Thursday, January 30, 2014

Minority presence down in Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet in Dallas

When my children attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTW) starting at the end of the1980's, the understanding was that the school was a magnet school working to achieve a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 racial balance.   While that allowed for an over-representation for the about 19% of students within DISD at the time who were Anglo, that was considered acceptable for a magnet working to achieve racial balance in DISD.   Here is a chart that gives the history of racial balance within Dallas ISD since 1970:

Racial and Ethnic balance within Dallas ISD 1970 to 2013
(Click on above chart to enlarge or print.)
Sadly since those "good old days" the ethnic balance both within DISD and within BTW have moved in opposite directions to the point that now Dallas ISD is only 4.6% Anglo, and a disproportionate percentage of that 4.6% of Anglo students are in the magnet schools which are some of the best high schools in the nation.  Currently 59% of the freshman class at BTW is "White" according to DISD records.

The current enrollment for DISD can be seen on the Dallas ISD web site at .   On that page click on the "Statistics and Reports" tab at the top of the page.  Then click on "Enrollment," the first choice in the drop-down menu.  You will immediately see the statistics as of this week for DISD by grade and by ethnic group. 

Just under the DISD logo on that page you see a small link to help find any school in DISD.   It says  List Schools .  It takes you to an alphabetical listing of all schools by Division.   BTW is in Division 3.  Click on BTW ARTS - 34 and you will see the same data for BTW that was listed for all of DISD.  Currently BTW is 48.6% "White."   However, to see the direction BTW is going, look at the 9th grade class.  It has 129 "White" students making the 9th grade class 59.2% "White." 

Since there are only a total of 554 "White" 9th grade students in all of DISD, this means that 23.3% of all Anglo 9th grade students in DISD are attending just one school, BTW.   Meanwhile 48, or 6/10ths of one percent, of the 7,490 Hispanic 9th grade students in DISD are attending BTW and 35, or 1.3%, of the 2,601 Black 9th grade students in DISD are attending BTW.  

The relative balance from the 1980's of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 has been lost.   It is also reported that as many as 150 students at BTW are from outside Dallas ISD.   I am now doing an open records request to ask what that percentage is, and also to determine what percentage of BTW students even attended DISD before entering one of our prime schools rated as one of the best in the nation. 

Another point, while DISD has a student body that has over 82% of all students on free or reduced lunch programs due to poverty, BTW 9th grade class only has 16% who are on the free or reduced lunch program.

Racial & Ethnic Balance at Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet, Dallas(Click on chart to enlarge.)