Pitt County Schools has filed a motion for a declaration of unitary status with the U.S. District Court, Attend Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children Meeting Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pitt County Schools has filed a motion for a declaration of unitary status with the U.S. District Court.  This is a major event for Black Children and Parents in Pitt County Schools and is an overt attempt to avoid their duties to eliminate the vestiges of racial segregation.  Please attend the Coaltion meeting on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the C.M. Eppes Recreation Center, 400 Nash Street, Greenville, NC  27834.

See related:

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Press Conference by the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 10:00 a.m

Greetings:
 
You are invited to attend a Press Conference by the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 10:00 a.m., in front of the Pitt County Board of Education Headquarters, located at 1717 W. 5th Street, Greenville, North Carolina.  Coalition officials, affiliate organizations, and supporter will make forward looking presentations regarding the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  The Pitt County Board of Education has an affirmative duty to eliminate vestiges of past segregation.  The African American community has a significant opportunity to improve education for all Pitt County students and your support is needed.  Please attend and invite others.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rev. Ozie Lee Hall, Jr., President
Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

 

See related:

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 7, 2012:

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children
Contact: Mark Dorosin, UNC Center for Civil Rights: 919-225-3809/919-843-7986

On May 7, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a published opinion in Everett et al. v. Pitt County Board of Education affirming the efforts of African American parents and community members to stop Pitt County Schools from implementing its 2011-12 student reassignment. The UNC Center for Civil Rights represents the Pitt Coalition for Educating Black Children and several individual parents of children attending Pitt County Schools.

“This is a great victory for the people,” said Mark Dorosin, Managing Attorney at the Center. “The court affirmed what decades of desegregation law, from Brown vs. Board of Ed. to the present, require: that a school district which remains under a desegregation order has an affirmative duty to eliminate the vestiges of racial discrimination, and until the court rules that the district has fulfilled that duty, current racial disparities are presumed to be the result of the past unconstitutional conduct.”

In the 1960s, a federal district court found that Pitt County Schools was operating a racially segregated school system in violation of students’ constitutional rights. The court approved desegregation plans designed to “eliminate the racial identity” of the schools and administratively closed the case. In 2008, the case was reactivated when a group of white parents filed a complaint with the Department of Justice claiming that PCS’ use of race in its 2006-2007 student assignment policy discriminated against their children. The Center then intervened on behalf of the Coalition and African Americana parents. In 2009, the parties reached a settlement agreement approving the race-conscious assignment policy. At that time, the district court found that the district still had not remedied the vestiges of race discrimination and ordered the parties to work together toward “eliminating the vestiges of past discrimination to the extent practicable.” The parties were also ordered to report back to the court in December 2012.

This appeal challenged PCS’s 2011-2012 Assignment Plan, which focused on: 1) school proximity; 2) building capacity; 3) academic proficiency; and 4) an impact area of 14 out of 36 schools. Despite the Coalition’s push for the plan which would yield the best diversity and academic proficiency, PCS selected the plan that increased or ignored racial isolation in several schools and opened a brand new school, Lakeforest Elementary, as a high-minority, low performing school. In April 2011, the Plaintiffs filed a motion to stop the reassignment, arguing it would violate the active desegregation order and in fact resegregate students. In August 2011, the district court refused to hold the district to its affirmative duty to complete the integration of its schools and denied the motion. Plaintiffs appealed to the Fourth Circuit.

The Court of Appeals held that the district court “committed legal error by failing to apply, and requiring the School Board to rebut, a presumption that any racial disparities in the 2011-2012 Assignment Plan resulted from the School Board’s prior unconstitutional conduct in operating a racially segregated school district before 1970.” The court affirmed that School Board retained its affirmative duty to “whatever steps might be necessary to convert to a unitary system,” and emphasized that “in the decades following the issuance of Teel and Edwards [the original desegregation orders in the case], the School Board has yet to discharge this obligation and demonstrate to the district court its attainment of unitary status.” The court also noted that the district court’s request for the parties to submit “a report” is “not at all a clear indication that the district court will fully and finally resolve the issue of unitary status in December 2012.”

The Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s August 2011 decision, and remanded the case back to the district court for “reconsideration and, if appropriate, further development of the record,” with instruction that the burden is on the School Board to establish that the 2011-2012 Assignment Plan moves the district toward unitary status. “We will continue to stand up for our children,” said Melissa Grimes, a named plaintiff and elected officer of the Coalition. “It is so good to have the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stand up for them with us today.”

