Did Clayton board make the right decision?

Good decision to fire John Thompson by our board of education. They identified a cancer and cut it out before it spread and caused more damage.

Given his reputation before being hired as corrective superintendent last spring, it’s no surprise that he was difficult to work with. But Thompson wasn’t supposed to even consider taking this job permanently as per his contract with the ousted board. Although he spent (wasted?) a lot of time telling anyone within earshot that he was technically the superintendent per Georgia law, he was hired specifically to help get accreditation back and then leave.

But don’t cry for Thompson. He walks away with a nice chunk of change at our expense in salary and benefits. All he’ll do is trash CCPS in general on his next interview and probably get hired eventually.

SACS’ Mark Elgart was right on about our BOE changing direction and the way business is done. Slowly but surely, it is happening and the purging of bad decisions made by the old regime is almost complete. Of course CCPS and the BOE are not perfect and there are still problems to fix. But things are looking up, so keep up the great work CCBOE! Let’s just pray that our next superintendent will be an improvement and helps CCPS continue to move onward and upward.

Do you agree with the BOE’s decision, or should they have let Thompson finish out his contract? What qualities should the BOE look for in our new superintendent?

111 comments Add your comment

Clayton Resident

March 19th, 2009
4:49 pm

Even if it was all Elgart, this is still a good thing. We can’t stop backdoor politics from happening and you’re right I don’t care if it IS happening as long as constituents don’t get screwed in the process (which usually happens eventually no matter what.

Why it matters

March 19th, 2009
5:14 pm

For those who don’t think it matters what’s behind the dog and pony show to get accreditation back. You need to remember that Elgart has no problem at all with accrediting substandard school systems-after all the twenty lowest scoring systems outside of Clayton are all accredited-if it suits the political purpose.

However, your child’s education should be more important than politics. What good is it to have an accredited school system when you have gang violence in the schools and the BOE’s response is to put up a wall of silence?

It might be accredited, but that doesn’t make it quality; unfortunately too many people in Clayton fail to see the difference.

Eyes Wide Open

March 19th, 2009
6:55 pm

To: Clayton Resident- Constituents did get screwed those that took 3500 kids out of CCPS behind a fake Accreditation Debalce. That act uprooted all those families and lowered your property value for NOTHING! The new BOE haven’t done ANYTHING, but we’ll have accreditation back in whole or in part in less than 30 days. That’s a GIVEN!

Joe the Politico

March 19th, 2009
7:08 pm

To: Concerned Parent and Homeowner,Concerned Parent and Homeowner You said,”What does the demographic breakdown have to do with “why we care”?
Think about it, since when have we cared about 50,000 children minorities 90% on Free to Reduced Lunch, parents don’t attend meetings, parents don’t vote, older kids are gangster thug! Come on, Concerned Parent and Homeowner you know its the same reason the state want to take Hartfield ATL airport from Atlanta! MONEY!!! Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and I can see it, too bad you’re BLIND.

RU4Real

March 19th, 2009
9:42 pm

Why it matters, Perhaps the twenty lowest scoring school systems have never attracted the attention of SACS by board members reporting each other right and left as the previous board did. Remember Clayton lost accreditation because of findings on the standard of “Governance and Leadership” not “Teaching and Learning.” In the grand scheme of things – no, it really doesn’t matter.

Jonesboro

March 20th, 2009
9:13 am

A side note..so the BOC has stopped plans onthis Aerotropilis…this is the talk evry year..give it up..you bums areb’t capable of doing anything productive…Ibet you’ll discuss it just in time for the next election. Do something ALREADY…..get rid of those trailer parks and redevelop Tara Blvd………Eldrin bellis 100 years old…he wil be long out of office by time that Aerotropalis talk ever comes to fruition.

What the heck is so hard about landscaping and cleaning up a county…start buy tear down the signs for those massage parlors that have been out of business for over a year……DAMN…do you have no shame BOC…how can you meet every week and have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to show..NOTHING. DAMN!!!!!!!!!!! JUST FREAKIN QUIT already!!!!!!! DAMN!!!!!

Jonesboro

March 20th, 2009
9:19 am

Joe politico is VERy RIGHT. Accreditation is good but its a basic requirement…if the education is substandard you’ll still be graduating unprepared kids. I can think of tons of school in Fulton and Dekalb that are TERRIBLE but they are accredited.

Once we get accreditation back…all the people need to PUSH for education reform…zero tolerence for violence, gang, disruptive behavior etc. And have a standard…AP courses, science and math programs…career paths etc. Thats the move. A good school system will mean more value on your homes and better educated and prepared kids.

KICK OUT ALL of the thugs and rif rafs……DON”T turn these school into a remake of the movie LEAN ON ME!!!!

You Have Got to be Kidding

March 20th, 2009
9:49 am

Here we go again believing what Massa Elgart says. Dr. Valya Lee is doing no different than Thompson, she can in and moved a bunch of people around with the boards approval. Or maybe not with the boards approval, uh didn’t the board just vote that no personnel changes could be made without their prior approval? Opps, did I say that? And why make all these changes if supposedly you will only be in place for 3 months? Huh? So what happens if and when the board hires a new superintendent? Do all these people get to go back to their old jobs or are they just out of luck?
Jesse Goree is really happy, the next thing we will be hearing is how she is new “Rod Johnson” and micro-managing the system.
I hope and I say hope we get our accreditation back, but if we don’t – they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 20th, 2009
12:27 pm

Joe Politco:
Don’t apologize for me, I see very well. And I also know that my children “ARE” minorities, not on free or reduced lunch, I attend all PTA, Parent/Teacher conferences, festivals, school board meetings,etc. So the “WE” you are talking about does not include me. I care because I have a vested interest in the education of my kids.

Dee

March 20th, 2009
1:29 pm

Why it matters,

You’re not too bright. SACS has nothing to do with accreditation based upon what happens in the classroom. Obvioulsy you don’t know what SACS does or what their accrediation is based upon.

Reginald Stalworth Jr.

March 20th, 2009
4:42 pm

Thank you Val for doing what needs to be done. YOU GO GIRL!!

Try again Dee

March 20th, 2009
10:26 pm

Dee you’re embarrassing yourself. To come on here and tell someone they aren’t too bright because SACS doesn’t accredit school systems based on what happens in the classroom kind of covers the brightness of your post with a think, opaque film when that was exactly the point why it matters was making.

And that point, which should be transparent to anyone with even a modicum of thinking skill, is that if you think SACS accreditation means anything when it comes to the quality of instruction in the classroom, and the respect by CCPS administrators for the sanctity of the learning environment you are sadly mistaken.

Of course given the lack of critical thinking exhibited by so many, why wouldn’t Elgart, CCPS, and the rest of the status quo feel empowered to substitute a dog and pony show for quality education when so many can’t seem to tell the difference?

Sam

March 20th, 2009
11:48 pm

Thank goodness Thompson is gone! I don’t care who the board was listening to. I have worked for CCPS for over 20 years. Never has this system been in this kind of trouble. Thompson was a terrible example of a leader! If it were not for the economy and no jobs out there CCPS would not have enough employees to keep the doors open. Happy days are here again!

Look at the Big Picture

March 21st, 2009
8:21 am

I think that is should be known that it was well within the right for the new board to begin a new search for a Superintendent as well as removing Dr. Thompson if they (the board) found cause to remove him. However, I honestly feel that any actions that Dr. Thompson had made or were planning to make were prompted by the actions of a couple of the new board members. One particular board member who used a “rhyme” in her campaign last year often challenged Dr. Thompson on every move he made. I am in her district and although I voted for her, the actions I have witnessed from this board member are completely embarrassing. This board member is well in tune with our district, and often shares some things that should not be shared. The inability to separate her personal relationships when making business decisions for our entire school system is very evident, and this is what often surfaced during her questioning of the intentions of Dr. Thompson.

