Just recently the Atlanta Board of Education announced that at the end of her contract the ABOE will be going in a different direction. On the brink of change, many are calling the decision the cause of a great divide between City of Atlanta residents, which is now gaining national attention.
The aftermath of the decision has inspired many notable business and civic leaders to speak out on current APS Superintendent, Dr. Carstaphen’s behalf, including former Governor and practicing attorney, Roy Barnes. Barnes is now acting a legal counsel for Carstarphen.
Atlanta residents however are torn. Some residents fear that it is going to cause deep seated division between some already distant Atlanta communities. One Atlanta native, Christopher Brown says, “we’re forgetting about the children in all this dialogue.”
“The Divide Between Atlanta Communities Is Bad News for Black Boys The Divide Between Atlanta Communities Is Bad News for Black Boys!”
All of the outside interest and media hype around the Superintendent’s departure is not about the children. The business and civic community interest is in the property that APS holds; not the children in classrooms that are failing.
As our city is changing, it’s apparent that investors are looking at how gain more access to the growing city, this includes churches, schools and historically lower income communities. Brown states that it’s a time for unity and urgency for the well being of all Atlanta’s children. “We cannot be divided over leadership and the debate over public charters and traditional public schools!”
We cannot afford not to pay attention to the issues within APS, states Brown in regards to upcoming changes to leadership. There have been many systematic issues for quote a while. One consistent challenge of the district is communication and engagement with families and communities. It’s not consistent and almost non existent in certain areas of the city.
Brown gives this analogy to residents and leaders at Washington Park this past Sunday afternoon. “We have to look at the current situation of APS like the Atlanta Falcons in the final quarters of the game. We cannot afford to lose focus or give in during the final hour, our children cannot lose again!
The reference of our children cannot lose again comes from the data on the APS cheating scandal which shows that Black boys ranked highest in all sub groups of children negatively impacted by the scandal. Not only as a long time supporter of APS, alumni and community leader, Brown has been a strong voice for the Douglass cluster which schools and communities face similar issues as the Carver cluster.
Brown says the top focus of the business and civic community should be on helping APS recover all of the children impacted by the cheating scandal and turnaround work by providing one on one educational support, GED or high school credit recovery, internships and career opportunities for any students impacted by the scandal that wasn’t able to successfully graduate.
“It’s time out for leaders stepping in to save the adults, when we need to step up and save our children!”
I agree. We need this type of engagement and accountability on the school board. A leader who can say we need children succeeding in all schools within APS and not making it a failed attempted at recreating Race to the Top with the public traditional and charter school feud. We need to come together for a better APS and better educational options for all Atlanta’s children.
So here’s to it parents, business and civic community. Let’s put our money where our mouths are!
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.