Is APS at the End of the Road with Carstarphen?

The current Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, Meria Joel Carstarphen, Ed.D., was hired in 2014 by the Atlanta Board of Education. On this evening, the ABOE will determine if they are at the end of the road with Carstarphen or if they are going to extend her contract. Over the last couple of weeks, stakeholders have been weighing in on the decision.

As predicted, APS is now worse off as a public educational institution than ever before, with education for Black children having been made worse. And I do mean “made.”

Education Advocate, Ed Johnson believes that both Georgia’s own standardized tests and NAEP, the Nations Report Card, say that the district is worse off than before. He also adds in a recent post that the U.S. News and Report, Great Schools’ College Success 2018 mentioned the District performance or the lack thereof just last week. He is supporting residents who are demanding their Atlanta school board representative to face and deal in facts and learning, not ideology. Demand him or her to Vote No! on renewing Atlanta Superintendent Meria Joel Carstarphen’s contract.

She has closed our schools and destroyed our communities! 

Residents and Alumni of NW, SW and South Atlanta don’t feel like their voices are going to be heard in this process. Several community stakeholders passed out surveys to attendees of various APS graduation ceremonies to gather feedback on the state of APS. The surveys were a follow-up to the community engagement study on the City of Atlanta’s website.

Residents are extremely frustrated by the divide of the public traditional schools and charter schools. They feel as if their community schools are being closed and given to charter provides. I believe there have been a lot of improvements within the Districts having worked under the leadership of Dr. Carstarphen and her team. I believe that we see this immediately with the social media and rebranding of APS. However, challenges and trouble areas do still exist within the District. Support of bus drivers and staff members with equitable pay, improvements to the nutrition and special education program, continuing to build improved relationships between communities and families.

“Dr. Carstarphan is erasing the rich history and legacy of our traditional schools and replacing them with Charters!” 

Traditional public school parents feel unsupported. Parents seeking school choice for their communities also feel unsupported with the recent delay of approval for Harriet Tubman and Ethos Charter schools. If the ABOE decides to continue their work Dr. Carstarphen, I know that stakeholders are going to want to see these items improved as well as strengthen communications regarding school changes and the relationships between public traditional schools and charter schools. If the ABOE decides to go in a different direction, I believe they should consider an Atlanta native as the next leader of the school District to align with the current Mayor’s vision of one Atlanta.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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