DeKalb on probation: Official statements from both sides

Here is the official statement from SACS on DeKalb’s probation:

Here is the report.

The AdvancED Accreditation Commission voted to place the DeKalb County School District on Accredited Probation, effective immediately, after an investigative evaluation conducted on October 17-19 by an AdvancED Special Review Team found the DeKalb County School District in violation of the AdvancED Standards for Accreditation.

“Based on a comprehensive investigation by the Special Review Team, there is significant and irrefutable evidence that the DeKalb County School District is in a state of conflict and chaos,” stated Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO, AdvancED. “The system over the past decade has struggled with consistent and effective governance. This failure to govern effectively has resulted in a decline in student performance, financial mismanagement, and lack of integrity and ethics in recruiting, appointing and evaluating personnel at all levels of the school system,” said Elgart.

As result of findings by the Special Review Team and in accordance with AdvancED policies, the DeKalb County School District, including all of its schools, has been placed in the accreditation status of “Accredited Probation” until December 31, 2013. DeKalb County School District will have until May 31, 2013 to make progress in complying with the Special Review Team’s Required Actions and subsequently must complete those Required Actions by December 31, 2013.

The Required Actions are as follows:

1. Devise and implement a written, comprehensive plan for unifying the DeKalb County Board of Education so that the focus can become serving the needs of the children of the DeKalb County School District.

2. Ensure that all actions and decisions of the DeKalb County Board of Education are reflective of the collective Board and consistent with approved policies and procedures and all applicable laws, regulations and standards, rather than individual board members acting independently and undermining the authority of the Superintendent to lead and manage day-to-day operations.

3. Establish and implement policies and procedures that ensure segregation of duties of the governing board and that of the administration including the elimination of Board working committees that result in board members assuming administrative functions that should be the responsibility of appropriate staff.

4. Implement and adhere to fiscally responsible policies and practices that ensure the DeKalb County Board of Education will adopt and ensure proper implementation of budgets within the financial means of the school system and that support the delivery of an educational program that meets the needs of the students.

In addition, the DeKalb County School District also must complete the Required Actions outlined in the March 2012 Quality Assurance Review report as well as the Required Actions outlined in the January 2011 Special Review Team report and subsequently marked In Progress on the Accreditation Progress Report submitted by the school system in October 2011.

The DeKalb County School District will be expected to host a Monitoring Team visit by May 31, 2013 to assess the school system’s progress toward meeting the Required Actions. Then by December 31, 2013, the school system must complete the outlined Required Actions and host a second Monitoring Team visit.

As indicated in the Special Review Team report, the failure of the Board to effectively govern the system is having severe consequences on the system’s current and future operation. If this pattern of poor governance is not corrected immediately, thousands of DeKalb County students will be negatively impacted for years to come.

And here is the brief response statement from DeKalb Schools:

Today members of the DeKalb County Board of Education, along with the Superintendent and Senior Team, met with AdvancED and Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED.  During this meeting, Dr. Elgart reviewed the Special Review Team Report from the October 17-19 visit.  As a result, the District is now being placed on Accredited-Probation until December 31, 2013.

The District has received this information and will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions.  The District still remains fully accredited and students’ academic status remains unchanged.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

92 comments Add your comment

Pride and Joy

December 17th, 2012
2:37 pm

I don’t want any more plans. Dekalb county BOE has proven that it cannot and won’t manage honestly. They don’t deserve a third chance and wouldn’t use it wisely if they had one.
Governor, TAKE OVER THIS DISTRICT, Please! Run the BOE out of office and please get rid of them for good!

d

December 17th, 2012
2:40 pm

I have a problem with number 1. There is no problem whatsoever with a 5-4 vote on any issue as long as the 4 support the majority after the vote is taken and the board speaks as one.. We do not need 9-0 votes on everything, nor should we expect them.

Centrist

December 17th, 2012
2:40 pm

DeKalb County Board of Education: “The District has received this information and will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions.”

Putting out an immediate press release saying due to our failure to properly oversee the school system, we resign would be a good start.

Not a chance.

Dunwoody Mom

December 17th, 2012
2:49 pm

This Board is incapable of turning this ship around. They have had chance after chance with SACS (now, why SACS gave them so many opportunities is a question I have) and have been unwilling and unable to make the changes required. Unless the Governor steps in a replaces the board loss of accreditation for DeKalb Schools will follow.

d

December 17th, 2012
2:58 pm

My major question is why do the people with problems go running to SACS rather than working to fix the board through the electoral process. SACS isn’t nearly as involved in systems that are further away from its headquarters in Alpharetta – and I have no doubt that the problems we face in DeKalb are unique to DeKalb. It is time that the citizens of this county take control of their elected officials – and if they aren’t doing their jobs, vote them out. Or, if it gets as bad as we are right now, the threshold for a recall is only 15% of the people who voted in the last election.

Maureen Downey

December 17th, 2012
3:01 pm

Burroughston Broch

December 17th, 2012
3:02 pm

Dunwoody has been considering whether to establish a municipal school system. I suspect this idea will take off now. Perhaps other adjacent North DeKalb cities (Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Doraville) will do the same.
Just when you think DeKalb has hit bottom, you discover that it’s a false bottom and there’s a chasm beneath.

The Deal

December 17th, 2012
3:12 pm

d- when your school district is divided into mini-districts, and you can’t control who other parts of the county decide to support, you are stuck. We can churn and churn in the active districts, but it does nothing for the complacent parts of the county who are apparently happy with the status quo.

I don’t understand why people cannot understand this. As a Georgia citizen, I do not go to Colorado and tell them who to support for President. Same for DeKalb. I cannot go into another district and tell them who to vote for. That doesn’t go over well. Why is this concept so difficult to grasp? Pinning this on the voters is not a solution.

Obviously when a school district is so big that districts within are required, it is too big. The solution is to break it up.

The temporary solution until that can be done is to clean house and replace the entire board. The new board’s first act should then be to find a new superintendent.

Jim McMahan

December 17th, 2012
3:19 pm

Maureen,

Google docs is telling me it is unable to download the document.
Please correct and let us kow when the document is available.

Maureen Downey

December 17th, 2012
3:21 pm

@Jim, Try this. I just did and it worked and there have been 40 views in the last 15 minutes so it must be working. Try in Foxfire.
Also, sent it to your email. If anyone can’t get it to work, email me and I will send.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B4ni2jH9ge1SQTlweXZRallpZjA

D

December 17th, 2012
3:23 pm

1. write a statement that the Board is unified and focused on children.
2. Make sure Board decisions are legal and are what is allowed.
3. Make sure the Board doesn’t do the county’s work and vice-versa.
4. Implement and follow a budget.
Where is the bit about kids without textbooks and schools with no internet?

StnMtnMOM

December 17th, 2012
3:28 pm

Governor, remove the entire Board immediately!!!

