Per State's Latest List, Students at 43 Dallas ISD Campuses Can Transfer Elsewhere

Woodrow Wilson HS.jpg
I see here that on Thursday the Texas Education Agency quietly sent to superintendents its list of Public Education Grant-designated schools -- otherwise known as the lowest of the low-performing campuses in the state. Forty-three Dallas ISD campuses make the list, from A. Maceo Smith to Woodrow -- with Hillcrest, Cary, Kiest, Spruce and other familiar names also on there. As defined by the TEA, these are the schools where "50 percent or more of the students failed any of the TAKS subjects in any two of the preceding three years (2011, 2010, or 2009)"; schools rated academically unacceptable in 2009 through '11 also show up on the list.

Students attending schools on the PEG list can ask for transfers to other campuses or other districts. The district has till February 1 to tell their parents, at which point the transfers can be requested for the 2012-'13 school year. But DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander tells Unfair Park today that "only about 170 Dallas ISD students, out of an eligible 35,000, or less than one-half of one percent, are on PEG transfers this year."

And Dahlander also takes issue with its being referred to as a "worst schools" list.

Yes, all 33 of its academically unacceptable campuses are there, but the reason it's 10 bigger than that is because "it's a rolling list," Dahlander reminds. "To refer to it as a worst list is misleading. It's not accurate, and it's not fair. ... Some media outlets annually misinterpret this list, which includes three-year rolling data. It is simply provided to parents with information so they can make decisions and explore additional opportunities for their children.

"Being named a PEG school does not tell the whole story. There are many excellent teachers, successful students and solid academic programs at the schools identified as PEG schools. One such example is the International Baccalaureate program at Woodrow Wilson High School, which is a PEG school this year."

Says Dahlander, the point of the list is to "provide parents with options. We can and will and have and do provide transportation to students to attend other schools." Not necessarily to other districts, which is allowed to students attending PEG-designated campuses. But "we do have some students from other school districts who have transferred in as a result of PEG. It's a limited number, but we do have them."
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primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Unbelievable.  Looks like a job for Teach for America.  The regular teachers don't seem to cut it.

Alfredo
Alfredo

Interesting this story has only generated 5 prior comments, while the more recently posted story on the bike lanes has already generated double digit comments.  Seems readers of the Observer care more about bikes than schools

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

People won't give a damn until a school closes...oh, wait, 11 are recommend to close this year...ah well, thanks to Wilonsky and Schutze for keeping the subject in front of Observarians anyway...

guest
guest

Where's LakeWWWooder at? 

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

LakeWWWooder is here! 

The criteria is more than half OR the school is ranked AU.  The AU ranking can be because a one subgroup did not reach the threshold. It does not mean that other subgoups in the school are not high-performing.  A school is on this list for three years no matter what it does. It could be AU two years ago and exemplary this year. 

Some of these schools are also on best in the country lists for AP and IB. Some have National Merit Semi-finalists. 

I'm not happy about the list but the way it is presented is sensational and unfair. 

There are also some surprises here - McKinney High and Arlington Lamar.  Can you really say those are bad schools?

Woodrow has a new principal who was formerly head of an exemplary school.  His top priority is to improve scores for all students.  It is a bit daunting though when you have not only deaf students but also bi-polar and non-ambulatory special ed kids forced to take the same test and their scores counted in the regular ethnic and economic subgroups. One student can be counted in more than one subgroup..

Woodrow has twice the average percentage of special ed AND talented and gifted students.  It is now an IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The school has grown by about 250 kids - some from private schools seeking IB and AP while others are lagging students from PEG schools seeking a better education. 

There is no easy explanation.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Teachers are forced to teach a terrible curriculum that is not written by a team of the best teachers in the content area.

Instead, the curriculum is written by people who work full-time off campus at places like the Buckner building.

They tell us what to teach and they get the Executive Directors to blindly enforce the mandate and bully any teachers who protest the mistakes, the pacing, and the emphasis.

Managed instruction is fine, but not when it isn't written by actual teachers who know what is going on.

The easy way to fix this (id the teachers with the highest TAKS scores and pay them a bit extra to write the plans) would mean the loss of jobs for hundreds of bureaucrats.

Schools would improve, but that apparently isn't the point.

A voice in the wilderness
A voice in the wilderness

Bwahahahahahahaha.  Yeah, right -- the "point of the list is to 'provide parents with options.'"  He's ABSOLUTELY right.  The list is there to provide parents with a list of schools that are so substandard that parents have the "option" (i.e. the RIGHT) to get the hell out of a terrible school.

And don't fill me with bullsnot about how this school or that school has some random program.  This is a list of schools where more than 50% of the students have been failing the TAKS in 2 out of 3 years.  

Let that sink in.  MORE THAN HALF are failing.  Dahlander says only 170 out of 35,000 eligible kids end up transferring.  All this says is that the DISD is doing a great job in buffaloin' parents.  What is ignored is what these numbers really say -- 35,000 eligible kids out of 43 schools.  In other words, more than 17,500(!) students at just 43(!) schools are failing the TAKS.

What I can't believe is some of the schools on this list.  Franklin Middle School?  Hillcrest High School?  Both in the heart of Preston Hollow?  You don't get better socio-economic demographics in Dallas than that.  And they STILL can't the kids passing?!  What the heck is going on at those schools that scores can't come up?  Why can't the administration clean things up?  

but...
but...

This list is not just schools where half of the students are failing TAKS.  Schools can be rated as "Academically Unacceptable" if a certain percentage of students in a group fail.  If there are two students in a group (as defined by the TEA) and one fails one portion of the test--that failure can seriously affect the school's rating.  It doesn't matter if every other student passed every section of the TAKS. 

I'm not saying that Dallas schools aren't in need of major repair--just pointing out that some of the information is a bit skewed.

Guest
Guest

You actually think Preston Hollow sending it's kids to those schools??  Puhhleeez. 

Sam
Sam

Woodrow, Long and Stonewall Jackson house the regional school for the deaf. Special ed scores were counted this year for the first time and all suffered a drop in ratings.  It's a shame that schools which try to do more are penalized in this system.

Also students from other PEG schools transfer in trying to get a better education but drag down the better school scores as only a few in one of the many subgroups can make a school 'academically unacceptable'.

But I am sure The Dallas Morning News will have this sensational "Worst Schools" as a headline tomorrow. That should sell a lot of papers in Collin County where they will no doubt be clucking at the 'affirmation'

TimCov
TimCov

I think including all special education students in school standings is unacceptable. Let's face it, if the kid is physically incapable of progressing past the mentality of a 6 year old, the odds are they will not pass the test.However, if the student's only handicap is being deaf, there is no reason they should not be able to pass any written test.

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