What Toyota Is Really Talking About When It Blames Dallas' Scary, Scary Schools

Categories: Schutze

Toyota_Group_Pavilion.jpg
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You know what the one good thing is about a bad school system? It's a great excuse for everything else.

Mayor Mike Rawlings stirred the pot earlier this week by telling KERA that Dallas lost out on a recent huge corporate relocation, Toyota's American headquarters, because of our bad school system.

Dallas schools spokesman Jon Dahlander fired back that Dallas has high schools consistently ranked best in the nation and is on a path to improvement generally -- a thing about which I have a column in the newspaper this week.

Yeah! Here's the thing. Both things are true. Before Dallas schools superintendent Mike Miles came to town a couple years ago, most people in Dallas didn't know either of those two facts. Miles was taken aback by public apathy over the district's miserable record of preparing children for literate lives.

But neither did people realize the Dallas public school district year after year gets ranked at the top of the nation by Newsweek and other polls for its talented and gifted, math and science and performing arts high schools. Those magnet high schools, which have student bodies representative of the ethnic and economic diversity of the district, are the real proof of the pudding: they show what can be done.

The good news now, after Miles and Rawlings have done their pot stirring for a couple years, is that more people are saying, "OK, we know what must be done, and we know it can be done, so let's do it."

But here is where I can't help feeling for Dahlander. He and I have crossed swords plenty over the years. I know Dahlander has an unusual quality for a PR guy. He actually cares at a deeply personal level what happens to the school district. And he knows what I know and what everybody really knows about that line Toyota gave the mayor on why they were rejecting Dallas and going to Plano instead. It's the one thing you can get away with saying.

I'm not questioning Toyota's honesty here. I think what they said had the ring of truth. I'm just saying that blaming the schools happens to be the one thing, among many that might also ring true, that you can get away with saying.

Here are the ones you cannot say:

We didn't want to locate in Dallas because there are too many poor people there, and our employees don't like being close to that many poor people.

We thought about Dallas, but there seem to be way too many people of color there.

We drove around and looked at kids on the playgrounds during recess, and we could hardly see any white kids.

Our employees don't want to hear Mexican music in the parks.

We feel more comfortable in the shops and restaurants in Plano, because the whole scene is just so much whiter and richer, and when you do run into minorities, they're dressed like rich white people.

So in the items above, am I deliberately suggesting a culture of racism? Umm, let me think here for a second. Yes. I am. Racism and classism are, of course, powerful factors in all of the important decisions that get made, and pretty much the only people who ever deny that are the worst racists. Most of us acknowledge that these factors are a part of normal life.

And by the way, we're not only talking about how white people feel. Middle-class and upwardly mobile black people and Latinos often tend to have some form of the same set of feelings: Given a choice, they would rather not live or raise their kids within 100 miles of a crack house.

There is an important internal question here: Can you tell a black crackhead from a black classics professor? Unsurprisingly, Latinos and black people often are a lot better at that than white people. But let's leave that one for another day. The fact is that lots of people have lots of reasons why they don't want to be in the city, but the only one they can say out loud and not get in trouble is that the schools are bad, so the schools inherit all of it.

It's the universal excuse for everything. I can almost imagine telling my boss, "I'm sorry I missed the story meeting again, but, you know, it's because of these terrible schools in Dallas." He's stopped listening anyway after, "I'm ..." (Ed.: I often don't even make it that far.)

Look at it this way: If all those Toyota people have such brilliant kids, why wouldn't they assume all their kids would attend Dallas' magnet schools, which are among the best in the nation? Of course that's an unfair question, because they don't all have brilliant kids, and that's not the test. People who have sort of average kids are serious about good schools, because those kids need all the help they can get.

Nor do we have any right to demand that people like Toyota refrain from telling us what they perceive to be the truth. We need to hear it. In my column this week, I quote Superintendent Miles as saying that he welcomes any and all pressure to improve the district. He clearly views apathy as a bigger threat than criticism. (By the way, I made a mistake that got into the print edition of the column, making it look as if Miles is a supporter of the Home Rule petition drive. That is not true. He has taken no position on Home Rule. My apologies.)

It's fair, however, to say this. To the extent Toyota took a shot at the biggest public school system in this part of Texas, it was a free shot for them, but it will tend to reinforce decisions by others to abandon the city and its schools. I'm sure that is not what Toyota intended, but that may be the effect. So when they do get to Plano, anything Toyota can do to help the Dallas school system would seem very decent of them.

