Drew Charter School will get to open its high school

As I predicted yesterday, Drew Charter School did win approval for a new high school despite the initial opposition of APS school chief Erroll Davis.

The charter school’s parents and the school’s passionate backers staged an aggressive campaign to persuade the school board that a Drew high school was justified despite the 6,000 empty high school seats in the Atlanta system.

According to the AJC:

Drew plans to open the 200,000-square-foot high school in 2013-14 with 100 freshmen. It would add one class per year until the school reaches 600 students in 2023. The school was slated to be approved for a five-year charter.

“We’re delighted with the approval of our expansion and our high school, and we’re happy to renew in five years,” said Cynthia Kuhlman, chairwoman of the board of Drew Charter School Inc. “We’re excited about the good job we’re doing, so we wanted to be able to offer the program to more children.”

Davis originally opposed the high school and enrollment expansion, but he reversed his position Monday with a few caveats. Davis wanted Drew to receive a five-year charter rather than 10, to which the board agreed. But Davis recommended the school add only 200 students in early grades for the next three years.

Drew has not been aggressive enough in recent years at recruiting students from the Villages of East Lake, a nearby mixed-income community the school was created to serve, Davis said. As a result, the school’s demographics have become more affluent. He proposed a check in three years before allowing the school to further expand its enrollment.

“My concern is if we are going to break the cycle of poverty, there should be impoverished kids in the building,” Davis said. “And there should be a check for that.”

Drew opened 12 years ago as Atlanta’s first charter. About 1,100 students are enrolled in the school’s birth-through-eighth-grade program, a holistic education approach that’s helped revitalize Atlanta’s once-derelict East Lake neighborhood. State data show the school has more black and low-income students meeting or exceeding state standards than any other school in the district.

After a long debate about whether the expansion would hurt efforts to revitalize other schools in east Atlanta, school board members voted to allow Drew to add about 400 elementary and middle students as requested.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

149 comments Add your comment

Shar

July 10th, 2012
8:06 am

An appalling waste of money. APS cannot afford to sustain a 600-seat boutique high school (that won’t even reach space projections until 2023) with wasted space in the high schools surrounding it. If the Drew model is so successful, it should not be kept for the select few who gain admittance. It should be put in place at Jackson as a school-within-a-school with teachers trading techniques with non-charter teachers.

APS is broke and is paring down opportunities for students in traditional schools. Supporting faculty, facilities, equipment etc. for this few number of students is inefficient and discriminates against the remaining student population.

A knee-jerk decision in response to political pressure from the Drew community, which apparently doesn’t want to associate with the unculled mass of APS students. More cowardice by the Board.and a disappointing waste of tax dollars.

Eduktr

July 10th, 2012
8:07 am

Well, as a public school it will add some much needed competition within the public school system.

EduKtr

July 10th, 2012
8:13 am

If innovative thinking that makes a difference is going to emerge, it will do so from the non-traditional sector: http://www.economist.com/node/21558265

Another ANCS

July 10th, 2012
8:21 am

Its great to have another pseudo private school in southeast atlanta. At least now all the middle class families and APS administrators and Board members will have somewhere to send their kids while the percentage of low SES kids the school was CREATED TO SERVE will continue to decrease.

HoneyFern School

July 10th, 2012
8:31 am

We need to stop thinking of educational opportunities as a finite pie that gets smaller as other opportunities arrive and instead consider the benefits of different models for different kids.

The main issues are: is the school actually open to all (and actively recruiting all) so it does not become just another elitist institution and does it actually educate kids in an innovative way? If it does these things, leave it alone and let it stand or fall on these principles. Voting it down as a knee-jerk reaction against charters will get education nowhere. We need innovative models and better schooling options that are free from politics and profiteering.

old school doc

July 10th, 2012
8:32 am

Let’s please continue to highly recruit the students from the immediate area around Drew. THese are the kids that could really benefit from all that the school can offer. And this will serve to counterbalance all the well-off Drew students from Wieland Homes/Guilford Forest who will do well wherever they go. The school is, after all, open to all APS students, not just the well connected.

