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Old 03-26-2013, 07:51 PM
 
6 posts, read 14,629 times
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Parents that place a priority on education and looking for good public school districts are always told to choose Plano over Allen for a superior education. What is the rationale behind that? As I consider moving to one of these cities, I think I've done my research and I'm trying to understand why exactly Plano is better than Allen. I've seen the SAT and national merit stats and think too much emphasis is placed on those numbers.

For the 2012-2013 year, Plano East had 35 (20 of which appear to be Asian), Plano Senior had 44 (30 of which appear to be Asian), Plano West had 48 (31 of which appear to be Asian) (my numbers, of course, may be slightly off). While Allen had only 5, my understanding from talking to parents in both cities is that Plano has a much larger Asian population and most of those kids are prepping for the PSAT/SAT for many years outside of school as well as most of the others that make the cutoff. I hear Karen Dilliard is very popular.

The SAT scores don't seem that different to me in the two cities, except for that of Asians. 2011 SAT scores by demographics (for Plano, looking at highest): Plano West - 1278 (Asian), Plano Senior - 1088 (Hispanic), Plano Senior - 976 (African-American), Plano West - 1157 (White); Allen - 1144 (Asian), 1034 (Hispanic), 928 (African-American), 1122 (White). In my opinion, both cities seem to do a poor job of educating Hispanics and African-Americans and except for the Asians in Plano, none of the averages for either city are particularly impressive. Both cities offer honors classes and a wide variety of AP classes and extra-curriculars. So what else am I missing? If I were to choose Allen, would my son, who is likely to take all honors and AP classes in high school, really going to get a lesser education? Does Plano have better teachers? Is the curriculum in Plano high level classes more rigorous? I fully intend to have him prep for the PSAT/SAT outside of school. For what its worth, I'm from the Northeast and the top public schools where I grew up had better test scores than both cities.

Last edited by EducaCat; 03-26-2013 at 08:03 PM..
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:33 PM
 
297 posts, read 407,809 times
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While this is thinking ahead, where does your son have his eyes set on for college? If he is wanting UT, unless he is stellar and will pretty much be in the top 5%, forget both schools. The top 10% rule in Texas has screwed many great students out of getting into a state school, if that is what they are wanting. If he has no desire to attend a state school here in Texas, both are fine as long as he applies himself and preps for college. My D had no desire for a state school here and they are losing many of our top students to out of state schools that are heavily recruiting them with very nice scholarships and great academics.
If your son is a solid AP student and does well with his GPA, SAT/ACT, he will be fine.

BTW, the Texas House has approved House Bill 5 today This means no Algebra II or higher level sciences needed to graduate. Why are we dumbing down our future????
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Wylie, Texas
1,574 posts, read 2,305,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gymrat View Post
While this is thinking ahead, where does your son have his eyes set on for college? If he is wanting UT, unless he is stellar and will pretty much be in the top 5%, forget both schools. The top 10% rule in Texas has screwed many great students out of getting into a state school, if that is what they are wanting. If he has no desire to attend a state school here in Texas, both are fine as long as he applies himself and preps for college. My D had no desire for a state school here and they are losing many of our top students to out of state schools that are heavily recruiting them with very nice scholarships and great academics.
If your son is a solid AP student and does well with his GPA, SAT/ACT, he will be fine.

BTW, the Texas House has approved House Bill 5 today This means no Algebra II or higher level sciences needed to graduate. Why are we dumbing down our future????

While it is true that the top 10% prevents many great students from getting into UT Austin, it's not as bad if those students would look at the other good state schools that tend to suffer in UT's shadow. Texas Tech and A&M come to mind as schools which are just fine (maybe even better if the major is engineering). I know plenty of grads from other schools like UTD, UTA, A&M Commerce and a few others who do just fine in the work force after graduation, including two of my bosses.

