Letters to the Editor: Schools

Letters to the Editor: Schools
September 29
06:45 2016

Let’s work on getting help to students in schools with poor grades

To the Editor:

According to the report in the Winston-Salem Journal on Sept. 2 and 4, 2016, an inordinate number of K-12 students in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district are attending low or “D” or “F” performing schools.

I am highly alarmed and distressed that 33 of the 72 schools in this district received a “D” or “F.” Are we using available resources necessary for the teaching-learning process? The numbers above are quite disturbing.

Unfortunately, when schools fail, students fail, families fail, neighbor-hoods fail and eventually all of society fails. All of us should be completely outraged because in society there should be no room for massive failures. Weak leadership combined with other causes is a major cause of school decline.

Some of the problems that I see in the WS/FCS system are a severe shortage of black male role models, low expectations and a lack of personnel and resources to meet the needs of the students.

Many students in the failing schools have been negatively labeled. This labeling has prevented them from reaching their full potential because they are being taught by teachers whose expectation from them is extremely low.

Let’s bring in some people who know how to teach these children, who know how to discipline them, who are not afraid of them, who can communicate with the parents, and who can motivate them so that they will want to learn.

School research tells us that when a large number of schools are labeled low performing or when students are not learning, “there are cracks in the foundation, and these cracks must be repaired before excellence can take place.”

Another factor which this system has apparently overlooked can be found in educational research which discusses the composition of students in schools.  Research also tells us that “the social composition of students –or the social mix – has a big influence on student achievement. Children from families with low or average socioeconomic status (SES) tend to have better educational outcomes if they attend a school whose students come from families with high average SES.

“But if these students attend a school where the SES mix is predominantly low, they are unlikely to make as much progress.

“In short, the social composition and the context of the school make significant differences to students ’ subsequent performance, over and above the effects associated with the child’s individual family.”

We definitely have a problem with 33 of the schools as a result of poor performance by someone.  So, how do we fix the problem? I propose that we convene an educational forum consisting of parents, students, teachers, staff and administrators to discuss the issues at the 33 schools and come up with some realistic solutions for dealing with the issues.

Dr. Virginia K. Newell 


Black led schools of choice invite  Black Lives Matter, others to visit them

To the Editor:

The Black Led Schools of Choice (BLSC), an organization based in North Carolina, is a collective of African-American education and community leaders that is pressing for the rights of communities of color to enjoy a fairer share of opportunities and resources in education.

If you have not heard of them, you’re not alone.  Many in our communities are not aware of this power-house of educational expertise, right in our own state’s backyard.  With over 100 years of combined experience establishing and leading thriving schools largely serving children of color, the BLSC is organized to level the playing field for black schools of choice – advocating for them and providing technical assistance.  With such a specific focus on the educational wellbeing of black families, it made perfect sense for the BLSC to work with Black Lives Matter and other Movement for Black Lives allies.

Uniting black voices for children, the Black Led Schools of Choice has invited members of the Movement for Black Lives and its allies to visit the black led schools and talk with parents, staff, and students.

The BLSC believe much of the misinformation and myths about public charter schools can be revealed and erased with the best way to know – see for one’s self. BLSC is convinced that, when the representatives of Black Lives Matter and other such organizations see for themselves what many charter schools are all about, the initial stance of allied organizations for black lives of a moratorium on charter school growth will surely be reconsidered.

Member charter schools like Quality Education Academy (QEA) await such guests with great anticipation, excited to reveal how most often their black, and Latino, students out-perform their “black and brown” counterparts within traditional public schools (TPS).

Black Led Schools of Choice member schools boast higher black student graduation rates than most TPS.  Charter schools are helping to meet the overwhelming need for choice for many black families who perceive that their black child is not being challenged properly, not being taught in a way that meets their learning style, and not being taught by teachers that truly understand and respect their family’s culture.

The QEA student social justice organization T.R.U.T.H. Movement, established in 2014 in response to the community issues of mass incarceration of African-Americans and police brutality, high-lights the unique need for schools serving black families and how charter schools are perfectly designed to empower communities of color. The recent invitation to Black Lives Matter and allied groups to tour schools like QEA is a pivotal opportunity for both entities to begin a deeper coalition for black families.

Tamara Turner 

Chief Development Officer Quality Education Academy 


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