Readers: No racial component to doubts about DeKalb school chief

I have been getting an earful from readers unhappy with a column I wrote on DeKalb’s divisive search for a new school chief. (I also received some responses in agreement.)

Here is an excerpt of my column. Below are some critical responses shared with the writers’ permission:

Unfortunately, the debate over whether Atkinson is the right choice has assumed the racial overtones that mar most discussions about schools in DeKalb, a county whose rich diversity often becomes a point of strife rather than strength.

Atkinson is black. An earlier white female candidate —perceived to have the endorsement of many north DeKalb parents — withdrew in the midst of contract negotiations. A Texas candidate favored by some board members was Hispanic.

Many questions about Atkinson’s qualifications come from white parents and board members in north DeKalb, while her staunchest support seems to be with black parents and board members in the south.

The intense public focus on Atkinson stems, in part, from the risky belief that DeKalb’s new school chief represents the system’s last hope, that she swoops in as a savior to rescue the schools from lethargy and apathy. (That hope also reflects the despair with which many DeKalb residents view their school board.)

DeKalb would be better off if it accepted that no single person will end the apathy and lethargy in its schools. Rather than measuring her for a superhero cape, Atkinson ought to be assessed on her ability to set a higher tone and expectations, hire and inspire good people and impose and enforce accountability.

Turning around DeKalb County schools will take the collective commitment and effort of every principal, teacher and parent, and it will not happen overnight. At times, it will take the willingness of DeKalb parents of means and influence — whether on the north or south ends of the county — to recognize that giving their own child an edge is not always as important as giving all children a chance.

The divisions among DeKalb parents reflect income as much as race, said David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators.

“I see the dividing line of I-285 with Columbia, Towers and McNair high schools struggling on one side, and M.L. King, Southwest Dekalb, Arabia Mountain and Miller Grove high schools, which don’t have those same struggles, on the other side, ” he said.

What connects most of DeKalb’s middle-income parents, said Schutten, “is they don’t understand how much more exposure their kids have to daily learning in their homes compared to low-income kids and how much these kids need.  “People can come together across differences if they will sit down and listen to each other and not talk at each other.”

Here are the criticisms, starting with parent Calvin Sims:

“I am a black parent in south DeKalb, and I have raised concerns about Dr. Atkinson’s record, and so have other black parents. The Lorain, Ohio, school district where Dr. Atkinson has served four years as superintendent has had no marked improvement, according to the record. The district is now on Academic Watch, one level from Academic Emergency. The district met only 1 of 26 state indicators (writing), and the district also did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress. Thirteen hundred DeKalb Students requested transfer’s this year as a result of 22 schools failing to make AYP. Therefore, is there a rational basis for the DeKalb School Board selecting Dr. Atkinson as Superintendent? No.

DeKalb School Board members Nancy Jester and Donald E. McChesney were right to bring out the facts regarding the Lorain, Ohio, district. The public had the right to know, and we must know the facts to properly influence the political process in the interest of good education in a Democratic society. Honestly, if the DeKalb school board is genuinely concerned about significantly improving the quality of education for the children of DeKalb (and I believe they are), then they will act rationally and look further for an exceptional superintendent. Our children deserve nothing less.

And retired educator Maria C. Pico said:

I retired last year after 29 years as a high school and middle teacher with DeKalb and after reading your recent opinion piece wanted to chime in.  Let me also say that as well as raising children of my own during my career I taught at both south side failing schools and north schools which had the highest scores in the system so I come with a perspective few have.

For you to suggest that typos in a job application or doctoral dissertation are unimportant for someone assuming the top leadership position in a major metro school system is really absurd and then to imply that the whole thing is racially motivated makes me think perhaps you need to do a little field work to get a reality check. You should go to the DCSS website and sign up to substitute teach so that you too can experience much of the the sub par mediocrity in leadership I was forced to work with for the last two of my nearly three decades in that bureaucracy.

I applaud the parents and board members who are asking questions about the selection of Atkinson and her inability to lead.  There will be little change for the better in the DCSS until both elected and appointed leaders are selected on the basis of merit, service, outstanding work history, integrity and ethics.

