Well said, Kim!

Kim Gokce, founder of the Cross Keys Foundation and ardent supporter of the students within its walls had the following very eloquent words to say about how the Cross Keys students and all students in Dekalb should be treated >>

(Forward to 03:16 if you want to see Kim’s comments directly.)


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42 Responses to Well said, Kim!

  1. ursokm16 says:

    The racial dimension is the wrong narrative. The statistics of CURRENT public school demographics are less relevant than the demographics of a POTENTIAL school population. No doubt there are plenty of affluent families in the area that would prefer for financial and community reasons to enter or re-enter public schools. What such a storm-of-entry would represent is a huge dilution of the statistics being used to supposedly counter the “all-white” city and city schools criticism. In fact, the jury is still out as to whether the economic development strategy of new cities will ultimately represent a “cleansing” of the poor–at least to an extent. Point is, you’ve got moving parts that I am absolutely sure are either not considered or are being purposely ignored–for instance does the population on the whole go up, go down or balance out as lower income families are pushed out by redevelopment, replaced by affluent seeking new city schools–are new ones required? Does a school open in a “poor area” and have completely different demographics than say, something north of Peachtree?

  2. What an interesting argument ursokm16. “Let’s not do this because then more students might actually use the school and many of them might be ….. ‘white’ (shiver….)” How about a wonderful diverse happy well-appointed successful school?

  3. September says:

    Thanks for posting this video. It is very sad that this issue isn’t getting more coverage in the local media.

  4. Kim says:

    ursokm16: I apologize for being blunt about your comment above but … “The statistics of CURRENT public school demographics are less relevant than the demographics of a POTENTIAL school population” … this is a complete red herring. This and related red herrings have been used for decades to ignore the conditions at CK schools. I’ve heard them all: 1. Cross Keys is the most valuable land in DeKalb and will be sold (Why invest now), 2. When Georgia passes that law about illegals, those school will empty (they’ve grown since “that law”), 3, The redevelopment of Buford Hwy will empty those schools (was that the 90’s or the 00’s you’re talking about? – still waiting) … these and many other conjectures have provided, in part, a rationale for those that would rather not be bothered with reality of our current situation.

    There will be no “storm-of-entry” of white people into a City of Brookhaven system. First, there’s no room for them. Second, most middle class parents in our environs have abandon public schools for good and even the County all together. Third, if history is any guide, the expansion of minorities in a system (and that would be the case in Brookhaven’s footprint) tends to lead to white flight from public schools. If anything, I would expect a drop in the Caucasian demographic for the first few years.

    We have to be sober about the realities and stop making these kids suffer by waiting for these various mirages to become real.

  5. howdy1942 says:

    The Dekalb County School System governance and administration is at the very heart of all of the current discord in Dekalb County. For so long, it has been focused on adult feelings, political interests, and selfish motives. It has consistently refused to listen to the people of Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Lakeside, and other communities who have for so long been so disenchanted with the DCSS. It has never, ever been what is best for our kids. The issues with the Dekalb County School System is at the very heart of all of the cityhood movements and efforts to form independent school systems. For the DCSS to continue to refuse to listen, to ignore the pleas of so many, to refuse to change the “friends and family” culture that is the DCSS – this is just plain dumb and shortsighted.

    I am grateful that both the Senate and House have now passed legislation to enforce its previous legislation to would, in part, limit the Dekalb County School Board to seven seats. Mr. Thurmond fought to keep keep the old board in place. He fought to keep the school board at nine seats. For somebody who says he listens so well, he seems to be blissfully out of touch with reality. He fought that Druid Hills petition not because of any impact on the kids who live there, but because he saw HIMSELF as the “superintendent of 100,000 kids and not 95,000”. He refused to even consider that it could have been good for all of the kids who live there and not have any impact on those who don’t. He is no longer a force for healing, he has become a force for division and keeping in place so many of the elements have been so divisive and so unacceptable.

    Today, the Senate passed SB270 and the City of Lakeside is likely to become a reality. That is a bitter pill for those of us who live in Tucker to see it splintered. Yet I harbor no malice toward those who live in Lakeside because I know that it is a dysfunctional, arrogant, and disconnected school board and administration that are at the heart of what it is doing. When will they be satisfied that they have caused enough damage? I am hopeful that Rep. Taylor will reword his bill to simply remove that Amendment that limits the creation of new school districts – such a limitation has no business being a part of our Constitution.

