My name is Kristyne Seidenberg. I am a parent, certified teacher, and practicing attorney. I am concerned about the way DeKalb County Schools has addressed the class size issue.
Any short term savings the school system effects by increasing class sizes will surely be outweighed by the long term detrimental impact on the quality of education in DeKalb County Schools. The legal fees the school system will be forced to allocate toward defending Due Process claims of parents of special needs children could simply go to maintaining class sizes appropriate to educating students.
The current stance on increasing class sizes appears to be short-sighted. If the School Board communicates an attitude of indifference regarding Local Education Agencies’ compliance with State and Federal Special Education Rules and Regulations, it will surely be met with an abundance of Due Process Claims that it will be forced to defend. Why not take a more effective and productive long-term, big picture approach?
In the August 28th letter to Dr. Atkinson from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council, a primary concern was the DeKalb County School Board’s failure to ensure that the financial resources of the school system are allocated in accordance with local policy, State and Federal Law. Some of the standards that Sacs is questioning relate to governance and leadership. Under those SACS standards, the school system must operate to promote and support student performance and school effectiveness. As a parent, teacher, and attorney, I am concerned about that as well, especially regarding the school systems compliance with both State and Federal Special Education Rules, Regulations, and Laws.
We, as parents and educators, must be able to trust that our local board is going to do the right thing for educating our children, not merely the fiscally expedient thing. We must know that our local board will be accountable for the negative impacts of these decisions regarding class size and space allocation. I know, first hand, how class size affects the day-to-day effectiveness of teachers, the day to day productivity of students, and ultimately overall student achievement and self-esteem.
As a member of the DeKalb Coalition of IEP Parents, I would like to repeat the offer to the superintendent to attend our next meeting on Saturday morning, September 22nd. We are a group of parents who are very concerned about the impact of the decisions being made this school year and the lack of clarity about what is happening. Please come and address our group, answer our questions.