Is Reed the right mayor to run Atlanta schools? Is any mayor?

Mayor Kasim Reed is considering getting involved in running APS. (AJC photo)

Mayor Kasim Reed is considering getting involved in running APS. (AJC photo)

At a recent panel on school leadership, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told a roomful of business leaders that the troubled city school system must make “path breaking” progress.

“As your mayor, I’m prepared to go as far as you all are prepared to go to save these kids,” he promised the audience at last month’s Education Leadership for the 21st Century event.

Apparently, that includes going across the street — from City Hall to the Atlanta Public Schools offices.

Reed announced a few days ago that he is considering seeking special power to appoint  school board members in an effort to stabilize a system reeling from a cheating scandal, a feuding Board of Education and increasingly irate parents.

Is a reconstituted school board the lifeline that will pull Atlanta to solid ground?  Or will the system’s restoration depend on the next person hired to lead Atlanta, one of several metro systems in search of a new superintendent. DeKalb, Cobb, and Fulton are also looking.

Those questions were explored by the panel on education leadership, which was part of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series.

Among the panelists was Andres Alonso, the CEO of Baltimore schools who is credited with remarkable improvements to the district but who prefers in public to muse about all that remains to be done.

Alonso works under a school board appointed by both the Maryland governor and the Baltimore mayor. Hired in 2007, the Cuban born and Harvard educated Alonso was the seventh Baltimore CEO in 10 years.

(The average tenure of superintendents in large urban school districts today is 3.6 years, according to the Council of Great City Schools seventh survey.)

Alonso noted that the same Baltimore school board that cycled through so many CEOs in a decade works well with him and was recognized last year as a board of excellence.

“That’s why conversations about what is the best governance structure are so senseless,” he said. “It’s about the people and the political courage; it is not about the governance structure in itself.”

Alonso disagreed with the insistence that all school leaders be cut from the same mold, citing all the hand wringing over whether magazine publisher Cathleen Black, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s choice to lead New York City schools, had the credentials for the job.

“This is not about whether you think she has the background for the challenges but whether you think she has the leadership ability to take the school system in the direction where you think the school system should go,” he said.

“Ninety percent of this job is about guts — trying to do things that haven’t been tried before,” he said.

In the most provocative statement of the evening, Alonso said, “School systems have exactly the outcomes that they want…if it’s working in a certain way, that’s exactly the way it is meant to be.”

Panelist Gerard Robinson, a former Georgia Charter Schools Commission member and now Virginia secretary of education, voiced a similar theme, saying that it’s politics that typically undermines school improvement.

“The school reform problem isn’t a knowledge problem. We know what it takes to work with schools — APS is an example —  that are predominantly minority or have a lot of students that quality for free-and-reduced-priced lunch,” he said. “This isn’t an academic gap problem. This is a political crap problem. And until you deal with the political crap problem, which is identifying the right person for the right time, you won’t solve the achievement gap problem.”

“You are not looking for a superstar or an heroic lone figure,” said panelist Mark Musick, president emeritus of the Southern Regional Education Board. “You are looking for someone who can recruit and build a team. “

Musick warned that urban districts hiring new superintendents must accept that the chances of failure are great and that long-term superintendents and harmonious school boards, as is the case in Gwinnett County, voted this year’s best urban school system by the Broad Foundation, are rare.

“Alvin Wilbanks in an anomaly. You don’t see that happen too often,” he said.

Musick compared mayoral control of schools, which is what Mayor Reed seeks, to declaring “martial law. It’s for when you are in the ditch and you can’t get out by normal means. I don’t see it as a long-term strategy.”

But Alonso said school boards appointed by mayors offer benefits. “There is no way I could have closed 26 schools in four years if I had people elected in those districts. I like mayoral control — if you have the right mayor.”

–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

67 comments Add your comment

got any change?

March 25th, 2011
6:00 am

Something needs to change.


March 25th, 2011
6:18 am

I like Reed but this is a terrible idea. Can you imagine Franklin or Campbell with the power to pick the school board?

