Would changing APS board members make any difference?

The news keeps coming today: My AJC colleague Jim Galloway reports that an amendment has been introduced in the House that would enable Gov. Nathan Deal  to remove members of the Atlanta Board of Education if the school system lost accreditation later this year

Deal already has the power to oust school board members as a result of the school board reform package passed by Sonny Perdue. But that bill excludes school board members elected prior to 2010. The amendment would extend the governor’s  purge power to those board members as well.

I am not sure that changing the players matters much when you consider that most of the current APS board members had the blessing of EduPAC, the schools-driven political committee associated with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. If you look at the backgrounds of the board members, they are an impressive bunch. However, as a group, they seem to be less than their sums.

Increasingly, I believe the dysfunction in APS transcends the elected board. I think the real problem was the collision of ambitions and reality.

Just received this note that raises a good question: Have you heard whether the amendment offered by Ashe/Lindsey is Constitutional?  I have heard some rumbling that you cannot impose conditions on school board members, who are constitutionally elected officers, after they have been elected.  In other words, you cannot make it retroactive.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

59 comments Add your comment

David Sims

March 30th, 2011
1:26 pm

Time for poetry composition class.

Would changing APS board members make any difference?
It might.
Provided that most of the new entrants…

(You finish.)


March 30th, 2011
1:37 pm

How about we say that what is happening *is* *not* *working* no matter who is in charge. Let parents be more responsible for their kid’s education.
Allow us school choice (not for just the rich kids).
Take disruptive kids out of the classroom.
Ya know what the state legislature can do? create an atmosphere wherein a school isn’t doing things just so they won’t get sued. Stand behind the schools, the teachers and the administrators for disciplining kids. Hmmm…
But whatever we’re doing – we’re spending a crapload of money and getting one of the worst school systems in the country for it. It’s NOT WORKING.
So no, probably no matter what happens, it’s the system that isn’t working, not the particular people on the board.


March 30th, 2011
1:38 pm

Changing the APS Board after losing accreditation is too late. The answer to your question is no it would not make a difference because the fight would be over except for the cleaning up.


March 30th, 2011
1:42 pm

Is the amendment written such that it applies only to APS or could other boards (e.g., DeKalb) be impacted?

Maureen Downey

March 30th, 2011
1:56 pm

@Allen, All boards.

APS Teacher

March 30th, 2011
2:08 pm

In a word, no.

The problems with the school board are only the tip of the APS iceberg.

Lyla Singfield

March 30th, 2011
2:20 pm

Abolish all school boards. They serve no real function, and most of the members have been on them for eons or don’t even have children in school.


March 30th, 2011
2:41 pm

In the hands of the Governor it would make a huge difference. ATL Mayors are pretty much inept…Shirley, Kaseem, Campbell. The Govenors would be able to distinguish and see thru the city govt BS.


March 30th, 2011
2:42 pm

I do have some concerns about the process. Passing ‘general’ legislation to address ‘local’ issues seems to circumvent the local legislative team.

We are seeing the same thing in DeKalb where legislators want to ‘dictate’ the size of the school board through general legislation rather than utlize local legislation to provide citizens say in the process. I should had that several legislators are not supporting the legislation that gives citizens a say so ultimately they will have to answer to their constituents if the general bill passes.

Do legislators know what best for us thus feel citizens shouldn’t have a vote on their representation?


March 30th, 2011
2:46 pm


What power does the State Superintendent have in these matters? Why is this power being given to the Governor and not to the statewide elected head of our Education system.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 30th, 2011
2:51 pm

School boards will make our schools better when they decide to promote and graduate only those students who meet reasonable standards; decide to retain only those teachers and administrators whose students make appropriate progress toward or achieve such reasonable standards; and decide to retain only those school board attorneys who manifest successful track records in defending them in legal actions arising from boards’ decisions regarding student promotion, student graduation and teacher retention.