    I have complete empathy with those who live in Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Druid Hills, and now Lakeside.

  6. ursokm16 says:

    Kim–I appreciate your ground level assessment regarding the prospects for affluent citizenry not entering city schools. It’s surprising to me that a city would invest in a system where if your assessment turns prescient, would still not serve its most influential population. Quite frankly, its unfathomable that such a commitment could be sustainable spiritually and emotionally, if nothing else–particularly if things get rocky. I would have to guess that all of the people you have named as committed supporters haven’t come to such a conclusion. If they have then they don’t understand the implications–the city will be running a charity.

    Regarding your red herring comment. I didn’t intend the comment taking a different tack on the usual “white school system” criticism as a red herring, because I wasn’t making an argument. I wasn’t justifying a position regarding starting or not starting a school system. I was simply pointing out where the current “narrative” in the issue might be flawed.

    I rarely accept ground rules that other people set, such as having to either be pro or con a particular subject.

  7. @ursokm16 – what would you propose about Cross Keys? I understand that you think your job is to always play ‘devil’s advocate’ but at some point, you have to have an opinion and drive a decision. Your points are certainly worth considering, but if you actually spoke to members of the Cross Keys community as well as the Brookhaven community at large, you would find that a vast majority would like to control the schools. The mayor said the #1 question he gets from prospective businesses is, “What can you do about the schools?” Sadly, as it is now, his answer has to be, “I can’t do anything.” I will give him and the Brookhaven community for working directly with the schools to try to improve things, but so much more needs to be done that requires full access. I just know these people would do a fine job – because it’s good for the economic development of the city – and because it’s simply the right thing to do for generations to come.

  8. ursokm16 says:

    I don’t know about Cross Keys. I’m just interested in the conversation as it relates to public opinion–and pointing out where narratives can be questioned. I’m not a schools activist.

    Altho the blog entry by Kim was about Cross Keys, it followed several entries on the blog about independent school district proposals. The question of exclusivity came up on those entries as it has throughout the cityhood and independent schools debate. On the subject of race and affluence, the defense of the proposed new cities (and school districts) has been to point out where local populations (currently) are well mixed (not exclusive in general) or in the case of Brookhaven schools, dramatically in favor of lower income kids. My point was to get people to consider how populations might change given the likelihood of new investment (its heft and direction)–in other words–base the discussion on future conditions and not present ones (obviously set for big changes after a new city is started). Obviously, if Brookhaven (or other new jurisdictions attracting investment as “greenfields”) become more affluent, then its likely that any conversation (and image) would change–and current conceptions. I’m questioning the popular narrative.

    BTW–I’d prefer this not be a two-party discussion. If we have interested some other people with the past few posts, I hope they’ll chime in and broaden the context.

  9. Word Wall says:

    Just to remind readers if they haven’t heard: for many years there was a theory that Cross Keys was being neglected so that the county (DCSS) could close it and sell the building, lots, baseball fields and track, in the desirable Brookhaven Lenox Park area. The theory was that CKHS would dissolve and Chamblee, Lakeside, and Druid Hills would get the CKHS kids…. That’s the backdrop for this CKHS Brookhaven issue. CKHS is about ten percent Black, ten percent Asian and three quarters Hispanic. Cross Keys is the school for the Buford Highway immigrant corridor families but it is NOT where the Brookhaven middle class families send their kids….

  10. Kim says:

    ursokm16: I understand your points about the hypothetical, future scenarios. As you mentioned, my focus is on the “now” for Cross Keys families and kids (my family and my kid).

    “It’s surprising to me that a city would invest in a system where if your assessment turns prescient, would still not serve its most influential population. Quite frankly, its unfathomable …”

    You are making my argument for me. Our PUBLIC schools are SUPPOSED to serve all our children – not those lucky enough to carry the DNA of the “influential.” That is a principle I think we can all agree upon in the “now” and in any hypothetical future scenario.

    Unfortunately, that is not the principle that has guided DeKalb County School District’s decision-making and I simply am submitting the case of our 7,000 students and seven schools as an example of the macro point.

