Calcasieu schools host disproportionality forum

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School System held a Disproportionality Parent and Community Forum on Tuesday, October 26th at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

The event consisted of exhibits and a public program that provided information to residents on disproportionality in schools.

Disproportionality is the over-representation of minorities in special education and the under-representation of minorities in gifted programs. The school system is holding the forum  in an attempt to bring the community together to understand issues related to disproportionality.

According to a recent report from Calcasieu Parish Schools, in 2009 there were 84.9 percent of whites were involved in gifted programs, while there were only 11.3% of blacks and 2.7% of Asians.

The public forum featured speakers who talked on what can be done to narrow the racial gap in academics.

"It's basically to come together, embrace and support what the Calcasieu Parish schools are already doing," said Dr. James Patton.

The strategies Calcasieu Parish Schools have already put into place include reading instruction, positive behavior strategies, and intervention.

"By doing these things we can pinpoint certain needs that youngsters would have in providing more intense instruction over long periods of time for students targeted only at those specific needs," said Patton.

Nitchka Granger is a parent with three minority children who attend Calcasieu Parish Schools.

Granger said it bothers her that less minority children are being placed in gifted programs, but she believes a change in this trend can start with the parents.

"Education starts at home, and it will also end at home," said Granger. "I am here to break that cycle so that I can make a positive impact on my three sons academic background."

Tuesday's disproportionality forum is the first to ever be held in Calcasieu Parish, but Calcasieu school officials and parents hope to have even more of these community forums in the near future.

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