Retired APS teacher: In school system as inequitable as APS, hard to achieve equality

I am getting a lot of commentary on the APS sentencing, which I plan to share in the next few days.

This piece comes from a former APS teacher who taught in poor and affluent APS schools. And she says it was a lot easier to meet testing goals in the wealthier schools because of what the parents put into their children’s education.

By Carolyn LaMay Smith George

As a retired educator of 37 years (elementary, middle, high school and college instructor), I am outraged at the comportment of this week’s courtroom drama.

Let’s look at the elephant not discussed in the room: Parental participation in your child’s education.

The teacher is one component. I heard the judge say thousands of children have been hurt by this cheating scandal.

Well, I noticed all the schools accused were poor, black schools. So let’s discuss this. You have to be dedicated to stay in a poor black school where all the children in a class might be below the national norm, where there are 9-years-olds in second grade; where the children are eating their breakfast in the classroom before classes start and then lunch, which may be their last meal of the day.

Should state have the power to seize control of failing schools?

Cheating occurred in APS schools with the hardest-to-advance students, says a former teacher.

You have teachers in those schools who pay out of their own pockets for supplies because these children have none. Children have PE in the hallway, or cafeteria after lunch because the schools lack gyms. It’s hard being in a classroom where you must be mother, nurse, counselor, psychologist and disciplinarian, along with teacher.

Sometimes there is little room for teaching.

And where are the parents?

I heard parents say during the trial their child was destroyed by test scores being changed. First of all test scores are not the only indicator used to promote or place children or measure teacher competency. Daily work, attendance, grades, IEP conferences ( with parent(s), teachers of student, counselor and an administrator) are used to evaluate student progress if deemed necessary by the administration.

Where have you been now that your child is in high school reading on a fifth-grade level? Every year a teacher has at least two conferences about your child, plus numerous others to inform you of below average work. (deficiency notices)

Did you show up? Did you take the advice the counselor, principal, teacher to consider another school where your child could get better services or did you refuse the advice and stay in the school that could not provide adequate services for your child?

Or, are you one of the parents who only comes up to the school when your child is in a fight or doing something they’re not supposed to be doing and got suspended — and then blames the principal or teacher instead of disciplining your child?

In one school I worked, students didn’t know their alphabet. (Some were in first grade.) They had free Pre-K in the school building but the parents didn’t bring them. I asked why and heard various excuses  — they did not feel like bringing the child, they were working, they were high on drugs or alcohol. The school had a bus to pick up children, and some parents could even walk to the school. But they did not feel Pre-K was important.

You have to know the value of a free education to take advantage of it.

I have worked in poor black schools, but retired after 16 years at a Buckhead school where supplies are provided by the PTA. So there is no worry about supplies. The children do not watch TV in the morning in school or eat breakfast in the classroom. They have morning work that they must do and then write in their journals.

I asked a kindergartner why she knew so much. She said, “When I get home, I sit at the kitchen table, have a snack and do my homework with my mom. Then my dad comes home and helps me also.”

I said, “Don’t you go outside and play?”

Her reply: “Yes, sometimes if I finish my work first.”

We must have more universal emphasis on the value of an education.

These Buckhead teachers do not have the pressure of downtown administrators trying to get their students above the national standards — just about all of them are.

And it’s not just the family incomes —these parents are caring parents involved in every inch of their child’s school day. You can’t just send your child to a good school and expect the teachers to do it all. I understand many parents are unable to attend because of work commitments, but conferences are a must.

How much money was spent on this trial that could have been put to use in some of these failing schools?

I had a friend who was trying to get rotten flooring fixed in her school in southwest Atlanta and was told there was no money — while APS rebuilt E. Rivers, refurbished Sutton Middle (once North Atlanta High) and built Springdale Elementary in the Ponce de Leon area. Not to mention the mold problem in Historic Washington High, while APS built an 11-story high school on Northside Parkway.

How about Sutton Middle School getting new tennis courts when Parks Middle School’s boilers went out and the children were freezing in the school and wearing coats to class?

And the next elephant in the room — those bonuses:

APS had a bonus system— if your school reached its targeted goal set at the beginning of the year each person earned a bonus.

-70% of your goal you got $500.

-80% of your goal you got $1,500.

-90% of your goal you got $2,000-$2,500.

Everyone — teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers — received the bonus. The bonus system was set up to encourage not discourage.

APS had a rally in the convention center. Every school brought a sign with their school name, and some brought banners to show their achievement. But when I looked around at those who had achieved their goals, most of the white schools were on the floor and the black schools who hadn’t reached their goals were in the balcony.