Enough

July 10th, 2012
8:44 am

I support the idea of charter schools and school choice, BUT I do not support the charter schools in se atlanta who purport to be serving low SES kids and serving a student population representative of their diverse communities while their schools are just becoming essentially free private schools for mostly white middle class and upper middle class families who dont want their kids exposed to the low SES kids in their communities. Maureen, you really need to write a column on this issue.

Atlanta Mom

July 10th, 2012
8:57 am

The school is 93% black and 74% free and reduced lunch, so I’m not what the basis is for some of these comments. http://archives.gadoe.org/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&SchoolId=36252&T=1&FY=2011

living in an outdated ed system

July 10th, 2012
9:01 am

I will only eat some crow, not all of it. I am pleasantly surprised that Davis reversed his position. I understand his “caveats,” and the thing I am most worried about is that he reduced the charter from 10 years to 5. That means there will be, at a minimum, only two graduating classes to measure achievement from.

We’ll just have to see whether APS works behind the scenes to make it as hard as possible for Drew to recruit students and do what it needs to do.

On its face, this is nonetheless a very positive step for public charter schools. However, it doesn’t change the fact that APS will still be facing a great deal of public and legal pressure to defend its charter school funding practices, especially in light of what it did to force Tech High to close.

d

July 10th, 2012
9:01 am

Are they going to have the same issues as Tech High where the students said they didn’t want the small school?

Atlanta Mom

July 10th, 2012
9:04 am

From Maureen’s column on July 6 about Tech High
“One persistent problem with charter high schools nationwide is that teens want a larger social pool and wider opportunities than many start-up charters can provide.”
This is what concerns me. The parents may want this cocoon for their children, but I wonder what the 16 year olds will want.

living in an outdated ed system

July 10th, 2012
9:04 am

And @Maureen, there’s a simple solution to solve your problem about the empty seats in APS. The answer is to let Drew be run independently and become the poster child for the constitution amendment allowing state-supported public charter schools. Even with this favorable outcome, I can assure you that in the long-run, public charter schools will never be sustainable when being managed “exclusively” by local school boards. Monopolies cannot successfully manage competitive school designs.

Enough

July 10th, 2012
9:06 am

@atlanta mom – where are you getting those stats? I guarantee that the 2011-2012 school population or the 2012-13 incoming population does not reflect that.

Enough

July 10th, 2012
9:08 am

Nevermind – those are from 2010-11 just as i thought.

Roger K.

July 10th, 2012
9:23 am

Shar,

Do you bother to read anything Drew supporters type in response to your ranting drivel? It’s been proven that this is actually saving APS money. We have more than a mountain of evidence to prove that we are still fulfilling our mission to serve the kids who we are supposed to be served.

Are you an APS teacher? Maybe an APS administrator? Is that why you are scared and hostile? You are the quintessential APS crawfish: watching someone escape from the boiling pot is just too much for you to take, so you have to pull them back in.

Those of you who keep trying to hammer home these lies are something else. I hate to bring you back down to Earth, but just because you are saying these things over and over and louder than everyone else doesn’t make them true.

Revashayne

July 10th, 2012
9:31 am

Enough, perhaps you’ve noticed that’s the most recent data available on the DOE site…2011-2012 isn’t posted yet. Having had a student at Drew for that year and for 2011-2012, I can assure you if the percentages changed at all, the differences are slight. It’s laughable to me someone could characterize Drew as “becoming essentially free private schools for mostly white middle class and upper middle class families who dont want their kids exposed to the low SES kids in their communities.” Anyone who has ever visited Drew would find that assertion amusing at best, and offensive at worst.

Roger K.

July 10th, 2012
9:37 am

Another ANCS- I might as well address you and call out your crap while I’m at it.

The enrollment stats don’t lie. We can PROVE that we are serving our tier 1 priorities. After that, enrollment is open. That’s always been the policy.

Quick question for you: Where was this criticism two years ago? No one gave a crap about what was going on at Drew as recently as two years ago. They were going about their business and we were just the freaks on the periphery. Meanwhile APS is beginning a long and complicated unraveling. My guess is that at some point you realized what was going on and now you’re stuck on our waiting list.

Roger K.

July 10th, 2012
9:50 am

Another interesting number for some of you: Do you know how many white students are at Drew middle school academy? I’ll give you a hint: you could take one hand, and cut off four fingers, and still count them.

That’s right: 1. O-N-E. So here’s an interesting question for some of you: All of those white middle school kids that live in Kirkwood aren’t at Drew, and a lot of them are not at Coan, either. So where are they? They’re in private school. Why don’t some of you Drew haters take them to task for being the hypocrites they are? All talk, no walk.

I’ll hang up and listen.

Concerned East Lake citizen

July 10th, 2012
10:07 am

As a member of the East Lake Community, I do know Drew only accepts the best and brightest from the neighborhood.Many students are put out of the school for behavior problems and most are not accepted because of low academic performance. So yes, Drew’s enrollment does consist of many students with low SES. However they are the best behaved and the brightest students. All of the students Drew has rejected are forced to attend the other schools in the area like East Lake and Toomer..

EdProf1

July 10th, 2012
10:11 am

@ Shar: Regarding your comment about the Drew model being “kept secret” and the recommendation that it be “put in place” at Jackson. What Drew does cannot be packaged and simply transplanted into a different building…and there’s no secret. It’s about the culture, community, and commitment of Drew teachers and families – if Maynard or other APS schools want to make the sort of investments Drew has, fantastic. Drew has been at this for a decade and its HS expansion plans, including its own capital campaign to fund the new high school, predate APS’s demographic study and ensuing redistricting by several years. Rather than demean their efforts as a “waste of tax dollars” or a “knee-jerk reaction”, we should be celebrating and learning from their success.

@Atlanta Mom: Certainly a valid concern regarding the Tech High issue; however, it’s pretty clear that Drew is not a “start-up” charter and that, despite a small student body, they intend to offer a broad range of opportunities to their students.

@HoneyFern: I agree. If the Drew model is innovative and working, let them do their thing. FYI – Among many innovative things going on at Drew right now is their adoption of the STEAM model…imagine a school that successfully integrates the arts into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. In a climate where many elementary students don’t receive quality instruction in either the arts or in science, the fact that Drew is making the integration of these areas a priority is pretty damn innovative.

Mary Elizabeth

July 10th, 2012
10:20 am

About a public school innovative design for improvement, while saving tax payer dollars by incorporating the innovative instructional design within the already existing public high school building. . . .

During the 1990s, the suburban high school in DeKalb, where I was a teacher, created a “Ninth Grade Academy” within the existing high school building. All ninth grade students were tested on the Nelson Reading Test, in-house, in order to determine their reading scores in vocabulary and comprehension grade level equivalents. Those reading scores, for every 9th grade student, were compiled and shared with all 9th grade teachers. A special instructional model was designed for improving the reading abilities of those students reading significantly below 9th grade level. All teachers were trained in how to incorporate reading-in-the content-area techniques within their varied instructional curricula. Other programs, in addition to reading programs, were established just for the students in the Ninth Grade Academy. As I recall, these Ninth Grade Academy students were on a separate schedule from the 10th through 12th grade students within the high school. Ninth Grade Academy teachers met regularly, in their own informal meetings, to assess, frequently, the advancement of all 9th grade students. Some team teaching was incorporated in certain classrooms by these Ninth Grade Academy teachers. Paraprofessionals were utilized to lower pupil-teacher ratio and to carry out special instruction for certain students who had specialized need.

This is just one example of how the “school within a school” model might improve traditional public education, without depleting funds for additional school buildings, school maintenance, utilities, etc.

Proud Teacher

July 10th, 2012
10:20 am

Why can’t this same theory and method be placed in a regular public high school? Why must we further separate the enrollments? On one hand, there is mandatory mainstreaming. On the other hand, there is separation for a select few students. Why can’t there be a public school which houses all of these so that so many services and sources can be shared?

Grady HS parent

July 10th, 2012
10:27 am

The comments regarding keeping Drew kids insulated rings quite true with me – just not the race part; the issue is social class/expectations not skin color. My kid goes to Grady HS (dink); she’s reported favorably about the educational caliber of the Drew kids (ie – non-white/not Inman kids who are in school to actually learn, comport themselves well, are interesting to hang out with, etc). [As an aside, i wonder if those lower socio-econ. parents who send their kids to Drew with high expectations have a better personal educational history than parents from the same income bracket who have no expectations of their kids and no interest in their educational experience, so to speak]

Phunnie that as soon as Drew got kicked outa Grady by the intown pta junta and so sent packing to dear ol’ Southside (which to me desperately needs all the high performing kids it can lay its hands on if its going to become the next Grady of a high performing core in a sea of not-so-much) that Drew screeches to become k-12 so’s they don’t have to go there (rather than banding together with Coan to make Southside the next Grady)… Drew learned well (how to screen out the ones you don’t want) from eating from the hand that turned around and slapped them~

I see this as bad news for the long-term prospects for Southside; creating a core of decent education there is now going to rest solely on the backs of Coan parents.

Frustrated Taxpayer

July 10th, 2012
10:28 am

@Another ANCS: You raise a great point. It would be very interesting to see where APS central office administrators send their children.

While I’m shocked that the board voted for a Drew HS, I am hopeful that the project will bolster that community and its students. I also admire the district (NOW THAT’S A FIRST) for requiring Drew to enroll more students from the Villages at East Lake.

Tonya C.

July 10th, 2012
10:30 am

I just don’t get the rancor over this issue. Drew is a performing school. They are so because of a committed community and school culture of excellence. They want the chance to extend that to the high school level where it is desperately needed. Transplanting the school and its innovations to an in-place APS high school won’t work due to APS culture.

Every time something like this is posted, the question is asked why don’t the parents just make the local school better. To answer that, we must be honest about the work and time necessary, and whether a few can change the culture and thought-process of so many apathetic souls.

Formerteacher

July 10th, 2012
10:31 am

EdProf1- you state that the Drew model cannot be transplanted, yet the STEAM model is certainly something that could be used in other schools. Yes, the commitment from the staff and families is critical, but why not offer the program at Jackson (or anywhere else, for that matter)? Again I’ll ask, why can’t we make these innovations available at all schools, not just charters? There is nothing magical about a charter school. I keep coming back to the idea that parents want something “special” for their kids, so letting other schools in on the fun would make their school less “special.”

Jarod Apperson

July 10th, 2012
10:35 am

Why should Drew be reprimanded for attracting an economically diverse set of students? The surrounding area is very diverse. I think the fact that schools like Drew and Toomer have been able to attract a mix of students that mirrors the community is a positive thing. When a school is 99% economically disadvantaged or 0% economically disadvantaged that is a cause for concern. The fact that Drew has some students who are disadvantaged and some who aren’t is a benefit for all it’s students.

http://gradingatlanta.tumblr.com/post/26904135630/diversity-at-drew-charter-school

Yeah right

July 10th, 2012
10:37 am

News flash Roger k, there are few if any middle class white or black kids who live in the primary or secondary enrollment zones. And this is not a race issue, it’s a socioeconomic issue. Why don’t you give us the stats for the prek and kindergarten classes? Or how about the early learning academy at the YMCA that feeds drew? The approved expansion of 400 kids in the lower grades is more than half the amount of kids enrolled at the public schools in the primary and secondary enrollment zones. If only 20-25% of drew’s enrollment comes from the villages why the need for expansion? That doesn’t sound like they are committed to serving their primary objective of serving those kids.

Intowner

July 10th, 2012
10:38 am

Concerned East Lake citizen raises an interesting issue. I concede that I don’t know the facts here. But if Drew is a public school, what right do they have to reject *any* applicants from their priority geographic area? I’m just asking, I don’t know how that works. I’d like very much to applaud the success at Drew, but if it is based on weeding out the more challenged kids from Day 1… well… that makes it difficult for me to do so.

ELLisa

July 10th, 2012
10:40 am

The development of a Drew High School, was not a knee jerk reaction to the redistricting as alluded to by Grady HS Parent. It has actually been in the works for quite some time. The purpose behind the high school is a simple one. Drew has been tracking their 8th grade graduates and have found that only 75% were graduating High school. They implemented special programming (Crew Teens) to help these kids through their high school years, but even with that program in place the graduation rate was approx 75%. Honestly, that’s not good enough. What’s the point of all of this hard work and success if at the end 25% of the kids still aren’t graduating high school. Drew thinks that they can do better and that cradle to college is the way to go. As an east lake resident and a drew parent…I am hopeful. Also, I read in prior comments some allegations of screening out the kids you don’t want…not true. Kids are accepted to Drew by where they live. #1 Villages of East Lake #2 East Lake and Kirkwood and #3 APS in general. Within each tier the kids are accepted by lottery. I have been through the process and I know this to be true! Any suggestion otherwise is insulting and plain wrong.

Atlanta Mom

July 10th, 2012
10:42 am

The comments from Concerned East Lake citizen are disconcerting. If this school is cherry picking its students, the subsequent results can not be duplicated in a traditional school.
Also, it seem to me, once a charter school receives funding for a student, they should be required to educate that student for the entire year. No sending a student back to his/her zone school for bad behavior.

Atlanta Mom

July 10th, 2012
10:49 am

ELLisa,
Can you share with us what percentage of students are allocated to each tier? Does each tier get one third?

Jarod Apperson

July 10th, 2012
10:52 am

@Atlanta Mom, my understanding of the tiered system is that all applicants from Tier 1 are accepted. Then, if additional spaces remain, all applicants from Tier 2 are accepted, and so on.

Shar

July 10th, 2012
10:55 am

Roger K: Substituting personal attacks for evidence is unconvincing. The per-student funding numbers that Drew supporters like to put out are only the figures that the school receives from APS directly. They do not include costs like pension benefits for teachers, administrative costs, facilities maintenance, allocations for special ed students, professional development and the myriad other costs associated with running a district. The per-student costs that Drew likes to compare their funding to do include those costs, so of course Drew looks less expensive on a per-student basis. It is not.

Investing in Drew is only cost effective for the taxpayers of Atlanta for two reasons: The charter amendments that are in effect serve as a laboratory for how to improve system-side student achievement, and the students currently there are better served. If the model relies upon additional funding that is not available to the rest of the APS student body, the current students may benefit but the experiment is of no value to the broader public which is paying for it. If, as other posters have said and as Errol Davis indicated last night, the model also depends upon selecting those students who are most likely to succeed regardless of the educational model in place, the experiment is doubly questionable. I have not looked into Drew’s recruitment and explusion practices personally so I do not know whether or not the students are indeed hand-picked (and, in response to your random and unfounded accusations, no I am not employed by APS and am in fact a strong critic) but I can attest to the fact that Drew receives extra funding and support from corporations and from other donors that is not available to other schools in the district, as well as per-pupil public spending that is inefficient in comparison to the district’s larger schools. There is no way that embedded costs at a small school can be scaled as efficiently, and with the district in a fiscal strategy that requires the greatest possible efficiency Drew’s model is not expandable.

The school-within-a-school model was outright rejected by Drew, and I have never understood why. If Jackson is to be invested in and has more than enough space to accommodate Drew students, and if Drew students are benefiting from a system that supporters claim is uniquely successful in the low-SES community that Jackson serves, why should that system not be modelled in the larger Jackson community? Why does Drew need to sequester their small population (that will not even reach projections until 2023) in a separate school on a golf course instead of providing the value that taxpayers have invested to achieve to a larger audience?

Bottom line, Drew has succeeded with its current students but apparently in a way that is neither replicable nor affordable and is therefore not expandable, as evidenced by Drew’s refusal to even try to incorporate it into Jackson. It does not, therefore, deliver value for the investment to the breadth of APS taxpayers who pay for it, and should not have received additional funding.

old school doc

July 10th, 2012
10:57 am

Look at Drew’s website for the admissions policy. EL Villages students are third in line for enrollment, behind returning students and their siblings. If the school is full of returning students and their sibs, then neighborhood kids will be turned away, or put on the waiting list.

Yeah right

July 10th, 2012
10:59 am

For the record, I have no problem with the Drew High School – they have a model that is working and want to continue it through high school – completely understandable. It’s the lower grades expansion that is the problem. East Lake Elementary has already become a casualty to Drew’s increasing enrollment. After the expansion, will Toomer and Coan also follow suit? I don’t have a problem with competition and having more than one choice for education in our neighborhoods. But to expand enrollment in an area that is suffering from under-enrolled public schools and not for the purpose of including more kids from the primary zone (only increasing to 25% next year) which the school and the East Lake Foundation continue to maintain is their 1st priority is really suspect.

