NAACP to APS: Please reconsider school closings

The NAACP has concerns about the proposal from Superintendent Erroll Davis to close 13 APS schools.  Here is a memo the civil rights group sent to the system expressing those concerns:

FROM: The Atlanta Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

RE: Proposed closing of public schools in the City of Atlanta

DATE: March 6, 2012

The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP is committed to the maintenance and improvement of all schools in the Atlanta Public School System. It is the goal of the NAACP to serve as a vanguard to protect the rights and resources of Atlanta’s underserved neighborhoods and minority citizens. The Atlanta Branch opposes the closing of public schools located in historically underserved communities governed by the Atlanta Board of Education. The current proposal of the superintendent and demographers [has] brought forth cause for the Atlanta Branch to respond to these plans with positive intent and purposeful objection. The ramifications of the given proposal and its effect on the overall growth and development of the Atlanta community are devastating. The proposal sends an unsavory message to parents and communities and sets a damaging precedent for managing public school facilities amid demographic and population shifts across the city.

The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP believes that there are more appropriate and suitable alternatives than the proposed number of school closures. Additionally we are also asking that Coretta Scott King and Best Academy be open to students district-wide so the student population at Douglass High School does not continue to be drained by the existence of King and Best Academy. Also, the magnet program concept should be re-instituted at Douglass, Therrell and Washington high schools, thus ensuring stronger populations of students from neighborhoods and schools across the City of Atlanta. We are last asking that you consider the elimination of the small school concept.

The Atlanta Branch is committed to the betterment of the lives of all children served by the Atlanta Board of Education. The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP will work with the Atlanta Board of Education to ensure that the quality of education for the children of Atlanta be preserved and maintained in all of the traditional and historical communities throughout our city.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

53 comments Add your comment

Inman Park Boy

March 7th, 2012
3:01 pm

Whoever wrote this could take a lesson in clarity. That aside, I understand the angst as these proud old APS schools face closure. Still, a dwindling population in the city (especially a dwindling of children) will lead inevitably to the closing of unnecessary facilities. Which ones to close? Aye, there’s the rub. I leave that to the judgment of the professionals in the APS.

Beverly Fraud

March 7th, 2012
3:10 pm

I would say the NAACP’s credibility on this issue is in DIRECT PROPORTION to their called for accountability on the part of Beverly Hall, Kathy Augustine, LaChandra Butler-Burks and crowd during THE largest cheating scandal in United States educational history?

In other words, pretty much zero.

carlosgvv

March 7th, 2012
3:16 pm

For all their protests in the past about segregation, it looks like they want a number of all black schools to stay open and continue to be all black. If that’s the case, their hyprocisy is beyond belief.

catlady

March 7th, 2012
3:23 pm

APS to NAACP: Put your money where your mouth is! Subsidize keeping these schools open!

Beverly Fraud

March 7th, 2012
3:27 pm

The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP is committed to the maintenance and improvement of all schools in the Atlanta Public School System.

Really? And that’s why you were so vocal during the cheating scandal?

Sorry, on matters involving what’s best for students in Atlanta, your credibility is ZERO.

NONPC

March 7th, 2012
3:29 pm

Keeping open schools that do not have the population to support them robs money (system wide) from the actual purpose of schools, teaching, and from the taxpayer’s pockets. How nice of the NAACP to want to spend less on teaching the children, and to take money from taxpayers in order to support the NAACP’s racist agenda.

Csoby

March 7th, 2012
3:50 pm

Wonder of the NAACP will advance the parents responsibility act or just stir the pudding like they always do claiming racism etc. Time for them to a take stock at what they have done to the black race and start correcting their actions. oops that would be a racist statement now would it not..But appropriate for the NAACP – keeop those folks on the plantation..

Ashley

March 7th, 2012
4:14 pm

I didn’t hear a peep out of the NAACP when the cheating was going on……so know this organization runs in to try and save the day. You fought long and hard for intergration in the 50’s and 60’s, but it appears that most school in the city of Atlanta like being consider minority schools which is just wrong. As ususal the NAACP thinks they are speaking on be-half of the minority children when in reality its publicity you are seeking. Where was the NAACP when teen-gang members are vandalizing and terrorizing minority neighborhoods, where were they when all the violence at Westlake High-School broke out this past year. How many of members in your organization are vocal when it comes to teen-pregnancy, drop-outs and dead-beat fathers. Yes the NAACP is doing what best for the students……absolutely nothing.

Beverly Fraud is Right

March 7th, 2012
4:44 pm

I am apalled that the NAACP took the time to step in when a school is being closed but stood by silently while Beverly Hall and her thugs stole, cheated, lied and robbed all of Atlanta’s children out of an education.

The NAACP lost all credibility for me when they did that. NAACP=epic failure and zero credibility, just as Beverly Fraud says.

GM

Follow Through

March 7th, 2012
4:49 pm

NAACP is a business … it needs “issues” to survive monetarily.

Raquel Morris

March 7th, 2012
4:50 pm

As the other posters mentioned, the NAACP has yet to say a word about the 10+ years our children were robbed of their one best shot at a quality public education. Not a word.

skipper

March 7th, 2012
5:06 pm

NAACP has outlived its usefulness. It should be instead preaching responsibility, etc. Of course there were past injustices, but does the organization truly think with today’s thug culture and breakdown of family that they should be concentrating on anything else? Start with the real core problem and work your way out……don’t just be a publicity seeking entity with no conpass.

skipper

March 7th, 2012
5:16 pm

Thats “compass”……..sorry.

tony

March 7th, 2012
5:54 pm

I CANT BELIEVE PEOPLE CARE WHAT THE NAACP THINKS!! THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION IS A JOKE AND THE PEOPLE WHO RUN IT ARE NOT THE SMARTEST GROUP OF PEOPLE

Veteran Observer

March 7th, 2012
6:16 pm

The NAACP has made themselves irrelevant! Of course the Obama administration’s “justice department” is almost as bad and irrelevant with their disregard for the law! With their announcement yesterday that black and brown students are being disciplined at a higher rate than white students they have transformed themselves into a tool of the NAACP! The NAACP has been trying to blackmail school systems with this club for years! The school systems are color-blind when it comes to discipline completely! They discipline bad behavior not color and to attempt to mitigate bad behavior because of race is completely wrong and a disservice to all the students! As one of the earlier posters put it, the NAACP would again earn some credibility in the community if it would address some of the issues in the minority community and insist on personal responsibility as opposed to continually making excuses and blaming others for bad behavior. Just go down to Greenbriar Mall on a Saturday night and observe the behavior exhibited by our young people and ask yourself if you would put up with this in a classroom or academic setting! Enough of this, fix yourselves NAACP and maybe just maybe some one will listen to what you have to say in the future! The community and the school board have to make decisions in the best interests of ALL the students, not just a few!!!!

Lee

March 7th, 2012
6:19 pm

I’m wondering when Maureen will post something from the NAAWP? Fair and balanced reporting, isn’t that what the AJC’s new CEO said?

Shar

March 7th, 2012
6:24 pm

The schools that Davis intends to close are vastly underused and the demographers’ projections only show them losing incremental students. If the NAACP is “asking that you consider the elimination of the small school concept”, they need to take a look at the figures and decide how the taxpayers’ money is best used to educate the populations with shrinking enrollment.

KIM

March 7th, 2012
6:37 pm

Dear NAACP: Why don’t you get out of APS with regard to this topic? You were not interested when the students were abused by fraud. Why is this of interest? Take your pitiful lack of leadership home.

Raquel Morris

March 7th, 2012
6:37 pm

@Shar, I completely agree. The NAACP can hardly justify the effectiveness of this small school model, since many of these underpopulated schools are also our worse performers!

Kirk

March 7th, 2012
7:01 pm

The NAACP in Atlanta has absolutely no credibility. How exactly can they call on APS to do the right thing especially after their 2010 officer elections where hundreds of people were turned away from voting and election guidelines were set aside to guarantee the re-election of the long time chapter president? For the first time in history, membership has dwindled well below 1,000 members, and they haven’t held a regular membership meeting in several months–and no, meetings of the Executive Committee (a//k/a Executive Board) doesn’t count. And besides, where exactly has the NAACP been throughout the entire APS crisis? Take care of your own internal mess and then worry about APS.

Don't Tread

March 7th, 2012
7:14 pm

I’m sure the NAACP will scream “discrimination” at this trial. Persecuted by the system…they had the right to do it. Grew up underprivileged….blah blah blah.

Teacher Reader

March 7th, 2012
11:33 pm

Wish the NAACP would speak up about the poor quality of education our children are receiving, the cheating that has taken place, the policies that do not challenge students and lower the standards for students, the administrators with little teaching experience and bought degrees, the lack of discipline in our schools, and so on….

The NAACP is just one more black oraganization that keeps the black children down.

Denise

March 7th, 2012
11:38 pm

I understand why the NAACP is trying to get involved. Someone had to ask for their support on this matter. A person that saw that their voice would not be heared unless they gained support from a group that would guarantee attention. Through your posts, they have accomplished exactly what they wanted. Some of you need to visit the schools that are being recommended for closure. ALL are not so under enrolled. The design of the schools have designated certain areas as classrooms, but may have been used for other purposes. These schools are located in areas that have constant transient students. That does not mean the school always has low enrollment.

During this entire process, Atlanta residents have been voicing their opinions on what needs to be done. It is the comments that have been posted from people that have created an uncomfortable race issue in this process. Anyone can decipher between the vague language and understand the true reasons why certain groups do not want the schools to be effected by these changes. This proposal of school closures will keep schools from intergrating more. Cutting out special transfers to keep students in their clusters will segregate schools even more. We do not have the diversity throughout Atlanta Public Schools that should be seen in the city of Atlanta. These changes will keep students in one area, cutting out the opportunity to interact with students outside of their neighborhoods in a school setting. Try to read all of the documents and the superintendent’s proposal. Look through the lense of the parent or student that is directly affected by the school closures and see if you could understand why they are so angered. You were angered when they only suggested boundary changes for your schools. These students will be totally removed from their educational environment and placed in a new one. One that might not be as fulfilling as the one they have been used to at their current school. There is something wrong with this proposal. There are some underlying factors in the most recent proposal that made extreme revsions to the previous suggestions created by the demographers.

Jack

March 8th, 2012
5:57 am

The NAACP lost it’s credibility long ago. Close the schools and get on with trying to eductate the children. The children and parents will just have to adapt to the new arrangements.

Sharon Pitts must Go

March 8th, 2012
7:05 am

I love Beverly Fraud…don’t every stop!

Gabrielle

March 8th, 2012
7:11 am

I cannot comprehend the request. A perfect analogy is that if a business is losing customers, the fact is that it would no longer be cost-effective to keep the business open. If a business was not successful, the business would close also due to a lack of funds.. We are in the business of education.
No more said!!! It is what it is.

Doris M.

March 8th, 2012
7:20 am

I don’t understand why the NAACP wants taxpayers to continue to fund under enrolled schools. What sense does that make? I know school closings/changes is a sore subjects to parents/neighborhoods, but what must be done MUST be done. To be a really efficient school system, APS needs to close more than 13 schools.

Van Jones

March 8th, 2012
7:21 am

NAACP – helping spend other peoples’ money for 100 years.

Mountain Man

March 8th, 2012
7:23 am

So what does the NAACP say about black people killing other black people. Hmmm…I thought so.

Wondering Allowed

March 8th, 2012
8:16 am

Many of the schools scheduled to close are underused because of the failures of APS. Many of these neighborhoods do not have dwindling populations; rather, they have charter schools that have figured out how to be successful where APS has failed. Mr. Davis is rearranging chair on the Titanic. Any competent leader would be concentrating on the horrible teaching environment, trying to win back those students, rather than accepting the incompetence and adjusting based on the assumption that the incompetence will continue.

Mr. Davis should be ashamed of himself. Rather than be concerned about the future of the children he is supposed to educate, he seems more concerned with keeping the people on the North Side in their pure schools and planning on the continued failure for the students on the South Side. The cluster idea is a cluster ****.

Bruce

March 8th, 2012
8:40 am

NAACP. Teaching people it’s not who you are or might become that’s important. It’s what you look like and what someone else owes you that really matters.

frustrated APS mom

March 8th, 2012
8:45 am

What do you mean by “pure schools” on the North Side?

Hamilton

March 8th, 2012
8:50 am

Please stay with the Cherokee County story. The vindictive efforts of the legislative delegation to oust by redistricting 2 school board members is one of the more egregious abuses of legislative power.

Shar

March 8th, 2012
9:23 am

@Wondering Allowed: Morningside, SPARK, Lin, Rivers, Garden Hills, Sutton, Inman, Grady and North Atlanta are far more diverse than any of the schools slated for closure. Please check your facts before throwing out incendiary and completely unfounded slurs.

liberalefty

March 8th, 2012
9:32 am

it seems most of you folks hate the NAACP…and i bet 99% of you are white, and i know thats no coincidence now is it

C Jae of EAV

March 8th, 2012
9:46 am

Its quite interesting to see the NAACP weighing in at this late stage. If ever there was an example of mal-investment this is it. Tens of millions to build 2 new schools (BEST & CS King) that were already being housed comfortably in existing APS property and then to situate both new buildings with 2 miles of an existing high school that itself had already under gone a multi-million dollar facelift to serve what the APS board knew would was a dwindling student population.

Really?? Hello?? Anybody Home?? Enough with this non-sense!!! The unfortunate thing is given the level of investment, APS is almost forced to keep all 3 schools open. Even if you open enrollment to CS King & BEST citywide (which I thought they were already), its not likely to attract the attention of families where the overcrowding problems are the worst. If APS is not prepared zone students to BEST & CS KING I don’t suspect their respective student populations will rise much over where they are now.

@Beverly Fraud – Ditto your 03/07/12 15:27 pm comments !!!

drew (former teacher)

March 8th, 2012
2:06 pm

“The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP is committed to the maintenance and improvement of all schools in the Atlanta Public School System.”

That’s very commendable! Now, as Catlady suggested, they need to put their money where their mouth is, and subsidize these schools they’re so “committed” to. I won’t be holding my breathe.

C Jae of EAV

March 8th, 2012
2:49 pm

@ Wondering Allowed – Your statement regarding charter school proliferation vs population decline is half truth. Many of the neighborhoods in the eastern portion of the district haven’t grown significantly as much as the demographics have turned over. On the western portion of the district the population has aged and simply not been infused by families with school age children in equal measure. Surely if we’re looking back over the last 10 years we also have to acknowledge the impact of the Atlanta Housing Authorities demantling of public housing has had a profound impact on the decline in APS student population equal to if not greater than the advent of charter schools within the district.

C Jae of EAV

March 8th, 2012
2:52 pm

@ Denise – The level of diversity in APS is largely driven by where families deside to live. I think it would be bit counterproductive to gerrymander school zones in an effort to drive diversity beyond how it will naturaly occur subject to the aforementioned.

I do believe the concept of middle/high schools that allow for citywide enrollment is not a bad one. Even in that circumstance quite frankly there are some physical locations where some families simply WILL NOT send their kids due to the perception of the area where the school resides.

AlreadySheared

March 8th, 2012
3:16 pm

“It is the goal of the NAACP to serve as a vanguard to protect the rights and resources of Atlanta’s underserved neighborhoods and minority citizens.”

Can you play the race card on a black school superintendent in a city with black mayor? That’s against the rules, isn’t it?

another comment

March 8th, 2012
6:56 pm

Hey your kid can’t get a football schoolarship out of Grady or North Atlanta. Unless his gardian becomes the North Atlanta coach. I don’t know how many kids the GHAC is going to let the North Atlanta Coach become the legal guardian for. After the much publicized Saban snub.

another comment

March 8th, 2012
6:58 pm

But then the rest of the Atlanta Schools don’t even go on High Q on Channel 2. Even though some of the rural schools do and have their lunch eaten by the private schools, and the likes of Walton’s Asian team.

rational thinker

March 9th, 2012
6:44 am

Is this the same outfit that had two former staff members charged with stealing over $200,000 in chapter funds for personal expenses like dental work and pet care and then got nothing but a mere slap on the wrist? Where were the public statements then? Also “liberallefty” your charge about only white people hating the NAACP doesn’t hold water. There’s lots of blacks in the community that simply hate the actions or rather the inaction of the Atlanta NAACP. They’ve always been a day late and a dollar short on most issues. Who actually wrote this statement to APS by the way? And did they even bother with having a special meeting after the APS report was released to discuss a strategy? I don’t remember hearing anything when APS announced the public hearings when this process began so why now?

Mountain Man

March 9th, 2012
7:28 am

“it seems most of you folks hate the NAACP…and i bet 99% of you are white, and i know thats no coincidence now is it”

I would like them a lot beter if they changed their name to the “National Association for Equality of Colored People”

If there was a “National Association for the Advancement of White People”, I would guess that most of the people who would be against it would be colored.

Mountain Man

March 9th, 2012
7:52 am

Just a curiosity – how much effort does the NAACP expend for improving the lot of Mexicans in America – since they are “colored”?

liberalefty

March 9th, 2012
10:54 am

mountain man

i gues u have to take things in context…when the NAACP started it was ok to publicly hang a black person for anything..so i think they used “COLORED” BECAUSE it was coloreds(blacks} who were at the bootheel of white christians….but u knew that anyway, u just dont like them because theyre a black organization

liberalefty

March 9th, 2012
10:55 am

mountain man

why dont u ask them if they helped MEXICANS…but u dont care u just wanna denigrate them because theyre a black organization..

liberalefty

March 9th, 2012
10:57 am

mountain man

their is a NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of WHITE PEOPLE…its called WHITE PRIVILEGE

Eddie G

March 9th, 2012
1:33 pm

@ liberalefty………HUKED ON FONICS IS UR FREND.

Ed Johnson

March 9th, 2012
2:39 pm

@Mountain Man,

Frankly, I’d love to see a NAAWP. It might even be an effective mirror for the NAACP, so prompt reflection. I’d also like to see 100 White Men. And a UWCF. And… well, you get the picture.

I cut lose the NAACP years ago, having tired of their dragging “colored” people into detrimental habits of consumerism at the expense of “advancement.”

That said, the NAACP is spot on to call out APS on the proposed school closings and redistricting mess.