YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said it is frustrated over the $6 million in federal funding being received every year by the Youngstown City Schools and what it says is a disconnect with the education that students are receiving there.
“The achievement gap has not gotten any smaller, so we are here to find out what we can do together to close that achievement gap,” said George Freeman, Jr., NAACP Youngstown president.
Freeman and the Youngstown NAACP requested a meeting with Youngstown Education Association (YEA) and Ohio Education Association (OEA) to discuss the future of education at the school district. The groups discussed a partnership to engage parents and the community to ensure student success during a meeting Thursday at the NAACP office.
In October, NAACP accused Youngstown City Schools of violating federal law, specifically that Title I was not being enforced and the district was not meeting the needs of economically disadvantaged children. It laid out its recommendations for the district, with a focus on improving East High School to meet federal requirements.
The NAACP said students deserve a better education, regardless of their race or economic status. Minority children make up 80 percent of the Youngstown student body.
“The issue that race matters still haunts the process. The issue of low expectations still haunts the process,” said Jimma McWilson, NAACP Youngstown vice president.
Union leaders reminded the NAACP that the power of the teachers limits them from making many major changes. The union would need to approach the school board with any change or recommended improvement.
“So, I like the fact that you came up with something that we can do to make it happen, but you have to talk to the powers that can make that occur,” Paula Valentini, of the Youngstown Education Association, said of the NAACP’s requests.