  11. ursokm16 says:

    I understand your point of view Kim. I can’t imagine anyone arguing with you about serving everyone…and along with lower income kids, the county schools are obviously aren’t serving the well-off kids in Brookhaven either…the kids aren’t even in the buildings.

    I was only suggesting that that would change in addition to lower income kids getting their needs met–so the demographics of today would not reflect what would be there in the future–so therefore discussing future Brookhaven schools in terms that they would still be overwhelming poor is moot–and that quite possibly would be an outcome that the city fathers would like–to make the schools more attractive to the affluent (or at least reflective of other North Atlanta communities. (I do understand that you argue that affluent kids will never attend Brookhaven schools however–I just can’t imagine that being the case).

  12. ursokm16 says:

    DSW–we are not on the same page–I don’t accept that I’m supposed to anything except what I’m doing. It’s been my experience that some of the things that I’ve posted have indeed added, if not shifted the conversation here. That’s my purpose. If there are rules against that, pls state that clearly and put a block on me. However, do not presume to tell your bloggers how to think or what to write or structure their messages–unless you have stated rules to that effect. BTW–I’ve noticed other people make the same suggestion to you.

    Kim–you’re a reasonable human being–can you add to the discussion we’re having about the host telling bloggers what to write about–and whether it’s applicable to any one person–or is it fine for everyone? Also–if you think I’m not bringing useful perspective, pls add that also.

  13. Insider says:

    Instead of standing out at the school with a camera, why not load the speakers slate at the next board meeting (and all future ones as well.) Have large crowds show up in bright colored shirts (of a single color) to grab the attention of the BofE. Have the mayors and council members burn up the phone lines of the Superintendent and board members for their districts. Don’t just complain…. complain to the people who can actually do something about it.

  14. Cerebration says:

    Kim is my friend and I can’t think of anyone more fair, clear-headed or brave. However, he is against formidable opponents: Southern leaders who continue to advance a racial- and class- divided economy. Georgia has a very small middle class compared to other states with a solid middle class and consequently solid schools, parks, libraries and other public facilities. Georgia, however, (and DeKalb in particular) still solidly exemplifies the Antebellum beliefs of its past.

    I’m gonna lay this out there and I expect a lot of squawking about being wrong or racist. But here’s the ‘southern’ way as I see it (being from a small town in the Midwest) >>

    I had an older neighbor who I once commented to that I enjoyed the neighborhood swim-tennis clubs. I told her we didn’t have those where I grew up – we used public pools and parks. She told me, “We have public pools and parks. We built those for the coloreds.” I think the public schools are similar now – for ‘others’ but by and large, the upper-crust of DeKalb send their children to private school. And they don’t care much at all what happens in public schools – just don’t charge them too much in taxes (this is not to say they don’t care about the Cross Keys students – just that public school is not on their radar whatsoever).

    So, this is what you get. Some schools that are virtually unused by the people who live in the district and therefore with little local community support. (Ironically, proven by the reverse thinking that “Gee, if we make this a ‘good’ school, we may attract the locals and have too many students to support!” Or, the lofty but hollow ‘concern’ that the return of these students to the public schools would somehow drive out the minorities currently there.)

    And those public schools are funded with the barest of support from the leaders in charge. Cross Keys is a FAR cry from say, Marist or other private schools used by residents in this area. I digress, but the (non-profit) Christian schools have lost their way in following the directives laid out by Jesus – who they proclaim to be their savior. By living in isolation and sending their children to their beautiful fortress of a school, and usurping so many resources for themselves, caring little about those in the public schools, they missed the mark on his Word completely, IMO. Kim, however, is doing the exact thing Jesus (and MLK, I might add) directed us to do – for the least of our brothers. Right now. Today. These children should not have to wait to be treated as equals.

  15. @Insider: If we had a nickel for every time we “complained to the people who can actually do something about it” we could retire from our jobs and run this blog full time! They give you false hope, outright lies and enough support to make you think they care. Trust me, they don’t.

    ps – FWIW, this current board is the most unresponsive ever. This is probably due to the directives of Mark Elgart at SACS.