See related:

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Victory on Preclearance Pitt County Public Schools

Greeting:

We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Justice has informed Pitt County Schools that the reduction of the Pitt County Board of Education from 12 to 7 members will have a discriminatory impact on Black voters in Pitt County (See: attached complaint by the Coalition and attached letter from U.S. Department of Justice). The Lord has blessed us with a great victory for Black children in Pitt County. We thank the Lord and all our friends and supporters. Prayer changes things.

Sincerely,

Rev. Ozie Lee Hall, Jr., President
Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

See related:

Community Forum Discussion on the Future of Black Children in Pitt County Schools Sponsored By: Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children 

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Community Forum Discussion on the Future of Black Children in Pitt County Schools Sponsored By: Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Dear Pitt County Community:

The purpose of this letter is to request your support and participation in a matter that warrants your immediate scrutiny and attention. In December, 2012, the Pitt County Board of Education will submit a report to federal District Court Judge, Malcolm Howard, outlining its progress toward “Unitary Status.” The Judge will subsequently consider whether to lift a more than forty year old federal school desegregation Order.

As the class Plaintiff representative, the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children, has to decide whether we should continue to fight to keep the Court Orders in place and compell Pitt County Schools to stop practicing discrimination against Black children and their families.

The achievement of “Unitary Status” would means that Pitt County Schools has done everything that it possibly could, and has eliminated all vestiges of de jureracial segregation that is possible. In the 2010-2011 school year, Black students in Pitt County experienced a 205 point achievement gap on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for college entrance, a 40 point achievement gap on grades 3-8 State mandated End-Of-Grade (EOG) test, and increase in the black high school dropout rate of 62% of all Pitt County dropouts in 2008 to 65% of all dropouts in 2011. Black students are 79% of all out of school suspensions. The Black student population has increased to about 50% of all students while the district systematic exclusion of Black teachers results in a teacher workforce of about 15%. The district has made zero progress in increasing the percentage of Black teachers over the past 10 years.

On Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 143 of the Leslie Building, Pitt Community College main campus we will be holding a Community Forum Discussion on the Future of Black Children in Pitt County Schools. We expect to be joined by representatives from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Civil Rights, the National Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, the State NAACP, and other local leaders. We need you to support and protect Black children in Pitt County.

The future of Black Children in our schools is such a crucial issue that we are personally appealing to Clergy, local business leaders, parents, and the community to come out and hear what’s going on and share your own experiences.

Very sincerely,

Rev. Ozie Lee Hall, Jr., President
Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children
P.O. Box 1699
Winterville, NC 28590

See related:

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

PRELIMINARY REPORT ON PROGRESS TOWARD UNITARY STATUS OF PITT COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

PRELIMINARY REPORT ON PROGRESS TOWARD UNITARY STATUS

OF PITT COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted to:

 

Pitt County Board of Education

1717 W. 5th Street

Greenville, NC   27834

 

 

Prepared by:

 

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Post Office Box 1699

Winterville, NC   28590

 

Contact:         Rev. Ozie Lee Hall, Jr.

President

 

 

March 22, 2012

 

INTRODUCTION

     In November 2009, United States District Court Judge, The Honorable Malcolm J. Howard, issued an order requiring the Pitt County Board of Education, The Greenville Parents Association, and the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children to work together toward attaining “Unitary Status.”  The court further ordered the parties to submit a report detailing the Pitt County Board of Education’s efforts and progress in achieving unitary status and eliminating the vestiges of past discrimination to the extent practicable.  The report is required to be submitted to the court on or before December 31, 2012.

     In order to assist the Pitt County Board of Education in achieving unitary status, the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children conducted a preliminary investigation and data review, and hereby set forth several items of concern. We submit that these issues represent significant barriers to Pitt County Board of Education’s success in the achievement of unitary status.

Background

     In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education issued a landmark decision that struck down segregation in public education as an unconstitutional denial of black students’ right to equal protection of the laws.  About 35 leading social scientists, lead by Dr. Kenneth Clark, issued a statement used by the court in reaching its conclusion that de jure racial segregation damages the progress of black children.  The statement contemplated an initial achievement gap between black and white students (in favor of white students), but also contemplated the achievement gaps would disappear as full integration is achieved.

     More than ten (10) years after the Brown Decision, Pitt County Schools and the City of Greenville Schools, continued to practice de jure racial segregation.  Plaintiff representatives brought two separate civil rights law suits to end the practices of de jure [1][1]racial segregation in public education in Pitt County.

