Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good advice

I don't usually repost articles in their entirety, but this one from the Dunwoody Crier is important and eloquent and I want you all to read it in it's entirety.

No right or wrong in redistricting
by Lauren Menis
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 11:57 AM EST

Dunwoody’s schools are being redistricted and as many of us know, it’s an emotional and volatile issue. As I write this, I realize that by the time my column comes out, things may have changed. But I believe that what I have to say will still be relevant.

For those who are not in on the debate, with the exception of Dunwoody Elementary School, our elementary schools are overcrowded. A previous plan to move fourth and fifth graders to the new Dunwoody Elementary didn’t solve the problem. Now, it’s back to the drawing board for the county.

DeKalb has hired consultants to come up with a new plan. And our parents are also working hard to come up with their own versions, depending on where they stand on the issue.

As Dunwoody’s school districts are sliced into various pieces of the pie, there are many people affected. Understandably, people are upset. The bottom line is that no one wants to leave the schools they love and, conversely, no one wants overcrowded schools.

I am not going to state any opinions or discuss boundaries, neighborhoods or the many other issues in this debate. But what I do want is to call for civil discourse on this complicated and multi-faceted matter.

Sentiments are running high and things feel very turbulent here in our city. There are blogs, emails and petitions. There’s distrust among those who a short time ago worked together. Because redistricting is such an emotional issue that affects our kids, it’s causing negative feelings among friends and acquaintances.

We need to remember that we are not enemies, regardless of how we want the school lines drawn. Every person is entitled to an opinion and to fight for what they want. Those with differing views have the right to disagree and try to get their opinions taken into account.

We are, after all, parents who care about our children and where they go to school. We are mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends and acquaintances. We need to have empathy toward those with different opinions.

At a recent informal meeting, I was impressed that while there were charged emotions, there was very little ugliness and people on all sides were extremely informed. But it still left me with a feeling of neighbor against neighbor. If you listen to the conversations and look at the blogs, you can see that things have taken on a somewhat vicious tone.

The passions incited by redistricting speaks volumes about the type of people we are and how much we care about our kids’ educations. I am proud to live in a place where there are so many involved parents. And I truly believe that however things turn out, Dunwoody schools will always be great because of this commitment.

I’ll take this over apathy any day.

Lauren Menis is a Dunwoody mother whose column appears in The Crier each month. You can reach Lauren at


Anonymous said...

"Every person is entitled to an opinion and to fight for what they want."

The columnist is a Vanderlyn parent. Full disclosure.

Anonymous said...

Comments from Donna Edler:

District 7 board member Donna Edler said she understands the concerns of the parents but believes the redistricting and consolidation plan leads the school system in the right direction the board wants to go.

“I think both proposals attempt to eliminate empty seats, which is what we want to do,” Edler said. “Whatever happens in the end will be better for the county, although it will be uncomfortable for people.”

Julie said...


Anonymous said...

So yall ready to take back your contributions from Doona? Where is the out spoken "Jester"? I suspect she is as loss as she can be..but she has to live up to her promises. Ella Smith really is for quality education for all. I don't always agree with her but her heart is in the right place. I hope she runs again...she came close.

Anonymous said...

@anon 10:29 Regardless of where she is currently zoned, she (and the rest of us at Vanderlyn) has friends on both sides. People are forgetting that they still have to live with each other when everything shakes out. Its really sad. Lauren is typically a voice of reason and most people around here respect her. Thanks for posting her column!

Anonymous said...

However, it is easy for her to write this because at the end of the day she won't be changing schools. She will be in a known building with known resources.

Empathy to how people being zoned to DES has been totally lacking in most discussions in Dunwoody.

I have no doubt DES will be fine, but it isn't going to be the same.

Anonymous said...

Folks, Ms. Tyson will make the decision as to what plan, Tyson picks the plan and presents it to the BOE, who will vote it up or down. Option 3 is about to be presented.

Anonymous said...

This is a 'volatile and emotional' issue. But, something has to change. Parents are very vocal about their own neighborhood schools, but who has a suitable alternative to whole county redistricting other than 'not at my school"? Some of will be relieved and some us will be bitterly disappointed, but I hope this issue does not tear us apart. While there are different opinions (and varying community impact) as a group, Dekalb parents must agree to disagree, and ultimately work cooperatively for a healthy school district that we all can benefit from.

Anonymous said...

$64,000 question for Dun-ites--
What would Jesus (ie the City) do?

In other words, how would things be different if the city had its own school system?
The trust in city officials alone would make the difference.
I guarantee it would be a quieter debate.
Heck--the final decisions would probably even be the same.
(assuming the schools were organized in a similar way and used for the same purposes--which they probably wouldn't be).

Anonymous said...

I just wish the parents in Dunwoody would focus on making the high school outstanding and forget about the petty elementary school differences. Once the high school shines, the rest will fall in place. I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of those parents fighting the redistricting of their beloved elementary schools don't have any intention of their children pursuing an education at PCMS or DHS...instead their plan includes using the perceived "private school" atmosphere of Vanderlyn and Austin as prep for one of the local private schools. Dunwoody parents need to get their priorities straight.

Anonymous said...

The high school in Dunwoody is already great. What is it that you think is not great about it? Do you have a child there? I do and I think it's a wonderful school.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody is awesome. It's diverse, academically challenging (my child is doing homework on a Saturday night), and has great sports teams. I just wish all my neighbors would give it a chance before going private. If you thin Vanderlyn is great, just wait until you get to DHS!

Frying Pan Fire said...

It's certainly ironic that this article was posted by Cerebration, or that it was posted on this blog at all.