Now this board member has gotten what she wants, the removal of Dr. Thompson, who was following the correct interview procedures, and hiring individuals who were qualified. These individuals submitted their resumes, interviewed before a committee, and the recommendations were carried before the board.

Now we have these same individuals being ousted from their positions simply because they were hired and recommended by Dr. Thompson.

What you are witnessing is a coup which was orchestrated by a “planted board member” who has previous ties with a lot of the old/current administration, and her primary goal was to go in and use the power of her position to influence major decisions by using the “GOOD OLE BOY SYSTEM”, where people are placed in positions (as indicated by actions of the new superintendent this week) based on friendships and not experience.

Yes, Dr. Thompson may have been planning some major moves before his departure, but his actions were provoked by ONE major individual who was leading a pack to control the entire school administration, including every decision that the Superintendent made.

I apologize for voting for her.

Melanie Lee

March 21st, 2009
8:26 am

Good bye and good riddance J.T. (John Thompson).

Hmm, who elese do we know that has cost us accrediation and shares those same initals…?

Huh?

March 21st, 2009
10:02 am

Thompson was hand picked by former board members and on their payroll. He only cared about keeping his large salary and perks. He was a “cancer” indeed and thankfully this board saw that early on. good riddance Thompson, enjoy your well funded life on Clayton’s dime.

Initial reaction

March 21st, 2009
6:00 pm

If you are looking for initials that caused Clayton to lose accreditation try RJ-Rod Johnson for going to SACS for personal gain, and ED-Ericka Davis for her constant micromanaging to make sure the deed was done.

Maybe that’s why Mark Elgart of SACS had Davis as his guest in his office on a regular basis during his investigation; maybe he was just trying to keep his ED under control.

Ominbusman

March 21st, 2009
6:31 pm

CCPS will continue to reprise until we get a Superintendent, like Elgart said, “one that knows how to conduct business in Georgia.” We all know that CCBOE has to approve any purchases/contracts over $25,000 and the Superintendent can autonomously approve purchases/contracts up to $24,999. We need a Superintendent that knows how to conduct business like this. Like when the Commish or the Chamber comes to CCPS and say we need $200,000 commitment from you for widgets and we know your board will not approve it. We need a Superintendent can act on this commitment by going ahead making ten (10) each individual purchases for $24,999. That will keep the commitment off the CCBOE radar because they only review/approve purchases of $25,000 or greater. What a clever way to purchase 10 police cars huh. I had an old red wig wearing Superintendent do it for me once. In government, it’s called splitting a requirement. Some in government call it illegal; I called it conducting business in Georgia.

KimWhit

March 22nd, 2009
11:03 am

It really doesn’t matter who the super of Clayco school is. It could be Marva Collins or Ron Clark and the results would be the same. It’s the demographics stupid. My child will continue to attend private school as long as this school system is overrun and ultimately controlled by throwaway kids and indifferent parents. She will probably be in college by the time the ultracheap land in this county is bought by investors, and the county is completely gentrified.

Most Clayton county schools are subpar. There will not be AP courses offered in most of the schools because very few kids are qualifed to take an AP course and an AP instructor won’t waste their talents in this school system. The children of immigrant families seem to suceed in this school system. This is evident when winners of spelling bees and other academic contests are announced. This is due to the fact that most immigrant families place a high value on educational achievement. Unfortunately a stellar Clayton county student will probably find that their 4.0 GPA really translates into a 2.0 GPA when they are required to compete against conterparts who were challenged in an orderly educational environment with little behavioral disruptions and 100% parental participation.

Deeply Concerned Taxpayer/Parent

March 22nd, 2009
1:18 pm

What deeply concerns me about Clayton County Schools and the community are several things.

First, perhaps it was time for John Thompson to go. In my only meeting with him, I found him surprisingly arrogant and even hostile to those who disagreed with him. He dismissed people who did not have children in the school system, without understanding that despite having no children in Clayton schools, it is homeowners who paid his exorbitant salarly through their taxes. If I am going to have school administrators and central office staff be rude to me when I ask a question, maybe I should be relieved of paying their salaries by having school taxes taken from my tax bill. Particularly since MOST of these staff members live in Fayette and Henry counties and therefore don’t even contribute to their own salaries.

Secondly, why is that there was no outcry over Clayton’s EOCT scores? There were students who failed the End of Course test but got A’s from teachers in the course? I keep hearing teachers and administrators say Clayton was placed on probation because of the board’s actions, but maybe it should be because of the dismal academic performance. Students in Clayton performed worst that students in the some of the poorest counties in the state, yet the district has a half billion dollar budget. So, I would respectfully request that many of those “tenured” teachers who were fired who now are being evaluated by Superintendent Lee also be scrutinized for performance. Teachers and admnistrators can’t keep screaming that Clayton children are poor, therefore they can not learn. Poor children across this country are outperforming children in Clayton. POOR CHILDREN CAN LEARN, but not from a poorly-trained teacher who has low expectations for his/her students. If SACS is not reviewing Clayton’s accreditation because of student performance, then the gentleman who blogs that the whole matter is all about money and contracts is absolutely right. I will be watching, particularly with the new administrative appointments. And taxpayers should be watching too. No other community would allow their children to attend schools where there is clearly very little learning going on. If you want to know why the outside world thinks so little of people who live in Clayton, it is because we think so little of ourselves, especially our children. Remember, just because your kid gets an “A” doesn’t mean he’s learning. Just go back and review students’ performance on the End of Course Test. Folks should go to jail behind those results, in my opinion.

Finally, the Clayton County School Board needs to hire a superintendent who has a proven track record of improving student performance in an urban school district. Race/ethnicity should not matter; it should be about performance. That would mean nobody who currently works for the district qualifies. That superintendent should clean house and place in schools people who want to lead. That would likely mean the removal of most of the school principals, beginning with Jonesboro High, where the school leaders can’t even effectively monitor a high school dance routine. How well do you think they are doing at monitoring student performance? If we want results, the community will have to force our Board to make difficult decisions. It may very well mean that well-intentioned, well-connected and well-liked people are fired. But for the sake of this community and for the sake of our children, the folks who are supposedly trained in pedagogy and who are very well paid to supposedly lead the district need to be held accountable — TODAY!!!!

TC

March 22nd, 2009
2:23 pm

Its official.No intelligent residents left in Clayton County. Everybody wants a laid back government job where they can draw an easy paycheck. They snip at each others heels here, and on all the blogs with bogus names, hoping they will get a shot at what they think is easy money. No body wants to work for a living, they want a government job. Pathetic loosers.

Initial reaction

March 22nd, 2009
8:06 pm

If there is any initial confusion over who was initailly responsible for Clayton losing accreditation let the record show that any speculation about Elgart keeping his ED under control is strictly a reference to the number of times Ericka Davis was alleged to have been welcomed into the SACS office during the SACS investigation and the seeming desire to leave certain troubling aspects of board members’ actions out of the final report.

Any other intrepretation is completely unintentional, and purely coincidential.

By the way TC

March 22nd, 2009
8:12 pm

If you’re going to call someone a pathetic loser, you might be well served to spell loser right. Just a litte bit of advice.

Bit of advice TC

March 22nd, 2009
8:18 pm

TC if you’re going to call someone a pathetic loser, you might want to consider spelling loser correctly.

SD

March 22nd, 2009
11:30 pm

WOW Deeply Concerned Taxpayer/Parent – it is about time someone wrote something thoughtful and meaningful on here – thank you.

Undercover Angel

March 23rd, 2009
2:41 pm

Clayton County School Board has put on their Agenda to Vote of School Board Michael B. King tonite, as I know all citizens is going to see if they do or not and also what School Board Members that votes to keep her/him on the School Board, because the ones that votes for him to stay will have a very very short time as a School Board Member in the next Election or maybe before it.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 24th, 2009
9:58 am

TO “IF?”