And parent Cortlandt Minnich wrote:

You unfortunately took the bait on race in your “reporting” today.  I have heard this argument so many times it makes me nauseous. The typically DeKalb argument is, as usual, a side-show to hide the complete incompetence of the school system.  I can’t represent all the feelings of the “wealthy, white” segment of the county who oppose Dr. Atkinson; I can only share my own views.  I think that Dr. Atkinson is probably a fine administrator.  Her credentials appear quite good for a superintendent position of some scale. Her credentials do not however portray her as the best choice of any superintendent candidate in the country.  You are patently wrong;  DeKalb desperately needs a superhero right now.  Between the investigation and the interim status, we have been without clear leadership for at least three years.  It is clearly time for a reformer to come and re-make the system.  The majority of the school board is too dysfunctional and entrenched to recognize this fact.

As an example, while the APS interim was charged with seizing an opportunity to clean house, our insider-Interim was apparently charged with keeping DCSS on-track.  So, at the same time the recruiting criteria are understated, we are hiring what appears to be an average candidate.  To make it even more tragic (there is just no other word for it), the contract is generous enough to be nationally competitive and has a long term termination clause.

Please don’t contribute to this ridiculous notion that race has anything to do with the disappointment of a large segment of parents (who are not all white and are not all from the north side).  A portion of this segment of the parent population happens to be accurately represented by Ms. Jester, and Mr. McChesney.  Other portions of this dissatisfied group are poorly represented by their school board members.  Please put on your reporter shoes and visit Dunwoody High School, North Druid Hills, Chamblee Charter High School, and Tucker High.  You will not find the purported majority white, wealthy, North DeKalb student population stereotype that you have been so adeptly sold.  We are a mixed bag of parents who are fighting for our kids to have even an average chance of competing against other successful Georgia districts, the 47 other states with better public schools, private schools, and now students from other countries.  Why would we not demand to get a world-class leader?

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

56 comments Add your comment

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 25th, 2011
7:57 am


August 25th, 2011
8:31 am

The bottom line: Of ALL the qualified candidates for super from around the country, is this the BEST ya got Dekalb?

I don’t think so.

Dekalb lowers the bar ONCE AGAIN.

Did you see the Dekalb school board members run away from the TV cameras when they were quizzed about the new super?

I’d be embarrassed and ashamed too!

Write Your Board Members

August 25th, 2011
8:42 am

The parents who generally speak out are white and middle class or higher. They are often guilty of fighting for only their own schools. In this instance though, I do think they were simply trying to raise questions about how we ended up here — with someone who wasn’t strong enough to be hired by either Atlanta or Cleveland.

We could end up here because the vast majority of parents in DeKalb don’t pay attention and so when Dr. Walker portends that things are ok in DeKalb schools and not as bad as someone says, his constituents don’t challenge him.

In DeKalb, for far too many parents, it is ok if their school is ok. The majority of our board pretends that things aren’t terrible in DeKalb and the public apparently goes along.

Atkinson will be adequate. I suspect that all this negative publicity will push her to make necessary house cleaning changes that she might not have otherwise done. And that is what matters. No matter who comes — if the upper and mid level central office doesn’t see many changes, they DCSS is doomed to fail.

Write Your Board Members

August 25th, 2011
8:46 am

Also about Cox.

As a white N. DeKalb parent, I can tell you that many of my peers were befuddled by her selection. We would have raised the same questions about her as are being raised about Atkinson, but she dropped out almost immediately after the leak. The focus immediately shifted to the issue of the leak and we didn’t really discuss her qualifications.

Cox admitted that she played games to get her graduation rate increased, closing a regional alternative school in her district so that those students didn’t count against her system.

I am confused as to why she, who had very limited experience, was acceptable to McChesney and Jester and Atkinson is not. It reeks of a double standard.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
8:53 am

Atkinson will be adequate

Adequate will not be enough to address the problems in DCSS, especially when there are school board members who continue to try and make the parents in their district believe nothing is wrong with DCSS that a new Super cannot fix.

I hope that parents all across this county can finally come together and demand, participate, etc., to put this school system back on track.

