Last Thursday, we had an item about the federal civil-rights lawsuit filed by Lucresia Mayorga Santamaria, who's claiming that Preston Hollow Elementary School is segregating its students by forcing Hispanic kids into English-as-second-language classes even if they're English-proficient. Santamaria, who has three kids at the school, is also claiming that the PTA at Preston Hollow is trying to lure the white neighborhood kids by downplaying the Hispanic and African-American student body in a brochure sent to prospective students and their parents.
We've gotten quite a few e-mails about this suit that resulted in a trial currently taking place downtown at the federal court house. (Alas, there's been not a peep in The Dallas Morning News, far as I can tell.) Many of them say the same thing as Santamaria, alleging a segregated student body and suggesting it's being done since many ESL students' test scores don't count toward schools' cumulative Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test results. And now that the Texas Education Agency's offering bonuses to teachers whose students do well on the TAKS test--Preston Hollow's eligible for $120,000 in that bonus scratch--well, there is an incentive to get those scores higher by any means necessary.
One Friend of Unfair Park sends us this instructional missive about the doings at Preston Hollow:
"My son attended the day care at the Methodist church across the street from Preston Hollow Elementary school in the late 1990s. Many of the parents at the day care had kids at Preston Hollow. One mom told me that Preston Hollow classrooms were sort of--I can't remember the exact word she used--weird, odd, unusual. She said the white kids were grouped together in classes with white teachers, the black kids were grouped together in classes with black teachers and the Hispanic kids were grouped together in classes with Hispanic teachers. This mother said she didn't know how they were able to get away with that.
Also, one of the Preston Hollow Hispanic kindergarten classes actually had their classroom in the Methodist church for several years while my son was at the daycare. Preston Hollow rented the room from the church. Do you think other public schools' classes meets in a church?"
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Uh. No? --Robert Wilonsky