NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Fort Wayne/Allen County NAACP says the East Allen County School district is failing minority and low-income students, and parents should boycott the district.
According to the Fort Wayne/ Allen County NAACP, 70 percent of black students in the East Allen County School (EACS) district failed the latest I-STEP exam, so they protested at the EACS Board meeting Tuesday night.
“It's time that someone says this is enough, and the NAACP is saying this enough. This is a social injustice,” said Paulette Nellems, NAACP President.
Nellems says according to data from the Indiana Department of Education, only 25 percent of students passed ISTEP at Paul Harding Jr. High, and only 37 percent passed at Prince Chapman Academy. Nellems says that is unacceptable.
“They said they were going to implement new curriculums, but the curriculum doesn’t work. There’s a broken system,” she said. “We can’t continue to blame the victims. The children are the victims.”
Despite EACS efforts to improve the curriculum, the NAACP says they're not doing enough. They claim they've even tried working with administrators.
“They don't listen to parents. They don't listen to the community,” said Jimella Harris, NAACP member.
Although statistics don't show it, administrators with EACS say they've made improvements, but they can only do so much.
“We had a much higher percentage passing than was reflected – wasn't high enough, I'm not excusing it, but it wasn't as bad as it looked,” said Thelma Green, Principal at Prince Chapman Academy. “But our growth is there, and the next measure coming out will reflect that student growth and I think they’ll see a different picture.”
Nellems told the school board Tuesday night, they'll boycott and send their students to private and charter schools outside the district.
“They need to get into an environment where scores are increasing,” said Harris.
“There are other options. You just don't have to continue to send your child in buildings that continue to fail them year after year,” said Nellems.
Green says she’s against the boycott and that changing schools won’t necessarily solve the problem. “Because they go to a different school it won't give them the language skills. That student that's two years behind, another school won't put him on grade level at that point. Time and people working with those students will,” she said.
But the NAACP says too little, too late, and that finding a new superintendent is the only solution. Indiana’s NewsCenter waited for a response from Superintendent Dr. Karyle Green, but to no avail.
Principal Green says the best solution is for parents to work with their students as well as teachers and administrators. “We just have to keep reading with our kids and working with them, showing them the value of learning, of an education,” she said.
Regardless, the NAACP will be holding a meeting to inform parents of their educational options at the Eagles Nest Youth Center, 6011 Hessen Cassel Road, next Tuesday, July 24 at 7 p.m.
Nellems wrote this article for the Frost Illustrated: Educational Equity
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