Shar

July 10th, 2012
11:08 am

The other per-student costs that Drew prefers not to include are the donor contributions. Those very significant additional dollars increase the per-student costs substantially, and while that is great for Drew kids it means that the program is not replicable within the public school universe.

Yeah right

July 10th, 2012
11:09 am

Old School doc, you are right on the money. The sibling issue is a big one, especially in these areas where there are a ton of babies and toddlers. Most of the kids from EL and Kwd that are attending Drew in prek and K are the oldest children in their families. I feel quite sure this is what has happened at ANCS and has resulted in a much less diverse student population in the lower grades. To think the same won’t happen at Drew is delusional.

Understanding Atlanta

July 10th, 2012
11:13 am

While it would be nice for Drew to have no choice but to accept all students regardless of discipline or low academic performance. That’s what makes charter a perceived better choice, they have the ability to screen it’s students. What draws parents albeit parents who are a bit more involved are looking for is the discipline charter schools offer. They don’t have to tolerate the discipline problems that resident schools have.

A better starting point is how to address discipline in schools. This is the key to better schools across the board without changing teachers or curriculum. I was in public school about 10 years ago and my teachers had control of their classrooms along with a somewhat supportive administration that didn’t tolerate classroom disruptions. Disturbing a class carried more punishment than creating a disturbance in the cafeteria. DISCIPLINE is what needs to be addressed.

ELLisa

July 10th, 2012
11:15 am

Jarod and Old School are right about Drew’s admission policies. They do take returning students siblings first. Then Tier 1 is EL villages. If there are any spots open Tier 2 students who live in East Lake and Kirkwood neighborhoods by lottery if there are more applicants than openings. The final tier is APS in general, again by lottery. Jarod is also correct that the demographics of the school are changing in major part because the neighborhood is changing. Drew is seeing this reflected in their lower grades. Drew has increased their recruiting efforts at the Villages in the hopes of securing more students from that area. YEAH RIGHT I hear your concern regarding the expansion in the lower grades. Drew needs to start increasing it’s size per grade. They’ve determined that a 600 seat high school is sustainable. Since they only have 100 students per grade now, they want to increase that to 150 per grade with a slow ramping up. I have heard that there is await list for pre-k at Toomer and Drew. If this is true I have hope that there are enough younger kids to fill Drew and Toomers elementary programs.

Atlanta Mom

July 10th, 2012
11:16 am

According to the demographic studies, Drew Elementary had 531 students, 151 of which were zoned to East Lake. http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/cms/lib/GA01000924/Centricity/Domain/45/Student%20by%20School%20Attendance%20and%20Residence.pdf

Shar

July 10th, 2012
11:22 am

EdProf1 writes, “What Drew does cannot be packaged and simply transplanted into a different building…and there’s no secret. It’s about the culture, community, and commitment of Drew teachers and families” Tonya C echoes that thought, saying “Transplanting the school and its innovations to an in-place APS high school won’t work due to APS culture.”

If supporters of any of the APS schools with significant white populations tried to justify requests for additional funding on the basis of cultural differences, they would be howled out of consideration. Differences of “culture” should not be acceptable as a rationale for special treatment.

Intowner

July 10th, 2012
11:24 am

Understanding Atlanta wrote: “They don’t have to tolerate the discipline problems that resident schools have.” Well then they shouldn’t be funded by all the taxpayers.

Understanding Atlanta

July 10th, 2012
11:27 am

Repeatable and scalable. These are words I hear all the time in business. This is what companies look for with new ideas. I’m not sure this applies with education especially k-12. I find there is a local slant on what works for a particular area. I do believe Drew works, I don’t believe a school within a school will work at Jackson because it doesn’t address the main issue Jackson and other under-performing high schools have. DISCIPLINE. Show me a school with good discipline and supportive administrators and I’ll show you a school that is turning itself around. There are no magic pills or quick fixes.

Understanding Atlanta

July 10th, 2012
11:33 am

@Intowner – Charter schools aren’t the only schools that have choices on which students it accepts. Magnet programs which I’m not sure if APS still has is a very similar idea. They have special academic requirements, stricter discipline guidelines, and can send a student back to their resident school. Still the programs are funded by taxpayer dollars and don’t have to accept everyone.