March 30th, 2011
3:37 pm

No…There would be similar people elected!

What's best for kids

March 30th, 2011
3:45 pm

The SSS may remove a superintendent (Barge should have done that with Hall upon swearing in), but has nor jurisdiciton over the local boards.

What's best for kids

March 30th, 2011
3:47 pm

ATL Parent

March 30th, 2011
4:05 pm

It could help – if we actually then elected qualified members who want the best for the school system and all students/parents within it and stop with the nepotism.

However, I believe the previous post on this topic nail it best. Until we create a culture that values education we will never move forward. We need to have the ability to remove, without threat of lawsuit from parents just looking for meal ticket, disruptive students who have no inclination to learn. We need to have the ability to hold parents responsible for their child’s education instead of putting all the responsibility on the teachers. And last but not least, we need to actually hire qualified teachers that can speak proper English.

Springdale Park Elementary Parent

March 30th, 2011
4:14 pm

What the legislature SHOULD do is set a reasonable threshold for BOE recall elections. Currently the number of petition signatures required to launch a recall is so high as to be virtually unattainable. Since that’s the case, and since our BOE is so dysfunctional, this “safety net” is, sadly, necessary.

I disagree, by the way, with Maureen’s assessment that individually these BOE members are “impressive.” What’s impressive about LaChandra Butler Burks’ mishandling of the hilariously named “Blue Ribbon” cheating investigation; the one that launched the “Furious Five’s” coup? What’s impressive about the substantive ethics complaint against coup leader K. El? What’s impressive about Courtney “Spending Spree” English? What’s impressive about our own neighborhood BOE rep, Harsch-Kinnane, the self-appointed chief Bev Hall apologist?

Are you telling me we couldn’t find 5 or 7 people (let’s reduce the size of the BOE while we’re at it) with a moral center and management skills to replace these goofballs who have neither? I could find 7 for you in the next five minutes.

Geez, how bad DO you have to be in Atlanta’s educational system to get fired? Apparently, there is no answer. (See Cotman, Tamara)….

Doris M

March 30th, 2011
4:30 pm

I think this legislation is too late and will not do any good. Why change a law to get at one metro problem? And I agree there are too many APS Board members. Why not just five? Do we really need that many board members. And, let them all be elected city-wide.

Tired of this City Going Downhill

March 30th, 2011
5:00 pm

I like the idea having them be elected city-wide instead of just by area. I think that would help.

A Conservative Voice

March 30th, 2011
5:34 pm

@Springdale Park Elementary Parent

March 30th, 2011
4:14 pm
I disagree, by the way, with Maureen’s assessment that individually these BOE members are “impressive.

To SPEP – You have to remember SPEP that Maureen likes Beverly Hall, too :)

Write Your Board Members

March 30th, 2011
5:42 pm

More and more research is showing that locally elected school boards are an impediment to school improvement.

I think that in DeKalb there is ample evidence that students suffer because of weak and ineffective school boards.

Top School

March 30th, 2011
5:48 pm

Actually, Deal and the Buckhead connected folk have used the current APS Board to accomplish their goals…

Covering-up the corruption of E-rate…ACCOMPLISHED…Manipulating the building contracts for the benefit of the Northside Business folks… ACCOMPLISHED …They’ve made under the table bargains with the Beverly Hall and her minions to falsify methods of segregating the Hispanic students at Garden Hills Elementary, created “in house” segregation of APS Northside’s middle and high school ( Baccalaureate Program ) so they could keep the undesirables out of reach of their children until they could gain entrance into a neighborhood private school….ACCOMPLISHED… They’ve allowed unethical conduct to remain fully employed with benefits in exchange for their NORTHSIDE underhanded secrets that come as close to criminal acts as you can get…using their unscrupulous lawyers…ACCOMPLISHED


Top School

March 30th, 2011
5:57 pm

Now, Deal and those Buckhead Buddies have circled around the Paces Ferry Road Exit and decided to make YOU THINK they are actually doing something positive by eliminating the APS Board!