Then Dr. Hall said, “I hope some of you will be on the floor next time.”

I felt bad for the teachers in the balcony and wrote Dr. Hall a letter stating that I was sure my colleagues worked even harder in those schools because they had more hurdles. She agreed.

Now, don’t get me wrong— it felt good to get a bonus every year (ours was guaranteed because our students performed so well) so we did not feel the pressure that some schools felt.

I believe Dr. Hall was trying to do an encouraging thing by starting the bonuses. (Teachers don’t make high salaries.) But, as time went on and schools did not come up to standards, I believe they began to feel the pressure of not achieving. There lies the fault. In a school system as inequitable as APS, it is hard to achieve equality.

Reader Comments 0

113 comments
OriginalProf
OriginalProf

TopSchoolAtlanta.


I've now read all of your in-close, detailed posts below about Atlanta's black/white politics as they have affected the school system. You write as a former APS teacher who knew it from the inside until 2001. Like myself, you have lived in the area for 30+ years...Very illuminating.  And it reminds me strongly of a 1989 book that backs up what you're saying: Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946-1988, by Clarence Stone, U.Press Kansas. He argues that ever since black politicians gained political power in Atlanta, they have formed a working coalition with the white business interests.  What has happened here since 1989 suggests he was right.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@TopSchoolAtlanta @OriginalProf 

I was a Northerner when I came down here 30+ years ago, and the black Atlanta politics as I came to know it seemed like similar old-time politics in Northern cities such as Chicago or NY, where the important thing was being ethnically "connected"--Italians, Irish, and so on. It also seemed to me that the black politicians were "using" the white businessmen just as skillfully as they were being used, for after all it was the black politicians who could make the laws, give the labor contracts, appoint the public officials.  The "regime politics" was definitely a 2-way street.

And it does seem to me now that a natural outcome of those days in Atlanta has been the city-hood movement in North DeKalb and Fulton counties, with the more affluent white Northside areas trying to break away because they have felt exploited by black Southside politicians (commissioners, etc.).


As I watched the black political power and privilege grow in Atlanta, it always seemed to me that the black leaders had lost contact with their roots-- the poor and the working-class black folks the leaders only seemed to use. The APS cheating scandal brought this to light above all. Those poor black children......

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf I need to read the book you mentioned above. I only have my own personal experiences to pull from. Somewhat difficult to figure out when I was in the middle of it. It has taken 14 years of talking to affluent Black leaders and White connected families. Watching their reactions to my difficult questions. Tracing the patterns of silencing the truth in many situations. Asking, why? Why is this kind of segregation still happening today? Especially in Atlanta. It has been heartbreaking for me to figure this out. I came to this city because I was enthusiastic about the Civil Rights Movement and everything it stood for. Now, only to figure out this game.  Trying to understand the politics involved. And watching Blacks and Whitse struggle with their privileges knowing the real truth that qualified them for their benefits. Special money to build all those APS schools and the building contracts are tied in with the Buckhead business leaders. Not easily seen by those looking from the outside - in.


Blacks forming a working coalition with the white business interests came with consequences. The APS cheating and the differences in North and Southside APS schools are those hidden consequences. Both Whites and Blacks are responsible for hiding the details behind this political bargaining game. As a result, teachers and administrators have suffered the repercussions of their attempts to keep this underground operating system a secret. Nothing about this is honorable for either race. Rather shameful and disgraceful. Difficult to watch. Especially difficult to watch Andrew Young bowing down to Judge Baxter knowing those APS teachers were being used to hide the secrets of corruption where he is also involved.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @TopSchoolAtlanta As seen on Jon Stewart - http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/r57t34/april-22--2015---dana-perino  I sent my response to the cheating trial in an email to Jon Stewart early in April. Some people can connect the dots. 

Yes, they (Buckhead)  turned this into "those poor black children"...and "those southside black teachers and administrators that cheat". White Buckhead administrators have been cheating in their Northside schools equally with test scores and many other issues to manipulate their high ranking scores in the community. They manipulated their scores by excluding testing for those they feared would not test well. 2 teachers at Jackson admitted to assisting in choosing right answers during testing. I personally watched teachers take questions from the testing booklets and review those "difficult" problems the day before the test was administered. Prepping some of the older students with copies of the actual test over an overhead, 30 minutes before testing started.  All teachers signed documents stating they participated in falsifying documents to receive the National Blue Ribbon Award during the application process. The office staff falsified attendance records for students and teachers. Administrators discriminated in the hiring procedures for minorities at their Northside school. Administrators accepted false addresses for children attending the school. And yearly teachers are forced in upper grades to change report card grades for parents applying to private schools. Teachers play the game to keep their jobs. Private school applications and teacher recommendations are closely scrutinized by the administrator / principal. No applications are submitted without the principal's final approval. Teachers recommendations are often manipulated by principal for the loyal and dedicated ( donating to the principal's fund ) parents struggling to gain entrance into the private arena. Lots of bargaining and bartering  goes on in that Northside APS school office.

