by David Safier
This falls into the "Be careful what you wish for" category. I mainly applauded the Unitary Status Plan put together for TUSD by the courts. It clarified and updated the desegregation plan the district has been under for decades. And it was necessary to appoint a Special Master to oversee implementation of the plan. But Special Master Willis Hawley is getting a little hyperactive about his duties. He needs to take a breath and see if TUSD can work things out before he jumps in with both feet. We've got a new Supe in town and a reconstituted board. They're on the side of deseg. These things take time.
First Hawley wanted TUSD to scrap part of its magnet program because the magnet schools aren't sufficiently integrated. H.T. Sanchez wants some time to let the district finish its efficiency audit and demographic study, then look at holistic changes to the district. Makes sense to me.
Now Hawley is telling TUSD to scrap its new admissions plans for University High School (UHS) because he doesn't think they represent the best way to bring UHS closer to the district's racial balance. The district plans to add a motivation test to allow students who don't quite make the GPA/entrance exam cut to be accepted into the school. Hawley wants something that looks more like college application material -- student essays, staff recommendations, etc. His isn't a bad idea. In fact, TUSD is looking at adding the those items for the 2014-15 school year. But once again, the district wants the chance to make a good faith effort to work things out on its own.