Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If You're Out There

DeKalb County Schools superintendent Ramona Tyson presented her recommendations last night at the DCSS Board of Education meeting. Surprisingly, my school district came out relatively unscathed. Rather than the 112 transfers that had been predicted for us, we're only getting 44. We keep our magnet program, and the eight streets that were on the block to be transferred to another school. Not bad. Of course, it's not set in stone and anything can happen between now and when the Board votes on the proposal March 7th.

None of this tenuous progress could have been made if not for the tireless work of a core group of parents with the energy and know-how to put together alternatives to the two original proposals put forth by DeKalb County's consulting firm. These neighbors of mine are rock stars as far as I'm concerned (even if one of them did call me out for my cynicism and negative rhetoric when I simply felt I was expressing my opinion and defending a friend from vicious attacks).

Still, the air of tension remains with the decision not being final and with the knowledge that not everyone is happy with the proposal. A lot of people are getting screwed.

There's a perception in the county that if you're rich and white you can have anything you want because a certain wealthy enclave within the county fought very hard to protect their school and neighborhood and basically got their way, with only four students from their area being redistricted from their school to one they didn't deem "appropriate" for their kids.

Meanwhile, students at one of DeKalb's most prestigious high schools are being shuffled to what is arguably its worst high school.

It's truly sad. I can't even believe that the county can legally transfer students to a school that has failed to meet AYP consistently for multiple years.

I'm truly sad for those families and those students, some of whom won't get to graduate from an outstanding high school after putting in three years of effort there. I'm sad for the 50+ families being uprooted from our neighboring elementary school in the district where they bought homes so that an equivalent number of kids can be transferred there from a different school.

The whole process makes me sick.

Rather than wasting time and money arbitrarily shuffling kids around and destroying property values, the DCSS would make better use of their resources by firing Central Office staff, hiring more teachers, reducing class sizes, and creating equitable programs at every school throughout the County.

Parents and all citizens who give a damn about public education need to get organized and prepare for what lies ahead, including the battle against giant 900+ student elementary schools.

In the meantime, I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens March 7th.







1 comment:

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