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Candidates tackle minority student needs

Evanston school board candidates tackled a variety of issues at Saturday’s Civic Center forum sponsored by the Evanston NAACP.

Candidates agreed that the schools need to do more to recruit minority teachers, but District 65 board candidate Keith Terry sounded a note of caution about not raising expectations too high.

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The gap in enrollment in advanced placement and honors classes between white and minority students at Evanston Township High School drew attention from several candidates.

William Wideman said kids need more encouragement to stretch to reach goals.

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Four-term school board incumbent Jane Colleton said the district has made a number of efforts to increase minority participation in honors classes.

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Omar Khuri said his own family experience suggests students off all ethnic backgrounds are capable of outstanding performance.

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Board incumbent Mary Wilkerson said motivating students is key.

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District 65 candidates were asked whether — money aside — they would favor building a new school in the 5th Ward — which now lacks a neighborhood school. Adrian Dortch said recent cold weather makes the need to such a school clear.

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Freed from the need to consider funding, it wasn’t hard for other candidates to endorse the idea. Here’s how Katie Bailey put it.

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Andy Pigozzi suggested that the saving on transportation costs could help pay for a new 5th Ward school.

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The candidate forum will be rebroadcast on Cable Channel 19 in Evanston from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday mornings from now through election day.

Thanks to Steve Bartlebaugh of the Evanston Community Media Center for preparing the video clips for this story.

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