Drum Line Update

ABC of Guilford County has put its money where its mouth is.  The mainly High Point area group lists high student expectations and teacher empowerment among its “Avenues to Reform“.  This group of involved parents believes that we must be creative in acheiving those and other goals to create an excellent educational system. To their credit, ABC recognized that the Aycock Drum Line is getting the job done and gave them $8,600 according to Meredith Barkley’s article in this morning’s N&R. 


This generous donation, when added to the amounts already raised puts over $10,000 at the the Drum Line’s disposal so they can get the equipment they need.  Music Educator Jimmy Cheek is now assembling bids to outfit the group who started out by beating on desk tops and the backs of chairs.  (For a complete timeline on the project go here.)


ABC spokeman Tim Mann says, ”It touched directly on the issues we’re trying to address, and that is different ways and basic ways of increasing achievement in the schools…. You’ve got an involved teacher and you’ve got an involved community.”


ABC of Guilford County has acheived a high level of credibility by supporting this effort because they recognized how effective the Drum Line is and have chosen to make it an example of how to shrink the acheivement gap and to reduce the suspension rate disparity between the races.  The Aycock Drum Line has successfully re-involved  a group of black, mostly poor, students back into acheiving excellence in education.  Before Cheek’s efforts, these kids were considered “problem children”.  Now, because they must perform well academically to remain in the Line, these students have attained an amazing turn-around in both in grades and behavior.


Compare ABC’s effort to the hollow promises given by Aycock’s elected representative. School Board member Deena Hayes attended the Drum Line’s first public performance back in December.  After the performance Jimmy Cheek and I spoke to her about the money that was needed to get the group outfitted with instruments.  She was very excited about the project and assured us that she would do “whatever it takes” to get the needed funds from the school system.  Despite many contacts after that conversation, Hayes has never come through.  Perhaps Hayes is too busy pointing out who might be to blame for GCS’s racial disparities to actually have the time to do the real work of leveling the inequities that exist in Guilford County’s schools.


There is no magic bullet that will fix the problems our schools are facing and ABC of Guilford County has recognized that fact.  It will take the leadership and involvement of concerned parents to truly affect real reform so I’m going to ABC’s next meeting because they are doing things… good things.  The GCS school system has yet to even recognize that the Drum Line exists.

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  1. By Hogg’s Blog » Damn ridiculous on May 25, 2006 at 6:25 am

    [...] I wrote this acknowledgement at the time of the donation, which was made through the auspicies of ABC of Guilford County.  Since his generousity has been “outed” I am pleased to finally thank Garth publicly.  And, for the record, he has continued to selfishly support the Aycock drumline since that intitial donation. [...]