Sorry to have gone on a little long here. It's because of the schools.


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Subnx
Subnx

Single member districts result in third rate ward politicians who view the DISD as a piggy bank for their political supporters. You got it right with your last example. InPlano the minorities dress like rich white people instead of gang bangers.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Bottom line on comments here? Lots of us know Dallas has serious problems, and we understand why a company like Toyota might choose to go an easier route, without regard to racism. Lots of us know the city offers magnificent assets not available in the suburban Transvaal. But as for the assertion that racism is still a  major issue in our midst, isn't it striking that so many of the angry comments below restate almost word for word the hypothetical utterances I offered in the original item? Only way worse. 

Catbird
Catbird

I haven't really liked the Japanese that much since the whole Pearl Harbor thing.

dsjohnson64
dsjohnson64

My reaction to reading the comments on this article is WOW!  Here I have lived in central Dallas for almost a decade and had no idea I was living in an absolute hell hole.  I am surprised I am still alive (much less have any tangible property left).


Actually, I think Schutze's comments have a great deal of truth to them (and I hate agreeing with Schutze).  Contrary to its international image, the greater truth about Dallas is that it has become a Mexican city--and a poor Mexican city--with a substantial African-American minority.  There just hasn't been a formal transfer of sovereignty yet. 


Of course it is also true that there are sizeable enclaves of very affluent whites living in places from Preston Hollow to Uptown to Lakewood to Lake Highlands (and not to forget Kessler/Stevens Park).  I am convinced that those individuals--whether white or not--lucky enough to live in one of those enclaves do in fact enjoy a lifestyle superior to anything available in the suburbs.  I can afford to live in virtually any neighborhood in Plano or Frisco (but not in all neighborhoods in Dallas).  I choose to live in central Dallas and am forever thankful I'm not in Plano/Frisco.


Apparently, Mayor Rawlings and others want to recreate a Dallas middle class destroyed by well-intentioned federal desegregation orders decades ago.  Unfortunately, I don't see how that is going to take place.  I can only hope that Rawlings and others know something I don't--because there would be so many reasons to celebrate the reemergence of middle class and working class neighborhoods in the urban core.

allengwinn
allengwinn

The plural of "anecdote" isn't "evidence."  Yes, we may have some top tier magnet schools  but, overall, DISD is still very dubious but the problem isn't race.  It's quality.  The suburbs have us beat.  I've attached an article that my daughter wrote 6 years ago when she visited Spence TAG.  I unpublished it at the request of several students who told me the school wasn't like this anymore and I'll unpublish it again in a few days.
http://www.dallas.org/node/420

ROFLCopter
ROFLCopter

The magnet schools serve a tiny percentage of the total student population in DISD.  The rest of it spans from mediocre to horrid.  That is fact.  Let me know when most of the schools in DISD are in the Top 10 or 15 percent nationwide, not just a few magnet schools.  

The race card is pathetic, Jim.  Really, you can do better.  

rogjohns64
rogjohns64

Great article Jim. You speak the truth.


Maybe sometime you can write about how our society got so screwed up that people cant be fully honest about why they dont want to live or work in Dallas.


Who are they afraid of?


What profession would lead the charge to ostracize them if they were fully truthful?


Who in their right mind would gamble with their child's safety by moving into DISD?


 If the kid didn't make it into Townview the only thing he would learn is how to survive being the only white in the classroom.


Even if he makes it into Townview ...... who would want their kid to spend their day in that neighborhood.


I was in the parking lot of Townview when some gang bangers drove by and unloaded a clip into the building's facade.


Forcing a white child to go to school in DISD is akin to child abuse.


Personally, I'd feel safer living under a bridge in Collin county than any house within 5 miles of Townview.

rachael.elward
rachael.elward

It' s not okay to say "we have the worst schools but we also have the best schools so on average we're okay". fuck having the best schools for those kids who's parents apply and are allowed in. Instead, have a lot of schools that are offering a decent standard of education and a decent learning environment for all the DISD children.


