Monday, December 28, 2009

Thanks Daddy and Goodbye to All That

Thank you, Daddy!

My daughter graduated from Plano Senior High in 2009. It was a happy occasion for her and she told us that she loved going to school in Plano. I reminded her that I changed careers so she could grow up in Plano, and she gave me a hug and said, "Thank you, Daddy!"

There came a time when I needed to move to Silicon Valley to continue working in the design and manufacturing of computers. My wife and I had a heart-to-heart discussion about the future of our family and we decided Plano was where we wanted to rear our children, so I changed careers. The sacrifice I made for my daughter worked out, but I wonder if my sacrifice will work for my son.

Goodbye to All That

When my daughter reached middle-school in Plano, the math curriculum improved so I no longer had to send her to Chinese School for her math instruction. My son, however, is stuck with Connected Math, so I have to continue supplying him with extra instruction to compensate for the poor math program in Plano.

Plano is a great community, but the math curriculum in the elementary schools has always been weak. Now the weakness has spread to the middle-schools. So many children go to Kumon, or Chinese School, or Japanese school, getting extra tutoring, that the problems with the math curriculum are covered up. The danger will be in the dumbing down of the high school math curriculum. The high school math program in Plano has been a gem, but the dumbing down will eventually reach the high school and the damage will be too great for all the tutoring companies in Plano to overcome. When the high school math program is dumbed down, then we can say goodbye to Plano's reputation.

School Realignments

After my daughter attended a Texas Tech football game she was surprised at the lack of school spirit. I told her that Plano Senior High was a gem. I explained that her high school experience was rare. We bought our home so she could go to Plano Senior. I changed careers so she could go there, and then the PISD board ruined it for my son. Even if we move or we transfer him so he can attend Plano Senior, all his friends will go to Plano West.

The Plano Board of Trustees and the PISD Administration have done a dismal job of planning for very many years and the goofy school realignments are the by-product of years of poor planning. The once great Plano school system has been unraveling around us for years. The neighborhood chemistry is important for a school and this was ignored by the Board.

I hope Plano Senior High can survive the changes. I hope the city of Plano can survive these changes because the schools are the heart beat of our community.

What Can We Do?

People have been trying for years to fix the problems with the PISD, but the problems are so deep seated that there is no end in sight. However, we might be able to either undo the problems from the school realignment, or at least minimize the some of the problems.

We Plano parents should get busy over these next few years. Either approach -- undoing the realignment or ameliorating its problems -- will take years.

To undo realignment problems will require changing a majority of the Board of Trustees, which will take a couple of elections. There will be a school board election in May. That will be a time to voice your dissatisfaction with this realignment.

Robert Canright