by Mpaza S. Kapembwa
DeKalb County students, the adults entrusted to lead the school system have failed you.
The DeKalb County school system is on probation. The biggest reason the system is on probation and might lose accreditation is because Board of Education members are not making decisions that will benefit all students.
They are concerned about decisions that will keep them in office. This comes at the expense of your education. If the system loses its accreditation, you and your parents — mostly you — have the most to lose. Without accreditation, it will be hard for you to get into college or receive scholarships.
Since being put on probation, the DeKalb Board has not taken responsibility for the probation or even apologized for putting you at risk. Board members are, instead, pointing fingers. Board Chair Dr. Eugene Walker just announced that the DeKalb Board has decided to hire lawyers, diverting more money from your education, to challenge the State Board of Education. The State Board will recommend to Governor Deal whether or not to replace DeKalb’s Board members after the February 21st hearing. The DeKalb Board is more concerned about protecting their political careers and reputations than they are about your education.
When the DeKalb Board announced the hiring of Mr. Michael Thurmond as interim Superintendent last week, it seemed there was hope for a fresh start. Mr. Thurmond quickly laid out his priorities and you are not on the list. He said he will do all he can and talk to whomever he can to make sure the Governor does not replace the DeKalb Board. It seems the top priority of the superintendent is to protect those who got you into this mess.
You can no longer afford to be silent. Your future can’t wait. In the 1960s and ’70s, college students mobilized and forced the government to act on issues that were important to them.
DeKalb Student Voice will be a student-led platform that will get school leaders paying attention to what is important to you. Through this platform, you can organize a club at your school that will write, email and call your elected representatives to show that you care about your education and demand accountability from DeKalb public schools leadership.
We’ve been taught that the “pen is mightier than the sword.” It is time for students to draw ink in the battle for their own education. Engage, contribute, and agitate as an student leader of DeKalb Student Voice. To get started, visit DeKalb Student Voice and become a member of the DSV Board, a Chapter leader or blogger. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Do it now – your future can’t wait.
Mpaza S. Kapembwa is a 2011 Cross Keys High School graduate who now attends Williams College. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar, Coca Cola Scholar and Dell Scholar.