Reed needs to come clean

March 25th, 2011
6:32 am

Reed is not the person to run Atlanta, let alone APS. Atlanta needs to wise-up about this bit of theatre. Reed is a fraud and is only working for the bond lawyers, developers, vendors, and corporate lawyers. He cares zero about APS and Atlanta. He only cares for his underground life style and the money for he and his buddies. Reed is sticking it to Atlanta.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

March 25th, 2011
6:38 am

While I don’t agree with the specific proposals Reed and Rep. Ralph Long have made, I do like the fact that the seriousness of the problems at APS have been taken up by other officials. Maureen, you brought our great points from that panel, and Alonso made the most telling: it’s not the structure, it’s the individuals that make or break a system. And right now, we have some lousy people running APS.


March 25th, 2011
6:51 am

Mayoral control hasn’t been the “silver” bullet for DC and NYC. When you dig past the rhetoric in these cities, you begin to see a picture emerge. Mayoral control does allow for more reforms to be quickly pushed through because you’ve eliminated local school board approval. At first, this seems to be a great idea. On the flip side, is the reality that mayoral control shuts out the parent voice….quite effectively. Consider the recent Bloomberg appointment of Cathy Black. During his tenure, Klein basically shut down the parent boards in the school burroughs and Bloomberg controls the appointed board.

If APS parents want to be a voice in what happens in their schools, they need to be very careful. We’ve all been sold on the idea of “change” is always a good thing. However, sometimes the “change” that takes place can be worse in the long run.

just watching

March 25th, 2011
7:03 am

Like Alonzo said, it’s about politics. And that’s what it is about for Reed. That said, someone needs to step in and DO something. I’d prefer the governor NOT Reed. Besides, I thought the cOnclusion was that this couldn’t happen without a constitutional change?


March 25th, 2011
7:03 am

I truly believe the best thing would be to dissolved the APS and divide up its property and students to surrounding counties. And put Dekalb County (the whole thing) on notice that it will be the next to “disappear” if it doesn’t weed out the corruption and mismanagement.

APS is redundant. What we have in the Atlanta area are far too many chiefs, and too few Indians.

Let the mayor of Atlanta handle his own stuff. There really is plenty to keep him busy as it is.


March 25th, 2011
7:05 am

“Alvin Wilbanks in an anomaly. You don’t see that happen too often.

That’s because if you are a teacher in his system and don’t do things his way he will fire you. Remember the teacher who refused to change a class participation grade and was fired. The student (a jock) was sleeping and was failed. Daddy complained as the teacher was fired. Way to stand up for you teachers Wilbanks.


March 25th, 2011
7:15 am

How is Beverly Hall still employed by APS? She should be flipping burgers at the Varsity by now. Or run out of the state so she can go ruin some other large metropolis’ school system.


March 25th, 2011
7:28 am

If I understood him correctly, Reed was considering asking the legislature for TEMPORARY authority to appoint board members. I would worry about a permanent shift.

I also worry that the legislature might decide they need to step in. I would feed better having Reed’s hand in it than the legislature. I am not at all confident that the legislature really wants APS to succeed.

I think it is clear that whatever happens, APS needs a severe pruning and thinning of its upper branches.


March 25th, 2011
7:44 am

@bill: do you *really* think it would be temporary? Like the toll at 400, maybe?
I really do not want the city to take over. Or the state for the matter. I guess it might not be horrible if the county took over, but we’ll see…
The reality is that as said above, if it’s about the people – then realistically, we can elect a new board, or have another entity take over the system, but in the end, if they’re not the right people, we’re going to end up back where we are now. and the children keep suffering.
We need something very new and very different. we do not need another govt entity to take over the schools. they have shown time and again that they are lousy at it, that a system like that is lousy, and it’s not working.
Let’s try something new and different. because whatever we’re doing isn’t working…


March 25th, 2011
7:57 am

Something needs to change in APS….Most of the schools are awful!


March 25th, 2011
8:00 am

APS doesn’t need anybody to take over its school system, especially Reed or the State. The simple solution to APS problems is to get rid of Beverly Hall and every one of her top administrators by the close of busisness today. And while you’re at it, get rid of those worthless overpaid managers in Finance, including the CFO, Comptroller, Accounting Manager and the “Glorified” Secretary.

Write Your Board Members

March 25th, 2011
8:05 am

The majority of DeKalb’s board was up for reelection and the majority were reelected. Add to that the board members elected two years before to accomplish very specific tasks, (ie get a while principal at Lakeside (Womack) and get a neighborhood redistricted to Lakeside (McChesney) and you get what you elect.