Sent this out to much of the media...CNN, John Stewart, NBC, etc... And now, Jon Stewart clears it all up.

Buckhead Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta Business Leaders - Not everyone believes justice was served.

Cheating in Atlanta Public Schools and today's chapter in the horse & pony show. The criminal minds of the Buckhead Business Coalition and Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce were responsible for forcing the increases in fake test scores. Their buddies created the (racketeering) manipulation of student achievement to bring businesses to Atlanta by any means possible.

Increasing the test scoring was the leverage needed to encourage businesses to move to Atlanta, creating more building contracts increasing the money flow to Buckhead business owners. Now, these teachers and administrators are their scapegoats. (Notice the head administrator Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine is no where to be found. She did not testify nor were any charges brought against her. She is sitting quietly somewhere with her Buckhead hush money.)

Are the leaders of Buckhead proud of this fake accomplishment? Yet, another game of smoke and mirrors by attorneys and judges, friends of the Georgia State Professional Standards Commission - John Grant and the Warren Fortson clan.

This parade takes the eyes off the guilty Atlanta city leaders and keeps the focus on low level minions. The actual guilty racketeering minds are the same ones that created the fake numbers in bank mortgage loans that took down Wall Street. They are responsible for creating the idea to fake the rise in APS test scores while using the high ranking APS administrators to enforce their dirty deeds.

Beverly might be dead...but Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine still lives. Buckhead protected Hall with bonus checks before and after the cheating scandal was exposed. They promised her she'd never stand trial and shoved some money under the table to Kathy Augustine to keep her mouth shut, too. The ex-leader of APS is conveniently dead, but her assistant is still living with all the dirty details.

Deceiving is the name of this Buckhead / Atlanta game. A 2015 version of yet another lynching in the ATL. Shameful.

Ethics start from the top down. Start with Governor's office and his motley crew - the good old boys of Atlanta. Their mentality started this mess. Atlanta School Board Members ( some past and present ) know the political DEAL involved in this corruption. Some of us, aren't so blind and actually have the experiences within APS to know the TRUTH behind this fake story of justice.


 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@TopSchoolAtlanta @OriginalProf 

I've read many of the details you give in your long first paragraph in "Get Schooled" entries by APS teachers and some parents over the last 3-4 years, and I believe you here.  I do think that the truth is coming out, and more will come out with the inevitable appeals to Judge Baxter's decision and sentencing. The "guilty city leaders" are leaving the scene too, or have already left.


The new charter schools phase that seems to be coming may bring a different set of corruptions...or a different set of promises. Don't know.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @TopSchoolAtlanta "Guilty City Leaders" might be literally leaving the scene due to age...but that recipe is taught to the younger generations that follow. As I said, start with the Governor's office. ALL these leaders hold hands and dine together. Judge Baxter was the "chosen one" to put this fire out. He failed. Now, they are quickly scrambling for a new plan of action. Their major mistake in the cover up plan...they forgot to figure in the social media aspect that was not around in 2001. With social media communication, it quickly exposes the light of truth to shine on their spin.  This old fashion blogging is a very slow process. I participated in establishing the ground work that exposed some of this corruption. But, now only a few comments on Facebook and Twitter ...a few emails to the right people like Jon Stewart and the information is quickly dispersed for public scrutiny.

As for "Get Schooled" I shared this same conversation on this site since 2001. We've chatted before. @CatLady, @Beverly Hall, you and others have contributed to this blog. My posts have always been @TheBeatGoesON & @TopSchoolAtlanta. For the last 3 years I've not shared thoughts about this subject. Nor participated in the rhetoric. 

I personally think the race, class and cultural issue are becoming more intense and divided. Charter schools will divide them even more. I accomplished my goal without much help from the AJC and this blog. The way I see it...the power behind the Atlanta Way, continues to stifle the truth. The PRIME PROOF that it still exists. -  That APS horse and pony show of courtroom drama conducted by their best actor Judge Baxter. Disgraceful and shameful, and they deserve all the negative publicity they can get as a result. This is the reason I started sharing this information after a 3 year hiatus.

