Henrico community sounds off on achievement gap

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Parents, students and school administrators met Tuesday night to talk about ways to close the achievement gap between black and white students in Henrico.

Passionate parents, school administrators and students from Henrico County schools sat down for nearly two and a half hours to talk about ways to improve and close the gap between black and white students in the county.

69% of white students passed A. P. course tests, compared to 23% of African-American students.

"It doesn't do any good to complain after the fact, you got to get in on the process early," said mom Karen Props.

There's also a gap between black and white students in a number of other areas, including the percentage of students in 2011 graduating with advanced diplomas, and the SAT critical reading scores.

"It's pretty disparaging to see that kind of information up there," said parent Kevin Harris.

So, everyone went to work. Dozens of suggestions are now sitting in the hands of school leaders, including more parental involvement, improving parent teacher relations, letting parents choose which school their child goes to, and extending the school day and year, among other ideas.

Several students even spoke up with their own suggestions. In fact, a Highland Springs High School student got a standing ovation for urging parents and teachers to get involved early.

"It's easy to put words on a piece of paper. It's easy to talk about the problem. It's easy to talk about the solutions. If it's not followed up, then nothing is ever going to change," added Props.

The work doesn't stop with Tuesday's meeting. There will be another parent meeting next Wednesday night in Henrico. Then, school leaders will come up with some solutions going forward for the years to come.

That meeting is set for Weds, Jan 25th at the Henrico Training Center at 7701 E. Parham Road. It will run from 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM.

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