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South Dallas Education Leaders Will Explore Accountability, Welcome National Experts


For immediate release - Feb. 8, 2006

(DALLAS) – Members of the Southern Dallas County Educational Consortium will welcome national education leader Marva Collins, founder of the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago and recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and several other noted experts during the organization’s second biennial education summit on Friday, Feb. 10, at Dallas Baptist University. The theme for the event is “Shared Accountability: Eliminating the Achievement Gap,” which addresses the gap between students’ current education levels - where they are now - and where they should be.

The Dallas County Community College District is the event sponsor for the program; DCCCD members in the consortium include Cedar Valley College and Mountain View College. Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president at CVC, is the group’s outgoing chair. A number of independent school districts, higher education institutions and businesses comprise the consortium’s membership. The SDCEC was created in 2003, and its mission is to meet the educational needs of the communities in the south Dallas area by fostering cooperation among all levels of education (from pre-kindergarten through graduate school) and the businesses and industries of the “Southern Sector.”

The event is open to members of the consortium and their guests; the news media are invited to attend. The program will be held in DBU’s Great Hall, Mahler Room. For more information, contact the Cedar Valley College office of marketing and communications at (972) 860-8142.

Collins, who received the 2004 National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush, holds two other presidential awards. After 14 years of teaching in the Chicago Public School System, she decided to take her strong faith, her vision for educational excellence and her total pension fund of $5,000 to open her own school in 1975 on the second floor of her home - all with her family’s support. Located on the west side of Chicago, the school opened with its first class of eight students (including Collins’ two children), and it became the alternative for failing students at other educational facilities. Her curriculum is based on classical literature that contains ideas, lofty thoughts and abstract concepts, and her students are taught to appreciate the nuances of language, how to analyze what they read and to express their opinions.  

Other special guests include authors Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom. Their 1987 book “Whose Votes Count? Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights” has won four national honors: the American Bar Association’s Certificate of Merit, the Anisfield-Wolf Prize for the best book on race and ethnicity, the Policy Studies Organization 1987 best policies studies book (PSO is an affiliate of the American Political Science Association), and the Benchmark Book Award from the Center for Judicial Studies. The couple’s most recent book is titled “No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning.” Both have years of experience in higher education, and Abigail Thernstrom also serves as a vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Press contact: Ann Hatch, 214-860-2478