Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr told more than 600 guests at the District of Columbia Congress of Parents and Teachers banquet last week that "just because this (school) system is 90 percent black, doesn't mean it can't be excellent."
Citizens "have a major responsibility in the District to work together The school system can't be an island unto itself I believe in our public education systems and the school system in the District of Columbia," he added. "I feel right at home with you."
Barry served on the city Board of Education from 1971 and 1974.
The mayor was one of several speakers, including President Carter's son, James E. (Chip) Carter III, and Rep Ronald V. Dellums (D-Calif), at last week's dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Dellums, chairman of the House District Committee and a parent whose children attend District public schools, said, "This is the International Year of the Child. It is my hope that parents, teachers, adults-the significant others in children's lives-can fight against the conscription of our children." He apparently referred to efforts by some members of Congress to require males who become 18 after Dec. 31, 1980, to register for the draft.
"Our responsibility is to guarantee a tomorrow for our children," he said, as he criticized oil companies, the military-industrial complex, inflation, and the lack of health care in the United States.
"We're starving human needs in this country to feed the military monster," he said. "We have a profound obligation to say the (children) 'We will guarantee you a tomorrow.' We have to challenge economic problems, human rights questions, the rape and plunder of our environment and the proliferation of weapons."
Chip Carter said he came to the dinner "as the brother of someone who shares your (school) system."
"I asked Amy what to talk about and she suggested the lunchroom," Carter said, to laughter from the audience.
Several prominent City Council and school board members were in the audience, including school Superintendent Vincent E. Reed, School Board President Minnie Woodson, school board Vice President Carol Schwartz, Council members Betty Ann Kane and Wilhelmina Rolark, and school board members Eugene Kinlow, Frank Shaffer-Corona and Conrad P. Smith.
Gloria Roberts, vice president of Region Two of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, greeted the District educators and parents, who had spent the week attending sessions of the 66th annual convention at the People's Congregational Church, 4704 13th Street NW.
Throughout the week there were discussions and workshops on issues affecting District schools. Some focused on competency-based education and testing, decision-making at the local school level, and special education.
During award ceremonies, the Layne Bowl, given each year to three PTA groups for outstanding contributions to their local schools, went to the Brightwood Elementary School PTA, first place winner, Bunker Hills Elementary, second place, and Rudolph Elementary, third place. The bowl is circulated among the three schools during the year so that it can be displayed at each one.
Deloris Q. McCater, president of the D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers, was honored for her work as head of the organization.
A life membership in the D.C. congress was given to City Council member Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large) for her contributions to the D.C. congress.A life membership in the National Congress of Parents and Teachers went to William Brown, vice president of the D.C. PTA councils, for his work with the PTA on the national level.
Dr Robert N Fortenberry, vice president for education of the national PTA, installed the new officers for the District PTA congress. They are Patricia W Morris, who is third vice president of Langdon PTA, new president of the D.C. congress; Agnes G. Wilson, president of the Area 2A PTA council, first vice president; Margaret Ward Jones, former president of the Jackson and Beers PTAs and now an instructor at the D.C. Receiving Home for Children, second vice president; Blanche A. Bradley, president of Area 2B PTA council and corresponding secretary for Rudolph PTA, secretary; Ernestine Murray, third vice president of McKinley Senior High PTSA and president of Area 4A PTA council, assistant secretary; James Nero, president of Brightwood Elementary PTA, treasurer, and Andrew P. Corley Jr., president of Area 3A PTA council, assistant treasurer.