"Students of Promise" Keepers: More on Dallas ISD's Proposed Changes to Magnet Admissions

Yesterday, I mentioned that some Dallas Independent School District parents are concerned about a proposed change to magnet admissions that would allow room for "students of promise"; today it's in the paper, where trustee Edwin Flores "acknowledged that a proposed change would reserve 10 percent of magnet admission slots for 'students of promise' who don't otherwise meet admission criteria."

No need to acknowledge anything -- on the other side are the 12 PowerPoint pages presented to the trustees Tuesday night in advance of this morning's board meeting, where the proposal will be read for the first time well in advance of its being voted on. The presentation were sent to Unfair Park late yesterday, and the section regarding "students of promise" can be found on Page 10; only, there's no definition save for "criteria to be determined." Which has Mike MacNaughton, founding member of Dallas Friends of Public Education, and others DISD parents concerned. On the other side, McNaughton shares his thoughts about the proposal as well as some questions ("Why the policy change? What is the purpose?"), all of which will no doubt be repeated this afternoon at 3700 Ross. Schutze should go. Oh, he is? Well, all right then.

Magnet Presentation From MacNaughton:

There is no formal definition for a "student of promise" that I am aware of so it will be interesting to see how that definition plays out.

But, again, why the policy change? What is the purpose? If the purpose is to broaden the pool of magnet candidates then, in my opinion, you should look to a better intake procedure BEFORE trying to add in UNDERQUALIFIED students. The principals of Travis, Spence and Polk suggested, on October 1, 2009 adding in a cognitive reasoning test; 3 letters of teacher recommendations; and creating a "blind" process whereby the students name and home school were redacted - in addition to the essay and English and math test scores above the 80th percentile. If the purpose is a more fair and equitable pool of magnet candidates, which I support, then perhaps you can ask the administration why these principal's proposal was turned down without a given reason.

Frankly I am also concerned about the effect on the student who is accepted but then quickly finds themselves in over their heads. I do not want to see the district systematically set up students for failure. Does this apply to the 4th grade Vanguards? Not all 6th grades are considered middle school so will this apply only the MAGNETS and not the Academies and Vanguards?

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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