I just don’t think that the leadership of the city of Atlanta is ready to assume control of the city school system. The city itself, like every municipality in the state, is struggling with funding. The effort to revive downtown is still ongoing. There are neighborhoods that need stabilization and revitalization.
Instead, hire a good superintendent to lead the troubled system. Keep the good principals in place. Get rid of the bad ones. Let those principals run their own show — see Baltimore’s success as a blueprint. Maintain the pressure on the school board, which has a few members who seem to be using it as a stepping stone for higher profile and higher office.
And keep the focus every day on what is best for the students of APS.
Here is an excerpt from the AJC news story. What do you think of the idea?
Although it is not officially on the table – that would take legislative action – there are formulating opinions that Atlanta should follow in the footsteps of places like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland and allow the mayor office to assume control of the school system.
“The mayor does believe that it is simply untenable to be in a situation where we are at the risk of losing accreditation,” Aman said. “It is also untenable, as he said last week, for there to be so much instability on the board so that a simple majority can remove the chair. He personally finds that unacceptable, to have the policies as such that the school board can fire a superintendent on one vote flipping. That leads to a grossly unstable school system.”
Reed, who was in Washington on Wednesday, has not stated publicly or specifically that he wanted the city to take over the schools. But Councilman Michael Julian Bond has been calling for a takeover for months.
“If we don’t address this issue, we are basically whistling ‘Dixie.’ It is going to continue to impact the quality of life and people are going to continue not to move here,” Bond said. “It may not look like New York. It shouldn’t look like D.C., but there are 30 other cities that have gone in this direction and I really think we ought to start having this conversation.”
But veteran council member C.T. Martin questioned whether the city has the skills and talents to take over such an operation a school system.
“We ought to focus on what is in our ballpark. We still have a dirty city. We still have infrastructure problems,” Martin said. “Those who want to run schools, go run them. … I think we are too busy. I am not sure we should be focusing on this in 2011, as much as getting our city in good shape.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog.