Plano students trickling out of district into private schools

David Chard, SMU school of education dean, talks about Plano ISD student switching to private schools.

Once heralded as the gem of public education, the Plano school district now faces a reality more akin to its urban neighbors. Some families want out.

While the district continues to rank among the region’s best, an increasing number of parents — prompted by shifting populations, enlarged campuses and slashed state funding — are switching their students to private schools....

“There are a range of variables that raise parents’ red flags now,” said David Chard, the dean of Southern Methodist University’s School of Education and Human Development. “One is the perceived difficulties of teaching a growing number of kids that are second language learners coming from another culture. And the reality is Plano is changing pretty dramatically.”

He pointed also to easy access of school performance data and a broader range of learning alternatives. Charter schools sprout up regularly. Private schools have expanded their scholarships and focus on diversity. “The reality that parents can look at other options is probably shifting things,” he said.