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report print email Source: Editorial: Fulton County closes Crossroads schools, cuts 74 jobs
Such a disappointing decision.
April 25, 2013 | 10:28 AM

Will the few dollars saved in the short term be worth the long-term consequences of taking resources away from the students who need them most? Approximately 40% of students referred to the Crossroads program receive special education services. Does Fulton have the means to comply with these students’ IEPs if they are being served by an outside vendor? It is disingenuous at best to suggest that this is about anything but money.

The "data" used to support the case for outsourcing was not disaggregated and did not paint an accurate picture of student achievement at Crossroads. Furthermore, at any other underperforming school, teachers and administrators would have been given a chance to improve. In this case, these educators were not even consulted. No board member--much less Dr. Avossa--ever came to observe classes at Crossroads, although they promised to.

In the wake of the series of tragedies involving young people in the past year, it should be evident that removing interventions and support from those students at the greatest risk is a dangerous proposition. A computer lab in a strip mall, overseen by glorified babysitters, is not an environment in which to successfully rehabilitate, much less educate, the students Crossroads serves.
These are not “bad” kids; they are kids who have made poor choices and are in desperate need of guidance, support, and structure.

Anyone who visits Crossroads can observe that these students’ needs are being met by caring, highly-qualified professionals whose careers are focused on changing lives for the better. I hope, for the students' sake, that the same is true of Ombudsman. For what they pay, however, I can't imagine they attract the cream of the academic crop. I sincerely hope that this program is more successful in Fulton than it has been in other Metro counties; unfortunately, by the time the Board realizes it has made a mistake, the Crossroads family will be long gone, and the county will be forced to rebuild a program from the ground up.

The "Reduction in Force" is just adding insult to injury; typically, when a school closes (e.g., Connected Academy), every effort is made to place the teachers affected at other schools in the district. If there has to be a RIF, the teachers impacted are generally lacking in seniority or performance; most of the teachers at Crossroads, however, have many years of experience and consistently positive evaluations.

I don't feel qualified to speculate on the political aspects of the situation; I am just a teacher and a parent. All I know is that the true stakeholders were not consulted in this decision, and that this move cannot possibly be in the students' best interests.

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