The gallery was packed for Thursday night’s Dallas ISD school board meeting, where three proposals drew a lot of public attention.
Three proposed plans by Dallas ISD gave Thursday evening’s school board meeting a packed gallery — and a full slate of speakers that took more than an hour and a half to complete. But only one of those plans was actually on the agenda.
A proposed course in African-American studies was on the agenda, and brought out several speakers. The course would teach district students about important historical figures in African-American history. Many of the speakers discussed the need for the course — and some even vowed to work with the district to supplement and enhance what would be taught.
Several spoke out in favor of a proposed program for African-American studies.
“My heart is happy that there are so many here,” Justin Henry interjected — something that doesn’t usually happen during the portion of the school board meetings allotted for public comment.
Henry added that he knew more speakers were there to talk about another agenda item — a proposed policy that would allow the district for partnerships with nonprofit entities to operate some district schools — but that he wished more people would be passionate about “this issue of racial equity, and that he wished they knew that when it comes to reading, African American students are frequently at the bottom of readiness.
He also pointed out that all the people who spoke out — with the exception of one speaker — for the African American studies program were black, showing more people needed to understand the impact inequity has on schools.
Several parents and advocates spoke about district plans to potentially change the Woodrow Wilson High School feeder pattern — specifically regarding a proposal to turn Geneva Heights Elementary into a fifth through sixth-grade school to alleviate some overcrowding issues at Long Middle School.
Parents told the board that they chose Geneva Heights specifically, and resented the idea that they would lose their neighborhood school. Many spoke to the school’s diverse student body, as well as the time and effort its teachers and staff had taken to go through the rigorous process to become an International Baccalaureate school.
“This school is a gem,” said one speaker. (more…)