     In 1970 and 1971, the United States District Court rejected student assignment plans submitted by both the Pitt County Board of Education and Greenville City Board of Education citing that the plans would continue operation of racially identifiable schools.  The school boards amended their plans and they were subsequently approved by the court.  The case was administratively closed pending further actions by the parties.  Our preliminary research indicates the initial plans were never fully carried our because of continued white resistance to school desegregation in Pitt County and the City of Greenville.

     In order to obtain full release from the oversight of the federal court, the burden of proof is on the local school district in seeking a declaration of unitary status from the courts.  In 1986, the Pitt County and City of Greenville School Districts were merged creating the current Pitt County Board of Education.

     Over 40 years have passed and the Pitt County Board of Education has not sought a declaration of unitary status from the courts on its own.  In 2006, the Greenville Parents Association[2][2] challenged the Pitt County Board of Education’s efforts to eliminate racial isolation at Sadie Saulter Elementary School.  The conflict resulted in the re-opening and consolidation of the Pitt County desegregation cases.

     United States District Judge, the Honorable Malcolm J. Howard, ordered the parties to the case to work toward unitary status and to submit a report to the court by December 31, 2012.

What is “Unitary Status?”

     The federal courts have defined “unitary status” as the elimination of all vestiges of de jure racial segregation to the extent practicable.  Various federal court rulings have identified factors to be considered by courts in determining whether a local school district has achieved unitary status.  These factors include: student assignment; facilities; transportation; faculty and staffing; extra curricular activities, and curriculum and instruction.

What is a “vestige of de jure racial segregation?”

     The federal courts have not declared one specific definition of a “vestige” within the context of school desegregation cases.  We submit that there is more then ample evidence to suggest that a “vestige” may include any artifact, policy, regulation, custom or usage, article or tenet of belief, or any other tangible or intangible relic of the de jure racially segregated system. (Citation Omitted).     

Review of Preliminary Findings

     The following are preliminary findings and may not be inclusive of all matters that impact the unitary status of Pitt County Schools.  Some of these finding may overlap.

Curriculum and Instructional Program

     Pitt County Schools has experienced a consistent and widening achievement gap between black and white students since the original 1970’s federal desegregation orders.  Within the past 10 years, the achievement gap has increased 24.9 points to nearly 40 points, a 15 point increase.  The 1953 social scientist statement and subsequent studies indicate that unless a full effort at desegregation is implemented and strictly enforced by school officials the achievement gap is not likely to disappear.  We submit that this high student achievement gap is evidence of the existence of underlying vestiges of de jure racial segregation that continue to impact Pitt County Schools.

 

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT GAP

Percentage of Students Passing both Reading and Math

End of Grade Test Composite (Grades 3-8)

 

Year Ending

White

Black

Variance

Square of Variance

2004

90.2

65.3

24.9

4.9

2005

90.1

64.1

26.0

5.1

2006

77.2

36.7

40.5

6.4

2007

75.9

43.5

32.4

5.7

2008

67.3

25.7

41.6

6.4

2009

78.2

37.5

40.7

6.4

2010

79.9

41.5

38.4

6.2

 

Table 1.0 (Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

 

     We recognize that Pitt County Schools has made some effort to implement culturally responsive teacher (CRT) training. Unfortunately, the efforts that have been made so far have been superficial and woefully inadequate.  The training has not included all teachers and administrative staff, has not explored in-depth content, and has not been given a high priority by the school district.

     The student achievement gap is compounded by high, and disproportionate, suspension rates of black students for minor and subjective offenses.  Black students lose a significantly disproportionate amount of instructional time which results from staff mono-cultural views and racial intolerance of black students (some conscious and some unconscious).

     About 80 percent of teachers in Pitt County Schools are white females and most lack sufficient training to address the needs of a diverse student population.  Consequently, black students (especially black boys) are systematically victimized by the mono-cultural world view of white privilege held by many teachers and administrators that has its foundation in the de jure racially segregated system.

     We submit that the 200 point achievement gap between black and white students on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the disproportionate high school drop out rate of black students, and the school-to-prison pipeline experienced by black students are all evidence of the existence of vestiges of de jure racial segregation.  Students will not learn if they are not in class.