  16. Disgusted in DeKalb says:

    Perhaps I’m not comprehending ursokm16’s posts correctly, but I thought he/she was simply bringing up the heretofore unmentioned idea that if/when the cities end up running their own school systems, we might see a lot of folks returning to public schools who have fled them in the past. I didn’t think ursokm16 was advocating for or against this (and again, I may be wrong)—just pointing out that it could be a phenomenon. I think this is an interesting topic. I don’t see all of the people who have chosen not to send their children to a DCSS-controlled school as wealthy (or racist). Some have chosen to home school who might actually welcome a well-run public school option. Others may have gone the private school route at great financial cost to themselves and would love to return to public school. I think many of these parents and students (and they are of all ethnicities) would be a wonderful addition to a new school system.

  17. @ ursokm16 — A substantial portion of the City of Brookhaven is served by Chamblee Charter High School — and a very substantial number of well-off City of Brookhaven residents, who are in the Chamblee Cluster, send their students to Montgomery Elementary School, Chamblee Middle School and Chamblee Charter High School.

  18. Kim says:

    Disgusted in DeKalb: While the points may be interesting to discuss, in my opinion they are a bit out of touch with reality. I have never said Brookhaven’s middle class families or white families don’t send their kids to public schools currently in DeKalb. They do. I’m one of them. I have many friends who share that critical Caucasian chromosome set. We will still be in the system after any municipal districts might be created. So, I think it is really a marginal point of debate whether Family A or Family B be might or might not send their kid to public school under various scenarios … and I DON”T CARE what they decide.

    There are 7,000 children in Cross Keys attendance area schools now. There are something around 3,500 or so (guesstimate: I haven’t made a study of it) in Chamblee attendance area. If Brookhaven or Dunwoody or Chamblee become part of one hypothetical, future school district or not, there will still be the same kids in the public schools.

    Any shift in demographics at the macro level will be hardly detectable and has no bearing on the merits of the question which is whether municipalities should have the right to create independent school districts.

    Future parents of the future children in the school system can debate their future demographics. Right now, we are what we are and we are a mess. Let the children go.

  19. Kim says:

    Insider: ” Don’t just complain…. ” … pardon my French but where the hell have you been? I and others have done all you reference and more on behalf of our families and students. We’ve brought business partners, private sector partners, and proven progressive solutions to DCSD. And you know where they have all ended up? In the dust bin.

    And all those who have offered their goodwill and the goodwill of their organizations? They call me and ask, “Why won’t DeKalb call me back? Why don’t they want the help? The money? Why did they not follow through on the commitment to partner?”

    Our leadership talks about community and partner engagement but that’s not what they really want. I have multiple examples of this but to protect good people inside the system and out in the community I keep my mouth shut.

    DCSD is a proven failure in terms of governance and the time to “give them a chance” to prove they are worthy of trust has past long ago. Time to let the children go.

  20. Kim says:

    Insider: “complain to the people who can actually do something about it.” … Just as one case in point … I spent the better part of two years penetrating the bureaucracy that is DCSD to reach Lewis’ office. I built relationships of one sort or another with each and every BoE member and all the “chain of command” I could get to return my phone calls all the way up.

    After two years and hundreds of hours of effort I had my meeting with Dr. Lewis. A few weeks later he was named in a RICO investigation. He was very sympathetic to my complaints for the record.

  21. ursokm16 says:

    Here’s another problem with imposing discussion rules–I was making distinctions about the way the general approach has been in defending all new city school systems with ethnic figures–not just Brookhaven.

    So yes–in your defense, I did not know where the affluent (or non-disadvantaged in general kids) went to school from Brookhaven–that’s valuable information. However–I’ll point out again–my problem with using CURRENT ethnic stats started with articles before you started the one about Cross Keys and Brookhaven. It was about ALL new cities. So I’d also find your assessment of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs useful (vis a vis private schoolers, home schoolers and transfer/magnet students)–as well as Chamblee and Doraville since they would presumably “attach” to Brookhaven or Dunwoody.

    Also once again–I’m not objecting to new school systems or saying there is anything “bad” about more kids coming into the system than there are currently (in fact that’s good). I’m also not saying that schools will be overcrowded and will necessitate more construction. I was simply pointing out how limiting it is to discuss FUTURE school systems based on CURRENT data. Even DCSS attempts to project school number, albeit not well.

    You seem to only want to (allow for) discussion on what “we” (who the heck is “we”, not me) should do as activists to improve the lives of humanity. That is not what I’m doing–I’m not that person–you guys have it covered. I want to be INTERESTING (and useful if it works out). I’m George Bush’s maligned “thinker”. If that’s not allowed here, pls ignore.

  22. ursokm16 says:

    yes Cerebration–Kim G is a wonderful guy–we’re on the same page.

  23. Momoffour says:

    DCSS just announced they are adding 3 days to the end of the school year. Anyone know if graduation dates are changing? So frustrating that they don’t include this info with the press release!

  24. DeKalb schools to make up three days lost to weather

    By Ty Tagami

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The DeKalb County schools superintendent wants to make up instructional time lost to extreme weather this year by adding three school days before summer break.

    Superintendent Michael Thurmond will ask the school board Monday to add May 21-23 to the attendance calendar, according to a statement from his office. The district has canceled school eight days due to extreme cold, ice and snow in January and February.

    Thurmond also wants to delay the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests a week, to April 22, to give elementary and middle school students more school days to prepare, and he wants to move CRCT re-testing to the proposed end of school for the same reason. Thurmond does not intend to change the End of Course Test dates for high school students though.

  25. Kim says:

    ursokm16: “I was simply pointing out how limiting it is to discuss FUTURE school systems based on CURRENT data. Even DCSS attempts to project school number, albeit not well.”

    Ok. Just to prove that I’m NOT only concerned about Cross Keys families (and I very much am concerned) and to re-affirm that kindness will get you places (thank you for the compliment), let’s talk about your points …

    I confess I am totally confused. I am pretty familiar with the attendance areas boundaries and enrollment in Region 1 of DeKalb (Dunwoody, Chamblee, Cross Keys). There are details on the independent school district scenario published in the City’s feasibility study.

    What theortical numbers are you looking to divine, exactly?

  26. Kim says:

    Above, I’m referencing City of Dunwoody’s feasibility study for their hypothetical attendance area IDP. For Chamblee & Cross Keys, I feel pretty comfortable speculating about the possible scenarios due to my own familiarity of the areas in questions.

  27. Kim says:

    Also, ursokm16, above, “I did not know where the affluent (or non-disadvantaged in general kids) went to school from Brookhaven–that’s valuable information.”

    Brookhaven supplies many school far removed from Brookhaven with students. We have a Woodward Academy bus stop that fills one full bus for middle and lower school and one half bus for high school each day. We have a Greater Atlanta Christian bus stop. And I’m guessing there’s more I’m not personally aware of – then, we have a group of Woodward high schoolers commuters by MARTA that also go to Woodward. There are legions that go to Marist, St. Martin-in-the-fields, Christ the King, St. Pius, Our Lady of Assumption, and Immaculate Heart to just name a few of the private school serving our families.

    Yes, these are mostly caucasian and mostly well-off families. They are also mostly good people who care about their less-well-off neighbors and, yes, even those of different cultures (shocking!). It was a Westminster parent that arranged for the Cross Keys football team weight room to be fitted with free weights a few years ago.

    Cross Keys often is in regional sports competing against St. Pius, Padeia, Lovett, Blessed Trinity, Westminster, GAC, and other area private schools. Mostly, our kids are respected, even admired by these communities.

    Unfortunately, the wealthy are not immune to ignorance and hate. The verbal abuse of our soccer players by the Padeia not so long ago escalated to the point where our coach was ejected for his protests and refused to put Padeia on the CK schedule ever again.

    I’m rambling but my point is that I reject the notion that Brookhaven community has some sort of nefarious plan to white-wash our community and “cleanse” our schools of the mostly poor, mostly minority that make up the enrolment.

    On the contrary, the City of Brookhaven has exhibited great concern of the well being of our people from the start. Our district 4 councilman, Joe Gebbia, has engaged deeply in the community, worked to engage the HS students in our civic and political life, he has championed entrepreneurship programs for them, he has dedicated all his discretionary sidewalk builds to the Woodward elementary children across from CK.

