How is our BOE doing?

Clayton residents know better than any other metro Atlanta county the power a school board has, and how its members can contribute to making or breaking a school system.

Recently, other counties have been exposed for similar (or some may argue, worse) acts as compared to those which caused Clayton County Public Schools to lose its accreditation. While I wouldn’t wish what we went through on anyone, some Clayton residents wonder why SACS wasn’t as quick to punish those counties currently making headlines. Some have blamed this slight on race, but given DeKalb’s makeup that conclusion seems unlikely.

Four Clayton Board of Education members up for reelection in November are running unopposed. So if you have an issue(s) with how the BOE currently operates, know that the players will not change until 2013. This includes Superintendent Edmund Heatley, whose contract was recently extended through June 2013.

The AJC article lists the problem areas most school boards experience as a lack of financial savvy (personal and professional), the state’s failure to police training requirements, nepotism, and micromanaging. In which area do you think our BOE could use improvement? In what areas are they doing well?

Are our BOE and superintendent leading CCPS in the right direction?

Overall, how would you grade our BOE?

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Click here to view Clayton’s AJC school board report card listing individual BOE member statistics.

Preparation for The Grassroots Leadership Institute’s First Annual “Hands on Clayton” Empowerment Fair scheduled for Dec. 4, is underway. The Education Committee is reaching out to individuals and organizations who deal with educating Clayton’s children and community for assistance. If you would like to participate in ANY way, please email ghoc.education@claytongaempowerment.org or “friend” Hands on Clayton on Facebook for more information.

37 comments Add your comment

voter and taxpayer

October 11th, 2010
12:22 pm

Thanks for this topic Kimberly. I reviewed the AJC’s questionnaire for school board members and was disappointed that my board member (District 6) declined to answer all of the questions. That she failed to answer questions about her education, whether she had children in the district, whether she had family working in the district or how much training she has was especially disappointing. I think it is important to know if a board member is making decisions about MY children’s education has her own child in a system other than the one where she lives and serves on the board. Serving in a public office is not the time to try to become private. Voters deserve to know. I also think that it is important that a member of a Board of EDUCATION has at least one college degree. I don’t care if it is an associate’s degree, but a high school education doesn’t cut it for me when we are telling our children they have to achieve more. Looking forward to the next school board election for sure.

HLS

October 11th, 2010
1:29 pm

It appeared that several did not answer some questions. I contacted two of them and asked why. They said the paper tried to contact them the day before the article was to be submitted and – were not at home to answer the questions directly. The info in the paper was info already at hand from known sources. The paper should first go to the BOE chairman anyway. Too bad the AJC did not tell the circumstances that lead to the questions given, and not having an answer. Guess it better serves their purpose of keeping Clayton in its place. They would do better to demand SACS give the same scrutiny to the Dekalb, Fulton and Atlanta school systems.

To me it is important to have a good mix of people and experiences on the BOE. This BOE, as a whole is very diverse, with a wide variety of life experiences and jobs and education. The thing that matters is the results for our children.

The Evaluator

October 11th, 2010
1:50 pm

Great topic Kimberly.

I like your last two sentences: HOW WELL IS THE BOE DOING AND WHAT AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS ARE NEEDED.

I also like the grading system that the posters or any concern person can give the BOE.

Please write a topic on how well are our Clayton County Board Of Commissioners are doing and what areas of improvments are needed and be sure to have the same grading system if you choose this topic.

People may not realize but the current Clayton County School Board Of Education and the Clayton County Board Of Commissioners have been together as a group since January 1, 2009 and both will have completed TWO YEARS TOGETHER with the same group of elected officials and it is now more than fair to assign grades of performance at this two year juncture.

With the relection of Commissioner of District Four Michael Edmondson in November 2010 (his reelection is a foregone conclusion) to his District Four seat, all nine members of the Clayton County School Board Of Education as well as all five members of the Clayton County Board Of Commission will at the last day of December 2012 have serve for four years.

While this shows great stability of the elected officials on both boards, it is WAY PAST TIME TO EVALUATE THEIR PERFORMANCE, THEIR WORK, THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, THE THINGS THAT THEY HAVE DONE, THE THINGS THAT THEY HAVE NOT DONE, AND THEIR RESPONSIVENESS TO THE NEEDS OF THE CITIZENS OF CLAYTON COUNTY AND WHETHER OR NOT, THEY ARE PROACTIVE OR REACTIVE IN MEETING THESE NEEDS.

One could say that one of the main reasons that the Clayton County School Board Of Education is operating at such a very high superior level is that they have no choice and with SACS serving as “overseer” if Clayton County wants its full accreditation back, the entire Clayton County School Board Of Education must for lack of a better term, ‘TOE THE LINE, DO WHAT SACS TELLS THEM TO DO, KEEP THEIR NOSES CLEAN, KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT, DON’T CAUSE ANY MAJOR PROBLEMS, CORRAL, CONTROL, AND SILENCE THE TWO OR THREE MAVERICKS ON THE BOARD, LET THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CLAYTON COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM DR. HEATLEY RUN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM THE WAY THAT IT NEEDS TO BE RUN AND DON’T INTERFERE WITH HIS DAY-TO-DAY RUNNING OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.

It will be very interesting that when the Clayton County School System gets its full accreditation back which should be next year in 2011 and SACS is out of Clayton County’s “hair” how well will this school board perform or act when they are no longer being watched, evaulated, and lorded over by SACS.

The Clayton County School Board Of Education and the Superintendent of the Clayton County School System Dr. Edward Heatley have the school system headed in the right direction but with the type of students that continue to come to Clayton County most of which have deficiencies and deficits in their learning and education as evident by the recent Clayton County Test Scores which are the lowest in the Metropolitian Atlanta, Georgia, I doubt very much if they could raise these test scores up to acceptable, competitive, and higher levels if this county continues to draw, attract, and welcome families, people, and their offspring who do not place a very high value on the benefits of a good education and who parents (especially the fatherless ones) do not care, nor do they want to care about the welfare of their children’s education and learning.

what?

October 11th, 2010
5:34 pm

Evaluator do you attend BOE meetings? Do you even have children in the school? The superintendent is a big mistake. You would know this if you attended metings or were a parent. He has done nothing to forge strong relations in our community and I challenge you to tell me one thing he has done to put us on track to make our schools world class?

ReallyNow!

October 11th, 2010
9:22 pm

Clayton’s BOE has done the best it could! They don’t have a job, SACS have them cornered to a yea and nay demeaners. However, SACS won’t do anything to Dekalb or Atlanta School because Dekalb and Atlanta county delegations won’t sell-out their children like Clayton’ state delegation did. Too bad the chamber and delegation didn’t foresee the national finanicial meltdown coming. Moreover, North Dekalb is lily white, SACS even resides there!

Righteous

October 11th, 2010
9:34 pm

What has the BOE done with Ash Street School? What happen to the Orchestra programs? Do they know whether ALL the Students have Books? No, they don’t care!!! Do they really Care about the Children? I think not because Kids are still Walking to School. What are they doing with the Raise to the Top Money? We need Transparency. Let’s follow the Money… Their Superintendent is looking for another Job, so are they watching his Actions and the Money? Are Arleika getting along with Jesse these days? Are they still paying into GAE/MACE Retirement? Did they get rid of the Retired workers making upwards of $50 – 120K before Getting Rid of the Teachers? Did they ever give the Janitors, Nurses, and Kitchen workers a pay raise or did they just give it to the Employees in the Glass House?

David

October 12th, 2010
1:09 am

AWFUL. THEY ARE KISS-UPS TO HEATLEY!!!

David

October 12th, 2010
1:11 am

Why aren’t my comments posting? The board members are kiss-ups to Heatley!!!

