“The school district on the zoning process is actually making light and making it very obvious that our city is segregated,” said Rockford activist Rudy Valdez at a forum Friday night at City Hall.
Dozens of Rockford residents met inside the city council chambers to discuss an issue they believe is plaguing the Rockford Public School District.
“There are significant differences between white students, and African American students, and Hispanic students in the way they receive education,” Rockford Alderman Linda McNeely said.
McNeely believes the problem is in the district’s hiring practices. “There’s a difference in the number of African American and Hispanic teachers that are within the system, principals that are within the system,” she added.
McNeely organized the forum after a report in the ‘Rockford Register Star’. The paper did an analysis that says the district’s top performing schools are mostly made up of white students. Meanwhile, the worst performing schools are predominately minority.
“You can see in the test results not only in the local test results, but in the state test results,” McNeely said. District 205 parent Patrice Bonner attended the forum. She says the findings aren’t new to her. “I was a little disturbed but not really surprised,” Bonner said.
McNeely says progress requires everyone’s involvement. “I frequently say that it takes a village, and it truly takes a village to get our kids no matter what color they are, no matter what grade level they are, to get to that point where they can be successful in their adult life,” McNeely said.
The Rockford Public School Board was invited to attend the event. Alderman McNeely says she plans on having more similar discussions where she hopes District 205 can find common ground.