Saturday, January 21, 2012

Irving Texas Education Coalition: 5-2 vs 7-0

On 1-19-12 the Irving Education Coalition held a meeting to coordinate efforts to fight the vote of the Irving School Board to establish a 5 single member district voting system with two at-large districts to select the 7 members of the Board.  It was a positive meeting with the following handout passed out containing two copies of maps to use in comparing the 5-2 and 7-0 systems.  Here is page one:
Page one of Irving Education Coalition Handout 1-19-12
(Right click on above image to enlarge it or save a copy.)
Page two of the handouts included demographic spreadsheets for both the 5-2 and 7-0 systems so as to compare in detail what the differences are.  Here is page two:
Demographic differences between 5-2 and 7-0 redistricting plans for Irving ISD.
(Right click on above image to enlarge it or save a copy.)
 These handouts provide documentation to support the 5 main points comparing the 5-2 plan with the 7-0 plan.  Our students should see democracy in action with this battle over at-large districts and single-member districts.  They also need to see the vital lessons as to how democracy can be denied by gerrymandered redistricting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Justice in Irving ISD: Comparing 5-2 with 7-0

Five single member & two at-large districts vs seven single member & no at-large districts

On 1-12-12 the Irving ISD School Board, with a 3 to 4 split vote, denied voters a 7 single member district system for the selection of members for the school board.  Instead they selected a 5 single member and 2 at-large member district system.   This system has the following characteristics:

1) The 5-2 system will not allow for a single district wherein Black residents are the largest group.  This is possible in a 7-0 system in Irving ISD

2) The 5-2 system virtually guarantees that the School Board will remain under the contol of Anglo non-Hispanic members. This is in a School district with only a 10.7% Anglo non-Hispanic student population and a 29.99% Anglo non-Hispanic resident population. With the 5-2 district map submitted by the IISD Board there are only three districts wherein there is any statistical improvement for the Irving minority population as a unified group to have any increased advantage in electing a candidate of their choice. In the 7-0 map submitted by the Irving Education Coalition there are 5 such districts, a significant improvement in the potential for the Irving minority community to elect candidates of their choice, and a probable majority on the IISD Board.

3) The 5-2 system creates an unequal situation for two board member positions by continuing the burden for them of the expensive citywide campaigning. These two positions must connect with a population of over 170,000 people while the other 5 single member positions will have significantly less expensive campaigns targeting populations of only 34,000 people. These positions all have equal votes on the board.

4) The 5 single member district campaigns for office will be more expensive in time and money than those for 7 single member districts. There is a big difference between the need to connect with populations of over 34,000 people in the 5 district system and the need to connect with the smaller communities of 24,000 people in the 7 district system. The campaign for office in a 7-single member district system could much more easily be based on personal connections. Success in being elected can much more easily depend on effort and reputation, not on money. Plus, all the members in a 7-single district board of trustees would truly be equal, representing equal numbers of the population.

5) A majority Hispanic CVAP (Citizen Voting Age Population) district is not possible without a 7-0 district system! The court order signed by Judge Fitzwater in January of 2010 stated that once a district with a majority Hispanic CVAP could be proven, that the move to single member districts could happen without a return to court being necessary. With 7 districts such a majority Hispanic CVAP district has been created.  Such a district is not possible with 5 single member districts.

6) A 7-0 single member district system will obviously most encourage local involvement.  It will provide the greatest potential for personal connections in the Irving ISD system.  Parents will know that their board member has their local interests in mind.

7) A 7-0 single member district system will also encourage local parental involvement, the goal of all schools.  Local involvement of the community is what our schools most need to motivate students to work hard toward their own graduation, well prepared for work and/or college.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Enrollment and Board Profiles for 14 Dallas County Independent School Districts

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The above chart is for the 14 largest independent school districts in Dallas County, Texas. It is made up of data pulled from the Texas Education Agency data base online for the 2010-2011 school year enrollment.  The board information was pulled from the web sites for each of the respective school districts.  Board ethnic distribution was based on photographs online, personal knowledge, and Hispanic surnames, and therefore is not fully reliable.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Irving ISD, Irving, Texas - Demographics

Media coverage erroneously suggested that the percentage of the IISD student body who are Anglo is over 15%.  It is only 10.74%.  Below are numbers released by IISD on 12-9-11:

This fact, combined with the 29.99% Anglo population now living in the area served by IISD, and a current school board with no setting minority members,  mandate the need for a 7-0 form of single member district selection for board members.  This would encourage greater citizen involvement and increase the potential for representation that reflects the community. 

On Thursday, January 5, 2012, the Irving ISD Board accepted testimony from the public related to decisions to be made about possibly moving to single member districts for the election of the 7 school board members. Over 60 people were present.  When those wanting no change from at-large districts were asked by a similarly minded speaker to stand, based on the video shown on the Channel 11 evening News, only 7 people stood up.  This means that a total of 8 people, from the 60+ present, wanted no change.  The support for a change to 7 single member districts appears very strong. The next two IISD Board meetings for public input on this potential change for IISD begin at 7 PM Monday and Tuesday nights, 1/9/12 and 1/10/12.  Monday's hearing is at MacArthur High School.  Tuesday's hearing is at Nimitz High School.