The local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is preparing to ask Nashville’s Board of Education to rescind the recently passed school district rezoning plan.
Chapter President Marilyn Robinson said Friday that NAACP volunteers are drafting a letter to present to the board on Monday. The letter will ask the board to support a plan for “voluntary integration,” Robinson said, prior to the swearing in of new school board members later this month.
“[The old board] could rescind it, and then after the election, a new board could come in with a clean slate,” Robinson said.
Regardless of the choices made by the existing board – which, in a five-to-four majority vote, passed the current plan in July – Robinson said she hopes rezoning will be the first item of business after elections.
The NAACP is still seeking a grant from the Ford Foundation to hep it develop an alternative. As for a possible lawsuit, the national NAACP Legal Defense Fund gave the local NAACP chapter a “checklist” of data to gather, Robinson said, which volunteers are currently compiling.
“We’re not trying to be confrontational. It’s all about the children,” Robinson said. “We just don’t want to go back to where we were. We don’t need to step back into a 50-year era of putting all white children together and all black children together. It doesn’t make any sense.”
School board elections are slated for Aug. 7, though early voting will continue until tomorrow. New board members will be sworn in on Aug. 26.
The part of the rezoning plan deemed objectionable by the NAACP and many other organizations is the recommendation that students no longer be bused from low-income MetroCenter neighborhoods to Bellevue’s more affluent Hillwood cluster.
Students in those neighborhoods are considered residents of “choice zones” and can choose whether to attend school close to home or at Hillwood schools. Details that will determine the extent of free transportation were not publicly discussed at the rezoning presentation immediately prior to the board’s vote. No rezoning changes would take place prior to the 2009-2010 school year.
Supporters say the change brings Nashville closer to neighborhood schools and improves opportunities for parent and community engagement. Opponents call the plan resegregation, noting the decrease in percentages of African-American and economically disadvantaged students at Hillwood schools, as well as the slight increases in these populations at some Pearl-Cohn cluster schools.
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- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS