Last night, Leadership DeKalb held a Board of Education candidate runoff forum. As Ty Tagami reported in the AJC, Charter Schools is the issue differentiating the candidates.
Voters will decide in a Runoff Election on July 22nd if the board will advocate for charters or not. The board narrowly voted down the Druid Hills Charter Cluster last year at the end of a contentious debate.
Michael Erwin – Voted ‘No’ on DHCC
Atticus LeBlanc – Pro Charter
Karen Carter – Voted ‘No’ on DHCC
Jim McMahan – Voted ‘Yes’ on DHCC
Thad Mayfield – Voted ‘Yes’ on DHCC
Vickie Turner – Opposes charters
Atticus LeBlanc said it best when he said,
“Since the new board was appointed 16 months ago, there hasn’t been a single policy change affecting the management structure of our schools. We still have high level administrators at the top delegating down to the local schools. We still have just as many amazing parents that are being ignored. We are still losing great teachers at alarming rates.
With the notable exception of Tapestry Charter School (which focuses on autistic students, and whose debate [was] unnecessarily contentious), our board has still not given our children any additional opportunities to improve their education. While KIPP, Drew Charter, and The Museum School continue to outperform the vast majority of schools in the state and serve as models of student achievement, our Board has done nothing to either bring more of these types of schools to DeKalb, or to even attempt to model the best practices from these or other successful schools in our own public education system.
When McNair High School has a 44% graduation rate compared to 93% for KIPP, and the demographic and socioeconomic breakdown of the student body is virtually identical, shouldn’t we as stakeholders expect our Board of Education to at least start to make fundamental policy changes to address these disparities? Or should we continue to “be patient” while more students fall through the cracks?”