Local News

Reading, Not Race, On Minds Of Faculty At Wayne County Schools

Posted August 3, 2004

— Students in Wayne County went back to school Tuesday, hoping for a fresh start in more ways than one.

Like the five other Wayne County schools in the Goldboro city limits, the student body at School Street Elementary is almost 100 percent black. Last year, the school had 236 students, of which only two were white.

"We just happen to be located in an area where the population is predominantly black," Principal Dan McPhail said.

Teachers said the number of white students versus the number of black students does not matter.

"These children, I'll put against any children in Wayne County, any children in the state or in the country. They can learn. They can achieve," teacher Martha Mills said.

A lot has been made of the racial imbalance in Goldsboro schools in the past year by everyone from the NAACP to the city council.

"I guess it is political. We don't get involved in it," McPhail said. "We just take it as it comes to us. The students are not bothered by it."

The staff at School Street said it has other priorities to deal with, like grades. Last year, 80 percent of the students performed at grade level or above. They are designated by the state as a school of distinction.

"I think our children are prepared for life as well as anywhere else in North Carolina or anywhere else in the states," McPhail said.

Officials said some children have transferred out of city schools and into county schools. The school board surveyed parents about whether or not they would consider sending their kids back to city schools. School officials said the findings of that survey are still being tabulated.

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