You keep making the dumb statement:

“Do you really, really, think Concerned Parent that Elgart and SACS are going to let the sons and daughters of politically connected ClayCo citizens graduate from an unaccredited system”

Politically connected? So what about the damage that’s being done now? Graduation isn’t the only concern. Property values are plummeting, people are moving, taking their tax dollars with them, which means fewer resources and higher taxes for the remaining residents. Accreditation goes far beyond just our students graduating in May 2009. If the “politically connected” has sons and daughters enrolled in CCPS, then surely they have homes here as well. So where’s the political clout you speak of?

I am not duped nor am I naive, I see very clearly. I’m not concerned about other school systems and their problems. And obviously they are not concerned about ours. This whole SACS debacle may have been politically motivated and I haven’t debated that. However, it was “OUR Board” (and apathetic parents) that provided the ammunition.

I have always been taught that regardless of another person’s (or group’s) ulterior motives are towards you, as long as you have your ducks in a row, it will be very difficult for them to prevail. REGARDLESS OF THE ALLEGED POLITICAL MOTIVATION OF SACS AND ELGART, WE DID NOT HAVE OUR HOUSE IN ORDER! I cannot believe at this point we are still having this debate. Why are you so concerned if the new school board gets the credit? Fine then, let’s give the credit to you. YEAH, “IF” saved Clayton County’s accreditation. Just out of curiosity, what has been your contribution? The blog postings don’t count.

IF

March 24th, 2009
11:54 am

Concerned Homeowner, you keep saying my statements are dumb, yet with all your intelligence you don’t seem to be able to refute them. You say you see things clearly. Step into a classroom and walk the walk, and then you’ll really see things clearly.

But you are totally and completely correct about one thing. Not only did the board not have it’s ducks in a row, they weren’t even on the same plane. They gave SACS and their cohorts every opportunity and then some to excute their game plan. But if you think this board’s actions are really addressing issues that have a direct tangible effect on the day to day instruction in the classroom, you are sadly mistaken.

It doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually. But that’s only if the citizen empower themselves with the knowledge needed to hold them accountable.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 24th, 2009
1:43 pm

IF:
Your last paragraph is exactly what I’ve been saying all along. Good to know we agree on something.

JMHO

March 24th, 2009
7:41 pm

Every applicant for a teaching job in CC should be required to pass with no less than 99.9% a diction, grammar, spelling, and composition course.

Agreed

March 25th, 2009
11:46 am

I agree with last night’s decision to not make the administrator who was suspended over the dance team controversy a scapegoat with the three day suspension. There is still accountability with the letter of reprimand.

I just hope if a teacher is ever in the same boat, they will use the same common sense discretion, and that this wasn’t just board members taking care of a administrator crony. Clayton has far too much of that.

Practical

March 25th, 2009
6:35 pm

KimWhit,

You are the type of parent that will take your kid to a so called “good school” and because you are the outsider they will place your kid in the worst teacher’s classroom. Yes, please believe there are BAD teachers in good schools.

People like you will not complain when you get that BAD teacher in a so call good system.

KimWhit

March 25th, 2009
8:10 pm

Practical, you are probably uber defensive because you are a first year Clayton county teacher holding a provisional certificate, i.e. one of the main problems with the Clayton county school system. Your ignorant generalizations prove that you were most likely educated in poor schools yourself. The source of your rage could also be that your priorities are so screwed up that you’d drive your child to an unaccredited Clayton county school in a luxury car. Here’s some “Practical” advice: trade the car note and invest in your child’s future.

My husband and I are college educated with good jobs and we are very active, very visible, and well known in our child’s school where parental participation is mandatory. Parental participation is one of the hallmarks of a good school system as you well know. I am in 100% agreement with “Deeply Concerned Taxpayer/Parent’s” earlier post which states that Clayton County’s school system has fundamentally deeper problems than just a defective school board. I refuse to sacrifice my child to them and I will drink muddy water out of a Mason jar to keep my child out of a poorly performing school.

Now you run along and study smart for the Praxis II. Maybe you’ll pass it this time.

