UPDATED: Are things better in Clayton schools?

Updated: Clayton school board members fired Superintendent John Thompson Saturday. Many will see this as a decision board members should have made long ago.

Clayton school board members will send a 180-page report to SACS Monday in an attempt for the troubled district to regain accreditation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools required the district to meet nine mandates, but the only one met in full is that all board members live in their districts.
The board admits it still has much to accomplish in terms of student achievement, selecting a permanent superintendent and operating with less money because of enrollment declines and cuts in state funding.
Do you think the Clayton board has done enough work to get back accreditation? How do you think the district has changed since it lost accreditation last year?

29 comments Add your comment


March 13th, 2009
4:38 pm

So Clayton County has met ONE of nine SACS requirements? I hardly see how Clayton could possibly get back accreditation yet …

Good God, the ignorance.

March 13th, 2009
4:54 pm

Asking if Clayton County has done enough to get back accreditation must be the single most ignorant question I have ever seen on this blog. As if they have to do something. It shows a shocking and appalling lack of understanding of the dynamics of this entire episode. This was, has been, and will be, all about politics, and it has nothing to do with wanting to create quality schools. The politics of yanking accreditation has been served. That same politics demands it be restored before this year’s seniors graduate, or the attention will turn to how SACS conducts business, and that has the potential to raise some very, very, uncomfortable questions about how Elgart conducted his investigation.

Instead of being on pins and needles about this, you should ask yourself if anybody really thinks that Mark Elgart of SACS, and Sonny Perdue, are going to let their rich and connected friends in Clayton have their children graduate from an unaccredited school system? I mean seriously, who are we kidding? Why do you think the accreditation wasn’t pulled last year until the seniors got out? And why will it be restored this year before the seniors graduate. Politics.

That large numbers of people are still actually concerned about accreditation being restored doesn’t mean they are being taken as easily as candy is from a baby. This is like taking candy from a baby after you gave the baby a double dose of NyQuil and an ice cream cone. If you still don’t get it, and it is truly frightening for the state of the republic how many don’t, let me put it in terms you can easily understand.

The Clayton BOE could reenact the Jonesboro Dance Team dance at amateur night at the Pink Pony, post it on YouTube, and make a DVD called BOE Gone Wild and STILL, this year’s seniors will graduate from an accredited school system. It might be on probation, double secret probation, but whatever you call it, you can be rest assured you can call it accredition.

And you can take that to the bank, at it will be just as safe, if not safer, than your FDIC deposit.

Good God, the ignorance.

March 13th, 2009
5:02 pm

Just to clarify about the sheer ignorance of posing this question. If you live outside the county, and have only followed this story causally, it might seem a legitimate question. But for those in the county, and for an education reporter who should know better, given the AJC’s coverage of this, to pose such a question is a serious affront to good journalism, because you are actually enabling the charade, instead of accurately reporting on it.


March 13th, 2009
5:46 pm

Having seen SACS get involved in a local disagreement between board members, I don’t doubt some of what “Good God” says.

Bud Light

March 13th, 2009
6:39 pm

Of course accreditation will be restored. Think about it! It was NEVER taken. Have any children suffered from accreditation loss? No, and they won’t. Sonny and Elgart don’t want to explain to the NATION why these few white Republicans took the accreditation of 50,000 black children of a 98% Black Democrat County. Immediately the NATION will see this accreditation threat/loss for what is REALLY is–RACISM, plain and simple. Georgia is under the JIM CROW LINE!

Bud Light

March 13th, 2009
6:52 pm

What is Accreditation

Bud Light

March 13th, 2009
6:53 pm

Enter your comments here

fulton teacher

March 13th, 2009
11:18 pm

I hope to goodness that they have their act together for the sake of the students and the teachers. Those two parties did NOTHING wrong – just the idiots on the previous board.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Evans

March 14th, 2009
2:42 am

Have you read Megan’s story in today’s AJC?


