Narrowing the gap in test scores is possible


Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 11:58 p.m.
The Sun editorial "Success by 2028" (Aug. 29) supports the United Way's Success by Six priority as vital to the early development of children qualified to one day enter college.
I support Success by Six as a badly needed program to give all young children, the basics for educational success. But effective help can be given later, if society has the will.
In 1977, in the Detroit school resegregation case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when a school district cannot desegregate, it has the obligation to furnish resegregated schools with special services.
Steve Brown, a retired Gainesville resident who was an educator in Prince George County, Md., schools for over 30 years, knows it works. When his school system resegregated in 1985, the NAACP carried the case up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A very effective program of special services that included involving parents was applied in the now all-black schools. In five years, the test scores of black students were almost equal to those of white students.
Alachua County's rezoning of schools has effectively resegregated eastside and westside schools. When an NAACP committee asked school Superintendent Dan Boyd about special services for those schools, they were told there is no money.
Duval Elementary's one-year jump from an F to an A grade demonstrates that it can be done, if there is a will to do it. UF's College of Education Dean Catherine Emihovich has said it many times: "The most critical problem facing America is the gap in black and white test scores. If we do not solve this, the nation will go down the tubes."
The Alachua County NAACP will address this problem in "A Call to Action on Education" conference Sept. 24 at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. For reservations, call 378-1138.
Harriet Ludwig, Gainesville

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