At the Charlottesville School Board meeting held Tuesday, February 15, members of the community engaged in a heated debate about the continued achievement gap between majority and minority students. Some citizens are saying deficiencies exist because the needs of black and other minority students aren't being addressed.
Members in the community are now wondering if some of the school system's problems stem from racial issues.
"It's not a race issues on its face, but it's a race issue at its very bottom, and it's very important," says City councilor Blake Caravati. "It's very important that our community acknowledges the fact that African American children need as much help as they can so they can succeed."
"There's something wrong with the Charlottesville School System, primarily because nobody has paid attention to our children, whether they've been black administrators or white administrators, commented Rick Turner, the President of the local NAACP.
Some local school parents have been accused of pursuing changes within the school system that would only benefit white students, but parents like Bob Roach say that's not the case.
"We are actually lobbying on behalf of all the kids in the system. What we are arguing for we think will benefit all of the kids, specifically those who are underachieving and falling behind."
Roach does acknowledge that racial issues exist in the school system, but says, "The bottom line is that we care about all the kids and are advocating on behalf of all the kids."