 

COMPARISON OF BLACK AND WHITE STUDENT

Estimated Loss of Instructional Days due to Out-of-School-Suspensions*

Year Ending

Reportable Offenses Committed

Black Student Loss of Instructional Days

White Student Loss of Instruction Days

Variance

Square of Variance

2004

262

23,303

4,603

18,700

3.42

2005

297

23,820

4,647

19,173

3.43

2006

324

25,903

5,828

20,075

3.45

2007

344

24,813

6,362

18,451

3.41

2008

128*

22,289

5,360

16,929

3.38

2009

103*

21,240

4,779

16,461

3.37

2010

78

21,603

3,714

17,889

3.40

*Calculated based upon average 3 day out of school suspension.

Table 1.1 (Calculated from N.C. Department of Public Instruction data)

In the mono-cultural system (de jure racial segregation) black students are generally viewed as inferior and teachers consequently, in practice, have lower expectations of their achievement and are less tolerant of them.  In addition, black students’ instruction is more likely to be under-resourced as a consequence of this lower expectation.  Finally, teachers who have not been adequately trained in culturally responsive teaching lack sufficient content knowledge to understand black students in their current context, and they further lack the ability to inspire black student learning.

Recommendation:  We recommend that Pitt County Schools develop and implement, in conjunction with experts, a comprehensive culturally responsive teacher training program over a period of years.  The school district must commit full funding to the program, and require all teachers, teacher assistants, and administration to complete a set minimum amount of professional development or continuing education hours in CRT. 

Faculty and Staffing

     Pitt County Schools is reported to have fired most of its black teachers immediately after the merger of the Pitt County and Greenville City Schools in 1986.  The process of systematically eliminating black teachers and administrative staff started almost immediately after the 1970’s federal court orders in response to white parents objections to their children being taught by black teachers. 

PERCENTAGES OF SCHOOL TEACHERS

Pitt County Schools

 

Year Ending

Total Teachers

White Teachers

% White Teachers

Black Teachers

% Black Teachers

2004

1,424

1,202

84%

207

15%

2005

1,498

1,239

83%

244

16%

2006

1,559

1,299

83%

244

16%

2007

1,558

1,290

83%

245

16%

2008

1,604

1,326

83%

251

16%

2009

1,600

1,331

83%

240

15%

 

Table 1.2 (Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

      After the merger, Pitt County Schools is reported to have entered an exclusive relationship for student teachers with East Carolina University.  East Carolina University has traditionally had a low percentage of black students matriculating to become teachers.  The systematic exclusion of historically black colleges and universities from student teaching in Pitt County Schools reduces the exposure of black teacher candidates to teaching in Pitt County and reduces the pool of black applicants.  Historically black colleges and universities like Shaw, A & T, N.C. State, and Elizabeth City University have higher numbers of matriculating black teachers.  Pitt County is generally viewed as hostile toward would-be black teachers and they are systematically excluded from the system.

     Pitt County Schools has never developed a concrete and specific long-range plan to increase its percentage of black and other minority teachers.  Teacher assistants and other school staff in Pitt County Schools that return to college to become fully licensed teachers are discouraged and systematically excluded.  They generally cannot get hired in Pitt County Schools.

     Many fully licensed black teachers report they experienced racial discrimination when seeking employment at Pitt County Schools.  Many qualified black administrators report they are not given job assignments and many are forced to work for lesser qualified whites.  Many who are working candidly report they are working in a racially hostile environment

     Pitt County Schools’ black and other minority student population now exceeds 50 percent.  Black teachers comprise about 15 percent of the workforce.  This percentage has remained for an extended period of time without making progress.

     We submit the lack of progress in increasing the percentage of black teachers and administrators is the result of district leadership pandering to white constituents and continuing to embrace the mono-cultural idea that blacks are inferior or some how unworthy to fully participate in the educational process.  The foundation of this systematic discrimination is an existing cultural artifact of the de jure racially segregated system.

     Pitt County Schools’ recruitment and development of black administrators has been woefully inadequate. 

 

PERCENTAGES OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

 

Year Ending

Total Administrators

White Administrators

% White Administrators

Black Administrators

% Black Administrators

2004

84

59

70%

23

27%

2005

89

61

69%

26

29%

2006

91

61

67%

28

31%

2007

94

65

69%

29

31%

2008

91

64

70%

27

30%

2009

96

67

70%

29

30%

2010

*

*

*

*

*

*No data reported.

Table 1.3 (Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

      We submit that the lack of progress in recruiting and retaining black teachers and administrators is the result of a generally racially hostile environment, including policies and practices that systematically exclude black teachers and administrators.

     Finally, the highest qualified teachers, including teachers with National Board Certification, Advanced Degrees, and Longevity are less likely to teach black students.  Black students are significantly under-resourced in Pitt County Schools.