    The City has move code compliance ahead leap years by aggresively demanding that landlords maintain safe and healthy environments for their tenants. The City has worked to bring together stakeholders to provide warming stations in the area around Buford Hwy for the recent severe weather.

    In conclusion, I vehemently reject the jeering by some about the wealthy of Brookhaven having no interest in our community and the City somehow only looking to marginalize us. I am on the ground here. I am deeply engaged and I’m more excited and optimistic about the future for CK area than I ever have been under DeKalb County governance and I’m expecting a similar leap forward when an independent municipal school district is allowed and forms.

  28. howdy1942 says:

    I’ve been to countless meetings of the Dekalb County School board. They take public comments, but I have observed all too often that members of the board are talking to each other, passing notes, even sleeping – all just plain rude and disrespectful of the very people they serve. Is there anyone on this blog that would say any school in Dekalb County is better today than say 20 years ago? 15 years ago? 10 years ago? Even 1 year ago? We have a 57.2% graduation rate – is everyone happy with that? Is anyone? Answer those questions honestly and with the best interests of our kids at heart.

    What has changed? Well, the school board has. What really have all of the school boards been focused on for the past 10 years, at least? Go back and look at their agenda for those meetings. Heery? Ending teachers’ TSA (Tax-Sheltered Annuity)? Forcing teachers to take furlough days while continuing to expand a bloat of an administration? Hiring law firms to provide “governance” training? Giving money to an indicted school superintendent to defend himself against personal misconduct, not doing something on behalf of the school system Giving money for Eugene Walker to defend himself while they ignore the needs of the children? Time and again, this board and this superintendent have made promise after promise – “:e’re going to get a financial audit” or “yeah – I’ll get back to you and tell you what those 600 jobs are at the “palace” we eliminated” Or a chair of the board who promised to get to the bottom of that “leak” the violated and put those other candidates for the superintendent in a really awkward position with their employers. Did we ever hear anything? And who can forget Thurmond telling us at that Dunwoody meeting last year that he had no intention of serving longer than his “one year interim”? The primary issue that I think we have in Dekalb County is the integrity and honesty of the school board, past and present and with this administration. This board has done nothing more and nothing less than what Mr. Thurmond wanted it to do. Thurmond wanted to keep that old school board that gave us probation, thinking that he could somehow fix it. He wanted to keep the board at 9 seats even though it has been well known to everyone for over three years that it had to go to 7. That’s what is wrong – the status quo!

    I am just pleading that everyone in every part of Dekalb County encourage new, fresh people to seek election to the school board and to turn out in large numbers to vote for change. Elect someone who has the interests of our kids at heart – all of them. If we can do that, then the issues of independent schools, new cities, accreditation, divisiveness, economic stagnation, and endless town hall meetings that are tearing at the fabric of Dekalb County – all of these may just fade away. Until we can do that, our neighboring counties will be the winners and Dekalb County – all of us – will be the big loser.

  29. Kim says:

    howdy1942, I appreciate the observations and sentiments. I agree with most of them. I do not share the faith in renewal in DeKalb politics. The Lakeside bill is moving forward in the House this week. When “Lakeside” also joins this chorus, and I’m pretty sure they will by this time next year, I think the inertia just keeps building. Too much wrong has been done to too many people. I am a man of faith but not blind faith in men. The leadership of DeKalb County Public Schools has passed over many, many opportunities to prove themselves worthy stewards of all our children. The time is coming for them to let these children go. Perhaps then, we can realize that who is running the schools doesn’t matter so much and that it is how they are run for ALL our children that does.

    In the spirit of Mr. Rogers, let’s be good neighbors. But do not ask me to let my CK neighbors’ kids and mine continue to be the butt of the DCSD joke. http://youtu.be/Upm9LnuCBUM

  30. Kim says:

    Please everyone watch this man’s grace and humility and godliness: http://youtu.be/oBt8keQTPb0. What would Mr. Rogers tell DCSD to do with Cross Keys? Would they listen? I am not Mr. Rogers but I have asked respectfully for years for the right things to be done by these children. Then, I saw there was no commitment or sincerity or integrity in the leadership. Not even the pretense among most leaders to care about fighting for equity for these kids. If the leadership has given up, why then should have faith in renewal? If the leadership has no idea how to solve the political problems in their system, how can we? I do not share Mr. Roger’s grace in public and anger too quickly when I see liars, fools, and thieves harming my kids. I will ask God’s forgiveness but not DCSD leadership’s.