To get a good chance of admission to a district magnet school, your kid needs to be attending a non-magnet school in the district. Which means that if you move to Dallas, you have to put your kid an a godawful school for a time and then wait until the next round of admissions to the magnet program. This can be 12 months, just enough time for little Timmy Toyota to have got settled into his shitty school. Then, if your accepted to the magnet program (and not everyone is), you'd have to have your kid move schools again. People move to the boring suburbs to avoid the non-magnet schools, and to make life easier for their kids. It would really help if you did away with magnet schools and had regular schools weren't the worst.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

I read all of this and surmised one thing; Dallas is a freaking dump!  I've lived in Boston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano.......and Big D is just a sodden, stinky, decaying, wasteland of a sh+thole. 

WhiteJesus
WhiteJesus

Toyota moved it's headquarters to Texas because Texas is the largest market for pickups.  Personally I prefer Nissan because American cars are engineered for planned obsolescence anyway.  Back to my point Plano is a suburban wasteland with unhappy office workers anyway who wish they were the boss. 

retireyoudumbass
retireyoudumbass

How many years have passed since Jim Dipshitze even went north of 635, let alone set foot in Plano? Of course, being the total dipshit that he is, he gets his facts wrong. Hey Dipshitze, check out Plano`s demographics on city data or the census site and then have a deep realization of what a goddamn moron you are, and then retire and move back to Detroit, from which you white~fled like the hypocritical jackoff that you are.

retireyoudumbass
retireyoudumbass

How many years has it been since Jim Dipshitze even went north of 635, let alone to Plano? Hey Dipshitze, you should check out Plano`s demographics from citydata or the census quickfacts page, then have a deep realization of what a shitty hack propagandist you are, and then retire and fuck off back to Detroit, from which you white-fled like the hypocritical jackoff that you are.

jackmartinez1951
jackmartinez1951

Toyota isn't the first or last Company that will not RELOCATE its Company to inner city Dallas. Until they clean up those South Dallas neighborhoods, projects & 60 y.o. homes, you will not see any New Cos. I've told people for years between the City Council & its Politically Correct BS & the wannabe all black run School Board, nothing will change. I mean, look at the Minorities that have MADE it from getting a good College Degree & a Good JOB, how many of them go right back and live in East, South or West Dallas?? Not many if any!! Look at your Burbs the last 20-25 yrs. Lotta minorities moved out there b/c of all the Politics & no advancement in school teachings in DISD. And they also had the means to, Look at Plano, Frisco, Coppell, Richardson, Lewisville, etc., the Private schools. The Minorities that make it, that's where they end up, & Power to them. WhoITF would want to live with Crack heads & rundown Neighborhoods & Ghettos.

free_hour_tour
free_hour_tour

Will Jim sail his new yacht on Lake Ray Hubbard by Memorial Day?

cajunscouse9
cajunscouse9

What an incredibly stupid article. When a company looks at relocation or opening a new location, they research extensively. Something the author here apparently didn't do. Complete pablum.

ddddddddd
ddddddddd

You can still find mexican music playing in parking lots in Plano. Or did you forget about East of 75?? Point being, any city its just a matter of where you are in that city...

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

This is the worst story ever. If you disagree with me, you must be racist against me because only those who would disagree are the biggest racist people around. That's the kind of logic he is using here to support his claims.


Or, tell me this, where were they going to build their business in Dallas? On 75, one of the worst roads in Texas? Maybe along the already crowded Toll Way? Maybe Dallas's most prime spots for such a huge company are already taken and Plano and Frisco just happen to have plenty of land with roads that are well taken care of and not overloaded?


And yes, the DISD SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS. They have  A top school...woohooo...Plano and Frisco have several good schools not just ONE. There are a lot of rich people in Plano and Frisco, but that is because Plano and now Frisco have attracted top Corporations. Plano has MANY, not just newly acquired Toyota. Did you call Jerry Jones racist for wanting to move his Practice facility to Frisco? The truth is, he should have built his Stadium in that area too, because the Corporate types he priced his seats for live in that area. Dallas lost long ago, and this is just bitterness over being the loser.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Again, if racism were the trigger, the Indians and Pakis in Plano ought to have screwed the pooch too. It is just plain urban ennui.

Too bad they don't realize how quickly Plano is catching up. Maybe they should choose Melissa or Ada.

Allcott22
Allcott22

Why would resourceful Toyota employees want to subject their kids to borderline child abuse in DISD schools?


Illiterate out-of-wedlock kids w druggie scumbag parents mired in welfare. The parents are complete losers and their hoods are literally disgusting. Sorry they're black, life's not fair. Be a victim and a loser all your life or do what you have to do to move forward. Have some pride & initiative. 