DekParent

December 17th, 2012
3:37 pm

Fire the ENTIRE board immediately! It is apparent that they cannot perform the job responsibilities! They are proven to be useless! I will move from Dekalb if changes will not be made immediately. The superintendent can go too. I am not impressed with what she has done during the time she has been here.

big picture

December 17th, 2012
3:39 pm

Seems to me the District should have provided you with a copy, Jim. You shouldn’t need to retrieve it through Maureen. That’s what I’m thinking. Don’t you start in January???

Maureen Downey

December 17th, 2012
3:40 pm

@big. The paper got its copy from SACS, not the district.
Maureen

Ernest

December 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

I’ve briefly reviewed the report and have to say ‘Wow’ at this point. I see an indictment of ALL Board members along with several citations about the Board chair’s actions.

I also see a bigger problem regarding the culture of the community. Citizens perceive they can go to Board members regarding their personal requests. When Board members are able to fulfill them, this gives them additional power. The report mentions how the Coralwood bus routes were handled during the 10/1 Board meeting as one example. Have citizens inadvertently created the problems we have with our Board?

HS Public Teacher

December 17th, 2012
3:47 pm

I do not understand why the people of DeKalb County continue to vote for these folks on the Board that do not put students first. Some of these clowns are clearly there for their own gain (political or otherwise) and yet the voters continue to put them in office?

SACS cannot help the stupid voters….

Dunwoody Mom

December 17th, 2012
3:53 pm

I just did a quick look-over of the document – it’s vicious towards the BOE, especially Eugene Walker. However, there is nothing in this report that we, as parents, did not know, or had not heard about. What took SACS so long?

Dunwoody Mom

December 17th, 2012
3:56 pm

So, where did the $12 million for textbooks go if the textbooks were not actually purchased? Doe the DeKalb D.A. still believe this board can “police itself”?

d

December 17th, 2012
3:58 pm

@The Deal – nothing stops anyone from campaigning for a candidate regardless of where you live. Nothing stops you from partnering with someone in, say district 5, to start the petition and move from there.

Hamilton

December 17th, 2012
4:03 pm

DeKalb Parent

December 17th, 2012
4:09 pm

Finally, the sticky fingers and horrible missmagament of funds annexed to the DeKalb County BOE has finally raised the eyebrows of SACS. Thanks God… in the future this will be a trememdous help in educating our children. I’m so tired of our lackluster board. I haven’t been able to understand for years how no funds from the GA lottery are able to trickle down to our children. The lottery keeps bringing in funds but the classes have out dated books, no supplies and never ever any money for anything extracirricular. Why is this worse in DeKalb than in Cobb or Gwinnett or Fulton? Shut them down, revamp and then rebuild them with individuals that truly care about all of our children and just not the ones at a few schools where their children and family members attend.

Ernest

December 17th, 2012
4:10 pm

Dunwoody Mom, I don’t think the report is vicious but extremely factual. I believe I know the identity of several Board members referenced in the report, based on the incidents. There is no question that Eugene Walker does not look good at all from this report. This statement in the closing comments is one everyone should pay close attention to:

In interviews, board members repeatedly indicated the need to meet the demands of their constituents in order to get re-elected. The priority should not be the re-election of board members. The sole focus should be establishing and sustaining an effective governing body that ensures the educational success of all current and future students. Until such time as the board members begin to place the educational needs of all students in DeKalb County Schools before those of individual students, constituents and other stakeholders in “their” education districts, the system will continue to fail to meet its mission and vision to provide a quality education for all students.

I expect there will be a K12 Alert once it is posted on the school system website. I hope citizens take the time to read the report. I also hope citizens ask themselves if they are also part of the problem.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

December 17th, 2012
4:21 pm

IMO we should give the new Board members coming in January a chance to make positive changes before we lump them in with the current Board.

You knew this was coming, so let’s not get all hysterical and try to block those who campaigned on reforming the system.

bbb1467

December 17th, 2012
4:24 pm

Where are all the morons who have been on this and other blogs forever saying how they so much prefer the poublic schools to private ones and “traditional” public over charter? I hope you are happy when your precious Vanderlyn and Kittredge and Oak Grove and Austin kids can’t get Hope Scholarships after they graduate from whatever unaccredited Dekalb Co high school they graduate from.

Pardon My Blog

December 17th, 2012
4:28 pm

This confirms what many of us have been saying for 10 years. The slide started in DeKalb with the election of Vernon Jones to the CEO position, he really did a good shuck and jive there. Then the school board hired that Superintendent from Birmingham which was a disaster from the word go and it has gone downhill ever since. There has been so much corruption that all the parents and teachers could see but has largely been ignored.

The entire BoE should be removed and the State of Georgia should step in and put in place knowledgable and responsible people to review all audits and the qualifications of the superintendent and then work to right the ship. More importantly, statewide there should be stringent qualifications in order to run for a position on the Board in the first place and certainly no one with felony convictions should be able to qualify.

There is so much waste and misappropriations and this superintendent is a part of that. Why does she need a driver anyway?

D

December 17th, 2012
4:30 pm

Bill and Ted

“Although three new Board members will be joining the Board in January…”

“Additionally, the team verified through interviews that the new Board members are following in the current Board’s footsteps by acting individually and misinterpreting their roles and responsibilities already”

Really makes you wonder about the validity of this report.

the good doctor

December 17th, 2012
4:34 pm

ok… the citizens of Dekalb, now knowing this, will they vote the same people back into office?

Beverly Fraud

December 17th, 2012
4:36 pm

Ironically it was a 5-4 vote that finally signaled the beginning of the end for the regime at the helm of the largest cheating scandal in US educational history. It was a 5-4 vote to remove the board chair who, (according to the AJC, correct me if I’m wrong Maureen) actively conspired with Beverly Hall to cover up evidence of cheating.

When the cheating was rampant, widespread and known to the board (correct me if I’m wrong Maureen, the AJC documented gains that cried CHEATING as far back as 2001) this board had numerous 9-0 votes.