  31. Love that Mr. Rogers!! It’s no wonder he’s so effective – he is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

    I used to find myself watching him all by myself after my children had slipped away from the tv room…

  32. howdy1942 says:

    @kim – I can certainly understand how you feel about the Dekalb County School Board and its superintendent. I sincerely hope that the current Lakeside map does not make it all the way through the Legislature. I have lived in Tucker for 40 years and grown to love our little town and I want to keep it just the way it is. That Lakeside map that was introduced by Senator Millar reaches to within 60 feet of the center of our community – Tucker High School. I don’t like that at all and I don’t think you would either if the same were being done in your community. Imagine what would happen if Tucker’s cityhood map expanded past I285 to reach within 60 feet of Lakeside High School – can you imagine the outcry?

    I don’t object to Lakeside becoming a city, but I strenuously object to it pillaging my little town of Tucker. This whole thing is not about denying Lakeside any vote, but Tucker needs to also have the opportunity to vote and be heard. Don’t get me wrong – I understand and have supported the push for independent schools and for Druid Hills to have its charter school cluster. The DCSS has failed our communities and our students and it has ignored the pleas of communities such as Brookhaven and Dunwoody, but in your push to achieve those goals, let’s not destroy a community that dates back to 1821, two years older than Decatur. Interesting tidbit about Tucker – of seven companies that were formed in Dekalb County to fight in the Civil War, four were formed wholly within Tucker. The first school where Tucker High now stands was built in 1900 and Tucker First Baptist just celebrated its 120th anniversary.

    Let’s tale the time to get this decision right. Those feasibility studies are less than three months old. The Lakeside map was changed twice just during this last week! Our residents are confused and need time to digest what is going on. This whole matter is between Lakeside, Tucker, and Briarcliff and the State Legislature has no business getting involved and choosing one solution – one winner with two losers. The vast majority of the Legislature do not live in Dekalb County and should not be entering into the affairs of Dekalb County when there is no cause to do so. I doubt there is a single Representative or Senator who would stand for his/her town to be so violated the way Tucker is being seized. The Governor did make the proper decision to remove that dysfunctional school board, but he had a very good reason to do that. Neither Tucker or Briarcliff or for that matter, Lakeside, have done anything to warrant any intrustion by the State. Let us resolve this or have a solution mediated – we just need the time and opportunity to do that.

  33. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @Cerebration, I’d like to commend you for what you shared. I believe it took courage to post what you did on this site. That attitude still exists throughout the South though through migrations to this region such as yours along with many of those folks dying off, positive changes are being made.

    That is a part of our history that some would prefer not to discuss. Make no mistake, the good old boys are still here and in control. They have regrouped and are showing themselves now through efforts such as those of ALEC. A good example is the recent religious freedoms legislation that has gotten national attention. Georgia legislators have quietly slowed it down since the Arizona governor vetoed it. ALEC is also attempting to undermine public education through legislative efforts. This is what I am watching.

  34. howdy1942 says:

    And a couple of other points – the Henderson family, as in the Hendersons who founded Tucker Cement, owned just about all the land along Henderson Road and Henderson Mill Road and gave the land that is now Henderson Park for the enjoyment of the Tucker community. That park, which is really desired by Lakeside, has been long maintained by the Tucker Civic Association. Also, the Tucker Civic Association just finished a massive landscaping project in front of Northlake Mall about four months ago and is on the verge of forming a CID with Northlake Mall. Drive by there and notice where Lavista Road branches off from Briarcliff – it looks pretty good and is a vast improvement over what it was. Drive over here to Tucker – I’ll treat you to lunch at Matthews Cafeteria, a longtime Tucker eatery, for some very good home cooking! And I’ll share with you a lot more of the history of our little town. It is fill with some very good people and is a great place to live. Also, the Tucker Civic Association is sponsoring this Sunday a self-guided tour of the gravesites of many of Tucker’s founding fathers, many of which are located within the proposed Lakeside map. And Midvale Elementary School was built by Tucker Residents with materials from Cofer Brothers – still located on Main Street Tucker. Trains have been running through Tucker since 1892 and that’s also the same year that the old Post Office on Lavista was completed.

