Friday, April 17, 2009
Why is the DeKalb Marine High School only for Title One Students? Why Did the Marine Who Spoke at the End of the Public Hearing Say What He Did?
I am excited about the DeKalb County Marine High School being offered as an option to students in DeKalb County. I am glad to see DeKalb County Schools go outside the box looking for ways to help our students be as successful as possible as adults. However, why is this program currently only being offered to students who are Title 1 students? This seems a little discriminatory to students of higher incomes and abilities who might benefit from the structure of a marine high school. Why are so many of our choice schools having so many stipulations in order to be accepted to attend? I am hopeful this is due to the request of the Marines instead of the DeKalb County School Board. It would appear that so much money is being spent on optional schools in DeKalb County with so many stipulations for acceptance that it makes me a little concerned about the direction public education is going. Should public school option schools be available to all students in DeKalb regardless of their race, income, religion, disability, ability? What do you think?
I was extremely offended by the comments at the Heritage Center hearing by the marine who accused the white area in the north side of the county not wanting the Title 1 students to be served in the military school at Heritage. As a member of the Lakeside Community, I did not perceive that the concerns of the community had anything to do with the Title 1 students being served at Heritage. In fact, this was news to our community when Dr. Crawford told us that the Marine HS would be open to Title 1 Students only. The Lakeside/Heritage Community was not even aware of this fact so this could not be the reason for all the concern in the community. It had to do with the traffic and extra congestion of two high schools within .6 of a mile. The community was concerned with parking for the high school, and the park next to the school that is used by the entire community. Anyone who attended the hearing was made extremely aware of the lack of parking space for citizens to park. You had to park ½ to 1 mile away to get a parking place to attend the hearing at Heritage.
For me personally it had to do with placing the special needs students in a better economic situation for the county. It is true that many of the students at Heritage need to be served in self-contained classrooms, as their needs due to the medical fragile situation would best be meet in a self-contained classroom but that does not mean that these classrooms have to be in a separate facility. We have many high schools and middle schools in the county that have room for these children and their could be such a benefit from allowing regular education high school and middle school students to have mentorship’s to work with these special needs children. There would appear to be such a benefit to both the special needs students and the regular education students. I do not like to see these students served in a separate facility from regular education students. I questions why some of the overcrowded grade schools like Oak Grove even could not be moved to Heritage and make Heritage more like Coralwood by serving regular education students and special needs students. They would not have to be served even in the same classrooms, but moving some of the overcrowded students from Oak Grove to Heritage would make sense to me.
I also was concerned that concerned citizens about the Military High Schools made most of the meeting comments. Parents of children, who attended Heritage, did not have sufficient opportunities to be heard because of the limit of time for the hearing. Many of the special needs parents appeared very upset when they were not allowed time to speak due to the concerns of the location of the Military High School. What do you think about the situation regarding the Marine High School location and where do you think the special needs students at Heritage need to be served?