During the second in a series of community meetings about education, Neonta Willliams divided those present into groups based on their expertise or their interests.
Williams, founder of Black Alabamians for Educational Options, urged them to talk about solutions for the issues and concerns they have with Gadsden schools.
Parents, educators, business people, clergy and concerned citizens gathered Monday evening for discussion, and were asked to write down their groups’ ideas for dealing with the issues they identified. Williams said she wants to present those ideas to the City Council and school board.
There were at least 75 people present through the course of the 90-minute-plus meeting; after the break-out discussions, they again came together to present their solutions.
Speaking for the parent group, Gil Isbell said they wanted to see parent-teacher-student organizations made mandatory in all schools, with the role of the organizations well defined and guidelines established for their operations, especially in how funds are distributed.
The parent group wanted improved transparency and communication for better relationships with parents. They were concerned as well with the student-teacher ratio and about whether all teachers are credentialed for what they do.
Deborah Howard, vice president of the Gadsden City Board of Education, met with and spoke for the educators. She said the state currently tests students at the third-grade level; the educators believe earlier testing is needed to determine if students are working at grade level before they lose so much ground.
Educators also were concerned about the state…
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