The people spoke — it isn’t working out very well.


March 25th, 2011
8:06 am

The City can’t event get the panhandlers off the streets and the Mayor wants control over the school board??? What’s that saying about biting off more than you can chew?

The State needs to take control. Indefinitely.

Doris M

March 25th, 2011
8:12 am

No, Reed should not run the APS; nor should any mayor. He wasn’t elected to run a school system only the city of Atlanta. He’s got enough on his plate running the city. Now, I do think there should be some kind of change within the administrative and executive arm of the school system. A new superintendent is on the way and, hopefully, better administrators. The board of education needs to be reduced in size from nine to five. The high-priced, do nothing board secretary position should return to what it should be: a keeper of the notes. The extra staff in the board office needs to go. Too much of my tax money is already being spent on APS with their huge education cost per child.

Dr NO...

March 25th, 2011
8:13 am

LOL…what a mess and all the characters involved, from Reed to “Cupcake” Hall and down, are incompetent. This is what everyone wanted and now this is what ya get…LMAO!!

John Ellison

March 25th, 2011
8:15 am

It’s time for the government to get out of the education business. How many elected officials send their kids to public schools? The top elected official in the country sends his kids to private school.


March 25th, 2011
8:53 am

Might I suggest Mayor Reed worry about getting the traffic lights synchronized and fixing the potholes around town. If he did those two things, he will have accomplished more than his last four predecessors.

intown aps parent

March 25th, 2011
9:03 am

If Reed controls the board, Reed theoretically will have control over the SPLOST tax vote. He wants APS to take a % of a penny so he can have a full penny for transportation. APS is not interested.
This is a ploy for Reed to get control of taxation for his projects, not a gesture of goodwill to preserve / save APS’ kids and their educations.

Double Zero Eight

March 25th, 2011
9:04 am

“Something’s Gotta Give” as APS is not capable of
“fixing” itself in a timely manner.

A Conservative Voice

March 25th, 2011
9:13 am


March 25th, 2011
7:15 am
How is Beverly Hall still employed by APS? She should be flipping burgers at the Varsity by now.

She’s not qualified and c’mon, there are a lot of good employees at the Varsity…..throw her in with ‘em and you’ll ruin it.

Folks, SAPS and NAPS…..the only cure for the APS. Reed is not the answer…..what he’ll do is appoint the Reverend Lowery to head it up and it’ll be all downhill from there……worse than it is now.

Inman Park Boy

March 25th, 2011
9:45 am

Here is the real question: Could the Mayor possibly do any worse than the current “leaders” of this once proud system?


March 25th, 2011
10:02 am

Reed definitely is interested in the splost tax grab for the city as stated and could care less about APS. However, a terrible school district would be bad for business, but homeless folks lying all over the city is too and he hasn’t done anything about that problem. But he goes looking for federal money for street cars during the worst economic times in recent history. His priorities are clearly all messed up!!

Norwood get ready cause he is going to be one term and out!! The unions won’t be around to save him the next election cycle and he won’t be heading to Washington cause things will be changing there too.

Dr NO...

March 25th, 2011
10:12 am

LOL…The real question is how does years and years of incomptence breed addl years of incompetence? The answer…The voters who have learned nothing and vote with their hearts, NOT their heads.

Atlanta has become a huge outhouse and is now in decline. LMAO!

Concerned parent

March 25th, 2011
11:03 am

I don’t know if Reed is the right person to do it, but the school board appears to be incapable of doing anything. and someone needs to come in and terminate the top leaders of the school system (APS and Dekalb) and then bring in someone else who has the balls to find new (and qualified) leaders, streamline bureaucratic offices, focus on teacher development, ensure that seasoned administrators are in place at the schoolhouse and give them control over their school, eliminate ineffective and time-consuming programs, and provide teachers with the authority to effectively discipline students. Frankly, at the salaries that some of the leadership earns, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find qualified people to take the place of the leadership that is making decisions which are failing the students. Nor should it be too difficult to find leaders who are willing to try something new. But someone needs to do it now, not in 6 months, so if Reed can get a temporary grant (until the end of 2011 perhaps) and can install a handful of people who are tasked with doing x, y and z and those things only, perhaps a new election in the Fall will bring change that can sustain the preliminary changes made by the short-term crew.

APS Parent #3

March 25th, 2011
11:08 am

If “schools systems have the outcomes they want,” then APS’ outcome was set when it decided to “manage” the CRCT investigation with the help of then ABE Chair LaChandra Butler-Burkes, the Atlanta Education Fund, the Chamber of Commerce and any other business leaders who were part of the Blue Ribbon Commission.

The only thing that stood in their way were the consciences and courage of five board members – the ones called the “5.” As information began surfacing of the “fix” that seemed to be in, they realized that if they pulled the rug up there would be dirt underneath. They had a choice – let the rug lie or pull it up. To their credit and to the wonderful fortunate of the SCHOOLCHILDREN, they took the harder path.

Sadly, Dr. Hall and her staff, as supported by the business community and one parent group from Buckhead (the heart of Atlanta’s money) the Stepford Gang, want the rug put back down. If it takes bringing in the governor or the mayor, then fine. Just as long as the rug hides the dirt. After all, John Ellis is right – how many of Buckhead’s elite and the business leaders whose hands are the deepest in this mess have kids in private school? Also, of the StepUp parents, how many of them have applied their children to private school in the fall just in case their antics blow it for accrediation?

The more vested you are in the education part of APS (ie, you have kids in the schools who will be impacted; you are a teacher whose professional reputation and pay are affected) the greater merit your voice has. The business part of APS (ie, building schools, getting contracts, being a bullet on a chamber bulleting) will follow if you get the education part right; however, the education part of APS won’t necessarily follow if you are only focused on the business end.

I did not vote for Mayor Reed, so I don’t want him as my mayor. I surely don’t want him to control my school board. He’s comments about how he would like to allocate SPLOST IV funds were telling – he’s in bed with the big business, so leave him to work with the city on those issue. MAYOR REED, LEAVE THE CITY SCHOOL BOARD ALONE!!! Unless you want us to have the school board vote to take over the city?

APS Parent #3

March 25th, 2011
11:18 am

The question is not if any one person is the “right” mayor.

If you want a real answer, take the personalities out of this and ask the philosophical questions: “Should the Georgia constitution be amended to allow for school boards throughout the state to be appointed rather than elected by voters at the local level? Should the office of the Mayor of Atlanta run the city of Atlanta’s school system through a board appointed by the mayor?”

What happens in Atlanta will set a precedence for actions affecting the entire state. Do rural Georgians really want to amend their state constitution because of a political mess created by a superintended who has less than three months left in her job and a minority of an elected board of education?

There is a word for big Atlanta business coined right after the War Between the States – “carpetbaggers.” Rural Georgians, get a clue, this is not just about Atlanta, this is about Georgia. Rise up and protect your rights.

APS Parent #3

March 25th, 2011
11:24 am

The best policies are the ones put in place TO bring about a better result and have been fully debated, considered and planned.

The worst policies are generally the ones that REACT to a specific problem because usually they are not fully debated, considered and planned. If you are reacting to something, it is hard to think through the longer-term consequences of your action.

Short-term gain may end up in long-term loses. Guess that is also the lesson for any in APS who fudged on the 2009 CRCT because their actions have created this current mess in APS and on this board.


March 25th, 2011
11:32 am

Did the 2003 charter crafted by Reed give the superintendent too much power leading us to the mess we’re in?

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
11:37 am

I see that the powers-who-be are still pushing the mayor-take-over plan…because it is so easy to control the mayors in the large cities. This is the plan that Eli Broad of the Broad Foundation prefers. Work through the mayors. Yes, just bypass democracy. It is too troublesome. A little too inconvenient. Let’s just meet at the Piedmont Driving Club with Kasim and Shirley (hey, didn’t we let both of them in?) and pick our school board members.

The following is a post that ole Earl of Ft. Liquordale shared with us a while back. I think that Earl’s musings about his City of Atlanta are enlightening. We have this artificial hysteria being whipped up about the board “in-fighting.” (I actually read yesterday from some account that SACS has put the school board on probation for “in-fighting.” Darn. I guess Mark Elgart of SACS has never heard of democracy, a rather nasty endeavor. What Atlanta ought to be in trouble about is the egregious and unconscionable manner in which the Beverly Hall Administration treats its teachers and other employees, the complete lack of student discipline, and the systematic cheating. These, Mark Elgart and We-Northsiders-Want-To-Take-Over Crowd, are the problems in the Atlanta Public Schools, not “in-fighting” on the school board.

