Newsweek magazine (May 8, 2006) ranked the Dallas Independent School District'sSchool for the Talented and Giftedat Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center the top public high school in the nation.
The School of Science and Engineering, also located at Townview Center, was ranked eighth in the country.
From the perspective of Newsweek, high schools receiving these rankings do the best job of preparing students for university study.
Newsweek's analysis ranked 1,139 high schools by adding the number of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests taken by students in 2005, divided by the number of graduating seniors at each school.
In April, D Magazineranked the Talented and Gifted Magnet and the School of Science and Engineering one and two, respectively in its listing of the best high schools in Dallas.
In addition, the Science and Engineering magnet has been named a U.S. Department of Education 2005 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School.
The Talented and Gifted magnet was also named a No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School in 2003.
Dallas should be proud of these schools and of the entire Townview Center and itaccomplishmentsts. This southern sector, very urban school has performed in an amazing way in leading the entire district.
Yesterday Don Williams, Chairman and founder of the Foundation for Community Empowerment and ex-President and CEO of Trammell Crow Company, spoke to our monthly Urban Engagement Book Club.
Randy Mayeux provided a very helpful synopsisis of Jonathan Kozol's latest book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. I asked Don to respond to the book in view of what is going on in Dallas' public schools.
During his insightful comments, Don "told the rest of the story" concerning Townview.
The DISD spends an average of $6,300 on each of its high school students annually.
It spends $11,100 on each of the students at Townview.
Care to guess what it spends per student at its 16 lowest performing schools? If you guessed $4,300 you would be correct.
I can just hear some of my friends telling me that things can't be changed by "just throwing money at problems." That comment always makes me smile. I don't get caught in too many money downpours around here!
The Texas Legislature is in special session today, under court order to find a new and legal solution to the state's school finance plan. Every report I read from Austin tells me that this fine bunch of leaders will come up with a legal plan that will grossly underfund our public schools.
Ladies and gentlemen of the legislature, please take a look at the Townview story.
There is another interesting twist to the Townview experience.
Demographically the DISD student population is almost 50% Hispanic, around 45% African American and less than 10% Anglo. Of course across the district, white students have opted out for private schools and many families have abandoned the city altogether for the suburbs and their school systems (also increasingly ethnically diverse). In the City of Dallas today, Anglos are a minority group.
At Townview the student population was much more balanced. The largest ethnic group among students at Townview is Anglo.
Something good here I suppose about students from every corner of the community learning together, working together, spending time together in a school with adequate funding.
Maybe Townview Center is more than a success story. Maybe it provides a model.
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Larry James' Urban Daily
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