Does Markie Mark at SACS want school boards to resemble the North Korean govt.?

skipper

December 17th, 2012
4:38 pm

This is a cluster, and is largely unfixable. When you have incapable people from the get-go VOTED IN, yet you want improvement, what are you thinking? This is a free country, with free elections. However, to put the buffoons in that are presently there and expect decency is beyond belief! Look at eveything from demographics to democrats. Get back to me in ten years..it will not improve because the folks in charge are not CAPABLE! The sad part is, everybody knows it but the attitude now is “We got it; its ours!”
Good luck. No self-respecting individual (save a crusader) would move in and put a kid in this system (except for a few on the edge at the better schools)…..but they are “RACISTS” because they are tired of the cluster this nightmare has become! It ain’t racism just because lots of the board members are incompetant!

clem

December 17th, 2012
4:50 pm

surely there must be some decent, intelligent, honest folks in dekalb that can serve on board and select leadership that is competent and honest and willing to fight the corruption and/or incompetence that apparently abounds.

bbb1467

December 17th, 2012
4:52 pm

Those elcted to public office via direct election reflect the quality and competence of the electorate. Egypt elected an Islamic Radical dictator because that is what the majority of the ill-informed masses wanted. The majority of the ill-informed masses of Dekalb County elected the incompetents now on the school board. The worse the schools become, the more ignorant and ill-informed votoers there will be, so the result will be self-perpetuating. We will likely see the same thing on the national level as the level of ignorance and education of our voting population continues on the current path.

bbb1467

December 17th, 2012
4:58 pm

Put more simply, terrible school leadership results in terrible schools which put out a lot of ignorant students, who in their ignorance vote for the terrible school leaders. But hey, as long as we have pro athletes, actors, and pop stars to look up to, who needs smart people anyway?! Most of us seem content enough to have Hollywood, the networks, and ESPN basically dictate to us what we should think, so why do we even need education to learn to think for ourselves?

skipper

December 17th, 2012
4:59 pm

@Clem and bbb1467,
You both are so right…..and the sad truth is that it is so obvious! As the population gets “dumbed-down” the voters will do the same……see Dekalb School Board. If they were TRULY interested in improvement, they would require competancy before thay voted. But, as long as “we got it” thats what it is. Call it what you will, but as previously stated come back in ten years and see where this cluster is. It will be no better and much worse, unless somebody wises up and takes the thing away from the dummies that have it now!

Pardon My Blog

December 17th, 2012
5:26 pm

@bbb1467 – AMEN!

Call Me Missouri

December 17th, 2012
6:03 pm

@ Dunwoody Mom: The DeKalb DA has been advised to impanel a Grand Jury to investigate this board. If he does not do so after the release of this SACS report, then the citizens of DeKalb need to contact the State Attorney General and ask why is Mr. James not performing his duties and stating that this board can “police itself.”

Pride and Joy

December 17th, 2012
6:05 pm

Here is the problem with voters. The voters in Dekalb are split between the North and South Dekalb voters. Blacks are in South dekalb and whites are in North Dekalb.
The blacks and the whites want different things. Blacks want the schools to provide tablets and electronic gadgets to the students and whites don’t. Whites want classrooms divided into ability levels and blacks don’t. There are a few exceptions but generaly that’s the way it is.
And when you have opinions that differ so greatly, you will never get a consensus. It’s better to divide Dekalb into smaller districts, at least two or three, then all voters generally get what they want.
Putting North and South Dekalb together into one school district will never work. The cultures vary too much.

Pride and Joy

December 17th, 2012
6:08 pm

Clem you said that “surely there must be some decent, intelligent, honest folks in dekalb that can serve on board and select leadership that is competent and honest and willing to fight the corruption and/or incompetence that apparently abounds.”
You’re right but they aren’t in the majority race. When an honest, white person runs for the board the are often not voted for because they are white.
It’s the majority-tyranny rules in Dekalb.
This is why we consistently see the friends and family jobs program in Dekalb county. Blacks hire their friends and family.

RCB

December 17th, 2012
6:42 pm

The value of my home probably just dropped 20% today. There has been total incompetence for at least 30 years, not just 10.

Dunwoody Mom

December 17th, 2012
6:45 pm

@Ernest, ok then, viciously factual.

bu2

December 17th, 2012
6:46 pm

Lots of disturbing things. Where did the $12 million for textbooks go? There should be 9 board members and a superintendent finding out the answer to that-today.

But there are some I totally disagree with. I want board members to be in schools, not just during dog and pony shows. If you are never in schools, you wouldn’t know they don’t have textbooks. But such a visit should be a “listening” visit, not a “telling” visit. They complain about the board not having a procedure for not reviewing legal bills and then saying the board shouldn’t get into administrative actions. That is an administrative procedure if ever there was one. That is a failure of the superintendent. Given the failure of the district to follow budgets and the fraud from Lewis, the board should insist on reports being produced. I also want the board to have input on school closings and alignments, not just a nameless faceless bureaucracy that can be manipulated behind the scenes. Now that input should be in public meetings.

Burroughston Broch

December 17th, 2012
6:50 pm

Maureen, the link to the document isn’t working; I tried both IE and Firefox. Please advise.

bu2

December 17th, 2012
6:54 pm

It says the document is unavailable, but if you go ahead and hit file download, it works, even though it claims it will not.

clem

December 17th, 2012
6:56 pm

for dekalb to be uttered in same breath as clayton county should send shivers down the spine of whites and blacks who live in that county. south dekalb has already lost so much home value that it has not much further to go to reach clayton status.

redweather

December 17th, 2012
7:01 pm

Here are some the findings in the Report that jumped out at me during a quick read. This may take a couple of posts.

“The system has policies and procedures that determine school assignments for the students of DeKalb County. The ability of the staff to adhere to the assignment policies is important for the effective operation of the system. Despite well-established policies, board members routinely supersede these policies and demand that staff make special school assignments for students based upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, meeting the athletic demands of schools within their election districts” (4).

“Evidence supported a finding that board members intimidate staff and attempt to direct the activities of staff members. There is a general feeling that many of the board members feel that principals within their respective voting districts are “their” principals, and they treat them as such. In addition to the previously cited example, one instance includes an employee leaving work crying and distraught after an explosive interaction with a board member” (7).

redweather

December 17th, 2012
7:02 pm

“Evidence supported a finding that board members intimidate staff and attempt to direct the activities of staff members. There is a general feeling that many of the board members feel that principals within their respective voting districts are “their” principals, and they treat them as such. In addition to the previously cited example, one instance includes an employee leaving work crying and distraught after an explosive interaction with a board member” (7).

“Interviews revealed that there have been instances where promotions have been given to individuals who are highly favored by a board member and not on the basis of merit or qualification. Instances have been cited where Human Resource policies and procedures, including salaries, have been implemented in an inconsistent manner leading to distrust and suspicion across the school system” (7).

redweather

December 17th, 2012
7:05 pm

“Interviews revealed that there have been instances where promotions have been given to individuals who are highly favored by a board member and not on the basis of merit or qualification.
Instances have been cited where Human Resource policies and procedures, including salaries, have been implemented in an inconsistent manner leading to distrust and suspicion across the school system” (7).

“Based on evidence from numerous interviews, several board members continue to make harassing calls and visits to schools. There was frequent mention of board members who make special requests of district office staff, bus drivers and teachers, making threats to fire them if they do not comply with their individual requests. It was reported that individual board members have made requests to place people in certain positions, hire who they insist should be hired or provide allowances for certain parents. These interviewees used terms like fear, harassment, and intimidation to describe the behaviors of board members. In one interview, the individual stated that one board member threatened a teacher with getting him/her fired, quoting the board member as saying, ‘You don’t know who I am.’ Those interviewed consistently expressed that board members have created a level of animosity, and that both teachers and principals operate in fear” (7).

redweather

December 17th, 2012
7:06 pm

“The sheer volume of demands and requests coming from the board members outside of the Board structure adversely affects the District’s ability to operate effectively and causes an incredible waste of staff time and resources that should be dedicated to improving student performance and not meeting the whims and private agendas of the individual board members” (10).

