It is no secret that the achievement gap is a huge problem in South Cobb schools. In fact, South Cobb school board member David Morgan has made addressing the achievement gap his No. 1 priority. Here's what one South Cobb-area mother wrote to each individual school board member earlier this year. She has allowed South Cobb Patch to run it. Please leave your comments below.
Dear Mrs. Crowder-Eagle (addressed individually to each school board member),
I would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” for undertaking the monumental responsibility of being a Cobb County School Board Representative. You must truly have great care and concern about all of our public schools and students to do this.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Valerie Testman. I have been a resident of Georgia for approximately 15 years, a resident of Cobb County for 13 years and a homeowner in South Cobb for 12 years. I, and my husband, have a 1st grader in the public school system this school year (with a 2 year old son to be enjoined into the system within the next 3 years).
I am writing to you today to share my perspective about a disturbing matter that I see within the district’s school system, THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP IN A MAJORITY OF THE SCHOOLS WITHIN POST 3, AS COMPARED TO THE REMAINDER OF THE COUNTY. Though I must acknowledge there are a few schools within Posts 2 and 7 that appear to have the same issue. But it appears to be the few and not the many as in Post 3.
I have researched and reviewed a multitude of data to include test scores and ratings for EVERY public school in our district. It has become consistently evident to me that a majority of schools in Post 3 are falling well below many district averages.
I know there are many factors that affect the consistently high academic achievement of a school (i.e. parental involvement, school leadership, teacher quality, community involvement, PTA, school board, etc). However, all of the factors are not weighed equally. Also, I’m aware that any one group or entity does not control all factors.
I am of the opinion the local school board has a significant amount of authority and obligation to ensure that each school within its district is well equipped to create an environment to produce academic excellence. It is not only the responsibility of the Post 3 representative to diligently work to improve the schools in Post 3, but all board members have an obligation to all posts.
I am aware there are many issues the board must address in order to create a school system that offers a world class education, nonetheless, I am asking each of you to take an immediate personal interest in Post 3 and its achievement gap. Often times, I feel as though I am sending my daughter to a school that is adequate, but ill-equipped to help her reach her greatest academic potential.
These are the questions I pose to each of you:
1. Do you believe there is an achievement gap in Post 3 as compared to the remainder of the county? If your reply is no, then there is a larger problem that I thought.
2. Is this achievement gap acceptable for the students and parents in Post 3?
3. What can you do as a board member to immediately begin to close this gap?
4. What do you see as the barriers to closing this achievement gap?
When you ponder these questions, please keep in mind an entire class of students can’t afford to cycle through these schools again before the answers are realized. I urge you to become strategic and focused on how this matter will be handled so that all students in the district may have an equal opportunity to attain their full academic potential.
Please let me be clear, I am not making a statement that the schools, communities, teachers or administrators are inadequate in Post 3, but there is a clear achievement gap that needs to be addressed.
I would be glad to be a part of the solution, please feel free to contact me at your convenience to determine how I may best be engaged to help initiate a positive change in Post 3.
Thank you for your service.