NAACP Goes After Maryland Schools Yet Again

The Baltimore chapter of America’s leading civil rights organization wants the Baltimore public school system to explain its treatment of women and Blacks.

Posted: 09/19/2012 03:07 PM EDT
NAACP Goes After Maryland Schools Yet Again

The Baltimore chapter of the NAACP says it wants to launch an investigation into whether the Baltimore City Public School System CEO, Andres Alonso, has done an improper job of keeping around Black and female principals. The controversy here stems from the fact that recently two Abbottston Elementary school administrators were reprimanded in the wake of a cheating scandal in which an investigation found no evidence of cheating and no evidence that either administrator was guilty of anything.

 

The city's NAACP President Tessa Hill-Alston attended a picket protest held by the city's administrators union last week outside of city school headquarters. The union protested the school board's recent decision to dismiss Abbottston Elementary Assistant Principal Marcy Isaac for failing to follow testing protocols in 2010, and deny pay and placement for its Principal Angela Faltz until 2013.

 

Though the school board ruled on the Abbottston case on Aug. 27 — the system's investigation found no conclusive evidence of cheating, or that Faltz was responsible — the case will be resurrected in a review by a national data forensic firm the system hired last week.

 

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Hill-Alston said she believed, "it’s very unfair and unjust that hearing officers hired by the school system found these two individuals were innocent of charges, and then the school board decides to [deprive] them of income and a career."

 

Just last year, the NAACP filed a different complaint about Maryland schools with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Education. That complaint alleged that Maryland’s Anne Arundel County schools had been intentionally suspending Black students while giving less severe punishments to equally problematic white students. The NAACP had made a similar complaint as early as 2004, but no real progress had been made. An Anne Arundel official was even willing to admit that things hadn’t been good, telling the Baltimore Sun, “Our progress at closing the gaps has been slower than we would have liked and slower than the community would have liked. But this is a societal issue, and we are devoting considerable energy to it.”

 

Today, one year later, it looks like the NAACP’s efforts to fix Anne Arundel’s racist suspension problem worked. Last month BET’s Naeesa Aziz wrote, “After a study of discipline at the district’s schools and implementing targeted changes in how teachers handle unruly students, an in-house audit team reported a nearly 40 percent decrease in the number of African-American students receiving suspensions during the 2011-2012 school year.”

 

In other words, though Maryland schools are not known for their progressive racial politics, the NAACP getting involved has been known to help. Perhaps the Baltimore chapter won’t find any wrongdoing here, but it’s nice to know that they’re looking out for Maryland’s students and educators.

 

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