March 14th, 2009
1:40 pm

It looks like things suddenly got better in Clayton. I hope they are able to find a superintendent with real leadership skills, who places emphasis on what should happen in the classroom rather than the boardroom, and who puts student achievement first.

Nice move

March 14th, 2009
2:56 pm

Good riddance to Thompson. Nice move by Mark Elgart of SACS? What, you people thought this was a BOE decision?


Dr. Craig Spinks /Evans

March 15th, 2009
2:18 am

Good God, the Ignorance: You raise some VERY INTERESTING points about SACS and its accreditation process. As a retired GA educator who has studied SACS and has been through its accreditation process, I will tell anyone who’ll listen that both are suspect.


March 15th, 2009
10:49 am

No matter the reason, it is a good thing to finally close this chapter in the sordid mess that is Clayton.

A NATIONAL search for a new superintendent??? Are you telling me that there is not one person in Clayton’s bloated central office who has the requisite skills to become a superintendent?

Oh wait. It’s Clayton. I forgot.

I’m not a big fan of SACS and their so called accreditation process either. It’s become too politically motivated for my tastes. My local school system went through a probationary period with SACS due to BOE politics where one faction on the board used SACS as a hammer to get back at another faction. But I digress…

jessie j. jones

March 15th, 2009
6:57 pm

jessie j. jones

March 15th, 2009
7:05 pm

wow, i thought everything was blocked. clayton.talk is essentially shut down. sacs (mark elgart) told alieka and pam (who apparently met with him recently, in contravention of school board policy and sacs standards; the board must act in congress, not with two members doing back-channel diplomacy) that as long as john thompson was superintendent, then no sacs approval. what took them so long to figure this out and to fire thompson. bryant and bostic told the old board not to hire him. what took this board so long to fire him? he further destoyed the school system. good jog, alieka and pam. now bring sam king over from rockdale. hurry and do it before some other system swoops him up. hopefully dr. king will be able to restore some order and discipline to the school system, the biggest problem in the school system.

jessie j. jones

March 15th, 2009
7:49 pm

i guess ole earl done shut another one down. i know that the mrs. is happy. back to the shuffle board down there in ft. liquordale. things will be less active (near non-existent) on clayton.talk. the ajc becomes even more boring and less relevant.

Ruthie May J. Scandrett

March 15th, 2009
9:32 pm

A National Search? A Rockdale County Search, I hope…Dr. Sam King. What say ye, Brusin’ Bob Hartley. When are you going to clean up our neighborhood? Alieka’s doing just fine now. Thanks, Bob, for your able assistance. For real. Word.

Ophelia Butts

March 15th, 2009
9:47 pm

Mark Elgart’s investigation? What? It was a hack job from the beginning! Not thorough at all — even with very incriminating evidence dumped in his lap and in Glenn Brock’s lap. Loads of documented evidence about Ericka Davis and how she constantly micro-managed the school system — even from her State email system. Ignored. This was a selective, politically-motivated witch hunt. Ericka Davis was and I presume still is one of Mark Elgart’s favorites. She escaped from the very thing that Sonny used to take out several board members…violating the State’s Open Meetins Law. She too was guilty of this, among many other things. Mark Elgart is a hypocritical phoney. The homeowners of Clayton County ought to take out a class action lawsuit against him and SACS. He is an arrogant bureaucrat who evidently thinks that the honest people of Clayton County are imbeciles. If he ever deigned to do to Fulton County (and to his beloved Alpharetta) what he did to Clayton County, he would probably be tarred and feathered and driven into the socially receptive Forsyth County. Yes, apparently, Mark Elgart thinks that we are simply bozos down here in Clayton County.

Rev. Seymour Butts

March 15th, 2009
9:55 pm

Ophelia, Get off this blog. If you ever say something that makes sense or reveals hidden but true information or in the least bit offends the super sensitivites of any narcissistic moron, then you will be banded from the blog anyway. Come on home, Ophelia. Your hubby needs to see right away! I need you evermore, Your Loving Seymour.

