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Parents to Atlanta Public Schools Board Members: 'Stop Quibbling'

Parent group asks school board to "move the SACS project work along in a more efficient fashion."

Dear Board Members:

Over the past two weeks, some of you have either directly or through your close supporters attempted to question the integrity, intent, or accuracy of the efforts put forth by Step Up or Step Down.  We respectfully request that you go back and read thoroughly the guidance set forth in SACS Required Action 1.  It specifically states that you should "focus on efforts that will regain stakeholders' trust and confidence in the governance and leadership of APS."

Our organizing team did not seek out the responsibility we have undertaken.  It was thrust upon us when the accreditation of our high schools was called into question due to the governing performance of the elected School Board.  We began the Step Up or Step Down campaign with the sole purpose of encouraging the nine of you to put the interests of our students first and any negative history from the past behind.  Since that time, we've spent hours at every meeting, monitoring patiently and hoping fervently for a positive outcome.  Our greatest desire remains that ALL of you Step Up and see this crisis through to its successful conclusion.

But after two months of limited progress at a snail's pace, we came to the conclusion that was stated in our recent petition. Of late, the integrity of our petition has been called into question by some of you.  We can assure you that the administrator of our petition has access to a higher level of information on its signatories than is available to the general public, and that more than 900 certified stakeholders have agreed with our call for new leadership.

We suggest that it's time for our Board to stop quibbling about the color of the writing on the wall, and instead to take the time to read its message.  We firmly believe that Chairman El has an opportunity to save our accreditation, and potentially our district's independence,  by stepping aside and allowing the Board to elect new officers with a 2/3 consensus vote.  This consensus leadership will have the opportunity to more quickly breach the trust gap that exists among the Board and move the SACS project work along in a more efficient fashion.  And as you've all likely noted from recent press coverage or conversations you've had with respected leaders in our city, we are not alone in this strength-held position.

One of the most positive outcomes that could occur from this unfortunate situation would be -- for the first time ever -- to yield a large, accessible, city-wide group of stakeholders who are motivated and vocal in support of the continuous improvement of our public schools.  That potential exists within the audience of Step Up or Step Down.  And as you review Required Action #1, regaining the trust of that audience should be a priority for you all.

All the best,

The Organizing Team of Step Up or Step Down

 

Step Up or Step Down is a movement of parents, students, teachers and business owners from neighborhoods across Atlanta, working with the common cause of preserving the accreditation of Atlanta's public high schools.  With almost 250,000 views to its Facebook page since inception in late January, the group has gained momentum as a collective voice that serves as a watchdog to the Board.  The Facebook page has 900 followers and the group has received hundreds of e-mails from other parents wanting information.  For more information, please visit the group's website to sign up for regular updates at www.StepUpOrStepDown.org or send an e-mail to StepUpBoardofEd@gmail.com. 

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