Parents' ad attacks county schools Black group's billboard says 'divorce' system

August 09, 1996|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

A small group of African-American parents from Baltimore County has erected a billboard on Liberty Heights Avenue at Northern Parkway to advertise its dissatisfaction with the way black children are faring in county schools.

The billboard -- just inside the city, and facing traffic approaching the county border -- was purchased for $840 by the 11-member Education Coalition of Organizations. It says the group wants to "divorce" the county school system.

The group, made up of parents from the northwestern and eastern parts of the county, is urging people to attend an educational summit planned for 1 p.m. Sept. 7 at Maximum Life Christian Church, 6322 Security Blvd.

"Divorce the Baltimore County Public Schools. Where do we go from here?" the billboard says in bright yellow and black letters. It gives the number 521-2135 to call for more information on the summit, which the group says is intended as a forum for discussion on educational alternatives, particularly for minority children.

Group leaders said in a written statement that the school system's practices do little to boost the achievement of minority children or reverse the trend of suspending and expelling them at higher rates than their peers. They also say the system's zero-tolerance disciplinary policy disproportionately affects black children.

Black students, who make up 28 percent of the county enrollment, scored as many as 30 points lower than other ethnic groups on basic skills tests in recent years, according to a school system study released in December.

Pub Date: 8/09/96

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