Hiding right out in the open

March 15th, 2009
10:56 pm

There was nothing hidden about Ericka Davis’ micromanaging. Her emails, all from her state email, mailed on state taxpayers’ time, were there for all the world to see. All except Mark Elgart; and for that matter, the AJC.

For all the stories the AJC has done on Clayton schools, and for all the questions raised about how the SACS investigation was conducted, how many articles has the AJC written with a critical eye toward SACS?

Yet on this very blog, people from multiple counties have complained about the way SACS does business, so this isn’t just a case of sour grapes from Clayton county.

The AJC can trot Julia Wallace and other AJC bigwigs out to try to convince people they are still relevant, but until they replace civic boosterism with real reporting as their primary agenda, they are still going to be considered a second rate news source at best.


March 16th, 2009
9:04 am

I certainly hope for the sake of the children in the CC school system that the BOE can set aside all political posturing and self interest, and do what they have to do to meet the requirements set forth by the accrediting agency. It is hard to fathom why the leadership there just doesn’t get it. This is about the students and their future. Period. Do what is necessary. Period.

Hey Ophelia

March 16th, 2009
9:17 am

Hey Ophelia, if the Clayton County school board members are representative of Clayton County residents, then yes, you are a bunch of bozos, and uh, morons, uh, incompetent, uh, etc . . . .


March 16th, 2009
9:31 am

Before we begin the celebration dance, let us not forget there was a lot of excitement when Thompson was hired and how he was going to lead Clayton County out of the mess it was in. Yeah right! Once Thompson stepped up to the mic and and opened his mouth all hopes of him being the one to lead quickly vanished. I’m suspect of anyone CC will hire as it’s superintendent. Perhaps a few months, long months, of no news is good news is what CC needs. Clayton County needs to stay out of the news for awhile. From the school board to the superintendent to the trashy dancing squad, gangs and crime…..just stay out of the news for awhile CC.


March 16th, 2009
10:20 am

I am trying to think positive about Clayton County regaining their accreditation back. But isn’t one of the mandates is to have a permanent superintendent? Why would they fire him now within a month of turning over the SACS report? I don’t understand that. I think Mr. Thompson was a bad choice from the beginning but at least they had a permanent person. They should have fired him after turning in the report, because they still got to pay him……What a waist of taxpayers money. l

Frank Mann

March 16th, 2009
11:32 am

Why most of the comments fail to focus on action to regain accreditation? Does an action plan exist? Who is responsible for achieving it’s goals? You parents and civic leaders of Clayton County need to step-up and do what is best for the students. Period!



March 16th, 2009
12:00 pm

Isn’t two of the mandates is to have a permanent superintendent in place and a functioning board? Well,they just fired the superintendent and a board member is in the process of being replaced. Having said all of this, now that the political game is over I beleive they will miraculously save the day and give the clayton school system their accreditation back. Still, over 3500 students have fled.

Rev. Seymour Butts

March 16th, 2009
12:13 pm

We want Wade Starr to be the new superintendent. He would do better than any jerk from out-of-the-state. Wade, Wade, he’s our man; if he can’t do it, Sam King can!

Good God, the ignorance

March 16th, 2009
12:25 pm

Yes Frank Mann, an action plan does exists for regaining accreditation. It rests in the hands of Mark Elgart of SACS and Sonny Perdue, and it will be implemented before this year’s seniors graduate.

Seriously, are their people out there who really think that Elgart and Perdue are going to let the children of their politically connected friends graduate from an unaccredited school system? Why do you think the accreditation was pulled only after last year’s seniors graduated, and will be restored before this year’s seniors graduate? Think, people, think!

Why do you think many the so called mandates where written so subjectively? Because none of this was ever about good schools, it was about politics, and Elgart needed the flexibility that only subjectively written mandates can provide.

If you are a Clayton citizen who is expressing concern about whether or not accreditation will be restored, you might as well be wearing a sticker on your forehead that telling Elgart, Sonny, and CCPS how easily you can be duped.


April 15th, 2009
9:33 pm

mark elgart is a fake.