Just Wondering

August 25th, 2011
8:57 am

Have people considered that she may be the best of the remaining bunch. The only candidate with credentials from a system of similar size was from Texas but he pulled out. It’s the toxic board, media and public atmosphere regarding DCSS that exists that has the type of super candidates you “want” staying away.

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 25th, 2011
9:04 am

“I’d be embarrassed and ashamed too!”

They would be but cant because they simply are too dumb.


So now we are striving for just adequate. Sound like some form of twisted Obama “word for the day.” Whats next? Mediocrity…


August 25th, 2011
9:21 am

Enough of this. This seems like a desperate move before the confirmation.

November 6, 2012

August 25th, 2011
9:22 am

@Maureen – to recognize that giving their own child an edge is not always as important as giving all children a chance.

Yeah, yeah Maureen, and do you really agree with this silly, idealistic notion? I think you want the best education for your children you can get for them, as all parents should. You and the AJC should quit trying to peddle this moronic trash and start writing some critical articles that actually help. Why do you think some choose to educate their kids in private schools as opposed to public ones? It’s certainly not because they have all this cash they don’t know what to do with. They’re trying to gain that “edge” that some don’t seem to feel is important……c’mon.

No more Dr Atkinson articles

August 25th, 2011
9:33 am

Why do we continue to post articles on this woman every other day. We have tons of school districts in Atlanta that have problems. This woman will run DCSS and quite frankly Im beginning to think someone has an agenda.


August 25th, 2011
9:40 am

My concern is that she isn’t even adequate. She’s never stayed anywhere long enough to really have a track record, let alone the track record of success as claimed by her board supporters. Lorain is a financial mess. Her previous district Kansas City was a financial disaster. It appears that even with this year’s uptick, Lorain’s scores are DOWN since she arrived. Her history fits the mold of people who are personable, charming and leave jobs before people realize they haven’t done anything.

Hopefully there’s more that board members got from talking to people in her previous districts. The numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the whole story. But the part they tell is not encouraging.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
9:41 am

@Write Your Board Members, you are correct…many, many parents in the north area were not pleased with the initial 3 candidates due to the simple reason of no experience in a system the size of DCSS. The idea that somehow we “embraced” Lillie Cox is fiction.


August 25th, 2011
9:50 am

@ Dunwoody Mom. Why aren’t those parents on here? You are the only consistent person on here. Shouldn’t we see hundreds of them on here?

Still looking for...?

August 25th, 2011
10:07 am

Dr. Atkinson is admittedly not anyone’s first choice for the superintendent position. If we assume that the board dilligently tried to bring in the best candidate available, then the question is can she do the job? Moreover, will she be allowed to do the job?

However, there are many on these blogs who believe that there is SOMEONE out there who is from a large(r) district, has a track record for success, AND is willing to come to DCSS for the salary that is being offered. Since it is also the belief that the BOE is incapable of finding this person, why don’t those who seem to know of the ideal candidate present that person to the board for consideration (just as Brad Bryant was suggested and apparently considered).

Yes, the assumption is that Dr. Atkinson is a done deal, but until the final vote is taken…


August 25th, 2011
10:11 am

The education of 100,000 school kids in DeKalb is important to all of Atlanta — the failure to educate these kids results in them not having a productive members of society.. we as taxpayers are spending a billion dollars of taxpayer money annually — federal, state and local money — don’t you get it? It is all of our problems that the Dekalb system is broken and very likely very corrupt. The former superintendent is under indictment, along with the COO and 2 others, one member of the school board is a committed felon and aonther doesn’t have a college degree and if you watch a school board meeting, another is not terribly coherent … these kids — 100,000 of them – deserve futures and our tax money is paying for them to have a future as productive members of society. The APS board hired an appropriate interim sueprintendent when their crisis become quite apparent. Why hasn’t Dekalb done the same? Why doens’t the AJC have a reporter (or 2 or 3) who will investigate the mess in DeKalb the way USA Today investigated what has taken place in Washington DC or what took place with the “cheating scandal”? This is why we are so frustrated as parents who have been involved in the system for over a decade and who have had kids come through a system that is very diverse — in schools with blacks, hispanics, whites, asians, Jews, Muslims, Christrians, and Hindus and at schools with kids from over 60 countries and speaking something like 70 different languages at home – that’s diverse — it’s not just black and white altough to the black community I have come to learn that you are either black or you are lumped into the white category — diversity means different things depending on what your background is. Some of the schools on the north side of the county are really “rainbows’ — truly representing kids from all over the globe and of all different backgrounds (in a few elementary schools the kids are from parts of the globe where they first have to be introduced to the conecpt of indoor plumbing..) … the southside — that’s really not the case.


August 25th, 2011
10:13 am

Also, I do believe that Dr. Duran may still be interested and available to take the position… so the statement that “Atkinson is the best we can do” is probably not accurate. I really do not believe the DCSS board of ed gave Dr. Duron a fair “look” becuase he is Latino. This bothers me tremendously –


August 25th, 2011
10:17 am

@Dunwoody Mom

I would like to know how big of a school system the candidate should have experience with to be considered “large enough”?

By enrollment in 2009 (or so) only 27 school districts in the US had more than 100,000 students (DeKalb being one of those).

There were only 59 districts that had between 50,000 and 100,000 students.

If we can only look at people who have been in charge of school districts with 100,000+ students there currently only 27 working and some unknown number retired. That’s a very small pool of applicants to consider (and most probably won’t change jobs).

I don’t mind saying that experience running the Lorain is not on the scale of DeKalb, but then how big of a system would be “big enough” that you would consider it reasonable?


August 25th, 2011
10:28 am

Keep one thing in mind: the contracts, for people and everything else, are already largely in place for this academic year. Whatever else we may say about Dr. A., if she gets the job she has her hands tied to a great extent for several months.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
10:36 am

@lyncoln, I would look for someone who has experience (not necessarily acting as a Super, but many years of experience in a high level school job) in a 50,000+ student district. While I am no fan of Alvin Wilbanks, Gwinnett County Schools, right next door is the largest school system in Georgia with a seemingly stable group of county administrators. Did the BOE look to see what they could offer.

My problem with Dr. Atkinson now is that we’ve been sold a bill of goods about her academic turnaround. If you look at the Lorain scores released yesterday and those in the year preceeding her arrival in Lorain, overall the scores are worse.


August 25th, 2011
10:37 am

Maureen, Dr. Atkinson is not my first choice either, but why do you keep jumping on Dekalb County School System? All you’re doing is inciting these bigots. What about Gwinnett County School System with its “Whites Only” Superintendent and other top administrative positions? I challenge you to write an article about the sexual molesters in Gwinnett County Schools. Nancy Jester & Donald McChesney are two slick, closet bigots in my opinion. I wouldn’t trust either one of them no farther than I can see them.


August 25th, 2011
11:01 am

The scores are not worse. @ Chillywilly I agree, which is why I said someone must have an agenda. Who writes this many articles on one person. This is dominating the AJC website to much. I have seen more articles in the last ten days about Dr Atkinson then I have seen about Atlanta public. What is really going on?

Atlanta Media Guy

August 25th, 2011
11:04 am

Ron, I come on here to express my dismay at DCSS and it’s current leadership all the time. I thank Dunwoody Mom for her thoughtful and spirited opinions. We have had several spirited debates on another blog. We agree most of the time and agree to disagree sometimes too. I’m glad there is a forum for all to express themselves, especially when it comes to how OUR tax dollars are spent.

I am involved, but I’ve decided to focus the majority of my time and efforts to the schools that my kids attend. My time is better spent there, than listening to the BOE struggles at the Palace meetings. I hope Dr. Atkinson knows what she is in for working for our entertaining BOE and attempting to put together a new set of professionals at the top, responsible for the future of OUR school system.


August 25th, 2011
11:04 am

Dunwoody mom you would rather have someone who never ran school district take charge of DCSS? No thanks!!

Dunwoody North

August 25th, 2011
11:09 am

Why are we attacking Dr Atkinson? She is not the problem. Our board picked her for this job. Im going to focus on my children and the schools that they attend and make them the best they can be. Using the forum as ATL Media has communicated is pointless.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
11:19 am

Yes, AMG, we’ve had some good and heated discussions over the years!!! That’s okay, it’s comes from our passion and desire to DCSS back on track.

