Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NAACP Summit Tries to Unravel School Problems; Participants Share Ideas for Improving Performance of Black Students

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NAACP Summit Tries to Unravel School Problems; Participants Share Ideas for Improving Performance of Black Students

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL, The Times-Union

Parents, students, educators and community leaders came together Saturday to discuss ways to improve the educational experience for Jacksonville's black youth.

Guiding the discussion on the final day of the NAACP's Education Urban Summit was a study that outlined racial disparities in the Duval County public school system, as well as a survey that gauged the community's top five education problems.

During a session titled "Increasing Parental Involvement/Family Involvement," the problem was identified as everything from apathetic parents to busing mandated for desegregation. The survey identified lack of parental involvement as the city's top education problem.

Vickey Murphy, president of the Centennial East tenants association, said she is dismayed by the lack of interest some parents in her neighborhood have when it comes to their children's behavior both in and out of school.

"I'm concerned because their children are suffering -- their children are suffering the most," Murphy said.

But other parents in the session said they tried to visit their kids' schools only to be told the teacher was too busy to talk. Lorraine Jackson, who lives in Blodgett Villas near downtown, said she does not have a car and can rarely make the trip to Oceanway Middle School, which her son attends.

"I want to be able to go to the school where my child is, check on my child, volunteer and participate at the school," Jackson said.

The group recommended that the NAACP work with the School Board and other community groups to keep up after-school programs, especially those designed for parents and students. They said they benefited from programs such as Neighborhood Education Watch, or NEW PALS, which taught them how to reinforce math and science lessons at home. …

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