Monday, June 10, 2019

Racial & Ethnic Balance at Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet

The first Dallas Black high school was established in 1892.  It was rebuilt, moved, and eventially the building we know today as Booker T. Washington was constructed in 1922 with the name changed from the Dallas Colored High School to Booker T. Washington High School.  It remained as a segregated Black school until being closed in 1969. The Class of 1969 just celebrate the graduation they were denied at Booker T. 

In 1976 in was reopened as the Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet (BTW) and began the evolution into becoming one of the best high schools in the nation.  Due to its popularity the admission process has often been in the Dallas news. The debates over the years have mostly been on how this historically segregated Black high school has become the most White high school in DISD. The good news is that by one measure, the current numbers show progress over the past 5 years in re-integration. This is that progress:

Yes, those numbers reflect 5 years of progress! 

In 2013/14 the situation was much worse!  White students were 17 times more likely than Black DISD students, and 37 times more likely than Hispanic students, to be attending Booker T. Washington. Over the past 5 years those abusive differences have been much more than cut in half.  BTW is much more inclusive, but still has a very long way to go. 

Here is a spreadsheet demonstrating how these two sets of numbers have been calculated.  The 2013/14 numbers came from the 2014/15 Data Packet giving the 2013/14 numbers.  The current numbers were taken 6-9-19 from the current DISD Enrollment numbers online at

Dallas ISD is making significant progress but still has a very long way to go for equity.

Suburban student submitting false documents to get into BTW was reported on last week by the Dallas Morning News: "How Dallas ISD plans to stop the suburban cheaters stealing admission slots at prestigious Booker T." 

While I have not seen the demographic profile, it is safe to say that the suburban students do not help BTW to be more inclusive.  That is another way wherein slots at BTW are being taken from DISD minority students, 95% of the students within Dallas ISD.

Such lack of equity at Booker T. Washington gives several ways a civil rights lawsuit may be directed.  The failure of DISD to prepare their own pk-8 students to become highly competative candidates for BTW needs to be explored in the formation of such a complaint.

Sadly there are many examples of a lack of equity within Dallas ISD, like the average salary paid at the three 50%+ White schools:

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