Compliance with executive order disputed in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown group is demanding answers from the Youngstown Board of Education about an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama aimed at helping African American students achieve academic excellence.

The group said the school district is not in compliance with the Educational Excellence for African Americans, which is an executive order put in place in July 2012, but board members said they are in compliance.

Jimma McWilson of the Campaign for African-American Achievement came to the Youngstown Board of Education meeting on Tuesday to address the issue. McWilson said the school board is not in compliance, and never has been.

“Specifically, collectively, their African American student body has been scored an F overall by the state. And therefore you cannot be rated an F and be in compliance,” McWilson said.

But, Brenda Kimble, Vice President of the Youngstown Board of Education disagrees. She said the director of the executive order, David John, who was hired by President Obama, said the school district is in compliance.

“He said ‘as long you have programs within your district that you’re implementing with the students, you have professional development for your teachers,’” Kimble said.

Kimble mentioned a number of programs already implemented.

“Over at Chaney, we have visual performing arts. We have the STEM program. We have Rayen Early College. We have Youngstown Early College. We have the Discovery program, and many more,” Kimble said.

But McWilson disagreed.

“If those children are all at an F status as a collective body, it’s delusional to believe you’re in compliance,” McWilson said.

McWilson said if the board does not address the Executive Order, his group will start talking to parents about pulling their kids out of Youngstown City Schools.

And the school board plans to bring the director of the executive order to Youngstown to address any concerns parents might have about the issue.

President Obama launched the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in July 2012. You can read it here.

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