78 grade
point average. What would then be the incentive for a student to push him or
herself to excel if his or her chance of admission would not be affected?
We strongly urge our trustees to reject any new magnet admissions selection
policy that has a lottery component, and to choose instead to continue the
system that has been in place. Some minor adjustments may well be in order, but
these should be the ones which have been recommended by the principals and
faculty at the schools.
Why the Urgency?
Principals and some Trustees were unaware the administration was planning to
suggest these options and there is little time to voice our concerns. Now is the
time to let your voice be heard by our trustees. They will be discussing this
policy change at the board briefing which begins at 11:30 on Thursday, Sept. 9.
What Do I Do?
WE NEED YOU TO CALL OR E-MAIL YOUR DISD TRUSTEE TODAY!(See contact information,
below.) Please call and leave a message for your Trustee on Wednesday, Sept. 8,
and/or e-mail him or her before Thursday.