Monday, September 21, 2009

I Love Plano: the Guitar Moment

Plano is such a great community. This Sunday I hopped into my car, scooted a little way down the road, and was inside the Angelika Plano very quickly. I was able to see the guitar documentary It Might Get Loud, which my friends in other towns cannot see because it is in limited release.

For a guitar buff, the show was a small slice of heaven. Then I step outside and find a good band playing rock in the street. I've heard many bands at the Shops at Legacy, but this one made me stop and listen until they took a break. The local band's name is Aquz and if I want to listen to live music, the first thing I'll do is check their schedule.

What a great night! Astounding music in the theater, good live music waiting for me outside, and all just a few minutes from my home. I love Plano!

I do want to mention Plano is surrounded by other great communities: Frisco, Allen, and Richardson. I was in the Half-Price Bookstore in Frisco recently and found "Consequences of Pragmatism" by Richard Rorty on the shelves. It has an essay, "The World Well Lost," that I've been curious to read. After reading the essay I thought, "this is not a common book, where did it come from?" I looked at the book mark that had been left in the book and saw: "The Concord Bookshop, 65 Main Street, Concord, Massachusetts"

How nice that a book can find its way from Concord, Massachusetts to my home in Plano via a shop in Frisco.

Plano, Frisco, Allen, and Richardson are great places to live!

Robert Canright

Monday, September 7, 2009

TAKS Scores Make Sales: Hebron and West

I met a gentleman on the way to Texas Tech recently. We were both taking a child to Lubbock for the freshman year at Tech. He was moving his family to North Texas from Houston and chose his house location based on TAKS results. This is a wise choice.

He found that Hebron High School was ranked Exemplary by the TEA while Plano West was ranked Recognized, so he purchased a home in the Hebron attendance zone. Plano lost a home sale because of TAKS scores!

Hebron High School is a fine school. I have had an opportunity some years ago to visit it and was impressed, but I noticed then that it did not match up to Plano West. But now it truly is ranked Exemplary. Here are the ratings over the years.

You will notice that Plano West has been Recognized 67% of the time and Acceptable 33% of the time. Hebron has been Expemplary 17% of the time and Acceptable 83% of the time, but now is Hebron's time to shine!

Healthy competition makes us stronger. I hope the Plano ISD can study what Hebron H.S. did to move up to Exemplary and make similarly effective improvements.

Robert Canright

You can go to this webpage and click on links to all the TAKS results, 2004 through 2009. Look for the section entitled, "The TAKS: Viewing School Results".

One needs to study the TEA report details to see if the TAKS scores alone make the difference between Exemplary and Recognized, or if other factors are responsible. The data is available online for anyone wishing to study the details.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

UT Does Not Want Plano's Best?

The Wall Street Journal ran "University of Texas Drops Merit Program for Need-Based Aid" by Tom Benning in the Wednesday Sept. 2, 2009 issue. The article says the University of Texas, Austin, is phasing out its National Merit Scholarship program starting next year.

Plano has a large number of National Merit Scholarship winners. Plano had 128 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists in 2008. This means that UT does not want Plano's best students. I believe discouraging the brightest students from going to UT will drive down further the SAT scores at UT Austin. We have already seen the SAT scores for Math at UT Dallas surpass the Math scores at UT Austin.

UT's loss will be a gain for UT Dallas, Texas Tech University, and the universities at neighboring states. However, we need to be strengthening UT to raise it as a world class university, not driving it down.

Robert Canright