Friday, August 24, 2001

Local NAACP to hold back-to-school rally

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will hold its first “Back to School” rally today on Fountain Square.

        The event, designed to gear up students and families for the new school year, is the first of several education initiatives the NAACP will undertake this year.

   • What: Back to School Rally.
   • When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
   • Where: Fountain Square, downtown.
   • Who: NAACP, several speakers, performances by Three Square Music Foundation children.
   • Other: Prize giveaways from WIZF radio; free school supplies to the first 250 children.
        “This can best be described as a pep rally for education and learning,” said Edith Thrower, chairwoman of the Cincinnati NAACP's education committee. “Our goal is to gain support and get students excited about learning.”

        The local chapter plans to visit all Cincinnati public schools and talk with administrators, students and teachers to assess school needs. The association also will hold three education forums to gather input from residents about their concern for Cincinnati's “deteriorating schools.”

        The forums have not been scheduled and are tentatively planned for Price Hill, Bond Hill and a location to be determined.

        Once the forums and school visits are completed, Ms. Thrower said, the NAACP will share its findings with the Cincinnati Board of Education and demand that actions be taken to address areas of concern. She added the NAACP will assist the board where it can.

        Ms. Thrower said one of the issues the NAACP hopes to address is what she called “embarrassingly high dropout, suspension and expulsion rates” in the district. She said the chapter thinks that many of the youths involved in April's unrest were dropouts or kids kicked out of the system.

        Poor building conditions and the need for more minority teachers were among other issues the NAACP plans to examine, she said.

        This month, the national NAACP launched its most extensive nationwide grass-roots and media campaign ever, aimed at encouraging parents of color to become more involved in their children's education.

        The campaign underscores research that consistently shows that parents are one of the most important factors in their children's educational success.


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