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Miamis Black schools all moving in the right direction

caines | 1/11/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Sometimes the best way to reach new levels of excellence is to raise the bar of expectations. Its clear that the principals who lead the predominantly-Black public schools in Miami-Dade County have done just that. After years of consecutive failing grades, some dating back to five years running, we have witnessed an impressive turnaround in the school grades for our high schools. The bottom line and real achievement to celebrate, is that not one of our schools received an F grade. We know the challenges that have faced students at Central, Northwestern, Edison and Booker T. Washington, among others. In the southern part of the county, schools like Southridge, who earned their first A in the schools history, were better known for the poor behavior problems of their students rather than their class performance. But they too have found a way to encourage students to study harder and to focus with more intensity on the task-at-hand. As Centrals Principal Rennina Turner notes, the challenges of the lowest-achieving students must still be addressed. We are glad to hear that she has made that her first priority. She makes no excuses for their D grade she is already looking at what needs to and will be done to raise the score and the overall achievement of every Central student. Thats the mark of a real leader and we are confident that things will continue to improve. But it takes a plan. The fact that both Central and BTW were penalized because the lowest 25 percent of their students failed to improve in performance may not be fair then again, maybe it is fair. After all, if we allow one-quarter of each of our student populations to stay stuck, stagnant on one sub-par level of educational ability, over time we are sending a large number of Black boys and girls to a place where they will never be able to compete. Dreams should be something that all of our young people have. We must make sure that each has the opportunity to improve their minds and talents. As Dr King said, We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope. Congratulations!