Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Plano Schools - Re-segregation?

Note: Blue is Williams, Magenta is McMillen
It's been a while since I've written anything - I know. I've been busy with work and with a local school project.

Plano Independent School District has a unique way of dividing its grades
Elementary school runs from K-5. Middle School is 6-8. High School is 9 and 10 and the Senior High School is 11 and 12.

In the east side of Plano, there is currently one Senior High school and one High School. PISD is building another. The problem comes out with how do we divide the middle schools between the high schools.

East Plano has a very wide mix of economic status. In "Old Plano", there are a lot of Latinos and a lot of African Americans. In far east Plano, including the suburbs of Parker and Murphy, there are many wealthy families that live in homes that are 500,000 or more (5k square feet).

There are currently six plans that the School Board is considering. Three plans that have the biggest support among the School Board will put the two newest middle schools into the new high school (these are located in the richer part of town) and the two older middle schools to the old high school. The problem is that in doing so, over 90% of the Latino students in east Plano will be sent to the old High School. Also over 92% of the Economically Disadvanted students in east Plano will be sent to the old high school and just under 8% of them will be at the new high school. The new middle school is equidistant from the two high schools, so this isn't really about "neighborhood schools." To me, this is an issue of Justice. To segregate the schools either by race or by economic status is just plain wrong. The image above shows the breakdown of Latino students and Economically Disadvanted students under plans E456 and under the most balanced plan, E3. Click on it to get a bigger picture.
When I spoke at the public hearing I said that to concentrate this much poverty at one school while alleviating the other school of almost all poverty is morally reprehensible. When I said that at the public hearing, I got boo'ed. I have had people ask me how I can call myself a Christian Minister and still make statements like that. I wonder how people can call themselves Christian and support that level of segregation. How can I be a Deacon in Christ's church and not call society's attention to this injustice? How can I not raise the alarm of immorality and injustice? I have received a lot of flak on this, but I have also received a lot of support. When I spoke to the Bishop Suffragan about it, he supported me as did the Archdeacon. I haven't had an opportunity to speak with my Ordinary about it yet.
I would ask you all to please pray for the Parents and Board Members who support the plans that effectively segregate the Latino and poor children into one high school. Pray that God will soften their hearts and open their eyes.
Also pray for me, that I not be consumed with anger. It is hard to meet anger with love and bitterness with joy. Pray that I will be given the grace to do just that.
Phil Snyder


Bryan Owen said...

Good to see you're back into blogging again, Phil.

And also good to see that you're doing the work of a deacon in your community with this school issue. Yes, this is about justice and respecting the dignity of every person. It's about living into the meaning of our baptisms and giving public witness to the social implications of our Christian faith.

Isn't it amazing and frustrating how so many of us can operate with the false consciousness that doing this kind of stuff is not only okay, but Christ-like and virtuous?!

My prayers are with you.

Robert said...

Bless you Phil and keep fighting for those less fortunate.

"whatever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do it to me".