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Four civic giants work to improve Metro Atlanta education


Learn4Life leaders: Milton Little, Ann Cramer, Alicia Philipp, Ken Zeff and Doug Hooker

Original story on WABE by Maria Saporta

Four regional organizations – the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta – are collaborating on an educational effort called Learn4Life. The goal is to bring the eight public school systems in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties to improve public education in the region.

It makes all the sense in the world.

Metro Atlanta has so many local governments, it’s often hard to develop a regional mindset on dealing with the myriad of issues that affect Greater Atlanta.

There are county governments, cities – old and new – as well as the numerous school systems.

Yet when it comes to the outside world, people see this whole region as one entity: Atlanta.

Having these four major civic organizations working together on a regional mandate could help build cooperation and avenues for our companies, nonprofits and local governments to work more closely together to tackle issues that bleed beyond our political boundaries.

The executives of the four organizations have been meeting for nearly three years to build trust and partnerships with each other. ARC director Doug Hooker calls it an “unprecedented time in history” and says that the leaders of each of these organizations “have an affinity for each other.” He says he hopes the first efforts to work together will succeed and their partnership will become institutionalized.

The Community Foundation’s Alicia Philipp sees the potential of bringing together the boards of the organizations so there can be even greater cooperation.

By bringing together these four organizations to the same table, we may be able to become more strategic in how we seek and implement solutions. If this new-found cooperation is embraced and nurtured, it will only make our region stronger.

On a personal note, I have enjoyed sharing my commentaries with WABE listeners for the past couple of years. Although this is my final one, you can still follow me on saportareport.com and in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Thank you for supporting public radio.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


1 Comment

  1. Shawnna Hayes-Tavares March 12, 2019 1:56 pm

    I don’t think this is a good idea. First, they don’t have folks in this group who really knows education. Secondly, I don’t trust all of them due to at least one’s involvement in APS. Finally, each of those counties has disparities within their own school districts. I would hate to see them try to bring APS’ board members together, they already think they are God, with no need to listen to the community. We don’t need help from a bunch of non-educational leader outsiders. No thanks, we need help with funding for families and communities to learn, be engaged, be informed and empowered! No more bureaucracy, just educate black children!!!Report


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