Local News

The NAACP has announced its greatest education agenda since the federal government ordered desegregation in 1954, the group said this week.

The civil right group is asking local branches to lobby county and state governments to extend school time, improve teacher training and preschool programs and streamline spending to the neediest students.

The initiatives are being supported by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said in a state the number of students dropping out, especially among minorities, is “devastating entire communities.”

Officials with Louisville’s local branch say most of the four initiatives outlined at the national level are already being worked on in Jefferson County Public Schools.

Superintendent Donna Hargens’ Strategic Plan Vision 2015 has outlined how the district expects to respond to low test scores and large achievement gaps, said Raoul Cunningham, president of Louisville’s NAACP branch.

“They have already reorganized JCPS and she has put forth some proposals that hopefully will take us to the next level of student performance,” he said.

The main issue this year for Louisville’s NAACP branch, Cunningham said, was supporting the district’s student assignment plan, which may continue following a State Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

“That’s where we’ve had to spend out time and as I said hopefully now that that is settled we can move onto other issues,” he said.

Another focus Cunningham hopes the group can be involved in is supporting the implementation of the common core standards and other programs that are new to the school district.

NAACP officials tell WFPL each local branch will give priority to the issues important in their individual communities.