The proclamation has led some experts to wonder how it helps today's students.

"We all recognize that what was done back then was wrong," said David Almasi, executive director of the Washington-based National Center for Public Policy Research. "It will make people feel good, but it's not going to graduate any more kids come June. That's up to modern legislators, modern parents, modern teachers and modern students."

Howard Del. Frank Turner said that the move is "very nice," but added that he was more concerned about ensuring the school system furthers efforts to address the achievement gap.

"They need to make sure we put resources into current-day problems that we have within Howard County schools," Turner said, "because there is a difference in how performance has been, especially in those parts of the county which have [high numbers of students with] reduced-[price] meals. That would be more of my concern."

Gilbert Holmes, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, said he commends institutions that acknowledge past wrongs.

"I think it sets an example," Holmes said, "for others to do the same instead of being defensive about their prior actions. But the real challenge is what are they going to do going forward about the impact that those prior discriminations have had even now? I just hope this indicates a recognition of an issue that's still present today."

Howell said in a statement that he hopes that other groups in Howard follow the school board's action.

"Hopefully this apology will serve as a 'model' of actions that should be taken by other institutions in Howard County who have committed similar injustices and insensitivities toward Black residents of the county," he said.

joseph.burris@baltsun.com

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