Say what

October 12th, 2010
1:13 am

Things with the BOE hasn’t gotten any better, it just that the plutocrats and already rich in Clayton has gotten even richer with the land deal in Clayton for the school; just like the land deal did in Gwinnett!

2DPoint

October 12th, 2010
9:41 am

I believe Clayton County BOE is holding its own considering the challenges they face. Sadly, they are behind the curve on moving our system forward when they can’t catch up to satisfy some critical standards such as student discipline, learning remediation, school funding and graduation rates. Meeting accreditation requirements will NOT solve any of these conditions stated. Community involvement is lacking big time in our school system, STILL. If accreditation is restored without this matter being resolved, it would indicate what a sham and political tool SACS is in our schools operations. Yes there are mavericks in our school system but I’m kind of glad they’re there because power unchecked is power out of control. We need a strong Chairperson for the BOE and for all the Board Members to do what they were elected for. Some of them are timid and just grabbing fast checks for riding the waves. If recent election results are true as indicated, it means our school system and the local government is in stagnation – and will not change in the near future.

The Evaluator

October 12th, 2010
11:17 am

I want to clarify a statement that I made in my posting on yesterday.

In my opinion, The Clayton County School Board Of Education and the Superintendent of the Clayton County Public School System Dr. Edward Heatley have the school system headed in the right direction MAINLY IN GETTING THE SCHOOL SYSTEM OFF OF PROBATION AND GETTING OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM’S FULL ACCREDITATION FULLY RESTORED AND BACK WHICH SHOULD OCCUR LATER NEXT YEAR 2011.

The posting by 2DPoint in my opinion is correct ,accurate, wellstated, and I agree with the posting wholeheartedly.

The main point is the lax enforcement of school discipline by school officials, most noteably by the principals of the individual elementary, middle, and high schools in Clayton County.

The Clayton County School System does not even enforce its dress code policy totally and uniformally throughout its entire school system.

In my opinion, Superintendent Heatley does not hold his principals accountabe, answerable, and responsible for their actions and the running of their schools if they are not meeting his goals and expectations and following the dress code rules of the Clayton County School System and is slow to take the action or actions necessary to ensure their compliance with the rules, regulations, and laws of conduct which govern the Clayton County School System.

I still see many kids and teen-agers standing at the bus stops as I am driving on my way to work with sagging, loose fitting, baggy pants with oversized shirts not neatly tucked into their pants and some of the teen-age ladies with tight fitting and in some cases wearing clothing that is inappropriate and unacceptable for a school and learning environment.

Even when the Clayton County Public School System regains full accreditation and it will in 2011, they will still have many of the problems that was well stated by 2DPoint such as very low test scores, discipline problems, low graduation rates, poor to nonexistent parent and community involvement and in my own opinion, severe widespread, deep, and entrenched apathy, noncaring, and a “do not care nor do I want to care” attitude that is widespread through virtually all of the parents, people, elected officials, school officials, and others in Clayton County.

Also, the citizens, residents, elected officials, and others in Clayton County have a average-to-less than average expectations of their leaders, schools, way of life in Clayton County where they accept average-to-below average, mediocre, ordinary, second-rate to third-rate, inferior, and run-of-the-mill school system, performance by their elected officials on the school board as well as on the CCBOC.

Clayton County, its school system, and everything else in this county is knee-deep in mediocrity, operates in mediocrity, overall performance that is operating below average , has a widespread and deep attitude of low-to no expectations of its citizenry in holding their school system leaders accountable, answerable, and responsible and will not hold them to very high standards and accountability like others do in neighboring Fayette County, Henry County, Peachtree City, etc.

