Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville City Schools has been under a federal desegregation order for more than 50 years. There is an effort to achieve unitary status, an equal school system for every student. Dr. Casey Wardynski is the Huntsville City Schools Superintendent, and this week he stopped in WHNT News 19 to discuss what this means for the school system for this week’s edition of Leadership Perspectives.
For months, the Huntsville School System and the Department of Justice have been in mediation to come to an agreement. Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala recently issued an opinion in favor of the Proposed Consent Agreement. The consent order is essentially an agreement between the Huntsville School System and the Department of Justice about how to re-zone and desegregate the system. “This order covers student assignment, in there is school zones, majority and minority transfer, and operation of the magnets. That’s called student assignment. It also covers quality of education, that’s where we talk about honors and AP courses, some of the career readiness courses, gifted education. In there we talk about the assignment of the teachers. Looking at those, not only from a desegregation perspective, but making sure that we have a good representation of highly effective teachers in all of our schools,” Dr. Wardynski said.
The school system originally had a plan to re-zone and make the system equitable. When asked if the DOJ hadn’t gotten involved would the plan have been substantially different, Dr. Wardynski had this to say, “In important ways, yes. In important ways, this is a better outcome. There are Green factors. They spell out, according to the Supreme Court, what the courts look for when making judgments about school systems and whether or not they should be unitary. We were working through that item by item. This was a comprehensive approach, which I think is better.”
Watch the four-part interview here: