School boards: Benefit or burden to education?

A spirited school board race is under way in my community. I am always amazed at the quality candidates who want these difficult jobs.

The jobs are thankless and stressful and lack the perceived status of the state Senate or the state House. Yet, people not only want to serve on school boards, once elected they never want to leave.

On Thursday, I watched Education Week’s online chat on whether school boards were obsolete. Among the participants was Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools. Her independent community group advocates for improvement in public education in Pittsburgh.

Harris stressed the need for community scrutiny of school boards:

“I  can’t  ensure that a program like Board Watch will be a success in your community. But I think that public pressure and engagement  can be  a powerful force for improvement. Things that have contributed to our success are that we have been as transparent, honest, and deliberate as we’ve asked the school board to be. We’ve also been fair and respectful of the work the board does and the fact that the members are elected officials.   We’ve grounded our work in governance research and in the facts.

The volunteers are key. Having 6-10 members of the public at each board meeting evaluating the proceedings puts a lot more public focus on what is happening. The volunteers scores are regularly released to the public which also contributes to the visibility and importance of the work the board does.

Finally I think the community/public should have clear and high expectations for the board.”

In response to this question — Some would say that locally elected school boards are antiquated. What purpose do such school boards serve?Anne Bryant, executive director at the National School Boards Association, responded:

In New Brunswick, Canada, the province eradicated school boards about 10 years ago. Within four years, the community was so frustrated with the autocratic provincial leadership that they demanded the school board’s return.  And, in fact, gave the board more power than they had previously!

Carey Harris responded:

I am agnostic about the “right” structure for school governance.   In Pittsburgh we have a school board and that’s what we’re working with. Its purpose is policy leadership of the school district. It has the power to  levy and collect taxes. At issue is how to do this work well in an increasingly  dynamic, complex and high-stakes  environment. I am optimistic that it can be done well if there is the will to do so.

That requires school board members that understand their role as collaborators with the superintendent – not a check or balance.  And it requires a superintendent that considers her board collaborators and works to enable their success.

Then, there was this question: How long should school board members serve? Bryant responded:

There is good evidence that continuity for board members and superintendents alike results in higher student achievement.   When there is too much turnover in the leadership, the careful goals and implementation strategies that have been set forward by the leadership team often come under fire.

It takes at least three years, school board members tell me, to learn the ropes. It is also important that board members understand the role of the board vs. their individual opinions. It is the work of the board that matters and it takes time to pull a consensus together.

After covering school boards in three states, I have mixed feelings. I have seen people elected to boards for all the wrong reasons. One of the best board members in the state eventually stepped down because he felt like his colleagues, some of whom had not sent their kids to the local schools, only ran for the seats to keep down taxes and had no interest in school improvement.

I am not sure of a better alternative, but I am certain that bad boards can damage good districts.

46 comments Add your comment

DeKalb Conservative

October 23rd, 2009
10:19 am

It’s all in the type of person that runs and their motivation for running. Growing up, some of the best people on the school board were parents that wanted good common sense in the schools and wanted what was best for their children and the peers of their children. They weren’t power hungry, often they worked a full time job. Instead of coaching a soccer team, they held office. They just wanted what was right.

I think when you have a parent that understands how the system works, can make a difference through sacrificing time for the better of the community that they are a community hero. In alot of instances I think these people have some of the biggest impacts in their community are performing the highest level of public service.

Lee

October 23rd, 2009
10:40 am

We, the taxpaying community, elect school board members to represent our collective interests with regards to the vast sums of money spent on public education. School boards should set policy and hire the superintendent.

In the few board meetings I have attended, it was my perception that they spent far too much time on trivial matters. Maybe that was by design, maybe by happenstance. They were down in the weeds when they should be at the 30,000 ft level.

It is also my perception that a lot of folks in public education do not like the fact that mere laypersons can get on a school board. You even hear comments on this blog to that effect.

I’m satisfied with our local school board. It has a good mix of businesspersons, retired educators, and yes, a couple of busybody’s. I also like the fact that if I have an issue, I can call up my school board representative and have a common sense talk with him.

