North Carolina Newspapers

    2A O0O
Thursday, August 31, 2006
School advocates combine
Continued from page 1A
agreement than disagree
ment because there is no
question in my mind they are
dedicated to the education of
our children.”
Said Gantt: “There was
only one right person for this
job. Along with Dr.
Woodward’s credentials in
the education field, he is a
civic leader and a bridge
builder with a passion for
education.”
CMS Superintendent Peter
Gorman said the merged
group’s singular voice on
issues will help communica
tion between the state’s
lai^st school district and its
constituents. However, he
cautions that ultimate
change in CMS will come
fi:om the school board.
“I expect the board to be my
supervisor,” Gorman said. “I
will work with than and con
tinue to partner on those
issues, but at the same point
in time, there’s another group
of folks out there ready to pro
vide some thoughts and
insists. Pm looking forward
to working with them.”
The board will be made up
of 18-25 individuals picked by
a nominating committee of
“four or five” members fiom
each of the four member oiti-
tites. Tfen wiL come fixim the
partner organizations, with
the rest selected fix)m civic
and corporate organizations.
‘Tm excited they want a
broad-based and diverse
group of members,” Gorman
said. “That excites me.”
The task force oversaw a
Tum-around on desegregation
study on management and
governance for CMS that was
released in December. The
panel detailed 21 recommen
dations, including formation
of the civic commission,
which will be funded by local
and national grants.
Gorman said the commis
sion has the potential to be an
independent asset for public
education • No one expects
total agreements, but that
isn’t necessary for success.
“I hke having a critical
fiiend,” he said. ‘T hke some
one who’s telling me the truth
and not ^ving me filtered
water.”
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By Lorinda M. Bullock
NAr/ONAi. NEWSPAPER
PUBUSHERS ASSOCIAftON
WASHINGTON - Briefs ;
filed leist week by the Bush: -;'
administration to halt vdluh-
tary school integration pro
grams have civil ri^ts and
prcgressive legal groups fear
ful the gains made' by the
1954 Brown vs. Board of
Education Supreme Comd;
decision will be reversed.
“Brown vs. Board was one
of the most significant land
mark decisions of the 20th
Century in 1954. Now 52
years later in 2006, that bat
tle is still bdi^ fought in the
schools,” said John Brittain,
chief counsel and senior
deputy director of the
Lawyers Committee for Civil
Ri^ts Under Law in
Washington, D.C.
The administration has
sided with white parents in
districts in Seattle and
Loxiisville, who claim integra
tion guidelines actually dis
criminate against White stu
dents and violate the equal
protection clause of the
Constitution.
U.S. Solicitor General Paul
D. Clemoit urged the justices
in the briefs to rule “That the
use of racial classification to
achieve a desired racial bal
ance in pubhc schools” is as
unconstitutional as racial
segregation.
Help for
autism
families
Continued from page 1A
children,” she said.
That’s why Boujhl started
the alliance as an advocate
for autistic kids. On Sept. 17,
WAFC wiU sponsor a carnival
at 5865 Albemarle Road.
Proceeds will go to the
alliance’s family center,
which provides programs for
children and support for fam
ilies.
Getting help for an autistic
child often means navigating
a maze of agencies and rules,
Boujhl said. It’s more difficult
for parents who lack the
financial resources or com
mand of Enghsh.
‘Tt took me a httle time to
get hdp for him,” she said.
For immigrants to the U.S.,
disabilities are rarely dis
cussed. The center, BoiyUl
said, helps families cope with
autism by ofifering support
and referring families to
evaluations and therapy The
center also offers classes in
English and other languages
as weU as after-school care
and crafts.
‘Tor some of the families,
it’s hard for them to hear the
big word,” she said. “For some
cultures, it’s taboo.”
Boujlil, a native of Morocco
who also speaks Spanish,
Italian, French and Arabic,
beheves developing a sup
portive, nurturing environ
ment is as important to fami-
hes as their children.
‘We don’t care about their
status or income,” Boujhl
said. ‘We just want to offer
help regardless of their race
or origin ”
For information on the
alliance or the carnival, call
(704) 523-3237; 523-3238 or
618-1489.
Along with the lawyers for
the Jefferson County and
Seattle school districts, Tfed
Shaw, Director-Counsd and
President of the NAACP
Legal Defense and
Educational Fhnd and
Brittain will file briefs that
ai^ue volimtary integration
does not violate the
Constitution in October.
‘What we’re talking about
hoe in these two cases is the
question of whether volun
tary integration measmes
are going to be legal and con
stitutional. This is all that’s
left of pubhc school desegre
gation efforts. For the most
part, mandatory desegrega
tion no lor^r is in play All
that’s left is volimtary deseg
regation measures,” Shaw
said.
The Supreme Court should
hear the arguments in
December and are expected
to rule by next spring,
Brittain said.
In the Louisville case
Meredith vs. Jefferson
County Crystal Meredith, a
white parent said her son
was prohibited fiom attend
ing the elementary school
nearest to his home because
of the district’s integration
guidelines developed in 2001.
The district’s guidelines said
that Black enrollment in each
elementary school should be
at least 15 percent and no
more than 50 percent.
In the case of Parents
Involved in Community
Schools vs. Seattle Schools, a
group of parents brought
legal action against the dis
trict, saying their children
were not accepted in to their
first choice high school
because of their race. Seattle
schools adopted their integra
tion guidelines in 1998 to pre
vent segregation that was
causedby the self segregation
in housing patterns in the
area.
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