With disparity confirmed County schools must now keep their word

Miami Times Editorial Department | 12/19/2013, 9 a.m.

Miami-Dade County Public School [M-DCPS] officials may have been disturbed by the headline that appeared on the front of The Miami Times last week, “Black Firms Shutout,” but sometimes you only need a few carefully guided words to bring attention to issues of major importance. And for the hundreds of Black contractors and construction companies that have prepared themselves in their respective crafts and specialties, only to be denied the job time and time again, there remains a long history of denial — one that appears to be race- and gender-related.

Now with the initial results of a disparity study conducted by a nationally-recognized research firm, the County’s school officials can begin to make legal changes in bid requirements that will level the field for minority-owned businesses. Critics say that more should be done since both Black-owned and women-owned were given such an abysmally low number of contracts and jobs for so many years. However, since the current superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, took over at M-DCPS, while we have not always agreed with his decisions, he has been willing to listen to, engage with and adhere to his promises.

This should not be viewed as an open endorsement of Carvalho and the Board but rather as our continued hope and belief that they will use the legal levity that the study will inevitably allow in order to make up for past injustices suffered by Blacks and women who just wanted their fair share of work — jobs for which they were qualified.

Since we are not experts in the area of construction work, we will not seek to dance around the different terms used in the study that have raised the ire of some of our more astute readers. Instead, we will echo the words of Carvalho, said during his political push for the passage of the bond that has made the money for recent renovations and upgrades available. He often said, “promise made, promise kept.”

We’re going to hold him and his colleagues to just that.