Admission changes approved for Booker T Washington High School and Carver Middle School


Tuesday, December 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


The Tulsa School Board has voted unanimously to change the admissions policy at two local magnet schools.

Admission to Booker T Washington High School and Carver Middle School will now be based on where students live, not the color of their skin. News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on the controversial changes and the community's reaction.

After hours of discussion and more than 20 speakers, the Tulsa School board voted unanimously to change the admissions policy at Booker T Washington High School and Carver Middle School. But the community is as divided as ever on the outcome.

In the new plan, 60% of the entering class would come from qualified students living in north and northwest Tulsa, the rest from south and east Tulsa. Current Booker T students wanted the school board to make as little change as possible.

About 100 students rallied to keep the racial diversity and the academic standards. School officials predict the geographic plan would maintain those ideals. Mary Huckabee, BTW Senior: "I think the geographic plan comes the closest to maintaining the diversity Booker T has now and also maintaining the educational excellence." But many walked away from the meeting disappointed.

Many in the community want to change the policy to give neighborhood students preference, regardless of academic standards. "I am also strongly in favor of neighborhood schools, right to do so." Elwyne McFalls, community activist: " what has happened here has been unnecessary hurried emotional divisive and unfortunately I think it will continue."

Booker T and Carver have an admissions policy in place for the next class. But the debate over how students get into those magnet schools is far from over.

The Tulsa School Board voted against an option to study more widespread changes, like making Booker T and Carver neighborhood schools. But one school board member hinted the issue of studying widespread changes might come up again at future board meetings.