Kasim Reed could not and would not do anything to “fix” Atlanta’s real problems. He would just be used as a puppet of the “Piedmonters.” These Piedmonters already determine who becomes the mayors of Atlanta. Now they are getting greedy, and they want to control the school board (and its accompanying bonanza of cash) too!

Let me allow Earl of Ft. Liquordale to do the rest of the talking this morning. Here’s ole Earl…

“Back when I was attending school in Atlanta, we didn’t have many disciplinary problems. I am a proud grad of Roosevelt, Class of 1967…Summer of Love, baby! I didn’t go to school with many African American students (just one or two before I graduated). But, we play together (and fought each other!) in the streets. Boulevard is just around the corner from Edgewood and Auburn. But, from my recollections, all of the schools — black and white — back then were full of discipline. You just didn’t think about bowing up to a teacher or a principal. This was unheard of. Heck, you had to stay after school for just chewing bubble gum — and I loved chewing that bubble gum from Penny Baseball Cards. Those were the days in Atlanta. I look back fondly on those days, and I still love the schools of Atlanta because that is my childhood home until I was eighteen. We had real role models in Cabbagetown. Men like “Mr. Claude Lee” (as we called him). He was a tough and irascible man, but he was a good man. His example taught us a lot of things about life. The Mrs. and I read up on the and this blog about what is going on in the school systems now, and we know — just from experience — that it’s really about money. About control and money. This might be a little of topic, but I wanted to get this off my chest.

“Too many conflicts-of-interest surrounding the Atlanta Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office. Too many people can’t allow themselves to see clearly what is happening because of the conflicts. Money is controlling the dialogue but everyone wants to couch their concerns about what is best for the children. It’s always, however, about what is best for their pocketbooks and wallets. If Atlanta Public Schools were a poor school system (tax-wise) and could not hand out lucrative contracts, I don’t think that we would hear nary’a word out of the Chamber of Commerce/Piedmont Driving Club crowd or from Mark Elgart and SACS or from the Mayor Kasim Reed’s Office. Too much money and too many conflicts.

“But, what do I know? I just grew up in Cabbagetown…which is now becoming Lettuceville. It was hard when I grew up on Carroll Street off of Boulevard. We never trusted the Limousine Liberals off Northside Drive. But, now the Mrs. and I just watch the drama from a distance down here in our used condo in Broward County. Abe and Eli are still taking bets about when Beverly Hall will actually leave. Betting on the stated July date won’t win you much money, but the over and under is getting more and more interesting.

“I still miss Slanton Elementary and our old beloved Roosevelt High up on the hill. I am a product of APS. I am an Atlanta Cracka…and will be until I die. The White Crackas and the Black Crackas (and don’t forget that there was indeed a team in the old Negro Baseball League named the Atlanta Black Crackers) don’t have much say so about what is going to happen with Beverly Hall or the school board. It is always the money people who control everything. They know the newspaper publisher, the TV managers, Mark Elgart and SACS (and they appear to love using him!), the Chamber of Commerce (heck, they ARE the Chamber people!), and other centers of influence. Poor folk in Fourth Ward and Cabbagetown don’t have much say so…except at the polls, and now they seem determined to take away those for whom we voted. (Well, I don’t vote in Atlanta anymore but you know what I mean.)

“Governor Deal, please refrain from taking out duly elected officials. This hysteria is contrived. Contrived by the money folk. I’ve seen it all my life. It’s just about control and money. St. Paul said: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Sister Josie L. Mitchell taught us that in Sunday School, and it’s still true today. The Old Testament Prophets were always railing against the money folk who were screwing God’s humble followers. Corrupt judges…on the take. Corrupt officials with[in] Israel. It ain’t no different today in Atlanta. Atlanta money folk will kill its prophets to shut them up. They are metaphorically trying to kill the political careers of Mr. Khatim El and the other “Four” who finally showed the temerity to stand up against the corruption.

“The Mrs. and I will sit back and watch the unfolding of this all too serious drama. Will our democracy last in Atlanta. We hope and pray that it will. We don’t need any Gadhafis trying to dictate who should be on our school board. You hear this Kasim Reed?


