From The Desk of School Board Member Torey Alston

Torey Alston

      I am thrilled to give another update on the state of Broward County Public Schools along with the impact on our communities.  In the spirit of Black History Month, I will use the titles of various notable songs to amplify a few themes.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T” – Just a few days ago, the school district voted 9-0, supporting my motion for a mutual separation with Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright. This was a pleasant surprise for me and I’m sure many in the community, but welcome news that the entire board was ready to move on, start a new chapter and remove the polarization and divisiveness from the district. Respect is a two-way street, so we must move quickly to approve a mutual separation agreement, if it makes sense, then immediately bring on a new leader. As many parents and community leaders who have watched painfully for nearly two years, I appreciate this blended board for listening to all stakeholders and showing respect to all communities. I commend the many leaders who encouraged me and provided counsel along the way. I also want to acknowledge the publisher of this paper and State Representative and Broward Delegation Chair Patricia Williams, for being strong and steady, throughout the last several months on this issue.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” – My prediction is we will have a solid and credible pool for a permanent superintendent of schools.  As you recall, I initiated this journey several months when I was Chair of the Board.  This is Broward County, the nation’s 6th largest school district. Who wouldn’t want to come to South Florida? As of today, I have heard from nearly a dozen superintendents from across the country who are eyeing this vacancy. Now, this board and community must stand together and select an experienced, no-nonsense Acting or Interim Superintendent who will both provide a steady hand and do some major cleaning up. This should all happen in advance of the arrival of a permanent, transformational Superintendent. Here is my call to action…I encourage all in our community to reach out to your respective single-member district school board member along with your at-large members to ensure your voices are heard on our next leader and the direction of the school district.

“We Are Family” – I embrace Black history, support Black excellence and continued implementation by our schools. Unfortunately, we continue to see heightened confusion as many will push talking points but not address the issues, so it’s clearly understood. Many in the community have asked for my thoughts and opinions on African-American history in our schools.  The study of African American history is not only permitted in Florida but required by law. Florida law requires instruction on African American history in K-12 education.  Per Florida Statutes 1003.42 (h): “The history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the history and contributions of Americans of the African diaspora to society. Students shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purpose of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.”  I can also confirm this is the case in Broward County Public Schools based on my recent update by the leadership.  In short, the study of African American History is the law, and the College Board will release the revised AP African American studies course.  Now is the time for us to stand together as a community.

“What’s Goin On” – At the state level, the Governor recently announced a proposal creating a teacher Bill of Rights, empowering teachers, reducing terms for school board members from 12 to 8 years and investing another $1 billion in teacher pay statewide.  This is a big deal for our teachers, both in Broward and statewide, as they have seen the largest pay increase in state history. I look forward to joining my colleagues to advocate for this huge priority that will have a major impact on Broward educators during the upcoming legislative session. I commend Governor DeSantis once again for going big and being bold to support our educators.

As we  begin Black History Month, I want to encourage our youth to lead like Harriet, agitate like Douglass and educate like Woodson.

If you have any concerns or feedback related to Broward County Public Schools or district 2, please email me at  I will continue to speak up and speak out representing our parents, community members, administrators, instructional and non-instructional staff. Thank you for all that you do!

About Carma Henry 21599 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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