     For example, Sadie Saulter Elementary School (racially isolated school) black students scored about 10 points below other black students on end-of-grade test in the other J.H. Rose High School Attendance Area before the school was ultimately forced to close as a K-5 elementary school.  There were complaints in 1986 about white students being bused to Sadie Saulter to achieve some degree of racial balance.  Upon closer examination, Sadie Saulter’s failing test scores probably resulted from the fact that the school was significantly under-resourced as compared to other schools with better performance.  Sadie Saulter had only one National Board Certified Teacher as compared to between 5 and 9 in the other schools.  National Board Certified teachers earn about $20,000 more in annual salary than teachers with lesser qualifications.  Sadie Saulter had a lower percentage of teachers with advanced degrees and longevity than the other schools.  Sadie Saulter’s core instructional staff was significantly lesser qualified and were paid substantially less than the other schools.  This is a pattern around the district with high minority populated schools.

Recommendations:  Pitt County Schools should open student teaching to other colleges and universities, including historically black colleges and universities.  An aggressive recruiting program should be developed.  The district should also develop and plan for developing homegrown teachers.  The district should develop alternative routes to certification and consider actions to expand beyond licensure and certification by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.  There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that Praxis is biased against blacks and other minorities and serves to systematically exclude blacks from the teaching profession.  Reportedly, high scores on the Praxis do not correlate with success as a teacher.

 

Facilities

     Since the 1970’s federal desegregation orders, Pitt County Schools has systematically eliminated operational school facilities in the black community.  The district has focused new construction in areas with lower percentages of black and other minority populations.

Pitt County Schools constructed six new schools between 1999 and 2010 with four additions to existing facilities.  Of the new schools constructed about 50 percent were constructed in upper income census tracts with a 31.04 percent minority population. 

NEW SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

 

Year Constructed

Census Tract

Population

Minority %

Income

1999

13

10,346

31.04%

Upper

2000

20.02

5,209

49.95%

Middle

2002

13

10,346

31.04%

Upper

2004

13

10,346

31.04%

Upper

2005

11

4,510

25.57%

Middle

2007

6

13,353

42.17%

Middle

 

Table 1.4

     Public data shows that Pitt County Schools has consistently built new schools in areas with low percentages of minorities and areas with high growth white populations.  Schools have been eliminated in census tracts with high percentage black and other minority populations, including C.M. Epps High Schools, Third Street School, Agnes Fullove School, and Sadie Saulter.

     A survey of the entire district demonstrates that facilities that originally served black students were eliminated in Farmville and other towns outside of the City of Greenville.  Evidence suggests these facilities were eliminated as a consequence of this mono-cultural view of the black community that continues to prevail in Pitt County Schools.

Public data also shows that schools such as Sadie Saulter Elementary that had a 98% black student population had significantly less heated square footage of building space and less playground space.  Over crowding at high percentage black schools was also noted.

The district recently constructed a new school on the edge of census tract 7.02.  Pandering to racial considerations the district adopted a student assignment plan that made the school a black racially identifiable school that was designed with a poor performance composite.  The district superintendent promised extra-resources and the best teachers for the school but failed to deliver.

Recommendations:  The long-range facilities plan must include neighborhood schools in the black community, if the district is going to insist upon a neighborhood school policy.  Charter schools may be an alternative since the district continues to re-segregate and under resource black students. 

Transportation

     Pitt County Schools operated about 209 buses in 2004, and increased the number of school buses to 213 by 2008.  About 51 percent of all Pitt County School students were bused in 2004 and that percentage remained constant through 2008.  Students rode the buses about 2.35 million miles in 2004 and that number grew to 2.57 million miles in 2008.

BUS TRANSPORTATION

Year Ending

# of Buses

# of Pupils Bused

Miles

2004

209

10,848

2,350,841

2005

206

10,989

2,371,228

2006

206

11,298

2,537,279

2007

210

11,635

2,441,977

2008

213

11,788

2,573,746

2009

*

*

*

*No data reported.

Table 1.5 (Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction)

     Detailed reports on bus transportation by race and ethnicity were not available.  However, over the past 25 years schools have been systematically eliminated from the black community including C.M. Epps High Schools, Anges Fullilove School, Third Street School, and Sadie Saulter Elementary School.  Review of student assignment plans and neighborhood feeder patterns demonstrate that black students disproportionately bear the burden of busing.  Public data supports the belief that black students generally spend a longer number of years riding school buses, have longer bus rides, and spend as much as 5 times the number of actual hours riding buses as white students.  Certainly this fact impacts student achievement.