“Current policies, processes and practices do not clearly demonstrate how the system hires qualified support staff. The system’s failure to adhere to current policies, processes and practices in the hiring of some employees by not performing a thorough background check does not support the system’s purpose and direction for providing services in all schools and educational programs. For example, a new hire had multiple indictments, including abuse of special needs adults, identity fraud, aggravated assault, and exploitation of the elderly (March 2012, Grand Jury Report) (13).

Fred in DeKalb

December 17th, 2012
7:06 pm

Pride and Joy, surely you don’t think friends and family began with blacks? Or is that just the new age term for good ole boy network that whites have made famous? When good ole boys hired friends and family members, was that bad or were they simply good at covering up the misfits?

If you were a friend or family member and qualified for a job where I worked, wouldn’t you want me to put in a good word for you? Friends and family is bad when incompetent and unqualified people get jobs over more qualified individuals. If you can provide clear and indisputable evidence of incompetent and unqualified people hired simply because of their connections, you’ve got a clear case.

The good ole boys have been doing this for a lifetime and still continue to do so. Check almost any small town in south GA and you will see what I mean.

bu2

December 17th, 2012
7:07 pm

The redistricting of the school board was a perfect example of them failing to work together. They never had a public meeting like is typical. Instead, some group (who never took credit for it) created the ridiculous plan that disenfranchised all but South Dekalb. Then Jester/Speaks/McChesney produced a plan (at least they acknowledged authorship) that disenfranchised other areas. The two groups didn’t work together. And Jester failed to comprehend why the legislators complained about that. She seemed to think because a subgroup produced a plan, that the board met its responsibilities. There wasn’t even an effort to work together before the deadline and no transparency during any part of the process.

Flabberghastedforsure

December 17th, 2012
7:07 pm

Disappointed that SACS did not address issues of the administration’s failings: failure to cut the central office positions as was voted on by the BOE in the budget; failure of the superintendent to offer to take a pay cut in solidarity with staff; failure to focus on student achievement first instead of a new car for the superintendent or the rushed attempt last spring to implement a balanced calendar and then spending even more time to bring it forward again in the fall stating it is necessary to prevent summer brain drain but ignoring the 9 month brain drain of block schedules; failure to carry out reductions in force within state guidelines; failure to support the needs of the students/families by providing interpreters for the marginalized, and the list goes on. Yes, there are problems with the BOE but it clearly doesn’t end there – there is plenty of dysfunction within the central office.

redweather

December 17th, 2012
7:08 pm

Sandy Springs Parent

December 17th, 2012
7:26 pm

So where is GHSA going to do about the illegal athelete transfers. They need to come in right now and take away the wins and titles from the schools that the board members have manipulated the attendance of the Student Athletes.

But then GHSA, seems to let things fly for Black students over the white students whose parents who actually own the houses in any school district. A cheerleading selection commitee tried to pull this BS on my daughter. Except I pointed out the GHSA rules only allowed 2 freshman on a Varsity team when you have a JV team. Otherwise, the team has to be selected from upperclassman. You can’t have half the team imported from the southside of town, give them a special tryout. Then give them special rules, for example, not getting kicked of the team for multiple ISS’s. How did I know the 2 freshman rule, my child was one of the 2 freshman that made a Varsity Comp. team freshman year.

GHSA better do something or their will be no respect for them as an organization, since SAC’s has spelled this out.

Tired

December 17th, 2012
7:34 pm

That’s not an outcomes-based list. “Develop a budget” is something they already do. “Develop a budget with at least 10% in new funding and 25% reduction in administrative costs” is closer to an outcomes-based task.

In other words, “accomplishing” the items on the list can be done without changing a single thing about how the board dis-functions.

So Sad...

December 17th, 2012
7:54 pm

@ Flabberghastedforsure …

Many of the items listed in that SACS report are the result of an inept and dysfunctional superintendent and administration. The cutting of 200 paraprofessionals? Solely Cheryl Atkinson’s idea, forget the fact that people tried to tell her that most of those parapros were in special ed. She didn’t care because she was behind the 8-ball with the budget (having started it in April when most districts begin the previous fall or early in January) and was making insane cuts without any analysis of the repercussions…just look at the slashing of the interpreters!! The lawsuits stemming from both of those decisions are only beginning.

The problem with the budget is it is the SUPERINTENDENT’S budget. She brings it forward to the board. They kinda believe that their only employee will be bringing forward a plan that is not insane and will not harm children. Guess they were wrong.

The double-edged sword comes into play here. The board is not allowed to create the budget (according to SACS), but if the superintendent brings something forward that is completely illogical (such as cutting 200, mostly special ed, paraprofessionals and cutting interpreters that keep us in compliance with federal laws), when they question her are they interfering in day-to-day operations???

Now they can’t have a budget committee to review the insanity that Atkinson is bringing forward, so they are forced to approve what she throws in front of them at the LAST minute…literally. DCSD almost didn’t have a budget going into FY2013. She intentionally kept things back and brought them to the board at the 11th hour. If the board didn’t act, they would have been accused of keeping the district from having a budget. This is just like her, adding agenda items at the last minute or throwing extra things onto existing items after the board packets have been delivered. When the board questions them, the response is “we have to pass this now or the following chaos will occur….”. It is her modus operandi. For the board and the public not to know by now is sad. Now SACS says the board can’t even ask because it is meddling. How is she supposed to be kept in check? Just look at her actions with the redistricting. She actually thought she could push it through in three weeks. This is the ONE time the board did stand up to her and wait to act. They normally just vote yes and deal with the fallout (which is why SACS is here).

In addition to destroying this district in a little over a year (which is a year speedier than she did it in Lorain), she’s now going to run unchecked…because the board will be to afraid to take action. Maybe the DA or the GaDOE can help us out of this. I pray that someone can because it’s not over yet.

Private Citizen

December 17th, 2012
8:19 pm

The standard reads: “The governing body ensures that the leadership at all levels has the autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations effectively.”

It would be nice if there was a governance standard somewhere that read: “The governing body ensures that teachers have the autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations effectively.”
________________

The report reads like there are hundreds and hundreds of infractions. Would it not make more sense to sort write traffic tickets for individual incidents? Part of the report that is awkward is that it is voiced where there is no individual accountablilty for either individual persons or individual actions. It would be nice if I could buy a race care and drive as fast as I want and then the 100th time I get documented with radar going double the speed limit, then my fraternity get censured. It seems really loose on the governance side. It’s like Georgia has the loosest governance anywhere for the “leaders” meanwhile if I go out and get a coffee at night, there’s only two cars on the road, me and the police officer who is tailgating me, pacing me, and running my plates because regular individuals gets hyper-controlled in the nanny state, but the “leaders” are on the loose like tigers feeding in the wild.