Atlanta - the laughable civil rights capital of the south. Where disguised segregation still lives and there is plenty of time to turn a blind eye to the hate. 

( with the help of some of the finest affluent Black leadership )  The beat goes on...once again. I've shared enough. 

Most could care less. Like yourself, they really want to pretend it has disappear...the supporters of the Gone with the Wind theory. I disagree. I think the tradition from the fine southern fabric of Scarlet's dress is what holds it all together. Each generation teaches the next. Including the HELP. It's not as blatant, but it looks as if that might be changing, too. In the future, more charter schools will definitely feed the egos of the THEM and US mentality. 

Ignoring the problems surrounding the privileged. Pretending it has disappeared and no longer exists. Not addressing it. Not acknowledging it. This is part of the problem. Not the solution.  Privileged... Atlanta's NORTHSIDE APS both Black and White administrators / teachers and business leaders are left out of the scandalous cheating drama. Actually,  the reality is ...they created the cheating. It has been going on for a long time. Some with in house experience speak up. Most do not.

 


 

anothercomment
anothercomment

Instead of running their mouths and crying racist at every tune, the black community, the preachers aka race baiter in charge and the politicians need to stop lining their own pockets and tell their community that getting an education aka acting "white" starts in the home.

Many like myself, have gone one to earn STEM graduate degrees, despite having a mother who spoke a foreign language the first five years of her life, and then was a high school drop out to help raise the seven younger siblings. My mother knew that she could at least read to us. My parents both expected us to all attend college. We all did. 3/4 graduated. The one who didn't has had a high paying Union Job for over 30 years, where he makes more than a mid level engineer.

I don't have a single cousin in my generation that did not finish high school. The majority of us have college degrees. We have doctors, a PHD Chemist, Engineers, Architects, a Wall Street hedge fund manager, chefs, etc.. All from immigrant grandparents and some parents that didn't make through high school. No one was ever expected anything less than to go to college or learn a trade. it is that simple!

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

APS Northside Middle and High School increase in minority enrollments due to the private schools in the neighborhood accepting children from Jackson, Brandon and Sarah Smith by the 5th grade.

brandonmom
brandonmom

@TopSchoolAtlanta 2001 was a long time ago. The recession changed the dynamics in the Buckhead schools. Things have been very different since about 2008. Many more "neighborhood" kids are staying in the public schools. However, you are correct about certain well connected out of district students ending up in our schools (usually with the address and contact info not listed in the directory). Favors are still being granted.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@brandonmom @TopSchoolAtlanta I would say more parents are catching on to the waste of money spent on private schools. Has less to do with the recession and more to do with educated parents realizing it isn't necessary to have that title for their child to succeed. The private schools rape the parents with their obscene tuition. Those naively paying want to believe they are receiving something special for the extra Buckhead Bucks spent, when in reality they are not. PTA parents in Northside APS  know the students that live outside the district. They play along with the game and negotiate personal favors, bartering rights from the principal in exchange for not rocking the boat. Buckhead traditions have not changed much. The private schools are still suckering in the students. And given the feared options of Sutton and North Atlanta High School parents take those limited slots with no regrets and fork out the additional dollars. Most public school parents are already giving so much to their neighborhood school in donations to the principal's fund and projects ...the private school is probably cheaper. LOL The recession ( which has long been over ) did not slow down the traditional elementary scramble of finding a private school before 5th grade in Northside APS. Spring time recommendation letters have now started again. This is the best name dropping traditional game in Buckhead. Let's see...Top to bottom - Westminster, Lovett, Pace, and you can name the others. Like dropping addresses and shopping labels. The child's school is just another trophy vase sitting on either side of the fireplace mantle. Part of the Buckhead game.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

Jackson Elementary - Racial makeup is: White (75.9%), African American (11.3%), Hispanic (5.9%).

Brandon Elementary -  Racial makeup is: White (79.1%), African American (10.9%), Hispanic (4.5%).

Sarah Smith Elementary - Racial makeup is: White (58.1%), Hispanic (16.8%), African American (14.1%).

E. Rivers Elementary Racial makeup is: White (41.9%), African American (28.1%), Hispanic (23.5%).

Garden Hills Elementary - formerly Margaret Mitchell Elementary - 
Racial makeup is: Hispanic (65%), African American (17%), White (14.8%).