Wow…you folks are really smarter than the JACKSON ELEMENTARY 5th graders!

Yes…They are finished with this APS Board and the APS Administration. All they need to do is stop the FAKE GBI investigations and tell you they’ve eliminated all the corruption and presto it is all NEW again.

Buckhead can prop up new education leaders and manipulate it all over again. AND THIS TIME MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MAKE SUCH A PUBLIC MESS OUT OF IT!

And a few of those APS NORTHSIDE Principals that know a little bit much will need to be thrown under the bus, too.

Fresh AND all NEW again…THAT’S how they keep those lovely MANSIONS on the NORTHSIDE.

Hide and Watch


Top School

March 30th, 2011
6:12 pm

Giving you that Buckhead Smile…Step UP…and LET’S MAKE A DEAL…

And, they left her in a position of authority in the Top School in Atlanta, Ga.

This is how it works…

Our young minds are watching…our current leaders…

Lie , Cheat and Steal

“Almost” commit Criminal Acts

Misrepresent and Fake their way as they Race to the Top

And retaliate

These are the qualities we value in our current United States leaders…

and we send our US TROOPS to foreign nations to encourage democracy?????@$@#$%%#^^%&%^

SHAME ON THOSE IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS that turn a blind eye to the corrupt madness of our current state of affairs. Shame, Shame, Shame…


March 30th, 2011
6:22 pm

Why not just give SACS all the authority to run the schools? After all, we bow to them when they say boards cannot be spit on votes. It can get you a visit from Mr. E! and he will threaten to yank your accreditation unless you “agree” on matters.

Top School

March 30th, 2011
6:32 pm

Yes, clean the APS HOUSE…hire/elect leaders that establish a sense of honesty and integrity over everything else. The current APS school house has a serious infectious disease. The new leader needs to be immune to the germs that will be left behind. The APS Leaders need to be strong enough …not be too impressed and manipulated with the affluence of the Northside. Someone that can convince these Buckhead parents that they don’t need to go all the way to Ghana to show they have compassion for others by building a bridge of care for people in our own city of Atlanta…North and South.

Otherwise we will have more of the same…

Top School

March 30th, 2011
7:32 pm

Mr. E is just like those Headmasters at the Private Schools…

“Look Ms. Buckhead Debbie Snack Cake…If you can’t get your child to follow the rules in our Private School Facility …we can kick you and your child’s azz to the curb”

OR…Yes, your child is struggling in OUR PRIVATE SCHOOL…in addition to your $12,000 yearly tuition you will need to hire a tutor for your child…

And let’s not forget the additional donations you will need to make to the PRIVATE SCHOOL to put your child on the top of the Private School’s Family Want-a-Be Somebody LIST…The more money you have to donate …the less problems they will have with your child.

Oh the ranking of heads in the PRIVATE SCHOOL…

Mr. E knows all about those SACS reports…and the necessary funds that are required for such prestigious awards.

ALL THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS of impressive education in the southern politics of making them hold their locked jaws when dropping names while socializing at the country club pool with the children.


March 30th, 2011
7:41 pm

For years many members of Georgia’s General Assembly have been critical of “activist” justices on the Georgia Supreme Court. Now it’s beginning to sound like we have an “activist” Governor and Legislature. Who knew?

Top School

March 30th, 2011
7:42 pm

Those in APS positions are not going to be fired…they know too much!
They will stay in their positions until their is clear plan to shut all of them up.

Deal and the Buckhead Step Up Buddy System have been working on the manipulating plan to keep your eye off the REAL PROBLEM until they can sweep this mess under the rug. Those you are wishing would be FIRED are the pawns for the real dirty handed work.

The plot thickens as they develop their Buckhead Strategy to make it look like the Governor has STEPPED UP to save the day! This High-School PROJECT has been hatched from those affluent folks in Buckhead. And when they are finished…there will be no talk of any problems in APS for many years to come.

Magically…in a blink of an eye…APS will have SUPERIOR RATINGS ALL OVER AGAIN!

Top School

March 30th, 2011
7:55 pm

They will ALL stay in their positions until there is a clear plan to SHUT ALL OF THEM UP… Whatever they conjure up to sensationalize issues in the public eye (like test scores) it is designed to keep your eye off the real issues…misuse of public funds…manipulation of funding that benefits the NORTHSIDE…APS Schools and community.

After all they think they deserve it…they claim they are the TAX BASE OF ATLANTA…

Top School

March 30th, 2011
8:01 pm

And they deserve IT…even if they have to lie, cheat and steal to get IT…

This spells SUCCESS in their shallow material world.

And they smile right into the camera and accept the AWARDS having full knowledge they did nothing in the process to receive the award. The justification…They are entitled due to their circumstances. It’s the BUCKHEAD way.

Top School

March 30th, 2011
8:04 pm

Get Schooled @MAUREEN…
Would changing APS board members make any difference?


Want high test scores?…high property value?…

Top School

March 30th, 2011
8:36 pm

Disgusting and shameful…

Dr. John Trotter

March 30th, 2011
9:08 pm

This is another attempt (by Ashe of Buckhead) to take the matters out of the hands of the voters. The elite and effete don’t think that you can trust the voters. The first piece of legislation giving the governor the power to remove the board members is probably unconstitional. The Georgia Constitution sets up school boards. SACS is used to whip up hysteria in the communities so that the Big Mules of the Business Community can have their way. Atlanta has lots of money. If this were not the case, the Big Mules wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about APS. Neither would Mark Elgart and SACS.

[...] Read more from the original source: Would changing APS board members make any difference? | Get Schooled [...]


March 30th, 2011
9:16 pm

There are no real standards for school board performance. Imagine if there were a specific set of criteria, and school board members had to demonstrate periodically that they were meeting those stndards for performance as a school board member, with serious consequences if you fail. Elections fail as an accountability mechanism because political machines own the resources needed to win an election, and those machines impose criteria having nothing to do with good public service. All we have right now is a bunch of don’ts, and a pretty feeble bunch. Imagine if there was a real job attached to being on a school board. The posers and hacks would turn and run.

Tired of this City Going Downhill

March 30th, 2011
9:18 pm

Is anyone else tired of hearing Top School? He/she may actually make valid points but so many comments that nobody wants to take the time to read them all!

Anyone else want to actually make some valid NEW points?

Dr. John Trotter

March 30th, 2011
10:32 pm

@ Top School: Ignore the “Tired” naysayer. He just wants to keep hogging the blog himself. You keep pouring it on. I admire your tenacity!

Dr. John Trotter

March 30th, 2011
10:45 pm

@ Top School: My cousin Earl who lives with the Mrs. down in the used condo in Ft. Lauderdale called me tonight to say that Abe and Eli have started yet another “gamblelation” at the condo. The wager? How long that it takes someone using his or her real name to make a snide remark at me or Top School. Hey, guy, they have you in their new wager! I have noticed that these snide remarks toward you and me are always thrown from Mr. Anonymous. (In fact, in several years of blogging on different fora, I do not recall a single time that anyone has ever taken me on or criticized me even obliquely using his or her real name.) The current odds in this pool are 15 to one. You have to spend $15.00 just to earn just $1.00 that some person using his or her real, verifiable name will criticize John Trotter or Top School on this blog in the next 30 days. Please help us look for that person who has the temerity to use his or her real name. Wow. I am amazed and bemused at how cowardly most people are, especially bloggers.

Atlanta mom

March 30th, 2011
11:28 pm

@Tired of this City Going Downhill

You go girl/guy, I stopped reading Top School a long time ago.

