DeKalb County School Watch: Anger at South DeKalb residents misplaced
You folks in South DeKalb can call me racist all you want, but I know that you folks do not vote for change, but for more of the same. I can’t believe you folks in the south part of DeKalb are happy with mediocre education and a crumbling infrastructure.
First of all I take umbrage at the “you folks”. Addressing someone as “you folks” is a slight in my opinion. It could have easily been “citizens” or “people”. I think the above comment over at DeKalb School Watch is typical of the beliefs held by so many people who live outside of South DeKalb. There is an image of people in South DeKalb striving for mediocrity and wanting nothing more than corrupt leadership and a government handout. That image is far from reality. Like most other misleading perceptions, the actions of a few dictate the image of the whole, especially when dealing with African-Americans. There are several under performing schools in South DeKalb, but there are plenty of schools that do quite well especially at the elementary level. I would be willing to go out on a limb and say most parents in South DeKalb want their children to succeed in school. They want them to be challenged and they want them to be safe. They want their children to achieve excellence in all aspects of their school career. There are a minority number of parents who either do not care about their children’s education, or are just plain ignorant as to what is happening with the school system in general. These parents can be found in school systems all over the country. It is not unique to South DeKalb. Further, South DeKalb is in a position that is unique among areas in the metro. We have well to do, very educated people who send their kids to DeKalb schools and we have citizens who live in excessive poverty and are less educated than the average Georgian. It is the concentration of this poverty and lack of education in South DeKalb that needs to be addressed by citizens and leaders throughout DeKalb. It has been proven through the ages that education is the eradicator of poverty and ignorance. It is a sure fire way to move from poverty to middle-class, and from middle-class to wealthy. It is easy to cast stones in the direction of people who do not have the ability to see the stone coming, or do not know what to do once it is thrown. Criticizing an entire population based on the actions of a few is counter-productive. It creates the very animosity that fuels this civil disagreement between Northern and Southern residents. I do not buy in to the belief that South DeKalb does not want change. District 7 sent the message it wants change with 61 percent of voters wanting Zepora Roberts out. I think part of Jay Cunningham’s and Sarah Copelin-Woods victory was in part due to the fact that many of their constituents are poor and less educated than residents in other districts. This is not a knock on the citizens living there, this is a fact. Copelin-Wood and Cunningham rode that tide of ignorance back into office. The concentration of poverty and low education standards played as much a role in those two keeping their seats as did a more educated and middle-class electorate in district 7 and district 1. treating ignorance is as easy as providing information and explaining it if necessary. Anger at South DeKalb is misplaced at best and misleading at worst. What is best for all is for people who have the knowledge to help spread it to those who do not. Media, bloggers, and activists did a poor job of that. If replacing the board members is what we want, then those in the know have to talk with those who are not. Talking amongst ourselves does not help anyone become a better and involved citizen. Instead of tossing barbs back and forth we should be tossing information back and forth.