The Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education Should Learn From Past Mistakes and Listen to Parents.

This op-ed was submitted by Olivia Henderson, Parent in the Perkerson Park Community in Atlanta. Parents are encouraged to reach out to GeorgiaCAN, Atlanta Thrive, BOOK Atlanta and other community parent advocacy groups to let their voices be heard. 

As a parent zoned for a chronically failing school. I’m forced with a hard decision, a decision whether to send my 1st grader to school that has seen a significant drop in performance over the past three years with the hope the district addresses it or make an hour-long commute to a high performing charter in the district. I’ve chosen the commute.

Educating children needs to be a priority that includes improving schools; not closing them!

So when I heard the Atlanta Public Schools has been working over the past year to develop its 5-year strategic plan. A plan that will help guide the district on future policy decisions. I knew this was my chance to bring up the lack of attention to failing schools. I attended countless feedback sessions, community town halls, and even met with a board member myself, only to be ignored when I ask them to address chronically failing schools. All because they’re scared to include accountability to the plan.

I’ve heard every excuse from multiple board members in the book, including “it will lead to the next cheating scandal”, “the community doesn’t want accountability”, and “our kids don’t need it.”

These excuses need to stop. Over 10,000 APS kids are currently attending a failing school. Something has to change. We have the opportunity to do that in this current strategic plan. The board needs to restore accountability and take urgent action for failing schools via the strategic plan.

I didn’t elect my board members to do what is easy, I elected them to have bold visions for the district and do what’s right for our kids. If you want to be bold and truly impact the future of education in the city, this is your time to stand up.

Please ensure that there are accountability and urgent action for chronically failing schools. For ways to ensure APS is held accountable and effectively engages parents in the process, check out GeorgiaCAN.


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