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."