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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: MAY 23, 2001


The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction received one of eight Daisy Bates Educational Advocacy Awards on Friday, May 18, at the NAACP's 4th Biennial Daisy Bates Education Summit held in Alexandria Va. DPI was recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for "work in seeking to improve access, equity and accountability in education."

The Department of Public Instruction was nominated for this award by the U.S. Department of Education because of its progress in closing the achievement gap between minority students and white students.

State Superintendent Mike Ward said that he was pleased to accept the award on behalf of the Department. "North Carolina really has just started the process to address the achievement gaps, but I am pleased to receive this recognition. We are hopeful that our efforts will close the achievement gaps and move all students to higher levels of learning."

North Carolina is the only state to reduce the achievement gap between its highest and lowest performing students, according to the National Education Goals Panel. Like many states, North Carolina has faced gaps in student achievement for many years, and closing these gaps is one of the top priorities of the state's public schools. State Superintendent Mike Ward, a life member of the NAACP, has challenged schools and communities to close achievement gaps and is working to give the efforts more visibility.

In August 2000, Ward named a high-level commission chaired by former Wake County Superintendent Dr. Bob Bridges to guide the next steps toward closing the gap. Also, a special section has been established within the Department to help local schools better meet the needs of under-served students. This staff is building on the state's highly successful conference held each year to share best practices in closing gaps. In March, approximately 3,000 students, parents, teachers, administrators, religious leaders and others gathered in Greensboro for the annual Improving Minority and At-Risk Student Achievement Conference.

Also, a special Web site, disaggregation of data, help for students at the lowest levels of achievement, targeted funding and strengthened teachers and families are all integral parts of DPI's efforts.

In addition to NCDPI, the NAACP recognized Verizon Communications, the African-American Ministers Alliance, the Civil Rights Project and the League of United Latin American Citizens. NAACP President/CEO Kweisi Mfume presented the awards.

The 1st Daisy Bates Awards Gala commemorated the 47th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision ending legal segregation in public schools. The awards honor school districts, civic organizations and governmental entities that have displayed outstanding accomplishments in efforts to close the achievement gap.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.