This very well may be the best that our school system will be at this present time in Clayton County.

leave Clayton

October 12th, 2010
12:27 pm

2Dpoint is correct and so are some of the points made by The Evaluator. Principals are not held accountable for their actions. There is extreme micro-management and nepotism in Clayton County (i.e. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity) and a lack of experience by administrators. The way that the principals talk to their teachers in Clayton County is unethical. Some principals feel like they are beyond reproach because the Superintendent is their “frat brother.” Why is the Superintendent cutting teachers’ salaries more? Didn’t the county receive RTT money? Just asking…

riverunt

October 12th, 2010
1:59 pm

clayton county board of education is the worst that the county has ever had. alieka anderson??? give me a break!!

Riverdale Rita

October 12th, 2010
2:04 pm

Both the BOE and BOC need oversight and accountability as to how they spend monies allocated to them. Any state funding for education should come with specific stiplulations as to how it is spent. Also, legislative provisions for jail-time and fines should be included in education funding received. If funds are misused or go toward other uses than that stipulated, then our BOE members would be levied with penalties.

Of course, this is a “pipe dream”, as our current legislative delegation are “do-nothings.”

Riverdale Rita

October 12th, 2010
2:37 pm

leave Clayton <–
Those are excellent points. Yes, the principals should be held accountable. They should also leave the teachers alone and let them close their doors AND TEACH!

As to accountability, I feel the parents should also be held accountable to the schools and teachers. Teachers can only do so much with their students when parents don't get involved, nor even show up for teacher/parent conferences pertaining to their OWN child.

Our school system should require every parent to contract with the school (at the beginning of each school year) to follow the progress of their child and be required to sit down with their child's teacher during scheduled teacher/parent conferences that directly pertain to their child.

This has been done in other schools and it can be done right here in our Clayton County school system.

Educator Sound

October 12th, 2010
4:55 pm

Is there any hope for the Alieka Anderson school board?

An “inconvenient” truth

October 12th, 2010
6:15 pm

2DPoint says, “they can’t catch up to satisfy some critical standards such as student discipline, learning remediation, school funding and graduation rates. Meeting accreditation requirements will NOT solve any of these conditions stated. Community involvement is lacking big time in our school system, STILL. If accreditation is restored without this matter being resolved, it would indicate what a sham and political tool SACS is in our schools operations”. Too bad some still can’t see! SACS “supposed purpose” initially was “ensuring teaching and educational environments” in check, however, in Clayton’s case SACS was political “not its intended purpose”! Results, utterly destroy the community. Then again 2DPoint, you’re wrong about Community involvement, that’s why Community involvement recently voted out inept politicians.

perplexed but unsurprised

October 12th, 2010
6:19 pm

Big mouth HLN says, One could say that one of the main reasons that the Clayton County School Board Of Education is operating at such a very high superior level is that they have no choice and with SACS serving as “overseer”! Amazing how he sees the world through rose colored glass. SACS showed “enmity toward” Clayton! Conversely SASC won’t take accreditation from Atlanta and Dekalb — can you image the outrage with upward 200,000 minority kids without accreditation in the Metro area! SACS Spineless!

Fair and Balanced”

October 12th, 2010
6:23 pm

SACS Spineless indeed, we lost accreditation for BOE members bickering, internal strife squabbling. 75% of ATL schools cheated and received Title I money, Dekalb Schools violated RICO laws involving “Millions” of dollars. Even Sec. of Ed. James Bostic says, Atlanta and Dekalb BOE are a dysfunctional board. Yes, we as Clayton residents fell cheated!

I see stupid people

October 12th, 2010
8:14 pm

Thank you Kimberly for this topic. The AJC also posted an article on this same topic as stated above. Guess who in Clayton was featured? Why our current chairman Aleika Anderson. Evidently, per the AJC article: School Boards: Who they are, why some don’t measure up, …”Aleika Anderson filed for bankruptcy last year…”

We have got to do better!

