, 30 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
here’s the agenda for tonight’s charlottesville city school board meeting. we’re starting off now with public comment.
the racist history of the district’s gifted program is on tonight’s agenda.

the only speaker signed up tonight is proposing a comprehensive smoking, vaping, and dipping ban on school grounds (i kind of assumed this was already the rule?)
the resolution the speaker proposed would prohibit tobacco use (and even possession of tobacco products) by staff and contractors on school grounds as well as during school events held off-site.
with no other takers for public comment, we’re moving on to the reading of some proclamations.
(holy shit VA schools have gotten eight BILLION DOLLARS from the state lottery since 1999. that is a wild way to fund schools by taxing people who are bad at math.)
what is going on in the high school library
the youth council is now presenting their recommendations to the board. they urge the district to provide more guidance about trade school and other paths that aren’t 4 year college.
some really solid lunch recommendations - not all lunch items are available to students with free lunch. this should be clear and not stigmatized.
the district’s advanced classes are de facto segregation
the QUEST program creates a separate tack for students very early on. kids outside that program are not usually recommended for honors classes. the youth council recommends doing away with this program, which has its roots in resistance to integration.
“no one should have the opportunity to opt out of black history.”
the youth council included the black student union’s demands in their recommendations.
mckeever says the board will discuss the youth council’s recommendations at their upcoming retreat. you know i won’t miss it!
dr atkins says some corrective action about the confusion over which items are available to students with free/reduced lunch is already being taken.
@MaggieEThornton, an education PhD student at UVA studying de-tracking, is presenting about the segregationist history of gifted education programs in charlottesville
never forget that IQ tests are a tool of white supremacy.
this proposal for a “limited form of desegregation” does, of course, quote local minor deity thomas jefferson
federal funding for gifted education in the 70s included specific requirements that the money not be used for busing to achieve integration
the racial discrepancies in the district’s gifted program aren’t new.
the 1984 student walkout was precipitated by a staff member’s comment that the underrepresented in gifted programs because of the failures of black parents.
that sounds familiar... almost exactly what state delegate candidate & current city councilor kathy galvin said in a memo 15 years ago.

ooof, there are some missing words in that tweet. the mic is too loud & i have a bit of an auditory processing issue that makes it hard to write when there’s too much noise. that should read “...that the underrepresentation of black students in gifted programs was because...”
board member sherry kraft is struck by the fact that there was an audit done in the 80s that showed the same problems they have now. why was nothing substantive done 35 years ago?
thornton says standardized testing that was used in WWI to determine which soldiers should be officers and which should be cannon fodder have the same roots as the tests used to determine who is gifted - they’re based on the assumption that white men come out on top.
here’s an article in cville weekly about the history of the program

“for such a long time we’ve been knocking on the door to get our children into those programs. we should’ve been knocking the door down on the structure” holding them back, says superintendent dr rosa atkins. she says the smith letter was “extremely upsetting”
as upsetting as the letter and the history that goes with it are, atkins says it is validating for many black parents who have been frustrated by the QUEST program — they weren’t imagining it. the program was designed to exclude their children.
atkins says the program will look different in the future. she will make concrete recommendations at a later meeting, but says the way students are identified will change.
thornton closes by saying she loves charlottesville and charlottesville high school. this work comes from a place of love. (this really resonates with me - shedding light on the ugly truths of this place is an act of love)
city school board meetings aren’t usually this long... we’re nearly done, having just concluded closing matters by the public.
just kidding one more person felt moved to speak just as they were moving on.
charlottesville city schools has created a new position - supervisor of equity and inclusion & hired t denise johnson for the new role
this is the last school board meeting of the school year... and it won’t end.
the upcoming charlottesville city school board retreat is TWO DAYS and it’s in RICHMOND. you’re killing me.
this meeting, at least, is finally over.
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