Magnet schools are the ultimate school within a school model that’s been around for years. When I was in DeKalb I was in a magnet program and saw students kicked out because of discipline problems. It would be better for each high school in APS to be a magnet school with a focus and allow students to choose their focus. At least with a magnet program a percentage of the students come from the resident population and have daily interaction with other students…but then you still need better discipline in schools

EL Mom

July 10th, 2012
11:38 am

@ Concerned East Lake citizen Your blog voice sounds familiar but a different name so I am guessing that I have asked you this before. Please please please find some way perhaps via Maureen to give me a list of people in East Lake who did not get into Drew. The school has always taken everyone until very recently. If you have EVER stepped foot into the school you would see that Drew has many children who come in performing at minimum of a couple of grade levels behind. Drew takes their task of education very seriously and spends a great deal of time and resources helping these children come up to speed.

Show me some FACTS. I can get you all the FACTS that you need.

Tonya C.

July 10th, 2012
11:40 am

Shar:

I was simply referring to the APS culture of ineptitude and bureaucracy. Not race. The level of innovation and dedication being demonstrated at Drew is what is NOT transferable. There is a real drive for the pursuit of excellence, participation from parents and community, and discipline.

Having worked in APS, class plays far more of a factor than race. Even in schools with significant white populations inside APS, there is a high if not equal black one.

EL Mom

July 10th, 2012
11:47 am

@Grady HS parent I just want to point out that Drew did not just decide this year to build a High School. There are many, many, many years or research behind this move. It has been in the pipeline for a good 5 years. The plan was not thrown together during redistricting.

EL Mom

July 10th, 2012
11:59 am

For those who do not know about the Villages of East Lake, it was founded as a mixed income community in order NOT to isolate poverty. The Villages are 50% subsidized and 50% market rate housing. IF only children from the Villages were to attend Drew then the school has the potential of being on 50% free and reduced lunch. Right now roughly 3 in 4 students is on free and reduced lunch (give or take a bit).

Further if you are not aware of the income guidelines for free and reduced lunch on which the “poverty” states are based here they are. As you will see it does not take lunch to be what some of you refer to as “middle class”. Perhaps I am out of touch but to call someone with an income slightly higher than this affluent or middle class is a stretch.

2 person family income: $20,665 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $15,130)
3 person family income: $27,991 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $19,090)
4 person family income: $35,317 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $23,050)
5 person family income: $42,643 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $27,010)
6 person family income: $49,969 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $30,970)
7 person family income: $64,621 (Federal Poverty Guideline: $34,930))

My info come from the USDA: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-23/pdf/2012-7036.pdf

Ed Johnson

July 10th, 2012
12:07 pm

Now that the ABE has made it decision, let nothing be done to undermine genuine teaching and learning for anyone at Drew.

That said, it is disappointing that Superintendent Davis changed his mind, and that the ABE continues to be lazy about learning to provide for improving teaching and learning for all of APS.

Step into the ABE’s Benjamin E. Mays Conference Room and one will see posters featuring pictures of President and Mrs. Obama, Joseph Lowery, Shirley Franklin, Beverly Tatum, Ingrid Saunders Jones, Shirley Franklin again, and maybe one or two other “African Americans.” I cannot recall ever seeing in there a picture of President and Mrs. George Bush. I suggest the display in the ABE conference room reflects a self-limiting “race”-based culture that aims to inspire “African American” kids to become only what others that look like them do or have done. I suggest that culture dissuades many of those kids from being willing to extend into and learn from the greater human society. I suggest this is exactly ABE’s problem and behavior and that “Whites” who go along with it are complicit in holding APS back.

I continue to be deeply haunted by a brief conversation I had with an APS student a few years ago. Having overheard the kid speak of himself as a “rising APS urban student,” I asked him if he thought of himself mostly as (a) “African American,” (b) “urban,” or (c) human being. The kid did not answer “c.”

There is a far greater and more important dynamic going on than @Eduktr’s simplistic but honest belief that Drew “will add some much needed competition within the public school system.” Now if only most Drew supporters would be so honest, it might cause a light bulb to go on for the ABE.