PART 1: BACKGROUND

In the area just east of midtown Atlanta, there are four Kindergarten through 5th grade public elementary schools in the Midtown Cluster (Hope Hill, Mary Lin, Morningside and Springdale Park). These four then combine into Howard Middle School for 6th-8th grades, which then feeds into Midtown High (formerly Grady). Due to projected enrollment increases at three of these elementary schools, the Atlanta Public School system must decide how to alleviate eventual overcrowding. The building at Inman should be empty and available next year.

A number of possible solutions were considered. All but one of the options involved using the Inman building as a new K-5 elementary school, while slightly redrawing the school border maps or all or most of the other four schools. A consulting firm hired by APS recommended one such option. But APS' initial recommendation was to use Inman as a new 4th and 5th grade academy for the entire cluster, i.e. all four current elementary schools would be reduced to K-3rd schools, and all 4th and 5th graders from the entire cluster would attend Inman. This recommendation is why we are so angry.

PART 2: WHY IS THE RECOMMENDATION SO BAD?

First, APS surveyed the entire cluster TWICE, asking parents their foremost priority. Parents chose walkability BOTH times. Yet the recommendation is the statistically LEAST walkable option. The Midtown area, unlike most of greater Atlanta, is quite walkable. Anything that destroys walkability in Midtown should be off the table.

Second, the recommendation doesn’t even solve the long-term problem! APS’ own data shows that the building will be at capacity immediately. And in just 5 years, the new 4th/5th will again be overcrowded and (per APS documents) require a new $10-$15 million dollar building! This is not the case with any of other option.

Third, APS’ stated rationale for the recommendation was academics. However, there is near consensus in the field of educational research that this type of split school, and making kids change schools an extra time, is actually detrimental to the academic progress of our children. We have a bibliography of such research below, and APS acknowledges transitions are bad for kids.

Fourth, this move will increase Atlanta traffic, and increase the time kids spend on buses. Instead of kids going to the elementary nearest them, all 4th and 5th graders will be driven to a school that for many kids, is 3-5 miles across some of the busiest roads in the southeast. More traffic, more pollution.

There are other reasons. Among them, the 4/5 splits up siblings unnecessarily and makes parent logistics more difficult, the 4/5 decreases “community feel,” the 4/5 is particularly bad for underprivileged and disabled children, the 4/5 is despised by many teachers and administrators, and the 4/5 will cause more chaos in children’s lives after a year of Covid.

PART 3: CAN WE GET THIS CHANGED? AND HOW?

As individuals, we are powerless. But collectively, if enough of us speak out and speak strongly, APS will change their recommendation. Join our organization using the Google form above or the Facebook page below, and we will get you a list of quick things you can do to get this recommendation changed. Your voice will matter. Join us for the good of the city, these communities, and most importantly our children.

Yard signs are now available!

Email us to get a yard sign at:
midtownnot45@gmail.com


ACTION ITEMS

Join us using the first section above, and we will send you a list of things you can do to help our children avoid this terrible recommendation. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!


WE MADE THE TV NEWS!

Our group uncovered a stunning, troubling finding: APS hid key info not only from the public, but from members of their own board! That's right, APS board members had told folks the 4/5 was being done primarily for two reasons: Academics and Equity.

But APS' own equity department, the CESJ, found that the 4/5 was "not recommended." And APS never told us that, in fact they led us to believe (falsely) that the 4/5 was "equitable." Read the APS document here (pages 11-13 are key), and watch the news by clicking here

Follow Us on Twitter

We finally started a Twitter page!

http://www.twitter.com/midtownfamilies


APS told us the 4th / 5th option was chosen because it would be good for academics. So a university professor researched for us whether or not the 4/5 would indeed be a positive for our children's academics. In short, she concludes,

"Education specialists have been researching this question for more than thirty years. They basically agree that every time students switch schools, the transition negatively affects academic outcomes and students experience achievement loss."

Please click here to read Jennifer Palmer's full bibliography of academic research.

(For questions or comments, email midtownnot45@gmail.com and we will forward your email to Jennifer Palmer)