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Parents: Test schedule makes students choose between gifted program and religion | News

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Parents: Test schedule makes students choose between gifted program and religion

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A scheduling conflict has Jewish parents up in arms in DeKalb County.

The school district scheduled important testing during the Jewish high holidays just a few weeks from now.

The B’Nai Torah Temple in Sandy Springs is typically a place for peaceful worship, but on Sunday it became a gathering spot for concerned parents of DeKalb County students.

“We want every student in DeKalb County to have the same opportunity that every other student has,” said Rich Litner, concerned parent.

Rich Litner, a parent himself, led the group through their plan of action to write letters to DeKalb administrators and school board members.

They’re working to deal with a scheduling conflict that now has their students choosing between a test and the Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur.

“Those ten days are the ten days of repentance those are the holiest season of the year a time for repentance and reflection,” said Rabbi Joshua Heller, B’Nai Torah.

Instead of celebrating, first, third, fifth, and seventh graders are scheduled to take tests that will determine if they move into the DeKalb Schools gifted program.

DeKalb school board member Stan Jester listened to parents concerns Sunday.

So did his wife, Nancy Jester, a DeKalb County commissioner.

“We need to make sure we get this right, we’ve made adjustments in the past before when we had conflicts,” said Nancy Jester, DeKalb County commissioner.

Jester explained there is precedent in situations like this.

In 2012, the testing schedule was changed after parents complained its placement the day after Halloween would be a distraction for students.

“It gives us hope that the school district is going to do the right thing and recognize they don’t want to create inopportune in equal opportunity for all students in the district,” added Litner.

Stan Jester wouldn’t comment to 11Alive after the meeting.

A blog post on his website though shows he is concerned about the current schedule and how it will impact Jewish students.

He’s asking administration to take action.

Jester also posted an email on his website from DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Stephen Green.

In it, Green outlines the schedules vetting process and opportunities for makeup days.

Green did not say if the district would make or push for any changes.

Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Atlanta Public Schools all scheduled these tests to take place in October, November, and December.



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