More "Educracy" or Real Progress? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Monday, May 5, 2008

More "Educracy" or Real Progress?

CP would like you to know about this series of public forums but be warned that I have a healthy disrespect for bureaucratic initiatives emanating from the palace at Riva Road by swarms of paper pushers I refer to as "educrats". I have no doubt that these disparities exist. I have no doubt they are serious and need to be addressed. I have written repeatedly about the race and class issues in our community, but what concerns me about the below notice is that it suggests that somehow the schools are doing it wrong, as if disparity in the school is the fault of the schools.

The "disparity" in our communities are dumped on the schools and I dare say that many administrators, teachers and principals, including the former Superintendent (who has the building named after her) are Black. And at great risk, let me also boldly state something that is quite obvious but rarely discussed. When I attend school events, whether they be at Bates or Annapolis MS or Annapolis HS, White students and families overwhelmingly make up the audience and the participants despite the fact that Black students are the majority in these schools. This is true at cultural events, school and PTSO meetings. Is this the fault of the schools? Other parents consistently notice this as well, but don't want to discuss it. Can this be addressed by asking the school to change what they are doing?

I'd write more but I have to go to a meeting at Annapolis MS where a committee composed mainly of White parents, including myself, worked hard to institute a uniform policy which was just adopted. We'll be meeting with the Black principal to make it work for next fall--for all students, White and Black. One of the many reasons we have worked to institute this policy is to eliminate the conspicuous outward signs of disparity. Parents did this--not educrats. And we worked hard to involve everyone and had to scrape and pull just to get 70% of parents to respond to the survey.

So, rather than asking what schools are doing wrong if Black students are being disproportionately disciplined, expelled or if they are under-achieving, we need to ask what are our communities and our parents doing wrong. I am sure to get whipped around for this one, but I certainly believe that it's the truth.



Community forums designed to address disparities in education and update residents on the progress of an agreement between the NAACP, RESPECT, Inc., parents, and other concerned citizens and Anne Arundel County Public Schools will be held at seven locations across the county on Thursday, May 8, 2008.

The forums, which run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., will be held at the following locations:

New Life Fellowship Baptist Church, 7605 Harmans Road, Hanover (Old Mill and Arundel clusters)

Ralph J. Bunche Community Center, Mill Swamp Road, Edgewater, MD 21037 (South River and Southern clusters)

Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church, 429 Asbury Dr., Severna Park (Broadneck, Old Mill, and Severna Park clusters)

Jacobsville Elementary School, 3801 Mountain Road, Pasadena (Chesapeake and Northeast clusters)

Annapolis Middle School, 1399 Forest Drive, Annapolis (Annapolis cluster)

Lloyd Keaser Community Center, 5757 Belle Grove Road, Brooklyn Park (North County cluster)

Boys and Girls Club at Freetown Village, 7820 Darrell Henry Court, Pasadena (Glen Burnie and Northeast clusters)

In 2004, the NAACP, RESPECT, Inc., and about 20 individual parents issued a formal complaint to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the disparities in academic achievement, disproportionate expulsions and suspensions, disproportionate identification, and placement of African American students in special education.

The United States Justice Department mediated an agreement between the complainants and AACPS that was signed in September 2005. The primary terms of the agreement include ensuring parity for African American students and have been amended to align with the 2012 goals in AACPS’ current strategic plan.

Community representatives from the OCR Advisory Committee and AACPS staff will share student data and information about the achievement gap, discipline, and special education in their neighborhood schools. They will lead a discussion about how the school system and community can work together to close the gaps and support students in the school and in the community.

Students will take part in the panel discussion and showcase their talents by providing entertainment. All residents are encouraged to attend to support these students and to discuss ways in which Anne Arundel County Public Schools and its partners can ensure the success of all children.


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