Public Involvement in Our Public Schools
My long-standing commitment to a quality education is demonstrated by a wide array of activities and involvement. I was an active parent at my children's school but my efforts have always been on behalf of all children in every school.
As Co-President of the Emory-Lavista Parent Council, I pushed for programs that benefited every school and child in DeKalb—school governance, instructional management, and technology were among the topics addressed by ELPC. ELPC was the first forum addressing the DeKalb county-wide redistricting plan in 2010, as well as one of the first venues where the current Superintendent met the public and answered questions. ELPC pushed for accountability and engagement by the public as the best means to ensure a quality school system. ELPC became the one school council which brought in experts from other school systems in order to identify best practices for the benefit of DeKalb.
My commitment to public engagement is second to none. I chaired the Local Education Fund for the city of Atlanta in the 1990s, where we pursued a commitment to accountability by the Atlanta School Board. Ultimately, community leaders recognized that no improvements could take place without a better school board. Unfortunately, as the local education fund was weakened in recent years by political maneuvering, accountability was also weakened, resulting in the harmful and shameful events witnessed with the reporting of the APS cheating scandal.
DeKalb cannot and must not shy away from vigorous and meaningful public involvement. I consistently champion that cause at every turn, and will continue to do so. While an active parent, when the DeKalb School Board sought to eliminate the role of school councils in the selection of principals, I was the first and most vocal opponent of this change in policy. My commitment to this principle was so deep that I was castigated publicly by school board members. However, as every parent knows, localized input into, and partnership with, school-level leadership is a necessary ingredient to having a truly superior school for student achievement. I remain committed to the active involvement of school councils and to the creation of area and school system wide-models of councils to promote meaningful and effective public involvement in the school system.