Impratical

March 25th, 2009
8:54 pm

That was what you call an attempt to offer a rebuttal to KimWhit’s excellent post? That was even lamer than Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire, it was more like Liar, Liar, Your Mamma Took Your Clothes To The Drycleaner. It was that lame.

JMHO JMHO

March 26th, 2009
12:59 am

It’s JMHO JMHO, but if you had ever seen some of the memos administrators send to teachers, you’d be requiring them to pass a diction, grammar, spelling, and composition test as well.

Of course God knows how many administrative staff you would lose if you did that; on the other hand, that might be the best thing ever to happen to CCPS.

Practical

March 26th, 2009
12:58 pm

KimWhit,

Your college education has not served you well. Your own generalizations about an entire system is why I find your argument substandard. I too have a formal education (several degrees), but what does that have to do with COMMON SENSE? My many years spent in a college classroom do not come close to the teachings of my mother and grandmother(who were both educated in poor schools).

I disagree that parental involvement is the hallmark of a good system. I believe good teaching is the hallmark. Parental involvement is a plus. I think that parental involvement must evolve from making copies at the school to actually supplementing what thier kid is learning. When my child (in a Clayton County school) studied Martin Luther King, I took him to the King Center. When my child studied the levels of government, I took him to the state capitol and a commissioners meeting. We will visit Fernbank Science Center over spring break and the space center in Huntsville, AL this summer.

DO NOT assume because your child is in a so call “good school” he/she is being expose to great teachers. Especially when the teachers know that it is easy to please the parents by telling them what they want to hear.

I assume your reference to my car note and you drinking muddy water from a mason jar indicates your choice for private school. I challenge you to check the certifications of the teachers at the private school. You may be surprised. I say invest in your child by you exposing him/her to learning outside the school day. This is real parental involvement.

P.S: You are correct. I drive a nice car but I have not had a car note in 7 years. Cars are a poor investment. I would rather spend the money taking my son to Washington, DC. for a historical inauguration.

KimWhit

March 26th, 2009
8:42 pm

Practical, your rebuttal to my initial post effectively refutes your claim of being highly educated. On the other hand those online degrees are kind of easy to come by. You show poor judgment if you currently subject your child to an unaccredited school and you have the means to mitigate the situation. You show very poor judgment if you assume that attending the Inauguration or an occasional family vacation is a valid substitute for a challenging educational experience. I agree that those types of experiences are ideal for exposure but my child has daily Spanish emersion and is exposed to second grade math concepts in kindergarten. She can immediately move ahead to third grade math concepts if she masters her current curriculum or she can be remediated when appropriate. Will your child’s school offer him that opportunity? No, because they will subject him to the required canned government lesson plan “script” thereby limiting your child’s educational progress to that of the least intelligent child in his class. The proverbial “Jethro” will set the intellectual pace for your child’s class and the social worker/slash teacher will dumb the whole curriculum down to accommodate his self esteem.

Practical, please do not challenge me to “do the research” on my child’s school when you clearly haven’t one iota of research yourself. My husband and I obviously researched, and our child applied (and I stress APPLIED), to several independent schools, attended numerous open houses, met and interviewed with teachers and administrator and we ultimately CHOSE the school our daughter currently attends. I could continue ad nauseam about the time and attention we gave to this process. Practical, you COULDN’T have researched Clayton County’s school system because a cursory glance would have disclosed poor academic statistics, a majority of inexperienced/uncertified teachers, low academic expectations, LOW PARENTAL PARTICIPATION AS CONFIRMED BY THE DISMAL PARENTAL TURNOUT DURING THE ACCREDITATION HEARING/RALLIES and widespread disciplinary problems. Heck, a quick read of comments posted to this message board by Clayco teachers would have been the bit tip off! Yet you still send your child to the ZONED SCHOOL that THE COUNTY chose for you when you clearly have the means to do otherwise?

I want to stress that I am not being critical of the entire public school system. I am the daughter of two retired educators and a proud product of public schools. There are clearly some great public school systems and public school educators. Clayton’s public school system is just not one of them at this time.

