May 2, 2014

New Leadership, New Horizons

Jesse D. Andrews is a graduating Senior Biology major from Fresno, California at Morehouse College. He is a youth philanthropist and guest journalist for New America Media. He is the Chairman of Atlanta’s premier scholarship foundation, The Exception Campaign. ph. 404.953.0243
New Leadership, New Horizons

It means a fresh start for the new leadership that has been elected to the Atlanta Public School’s Board of Education. What is of major importance, however, is how we begin to combat the needs of students in attaining the skills to be successful after their elementary and secondary education, teachers who get adequate pay for their expertise and incentives for educating our bright students, and parents who get the support they need to enroll their child and engage in their child’s progress. Benjamin E. Mays said, “A child must learn early to believe that she is somebody worthwhile, and that she can do many praiseworthy things.” Some of the best world and community leaders came out of the Atlanta Public Schools and with such a legacy we should ensure that students are equipped to handle and engage the ever changing world around them. We honor the past for it got us here; we embrace and sculpt the future that will carry us forward. Educational standards should be clear to the students and assure that they fall beyond the state and national average threshold. Morehouse College continues to challenge us to think about ways to strategically examine environmental, economic and sociopolitical sustainability in a global society. It must be the same when examining the best practices in classroom instruction and improving teaching quality. The world’s best educators are in Atlanta Public Schools and it would only make sense to provide those educators with the tools and supplies to teach their students. This can be done through providing meaningful incentives for their student’s achievement and their own creative prowess in the field of education. Most students are suffering to graduate, in particularly our boys of color, and they are frustrated with many administrative distractions. Such as, whether a school will close or not, a school model is appropriate, or the most common thread, whether their school has the adequate supplies for instruction. What is commendable for these students and their futures must be done. We have to invest in them, period. Earlier this week National Public Radio reported that most of Congress, “at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012.” As the Board of Education works hard to ensure quality education for these students, it is clear that they are public servants who have taken an interest in the affairs of educating these students. Their salaries do nothing to reflect the actions they leave behind. The policies they make will be around long after they have spent their earned salaries. It is unfortunate that those current members of Congress have not worked or lived up to earning such salaries and they are millionaires not worth talking to. Most of these items must be on the agenda this year to make APS the best school district this nation has ever seen. It must be the model for great teachers, great administrators and exceptional students. Atlanta Public Schools must effectively track the performance of all its schools and intervene with proven practices. It must set improvement goals, along with corresponding milestones and timelines across the portfolio of schools. Lastly, it must find and share best practices to help boost their student’s success. Atlanta Public Schools is off to a great start.

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