There are consistent ongoing attempts to rezone these areas to keep property values high and apartment complexes with low rent that would attract minorities out of the top two APS schools. -  http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/04/10/school-board-member-there-were-no-deals-cut

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

Northside APS is segregated within the 4 walls of the schools. Especially, at the middle and high school levels.  Anyone from the general public looking from the outside to the inside,  does not see the manipulation. Parents and teachers are fully aware of the racial class system that divides the children into labeled groups with certain teachers...within the 4 walls of the school. Northside PTA's pass down the recipe and groom the white parents left with no other option in Northside APS.  Using an in-house system of selecting the chosen minorities that will mix appropriately with the white students.  This system to manipulate the segregation of the students is understood by the affluent blacks that make do with the in house system in exchange for being accepted in the affluent white circle that might possibly grant them access to a private school later in the process. This silences the affluent black families and keeps the underground system a secret from the "others" within the schools. As the number of Hispanic children have increased enrollments in APS,  these Northside PTA's created a system to bus those children from higher achieving Northside elementary schools to Garden Hills Elementary under a disguise of meeting the child's special needs. Disguise special needs is the special process of separating the students and creating a class system which ends up looking rather racially divided in the end. 

E. Rivers is the most diverse of the elementary schools in APS. As Brandon, Sarah Smith and Jackson tussle over who ranks top and how they can manipulate to keep the minority enrollments low. Jackson, Brandon and Sarah Smith parents fight over the limited private school slots available in these three top scoring APS schools. If their child is not accepted in a neighboring private school by middle school they reluctantly accept the 4 wall public segregation as their last resort as they are fearful to allow their children to attend the Middle School / High School APS schools. With no other neighborhood choice, they fall into the 4 wall segregated secret system and keep the secrets to make do with the only option left.


NORTHSIDE TRADITIONS...have been passed on for generations. Most minorities attending these schools have no idea how to work the underground system. Those affluent connected minorities accepted in the circle consider themselves the chosen privileged and don't share for fear they will be cast out.


Only a former teacher or parent with no connection or loyalty to the neighborhood could explain this internal corrupt system to the general public. Most would not believe this traditional underground system and how it still secretly works in 2015. Northside APS is supported by minorities working the system in exchange for their limited access to what they believe is the best education in Atlanta for their minority child. It as been going on since the first day the schools were integrated during the Civil Rights Era and still happening to this very day. Ask any affluent black family that has attended Northside APS schools Jackson, Brandon or Sarah Smith how it works. They won't talk. It is a secret for only the generations of children in their families. Not to be shared with anyone.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta Correct. And only certain Black families are given this privilege. Gaming the system in the past consisted of manipulating addresses, individual deals with Principals and the connected family relations within APS. Many times minority families did not even live in the City of Atlanta. Old school directories often mistakenly disclosed the truth. Certain families were given access to the mostly white schools. The Buckhead public and private school labels are like dropping your shopping labels ... I shop at Phipps not Lenox. Neiman's or Saks ...I don't shop at Macy's. Keeps everyone in their correct place.


TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @TopSchoolAtlanta @Starik I've lived here for about 30 years, too. I believe it is still business as usual. Some of the schools have changed in APS. But, not the top two elementary schools, Sutton Middle and North Atlanta ...and the neighborhood where those exist are pretty much the same. Physically the structure of the buildings have changed but the in house traditions have carried on and are pretty much the same. Difficult to find people to talk about this subject. Those on the Northside of Atlanta in the schools, the neighborhood, part of  the "system" are not going to speak for fear of losing their social position in their community. Why would they? They benefit from the corruption through property value, teaching / administrative positions, social status with those attending the schools. Both Black and White families turn a blind eye to the discrimination...because their families reap the privileges of keeping it all under cover. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@TopSchoolAtlanta @OriginalProf @Starik 

I've lived in Fulton County near Atlanta for 30+ years (I'm white), and I can believe that what you describe was Business As Usual in the 1990s-2000.  But Atlanta and the surrounding areas from which the APS students come have changed so much since then...I find it rather hard to believe that this is still going on. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta 

It doesn't sound so benign as "easing black and Hispanic kids into the mainstream." TSA's point seems to be that there is a private black and Hispanic elite who know how to game the system to get their kids into the "best" APS schools along with the whites.

Starik
Starik

@TopSchoolAtlanta Sounds like a good way to keep whites in the system, and ease black and Hispanic kids into the mainstream.

frogg
frogg

NAHS and Sutton are both Title I schools. So are E Rivers, Bolton, and Garden Hills (not sure about Smith, Jackson or Brandon). But the North Atlanta cluster has plenty of students that are as poor as many others in the district. 


