[UPDATE] March 13, 2012 -
Tallahassee - Reverend William Foutz has lived in Tallahassee since he was a boy. He remembers when the color of his skin dictated what school he could go to. Now in 2012, post Civil Rights Movement, post desegregation, he's fighting to go back to segregation, somewhat.
Rev. Foutz says, "Our local districts are not interested in going after, what we are asking them, to recruit more African American teachers, specially here in Leon County.
He sat in the meeting waiting for his turn to speak about the need for more African American teachers in the Leon County school system. This topic was already broached a few weeks ago at a town hall meeting hosted by the Florida Council of the Social Standing of Black Men and Boys. That's where a professor at FAMU spoke about having more black teachers in classrooms.
Dr. Edward Tolliver says it's needed, "So they can be the role models the examples that young black males out to be paralleling themselves after."
Supporters believe proof is in the numbers. They say more than half of Leon County students are in the minority and that teachers should reflect that.
Rev. Foutz supports what Dr. Tolliver had to say at the town hall meeting when Dr. Tolliver stated, "When we had black schools back before integration, most of our students graduated. We were up there in the 90th percentiles."
For now, the Leon County school district is staying colorblind. Superintendent Jackie Pons thanked Rev. Foutz for his time and interest, and said, "We're always recruiting, and we do want to make sure we have a system that reflects all the students that we have."
School board members defended their teachers. They say being a successful educator also implies knowing how to treat and teach all students, no matter what their race.
No decision has been made, or even officially discussed about an all African American school of any kind.
An all-black charter school. That's what one FAMU director says will help more black males make it to graduation.
Many are outraged over a FAMU director's suggestion to have an all-Here's the latest from Leon County educators and the man at the center of the controversy.
"By nature when we had black schools back before integration, most of our students graduated. we were up there in the 90th percentiles."
That's FAMU Director of the Black Male College Explorers Program, Dr. Edward Tolliver. He's talking about one of his solutions to improve the high school graduation rates of black males--an all-black charter school.
We aired the story Friday. Many of you were outraged.
"The concept is silly beyond expression," said one viewer. "Can you imagine an effort for a mandate for all white charter school? When are we going to be a color-blind society where all people are treated the same regardless of the color of their skin? Efforts like this simply perpetuate the racial divide and those who profit from it! "
Someone even said Tolliver should be fired for his remarks.
I spoke with Tolliver on the phone Monday. Although he declined another interview, he stands by his ideas. He also reiterated another suggestion: Tolliver says there needs to be more black teachers in Florida classrooms. He says white teachers may not know how to teach black students.
"I disagree with that wholeheartedly," said Leon County School administrator Larry Thompson. "Any teacher who has the heart, who number one makes sure that her students know that she is really concerned about their future, can reach them and teach them. "
Thompson, a director at Leon County Schools agrees with another viewer.
"Education starts at home...all the schools in America will not help if there is none."
An all-black charter school.
That's what one FAMU director says will help more black males make it to graduation.
The group, "The Florida Council of the Social Standing of Black Men and Boys" met in FAMU's grand ballroom Friday. They're brainstorming ways to bolster black men in today's society.
"As we look at it from across all spectrum's the social status is not good," said FAMU Director Edward Tolliver.
One of the ideas pitched is to have more black teachers inside the classroom.
"We got to get them back in the classroom so they can be the role models, the examples that young black males ought to be paralleling themselves after," said Tolliver.
Edward Tolliver is the director of FAMU's Black Male College Explorers Program. The program targets at risk black males and tries to keep them in school.
Tolliver says young black students need to be taught by black teachers.
"It goes back to culture. That white teacher may not really have an understanding of the plight that I go through," said Tolliver.
Another solution of Tolliver's--all-black charter schools.
"When we had black schools back before integration, most of our students graduated. We were up there in the 90 percentiles," said Tolliver.
Some say these ideas are unrealistic in the melting pot known as America.
"It's not an all black world it's a mixture of people. I don't think it should be no all-black school," said Tallahassee resident Virginia Bradwell.
"I think it needs to be integrated so we can all learn from each other," said Tallahassee resident Bobby Bradwell.