Large achievement gaps based on income and race persist in Huntsville schools

Published: Thursday, January 06, 2011, 7:03 AM

By Challen Stephens, The Huntsville Times

Three years ago, I was pulled into a months-long effort on the part of civic leaders to improve the three public school systems of Madison County. The first full day of brainstorming ended in an uproar.

A banker from Hampton Cove, along with several others, contended we were building on strengths, that we already had top flight schools. He had moved here from another Southern town.

But a principal from an elementary school in northwest Huntsville told him of being unable to teach children who came to school hungry, of students who had seldom traveled as far as the mall.

Voices were raised. But the truth was, as it had been for two decades, both were right. Huntsville has long been home to two cities, marked by race and separated by a north/south fault line. That's especially true when it comes to comparing achievement levels between schools...(continue reading)

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