Community groups object to report on county schools' minority progress

September 28, 1990|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

Minutes after the Baltimore County school board heard a glowing report last night on its plan to raise minority achievement and participation in schools, community members disparaged it as being "more verbalization than implementation."

Two years ago, at the urging of community organizations and black parents, county educators formed a committee to study how minorities were faring in the public school system. They found that although blacks represented roughly 16 percent of school enrollment, they accounted for 2 percent of the students in honors and gifted-and-talented classes.

The committee also found that blacks were more likely to be placed in remedial courses and were hindered by the low expectations of teachers.

The committee's findings -- and proposed solutions -- were presented to the board in a report called "Minority Student Achievement and Participation." The report was adopted by the school board in the fall of 1989.

One of the recommendations in the report was for each school to develop an "action plan that will enhance minority achievement and participation."

There has been some progress, although most of it is still on paper, said Wyatt Coger of the Educational Coalition of Organizations, a civic group monitoring minority achievement in the schools.

ECO, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and parents were instrumental in getting the school system to focus on minority achievement.

Last night, school administrators pointed out that the number of blacks in the gifted-and-talented program this year is 6.1 percent, while black students represent 18 percent of total enrollment.

The increase in the gifted-and-talented program was attributed to an intensive summer training program in which black students took part.

Mr. Coger said the goals in the minority report seemed "encouraging," but he told the board that they are not being implemented fast enough.

The school superintendent, Dr. Robert Y. Dubel, defended his staff's work on improving minority achievement but said he could understand the black community's impatience.

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