Tuesday, May 06, 2014

How Much Can We Blame DISD for Toyota Not Moving to Dallas?

By now you’ve probably heard that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings blamed Dallas’s loss of the big Toyota Headquarters to Plano move on low performing Dallas Public Schools, or DISD.
In an interview on KERA’s Think, Rawlings said Toyota ultimately decided to relocate to Plano because of the schools in Dallas.
“We don’t get Toyota in Dallas because of the school system. We’ve talked to them. They want to be in Plano,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings said it’s difficult to sell a company on moving to Dallas when it has so many low-performing schools that produce few graduates. He said the schools played a role in 7-Eleven deciding to move its headquarters from Dallas to Irving recently.
“They looked at a lot of things — the location, cost of real estate,” Rawlings said about Toyota. “But they want a school … The 7-Eleven CEO said, ‘I need to be where our families are sending their kids to school,’ and they are not sending them to DISD.”
Matthew Haag’s post in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News has now generated 91 comments, with roughly half angry about his statement, the other agreeing with Mayor Mike. I am scratching my head about Irving: last time I looked, Irving schools were no better than DISD as far as performance or safety. Maybe Irving has lower taxes than Dallas?
Who really knows why people move into Dallas or on the outskirts and why? Realtors. They deal with families on a one-by-one case and know why people buy homes — for schools, atmosphere, safety, whatever.
Here’s what Realtors tell me: people buy in Plano, Allen, McKinney and Lovejoy: because of the schools and sense of community. But when it comes to a solid school community that prepares kids for college, Southlake is KILLING IT!
If you buy in Dallas, plan on sending your kid to private schools, of which we have some of the best in the nation. (Rawlings did not mention that.) Or buy in certain areas, such as Lakewood, where the lower schools are fabulous. But plan on moving for high school, or go private.
Or if you can pony up $900,000, go to the Park Cities, where I am hearing concerns of over-crowding.
I firmly believe that busing killed Dallas public schools years ago, and in fact, I’m not quite sure what it accomplished besides equalizing to mediocrity. My dream is to see a sane Dallas school board advised by volunteer educational professionals from each private school in Dallas, where they are held accountable by parents.
In my opinion, busing created it’s own segregation. Whenever the government thinks it is “shaping society”, people push back. With the social pressures of the 1950’s-1970’s, well-intentioned court-ordered busing in public schools created white flight to the suburbs and the proliferation of private schools in Dallas. It happened in Chicago, too, as the middle class fled north, west and south — Lake Michigan borders on the east. When I grew up, there were 35 miles of prairie dirt between the little town of Elgin and Chicago. Now, when I return, it’s solid development. It will be just like that soon between Dallas and McKinney.
As this happened, roads were built because what was good for General Motors was good for America. People lived in the suburbs where it was clean, green, quiet and safe, and dad drove to work. Soon, however, employers started taking jobs to the suburbs where they could pocket savings on employee parking, land and more. Also, by this time BOTH parents were often working, there were single parents, with childcare an issue for employers who wanted to retain top brainpower. So ultimately, the government’s “shaping of society” to make us all equal, left Dallas with basically a north-south divide and a depression south of the Trinity that few cared to treat until recently as re-gentrification took place.
It was jobs and vitality to the north, poor people and dysfunctional politics to the south.
So I ask you agents out there: what is driving the buyers away from buying in Dallas and within DISD and taking them to places like Plano, Frisco, Southlake and Coppell? I hear it’s schools and a a sense of safety, but I’d really like to hear it from you!