An East Cobb resident named B.C. writes in with a concern he feels is too often overlooked in the local media: That a subpar school system is holding Atlanta down. Having grown up in Indianapolis and lived in Arizona, B.C. moved to metro Atlanta in 2004, impressed with the city's verdant hills and boundless potential. Since then, he's lived in Smyrna, Newnan and Marietta, splitting distances between his job and his wife's. He's tired of commuting so far to Midtown, and he's inspired by what he sees happening in Atlanta's intown neighborhoods. "Being an OTP'er," B.C. writes, "I'm tired of being lumped in with the belief that I am a commute-loving, transit-hating suburbanite that hates the word 'urban." There's one problem: Uprooting his family intown is no option because of schools, he says. Which raises interesting questions: How many other OTP'ers feel the same way, and is the new Atlanta Public Schools regime listening? The worst of the APS nightmare would appear to be over, but as B.C.'s letter plaintively points out, there's still a ways to go.
I follow and enjoy reading Curbed articles on a daily basis. I also think it is wonderful that there is, at the very least, a conversation about making Atlanta a more walkable/commutable city. The sprawl is obvious, the importance of the car is clear, and the desire to be considered a city that can compete with D.C., Chicago and N.Y.C., etc. is finally something that could be tangible.
I am fully sold on the urban growth model. I love new urbanism and the mentality that we should have never let the car overrun our city and should rebuild with a Main Street in each community that is connected to the rest of the city. But that will all take time.
Funding is a major issue but really, education seems to be one aspect that I feel is often overlooked in all of these articles.
We are transplants and live in the dreaded East Cobb. The taxes are great, the home values are consistent, the crime is fairly low and the schools are phenomenal. If you look at greatschools.org and search along the Eastern edge of Cobb, you see 10s at almost every single school from elementary up to high school.
The problem is, Cobb doesn't support transit, there are only a few access points over the river, CCT really only runs from West Cobb, the Braves are going to increase traffic counts and with my wife headed to the Central Perimeter and me going to Midtown, there is a good bit of single-occupant commuting going on.
When you search Atlanta and try to find a single school district from elementary to high school with all 10s, or 9s or even 8s ... there aren't many. Decatur is one but cost very quickly becomes a factor. We have a young family and education is worth the commute from East Cobb even though we are giving up the vibrant walkable communities that seem to be growing up in Atlanta.
Personally, I think part of the reason the Central Perimeter market is doing so well is simply because there is access to great schools north of the city. If I was moving my company and their families, what is most important? Great schools and neighborhoods in a suburban market or sub-par schools with great walkable communities?
What is your opinion on how to balance this dilemma that even the Millenials ultimately agree with when they start their families and move away from the city? How can we enjoy and support Atlanta while having security in a school system that is already thriving and not rebuilding like APS and Dekalb?
Thanks for reading and keep up the good work!
· Will Atlanta's 'Creative Class' Uproot to Suburbs? [Curbed]
· New York Times: 'So What's The Matter With Atlanta?' [Curbed]