Recently, the Atlanta Board of Education decided to go in a different direction from current Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, Meria Carstarphen.
Naturally, there are mixed emotions from Atlanta residents and the business community. However, the focus now should be on how is Atlanta going to move forward with this change in leadership. Equally important, Atlanta residents and leaders must decide what will we do to continue to improve and give all children of Atlanta a quality education.
We cannot afford to overlook or forget about the children in this conversation and debate over who will be the next leader.
As an educational advocate, my bottom line is always for doing what’s best for children and teachers. We cannot overlook teachers in this conversation either. We need great teachers and support staff who can help our children grow, learn and develop well.
Many of our children are suffering socially and emotionally, which impacts their ability to reach their fullest potential and be successful. Under Dr. Carstarphen’s tenure, there have been a lot of turnaround initiatives introduced and implemented. The work and development of social emotional learning is one.
The focus should be on how do we go beyond stabilizing schools after the cheating scandal. If children aren’t succeeding in schools, then the leadership has to be held accountable. Accountability is one area that Atlanta cannot afford to be relaxed.
The growth of school choice is another. Atlanta residents have varying views on the traditional public schools and charter school debate. This is not a bad thing. At the end of the day our children our succeeding and failing in Atlanta schools, traditional public and charter. There is not a school that has 100% of it’s students succeeding in every area. So our focus should be on providing better educational outcomes in all schools as stated by BOOK.
Data presented by the Superintendent shows that there are more charter schools in Atlanta that are successfully turning around student success. Innovation in practice and engagement are key factors. However, there has to be a happy medium for supporting all educational pathways for children. Children in traditional public schools need to be successful too!
So yes, I too agree that we do still have work to do, as stated by Dr. Carstarphen recently on Channel 2.
I challenge the Atlanta civic and business community to give their same support to improving the policies that are preventing all children in Atlanta Public Schools from being successful. If they are truly advocating for Dr. Carstarphen to stay and finish the work, then place the resources in the areas that need improvement for her and our children to succeed.
These areas include special education, family and community engagement, accountability from top to bottom, improved discipline, behavior and attendance policies that are pushing children out of schools. The data does speak for itself and so should the support.
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.