Group seeking education reforms for Balto. County's black students

January 02, 2001|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

For the second time in two years, a group of black educators and community members has fired off an anxious letter to Baltimore County school officials asking them to enact bold classroom and curriculum reforms to help black students succeed academically.

Superintendent Joe A. Hairston - the recipient of the most recent letter, sent almost a month ago - has yet to respond, said Ella White Campbell, a retired educator and Liberty Road community activist who is chairman of the Minority Achievement Advisory Group. Campbell said she's upset it's taken Hairston so long to get back to the group. When he does, she said, she hopes he'll provide the group with the information it requested.

"I want [Hairston] to delineate a plan of action and give it a timeline," Campbell said.

Recent results from Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests show that 28.9 percent of black third-graders met or surpassed state standards for reading, compared with 50.7 percent of white third-graders. Hispanic and Asian third-graders scored 37.8 percent and 53.3 percent, respectively.

Hairston has said he expects all students to succeed and has avoided singling out black students as those most in need of assistance. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

The group's letter to Hairston says: "We ask that you hold the staff accountable for their future actions related to [minority achievement] and obtain for us the empirical evidence of what steps have been taken to address this issue."

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