Les

October 12th, 2010
10:03 pm

What happened to the ethics complaint against the Chief of HR, Mr. Hendrix? That was swept under the carpet. Also the new principal at Edmonds is a frat brother, he was not even in the interviews with the school council. He is already tearing the school apart, just ask the employees there. Destruction of a wonderful school underway. so sad.

Blast from Past

October 12th, 2010
10:52 pm

Oversight of the BOC and the BOE is needed – not just in Clayton but every county in Georgia. Any right-thinking person can see that. The problem on this blog is the people who cannot do anything but put others down. Guess it helps them feel better about themselves. Pity.

There are those like the Evaluator and 2dpoint who can say truthful things about what is wrong. Then you have those like” riverunt” and “what?” and “righteous” and “say what?” that show the uninformed and ignorant are alive and well in Clayton. Thanks for your comments Glen D and John T.

Secret Agent Man

October 13th, 2010
12:03 am

Didn’t the AJC report on school boards posted above stated that Alieka filed for bankrupcy last year and Bivens had several prior tax liens dating back to 2002?

Thumbs up to a BOC article

October 13th, 2010
8:46 am

I too would like to see an article grading the BOC not only in Clayton but other counties given what recently happened in Gwinnett.

This BOC is basically treading water, but at least they aren’t doing any more damage than had already been done. SACS is a tool, but the last board played right into their hands and helped us all look foolish. I’ll take this BOE over the last batch.

Thumbs up to a BOC article

October 13th, 2010
8:47 am

I said BOC at the top of the 2nd paragraph but I meant to say this BOE isn’t doing more damage than has already been done.

2DPoint

October 13th, 2010
1:00 pm

Inconvenient truth, I only speak what I see and I’ve seen other school boards operate around the country. Clayton County School System is dealing with many similar problems and community involvement is a widespread issue. It’s either short on volunteerism and concerns from parents and stakeholders or the school board exclude them from the critical decisions. Case and point: What about the recent decision to have our kids walking to school. Did we see community involvement in that decision? The community only got involved in raising hell upon learning a major decision like this had been made, and the safety of the children were disregarded and the input of parents not sought in advance. Let’s not try to wash away our faults. We must recognize them and work together on fixing them.

oldtimer

October 13th, 2010
1:30 pm

There are many young (25-40) adults in CC that could run for offices. They are bright, hardworking, and moral. I taught many of them years ago. I would love to see them step up to the plate! These adults can make Clayton a better place. East Clayton, Adamson, Morrow, and Mt. Zion graduates…you are out there..Do Better!

2DPoint

October 13th, 2010
3:54 pm

Bless your heart Oldtimer – I like your optimism and it’s well received in an environment with negativity seems prevalent. Many of the young adults you were talking about most likely left the county. The power base of the county has been troublesome for several years now and if my child was just finishing school, I’d get him (or her) out of the area immediately. Clayton County needs to be sanitized of corruption and chances are likely it will be from the outside/in rather than inside/out. Then of course there are miracles!

leave Clayton

October 13th, 2010
4:49 pm

@ Les… That is common in more than one school in the county. Experience, not fraternity affiliation is what is needed to run a school. An Ed.D makes you an “expert” in everything.

Outside Influence (Still)

October 13th, 2010
6:12 pm

2DPoint, I’d have to agree with you on the Bussing Issue. That was a bonehead move by BOE. However, they have a quixotic challenge to save money. The paper reported just week ago that Clayton received $15,257,864.00 in “Race to the Top Money” some of which “could” be used to bus the affected children, but this BOE will find a way of waste the money on cronyism like assistance to the assistance to the assistance superintendent or principal or several new so-called Math, English or Science Quizzes— that gets paid handsomely, but the community see no results. Remember, just because Clayton’s BOE is flying below the radar now don’t mean that’s no cronyism, nepotism or micromanagement and the like going on.

