The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has challenged the apparent lack of diversity among teachers and staff at two Duval County schools.
Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville Branch NAACP, outlined his concerns about possible segregation at Waterleaf and Kings Trail Elementary Schools in a letter sent to Duval Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.
Rumlin questioned whether the district is keeping to its goal, as stated in its Strategic Plan, to “enhance and target teacher and principal recruitment to increase diversity.”
“No black administrators and no black teachers. And we think that is unacceptable,” Rumlin was quoted as having said in the Florida Times-Union, specifically referring to Waterleaf.
In a released statement, Jill Johnson, DCPS director of communications, said the district has already addressed some of the NAACP’s concerns.
“We are in our fall budget and staff modifications process for schools and have already rectified some of the concerns addressed in the letter,” Johnson said. “We take these matters seriously and would like to reassure our community that we will have the best teachers and principals to ensure that all students receive a high quality education.”
The letter also voices concerns over the lack of progress for African American students, especially in the district’s struggling “intervene” schools. Referring to Duval County’s struggles with integration and equal access to a quality education for all students, which date back to the 1960’s, Rumlin writes, “It appears that much of the forward movement that was made when this district was declared unitary has dissipated.”
The letter concludes with a request of seven pieces of data and information for the district:
- The recruitment plan to increase minority teachers.
- The school district’s plan to improve the unacceptable reading performance.
- Plan of action for the unacceptable number of overage students for grade and specifically African American students.
- Improvements in the implementation of Intensive Reading where students are not held hostage with little or no improvements two years and more.
- Magnet programs in schools that separate students where separatism by race is blatant such as Susie Tolbert.
- A copy of the up-to-date and accurate balance of staff report for all schools, with intervene schools highlighted.
- An up-to-date and accurate copy of the vacancy report for all schools, with intervene schools highlighted.
The NAACP last met with Pratt-Dannals on August 2 and hopes to meet with him again to address its ongoing concerns. The organization is not looking to pursue any legal action at this time.
Go here or here to read the NAACP letter.