Saturday, August 13, 2022 Aug 13, 2022
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LETTERS

By D Magazine |

Report Card Retorts



The uncontested winnerof the Dallas school superintendent’s Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down Award is none other than D Magazine.

It’s thumbs up for taking a look at and making an objective comparison of Dallas County suburban school districts in your September issue. Although the Dallas Independent School District was not included in the study, the acknowledgment that “the much-maligned DISD had almost every other district beaten in most categories” was very much appreciated.

The bad news was the grossly inaccurate information contained in the article “Is White Flight Ruining the Dallas Schools?” in the August issue. I documented nine specific examples in which the “facts” were not merely distorted but were absolutely untrue.

In addition to the misinformation, the premise seems to be that school officials are misleading the public into believing there is no white flight and that no solution to the problem is being sought. Quite the opposite is true. Clippings from the Dallas daily newspapers point out three major statements by DISD officials outlining the problem of declining white enrollment.

1. The DISD Research and Evaluation Department conducted a major study to determine why white enrollment is declining.

2. In my January “state of the district” message to all staff members, on KERA-TV, Channel 13, I specifically addressed the problem and made several proposals toward a solution.

3. The Dallas schools asked the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the current desegregation order because the district already has an Anglo minority and a projected white enrollment of only 26 percent by 1980.

A concerted effort is being made to stem the white exodus. Among approaches being used are: the Partners in Education Program, a structured program to significantly involve parents in the learning and monitoring of learning of their children; the Talented and Gifted Program to challenge the academically superior elementary student: expansion of the honors and high academic programs at the secondary level; Young People’s University to provide unusual experiences and opportunities for high achievers: mastery level testing before students can be promoted to the 4th grade; and unique educational opportunities in the vanguard, academies and magnet schools.

In other words, on the basis of accurate reporting and objectivity. I would have to grade your September article “A” and your August effort “F.”

Nolan Estes

General Superintendent

Dallas Independent School District



You have done a great injustice to the suburban schools (’”How Good Are The Suburban Schools,” September).

As I read the article and tried to justify the report cards, I became curious as to how much time you had spent in gathering facts: touring school plants; interviewing teachers, students and parents; studying the availability of funds and many other areas which should have influenced a report card rating.

I also wondered if the individuals who gave the statistical information by phone understood what you intended to do with it? And how extensive is your background in education that would justify your decisions?

I am an Irving teacher and proud to be in the fine system that it is.

Judy Coyle Irving



We answered questions asked by Tracy Curts about our schools, making no attempt to do a “P. R.’” job. We believe the grade for the’ ’students” category is totally inaccurate. Our statement of 55 percent college bound refers specifically to college bound. If we were to include special trade schools, then that percent would climb to 72 percent.

On page 121, your article states that we are a large district without a large degree of program diversity. We have had many people move into our district to avail themselves of our special education offerings. We had a planetarium several years before any other public school in Dallas County. Our vocational education department is varied and extensive in its offerings. We believe we have a program to fit the needs of virtually every child.

We have full time librarians in every elementary school, with parent volunteer assistance – not libraries manned by volunteers. We also belong to the television consortium. A special program is provided at the elementary level for gifted students as well. Our instructional staff includes full time specialists in all curricula areas. Certainly this shows not only a diversity of course offerings, but also professional support for all programs.

With regard to parental involvement, your article correctly stated that over 300 volunteers visited our classrooms speaking on career education. These people are not only members of our business community, but are also involved parents.

We are not angry with you. but we are upset in that we feel your rating is incomplete, in-accurate, and perhaps too ambitious an undertaking without special expertise in the field.

Guy T. Harrison, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

Irving

The Mesquite school system received an F in money on your grade card. The superintendent does not gouge our taxpayers, yet we have the finest equipment I have ever worked with in any school system.

You rate our students C. This is the best behaved student body, with outstanding appearance and great pride, that just does not exist in many schools in the entire United States.

You rate our teaching C+ – why don’t you come and visit. we try to teach the total student, not only books, but how to live, enjoy life and to belong to groups, and to get them involved. Just visit for a few minutes at North Mesquite High School and I am sure you would change your grade to A+ on every count.

This is the finest school system that I have been associated with.

You mention that Dallas more than holds its own in comparison. Why has almost every Dallas band director asked me for a job in the Mesquite Schools?

You rate Highland Park A+ on money – you should try marching on that cow pasture they call a football field sometime.

W. A. Tony Anderson

Band Director & Head of Music Dept.

North Mesquite High School

Mesquite



Landmarks

Cheers to Fox & Jacobs for their efforts to preserve the only intact Victorian block in Dallas.

The Wilson home and the two-storied shingle home pictured in Joe Holley’s article (“Landmarks That Should Be Saved,” August) along with a third home on San Jacinto, now destroyed, were the residences of the three Frichot sisters from the old La Réunion colony.

Henrietta married F. P. Wilson (who also built the Wilson Building); Laura married T. Beilharz and lived in the two-storied home with the shingled front; Bertha married T. Peter-man, whose son, Christopher Frichot Peterman, now resides in Casa Linda.

He’s our Dad!

Ann Jenson

Christine Kallstrom

Dallas

Editor’s Note: A propos of Joe Holley’s story, we neglected to give some credit where it was due. Alan Mason and Craig Melde of the city’s Urban Design department were most generous with advice and guidance on the story.





Back to Schools

We are providing updated figures of business community involvement in the Dallas Independent School District during the 1976-77 school year. In your recent article (“Is White Flight Ruining the Dallas Schools.” August) you stated that 35 companies were involved in Adopt-A-School.

As you can see from the figures, many more companies were involved:

Business and professional volunteers serving on the Magnet School Task Forces: 101 Companies volunteering loaned-executives (part-time): 9

Companies contributing money to the Magnet School Task Force: 155

Companies involved in Adopt-A-School program: 179

Number of paid-internships developed for Magnet School students: 300

Their involvement is significant and demonstrates the amount of dedication this community has to making the DISD credible for every child. The continued success of Dallas as a community rests largely in the hands of persons who are willing to commit their time and energies into making the Dallas schools work.

Rene Martinez

Dallas Chamber of Commerce



Hospital Error

An error appeared in your August issue concerning Medical City Dallas Hospital.

The figures that appeared on page 107 stated we had 1,700 babies born per year and 700 cae-sarians per year. The correct figures are 1,839 babies born per year with 220 primary cae-sarians per year.

Pat Sneller

Professional Relations Medical City Dallas

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