(Karen Gray/NPRI) – In his first ever Clark County School District regular school board meeting last month, new Superintendent Dwight Jones publicly recognized the Prime Six school issue — for years a source of racial strains and desegregation litigation — as “critical” for the larger Las Vegas community.
Race-tinged turmoil in the relations between CCSD officials and West Las Vegas parents and their advocates — long simmering beneath the surface — has recently re-emerged publicly. And once again at the center of the turbulence are the district’s actions — or inactions — regarding the educational plight of children attending the racially and economically segregated West Las Vegas Prime Six schools, now attended by as many students who are Latino as African-American.
Superintendent Jones and new CCSD school-board Trustees Erin Cranor, Lorraine Alderman and John Cole now find themselves in a situation similar to their district predecessors almost 40 years ago. Then, in 1972, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld court-ordered desegregation of Clark County’s elementary schools. While acknowledging that trustees and administrators were being “saddled with the mistakes of [their] predecessors,” said the court, they remain “obligated to take effective steps to reverse the segregation trend, however drastic the cure may be.”
However, if Jones and today’s trustees are to accomplish genuine educational opportunity for the children of West Las Vegas, they will first have to overcome a deep-rooted CCSD culture that has institutionalized secrecy, deception and the continued perpetuation of public misinformation and half truths.
This article was edited for size. Read the entire article online. – Ed.
(Karen Gray is an education researcher at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more visit http://npri.org/.)