Dallas kids live like animals and infect schools-- intelligent Japanese corporate employees don't give a shit about some misguided social experiment. 


Life is an IQ test, and it looks like Toyota & its employees are winning. 


Hopefully the upper tier execs send their kids to HP, St. Marks & Hockaday where they rightfully belong. Where the best & the brightest learn to be meaningful contributors to society. 

Guest
Guest

Isn't is a shame that all those white people from Toyota drove around Dallas and mistook all those African American classics professors roaming our streets for crack dealers.  Toyota is so Eurocentric.  What would you expect with a name like Toyota.

brock81
brock81

This is what City Hall gets for engineering the concentration camp for blacks called South Dallas.  

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Several years ago when Boeing was looking for a new home, the reason that was given then for eliminating Dallas as DISD. This is not the 1st time that DISD was given as the reason that a company stayed away.

Many people just want to send their kids to school - not to a magnet school - just to a regular school.  Dallas may have great magent schools but how many are there and how how many slots are available in them?  Not everyone gets to go to a magnet school.  DISD regular schools are much inferior.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

I still believe Toyota just watched a video of a Dallas City Council meeting to make their decision.

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@JimSX  The bottom line is that you got your ass stone cold stunnered with a near universal bitch slapping. You can't try to turn this around and say oh look waciss comments prove I'm right!!



JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

lots of us KNOW ...

correction  software would not allow me to correct.

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@dsjohnson64  So which acceptable whiteopia are you referring to when you say "Central Dallas?" Is that some new realtor/developer speak for some borderline 3rd world shit hole you convince yourself is awesome?

texasboys214
texasboys214

You sound truly ignorant. Only people who actually have lived in this area know that life around there isn't like a gangster movie.

We were never robbed,stabbed,shot at in over 23 years. People make their own assumptions about certain things before even knowing the actual truth, but I think you're more afraid of the different colors walking around then the actual neighborhood. Townview IS the best school in the nation, so go live under your bridge hobo....

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@WhiteJesus  



wow dude, you keep the positive!


besides, Dallas is full of awesome entrepreneurs? ok!  f=ckheads. 

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@ddddddddd  Yes all cities are just the same. I meant if you relocate to Plano you might as well move to Mogadishu! 

Steeve
Steeve

@ddddddddd So was Toyota supposed to consider that much acreage in HP?


Blacks and Mexicans ruin everything good about Dallas proper.  Motherfucking period.

TexMarine
TexMarine

Well played. Did you also notice that this entire article hinged off of speculation of what he thought Toyota said? He also didn't give details that 3 of DISDs 28 HS's are top rated, but nothing about horrid Jr highs or overcrowded elementary schools? (Seriously, how do you expect to even relocate middle tier employees if the public school system is dysfunctional?)

Damn you Toyota, get out of Schutzes head!!

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@brock81  Seems they forgot a critical portion of any functional concentration camp.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

I can relate there. But the acoustics a so shitty, it is hard to tell what is going on.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@DOisDUMDUM @JimSX  

You really believe you "bitch-slapped" someone? The other thing your comments illustrate is serious mental illness.

In the last three or four years, have you had any experience that would have produced a reduction in blood supply to the brain? Heart-attack maybe? Get a check-up. Your family will thank you.

dsjohnson64
dsjohnson64

@DOisDUMDUM As you said earlier....Plano or Mogadishu or Lakewood or The Colony....it's all the same....

rogjohns64
rogjohns64

@bvckvs  


You're exactly the reason Toyota couldn't be entirely honest.


You automatically interpret the truth as racism.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@bvckvs  It is a headquarters, not a manufacturing plant.  Please try to keep up, Sanders.

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@JimSX @DOisDUMDUM  More like you are senile and losing your tenuous grip on reality. Your race baiting brow beating schtick has grown old and cold with you. 

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@JimSX  So the fact that you have people from both sides of the commentating aisle here basically agreeing you are a moron for publishing this in a bipartisan kumbaya and you still can't open your eyes beyond 'thass waciss!"

DOisDUMDUM
DOisDUMDUM

@PlanoDave @bvckvs  Facts are inconvenient for people like Sanders(and Myrna etc). Things like the truth just get in the way of emotive menstruation. 

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