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Why kids leave Chatham for education

By Amy W. Osborne
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005

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This is a response to Gina Bechtel-Hicks. I think you answered your own question! Kids are leaving because as you stated, anytime a parent attempts to get any information or speak out about the problems, the parents are attacked and dismissed by the school board (and others), it is difficult and time-consuming to effect any changes in Chatham, and change is incremental and very slow... and the kids suffer in the meantime.

My child did not start school in Chatham so I cannot speak personally to whether there is vindictive behavior against the children of advocates but I have heard from various sources that sort of thing does happen.

Everyone thinks the new administration is going to be different; however, I still cannot get an appointment with Dr. Hart. The best that has happened is they offered me an appointment with someone else. So I know that nothing is going to change this year.

My son is supposed to start school in Chatham in one year's time. According to researchers at the Davidson Foundation (and elsewhere) the critical time in my child's education is age 4 to 9. Chatham will not even attempt to offer him anything until he's 10. (My child qualified for early entry to kindergarten in another state, but I could not even get an appointment in Chatham to talk about it).

For his sake, I can't wait until he's 10 to address these problems or see any small bit of hard-won change. For the amount of energy and time expended in a futile fight here in Chatham, I (and my child) can get enormous rewards - more activities, better grades, more learning, specialized eduation, field trips, and more - in another school system. This is not about being lazy as a parent. This is about choosing where your efforts should be made to reach the maximum impact for your child.

In Chatham, I can't get an appointment or a straight answer. Elsewhere, we've already joined up with the PTA, met other parents and started helping with this year's events. So we'll get to know some other parents and kids, and how the system works before we actually start school.

That is why I have made arrangements to send my child elsewhere.

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