And as for her comments about rebuilding E Rivers....it was sliding down the hill and riddled with mold and other issues. It had been passed over several times and delayed from the previous SPLOST for renovation. What they found out is that it was less expensive in the long run to tear down and rebuild than to try to shore up the building once again. Do your homework before you spout off about a situation you clearly know little to nothing about, Ms. George.


TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@frogg Not so poor at Jackson, Brandon and Smith...Rivers, Bolton and Garden Hills...not to be compared to the top three in that order. All the "others" fall below. If there are apartments in the Jackson / Brandon neighborhoods that might house a less than above average income, the PTA's are making sure the district lines are either rezoned or property is sold eliminating this kind of housing in the neighborhood.


TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@frogg E. Rivers by far the most diverse and down to earth parents that are accepting and tolerant of all families.

AnotherMom
AnotherMom

Aren't North Atlanta High School and Sutton Middle School Title 1 schools???

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@AnotherMom  Feared schools of those white Buckhead families on private school waiting lists. They must obtain entrance in a private school before the end of 5th grade.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

Oh, now this is finally about race and the difference between North and Southside schools in APS. Wow, I think some of us pointed in this direction about 15 years ago on this blog and were accused of race baiting. The differences between North and South APS have all along been the problem. Those accused of cheating in Buckhead APS have been given special privileges due to their Northside connections. The truth always rises ... it might take some time...but My My My Atlanta...the secrets about the hidden segregation of students in APS North and Southside schools are still an issue in 2015 and very cleverly hidden by the minority leadership with the help of some of the finest leaders of the Civil Rights Era. The "underground" privileges for minorities to attend the mostly white Buckhead Atlanta Public Schools are only given to the connected affluent black families that have a history of playing this corrupt integration game.

Starik
Starik

@TopSchoolAtlanta So what's the solution? Ship the poorest kids up north to flood the remaining white schools?  At a certain point they cease to be mainstream schools and the whites flee. Anybody with any sense wants to retain schools that reflect the mainstream national culture so the underclass can join it.  True, not every kid can be rescued.  Too much damage has been done by slavery, segregation, and mass desegregation badly handled. 

brandonmom
brandonmom

@Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta FYI: We don't really have "white schools" contrary to popular belief. Sutton is 42% white. NAHS is 30% white (and 44% black). 

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@brandonmom @Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta  Actually parents at Brandon and Jackson hand pick those minority students that align with their white children. Any child that does not fit the Jackson Brandon family mold is ostracized and shunned. There aren't minority children that won't fall in line to be accepted.  If they are "WHITE LIKED" and fit in with the group of non qualifying private school white children, the "others" are tolerated until these white families qualify for the neighborhood's private schools. In the meantime, Brandon and Jackson serve as the waiting grounds for white families trying to separate themselves from the less than desirable public school minority families. White parents do everything they can to get accepted in private schools in Buckhead before leaving the elementary schools for fear of their child attending Sutton and North Atlanta High School. Dropping a private school label for your children is part of the Buckhead game. The private schools are also ranked ...good, better, best, and Top School. White and Black parents know this game. I didn't just invent it. It has been going on for many years. I've interviewed former Northside APS teachers both Black and White. Everyone knows the routine.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta Not sure what the solution is...but disgraceful and embarrassing to think an elitist system in our public schools can be covered-up and hidden within a minority operated system.

(Most administrators in APS are Black) This is Atlanta ...home of the Civil Rights leaders...and they know how this Northside segregated system has operated for the last 50 years. Disgraceful to think this is 2015 and it still operates this way for fear that whites will flee. So disappointing for me to see affluent Black families and affluent White families hang their heads down in shame when I try to discuss this issue. Some, talk about it. Most do not.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@TopSchoolAtlanta @Starik 

