In Wake of Townview Changes, Dallas ISD Super Hinojosa Insists He's "Not Anti-Magnet"
The battle over Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center -- which Dallas Independent School District Michael Hinojosa is splitting up in order to excise five of its seven principals next school year, over parents and Carla Ranger's objections -- has reached The New York Times, via its relationship with the Texas Tribune. Writes Morgan Smith, the cuts at Townview only serve to underscore what the super's critics have maintained for years: He's never liked the magnets, and is using the current budget crisis prompted by the state's budget shortfall to slowly but surely chip away at them -- including not only Towniew, but also Booker T. Washington.
Hinojosa disputes that:
"I'm not anti-magnet," he said. "Our magnet schools are great, and we're very proud of them. But what keeps me awake at night are the students at the 22 other comprehensive high schools."
And incoming trustee Mike Morath, who will replace Jack Lowe on the school board, agrees. To a point.
He noted that magnet school parents were typically more engaged than those at traditional high schools -- but that should not mean, Mr. Morath said, that their children should get more resources. "To the extent that we are essentially robbing from the poor to give to the more politically organized, that doesn't strike me as all that right," he said.
But Mr. Morath said that if the administration weakened the schools, it risked losing the last remnant of middle-class confidence in the district.
"We've seen middle-class parents leave D.I.S.D. in droves," he said, adding that the economically disadvantaged population in the district had grown to 86 percent from 75 percent in the past 10 years. "To the extent you damage the magnets, you accelerate that trend, and you've got a real problem."