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Board member's remark triggers strong reaction



Published: Fri, January 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The union chief compared improving report card marks to climbing Mount Everest: It's going to take time.

By RON COLE

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The head of the city school teachers union is offended and outraged by remarks school board member Clarence Boles made regarding the district's report card results.

"Evidently he hasn't been out there or been watching what teachers do," said Sherri Morgan, president of the 700-member Youngstown Education Association.

"It's unbelievable. Teachers are putting in more hours than they ever have. They're going to more meetings than they ever have. They're voluntarily giving up some of their lunch hours. They're coming in early.

"They're doing everything they can except standing on their heads trying to work hard with the children because they know they're below the mark."

The school district met five of 27 minimum performance standards on the report cards released this week by the Ohio Department of Education.

Though that's one standard more than the previous two years, it still puts the system among the lowest-achieving in the state and keeps it firmly in academic emergency.

What he said: Boles, shortly before taking the oath Tuesday as the newest member of the board of education, said he felt remorse about the report.

He said any teacher or administrator who accepts the results as "just another hard reality of teaching poor kids or black kids or minority children, they should retire immediately."

He suggested the school district "do like General Motors and buy them all out," replacing retirees with "bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young college kids."

"We're not talking about car parts; we're talking about children," Morgan said Thursday.

Offended: She said she was particularly offended by the remarks about minority children.

"This has nothing to do with race and color," she said. "This has everything to do with being a large urban and poor district, and we have to find ways to try to improve that. We are getting better. I'm not saying we've made the grade yet, but we are getting better."

Superintendent Ben McGee said the school system was close to meeting a sixth standard and improved in 18 of the 27 categories since last year.

Morgan said the district's goal is to reach all 27 standards, but "anybody with a logical mind knows you're not going to do that overnight."

"If I'm climbing Mount Everest, I'm not going to jump to the top in two seconds," she added. "It's going to take me awhile."




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