    Again, let’s think this thing through – our history is precious and let’s not destroy that history with the heat of the passions and emotions of the moment. The Legislature will meet again next year and maybe we can reach a compromise or mediated solution that will create three winners and not just one with two losers. Besides, none of us are going to be able to form independent schools until at least after the Legislative Session of 2015 and probably not be able to have a Statewide vote until November of 2016. And, if we can reach some compromise, you may well have both Tucker and Lakeside joining Brookhaven and Dunwoody to push for such an independent school system!

  35. ursokm16 says:

    Tomorrow–1:00 to 5:00 Historic Tucker Family Tour (Starts at Old Tucker Fountain, Main Street) Easy to Find

  36. William Blackwood says:

    Cerebration’s analysis hits the nail squarely on the head. White flight has, in reality, morphed into middle-class flight. Because it is the deep South, people fixate on race, without, however, focusing on the only sociologically meaningful thing about race — its use as a social construct. Furthermore, because it is the deep South, allegedly racial topics tend to be avoided like the plague (there’s a reason Faulkner’s literature is so full of repression), a tendency that is exacerbated further by the cultural preference for politeness (both politeness and honor were used in the antebellum South as a way to avoid and/or paper over the profound inequalities within that society). Kim’s very elegant discourse uses the kinds of concepts that are needed to break open and expose the dynamic embodied by Cross Keys. Unfortunately, this type of analysis does not make for very good politics down here — for the reasons enunciated by Cerebration.

  37. howdy1942 says:

    The Historic Tucker Family Tour was outstanding and so educational. I always knew that our town had a long history, but yesterday added another dimension to it. Four of the seven cemeteries that we visited were located in the proposed Lakeside City and contained the remains of legendary names that were the Founding Fathers of Tucker. In respect, Lakeside truly ought to pull its boundaries back into its own neighborhood and allow the history of Tucker to be preserved for generations to come. And the State Legislature ought to respect the integrity of our town and stay out of our affairs.

  38. This is the kind of ‘my kids – my community’ thinking the ‘new’ board has >> (same as the old board) – which is why Cross Keys is as it is.

    From the March 3, 2014 Board Meeting >>

    When you look at a baseball field, we have to remember our basic needs. Education has to be holistic. It’s more than books. We need to look at the entire child. How can the kids at Redan live with a second rate baseball field. We have to recognize that sports is just as important as everything else.

    -Joyce Morley (Governor appointed board member asking for almost $500,000 to upgrade the baseball fields at Redan High, yet has never once concerned herself with the condition of the track at Cross Keys).

  39. concerned citizen says:

    The Love Doctor doesn’t speak or think too well. It’s too bad we got stuck with her!

  40. howdy1942 says:

    This is so very true. If the Dekalb County School Board and administration had been paying attention to the needs of the entire county, from Cross Keys to Redan and done the right thing for our kids, their parents, and our residents, then we probably wouldn’t have all the issues of cityhood, independent schools, charter schools, Legislative involvement in matters that ought to be resolved in Dekalb County and, most important, the division that all of this has caused in our communities. It is no wonder that the public has such little respect for the Board and the administration and that won’t change until the Board and administration is changed, cleaned up, and cleaned out.

    I still don’t understand why this Board will not truly listen to the people who live here, ask us to write down what we want them to do, define each item in measurable terms, and go about addressing each item and then coming back to the community to ask how they did. That is what every truly excellent organization, business, government, school, or college has done and the result has virtually always been to the benefit of all parties. So simple, so straightforward and so common sense. I wish that this school board would just try it. I don’t know Commissioner Stan Watson, but I admire his efforts to hold these regular monthly breakfasts and to invite the public. He showed up at last week’s meeting of the Tucker Civic Association with the Budget Director from the County. He provided handouts and discussed the proposed budget and presented the issues that the County faces, and then the two of them took questions from the audience. I’ve emailed Commissioner Watson with questions and never failed to get a response. I’ve done that with members of the school board as well as the administration and have never, not once, gotten any response. Maybe Commissioner Watson ought to run for the school board.

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