Closing The Achievement Gap In Our Schools - And Response

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP continues to be dismayed by the Hamilton County Department of Education’s decision to neglect the issue of equity in regards to closing the academic achievement gap for our public schools and students. Schools that are ranked as the lowest five percent of schools are still predominantly attended by students of color.  

In addition, Hamilton County Schools has not created any recent policies that would address this gross inequity in regards to student assignment and choice. We likewise believe that many of these schools are 'overly' staffed with educators and school personnel that lack the cultural competency and teaching experience needed to help students of color excel at the highest levels possible.  

As we recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. the Board of Education (1954) Supreme Court decision, we are reminded that there remain challenges to securing adequate and equitable educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race or ethnicity. Brown (1954) similarly taught us that we must use all the tools and resources that are at our disposal to remove any of the negative vestiges and barriers associated with the education inferiority complex.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP wants to see more of Hamilton County’s African-American, Hispanic and low income students attending highly competitive and achieving schools, not fewer. We believe that Hamilton County Department of Education’s decision to uphold the standard of educational “equality” without addressing the issue of educational “inequity” is a step in the wrong direction. This means less diversity in our schools and fewer opportunities for students from underrepresented groups to gain access to the best education that Hamilton County Department of Education has to offer. We have an obligation to ensure that the pathway to a world-class education is available to all students. 

James R. Mapp, President
Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP 

* * * 

I have been reading of Mr. Mapp since the 50's and he has been tireless in his involvement in the black community. His love and care seems to have no end and he is always a gentleman. 

Reading the opinion by Mr. Mapp has brought to mind about the education of our children. Our children first attended pre-school at the church we attended. When our oldest was close to starting to public school we investigated to find the top schools in the area. We found that there was three we liked. These schools were Woodmore, Dalewood and Brainerd High. We lived in a nearby area and was not zoned for Woodmore. At the time I was police officer and my wife worked for a independent insurance agency. My salary as a top paid patrolman was $5,500 per year. Janitors at Combustion made $6,050 per year, so we were not rich. 

In our decision making process we chose to put our house on the market and purchase a home a half a block from Woodmore. To be able to accomplish this we knew we would have to give up some things to be able to afford the home but we figured our kids education was worth it. At the time the three schools were tops. 

During the years our children attended Woodmore we came to see why the school was excellent. My first time to PTA I arrived barely on time and had to stand by the wall as did other late arrivals. I had never heard of PTA attendance like this. During the years our children attended Woodmore this became typical of the PTA. 

Some of the things the parents accomplished were a lighted ball field, we air conditioned the school, paved the parking lot and numerous other projects. One I remember was the school needed a new piano and a real nice one was suggested. A committee of ladies visited the superintendent and asked for funds to which there wasn't funds to fully pay for it. The ladies asked what they could get and about 40 percent was what was needed. Their reply was we'll take it and we will furnish the rest. What ever the school needed the PTA usually could raise the money. When a child's family couldn't afford fees or for baseball expenses there was dads that took care of it and no one was the wiser. This was just a way of life. 

I found that great schools was not about money but about parents getting involved in their kids education. There was a time ours had a drop in grades and the rule was bring the books home each day and do your homework as your dad sits in the room and reads the paper. C's became B+ and A's. 

N. D. Kennedy Sr.
Ooltewah


Roy Exum: A Very Silly Apology

It didn’t get a lot of attention, as well it should not have, but when I heard Japanese giant Mitsubishi was offered an apology for heinous war crimes that took place during World War II, I thought it was an ill-conceived publicity stunt. But, no, in a solemn ceremony last month hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, that is exactly what ... (click for more)

How To Be #ChattanoogaStrong

Chattanooga is my home; I was born here 35 years ago. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most challenging times in our city's history. The #ChattanoogaStrong hashtag will remain for quite some time, but it means so much more than 18 characters on social media. It represents the sorrow and mourning, as well as the resilience and compassion, of our exceptional community.  ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Indicted On 13 Charges; Report Says He Drove Excessive Hours

The Chattanooga Police Department has issued a capias for the arrest of Benjamin Brewer, 39, concerning the multiple fatality traffic crash that occurred on I-75 northbound on June 25. Brewer was indicted on Monday on 13 counts.  They include six counts of vehicular homicide by impairment, a B-felony; four counts for reckless aggravated assault, a D-felony; one count for DUI ... (click for more)

Rawls Says Schools Could Have Better Spent $16,000 Than For Motivational Speech; County To Explore Performance Guaranteed Utility Contract

Bradley County Commissioner Dan Rawls said three school systems could have better spent $16,000 than for a motivational speaker to fire teachers up at the start of a new school year. He said the payment to Ron Clark, former National Teacher of the Year and the founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, could have gone for school supplies and other needs. Bradley County ... (click for more)

NPSL Championship To Be Played In Chattanooga

It's Chattanooga FC taking on the New York Cosmos B for the National Premier Soccer League’s national championship and the Scenic City's Finley Stadium is the site Saturday, August 8 at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to a 9,000 plus crowd at Chattanooga's 3-0 semifinal win against the Indiana Fire, the Tennessee team broke the league’s previous record of 8,878, which was ... (click for more)

Jones Press Conference Kicks Off Vols' Preseason

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones held his preseason football press conference on Monday at Neyland Stadium. Jones heads into his third season with visible enthusiasm after the Vols finished off the 2014 season with an impressive win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, following that up with another nationally ranked recruiting class. "In terms of our football team, we ... (click for more)