Again, this sounds like the Black Atlanta I knew of the 1990s, when the black politicians ruled City Council and local politics, and the demographics of the Atlanta districts always voted in those politicians. But times have changed in the 2000s, as the Census figures showed.  I would not be surprised if we vote in a white Mayor after Reed, and if the racial power-swing in City Council is to a white majority or at least plurality of councilmembers.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @TopSchoolAtlanta @Starik The goal is to make Atlanta all white again. It will take some time, but that Buckhead line crawls down Peachtree Street each day. It has already crawled through Midtown and now taking over Ponce and almost to North Avenue. Black leaders never politically ran Atlanta. ( Bill Campbell was the maverick that gave Buckhead leaders a taste of their own medicine and look what happened as a result. Much like Obama is doing right now. Campbell would not conform to their pleasing. ) The rest of the so called elected Black leaders have fallen in line. And even to this day Andrew Young...as seen dancing around the judge at the APS trail did not directly say ...Buckhead business leaders are responsible for the corruption in Atlanta and as a result created the APS cheating.  Where ever did you get the idea Black leadership leads Atlanta? Mayor Reed does not run this city. The last thing the good old boys of Atlanta want is a white mayor. How else would they manipulate? The very reason they rewarded and pampered B. Hall and many other APS Board members, City Council Leaders. Their Black grooming is very similar those affluent black families they let attend their white Northside APS schools ...once they've allowed them in their circle the Blacks are silenced and the manipulation begins. The very reason why Nancy Norwood was not elected the city's mayor. A white woman is not going to put up with all that good old GA boy corrupt politics and keep her mouth shut. She is not as easily manipulated and impressed with the material wealth and social position of the Buckhead community. Buckhead leaders like running the show while making it look like this is the city that does not have time to hate and black minorities run the city. Black minorities never ran Atlanta. Old Buckhead Atlanta business leaders used Black leaders to keep the spot light off their corruption...all the while blaming the corrupt issues on the Black leadership. They figured out this recipe long ago during the Civil Rights Era. And when they are finished with this game...and filling their greedy pockets with the manipulated money, they will refill those slots of black leaders with whites under a disguise to SAVE the city. And it begins with a STREET CAR ( follow the Buckhead money ) ...All the smoke and mirrors of the Buckhead Atlanta Way.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @Starik Black leadership benefits white Atlanta Business Leaders. It will not change until they are finished selling the building contracts and reselling the property they've manipulated. Might take another 50 years to clean up downtown. By then, the younger families from old money Buckhead will be tired of the Buckhead scene and want to live directly in the city. If you pay close attention, you can see the shift is happening right now...but it has some serious time before it will be obvious what happened. Already, studies show the large discrepancies in the affluent and the poverty areas of ATL. The class lines have been laid out by the current developers of the city. Sit back and watch. Most of the APS failing schools are getting ready to be sucked up by the state with the Governor's new plan.

Starik
Starik

@brandonmom @Starik @TopSchoolAtlanta Race and culture are different. If the schools are oriented toward college prep rather than sports, and the kids of whatever race "act white" the school can be a success.  A 100% black school that reflects white...American...culture would work just as well.  Do the kids sleep in class?  If they do, do the teacher wake them up?

Raja44
Raja44

I certainly agree with the author that lack of parent involvement and poor parental support for education is the root cause of poor performing schools.  Parents who can't be bothered to take their kid to free pre-K, or show up for a parent teacher conference, or show up for pretty much anything, are a blight on our educational system in some places, including much of southside APS.  A related problem that the author doesn't quite reach is the lack of two parent homes -- an APS school board member was known to point out out that at a particular southside APS elementary school there were only two children in the entire school that had fathers living with them at home.


But while I agree with the lack of parental support point, it is absolutely not true that APS spends more at its northside schools than its southside schools.  A recent APS study/report indicated that per student spending was actually greater at APS Title 1 schools, which include all of the southside schools, than at non-title 1 schools on the northside -- but some folks still spout the opposite.  The upcoming year's APS budget devotes more funding per student to Title 1 schools even before applying the federal Title 1 money.  Once the Title 1 money is factored in, the southside Title 1 schools receive a fair amount more per student in funding than the non Title 1 APS schools on the northside.


It is also not true that APS' southside students attend decrepit, inadequate facilities, while northside schools all have new, first rate facilities.  Since the beginning of E-SPLOST some 15+ years ago, APS' southside schools have received at least their fair share, and in some instances more than their fair share, of SPLOST dollars and infrastructure improvements.  I don't know of any southside APS schools that are without gyms or other basic facilities as the author here states -- but I note she was at a northside school for the last 16 years, around the time that E-SPLOST started, so maybe things have been changed and corrected since she left.  


A notable exception on the northside would be North Atlanta HS with its $100 million, $150 million, or whatever it was, price tag.  That project was largely funded outside of E-SPLOST funds (TARP, bond issue), and is not typical of the situation facing most northside schools.  Mary Lin elementary, for example, has often suffered from broken heating and air conditioning systems over the last 10 years, with several days over this past cold winter without heat in both the portables and the main building.  Two entire grades (8-10 classes) at Mary Lin have been housed in cramped and broken down portable buildings for the last 7-8 years.  Inman middle school has no maintained athletic fields, using a "Christmas tree lot", and the rough and sarcastically named "field of dreams" across the street for its PE classes and athletic fields. Grady HS has many insufficient facilities, including old, cramped classrooms, a lack of science labs, and an auditorium that is inferior to many southside APS schools.  Those projects that have occurred on the northside in recent years, or currently, are because many of the northside schools are overcrowded, or have been for years, while on the southside many schools with 500-600 seat capacities have  enrollments half that size.  Meanwhile the southside's Jackson HS just received a $50 million renovation out of SPLOST dollars, and there have been numerous other southside SPLOST projects over the last 15 years as well.