Miss Watcher

October 13th, 2010
6:14 pm

2DPoint, says “If accreditation is restored without the community involvement matter being resolved, it would indicate what a sham and political tool SACS is in our schools operations”. You’re right! SACS was a tool for some elites to keep school contracts. In spite of this SACS allowed the BOE to name it latest new school after one of the old BOE member that caused accreditation loss.

Riverdale Rita

October 13th, 2010
10:01 pm

OLDTIMER
Thank you for a refreshing positive attitude.

There ARE selfless, qualified citizens out there ready to step up to the plate. As an example, I ask you and others to check out the credentials of James Brown and what he stands for. He is running for District 77 and has a very impressive position statement. One thing that impressed me is that he has promised to serve no more than three terms and come home. I also heard him say (in a stump speech) that he has not taken a dime from any political party, nor will he accept any money, gifts, trips, meals, or ANYTHING from paid lobbyists.

He has a legislative plan to turn it around for our school system (and Clayton County). I know it sounds like I’m cheerleading, but I’m excited to see new face on the scene that’s not in it for the money or status.

HLS

October 14th, 2010
10:07 pm

miss watcher – you obviously are a fool-hater- moron. Check whichever you like. A look at the history of Clayton county would show that the former BOE member you spoke of is a person of many accomplishments — one of the first black teachers in Clayton when it was still segregated, who served thru 4 decades in the Clayton school system – teacher, princpal, assistant superintendent. A person who came out of retirement to run for BOE – after the debacle of the 4 horsewomen of the apocalypse – ie Trotter’s MACE women almost destroyed the Clayton school system and who were the prime reason Clayton being on the SACS radar. This person you speak of was a calming influence on the BOE. IT was after the antics of Haynes, Hunter, Johnson, and Scott that the state asks for the BOE to resign. Those with honor did as asked.

DO a little homework before you spout your BS.

BnB

October 15th, 2010
5:47 pm

How is this BOE doing ? Better than some expected. And a hell of a site better than the group that started us on this long road to redemption.

They are not the Nedra Ware board (i.e. Trotter)that wanted to right all the wrongs of the past 400 years, as a white-led, black coalition. As Nedra said – a new (BOE) sheriff in town. As that group put in a puppet superintendent – that eventually grew a backbone and stood up to the Nedra BOE. Micromanaging the school system thru this puppet and bullying the principals and teachers of the schools their children attended or their MACE buddies worked. Throwing out a superintendent – paying 200,000 dollars to buy out his contract – when all they had to do was let his contract run out in 6 months. Citizens complained – as did some employees, SACS saw and heard enough – and Clayton was put on probation – due to the arrogance and self-rightousness of this group.

That group eventually was replaced. Too late – much damage done. The BOE started mending Clayton school system. Then the next election cycle – here comes Noreese HAynes (CEO of MACE, yeah,RIGHT) Sandra Scott, Ms Baines-Hunter, Rod Johnson. Sliding downhill again. SACS had enough – acceditation lost – the governor – hearing the pleas of the parents, finally removed the last 3 arrogant blind members.

This BOE is not perfect – there are still a couple or three that hinder progress, Check out the voting and you will know who they are. Their hearts are probably in the right place, but their minds have yet to catch up. God Bless each one of them.

Riverdale Rita

October 15th, 2010
6:34 pm

HLS <- – Well put. We need more selfless people (as you speak of) in public service.

Broke BOE

October 15th, 2010
11:47 pm

I see that the BOE has several members with financial difficulties. This is not good.

OT – Why did the county put up a sign closing the one lane bridge in Rex Village? This site just was added to the state historic ‘places in peril’ registry. Now, it is further in peril. Remember, it only takes 3 votes to get something done in Clayco…

oldtimer

October 17th, 2010
5:07 pm

HLS The board member you mentioned was a great administrator..Honest and kind. A young man who ran against him was one of the best I ever taught. I hope someday he rears his lovely head and tries the water again. As I have said churches are full of qualified people. It is time to do it!! Good luck to the person in your dstrict. I wish better for mine.