Earl coninues…

“Corrupt officials within [not "with"] Israel. Sorry. The Mrs. caught the typo. She taught English for 32 years! She finally let me back on the computer today. I hadn’t blogged in front of her for over a year. She banned me. Had to sneak over to Abe and Hilda’s or Eli and Wilma’s and use their lap tops to see what Maureen was up to.

“Heedabeehoohoo! Ole Earl is blogging again! And blogging right in front of the Mrs.! I’m so happy that I’m gonna joyfully accompany her to the Grand Flea Market (a real monster) in Pompano on Saturday. Yes, miss the NCAA Tourney and just be tickled pink that I get to walk around a flea market for hours! Ain’t life grand?!”


[Note: Please forgive the quotation marks within the quotation marks in Earl's piece above. Wanted to set apart what Earl was saying, but was too lazy to edit every quotation mark in his original Simon & Shuster would have done.]

David Sims

March 25th, 2011
11:48 am

Haven’t you folks in Atlanta figured things out yet? You raise up one black “leader” after another, and each of them wastes little time in demonstrating his proclivity for vice. You pinned your hopes on Beverly Hall, and she fooled you, and when, after ten years, you finally caught on to her act, she was so entrenched that getting rid of her almost turns your town upside down. Now you will pin your hopes on another black who probably got his present office through election fraud.

Think he’ll do a good job? Some people just never learn.

Maureen Downey

March 25th, 2011
11:55 am

@David Sims, Growing up in New Jersey, I saw my parents and other voters pin their hopes on a series of white “leaders” who ended up indicted for corruption. Of all your baseless positions, your contention that black elected officials are more corrupt than white is the quickest and easiest to disprove.
If you stop your picking and choosing based on race and look at the actual facts, you will find that the biggest political messes in Georgia over the last decade involved white leadership. Have you noticed why we have a new speaker in the Georgia House?


March 25th, 2011
12:04 pm

Oh good grief. It’s not enough torture that we have to put up with Trotter’s psychopathic ramblings under his name and other pseudonyms (Earl of Ft whatever), now, he has taken up the annoying habit of copying and recycling the same crap that he posted on a previous blog.

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
12:07 pm

Maureen, thanks for continuing to remind Mr. Sims that he sees the whole world throught black and white eye glasses. I know that I harp on the lack of discipline in the schools (and it is true), but Mr. Sims’s harping on racist topics is a tad tiresome, I must say. Corruption falls along the lines of greedy human beings, not along racial lines. You can read regulary about another corrupt white elected official being indicted. I rather that Mr. Sims would attack a position on its merit or lack of merit rather than issuing broadsides against one race of people. Again, thanks, Maureen!


March 25th, 2011
12:09 pm

“your contention that black elected officials are more corrupt than white is the quickest and easiest to disprove.”

So, disprove it.

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
12:12 pm

Lee, I use my real name…unlike you who use a zillion different monikers…rehashing racist comments under different monikers. I rather enjoy re-reading what ole Earl has to say. I am sorry that your boring blathering is…well, what can I say? Boring. Sorry, Lee. You and your others are just boring.

What say ye about Kasim Reed taking over the Atlanta Board of Education? Earl and I think that it is a horrible though predictable idea…coming, of course, from the Piedmonters.

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
12:27 pm

Please forgive the typo: “,,,unlike you who uses (not use)…”

Diane Ravitch in her latest book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” has a good deal to say about how business interests use the ploy of working though the mayors in the large cities to get their way with the school systems. It appears that we are witnessing this same ploy unfolding here in Atlanta. This, I am confident, is not about what kind of education that a child from Fourth Ward receives at King Middle School. As nearly always, it is about money — and who is going to control it. But, everything has to be couched in the glowing terms of “what’s best for the children.”

Reality Check

March 25th, 2011
12:38 pm

Should any unaccountable government bureaucrat be running something as important as a school? Of course not. Shut the government schools down and allow the free market, home schools, private schools, education cooperatives, charity schools, and whatever else might develop to address the need educate kids. Education is far too important to be left in the hands of failed government.