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@AlreadySheared 


That's total hogwash.  What a mind you have - full of cliches and no original thought, not even enough to question given mores.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Raja44 


"One thing that I think could help APS, and the public schools in Georgia in general to succeed, is to try and get as many parents as possible from higher SES families to send their kids to public school -- not private school -- which means more strong people and families will be working for, advocating for, and supporting the public schools."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I wholeheartedly agree with you on this.


The method to my "madness" was to get your attention and perhaps the attention of the reading audience. I think I have done that with an unorthodox question.  I'm not looking for polite debate here, but involvement.  As Rep. John Lewis often has stated, "Make some waves."


You know your facts and you support public education.  Good for you.  Now, make some waves and get others motivated, not simply with facts but with passion..  ;-) 

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@MaryElizabethSings @Raja44 Raja - a word of advice.  MaryAdHominemSings is unsettled by facts and reasoned arguments and will do her level best to change the topic to YOU rather than contemplate reality in a wide variety of circumstances.  Best not to feed the troll...


Raja44
Raja44

@MaryElizabethSings @Raja44 So what??  That's a nice response.  I think it's important to set the record straight and be clear that the problems that Title 1 APS schools face, many of which are located on the southside, are NOT because the northside non Title 1 schools are depriving them of funds, or receiving more than their fair share of funds.  But it sounds like you already know this. Good, I trust you will make sure this point is clear and understood in the future.


What have I done the last 30 years to support public education?  Both of my parents are career public school teachers.  I attended public school K-12.  Both of my children attend public school in APS, and will until they graduate high school.  I support my kids' schools every way that I can, and attend as many school functions, parent meetings, conferences, etc. as possible, and have served on the Local School Council at the local elementary school for several years.  I also whole-heartedly support public education in general, and the entirety of APS, and want to see them succeed.  One thing that I think could help APS, and the public schools in Georgia in general to succeed, is to try and get as many parents as possible from higher SES families to send their kids to public school -- not private school -- which means more strong people and families will be working for, advocating for, and supporting the public schools.  But that won't be accomplished by creating false issues, like I'm talking about here, where northside non Title 1 APS schools are accused of somehow getting more than their fair share of funding.  The northside APS public school parents are friends of public education -- not its enemies.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Raja44 


Glad to see you have a sense of humor, Raja.  You get what I was trying to do.  Use that humor to make those waves, along with your fine mind, and things will happen for the better for public education and for the students who especially need the attention!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Raja44 

Thanks for this detailed response to the frequently repeated charge, also made in this essay, that the APS system has been "inequitable" in its funding of Southside projects as compared to Northside projects. This is an old and unfounded charge that dates back more than a decade, and still is the basis for much racial divisiveness and envy on the part of Southside Atlanta...including the author of the essay here, I note.

bu2
bu2

@Raja44 @MaryElizabethSings 


"But that won't be accomplished by creating false issues, like I'm talking about here, where northside non Title 1 APS schools are accused of somehow getting more than their fair share of funding."


I agree.  My similar comment was deleted.  I guess Maureen didn't like the word "nonsense" in referring to these claims.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @Raja44 @MaryElizabethSings 

Yes, Mine relating to this was also deleted...along with yours, which pointed out similar facts. I thanked you for this...perhaps our entire exchange was unclear in its references. (You referred to SSPLOST rather than ESPLOST.)

Raja44
Raja44

@OriginalProf @Raja44 Yeah, it's a thing I often hear repeated that is without basis, and needs to be refuted unfortunately.  

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@Raja44 @MaryElizabethSings Why of course Northside parents would be friends of public education until they are accepted in neighboring private schools. Even after they receive the golden "private" crown they must keep their property values up...so they teach the new Northside families the internal public school Buckhead / Atlanta game.

TopSchoolAtlanta
TopSchoolAtlanta

@OriginalProf @Raja44 The only way you would be able to see the difference is to have actually worked for APS . Looking from the outside, INSIDE ...you would not know the difference. Without hands on experience, I would not make such broad statements. Teachers like the retired one in this article KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.