Friday, December 12, 2008

CCSD Gets A Couple Right

While I am not shy about criticizing the Clarke County School District or the Clarke County Board of Education, neither am I reluctant to praise the folks over on Mitchell Bridge Road when I think that their actions warrant it. Consider theses two instances:

1. The Athens Community Career Academy, a cooperative venture among the CCSD, Athens Technical College and UGA, is finally becoming a reality. The charter school is slated to open in the fall of 2010. T
hough I still object to the Academy’s existence having been dependent on securing grant money, I think that this is a very good thing.

2. The Board of Education scrapped the “school choice” attendance zones in favor of more traditional “neighborhood school” attendance zones for the county’s elementary schools (for those who do not live in Clarke County and are not familiar with the issue, rest assured that it has a long and tortured history).

While I have sympathy for the arguments of parents whose children will by forced to change schools, the fact remains that the CCSD spends 75% more per pupil than the state average on transportation – and this is the smallest county by area in the state! So, while it will may entail pain for some students and families, I think that revising the transportation plan so as to save millions of dollars – dollars that will be freed up for other, more productive uses mind you – is another very good thing.

And now for the rhetorical (meaning snide) comments:

The Banner-Herald quoted outgoing District 8 board member Sydney Waters as saying:

"Athens has not increased the number of students here in at least 20 years," Waters said. "All the other counties have grown by a significant amount. That's because the people wouldn't move to this school district because they didn't know where their child would go to school.”

With all due respect, this is utter nonsense. Parents have quite reasonably avoided Clarke County’s public schools for years, not because of any kind of “uncertainty,” over attendance zones, but because of the “certainty” of poor discipline and low academic achievement.

Will enthusiasm for the CCSD wane somewhat on the part of parents whose children will no longer be able to attend Barrow Elementary School, the favored school among the liberal elite that has a reputation of being a haven of academic achievement? Now that parents from all over the county cannot enroll their children there, will some of them bail out of the CCSD (with the caveat that they could still attend a specific school if their parents provide transportation)?

Finally, just where were all of these people castigating Vernon Payne on the Banner-Herald’s message board when he won reelection last month? Not that there weren’t plenty of reasons to vote Payne out, but this is not one of them.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the offer to be able to send your kid where you want to if you provide your own transporation is a red herring. When specifically asked about that at a meeting, the board members and Simms all acknowledged that there would not be any space at any school except perhaps Timothy. Regardless, if you happened to get in for one of the very few spots, you would have to reapply each year and each sibling would have to apply separately.

So, really, you must go to your neighborhood school.