Gov. Nathan Deal, shown here with his wife, Sandra, reading to schoolchildren, is increasing his lobbying for the Opportunity School District. (Governor’s Office Photo)

Race and resentment or better schools: a fine line for Amendment 1

If voters approve Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District on Nov. 8, he will face his biggest educational challenge: taking over the state’s lowest-performing schools without upsetting the locals to the point that it undermines the turnaround effort.

Community support has proved important, if elusive, in other states, such as Tennessee, with similar school improvement plans. A history of racial segregation, and worse, has led to suspicion when locally-elected school boards were bypassed by outsiders from the state.

Deal’s proposed Amendment 1 has inspired opposition from leading African-American voices in Atlanta, including current and former mayors Kasim Reed and Andrew Young. Can Deal take over schools without stirring local resentment as he tries to improve them, and will voters entrust him with the power to try?

Learn about the proposed constitutional amendment that has teachers and parents across Georgia talking, at myAJC.com.

7 things to know about the Opportunity School District

You can find information about your DeKalb County school, such as test scores, graduation rates and school climate rating at the Ultimate Atlanta School Guide.

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