What?

March 26th, 2009
9:00 pm

Practical,
I agree. Most teachers in private schools are not certified. Also, I’m confused as to how KimWhit would know your occupation and what kind of car you drive, just by reading a post….weird.

Living high on the hog

March 26th, 2009
9:19 pm

So the new and improved BOE can’t wait for spring to come to ClayCo. They’ve got to take, in this economy, as little paid vacation to San Diego, offering the pathetic excuse that they may not get accreditation back if they don’t go.

Of course the status quo lackeys won’t complain about the literal thousands of dollars that are going to be spent right after teachers were laid off. Is SACS going to ask for an itemized bill for each and every meal ordered on the public dime like they did last time, or will any and every extravagance just be excused as bidness?

Deeply Concerned Taxpayer/Parent

March 26th, 2009
9:21 pm

KimWhit

Like you, I also make enormous sacrifices for my child, including driving a 10-year-old car, to send him to private school. We tried public school, but after sitting in on classes and walking through the halls of the local high school — much to the dismay of the principal — I could not stomach what I witnessed. And you are right, the research is clear on parental involvement. What high performing schools have in common is significant involvement by parents, and not necessarily highly educated parents. But “Practical” is also correct. A child’s education MUST be supplemented by additional enrichment opportunties. For parents with money, that may very well be a trip to Washington D.C., and for others who don’t have much disposable income, it may mean trips to the public library where a child can check out books that expose them to other cultures, countries, etc.

Like both of you, I too am a college graduate. I have a child at one of the top universities in this country and another child who works extremely hard just to make B’s. I would never trust his education to anybody in Clayton schools. I have attended board meetings, have met many of the administators and Central Office staff and quite frankly, just can’t imagine how they received appointments to lead a school system. I also have experience working for a school district — a high performing one. So, I recognize quality instruction when I see it, and I just have not seen enough of it in Clayton, particularly at the high school level. There desperately needs to be a transformation at all of the high schools. There are schools across metro Atlanta that are 90-90-90 schools, where 90 percent of the children receive free or reduced lunch; 90 percent are minority; and 90 percent excel on the reading portion of state tests. With all the money we spend on children in Clayton, we should have many of those schools. And we don’t.

Anyway, while it appears the debate is heated, I think it is commendable that people are at least talking about schools and education with such passion. I think we all want what’s best for our children and are prepared to do what it takes to ensure that they are more than adequately educated. I commend you both KimWhit and Practical.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 27th, 2009
10:38 am

Very well said Deeply Concerned Taxpayer/Parent

I also agree that parent involvement and enrichment opportunities are very important in the educational development of a child. I perhaps bring another perspective to the conversation. My kids are elementary aged. I moved them from a private school to a public charter school here in Clayton County. I know that this may seem crazy to most uninformed people reading this blog, but I did extensive research and this school offered everything I was looking for in a K-5 education for my kids. Consequently, my husband and I are very pleased with our decision. Both are doing very well and have been blessed with caring and qualified teachers who are dedicated to the kids and their profession. The school as a whole is doing great as well. We have strong support from the parents as well as the community. Our PTA meetings are always packed and active parental participation is the norm. For example, when the district failed to provide funding for elementary band/orchestra, our parents went out and solicited sponsors for instruments and supplies. We now are the only elementary school in the county with a band. The Hall County Public School district opened a similar charter school last year and used or school as a model. You wouldn’t believe it by reading the blogs or media reports, but there are some great schools in Clayton County. In fact, there has been a waiting list for admission to ours since it opened.

However, I do worry about when my kids move on to middle and high school. Unless things change drastically, I will have no other option but to send my children to private school or move to another district.

Reality check

March 27th, 2009
11:50 am

Nobody disputes that there children from all backgrounds who learn, and learn exceedingly well, but there isn’t a single school is Georgia that is 90 percent or above free and reduced lunch, with 90 percent of the children scoring in the exceed range on the CRCT reading test. Not one. Not a single one.

