June 2014 Backboard

Green Strides

Yes, we know that green foods in the form of kale, broccoli, and cucumbers are good for children -- well, good for all of us. But healthy diets for our children are green in another way: They help create healthy environments in our schools.

The USDA, which oversees the federal school lunch program and the school breakfast program, feeds 32 million students lunch and 14 million students breakfast every day. Many children eat more than one meal a day in school and consume half of their daily calories from school meals.

“In the U.S. today, students face a global competitiveness never before seen. Through nutrition, USDA remains committed to providing a healthy school environment so that students are ready to learn, fostering a healthier next generation for our nation’s future leaders.”

The newest Green Strides article, “Healthy Eating for America’s Schoolchildren,” is available online at www.asbj.com/HomePageCategory/Online- Features/ReadingsReports.  Green Strides offers a plethora of free resources and information for school districts. Read our rich collection of facilities and design articles at www.asbj.com/TopicsArchive/FacilitiesandSchoolDesign.online-only.

Also online for this issue:

Doug Eadie’s Governance column has moved online to www.asbj.com/homepagecategory/online-features/readingsreports. In his latest column, Eadie discusses the critical role that school board presidents play in the board’s partnership with the superintendent.

Should we panic over the latest international creative problem- solving test scores? Read why City University of New York Professor Norman Eng says we do not need to overreact at www.asbj.com/homepagecategory/online-features/readingsreports.

Keep up with the latest education reports and research at www.asbj.com/mainmenucategory/supplements/evs.


Q&A with Va. board member Barbara Haywood on Brown v. Board of Education

In the past nine months, we have celebrated the anniversaries of two groundbreaking events in the history of the American civil rights movement: Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

That the anniversary of King’s monumental speech came first -- Aug. 26, 2013, was its 50th anniversary -- might seem fitting: One dreams a dream -- of civil rights, equality, and dignity for all people -- and, after years of hard work and struggle, the nation’s highest court makes it come true.

Of course, as we all know, it didn’t happen in that order. When King spoke in 1963 of a nation where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character,” it was nearly a decade after the court in Brown (60 years ago on May 17) had ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Throughout much of the South that order was either ignored or openly defied.

Barbara S. Haywood, a 25-year member of Virginia’s York County School Board and a former representative on NSBA’s Board of Directors for the Southern Region, was attending a segregated high school in Albemarle County, Va., at the time of King’s speech. Haywood, a nurse practitioner, spoke with ASBJ Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy about the impact the civil rights movement had on her life and continues to have in her work for the public schools.

You said that Ivy, Va. -- where you grew up -- was no Farmville, the city less than 60 miles to the south that was a party to the Brown suit and later the epicenter of Virginia’s “massive resistance” to school integration. But, obviously, you were affected.

Of course. I’m 63, so a lot of that affected me as a kid. I was an only child. My parents were active in the civil rights movement. They had expectations of me. I watched them as they were involved in the community. ... I remember going to the movies and having to go to the balcony because the main level was reserved for whites. Sometimes, when the main floor filled up, they would open the balcony to white people as well, but they would put up a partition to separate them from the black people.

What was it like attending segregated schools?

We had all black teachers. And all the teachers would expect you to come to school, to do your best, to get good grades. They had expectations of you to be better than we were -- high expectations. That was understood, and they demanded that. Do we do the same for all of our students today?

You eventually attended an integrated school. When did that happen?

I made a compromise with my parents, [saying] “Give me one year at the black high school.” I ended up transferring to the white high school the year before it was mandated.

What do you tell your children about those times?

I’ve got three sons who are 35, 30, and 28. They didn’t go through this. I tell them, “Your grandmother lived during Emmett Till. I grew up during civil rights. You are growing up in an era where you can do anything you want.”

Achievement gaps persist for African Americans and Hispanics. While York’s black students, who represent about 25 percent of enrollment, are doing better than their peers across the state, you say there is still much work to do?

Yes. I become frustrated year after year getting reports of the achievement gap. My educational background is in health care; my background is not public education. But when you give me a report, don’t just give me the data and close the door; give me a plan for improvement.

And you’re also concerned about diversity in the teaching staff?

We had an elementary school without any black teachers. I said to my board members, “This is unacceptable for me. I hope it’s unacceptable for you. … I want you to be as passionate about this as me.”

You’ve been on the board for 25 years. Why do you keep doing this?

I want to make a positive impact on public education. I don’t need the glory! When we were all elected, we took an oath. So we say, “Let’s stand by that -- and let’s get some work done.”

ONLINE EXTRA

For an in-depth interview with Haywood, go to www.asbj.com.