Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents Puzzled about Whether Ruling Will Help Students

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents Puzzled about Whether Ruling Will Help Students

Article excerpt

Ann Barrett said she understands how the Duval County school system may benefit from a federal judge's ruling that its schools are desegregated.

She has heard School Board members discuss the freedom to make decisions without approval from a federal court or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which is the plaintiff in the 39-year-old case.

But there is something she has yet to grasp.

"I really don't know how it will impact my children," said Barrett, a Baymeadows resident who has one child in middle school and another in high school. "I'm assuming the School Board will act in good faith and do what needs to be done to maintain a fair and equal education for everyone."

Other parents interviewed yesterday said they too believe the ruling is a positive step for the school system. But they don't know whether it will improve their children's education.

U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges on Thursday declared the school system unitary, meaning the system is desegregated, and free of the vestiges of past discrimination.

"Parents have so much on their plate," said K.C. Leddy, chairwoman of the school advisory council at Arlington Heights Elementary School. "They are so inundated with other stuff going on, like uniforms and changes in academics, they are not going to pay attention.

"I have read a little bit about it and I don't even have an opinion if it will make a difference," she said.

Kenneth Reddick, a member of the school advisory council at Raines High, said the ruling will not affect the daily life of students. He said any positive impact must come from parents getting more involved in their children's education.

Reddick said some people may expect too much from the ruling because they do not understand the case.

"Many parental concerns in the past were not so much to stop things from happening, but concerns that they were not happening in our neighborhood," he said.

"Now that they are, we need to come together and help our kids. …

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