Over 700 people have signed a petition demanding an “immediate” change in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) leadership. A Change.org account titled Transparency Now started the petition, expressing concerns with the direction of the current APS Superintendent, Dr. Lsia Herring, and the Senior Cabinet.
“Atlanta Public School’s senior leaders have failed our students, teachers, and staff in academic achievement, operations, climate and culture, engagement, and ethics, college and career readiness since July 2020 under the leadership and guidance of Dr. Lisa Herring,” the petition reads. “Let the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education know WE WANT NEW SENIOR LEADERSHIP – including a new superintendent and senior cabinet – to change the trajectory for our kids and implement aggressive strategies that will increase growth and help ALL students achieve. Our students’ success, achievement, and futures cannot wait.”
Under this opening statement on the petition is a Google Doc listing areas that the petition calls for improvement in. These areas include literacy & math, failing schools, students with disabilities, the SAT, graduation rates, budgeting, mental health, discipline, safety & security, attendance, nutrition, transportation, culture, Gallup results/employee satisfaction, school leaders, process, procedures & documentation, the ethics committee & ethics hotline, and employee relations.
Some parents and students who signed the petition stated their reasonings in the Reasons for signing section.
“I want to ensure a successful future for my children in the public school system,” wrote user Kerri Baldwin.
“I am disappointed in the leadership of Atlanta Public Schools,” wrote user Heather Lane. “As a parent, it is not evident to me that there is a focus on the well-being and education that our children need. We have classes that went several months without teachers at the high school level in critical subjects such as math. We are happy to spend money on consultants for social issues, but yet no investment in temporary teacher support to cover teacher illness leave or temporary leave situations.”
When asked for a statement for Education in Atlanta regarding the petition, a spokesperson for Atlanta Public Schools had this to say:
“While Atlanta Public Schools is aware of the petition, the undeniable fact is that many of the points mentioned offer an incomplete interpretation of our student data. We acknowledge that many of these post-pandemic baseline data can be sobering but they also don’t paint a complete picture of our students, their successes, and their academic trajectory. We are keenly aware of the many learning and social-emotional impacts caused by the pandemic and are also evaluating some existing challenges prior to the pandemic while creating and honing solution-based approaches to meet the needs of our current and future students at APS.
We always welcome meaningful and constructive dialogue with our families as we prepare to graduate scholars ready for college, career, and life.
At APS, we are relentlessly focused on student achievement for nearly 50,000 scholars. We have launched a series of data-driven efforts to provide baseline, benchmark, and formative snapshots, in order to understand current student achievement as we implement the Board’s 2020-2025 strategic plan to improve student outcomes.
We cannot and will not ignore the pandemic’s impacts on learning. APS is not immune. Georgia is not immune. We have been working diligently to triage any hindrances to our students’ academic success, even as the pandemic began. This proactive academic assessment and achievement approach creates a gold standard method to addressing student needs from a multitude of angles, following the height of the pandemic.”
Atlanta Public Schools currently serves around 50,000 students, and superintendent Lisa Herring has served as the head of the district since 2020.