Atlanta mom

March 30th, 2011
11:32 pm

Dr. Trotter,
You may have point, as you may use your own name–although I have heard you also post under other names. BUT, i haven’t heard Mr. Top School post under his name.

Kat T

March 30th, 2011
11:47 pm

@ Top School Buckhead is the “TAX BASE OF ATLANTA” in addition to a couple other wealthy areas. However, that does not mean all Atl students are not entitled to education.

I think the biggest problem is not necessarily the differences in tax brackets as much as it is the difference in values. There are parts of Atlanta that clearly values a future and education and there are parts of Atlanta that do not. That is why I think Tired of City Going Downhill has a point, along with a few others. Board members should be elected city wide, not by areas. And we really should have better guidelines for Board member qualifications.

And you can preach all you want but money talks. That does not make it right but unless we embrace communism, it is what it is.


March 31st, 2011
7:11 am

Roach, actually there ARE standards for school board members, and members are required to be educated in these prior to taking office, I believe. And, Mark Elgart to the contrary, they don’t HAVE to agree with each other and avoid split voting in decisions In fact, I think we should be VERY WORRIED when boards vote unanimously–someone has been co-opted, and someone isn’t thinking for themselves!

Dr. John Trotter

March 31st, 2011
7:23 am

Mark Elgart was co-opted, in my opinion, years ago. He apparently uses SACS as his bully pulpit on a pick-and-choose basis…not totally unlike picking what he wants to eat at Piccadilly. SACS is known for its capricious and arbitrary actions. And, ironically, Mark doesn’t appear to appreciate or like the democratic process which, by its very nature, is confrontational and contentious. Totalitarian societies, on the other hand, have a lot of false consensus. Everyone nods his or her head. In a viable democratic process, you don’t have a lot of “head-nodders” — to borrow a phrase from my 86 year old father. I can assure you that he has never been a head-nodder, and the bark doesn’t fall far from the tree.


March 31st, 2011
7:38 am

No doubt were the Gov a Democrat and Not Deal then all the democrats here on this thread would be rejoicing.

Intown APS parent

March 31st, 2011
9:05 am

I rather like Top School’s screeching screed against the Buckhead Betties. Just needs more meat, less screech.
Esp. after i got an earful from a Midtown Mommie about how the overcrowding at Inman and Grady, and the socio-economic balkanization at Grady, is going to be ignored b/c the Buckhead Betties wield way more power over APS – SRT-4 will get the attention and $$, and SRT-3 will flounder.

It’s always fun to watch The Nod Squad in action, esp. when they think yer too stoopid, or are sufficiently manipulatable, to follow the directions of their whisper campaign.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

March 31st, 2011
9:06 am

” The wager? How long that it takes someone using his or her real name to make a snide remark at me or Top School.”
I’ve criticized you both, under my name. I don’t find that either one of you add to the conversations here, but additional criticism of either of you would amount to adding to the same problem you create: a constant reiteration of one point.

Top School

March 31st, 2011
1:13 pm

Actually, my full name is on the website that I POST with every remark I make.

I’ve posted it several times…

You can ask anyone in APS or Buckhead …who I AM…They all know…

TOP School…sits right in Buckhead …Jackson Elementary…call Principal Reich and ask her who I AM…She discusses it openly with her faculty and parents at the school.
I post under TOP SCHOOL …for the very reason that the Top School in APS ain’t all that TOP.

If anything it shows what the unethical bottom looks like and what is really just below the bullsht in Buckhead. Most of the families in the neighborhood fall for the JACKSON SCHOOL antics…and use their uppity attitudes to snub the neighboring APS- NORTHSIDE SCHOOLS. If anything the teachers and parents of Jackson Elementary should be ashamed of the secrets they know.

Instead …if cornered… they run like the true cowards they are.

It is obvious that those of you that want to censor my comments have not taken the time to look into the website that covers the Northside corruption that was involved during my tenure with APS.

