School Officials To Eliminate ‘Racial Concentration’ At Jones
The Ann Arbor Board of Education, in a first effort to get down to the brass tacks of racial imbalance problems in the public schools, last night adopted a statement of intent and a definition of the so-called "Jones School problem.”
Trustee Hazen Schumacher submitted a position statement which outlines the aims of the board in future handling of the recommendation of a citizens’ committee report on de facto segregation at Jones Elementary School.
The statement reads:
“Three out of four children in Jones School are Negro. We believe that this very fact is incompatible with our policy of providing an equal educational opportunity for each child in the Ann Arbor Schools.
Therefore, the Ann Arbor Board of Education will:
1). Eliminate the existing racial concentration in Jones School.
2). Initiate educational programs which will counter the effects of social under privilege in the Jones attendance area.
3). Proceed immediately to determine the means necessary to achieve the above objectives.
4). Implement these means soon as practicable.
Further, as a specific first step in the implementation of this policy, the school board hereby directs the administration to prepare a program of additional supportive services to be put into effect at Jones School in the coming school year.”
Definition of the racial imbalance problem came in a statement from Trustee Stephen Withey. Intending to let “the community understand how we see the problem,” Withy presented the definition in three aspects as follows:
"1). Racial concentration of significant proportions, in the schools, emphasizes the image of segregation. Such a concentration is a perpetual reminder to pupils of the forces, conditions, and limited opportunity that create and maintain such heavily Negro communities.
Therefore; it would seem important and imperative to start to break down these conditions even if only partially and progressively and even if it appeared to make no particular educational difference in the immediate future.
2). As a result of racial concentration there are economic, cultural, and social limitations. These problems require special educational attention and consideration in improved methods of programs if the school’s responsibilities are to be fairly discharged.
Educational approaches to these pupils must take into account complex problems and conditions that require imaginative educational innovation. Speedy remedial progress may not be apparent. Special attention must be given to ways and means of influencing motivations, expectations, aspirations, habits, etc., and accelerating educational progress.
3). Racial concentration also creates varied and unique personal problems that require special attention in addition to the general class enrichment and innovation referred to above. There are apparently more personal problems per classroom that have to be faced by a teacher in a racially concentrated school than tend to be crowded into the classes of other teachers.
Educational help to these youngsters may in some cases be facilitated by grouping them together for remedial work but often their problems are so varied that a single teacher is overloaded; if the pupils are in several classes, a larger segment of the school system (faculty, staff, and pupils) are available to help them."
The school board also adopted a resolution expressing its “full confidence” in the administration and teaching staff of Jones School.