     Student Assignment Plans, especially in the J.H. Rose High Attendance Area do not consider the disproportionate transportation burden on black children.  In fact, most of the elementary schools are about 2.2 miles apart.  Neighborhood schools are largely a myth created to mask the reduction of the assignment of poor black children in areas where white parents don’t want them. 

Recommendations:  Building facilities closer to where black students live and equalize the transportation burden.  Student Assignment plans should consider the disproportionate impact on black children and more equitably distribute the transportation burden.

Extra Curricular Activities

     Black students are included in traditional and stereo-typical black sports like basketball and football.  However, it is reported that black students are systematically excluded from academic clubs, international field trips, and other social based organizations.  Segregation has also been reported in other extra-curricular activities.

     It has been reported that black students are systematically excluded from scholarships and activities that could increase their chances of getting into and paying for college.

Recommendations:  A complete study of racial discrimination in extra curricular activities should be conducted on an objective basis.

Student Assignment

     It is reported that Pitt County Schools and its predecessors have never achieved and maintained racial balance for even one year in the last 40 years.  The process is always tainted by deviations from policies that pander to white interest groups and always results in black students being the victims of overt or covert racial discrimination.

     The most recent example of racial discrimination is the populating of the new Lakeforest Elementary School.  The Pitt County Board of Education had a less discriminatory plan available but chose instead to make Lakeforest a racially identifiable poor performing black school at its inception, and subsequently under-resourced the school.

Recommendations:  The district should redo the student assignment plan and adopt the less discriminatory alternative.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

     Pitt County Schools has not achieved unitary status in any impact area.  The Pitt County Board of Education has refused to engage the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black children in any meaningful dialogue, despite the existence of a federal court order and the efforts of the Coalition to reach out to the board.

     The Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children is the court recognized organizational representative of the plaintiff class in the pending litigation.  The Pitt County Board of Education will ultimately have to face the Coalition and its attorneys in Court and address the Coalitions issues and concerns regarding the district’s lack of progress in the achieving of unitary status.

PRELIMINARY RECOMMENTATIONS

     Pitt County Board of Education should create a Unitary Status Advisory Board composed of three school board members, two Greenville Parents Association appointees, and two Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children appointees.  This Advisory Board should review the districts efforts and progress toward unitary status and advise the full board.  The Pitt County Board of Education should consider the creation of a joint unitary status plan that includes a time table for relief from the federal court orders.  It is in the best interest of the total community if the Pitt County Board of Education, the Greenville Parents Association, and the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children work together to move the district toward unitary status through cooperative planning.  If the parties to the litigation cannot work together in cooperative, the alternative is litigation in the Courts.

     In order to facilitate a comprehensive unitary status plan the parties should seek special funding from the North Carolina Legislature.

 

[1][1] Teel v. Pitt County Board of Education, and Edwards v. Greenville City Board of Education are the original school desegregation cases in Pitt County, North Carolina.

[2][2] Greenville Parent Association is a group of parents representing the interest of white students in Pitt County Schools.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) To Visit Pitt County

Greetings:

The Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children will host a team from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on March 16, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Center Chapel, located on the corner of w.5th Street and Tyson Street, in Greenville.  The OCR visit is part of their investigation of a civil rights complaint filed by the Coalition on behalf of students that were excluded from participation in classroom instruction, were suspended from school for dress code violations, were excluded from extra curricular activities due to dress code violations, or were denied college scholarships due to dress code violations.  

 

Parents that have children that have been affected by Pitt County School Dress Code are urged to attend this meeting and share thier experiences.  OCR will interview affected individuals and hear testimonies about how the dress code has impacted parents and students. 

 

The Coalition found evidence that Pitt County School’s dress code policy disparately impacted African American students and was used by the District to:

 

·         Exclude African American students from college scholarships.

·         Exclude African American students from extra curricular activities such as honor clubs.

·         Exclude African American students from classroom instruction thus increasing the achievement gap.

·         Increase financial contributions to Pitt County Schools from clothing manufacturers and clothing retailers at the expense of African American families.

 

This is a District wide issue impacting African American students across the county in all high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.  Please plan to attend and spread the word to others who have children that are affected.  If you are to end this discrimination we must stand up and be counted.

Sincerely,

Rev. Ozie Lee Hall, Jr., President

Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children

Post Office Box 1699

Winterville, NC   28590