Oh, and Ron, yes the overall scores of Lorain have decreased during Dr. Atkinson’s tenure. Data does not lie.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
11:20 am

Pointing out that someone is not qualified for the job is not an “attack”. Those of us who have an issue with Dr. Atkinson’s selection will probably the ones stepping up and supporting her the most.


August 25th, 2011
11:21 am

It will be all of our problems when the transfers continue into your schools and those all of them come out on the other side as high school drop outs (or enter college without the requisite preparedness skills) and without the abiity to earn a living — and on top of that — your tax dollars paid lots of money for them to get there and the tax money could have been spent wisely to put the kids in a place where they could be your physician, lawyer, carpenter, electrician or defending you in the army or they could be your politican in another 15 or 20 years — these kids are our future.

The Deal

August 25th, 2011
11:58 am

A written SACS directive was that the BOE hire someone innovative with significant experience in a large school system. I do not think SACS would issue a directive that they didn’t think the BOE could meet. Therefore, there must be candidates in the workforce that meet that condition because we all know Dr. Atkinson does not. I have not been pleased with ANY of the candidates with the possible exception of Duron, who did not get far enough into the process for us to see an application or a candidate file for further evaluation. But as far as the other candidates go, none of them met the large system criteria. DeKalb is not only huge, it is huge and completely messed up. Huge would be a challenge in and of itself. If that person is not out there right now, we needed to go with a strong interim who is empowered to make decisions and get us moving forward. The BOE is just trying to meet the SACS deadline with whoever will take the bait. I do not have any hope that things will change with Atkinson given the power of our board and the overwhelming number of “old guard” in the central office. It’s like a rat-infested house that needs to be burned down and rebuilt.


August 25th, 2011
12:10 pm

SACS has absolutely no credibility. What little credibility they had went right out of the window when they showed their a$$ during the APS cheating issues.


August 25th, 2011
1:06 pm

Let’s face it, like many things in Atlanta, the selection of the school superintendent for large Atlanta school districts involves a lot of racial overtones and politics. These are high profile jobs, and a lot of people, black and white, are paying attention and have opinions as to the type of candidate who should or shouldn’t get the job. And there are very different perspectives on this based in large part on race — the perspective of white northside parents in DeKalb and APS is often very different from that of black southside parents in DeKalb and APS. For example, the white northside parents perceive that APS and DeKalb have been run primarily by blacks for the last 10-20 years, and those districts have generally gone downhill and are in somewhat of a crisis mode at the moment — and they are probably right about this. The black southside parents know that APS and DeKalb are majority black, and so feel the superintendent should be black, and that there are qualified, comptetent black candidates out there for the job — and they are right about this.

I think most people in APS and DeKalb who truly care about the schools, both black and white, would say that it doesn’t matter if the superintendent is black or white, but the truth is that it probably does matter. I think most white northside parents would acknowledge that the super in these two district will probably be black, and that’s fine, but let’s at least act like we’re really looking for the best candidate, regardless of race. I think most white parents were uneasy with APS naming three black women as finalists for the APS job (before Errol Davis was named interim), especially on the heels of the Beverly Hall implosion. Couldn’t one of the three finalists have been white? Three black women were really the three best candidates out of all of the possible candidates in the country? I also think white DeKalb parents were uneasy when Lillie Cox’ candidacy in DeKalb was undermined by an improper leak to the press by probably a black school board member. Even if Cox was not fully qualified, white people have the impression that the press leak occurred because she was white. On the other hand, I think most white APS parents are fine with, or even pretty happy with, Errol Davis as superintendent — because he is perceived as competent, and up to the job. And I don’t think it’s because Davis is a former Sonny Perdue appointee — I think most white APS parents are Democrats. It’s because Davis appears to be competent and capable of doing the job. Unfortunately, I don’t think white DeKalb parents have the same impression of Cheryl Atkinson — she does not appear to be fully up to the job at hand in Dekalb, at least not the top job.

So yes, race matters in these jobs, but I think pretty much everyone agrees that a highly competent and exceptional candidate is required to meet the challenges that APS and DeKalb now face. Errol Davis appears to be up to the job, while many feel that Cheryl Atkinson is not.

Lorain Father

August 25th, 2011
1:11 pm

The racial issue is really not being “settled” here.

