The statue of Pegasus that sits in front of Booker T. was moved during the school’s expansion. But it’s back where it belongs now. Photography by Erykah Badu

Local News

Read This Advocate Story on How Suburban Parents Game Admission at Booker T.

When admissions aren't passing the smell test.

The money paragraph comes late in Keri Mitchell’s terrific examination of admissions at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, one of Dallas ISD’s treasures:

More than a decade of strong anecdotal evidence suggested high rates of suburbanites — most of them white and affluent — cheating their way into Dallas ISD’s top magnet schools, primarily Booker T. Washington. Campus leaders and the DISD magnet office weren’t tasked with verifying addresses, and left well enough alone unless parents called to tattle. The board washed its hands of it, pointing to the policy that gives priority to Dallas ISD students.

The story ran in the East Dallas Advocate a couple days ago, and it’s well worth sacrificing your lunch break for. Mitchell profiles one parent who dug into the details after her Dallas-residing child landed on the waiting list. Several of the girl’s dancer friends didn’t live in the district but got in anyway. The parent found that the high school doesn’t match a feeder school’s demographics, that just 32 percent of students at Booker T. are economically disadvantaged compared to 69 percent at Greiner Middle School Exploratory Arts Academy. Apparently, 104 of 227 students didn’t attend a Dallas ISD middle school and 39 didn’t even live in the district. The board requires the parents of students to submit proof of residency each year, but apparently is doing little to follow up after their initial application. The district’s chief of school leadership says an entirely new policy will likely be necessary.

Read the whole piece here. There is a good solution from former People Newspapers editor Dan Koller in the comments: only accept applications from students who attended a DISD school for at least two semesters.

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