The bottom line is that from a personal perspective -- as a parent of a current Oakcliff student, member of the Oakcliff PTA, and friend to many other Oakcliff parents and students -- I don’t want to see any changes to Oakcliff. Dr. Paschall and her staff and teachers do an excellent job, and the school district should do everything they can to retain, empower, and promote them. But if Oakcliff enrollment is projected to decline significantly, evaluating the options becomes much harder given the big-picture goal of reducing overcrowding for as many students as possible.
I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about DeKalb Schools and one of the questions I have continued to be plagued by is this: Why are the facilities in DeKalb in a state of such disrepair, especially compared to other Metro Atlanta school districts? I began to look at the traditional arguments: “Other districts have more money to invest in their schools,” “That district’s buildings are newer,” “Those districts have wealthier students,” or “Those districts spend more money per student.” I’m not entirely convinced that those answers explain why DeKalb’s buildings suffer more than other districts.
Obviously, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I really tried to work with the school administration to help address truly important issues that seemed essential to retaining teachers and helping holistically increase student achievement. However, that style of proactive problem-solving was great for getting some things done. It was not, on the other hand, effective at building strong relationships between me and my administration.
Before deciding to knock down your students’ homes after promising those same students and their families new facilities to address long-term neglect of the Cross Keys Cluster, I think DCSD should have involved the public in the process, exhaustively explored other options and been able to provide clear, written and thorough explanations as to why alternative properties were not feasible.
I’m really trying to be collaborative. I’m trying to understand the logic that leaders in DeKalb are using. But today, I’m having an extremely difficult time reconciling that objective with the latest news that DeKalb County School District is going... Continue Reading →
On Wednesday, the LCI team released their preliminary findings of their area, and I was a bit surprised by some of their analyses and recommendations. Most notably: the Buford Highway corridor population has remained relatively stagnant over the past few years, and they project that it will stay that way for at least the next several years. Interestingly, their recommendations are similar to those of the expert planners in DCSD. While they do suggest that the corridor plan for the "continued densification" (more people) of BuHi, they also suggest that development be planned "for the long term in phases."
All this talk about new high schools and redistricting has gotten me thinking: Are we even ready to do this? Because I have a feeling that we are not. Cross Keys High School students were redistricted to Chamblee Charter High... Continue Reading →
The options for the DeKalb County Secondary Schools Planning and Feasibility Study are out for public review and comment. The big question in the minds of many thoughtful people is “Which option is best for DeKalb?” I wish I could... Continue Reading →