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Letter to the Editor: Not Enough Diversity in Barrow County School System

A Facebook user shared the following letter to the editor on Barrow Patch's Facebook page.

Dear Editor,

I am not a regular reader of any of our local news publications and here is why.

There is not enough journalistic integrity locally to even print the truth.

I, Barnard Sims, addressed the Barrow County Board of Education on (9/4/12) the night our teachers were celebrated. Since no one bothered to print what I said, I referenced statistics from our schools systems website (there are only 30 African American and Hispanic teachers COMBINED in our entire school system of 14 schools and over 1,000 educators) confirming what is obvious when we walk into any of our schools. Frankly, it was clearer on that night while we were acknowledging our teachers. It was the "elephant in the room." 

We Do Not Have Enough Diversity In Our Public School System! 

Our public schools are our community. We could be more effective at educating all the children in our community if our schools teachers looked more like the community it servers. 

I had a conversation with Chairman of the Board Mr. Mark Still after the meeting. 

Mr. Still asked me "Well, what are you suggesting we do as a school system? "

I said "The test (for AYP) tell us exactly what we don't do well and most importantly what we need to work on. Central Gwinnett has figured out how to educate all it's minority sub groups." 

The Chairman said "Well, that's one of the best schools!" I asked, "Well ... what are we trying to be?"

The Chairman then said, "Well, they have one of the most diverse group of teach-e-r-s ... Oh well I gotta go my wife cooked."

Might I add we were in a room full of food. I guess the truth was in the pudding and if anyone cares that's what I'd like to read.

Barnard Sims
Statham, Ga.

Tell us what you think about the diversity in Barrow County Schools in comments below. 

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer, not Barow Patch. Barrow Patch will accept letters to the editor discussing current local issues. Letters should be addressed to the editor and not to third parties. All letters must have the name of the author and contact information, such as a phone number or e-mail address. Contact information will not be published and will be used for verification purposes only. Letters should express the thoughts of the writer. Copied content will not be published. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and factual accuracy. Barrow Patch reserves the right to reject letters that do not comply with our site’s acceptable use policy. Letters may be submitted via email to barrow@patch.com.

Mark Bullock September 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Yeah right! Because the biggest problem with Barrow County schools is diversity. LOL! The education system is broken. We have $4.00 gas and $16,000,000,000,000 in debt. Sure Barnard. Diversity is right at the top of my list.
Robert T September 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Mr. Sims, Can you tell me how many qualified minority candidates were refused jobs in Barrow county? How many minorities want to teach in Barrow? I think more of the problem is the emphasis education gets at home and the lack of support that parents give the school, not the lack of a diverse teaching force.
The Principal's Palette Gallery & Gift Boutique September 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
As a retired Barrow Co. Schools administrator and teacher recruiter, I can attest to the several programs we put in place and implemented to actively recruit minority candidates to our school system. Although I have been retired for several years, and the Teacher Recruitment Center no longer exists, I can say it was not for lack of effort on the school system's part that there are so few minority teachers in our system.
TMD September 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I honestly don't think diversity has anything to do with education as long as the choldren are getting a proper education. My kids have been going to Barrow County Schools for over 12 years now and Education has always been a priority. As long as the children are treated fairly and educated as they should be, I could care less if the teacher is red, purple, yellow, brown or white... Shouldn't that be the main objective? If there were qualified teachers of minority applying to Barrow County Schools, I am pretty certain that they would get hired, provided the budget allowed for additional educators.
Bill Wilson September 13, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Take a look at what Gwinnett Teachers get paid versus Barrow. In addition, yes, you have to have the applicants. Qualified applicants. I wouldn't care if my teacher was from MARS, as long as "it" was Qualified to do the job, and well.
Ianntha Doingitthisway Roseberry September 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM
As an African American parent, I think the issue is not the minority being hired, but the minority do not reside in Barrow county. I've lived here for over 10 years, my son graduated from Apalachee High school in 2011 with excellence and is doing great things in college. His first year in college he made the Dean's List. I believe it starts at home and the school is the back up, if it's not being taught in school system the parents should be teaching it at home. I also do not believe it has anything to do with the skin color. If a person is a "teacher" that person should be able to teach whatever needs to be taught.
Hallie September 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM
It looks more like Mr.Sims trying to start drama in my opinion. I mean really, why worry about diversity? He should worry about the children's education! Diversity is not ruining their education. I went to JCCHS and honestly never even paid attention to race. The teachers were hired because they suited the job, not because of their skin color. Get a grip on reality Mr.Sims, and stop trying to start drama!
TMD September 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Amen. I wish that more people thought like that. I am a caucasian parent and have taught our children that color doesn't mean anything. It is what is inside that matters. We do not use phrases at home that could be considered discriminatory. If more parents taught that there would be alot less problems not just in the schools but everywhere.
MINNI September 14, 2012 at 01:04 AM
TELL IT!!
Barnard September 14, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Only 3% of the two majority minority sub groups combined as teachers is not called drama! It's called data!
TMD September 14, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Again...What does that have to do with how our children are being taught??? Do you have a list of Qualified Minority candidates that you can provide to the school district? What are you trying to change with this "data"? Do you think that by having a higher level of minority teachers in the school district that it will change the way our children are being taught?
TMD September 14, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Again...What does that have to do with how our children are being taught??? Do you have a list of Qualified Minority candidates that you can provide to the school district? What are you trying to change with this "data"? Do you think that by having a higher level of minority teachers in the school district that it will change the way our children are being taught?
DNM September 14, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Diversity: the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness; variety. Are you saying that the 1000 plus teachers we have all teach the same?? Please explain your expectations of “diverse” because I am confident in saying that there are NO 2 teachers the same so what other diversity do you need? So therefor, Mr. Sims it doesn't sound like you take pride in your community to offer a valuable or productive solution. If you are that ashamed maybe your children should attend "Central Gwinnett," I'm sure they would welcome you! Frankly, I do not feel as if the teachers are solely a reflection of our community it is the people and the businesses we have within the said community. Education should be a combined effort between the school and the parents, so if you feel that your children are lacking diversity maybe that is where you as a parent should start. Yes, our #1 priority should be why our students have not scored highly on the AYP and move forward.

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