Private Citizen

December 17th, 2012
8:24 pm

In other words, “leaders” are guaranteed autonomy, but there is no such address for teachers.

Pride and Joy

December 17th, 2012
8:54 pm

bu2, Jester and other cannot work together. North and South Dekalb should be separated or further broken into four districts to eliminate all the fighting.
Let each high school and its feeder schools become one district.
The reason South Dekalb doesn’t want to do that is because it feels entitled to the money from North Dekalb citizens.
The GA constitution needs to be changed to allow many more districts. It is ridiculous that as the population keeps growing we still have to have it all under one group of “leaders” in a BOE.
We need many, small districts so that people who think alike can produce a school system that meets its needs.

Anonmom

December 17th, 2012
9:02 pm

some of the real issues that aren’t really here (although I’m elated that finally some shoe has dropped) — you can’t have 9-0 decisions in a district as large and as diverse (and I’m talking race here — I”m talking academically diverse, diverse in terms of “family” structure, in terms of types of student, where students are, what parents want, etc — there is nothing homogeneous about DCSS) — you cannot run a system like DCSS with 100% agreement and there is no way that should even be a goal– the goal should be a board that is able to discuss conflicting opinions about things and reach consensus that best fills the needs of the consistituents with the constutents being the children in the system and the taxpayers and not the adults running the show or employed by the show — this is not how it is done. Next, there is nothing about SACS that even begins to look at outcomes — are the constitutents being served — do the kids actually receive an education? Are the dollars being spent how they are supposed to be being spent, for their stated purposes, for the benefit of the children enrolled in the system…. Do the kids actually learn? None of this is part of being accredited. So, what, exactly, is accredidation worth? DCSS has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money a year to belong to SACS for this accredidation and to get advice on how to retain said accredidation…. (sorry for typos.. going fast).

Flabberghastedforsure

December 17th, 2012
9:20 pm

@ so sad – that is my very point – the BOE is often at the mercy of the administration. If they assume the administration is giving them accurate thorough facts on which they can base their votes, that would be great. In the past, BOE members assumed that was what they were getting and didn’t ask questions. Stakeholders could see it but BOE members didnt. When it finally became obvious over the past 5-10 years that the administration does not provide accurate, thorough data for the BOE members to use to make informed votes (which is what they are charged with doing if they are acting in the best interests of the students of DCSD – just like we as citizens are expected to do when we go to the polls) some BOE members began asking questions. Now they are the ones SACS has fingered- not the administration who has botched budgets, failed to include interest payments, conveniently omitted information that wasn’t favorable, provided woefully inadequate HR reports and finance reports, etc. This BOE gave her everything she asked for for the 1st year for fear SACS would say they weren’t supporting her. Yet she and her staff have continued to fail the students. How is the BOE supposed to govern her – they only have the ability to vote her requests up or down. And to expect unanimous votes is ridiculous on the part of SACS.

Livsey Parent

December 17th, 2012
10:20 pm

In five short years, Livsey Elementary transitioned from a Blue Ribbon neighborhood school to a Title 1 struggling school. When the BOE tried to shutter Livsey the first time, parents were able to halt the process by staging a successsful community protest. However, the BOE showed us and redrew the the attendance lines. We are now dealing with issues once foreign to our high-achieving, close-knit student body- stealing, fighting, and a general disregard for learning. With the latest news that Livsey is once again on the chopping block and DCSS is now in probation, the only choice we have is to move – before our property values plunge!

This BOE and superintendent are all incompetent fools. The sad thing is that if elections were held tomorrow, these fools would be voted back in by their constituency who are giddy about receiving their free laptops and their enrollment at football dynasty schools (Tucker HS which dress out “80″ players for an away game while our kids can’t even have their own textbook).

Dr. John Trotter

December 17th, 2012
10:24 pm

We all know that the DeKalb County Board of Education is meddlesome in the affairs of the administration at the local schools and at the central office level. We all know that the school system is essentially dysfunctional and “gangsta,” as we MACE picketers pointed out with our signs on the picket lines in front of the central office on many occasions. We all know that systematic cheating was taking place, very raw and very egregiously. Again, it was only MACE which pointed this out with picket signs, in letters, and on our website, as we did with the “gangsta” nature of the school system.

The DeKalb School System’s Office of Internal Resolution (OIR) tried to routinely dismiss teacher grievances when the evidence was too daunting against the administration and the system. The difference with MACE than other Georgia teachers unions is that MACE would not lie down and let this happen uneventfully. We would raise h-ll about it. In fact, when the now-disgraced and indicted Crawford Lewis apparently had his attorney, Josie Alexander, send me a letter telling me that I was “banned” from the school system, we scoffed at their amateurish notion of the First Amendment and kept kicking DeKalb’s a$s. (Oh, by the way, I am officially “unbanned” now. Ha!) We knew what was going on, but other institutions (like this newspaper) didn’t give much attention to the abject condition of the school system. We kept pouring it on, just like we did in Atlanta when all others, as Beverly Fraud points out, were singing Beverly Hall’s praises.

I am glad that others are now seeing the mess in the DeKalb School System. Do I think that a lot will come about as a result of SACS’s Report on the DeKalb School Board and School System (and I haven’t read it yet)? No. Just window washing. The school board will probably have to pay much more money to education attorney Glenn Brock and his firm of Brock and Clay of Marietta to probably recycle the pitifully written policy manual that he wrote for the Clayton County Board and give it to the DeKalb County Board. Glenn, who apparently has a professionally cozy relationship with Mark Elgart of SACS, will give his “sage” advice about how to get back into the good graces of Mark, and, of course, this will cost the DeKalb taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars. The law firm of Brock and Clay will make out like legal bandits, metaphorically speaking. I think that I will do an open records request for the detailed hourly billing of the Brock and Clay Law Firm with the school systems of Clayton County, Atlanta City, and DeKalb County relative to their “troubles” with SACS. Now since Glenn Brock’s firm receives state monies, I can also do Open Records requests upon the firm itself. Ha! This ought to be fun. Do you reckon that the firm will follow the law? I hope so.

Folks, this accreditation game is just that…a game. The State of Georgia, under the elected State Superintendent John Barge, could set up a Georgia School Accrediting Agency (GSAA) which would be far more fair-minded and even-keel than the hypocritical SACS. SACS does not apply its so-called Standards evenly; they are applied capriciously and arbitrarily. I have written dozens of articles on the foolishness of SACS. Why wasn’t the Cobb County Board put on probation when it even admitted to 57 illegal board meetings? This same law firm of Brock and Clay was the legal advisors for this school system. Why do people consider this firm an expert on school law? Was it that far off the mark in Cobb County or did it just go along with the school board’s apparent desire to conduct secret and illegal meetings? What about the Gwinnett County School System when its current superintendent, Alvin Wilbanks, apparently admitted to failing to report over 40,000 (I believe that this was the number) serious disciplinary offences, as required by law? He basically received a metaphorical slap on the wrist by the Professional Standards Commission, I believe, but I don’t think that Mark Elgart and SACS did a thing to the Gwinnett County School System.

Didn’t Dr. King state that an unjust law is not really a law, or words to this effect? What about unfair and unevenly applied standards? Are they really “standards” if they are only applied to a select number of school systems…the ones without sufficient political clout? I think that you understand where I am coming from. Fifty-seven (57) illegal school board meetings in Cobb County but the Governor removes a school board, Miller County, in South Georgia because they don’t get along? Good grief? Do Republicans and Democrats ever get along in the U. S. Congress? Do some Justices on the U. S. Supreme Court ever get along?

What is this get-along stuff? Is this an attempt by the unelected and unaccounted-for connected scions of Georgia to control certain school boards and their money purses via an unelected, unaccounted-for, and private, money-grabbing organization called the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)? The Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) has been around much longer than SACS and also accredits schools in Georgia. I think that GAC has been around since 1905 or earlier, and I certainly trust the fair and even-handedness of its Executive Director, Dr. Carvin L. Brown, more than I do Mark Elgart’s. I don’t think that Dr. Brown is making over $400,000.00 in salary and benefits like Mr. Elgart apparently is…and off of taxpayers’ monies.

Why are school boards and school systems worshipping at the altar of SACS? Heck, jettison SACS…like the good people of North Carolina are talking about doing. Mark Elgart is like the Wizard of Oz. Mark Elgart is just hiding behind this SACS machine, rather professionally heartless and soulless, in mind. What he did to Clayton County is unconscionable, pure and simple. His “cure” is very much worse than any ailment. He and SACS destroyed a community, and I suppose that he and SACS expect a thank you, heh? “Oh, thanks, Mr. Elgart! Our properties have plummeted in value. Businesses have shut their doors and others refuse to venture in. People hold their heads down when they have to tell someone where they reside. The folks in Alpharetta where you live, Mr. Elgart, can’t even utter the name of our county without spitting and choking. Our model students with their families have fled our community, and the academics and comportment within the school system has plunged even to lower depths than Clayton County has even seen or experienced, but, I suppose that we are to thank you for this, Mr. Elgart. So, thank you for destroying our community. Have fun chit-chatting in Public Deli section with your fellow Alpharetta parents who thankfully gloat about living in such pristine and pure communities like North Fulton.”
Yes, the DeKalb County Board of Education and School System have many problems, but they haven’t seen anything yet. Mark Elgart’s “cure” is bad, very bad. You can probably kill cancer cells by drinking a gallon of Clorox, but I pity the person after imbibing in the “cure.” SACS is a cruel joke. © GTSO, December 17, 2012.

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Dekalbite

December 17th, 2012
11:12 pm

You can email Governor Nathan Deal your thoughts regarding his appointing a new Board of Education for DeKalb County Schools by clicking on the link below. He now has the power to do this since SACS has put the school system on probation:
http://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form

JD

December 18th, 2012
2:46 am

The exodus of teachers begins. Many good school teachers of Dekalb County are now talking about leaving this county in droves where they can get an average raise of 5-7k per annum without nearly as much hassle. Not only have the teachers not gotten financially compensated over the last 7 years, Dekalb County has also screwed with their retirement compensation as well. From what I understand, leaving this poorly managed school system was the talk of the day among many Dekalb teachers.

Fred in DeKalb

December 18th, 2012
5:24 am

I think my comment was caught in the filter. Could it be released?

Dunwoody Mom

December 18th, 2012
7:03 am

The following are comments from Fran Millar that were posted on his Facebook page:

I with other members of the DeKalb delegation will be meeting with Governor’s office on this matter after the holidays. I need to review the entire report since ONLY the media was invited to the press conference

Further to the suspension below, the State Board is required to to conduct a hearing in not less than10 days nor more than 30 days and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local board. I will monitor the State Board to make sure the law is followed.

skipper

December 18th, 2012
8:33 am

Like it or not, the “flight” will continue….and unfortunately even the learned among us cloak it in political correctness when in fact it “is what it is”…..nobody in their right mind wants their kid in one of these warehouses.

Beverly Fraud

December 18th, 2012
9:17 am

You know you’re a charter member of The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence when you make SACS look good.

Sandy Springs parent

December 18th, 2012
10:54 am

The only solution is to change the constitution to allow an unlimited number of school districts. The counties in the Metro area are too large, some of the cities are as well. Real local control are districts no larger than one or two high schools large with their feeder schools. Two of these small schools then share a real votech school that meets the needs of the employers in the community and train non traditional 4 year college bound students with job skills that pay a living wage ( at least double minimum wage ) when they graduate. Georgia’s biggest flaws are these huge districts and only one graduation tract. We need to look at the German model for multiple graduation tracts, they have 3. Several Northern and Midwestern school districts have multiple tracts like the German system as well, these systems happen to be in areas full of second and third generation Germans.

We need a two high school Sandy Springs District. A one high school Dunwoody District, a Chamblee district, a Brookhaven district, Smyrna District, Mapleton District, East Cobb District, etc..

Supt. pay in this size District is $150k. You don’t have the endless layers between the Principals and the teachers. You have much lower transportation costs, you aren’t running busses 50-100 miles from one end of a county to another. People don’t have to live in fear of being redistricted out of the school they bought into. My parents still live in the school district with the high school that was built the year I was born 1960. They never had to worry about any redistricting, since the district only has one award winning high school. The school board is elected and unpaid, except per diems for meeting. Their are no huge pay off contracts to steal $12M off of.

bu2

December 18th, 2012
11:14 am

Well Dekalb could use the $100 million they pay to “poor” counties like Gwinnet. Splitting districts just creates bigger equity problems in finances. You can’t get rid of the inequity without the state virtually funding everything. And then you have districts spending other people’s money so there’s no accountability. Dekalb has 5 areas. They need to make sure the responsible adminstrators have plenty of authority rather than having everything go through their boss, the superintendent.

Betsy Parks

December 18th, 2012
11:38 am

This was such an avoidable mess for the students and taxpayers of Dekalb County. We need to make it right even though it is going to hurt. Dekalb Athletic Director needs to turn the teams into Georgia High School Association and forfeit games when an ineligible player was allowed to play for a school outside his school assignment.

“Despite well-established policies, board members routinely supersede these policies and demand that staff make special school assignments for students based upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, meeting the athletic demands of schools within their election districts.” SACS

Beverly Fraud

December 18th, 2012
11:41 am

Ask yourself this:

If every teacher were “competent” would schools still be having these problems? I think the honest answer is yes.

Now if every parent were competent would we still be having these problems? I think the honest answer is no…it’s just more politically expedient to “fix the teacher” than fix the parent.

Given that, it is kind of hard to blame parents who actually parent from wanting to have smaller school systems that reflect their values is it not?

What if (as many have advocated) the money followed the child? I really don’t think that most well to do parents would have a problem with their child having a classmate (or several) from “the wrong side of the tracks” if that child came to school to learn. For that child of meager income, why should they be stuck in a cesspool like DCSS?

Pride and Joy

December 18th, 2012
11:59 am

Fred in Dekalb, the people working in DCSS are OBVIOUSLY incompetent and crooked.
I don’t need ANYONE to “put a good word for me.”
I have always been employed by the strength of my education and experience. I get my clients literally on my own. I get no help from no one.
Your “put in a good word for me” mentality is simply entitlement.
No, I don’t want ANYONE to be hired because someone put in a good word for someone. People should be hired based ONLY on their abilities, their education and their ETHICS!
It is so sad you have that entitlement attitude. You are part of the problem.

Pride and Joy

December 18th, 2012
12:02 pm

I don;t want ANY athletic teams in high school. Physical education should be running, jumping jacks, calisthenics, to keep students fit. It also needs to include nutrition and health information such as determining how many calories one needs to eat and which foods have nutrients we need.
Giving a bunch of boys expensive football gear is not education. It si pure foolishness.

Pat & Mike

December 18th, 2012
1:40 pm

@Dr. John Trotter
The Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) already provides accreditation — no need for the governor to set anything up — and may be used in place of SACS for school accreditation. We suggest that people review the GAC standards, which are much more specific and objective and clear than SACS’ subjective BS that SACS twists to its own benefit. Go to the GAC website: http://www.coe.uga.edu/gac/. In addition to more specific standards, GAC accreditation is also a whole lot less costly.

Beverly Fraud

December 18th, 2012
3:08 pm

” I think that I will do an open records request for the detailed hourly billing of the Brock and Clay Law Firm with the school systems of Clayton County, Atlanta City, and DeKalb County relative to their “troubles” with SACS. Now since Glenn Brock’s firm receives state monies, I can also do Open Records requests upon the firm itself”

@Maureen, why hasn’t the AJC already done this? Past time to peel the layers of this onion; an onion I doubt is anywhere near as sweet as a Vidalia.

Beverly Fraud

December 18th, 2012
3:17 pm

Isn’t it time the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) is profiled in the AJC as a viable alternative to SACS?

Isn’t it time the AJC start asking Markie Mark some tough yet legitimate questions, starting with why (according to the AJC, correct me if I’m wrong Maureen) Markie Mark worked with Kasim Reed in an attempt to strong arm the Atlanta BOE into keeping as boar chair a woman who actively conspired with Beverly Hall to cover up cheating (according to the AJC, correct me if I’m wrong Maureen)

Pat & Mike

December 18th, 2012
3:36 pm

Just posted on DeKalb School Watch [dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com] blog:
“For parents and students who are genuinely concerned that SACS probationary status for DeKalb County Schools might somehow affect their admission to college, you may want to consider the benefits of the Early Admission or Dual Enrollment programs at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA. Funding from the Accel Program pays for up to 100% tuition for these students. The Accel Program is for students classified as high school juniors and seniors at accredited public or private high schools and homeschool programs in the state of Georgia and is operated in all school terms except summer. “

Dunwoody Mom

December 18th, 2012
3:41 pm

The school district remains accredited. The only concern becomes next Dec. if SACS reduces DCSS to an unaccredited status.

bootney farnsworth

December 18th, 2012
6:05 pm

the entire concept of DCSS needs to be leveled to the ground. but even that won’t fix the issue, DeKalb as a county is so corrupt it borders on nonfunctional at the best of times.

my solution:

-end required attendance after the sixth grade so the focus can be on educating those who want to be there. with any luck the drug, gang, and overall behavior issues will drop. and we could consolidate schools.

-end all non academic after school activities for at least 5 years. get the surviving schools back to basics. once they have shown they can teach Jonny to read, then maybe Jonny can play football.

-reintroduce the concept of consequences into the classroom.

-remove everyone at the main offices. everyone, right down to the janitors. have someone from out of state with no connection to local politics do the rehiring.

Fred in DeKalb

December 18th, 2012
6:56 pm

Pride and Joy, you must the the only person in the South that has not received or given a recommendation for anyone. I never thought of that as entitlement but doing business. To remind you about the good ol’ boy network, I took the liberty of finding this definition for you,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_ol‘_boy

Given you believe that people working in DCSS are OBVIOUSLY incompetent and crooked along with the fact that many were hired 15 – 20 years ago, does that mean the leadership at the time is responsible for all the hires? I seem to recall good ol’ boys being in charge at that time.

Pride and Joy

December 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

Fred, there is a HUGE difference between a professional reference and the nepotism and friends and family plan in DCSS. Jobs should not be handed out for political favors and because one belongs to the “right” race.
The fact that you would equate the two says a lot about you.
So, Fred in Dekalb, you’re part of the problem. It’s obvious you and people like you were GIVEN a job instead of earning it like the rest of us.

Pride and Joy

December 18th, 2012
7:23 pm

Bootney, a sixth grader is twleve years old. Twelve year old kids are children and immature. They don’t know what they “want.” They shouldn’t have to. That’s what we adults are for. We are to guide them and educate them until they are mature adults capable of making decisions for themselves.
At issue is really your own personal issues.
You are burned out and you don’t want to teach any kid except the kids who are really easy to teach. YOu want your job to be super easy. Wouldn’t we all want that?
Gee, I wish my clients were calm, mature, complacent and cooperative too.
You chose to teach. If you expect your job to be easy, get out of the profession of teaching.
We are not going to give up on twleve year old kids just so you can skate through your job every day.
Teaching is difficult. If you don’t like it, get the heck out.

Betsy Parks

December 18th, 2012
7:32 pm

I’ve started the petition “Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia State Board of Education: Review SACS findings, if accurate REPLACE the Dekalb County School Board. ” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-nathan-deal-and-georgia-state-board-of-education-review-sacs-findings-if-accurate-replace-the-dekalb-county-school-board

Here’s why it’s important:

Dekalb County School Board members have apparently strayed from their focus on their fiduciary duty to Dekalb County’s next generation and devolved into political bickering and self serving power struggles. Strong action by the State School Board and the Governor IS REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY. SACS closing comments: “Despite attempts of various experts and organizations to bring about sustained change in the culture and operation of the Board of Education, extensive efforts, costs and resources expended in this endeavor appear to have been wasted…as soon as the monitoring concluded and members were left to self-regulate, their own patterns of behavior re-emerged…if not corrected immediately thousands of Dekalb County students will be negatively impacted for years to come.”

Please share the link with your friends.

Thanks!
Betsy Parks

Fred in DeKalb

December 18th, 2012
8:27 pm

Pride and Joy, if a college graduate is the former student of a principal that looking to hire teachers interviews for a job, is that friends and family? If a child of a teacher interviews for a job at the school system, is that friends and family? When DeKalb recruits from GA ,Auburn, Clark Atlanta or Spelman because of past history of hires from those schools, is that friends and family? These are the cases of MANY that are hired in most school systems. If the person interviewing is either unqualified or incompetent yet still gets a job, no one disagrees there is a problem with this. Are you saying merely because the interviewee has a connection with the school system, they should be automatically disqualified? If that was the case, the good ol’ boy network would have never been established. There are friends and family of former superintendents, board members and other employees scattered throughout the school system. We know the color of most of those employees.

Something to think about, don’t some companies pay their employees for qualified references since it saves money on using recruitment firms? The good ol’ boy network/friends and family is bad when unqualified people are hired. It can be good when qualified people are hired. Is that difficult for you to understand? Unless you have specific names of unqualified people hired through friends and family, you are just using that term to hide behind your bigotry.

The Deal

December 18th, 2012
8:48 pm

Fred, Pride and Joy didn’t level the nepotism charges; SACS did. If you think their information is inaccurate, address that specifically, not in general terms.

Hamilton

December 18th, 2012
8:58 pm

I’ve been watching these blogs for awhile and it has just become too depressing. Everyone seems to want to argue the fine points, insult one another, air their agendas and so on. All the while, my property value is lower than it should be, just because it’s in DeKalb County.

DCSS is a multi-million dollar enterprise that has been criminally managed at times and incompetently the rest. Despite all of this, some teachers and schoolhouse administrators succeed at educating our children despite all of the madness in administration and “support.”

@The Deal said it early on:

“The temporary solution until that can be done is to clean house and replace the entire board. The new board’s first act should then be to find a new superintendent.”

That’s a good start. This crisis calls for bold action. State BOE and Governor Deal, remove this Board of Education and let the individual Board members petition you for their positions as the law calls for. Qualified and responsible citizens can step up and begin to repair the damage.

Dr. John Trotter

December 18th, 2012
10:29 pm

@ Pat and Mike: I specifically mentioned the Georgia Accrediting Commission in yesterday’s lengthy post. Perhaps you skipped over it. I have talked about GAC many times on this blog and on the MACE website and on one of my personal blogs. GAC has been around a lot longer than SACS, and I certainly trust the fine leadership of Dr. Carvin Brown over that of Mark Elgart.

Is it true that AdvancED, the parent company of SACS, is for-profit. It sure does bring in millions from the taxpayers. Hmm.

Fred in DeKalb

December 19th, 2012
6:55 am

The Deal, I took offense to Pride and Joy’s comments at 6:08 on 12/17. Please read my comment at 7:06 where I correctly pointed out that the good ol’ boy network is how business has been done in the South throughout our lifetime. It is still evident, even in government. We both know of relatives of the Cherry, Freeman and Hallford families that worked for DeKalb schools over the years. Some still do. This has been a culture that has existed for many years. Should we fire these relatives merely based on this connection or judge them on the work value they provided? This is why I have a problem with people using the friends and family term because I see this as a code word used by whites for blacks hiring unqualified and incompetent workers. Please re-read my post at 8:27.

On page 7, middle of the page of the special report, it mentions an instance where Gene Walker sent an email to the superintendent recommending a candidate for a job. We don’t know if that individual got the job but I still think that does not look good for the Board Chair to communicate with the superintendent about a potential job candidate. The last sentence in that paragraph indicated it confirmed and supported a common belief of stakeholders of nepotism and preferential treatment with hiring practices. I didn’t see this as SACS leveling a charge merely pointing out a common belief. This was the ONLY mention of this type of charge in the 20 page report. If you know of another reference, please share it. Most of the report centered on the Board not following their own policies and not respecting the chain of command.

Count me among those that believe ALL current Board members should be removed and start with a clean slate. I would also add that current Board members should not have the right to run for school Board again. Harsh but I think this would send a clear message.

While I was working, I recommended several employees for jobs. Some got them and some did not. I would only recommend someone who I thought could do a good job. Those that got hired proved me right. I worked with employees that were recommended by others. Some worked out well, some did not. Is this unlike what you see or have seen with employment?

bootney farnsworth

December 19th, 2012
8:07 am

@ P&J

now remind me again the last time you were in the classroom….?

IJS

December 19th, 2012
8:30 am

@Fred, the audit only gave samples. It indicated that it had much more evidence. The issue is that scores of people have been overlooked for positions and promotions due to the F&F connection. I know because I’ve seen it for more than 10 years on this district. I could list names and their connection with each other, but then my life would be a living hell in this district. The board cannot right their wrong. They have been given a chance. The atmosphere of bullying and distrust has already been created. The board will place one thing on paper, and do another. The entire board and the newcomers need to go. Bring in new people and train them appropriately.

bootney farnsworth

December 19th, 2012
8:34 am

@ P&J (and the several other names you post under)

since you got personal towards me so quickly, it shows something hit the mark with your trolling self. you read Shakespeare by chance?

since you can not and will not deal in substance, let me walk through this. you will almost certainly reject it on the grounds of “the children”, but maybe someone serious may read this.

1-we are attempting to educate “children” who do not wish to be there. some are in the 7th grade, some in the 12th, and all grades in between. they don’t give a damn, neither to their parents.

2-said “children” are disruptive to the kids who actually are trying to learn, and the teachers trying to teach them. often many of them are dangerous to both. the kids who are there to learn are usually not the ones dealing drugs, fighting, engaged in wholesale bullying, ect. the “children” who are there to pass the time before and after their free lunch are.

3-it is stupid to have a law requiring parents to send their “children” to a place they don’t wish to be,
it is counterproductive to attempt to teach someone who does not wish to learn.
it is often dangerous to kids and faculty to have these predators in training around.

4-by the end of the 6th grade, we have provided the predators in training the basic skills they need to hang out in the park, listen to offensive music, look tough and get pregnant. they have what they want.

5-by allowing these “children” and their parents the option of opting out, we will create a better environment for the kids who do want to learn, be able to support them better, and -you may like this- reduce the size of the faculty at many schools.

give it about a decade, I bet the instances of opt out kids go down. if for no other reason than their “parents” will get tired of having them hanging around the house.

its always funny to me about how the people who scream loudest about “the children” most often dion’t give a damn about them except how “the children” can advance their political POV. those of us who do actually care are on the ground working with them.

those who can, teach. those who can’t yap endlessly about what’s best for “the children”