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Unease About Schools? Yeah, No Kidding!

From the AJC:

Unease about schools fuels drive to ditch DeKalb

By Ty Tagami  (highlights and comments added by Save Tucker!)

Some complain about slow police or missing sidewalks. Others say it’s the whiff, or actual stench, of government corruption that bothers them.

Many though, especially parents, say it’s the sorry state of the schools that inspires them to carve up DeKalb County.   (SO, IT IS ABOUT THE SCHOOLS??)

(But this is the question asked over and over again that the city advocates would not address.  It made no sense to start cities in the middle of school crisis and try to tell people that it had nothing to do with the schools.)

However they do it, through incorporations or annexations, the map of Atlanta’s aging suburban bedroom community may soon be creased with a lot more lines.

The threatened dismemberment of a once-great county promises to dominate local politics when the next session of the General Assembly rumbles to a start in January. Incorporation requires legislative authorization, as do some of the more common types of annexations.

Lakeside Alliance (non-advocacy group) leader and now
Lakeside YES (yes, advocacy group) and Lavista Hills (yes, advocacy)
groups, shows off her backyard and lifestyle that is a far cry from
how most in her proposed city boundary actually live. 
The possibility of historic and permanent change is stoking anxiety — and tension between neighbors with differing needs and means.

and then...  (same article) ....

“We’re all very frustrated and dissatisfied with DeKalb County schools,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, a leader of the Lakeside cityhood movement. She and her husband raised four children in the system but it had deteriorated so much by the time their last child reached high school, she said, that they put her in private school. 

So, what she is saying is that she and her husband raised their children in what they call the "Lakeside" area, supporting their school called "Lakeside" and the decisions of the school board member who was said to have come back to serve on the board  merely to serve the "Lakeside" community.  And, even though they tout their involvement with the school system, having served in the PTA and school council (the state mandated position that is supposed to advise the school board of issues in the school's community), they still felt that the schools  were deteriorating beyond their own control or  power to impact them?  

And even though they are close friends with more than one former school board member, as well as a former superintendent who was also the state school superintendent, and even though they are neighbors with two MORE board members, they still felt that things were not going well enough for their daughter to remain there for her senior year, which was also the year the Governor had to step in and remove the board.  

Coincidentally, the Governor also knows their friend the former state superintendent and appointed him to appoint the panel who would select the replacement candidates.  And, in case that was not enough, that panel decided to allow the new board member to remain in place as well as the newly elected one from the Druid Hills / Briarcliff area, but not the one from Smoke Rise / Tucker who had also been recently elected.    Instead the latter was replaced with a new appointee who happened to also live in the Lakeside community.  So, their calls for "local control" were already being heard as they ended up with both an elected and an appointed board member in the Lakeside area, while other areas ended up with no one.

And, in all that time, while other schools were reporting the declines they were seeing, these folks who are now claiming they  had concerns and were even moved to take their own child out of school, never became public figures, never ran for office or spoke out at school board meetings?  And Lakeside continued to be known as one of a handful of schools that was still doing well, with many of the students actually being the children of "The Palace" administration.  

During all the complaints in public meetings, do you EVER recall a single complaint from anyone from Lakeside?   No.  But, things were so bad, that a private school was the only option for their child, YET ... the name "Lakeside" was still good enough for them to use it in a push to form a city?   So, they clearly understood the "image" and prestige of the name "Lakeside" otherwise they would not have wanted to associate their push for a city with it, right?  But, she just told you that she felt it was so bad that she had to remove her child?  Why would you want a city named for a school that you thought was in a dismal state of decline?  Wouldn't you be afraid that people would naturally connect the two and your city hopes could be dashed by the poor and getting worse reputation of the school?  

OR, did these folks on a "city mission" use the public's concern about schools as the perfect time to get people to hop on their bandwagon?  Did they use the school's name for their city (and the school itself for their first announcement about their city plan) just to give the impression that they were going to actually get a separate school system?  Or, were they trying to ride the coattails of a school's good reputation so that they could turn around and sell their home at a higher value than what they purchased it for?  If their children are all graduated, it would make sense that they might wish to move elsewhere.  And, wouldn't it be nice for that asking price if your home also happened to be one of very few in the area you want to call "Lakeside" that actually is located on a lake?

And, that friend with the school system who knows the Governor and was the state superintendent... well, he just so happens to also be the person you purchased your home from and his grown son bought your house in return.  Cozy! 

The cityhood movements gained momentum when the DeKalb County School District was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2012. 

NO THEY DIDN'T!  The "Cityhood movements" hit us out of left field when the county residents were FINALLY all focused on the same thing - fixing our schools.  And just when it felt like things might get better, LAKESIDE hit Tucker with a sucker  punch on the last day to file a bill in 2013 by showing off their map that would take in a large number of Tucker  businesses and  residential areas, parks, churches and destroy the small community that actually gave Lakeside its birth in 1965.

Also, poverty rates were rising but test scores, graduation rates and other measure s were lackluster.

If you call this "lackluster," then I would hate to see what you call "failing."  

Recently, when Woodworth’s son bought a house, he did so in Roswell because he plans on having children.

And her son has so little faith in the city  his Mom is trying to form that he has (wisely) chosen to buy elsewhere.
Woodworth is a realist. She doesn't expect a constitutional change for schools to come on the heels of incorporation, but she thinks a city would wield political clout with the school system, which might help until the constitution can be changed.

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