In my experience, race comes up primarily when an administrator (present or future) is
being criticized, or critiqued by the masses.

Race becomes an issue only when the criticized is African American and we constantly hear “if that person was White there wouldn’t be a problem”.

Atkinson’s performance has nothing at all to do with race. Her $210,000 annual salary has nothing to do with race. The fact that she ran this district into the ground only to be congratulated by “admirers” has us all mad.


August 25th, 2011
1:15 pm

@ Lorain Father. Thanks Jim Smith. We saw your article today.


August 25th, 2011
1:25 pm

I think that Errol Davis is the “black male Beverly Hall” in disquise. Beverly Hall’s Communication Person (Keith Bromery), CFO (Chuck Burbridge) and Chief of Staff (Sharon Pitts) are still employed by APS. Why? The selection of Errol Davis made us all feel good, but the honeymoon is over. He talks a good game, but what has he done lately or yet?

Lorain parent

August 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

Dr Atkinson was a great asset to our district. We have an 85% poverty rate in Lorain. Dekalb only has 65%. The Lorain community will never admit that the city is beyond poor. Lorain City Schools hasn’t had a new money levy passed in almost 20 years. This means the financial foundation has been broken for a long time. To move this district in to Continuous Improvement says a lot for this area. Look at Cleveland’s data and you will see just how bad this area is. Dekalb, you have a real winner on your hands. The enrollment for this year in Lorain is up and I wonder why? Good things are starting to happen here because of Dr Atkinsons ability to clean out the trash. If anybody can do this job Dr Atkinson can! Students first will be her message, you watch.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

@Lorain parent. To move this district in to Continuous Improvement says a lot for this area

The system was in “Continuous Improvement” the year before Dr. Atkinson arrived.

The enrollment for this year in Lorain is up and I wonder why?

The enrollment for Lorain was 8,897 the year before Dr. Atkinson came on board. The enrollment for 2010-2011 was 7,585. You were saying?????

not shocked

August 25th, 2011
1:57 pm

What exactly does “rich diversity” mean? When most parents do their homework and seek the best schools for their children, do you really think that “rich diversity” is something positive or a way to put lipstick on a pig that your district has an incredibly high poverty rate and a significant population that does not speak English….and also indicates that the teachers will be dealing with a much more significant issue of concern relating to classroom management??

Lorain parent

August 25th, 2011
2:50 pm

Dunwoody mom please pay attention honey!. The district was declining before she arrived. Lets use some common sense. We all know in Ohio charter schools are on the rise with this being a union state. Stop acting silly. I told you before the district was stripped when she received it. 270 teachers had to be called back and the administration had to be replaced. Your just being difficult. Im done dealing with you. Your the only one on here fussing because you didn’t get your way. Welcome to life parents of DCSS. Welcome to DCSS Dr Atkinson.

What are you saying

August 25th, 2011
3:24 pm

“I told you before the district was stripped when she received it”
She called the teachers back and performance declined?

Teacher Reader

August 25th, 2011
4:16 pm

As a DeKalb tax payer and parent, I really don’t care if the people of Lorain liked her or not. I don’t care!!! Residents of Lorain, have not a clue of the politics and state of our school district. I don’t want to hear your opinions. As a former teacher who has been judged on her test scores, so to shall Atkinson and any other superintendent-or at least they should. I look at Lorain’s test scores and other numbers and don’t like what I see. I want better for my child and the children of DeKalb. Our kids have waited for over a year for a leader to take the reigns of our district and make improvements, necessary improvements for the future of the county and our children. My dislike of Atkinson as a candidate has nothing to do with her being black, but everything to do with the numbers of her district. I don’t care that she has had several jobs over the time of her education career, I have as well, from following my husband who transferred jobs and because I often had jobs that were only a year which I knew when I signed my contract.

I do have a problem with someone who has had personal financial problems running a billion dollar budget school district. There is no mention of any company in her personal finances. For most jobs with this large of a budget, someone with this credit would not be chosen for a position like this because of her personal credit.

She has spelling errors and also listed a newspaper editor as a reference. We’re talking a job running a school district and she has a newspaper editor listed as a reference? Does this make sense to anyone?