Now since it appears as if your kid is aiming a little higher than the state schools, then absolutely Plano ISD over Allen. I too once thought that Plano was being carried by its large Asian demographic, but I have now come to the light. If you study the demographics, you will see that Allen also has a fairly large Asian contingent, but without the NMSF gains that Plano sees. Honestly, Allen seems to have all the negatives of being a mega school that Plano has, but without the benefits that Plano so clearly brings to the table. While Plano kids are handicapped in getting into UT, to me they gain the advantage if applying to private/out of state schools due to the superior preparation those kids have been exposed to for so many years. Just my two cents.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:59 PM
 
297 posts, read 407,809 times
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I agree, there are many other good state schools. Just saying the UT as some people/families have their loyalties at one school.

As for NMF, know that your top tier privates do not give any scholarships for this achievement. Sure, they will tell you "great job" but that is it. Unless you are looking at one of the great out of state schools that still offers great scholarships for NMF, focus on the GPA, SAT/ACT. Even the great academic OOS publics hand out some wonderful scholarships for kids with top GPA's and SAT/ACT scores.

If I personally had to pick between the two, Plano.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,346 posts, read 5,803,967 times
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Plano East/Senior/West kids also have the advantage that their schools have a track record with all the big-name colleges. They don't have to explain the level of rigor reflected on their transcript - the committee is already familiar with PISD. Not the case with Allen, at least not as much.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:04 PM
 
350 posts, read 619,707 times
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In brief, PISD, especially over at Plano West, has a larger population of high achievers (no matter what their race is), so it can offer both more classes and programs that just aren't an option for kids at Allen. I'm not Asian, but as an advanced student, I've still reeped the benefits of this. For instance, the top thing I have for me on my resume for college is that I won second place in a competition that I wouldn't have been able to compete in if I went to Allen. In fact, I go to many academic events the place where Plano West is pretty much the only public school competing.

At the same time, I have a signifigantly larger amount of bright students to be around with. This is why that NMSF number is important- while getting Merit semifinalist really isn't a game-changer, a school that has 48 people performing at that level clearly has a talented student body, and being around similarly gifted students can drive you to succeed. I would probably be very bored socially if I wasn't in that type of environment.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:17 AM
 
32 posts, read 53,056 times
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And Allen seems content to build a fancy new $$$ football stadium instead of expanding or building schools. Not against sports but it does come off as to what Allen wants to be (sports vs. academics). I also like how the High Schools in Plano are broken up (9-10) and (11-12). But to each their own...
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:33 AM
 
6 posts, read 14,629 times
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The single high school and size of the high school do not concern me. But some things have been mentioned so far that are of interest. Where can I find out where the top students (i.e., top 25%) in each city get accepted to college? How about scholarships? We are very interested in him getting a scholarship to a great school. PISDstudent mentioned academic extracurricular activities available in Plano that are not available in Allen. Could you please provide more details? How big are the honors and AP classes in each school city? Does one city go into more depth in the classes than the other? Those are the types of things that interest us and would set one city's schools apart from the other.

Our son is very bright, and sometimes we wish we could somehow afford to stay in the Northeast where he would be able to attend one of the specialized high schools.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:37 AM
 
172 posts, read 289,355 times
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If you want safe environment, mediocre academics, one big crowded high school building and an state of art football stadium then Allen ISD can be a good fit. If you are after excellent academics that a public district can provide than look into Plano.

For details about both districts, use forum's search tool. You'll find everything you are looking for.

Last edited by Pama; 03-27-2013 at 10:50 AM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:22 AM
 
2,206 posts, read 3,802,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gymrat View Post

BTW, the Texas House has approved House Bill 5 today This means no Algebra II or higher level sciences needed to graduate. Why are we dumbing down our future????
By definition, half of all students are below average. The vast majority of these belong in votech schools and not college prep schools. This bill reflects that reality. The dropping of the college prep requirements will allow ISDs to funnel these kids into careers where they CAN complete the schooling and find a solid job and lead productive lives.
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