02/07/06 — Board wants city to assist with improving conditions

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Board wants city to assist with improving conditions

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 7, 2006 1:50 PM

Members of the Wayne County Board of Education want the city of Goldsboro to do more to improve conditions for local families.

Monday, they made that request official.

Board member Thelma Smith read the resolution, drafted on the heels of comments she and other board members had made at their January meeting. At that time, concerns were voiced about the level of poverty, crime and gang activity and their effects on children's ability to learn and families' ability to survive, particularly those in the central attendance area.

"There's so much concern about those students. It's perceived that they're not being educated the same as other students," Mrs. Smith said. "We concur that they are.

"But there are other circumstances that they must endure. ... We would like to see if we can get some help from the city council."

Citing an article that recently appeared in a national educators' publication, she said that the United States likes to be first and is considered one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Ironically, it also leads the world in terms of the amount of poverty within its borders.

"Children who live in poverty are not able to achieve as well as others," she said. As an example, she shared how experiments have been done, taking a child from a poor home and putting him in another home where there's wealth -- and seeing the test scores improve.

"We feel that some of our students are in poverty areas, not of their choosing ... but we would like to have the city council address some of the things that we feel that we are doing. We're doing a good job, but maybe they could help us do a better job."

Mrs. Smith said the board is determined to have all students graduate as self-sufficient, productive citizens, which can be better ensured by monitoring the home climate, health and safety issues.

Reading from the proposed resolution, she said the board recommends the city of Goldsboro address the issues by continuing with citizens' groups in neighborhood meetings to obtain feedback about neighborhood concerns; offering incentives for businesses to locate in areas that are declining due to lack of jobs and productive activity; working to attract other citizens to rear and educate their children in the central attendance area schools; and making a living in the Goldsboro city limits more appealing by removing dilapidated and unoccupied buildings and eliminating crime activity.

The board suggested the city work cooperatively with the schools to improve educational opportunities for students by providing incentives for highly qualified teachers to work there, visit those schools regularly and open up dialogue with school officials, parents and students to learn about their needs, goals and aspirations. Board members also asked that officials become Partners in Education, work to promote strong parent and community involvement and support the school system's efforts to create and promote a positive image of those schools.

"The Board of Education urges the City of Goldsboro to take immediate steps to ensure that all city residents have the opportunity to live, work, play and attend school in a clean, safe and healthy environment that will enable them to succeed and thrive in all aspects of the community," Mrs. Smith said.