I do not trust the board of education to make a reasonable decision for superintendent. Dr. Cox, who I also did not like, had her contract negotiations leaked to the public. Her credentials were very similar to Atkinson. Why is Atkinson, better than Cox? Why were Atkinson’s negotiations not leaked? Why are board members who let their constituents know their feeling on the Atkinson said to be racist because they do not think that she is the best candidate for the position?

As a former teacher in DCSS, race plays so much apart of everything that happens. I hope that black parents realize that their board members are selling them up the river. Many that are running important departments in the district have difficulty using the English language, and are in positions based on who they know and not what they know. Your children’s education is being effected negatively because of the people getting principalships based on the frat or sorority that they joined in college.

What are you saying

August 25th, 2011
4:33 pm

Why would a Lorain parent say “welcome to DCSS”? You might more naturally say goodbye and/or good luck. Welcome implies that you are receiving the person.

Politi Cal

August 25th, 2011
4:52 pm

Diversified we stand, united we fall? Is that the new American mantra? Insofar as racial politics is involved, there ain’t a place in Georgia that is immune to it. DeKalb County won’t hire a white superintendent, can’t be done. Why don’t we just get used to the fact that where whites predominate they will hire whites and where blacks predominate they will hire blacks, and some day (maybe in DeKalb or Gwinnett) when the Latinos predominate they will hire a Latino. Quit worrying about it; it’s just politics. Period.

Politi Cal

August 25th, 2011
4:54 pm

By the way, am I the only person who is a little concerned by “Teacher Reader’s” writing abiluty??? Man, what a mess.


August 25th, 2011
5:11 pm

It gets even more interesting. According to her contract, it will take a 3/4 majority of the board to terminate her contract. To quote Mike Jacobs: “That makes it difficult to fire a superintendent whose performance is lackluster or, worse, who is acting illegally. The contract should provide for termination upon a simple majority vote. Our school board is failing us on this one.”
The school board has a poor track record of picking superintendents. Our most recent superintendent, Crawford Lewis, was indicted. The superintendent before him, Johnny Brown, was a failure and released from the position. Why on earth would our school board want to make it more difficult to dismiss a superintendent who is failing our children?”

Lorain Father

August 25th, 2011
5:45 pm

Google this:

FY 2010 CUPP report

Make sure you open the FY 2010 report. Click on the open link.

Open it in Excel, and compare Lorain Ohio to other similar districts in the state.

Look at teacher average wages.
Look at number of administrators.
Look at the average pay of those administrators.
Look at the expenditures per pupil.

Look at your future in Dekalb County.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
6:39 pm

I read in another publication that Dr. Atkinson had not yet officially tendered her resignation in Lorain. Is that true?

Eye Roll

August 25th, 2011
6:48 pm

Something is fishy about “Lorain parent”.
Anyone else notice?

Polititi Cal likes to stir the pot!


August 25th, 2011
7:17 pm

I’d start looking into homeschooling if I had a school age child.

Lorain Mom

August 25th, 2011
7:19 pm

@ Dunwoody Mom: So far, any discussion pertaining to her employment status in Lorain has taken place in executive session, not in public. Given the fact that DeKalb could end up being her third strike, she would be wise to hold onto her resignation until her appointment in GA is indubitably confirmed. If she submits her resignation now and ends up needing to rescind it, I think the residents of Lorain will demand that the Board of Education uphold her resignation and let her go. It won’t benefit anyone to keep her in a position that she doesn’t want to be in anymore.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
8:57 pm

Dekalbite@chilly willy and Ron

August 25th, 2011
11:54 pm

“Maureen, Dr. Atkinson is not my first choice either, but why do you keep jumping on Dekalb County School System?”
“The scores are not worse. @ Chillywilly I agree, which is why I said someone must have an agenda.”

DCSS scores are the worse in metro Atlanta – even worse than APS. That’s why these articles are written. If our students were making adequate yearly progress, there would be no debate and no articles:

In particular, our Title 1 (low income schools) have unbelievably low scores:

You really don’t it. Student progress is the only reason the school system exists. If students don’t move forward, then the administration is the only entity at fault. They allocate the money, hire the teachers and tell them how to teach, and set the policies, procedures and practices for the school system.