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

Maureen, I completely agree! This group is responsible for a public school system and as such, should be answerable to the parents and taxpayers. Our board is definitely NOT! To speak at a board meeting, one must submit a request to be approved by the board…horse hockey! Is this Oz?! And what I would love to have is a place parents can go to discuss REAL issues for children…such as: backpacks that weigh a third of the child’s weight, causing long-term back disorders; NO time to go to the bathroom all day long,; 6 hours of homework a night, homework requiring computer programs that some families don’t have (and the library doesn’t either); assigning (and grading) group projects in elementary school but making no effort to teach kids HOW to work together as a group; rewarding academic points for attendance, etc, etc, etc, These issues can’t be discussed at the school level without reprisal from teachers and administrators…so let us discuss them SOMEWHERE, please!

Jennifer

October 23rd, 2009
11:12 am

Local school boards have work to do, and they could be terrific contributors to an improved system, but sadly at least in Gwinnett, they all bow to the Superintendent’s wishes. So far, I am one year into reviewing their voting records- narry a dissenting vote. Only twice in 8 years have I ever seen even a smidgen of a meaningful conversation take place in the public purview. Once,eight years ago when the Attorney General issued a report saying GCPS was violating the open meeting act for their land purchases, MaryKay Murphy asked the Superintendent what he thought about the report. And then recently, when Louise Radloff was upset that only 170 students were being redistricted in an overcrowed elementary school. She told an employee to come up with a solution. That’s it – eight years. Pitiful. I find that the board members are uniformed on many, many serious issues and they do not care to actually dig deep into policy issues that affect so many thousands of children under their care. Shameful.

Tonya

October 23rd, 2009
12:16 pm

I agree with Jennifer. At least in Gwinnett. Then again the board looks like a seniors-only condo community in Boca, so that says a lot.

I like Dekalb Conservative’s version of a good and effective school board. The board should consist of stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and business people from the community.

Singing to the Choir

October 23rd, 2009
12:33 pm

It seems that Cobb County’s school board is like Gwinnett or Clayton County. If SACS doesn’t put them on probation then SACS is useless. I tried to watch a part of the meeting last night. For the second time they voted on a cell phone tower at EAst Valley School. The first time they put the item on the agenda to avoid a “circus” words of one of the board members. Some locals went to court, board was told they needed to table the item for 30 days, that was up last night so they voted to place the Cell phone tower at the ES. Large number of residents in the area asked them not to do this, they didn’t listen. At a time when others are cutting budgets and being frugal, Cobb County voted last night to go forward with Architectural designs, even though one member of the board, with an engineering background, stated this could be a waste of money and it would not hurt to wait a couple of months. They are just rubber stampers for the Super. And they wonder why people continue to pull their kids out of public schools. Combine this with the dismal math…..

Been There. . . Done, well. . . just done!

October 23rd, 2009
1:16 pm

Without recapping too much of the boneheaded moves, missteps, and blatant mistrust of sharing anything with us – the taxpayers who indirectly pay their salaries – “Singing to the Choir” is right on target with the Cobb County School Board. While newly elected member David Morgan seems to give thoughtful consideration to the issues which he votes on (and, to Tonya in Gwinnett, he actually is NOT a member of the seniors’ community), the Board (more likely the system and general operating mechanism itself) generally acts UNconscientious regarding greater decisions affecting school policy and direction. Add to that Mr. Sanderson’s dubious history of decisions, policies (or non-policies, where some issues are concerned), and supporting individuals of uncertain character (Bynum & “Without-a-Clue” Lanoue come to mind), and we have a tremendous headache of school board & (non)leadership in our community. SACS, unfortunately, only visits once every few years; thus, there seems to be no REAL check on the Board’s/Super’s unlimited authority! Where is (at least) SOME oversight on what they do/whom they promote?! Jennifer & Tonya, I personally know someone who worked in the Gwinnett system for years, and the saying is “When they aren’t teaching well anymore, and they’ve served their 20-30 years, they go to the county office until their formal retirement.” I RARELY hear about any IMPORTANT, hallmark decision coming out of the Board/upper management from the county office there! The commonalities? For one, the size: they’re 1,2 in terms of being the largest school systems (in terms of student numbers) in the state; second: they have the accompanying BLOATED central office structure, probably complete with layer upon layer of staff members, all of whose jobs no one at a single school site fathoms. To “Dekalb Conservative”, I’ve heard there were (along the lines of those who support the research on dinosaur fossils) great school boards well to the north of this area, and were probably more abundant when all of us here were attending public schools ourselves! I, for one, would like to see the State Department of Education create some type of oversight position where these boards and their general lot of power-mongering members (& the superintendents) have SOME check on their power.

Jessica

October 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

In large counties or cities, it might be better to divide the area into several smaller, semi-autonomous school districts, each with its own school board. That way, people are more likely to know the people they elect to the school board and will have an opportunity to hold them accountable. Smaller districts would also encourage more participation from parents and the community.

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
1:30 pm

Been There. . . Done, well. . . just done!…and everyone else- WELL SAID!. Our superintendent has been growing increasingly powerful and more despotic since his much-heralded arrival. He had agendas and has been sytematically forcing them into place regardless of the public’s wishes and desires, as it is obvious he (he thinks) knows best. It’s time someone reigned him in and let the taxpayers remeber who pays whom. Not to say that some improvements haven’t been made, they certainly have…but I find anyone with the kind of political, financial and philosophic control over the public, with absolutely NO checks and balances, to be really scary!

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
1:43 pm

correction: remember

Ivan Cohen

October 23rd, 2009
2:02 pm

One question has always come to mind for me how would an appointed school board be accountable to the community? The next question is who would be selecting the “appointed members”? As things stand right now the only person on the board who technically runs at large is the school board president. Heaven forbid school board members start running at large. Would some districts be consolidated and others abolished? I have attended board meetings in my county (Chatham) for a number of years. The board appears to operate in the present, focusing only getting children in and out of school like going through a car wash. I do not get the impression that the board members ever realize that the students whose lives they impact will one day be staff members and even school board members. They don’t get the big picture at all.

TW

October 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Sadly, we can’t rely on an altruistic nature of today’s citizen. The only way to ensure a vested interest in the student, is to require that the board member have a child in the system.

Despite school systems being a major factor in property value, the damage done by the anti-tax ingrate who sneaks into office is devastating.

Cere

October 23rd, 2009
3:01 pm

Disgusted

October 23rd, 2009
3:19 pm

Philosopher, you must be in Hall County too.

Singing to the Choir

October 23rd, 2009
3:50 pm

It does appear the Supers and School Boards have run amuck in GA. Cobb is up for review from SACS and I’m awaiting the outcome. If SACS isn’t staying on top of the power hungry then there needs to be some other system. At the moment you can vote people out, but you are still stuck with them for their term and all the devastation they create.

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
4:39 pm

I am not telling! But it’s not Hall County…and I think a superintendent who can’t be voted out of office is a very bad thing…whose idea was that, anyway?

catlady

October 23rd, 2009
4:41 pm

For those of you awaiting SACS: don’t count on it. It’s just a good ole boys’ club. Our school should have been put on probation for quite a bit, but did not get its hand slapped at all. Nothing. The committee did not even interview the people who could have given them some real insight into the actual workings of the school.

Re: school board. Our local board seems content to staff the schools with their family and friends and think of more ways to spend money on sports. They fail to take any real active role in anything else, letting inbreeding and incompetence rule the day.

Our millage rate just went up 2+%points and I can tell you a dozen ways we waste money on providing cushy special jobs for the in-crowd.

We do have hard-working, dedicated people working for the system, but a lot of our “leadership” people do not do their jobs. Many need additional classroom experience before being allowed to make any other decision besides what they are having for breakfast. Others need to be tossed out of their half-time-pay-plus-retirement-income jobs.

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
5:12 pm

Come now, surely there is someone out there (not a school board member or connected to a school board member), who can say something positive about the present systems?! It’s a bit spooky having a vent in which we all agree with each other :) …not to mention that maybe Georgia’s got a REALLY big problem here….

philosopher

October 23rd, 2009
5:12 pm

I meant “blog”, not vent”-sorry!

sped teacher bibb

October 23rd, 2009
5:21 pm

Elected school board members in my area are interested in 1-Money for themselves 2-Keeping their jobs as long as possible-More Money. Oops left out running effective schools-not happening. Many years ago our City Council and County Commision appointed (horrors) board members. These were usually small business owners,CEOS,and other respected members of the community. The result was a system that was run like a business,with little or no waste,teacher support, and high test scores.

not buying the new curriculum

October 23rd, 2009
6:04 pm

Perhaps the big problem here is that school board members are PAID! Not up North….. Granted the school districts there are smaller-town or city school districts, rather than these massive county mega districts here, but nonetheless-northern board members are only reimbursed for their expenses. Not that school board members here make much, but northern school board members certainly don’t run for office for the money-there isn’t any.

ScienceTeacher671

October 23rd, 2009
7:34 pm

Funny, I was thinking there would be less waste & graft if we combined some of these tiny little counties and school systems to make systems of the size that might be considered normal in many other states – not that it’s ever going to happen, since the elected officials of each tiny county are at least the big fish in their own little ponds….but apparently the big fish in the big ponds don’t behave any better?

David S

October 23rd, 2009
11:10 pm

A private business would decide the necessary amount of management based on need and return on cost. Government is nothing but waste and has no connection to the price mechanism that makes every voluntary mechanism so successful. Who knows if they are a waste or a burden. The problem is government involvement in education, not how many supposedly accountable elected idiots it pretends to put in charge.

Homeschool. Then the only board you need to worry about is you and your spouse (if present). For sure you will victimize your child far less than these boards of imbeciles.

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

October 24th, 2009
12:39 am

School boards and their politics have been the ruination of many school systems around our state…All run for the board so they can hire their friends and keep things local…That way they can tell the superintendent you either do it our way, because I have 3 of the 5 votes in my pocket, or Mr. Superintendent, you must take a hike…Most superintendents won’t fight this, they let this little group of 3 run the school system, and because they have a 3 year contract, they just collect money for 3 years and see if they can kiss enough board members a$$ to get that second contract…Many of these school board members who are running things don’t know their a$$ from second base about education, but they do know how to control the supe and get all their friends hired….POLITICS, ESPECIALLY SCHOOL POLITICS, IS THE DIRTIEST GAME IN TOWN….

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

October 24th, 2009
8:55 am

Nothing new expressed here, check this out from Mark Twain, in 1897:
“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards.”
- Following the Equator; Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar

Like any job- any job- it takes time, energy and dedication, and some just don’t have those qualities nor are looking to acquire them.

Also note this from Twain:
“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”
- Speech, 11/23/1900

I think citizens are re-learning the main principle of democracy: you may have rights, but more importantly, you have responsibilities. Take care of those- which include running for office, or at least pushing those qualified to run- and you may have some rights you can rely on.

Bob in Cobb

October 24th, 2009
10:03 am

Cobb unfortunately is known for board member’s personal agenda driven issues that continually crop up and make us the laughing stock of the nation. So of course they have an apparently connected board attorney that gives bad legal advice but is paid millions in legal fees. Bottom line, there is little accountability for bad decisions at all levels of the system. There continues to be doubt over the board members decisions being based on back door payments to implement some of the programs they come up with. How many of these vendors for new educational materials or equipment gain sales by enriching board members is anyone’s guess.
One school we know of has had lcd overhead projectors installed with new pull down screens. Yet by December it will get the interactive whiteboards in all rooms and guess what, the new pull down screens will not be needed and be taken down. Brand new screens. The apparent answer is, oh well it’s Splost money, so it needs to be spent regardless.
Little accountability, no faith in board decisions.

PappyHappy

October 24th, 2009
2:14 pm

If they do, their efforts do not pay off in Georgia. Just fear that our public education system is now going to be a large detriment in attracting new business to the state, and that has serious implications in turning around the housing market. If the school boards had been doing their jobs, how in the world did all of the alleged cheating on tests happen? What kind of standards did the boards establish, or did the ‘LOOK THE OTHER WAY’? Fear that way too many boards had their hands in ‘building schools’, and getting involved with ‘property purchases’, vice TEACHING KIDS MATH, SCIENCE, ENGLISH, HISTORY, FOREIGN LANGUAGES, ……. AND, DISCIPLINE!! These boards have overseen way too much SOCIAL PROMOTION, and GRADE INFLATION to ‘qualify’ kids the HOPE scholarship — only to become DISQUALIFIED their first year in college — or FLUNK OUT!! True, parents and teachers are at fault as well, but WHAT HAVE THE BOARDS DONE??

TW

October 24th, 2009
2:41 pm

“The news is good. In fact, it’s very good. Over the past few days I’ve spoken to people ranging from Bill Gates to Jeb Bush and various education reformers. They are all impressed by how gritty and effective the Obama administration has been in holding the line and inciting real education reform.

Over the summer, the Department of Education indicated that most states would not qualify for Race to the Top money. Now states across the country are changing their laws: California, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee, among others.” – David Brooks, NYT

Could someone please explain why we are sitting on the pot while TN is making these huge gains toward bettering their children’s futures?

parent in Spalding County

October 24th, 2009
3:30 pm

I have been very pleased with our school board in Spalding. I truly believe they care about the students. I have been to several board meetings and I am impressed with them. Our new superintendent seems dedicated and caring. Time will tell…

[...] is the original post: School boards: Benefit or burden to education? | Get Schooled By admin | category: school education | tags: always-amazed, board-race, quality, [...]

not buying the new curriculum

October 24th, 2009
4:54 pm

To Bob in Cobb—-
It’s not just one school that has soon-to-be-replaced screens—-It’s ALL OF THEM!
Shameful misuse of taxpayer’s dollars.

jim d

October 24th, 2009
5:48 pm

philosopher ,

“someone out there (not a school board member or connected to a school board member), who can say something positive about the present systems”

GCPS has built schools for a lot of years without incurring a lot of debt.

on the down side though–we must take their word for that because they won’t place their check ledger on their web site. (dont you just love open government?)

Fulton County Observer

October 24th, 2009
7:48 pm

Can anyone out there imagine what it’s like to have the a few of the same members on the School Board for over 10 years? I do not believe these officials were really elected, when there is so many disgruntled parents in the county. How they “rotate” is beyond me. And now “North Fulton” parents/schools want to separate from “South Fulton” schools, again. Many of us are still reeling from how the Board got rid of the only Superintendent who was willing to bring together this divided school system “Where Students”…are supposed to come First, where the school system’s home page is dedicated to all of the ACADEMIC successes in North Fulton, while South Fulton school news is of a different caliber all together. (See for yourselves). This School Board issue is for real and the the members on the FCSB are full of nothing but themselves and their own agendas.

FulCo teach

October 24th, 2009
9:29 pm

Fulton County’s school board just decided to completely IGNORE the recommendations of “a 17-member panel of parents, school leaders and central office administrators,” as well as principals from all levels and central office personnel, and adopt a school calendar for next year which will give high school students in single-semester classes 80 days to cover in first semester what others will have 91 days to learn second semester. This was despite the reiteration from the superintendent that the committee did not recommend unbalanced semesters.

Read the press release and see through the smoke screen of the 177-day calendar issue (by eliminating the five early-release days alone, overlooking the extra 10 minutes a day, kids will spend more time in class). Does it seem from the press release that the Board approved the committee recommendation? WRONG! The committee first recommended an August 9, 2010, start date.
http://www.fultonschools.org/story_detail_masterdata.asp?id=2527 See Fulton County’s Board meetings online (8/11 work sessions and Board meetings) at http://www.fultonschools.org/dept/broadcast/archive.htm to get the real story.

Now all students in our system will be at least 10 full days behind all other systems learning material on which they will be tested on CRCT and AP exams. How did the Board justify the unbalanced semester calendar? There’s more testing in the spring than fall. What a joke! In high school, only juniors have high-stakes testing in the spring (four days) and other students continue their schedules those days. The only testing that impacts everyone in HS is PSAT, which is taken by 9th-11th graders IN THE FALL, so seniors basically don’t have class that day (half-days, anyway). There’s also the writing test for juniors in the fall, so even the testing discrepancy falls flat – ESPECIALLY for an 11-day differential. Semester scheduling doesn’t impact elementary (and most middle school) students AT ALL. Their instruction isn’t divided into semesters, but obviously the committee (and administrators) felt it was important enough for high school to have a balanced calendars that they ALL requested what you chose to ignore.

Students in high school who have one-semester classes will have fewer than 79 days (83 days in semester minus three days for final exams minus one day for PSAT) to learn the material – those in Economics for a test which, by mandate, will be 15% of their final grade in the course. Why fewer than 79? Because EOCTs are not given during finals week – they are given earlier! But, it seems, we don’t really value learning EVERYTHING in political science or health or …. teaching less than 90% should be sufficient, right?

I agree the “Where Students Come First” slogan is a joke. I would hate to see the situation if students came last, wouldn’t you?

It is VERY obvious that the major agenda of more than one board member is having a school start date closer to Labor Day. Ashley Widener – GO BACK TO KANSAS if Georgia doesn’t suit you! (Ditto for Katie – then you wouldn’t have to be “embarrassed” (see her say it on the archived meeting site) if we start school in early August – like every other system around us!)