It’s one thing to hold teachers accountable, it’s entirely another thing to scapegoat them by pretending they operate in a vacuum. Home matters.

Practical

March 27th, 2009
12:30 pm

KimWhit,

Online degrees, muddy mason jars, car notes, provisional certificates… my mother said when you argue with a fool, two fools are arguing.

Choosing the right school for your child can never be debated. You assuming I have made the wrong choice for my child is where I take issue.

I encourage you to look outside your child’s school for opportunities to apply the information learned. You will then see reallearning taking place. There is no such thing as a perfect school or perfect parental support.

With the proper support, I am sure your child will receive a good education. I KNOW my child will receive a stellar education because it is important to me and my husband.

Minus the personal insults (unneccessary), I have enjoyed the exchange.

*** I wished online degrees were common during my matriculation. I had to complete my degrees the old fashioned way.***

Peggy Sue Davis

March 27th, 2009
2:32 pm

I care and want our children to have a world class education here in Clayton. Sadly, this is not so for many students in our unaccrediated school system.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 27th, 2009
4:56 pm

KimWhit,

It seems you need jump off your high horse. It’s called Spanish “Immersion” and there are about 380 students in Clayton County Public Schools that receive it daily as well. I applaud you for sending our child to a school that you and your husband feel best fits his or her needs. However, it is so unnecessary to put others down and past judgment. You are not the only parent in the county that cares about the education (inside and outside the class) of his/her child.

Many people feel that ALL residents of Clayton County (regardless of where your kids attend school) are trash. They feel that parents are failures for remaining in the county. But you and I both know that’s not true. Your attacks on Practical seem to be in the same vain.

KimWhit

March 27th, 2009
11:15 pm

Concerned Parent and Homeowner: You obviously didn’t read Practical’s initial post where she slammed me with some pretty big generalizations. Emersion/immersion..I stand corrected but is that all you absorbed from my post? Do your research and you will find that many of my statements are completely factual. Sometimes the truth hurts. 380 out of thousands of students is a pretty small number and actually reinforces my point about the quality of our school system. I notice you had no comment about the math. By the way, the correct word is “vein”, not “vain”.

Concerned Parent and Homeowner

March 30th, 2009
10:18 am

KimWhit,
I didn’t mention math because I don’t care to go “tit for tat” with you about what my children are learning versus yours. I just thought it was important to clarify that the correct term for what your child is being exposed to is called Spanish Immersion. Not many people know about this form of education, so I feel it’s important that the correct terminology is used. It may be hard for you to believe, but maybe some other parents in Clayton County would want to research it. As I said earlier, I applaud you. I think it is great that you have done your research and found a school that best fits your child’s needs. Who would argue with that? However, you shouldn’t assume that others haven’t done their own due diligence.
You are absolutely correct, 380 out of thousands is not a lot. But 380 out of 380 is 100% and that’s how many students at my children’s school are exposed to the immersion program. By the way, what’s even more staggering is there are only about 830 students in the entire public school system “statewide” that are exposed to a Spanish Immersion program and 46% of them are here in Clayton County….just one of the many “facts” I picked up while doing my research.

HLS

April 1st, 2009
12:56 pm

BOE firing administrators too. Hopefully these folks are taking these steps after serious considerations. Just hope this firing of Ms Lewis is not just a prelude to hiring Brock and Co as the outside lawyers. Talk about huge amounts of wasted money – wait till we see his billings.

BB

April 3rd, 2009
4:15 pm

MEGAN

I am sure Journalism 101 teaches that you have to grab the readers attention. But when it comes to articles on CLayton BOE and schools, please refrain from headlines with innuendo not brought forth in the facts of the article.

Another Parents View

April 4th, 2009
6:30 pm

HLS:
Julie Lewis has been fired! Now, no one should be surprised when the new attorney firm is “Brock & Clay”. When you hire a search firm for $7500 that is a law firm, what is the trade off? You hire them as the school systems law firm! Then they charge you $250/hr for all the work. That means that every time Pam Adamson and Alieka Anderson call him to chat – cha ching!