Maureen Downey

March 25th, 2011
12:40 pm

Lee, These are off the top of my head as having been convicted, charged or confessed to wrongdoing. I am not including all the white politicians caught in illicit dalliances, as that list would take the entire blog. It would include Henry John Hyde, Bill Clinton, Gary Condit, Mark Souter, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley and John Edwards.

Are their corrupt black politicians? Yes, but they by no means have the monopoly.

Ted Stevens
Kevin Kenerly
Linda Schrenko
State Rep. Robin Williams
Rick Renzi
Tom DeLay
Lewis Libby
Jack Abramoff
Bob Ney
Henry Cisneros
Dan Rostenkowski
James G. Watt
Pat Swindall
Kyle Foggo

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
12:53 pm

Maureen, what about all of the governors in succession in Illinois? Ha! But, it appears that Governor Blog is having fun on the late night shows! Yes, Maureen, you have just scratched the surface for recent years. And you didn’t even mention Nixon and the corrupt apparatus surrounding his White House and Administration. Even squeaky clean Jimmy Carter had one or two (one indicted from Georgia, but his indictment might have later been thrown out so I won’t mention his name) who were determined not to be pure as the driven snow. Teapot Dome? Harding? Grant? Ole Wilbur Mills? Yazoo lands? On and on and on. No one race has cornered a monopoly on public corruption. The main color is always green…as in Greenbacks. Some who might never have been indicted or convicted are not what we might hold up as models of propriety. Bilboe of Mississippi? Ole Gene Talmadge of Georgia? Huey Pierce Long of Winn Parrish, Louisiana? I’d better stop.

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
1:01 pm

I think that Ted Stevens of Alaska might have gotten a bum rap. If I recall correctly, his prosecuted was later found to have been corrupt (and copped a deal himself) and may have held back exculpatory evidence. Meanwhile, Senator Stevens had died in a state of “shame.” His conviction might have been overturned posthumously. I’ll look it up later. Getting hungry now. But, just wanted to make this note on Stevens…since much has come of light of the corruption of his Federal Prosecutor who was, by the way, European American (aka “white”).


March 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

@Maureen, yes, and I could provide a laundry list of black corrupt politicians. You said you could “easily disprove” that “black politicians were more corrupt than white.”

To do that, you would have to identify the population of black and white politicians and calculate a “scoundrel rate” for both. Something that is not “easy” to do.

However, using data from the 2002 National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), we see that black comprise 13% of the population, but represent 29% of Embezzlement, 31% of Larceny, and 27% of Extortion offenses.

I think David Sims statement does have validity and you made an off the cuff remark that is “easily disproved.”

Truth in journalism and all that……

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
1:39 pm

Lee, I think that African Americans were disproportionately (100% or thereabouts) enslaved and denied the rights to any education for nearly 400 years in what is now called the United States of America. You reckon that this 100% disproportionality might skew the stats a little, Lee (and David)? I needn’t go into the abject discrimination, injustices, etc., which accompanied the horrific periods of the Black Codes and Jim Crow.

Dr. John Trotter

March 25th, 2011
1:40 pm

Lee, I forgot this rejoinder…Truth in history and all that……

Maureen Downey

March 25th, 2011
2:03 pm

Lee, Why don’t you read the research and get back to me?

A Meta-Analysis of Race and Sentencing Research: Explaining the Inconsistencies:


Youth Law Center, Justice Policy Institute, Building Blocks for Youth, April 2000

Dr NO...

March 25th, 2011
2:17 pm

LOL…regardless the Atlanta voters cast along racial lines again and again and here we are again and again…campbell, shirley both corrupt. kasim is probably just too dumb to understand. After all he is Andrew Youngs stooge.

At any rate…the voters keep screwing themselves and I think it is hilarious.

Dr NO...

March 25th, 2011
2:18 pm

PS…Im sure there will be many excuses offered though. AH HAHAAA!

Maureen Downey

March 25th, 2011
2:21 pm

@Dr. No, My only consolation in reading some of your posts this week is the hope that you are putting us all on.

APS Parent #3

March 25th, 2011
2:40 pm

The issue of color doesn’t determine the issue of quality of work or character. All races have men and women of courage and character and all races have men and women who are cowards and crooks.

Those who insist on arguing points along racial lines are also obsuring the real issues: who should run the school board; how to achieve a more effective public school system; and what can be done to move APS forward.

I have children in this system. Can we please stay on the real issue?