With apologies to the Children's Workshop, I offer to the readers of this blog a Sesame Street styled test ...
Using the visual to the left, can you spot the High School feeder pattern that is not like the others? I have shown this map to folks who have no experience with DCSS or the public schools in general and they all get it right. It is elementary and it is the yellow one.
During the last 20 years, a perfect storm of piecemeal zoning decisions by DeKalb County, of backroom redistricting by DeKalb County School System, and of private bigotry by some has created the unnaturally elongated and twisting Cross Keys feeder pattern any viewer can observe on the System's map pictured here.
This death by a thousand cuts has been devastating to the neighborhoods in my area as more and more parents move out of the district in search of public education options. This long-growing pressure on my neighborhood school has been exacerbated by what I call "the last man out" syndrome.
As Cross Keys and its supporting schools became more and more isolated, area families saw their friends and neighbors leaving the System or even the district in search of public education. No one wants to be "the last man out" in what has been a failing district. So, all the families I know in my area are in a constant state of anxiety about the education options for their children.
So what now? Who shall we blame? Should we persecute or prosecute them? Sorry to disappoint you but I am not interested in blame or retribution-what I want to see is corrective action. I challenge the leadership in DCSS and within every department of DeKalb County Government to ask themselves what they can do to reverse the years of bad decisions made in our area. I am challenging the members of my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods to do the same.
The trouble is, people need to get clear signals from their public officials. The upcoming renovation of Cross Keys is a good thing but dressing up the building is not enough. Rumors about the future sale or demolition of Cross Keys persist. Private and public sector leaders must step up and articulate a vision for the future of Cross Keys that is comprehensive and inspiring to parents and homeowners in the community to bring them back on board.
Who will speak with me for Cross Keys High School's future? I think this school that was once a Georgia School of Excellence can be restored to excellence. I think the Brookhaven community can be reconnected with its natural community high school at Cross Keys. I think our elected and appointed public officials have the ability to enable these things if they choose to do so.
Do they have the will?
Kim Ellis Gokce
President, HillsDale Neighborhood Association
Sponsor, Community Radar civic news sharing