East Meets Plano West. There Blows the Curve!

Categories: Buzz

long-duk-dong.jpg
America needs you, Long Duc Dong.
So the Morning News on Wednesday reported on a battle brewing in Plano ISD over attendance boundaries between Plano West and Plano East senior high schools. Pretty dry stuff, unless you're a parent who gives a shit, so you likely missed this nugget from the story:

Along with some others, [parent Lily Jiang] believes parents fear that an influx of Asian students will make Plano West too competitive for their children.

Apparently Ms. Jiang possesses a pretty good grasp of non-Asian America's attitudes towards competition with the East. Allow us to summarize it: "Holy shit, how are we going to compete with these people? They, like, study math 'n' shit. No fair! NO FAIR!"

Now, we know that stereotyping is wrong -- even if it seems complimentary -- but these are fearful times, and rationality is in short supply (ref: Rick Perry), so it's easy to empathize with Plano West parents who might dread pitting their kids against an influx of Asian calculus whizzes. What's a frightened white parent to do?

We called Eunice Kim Nakamura, president of the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, to see if we could negotiate some sort of break for America's disadvantage suburban youths. (OK, the truth: We spoke with her because she answered her own phone and was too polite to hang up. She was very nice, so we feel kinda bad about that.)

Nakamura said she herself has confronted the stereotype of the "model minority" slavishly devoted to academics. While there might be some limited kernel of truth to it, it's no more accurate than any other broad generalization about a diverse group.

Exactly, I agreed. For instance, how much did she study in high school?

She paused. "My mom wasn't a tiger mom," Nakumura said.

Uh-huh. Right. How much?

"I don't think I spent an unbelievable amount of time studying," she said, maybe two to three hours a night. "Is that a lot or a little?"

I gagged. I work for a newspaper, for God's sake. Three hours?

"How about one to three hours?" she said, hedging. The time varied depending on whether she had a test, she insisted modestly. Why, she was just a normal kid who attended Garland High School and made mostly A's -- in the school's International Baccalaureate program.

Another gag.

Okeedokee, things were not looking good for the Occidental team. Figuring -- in typical, white, dummy newsguy fashion -- that since she's Asian American she could speak for more than a quarter of the world's population, I asked her if there was anything Asians could do to level the playing field, academics-wise: leave the liquor cabinet open, say, or introduce their children to beer at a young age. Maybe require them to watch reality television ... anything to give the rest of us a fighting chance.

"I'm not going to say anything like that," she said, declining the bait. Parents worried about today's competitive environment should "just focus on their children."

In Plano? The suburban junkie capital of America?

On a positive note, Nakumura said it appears Asian American parents attitudes are shifting with assimilation. "It's not just all about academics," she said. "I think the newer Asian American parents are more balanced ... everything in moderation."

So, there's hope yet, Plano young people. Hang in there. America might just weave its spell and make your Asian competition just as dumb as the rest of us. In the meantime, you could crack open a book -- after you're done watching this for grins:

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13 comments
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txnomad
txnomad

Are they gonna have Mommy and Daddy tell IBM they aren't being fair when they hire the Asian for the engineering position instead of them? Somebody call the whaaaambulance!

Jessica
Jessica

I beyond love this! Overcrowding is just a red herring!

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Dare I suggest to the good parents of Plano West, if you're worried little Snowflake isn't going to make valedictorian, you could move into, say, DISD?

Dr Sardonicus
Dr Sardonicus

They need to institute an 'Asian Fail' fair day at the state fair so they can threaten any Plano ISD student that makes a B+ or lower (or 2nd chair violin or lower) with deportation to the hood (Fair Park) for a day. It might prove traumatic when the kids realize that Honda/Acura usually no-shows the State Fair auto show.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I enjoyed this.Superb writing and the pic from Sixteen Candles is perfect.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

West is full of over-indulgued trust-fund babies who dont know the concept of hard work or using their brain, some good competition that doesnt involve football or popularity would do that school some serious good..

phe_75034
phe_75034

Easy, cowboy. That there's some weapons-grade generalizing you're doing.

mjcarpe
mjcarpe

The IB program is at East. If anything, East is much more competitive than West ever will be.

NotTheSuburbs
NotTheSuburbs

I think that was the point, the PISD plan is to move kids from the east to the west since most growth in the district will come from the east side.  She is saying that some parents on the west side don't want the added competition from the east side kids..

I'm not sure what the final number was, but at one point in the school year, in order to be in top 10% of the class in Plano East you needed a GPA of 4.71

insertnamehere
insertnamehere

That's hard for me to believe; last year the valedictorian of PESH had 4.638. As for competition, Plano West has always had the highest challenge index (participation in either AP or IB) of any of the three schools. Newsweek ranked West at 98 and East at 461 in their best high schools list this year. 

NotTheSuburbs
NotTheSuburbs

Right, I typed it wrong 4.17 is what I meant.

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