Dr. John Trotter

October 24th, 2009
10:38 pm

Maureen: I have a good topic for you to post next week: “My adminstrator is a dumba_s.”

Wee Willie Shockley

October 24th, 2009
10:43 pm

Is it true that students walked out of school at Towers High in DeKalb on Friday? I hear that ten police cars showed up. I also hear that the protest was over a particular administrator who has had a quite checkered career in DeKalb but has a friend and protector who is on the school board in DeKalb. Crawford Lewis, that complete joke of a superintendent, must go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. John Trotter

October 24th, 2009
10:47 pm

Maureen: I hope that you understand that “adminstrator” was meant to be “administrator.” Tebow just broke Herschel’s record, and I am writing this on Maureen’s blog. Maureen, your blog is addictive. Ha!

Larry

October 25th, 2009
2:21 am

Georgia school system populations range in size from Gwinnett, which is over twice the size of some states, to others with only hundreds of students. Local school boards are equally diverse and about the only thing they have in common is that they are elected not appointed (in case anyone missed the fact that we actually changed Georgia’s Constitution to ensure local voters would control their schools).

As another regular contributor to this blog can attest, the general public is so stone ignorant of their local school board, that they can’t possibly form a valid opinion concerning any needed changes. This unnamed contributor and I were the ONLY two citizens to show up at Gwinnett’s public budget meetings for so many years that “Jim and Larry’s Annual Budget Bash” became a synonym for the thing among those paying attention.

So, if you want to eliminate elected local boards, blog away until you feel better. You can’t change anything because you don’t know how. After 200 years of self-government, it’d be nice of folks got the hang of it, but I try to eschew over-optimism.

@unnamed contributor, did I clean this up enough, or should I have been blunt?

jim d

October 25th, 2009
8:35 am

a thankless job????

I think not.

The people that often seek these positions are looking for power and control.

and allow me to mention that along with that power and control comes other benefitss. FOLLOW THE $$$$

William Casey

October 25th, 2009
11:51 am

School board positions on the Fulton County Board of Education are “stepping-stone” positions for females of independent means (husbands’ or family money) who are seeking higher political office and to make a political “name” for themselves. I’m a retired teacher/coach now but in 2004 I was publicly (in the local paper) attacked by Board member Katie Reeves for suppoosedly teaching an “anti-Bush” lesson to my Advanced Placement American History students. School system administrators investigators examined my lessons and found them to be entirely “fair and balanced.” However, Ms. Reeves had successfully “branded” herself as the “Sarah Palin” of North Fulton Republican politics which was the whole point. Watch a Board meeting on Comcast.

Time will tell...

October 25th, 2009
1:10 pm

To the parent in Spalding County (Griffin),

You have one of the most racially divided school boards in the state. Time will tell that Griffin’s racial tone has not changed since integration.

Resolve

October 25th, 2009
1:29 pm

It is amazing to read how many counties are not happy with the performance of its school board. When Clayton county’s troubles were front page news, you would have thought that Clayton County was the only county with a destructive board. I am not defending the idiots that were ousted by the governor. I am simply acknowledging that other counties have boards that are troubled.

Dr. Elgart (SACS) understands there are destructive board across this state and instead of stripping accrediation for each board (like he did Clayton), he took the path that he thought was politically easiest- creating a statewide law. He went to the General Assembly and pushed the school board legislation. It failed because local boards of education did not want to give up their local control.

Decatur City teacher

October 26th, 2009
3:23 pm

I have worked at many metro districts and am now in Decatur City Schools. I will never leave this district because the leadership here is fantastic! Our board members actually do put kids first in all their decision making!! All 5 members have fulltime jobs and don’t meddle in the staff and superintendent’s business. They were even altruistic enough to forgo their pay for the past 2 years in acknowledgement that teachers weren’t getting a raise due to the bad economy. They did it without fanfare so not many folks know about it. They get very little money to begin with – probably about $1,500/year – so that’s probably one of the reasons why we get good folks on the board here. And they get beat up plenty by our wonderfully involved and high-maintanence parents. It’s certainly a job I wouldn’t do!!

jim d

October 27th, 2009
1:02 pm

BTW, Larry,

that was most excellent!!

d

October 27th, 2009
1:04 pm

Time Will Tell obviously didn’t attend the DeKalb County BOE meeting this month at Columbia High School.

coetsee

January 15th, 2010
9:57 am

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