Honestly, I could careless if you read or listen to anything I POST. My comments are for those that know what is really going on in APS and GET IT. Those of you with your head in the Buckhead clouds don’t want to see your bubble head burst.

I taught in Buckhead for almost 15 years…tutored many of the children in PRIVATE SCHOOLS…ran an model AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM at JACKSON ELEMENTARY for the last 5 years of my employment.

I am not surprised/shocked at anything that offends those on this blog that would like to shut me up. I understand the politics of Buckhead…and proved the corruption the day I WALKED OUT out of the Federal Courthouse. I understood what I was doing the day I SIGNED the APS Grievance… I DID MY RESEARCH for 7+ years…and proved all that…most are trying to figure out and attempt to discuss in this blog…

Atlanta Public School…issues are posted in 2001 depositions at the website…
Proof recorded in documents all the way to FEDERAL COURT…retaliation, falsification of attendance and awards, misuse of public funds, and and and …and and and…and nothing matters… if you are on the right side of APS…and that would be the connected NORTHSIDE.

I have no interest in re-entering the Georgia Public or Private Schools. My certificate has expired and I AM FREE TO GIVE MY OPINION about my first hand experiences …Unlike most of you that post your name…

And most in Buckhead are not going to post their name for fear of the retaliation they will suffer for giving their comments.

If you don’t like what I have to say…skip it.
You are free to choose.


Top School---John Sam, Jr.

March 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

Unlike most…I challenged it as far as it would go…and proved it’s all in WHO YOU KNOW…

I’ve posted this information before…many have seen it…
and most of those complaining don’t want to see it again.

Federal Lawsuit Dismissed

Warren T. Jackson, PTA prides itself on knowing people in HIGH PLACES. It has been stated, “the parents in this neighborhood could run Washington, DC.” With the guidance of Warren Fortson, Jackson parents were proud to use their political pull to help in the narrow application of the law…

Mr. Sam was not fired.

Three Federal Court judges refused to look at the issues of APS retaliation, First Amendment and due process violations, fake investigations or for that matter dealing with the segregation issues with Northside, Atlanta Public Schools.

So what is the problem???

A true investigator needs to figure out where the possible criminal acts originate in the challenge of operating Atlanta Public Schools.

I believe the secrets are in the Northside of Atlanta.

2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11987,*;225 Fed. Appx. 840


No. 06-11580


225 Fed. Appx. 840; 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 11987

May 22, 2007, Decided

May 22, 2007, Filed




Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 03-03178-CV-JOF-1.
Sam v. Reich, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8238 (N.D. Ga., Feb. 9, 2006)



COUNSEL: For John Sam, Jr., Appellant: Holly Page Cole, Stack & Associates, P.C., ATLANTA, GA.

All About Learning After School, Inc., Appellant: Holly Page Cole, Kimberly Ann Sturm, Stack & Associates, P.C., ATLANTA, GA; Martin Arthur Shelton, Schulten, Ward & Turner, ATLANTA, GA; Richard E. Condit, PEER, WASHINGTON, DC.

For Lorraine B. Reich, Atlanta Independent School System, Appellees: Dorsey E. Hopson, II, Greenberg Trauig LLP, ATLANTA, GA.

JUDGES: Before PRYOR, KRAVITCH and ALARCON, * Circuit Judges.

Honorable Arthur L. Alarcon, United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, sitting by designation.



After careful consideration of the record and the written and oral arguments of the parties, we conclude that the district court properly dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims of First Amendment and Due Process violations and properly granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants as to the plaintiffs’ claims [*2] of breach of contract and tortious interference with contract. We affirm.


Top School---John Sam, Jr.

March 31st, 2011
1:22 pm

And how long does it take to reiterate the point …until you finally get it.
Do the research…I have …

Top School

March 31st, 2011
1:53 pm

@Atlanta Mom…Glad you exercised your right to read what you want to read!
YOU GO girl…