Alpharetta’s 10 Year Plan – Schools

This is the third article in a series about Alpharetta’s ten year plan survey.

Brace yourself for the understatement of the year… The schools in north Fulton are good, really good. Don’t believe me? Check out blogger Bob Strader’s report on the schools around here and their test scores.

And we’re not alone as just about all the northern burb schools are awesome. Cobb has terrific schools. Gwinnett is winning national awards for their schools. Even Forsyth and Cherokee counties do alright.

But before I start talking about why are schools are awesome, let me completely disqualify myself from being an expert on education. My credentials are as follows… My oldest kid just started kindergarten in public school. Wow, that gives me a few months of experience as a PTA member, right? Otherwise I really have no authority to speak intelligently on this subject. Are you still reading? Great, let’s continue.

Are the schools in north Fulton great because of some administrative prowess on the part of the school system? Hardly. South Fulton’s schools are run by the same bunch, yet I don’t see them winning awards.

The schools here are good because of the parents. Sure, that’s easy for me to say, I’m a parent. No, the schools are good here because the kids come from homes with money. They come from parents who are highly educated, with good jobs and that have the time to devote to their children. And like we talked about last week, the college educated parents are here for the jobs. Yeah, it all goes back to the jobs. Good jobs bring educated people who have smart kids who fill the schools.

And after a while it begins to feed upon itself. My daughter’s teacher is a good example. She began her teaching career in a south metro Atlanta school system. After a few years she became frustrated with the schools and the lack of involvement from parents. She wanted to teach in a good school so now she’s in the northern burbs. Good teachers want to work in good schools. Duh.

Back to Alpharetta’s survey questions. Schools and education make up a bunch of the questions. It just goes to underscore how important this topic is to attracting and retaining residents. And yet even with so many questions asked, my answer to them all is simple… it is all about the jobs. The schools here are good because of the jobs. The single best thing the city of Alpharetta can do for the schools or otherwise is to attract and retain good jobs. There isn’t much else the city can or should do. They are not the “City of Alpharetta’s public schools” as the survey calls them. We have county schools here. Did I mention that this survey was put together by consultants who probably don’t know this area? Oh I did? Swell.

In case there’s a pop quiz later on, let’s review…

Good jobs -> educated parents -> smart kids -> good schools

5 Responses to “Alpharetta’s 10 Year Plan – Schools”

  1. Jimgilvin November 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I agree with much of your post but I have to say that I think your statement,” The schools here are good because of the jobs.” is a huge oversimplification. Surely the city of Atlanta attracts far more good jobs but their schools are terrible.

    Alpharetta schools are great because the city attracts people who value great public schools. Jobs are a big part of that but so are low crime, family neighborhoods and a quality of life conducive to raising school age children.

    For example, compare East Cobb schools with Sandy Springs. Sandy Springs has the jobs but East Cobb has the schools. There are fewer “good” jobs in East Cobb but people that value great public schools choose to live in EC and commute to SS. The same thing holds true for many Alpharetta residents.


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