Equity & Diversity

NAACP Threatening States That Lack School Equity Plans

By Karla Scoon Reid — May 22, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Twenty-two states may face federal civil rights complaints after failing to answer the NAACP’s call for comprehensive strategies targeting the achievement gap separating African-American and white students in the nation’s classrooms.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is threatening to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights against states such as Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania that did not heed the organization’s call, issued late last year.

John H. Jackson, the national director of education for the NAACP, said last week that he was disappointed that nearly half the states had not answered the organization’s request.

The NAACP’s campaign, launched in November, asked every state to submit an Education Equity Partnership Plan by May 10 that identified efforts to decrease racial disparities in their K-12 schools. The NAACP wants to cut those differences in half by 2007.

In its “Call for Action in Education” report, the Baltimore-based civil rights organization identified areas in which racial disparities persist in education. It noted, for example, differences in the quality of teachers instructing black students and the underrepresentation of African-Americans in courses for gifted students.

The equity plans, Mr. Jackson said, would serve as a tool to make sure state legislators and education leaders provide districts with the resources to boost minority students’ achievement.

“If we don’t ensure that these components are in place on the front end, then we can’t justify penalizing teachers, superintendents, and students on the tail end,” he said.

The NAACP’s Call for Action and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ report on the achievement gap, also released last year, represent a heightened and coordinated effort by politicians and civil rights groups to urge state officials to address the lagging academic achievement of black students. (“Black State Lawmakers Target ‘Gap,’” Dec. 5, 2001.)

Education Partners

Some states crafted detailed plans, while others submitted letters outlining how they would comply with the NAACP’s request. Mr. Jackson said a committee of local members would recommend ways for the organization’s affiliates to support the states’ efforts, which could include lobbying lawmakers or offering technical help.

The NAACP found that a variety of efforts to address racial disparities already were under way in states such as South Carolina and Maryland.

South Carolina is working to implement recommendations outlined in a report by the African-American Student Achievement Committee, a state task force convened in 1999 to study achievement by black students. The report, finished last year, led to a state program for African-American student achievement.

Willie D. Frazier, an education associate with the state who runs the program, noted that South Carolina will host its first statewide achievement-gap conference in August. Also this summer, two training institutes are slated to help teachers infuse African- American culture and history in all subjects.

Woody Grant, the chief of the equity-assurance and compliance branch in the Maryland Department of Education, helped draft a letter to the NAACP on that state’s efforts in closing the achievement gap. He said education officials there recently adopted more specific expectations for school districts to illustrate how different cultural perspectives are being included in the curriculum.

Meanwhile, Ohio Department of Education officials said they plan to submit a letter by the end of the month detailing efforts there to address racial inequities. This spring, for the first time, the state released student tests scores by race and ethnicity to highlight the academic disparities, said Dorothea Howe, an education department spokeswoman. “We feel that we’re already headed down the path to closing the achievement gap,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in the May 22, 2002 edition of Education Week as NAACP Threatening States That Lack School Equity Plans

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment: Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Maine's Religious Schools Face Hurdle to State Tuition
The Supreme Court recently allowed religious schools to participate in a state tuition program.
4 min read
Bangor Christian Schools sophomore Olivia Carson, 15, of Glenburn, Maine, left, stands with her mother Amy while getting dropped off on the first day of school on August 28, 2018 in Bangor, Maine. The Carsons were one of three Maine families that challenged the prohibition on using public money to pay tuition at religious schools. The Supreme Court ruled that Maine can't exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition aid for private education in towns that don't have public schools. (Gabor Degre/The Bangor Daily News via AP, File)
Equity & Diversity Proposed Title IX Overhaul: Key Questions on What's Next
The U.S. Department of Education's proposed rules covering sex descrimination in education enter the public comment process.
6 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks at a White House event in April.
Susan Walsh/AP
Equity & Diversity LGBTQ Students Would Get Explicit Protection Under Title IX Proposals
But the U.S. Department of Education did not include transgender participation in sports in the latest version of revised Title IX regulations.
6 min read
People wave pride flags and hold signs during a rally in support of LGBTQ students at Ridgeline High School, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Millville, Utah. Students and school district officials in Utah are outraged after a high school student ripped down a pride flag to the cheers of other students during diversity week. A rally was held the following day in response to show support for the LGBTQ community.
People wave pride flags and hold signs during a 2021 rally in support of LGBTQ students at Ridgeline High School in Millville, Utah.
Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP
Equity & Diversity Native American Advocates Testify on Need for Recovery Efforts From Boarding School Trauma
The testimony follows an investigation that found tens of thousands of Native American children suffered abuse at government boarding schools.
3 min read
Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland visits the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, Friday, June 17, 2022. Haaland spoke of the U.S. Department of Interior's efforts to help Native American communities heal from Indian Boarding School policies during a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is keeping an intense focus on the Interior Departments investigation into abuse of Native American children in government boarding schools.
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP