Some excellent advice for Michael Thurmond: Make classroom priority

A DeKalb parent sent me this list of suggestions for Michael Thurmond. I thought it was a good list.

Welcome to DeKalb, Mr. Thurmond. As superintendent, you are now responsible for leading the third largest system in the state. You must bring a focus back onto the education of children and teaching and instruction and away from the myriad of adult issues that have plagued this system for far too long. Given that you are new to this challenge, I thought that perhaps some advice might help lead you in the right direction.

1. What happens in the schools must be a priority. Prioritize teacher salaries and class size reduction. Find a way to replace worn textbooks and update old ones. Hire top talent to be schools administrators and remove those not up to the job. Make schools your top priority and you will have instantly impacted student achievement.

2. Streamline the central office. Understand who does what and for what salaries. Other large systems have smaller central office staffs. Look to emulate them.

3. Use your law background to get a handle on DCSS’ complicated and expensive litigation. This system is spending millions on lawyers. Reinstate the independent auditor position. Dr. Atkinson chose to downgrade the position and the auditor left. Remove this position from the legal department and have the independent auditor report directly to the Board.

4. Instruct the Board that, for the time being, all communication with the staff should include you. Instruct staff, from teachers to associate superintendents, that they are not obligated to respond to these board members. A board member should not be able to insist that a certain person be given a job or students administrative transfers. No employee should worry about their job security because they can’t or won’t do what a board member wants them to do.

5. Expect your staff to behave professionally. Set a civil tone yourself and make sure your staff knows that this is your expectation. Dismiss those staff members who can’t work nicely with each other or with community members.

6. Don’t hire relatives of board members or upper-level management. DCSS has been so weighed down with nepotism that it has broken (both financially and spiritually) our school system. This problem is not a recent one, nor is it unique to DeKalb schools. However, DCSS has perfected it. Dr. Cheryl Atkinson made some progress toward breaking this very bad habit; I trust you will continue down this same path.

7. And finally, value your reputation. Remember that you want to practice law again. Treat the teachers in the system as though they are your own child’s teacher. Have high expectations for students, teachers, administrators and school board members. In a year from now, be able to say that, “I have left the DeKalb County School System better than when I started.”

The students of DeKalb are pulling for you. They don’t have choice. You do. Do well by them.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

38 comments Add your comment

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

February 14th, 2013
9:42 am

“Hire top talent to be schools administrators” means paying top dollar for that talent. Isn’t that one of the reasons folks were unhappy with Atkinson? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I’m not advocating for DCSS here, just pointing out the obvious idealism in what some parents think they’ll get from public education.

concernedmom30329

February 14th, 2013
9:45 am

@BillandEd

Princiapl’s pay scales are fairly consistent across Metro Atlanta. In DeKalb’s case, it isn’t about money. It is about making bad choices and friends and family. Look at who some of the principals in DeKalb are and who they are connected to and/or related to. It is a problem.

Wesley

February 14th, 2013
9:50 am

Unfortunately, the board’s choice of Thurmond had nothing to do with improving the plight of teachers or students in Dekalb. He was brought in to use the power of his political connections at the gold dome, to save the board’s behind. Had they wanted someone to do the things Maureen mentioned, they would have hired someone with a background in educational administration. Sorry to say but much of what’s done in education is rarely about the kids.

Barb

February 14th, 2013
10:02 am

This is a great list for Mr Thurmond.
For 10 years the school system has been heading downhill. As much as the board should be removed from office, there have been numerous changes in board members & administrators over the years and it only gets worse.
There is something fundamentally flawed in the culture & operations of the system .A meritocracy is not what has evolved over the years and it will not be brought back into the system easily.
First, I hope Mr. Thurmond can grasp the depths of dysfunction that exist and secondly make the tough choices to restructure the system.

TSG

February 14th, 2013
10:12 am

As a product of DCSS and a parent of a student attending DCSS, this is awesome guidance.

Pardon My Blog

February 14th, 2013
10:31 am

Well done! I hope that he will focus on what we were told he was hired for and that is to get the system back on track which will mean spending his time and energy cleaning up the central office, provide a quality education for the students of DeKalb and give the teachers the tools to take the students to that next level. He probably also needs to get rid of (or give the principals the power) the many incompetent teachers that we have.

Let the Board defend themselves, it is not your job Mr. Thurmond and not what you were hired to do. I think you will find your buddy Walker and many others are indefensible!

Marney

February 14th, 2013
10:37 am

I would add “Know thy enemy”. There are folks that now have or covet power.

catlady

February 14th, 2013
11:20 am

I would advise to begin a detailed functional audit of all CO staff. Have as your goal to elimiate half the positions, and then cut half again for incompetence. Don’t just shift them to the school level. Have as your goal to cut non-teaching staff in half.

Then, to derail the friends and family, institute a rule that no more than one person in an extended family can be hired for the system. The others can apply at other systems.

Carefully review each and every person(non teacher) hired during the last 4 administrations. Get rid of most of them. Fire those who have been involved in controversy or failed programs.

End the cure du jour method of planning.

Make it clear that you will put up with no more profiting by employees off the school system’s dollars.

Put the focus on the students.

Disgusted in Dekalb

February 14th, 2013
11:23 am

Fixing DCSS is not rocket science. This parent, who I assume does not have an advanced education degree or a position of authority within DCSS, has clearly laid out the issues and solutions. The main requirement for a leader for Dekalb is a laser-like focus upon good learning conditions and student achievement and a willingness to jettison any person or program who does not contribute to them. But again and again, the board chooses to bypass the parents and taxpayers who understand the issues and anoint people like Mr. Thurmond, who has no knowledge of the system or any of the skills required to fix it, and lavish our tax dollars in the form of inflated salaries, benefits, and parachutes upon them. If the state board and/or Governor Deal back down from a fight, the loss of acreditation may be our only hope.

Thurmond has declared that his two-pronged focus is keeping the current board in place and keeping the system accredited. Because the biggest obstacle to accreditation, according to SACS, is the board, these goals would seem to conflict. Improving things for students and teachers seems to be way down on his list.

ShooShee

February 14th, 2013
11:41 am

This is just getting so old. It’s been the same old ‘welcome’ suggestions and same old ‘promises for change’ since Crawford Lewis was indicted. First Tyson, then Atkinson, now Thurmond (although, he hasn’t really promised anything specific yet…) Had the board been taken over by the state back in 2009 when their reserves were nearly spent, the state could have saved DeKalb a whole lotta heartache. The state needs to set up some actionable triggers based on finance (your reserves dip to under a month’s operating costs, we take over) or achievement (test scores and results driven triggers) rather than relying on an accrediting agency’s ‘opinion’ of our school board’s behavior, then we might get somewhere. A well-behaved board can still make terrible financial and educational decisions…

ShooShee

February 14th, 2013
11:46 am

@Disgusted: Funny you should mention a ‘laser-like focus on student achievement’…. that is EXACTLY what Ramona Tyson promised at her very first meeting with the Emory Lavista Parent Council… and then she plunged us into tens of millions in overspending and the worst test scores ever posted! Amazingly – she is still on the payroll with a VERY nice salary and package.

Angela

February 14th, 2013
11:56 am

@Wesley, You are so very right. Thurmond clearly stated that he is going to use his “political clout” to save DCSS. However, this articles post is a very good request. This also, sounds like it is not only coming from a parent but a current employee. Much of the request can only come from someone in the “real know.”

As play “DEVIL’S ADVOCATE” should DCSS really be saved or be placed on probation? Will either be of any real benefit to the students or teachers.

Old timer

February 14th, 2013
12:12 pm

Let he board try to save themselves. They also should have NO contact with any staff…it all should go through you.

Huntley Hills Tiger

February 14th, 2013
12:18 pm

“Treat the teachers in the system as though they are your own child’s teacher.”

That is one of the best quotes I’ve seen during the past 8 years I’ve been following this mess. Applying this, not only to the super. but also the board & all central office staff, would have made a world of difference during those 8 years, & if actually practiced now and going forward it would as well. I am not so naive to believe a miracle will happen now, but I hate feeling so jaded.

Still, well said!

worried about the numbers

February 14th, 2013
12:22 pm

PS and please take back the letter you sent to the teachers where you used the word ‘re-dedicate’. Anyone still working for the county as a teacher does not need to re-dedicate. That’s an insult. I’m just a parent and I’m offended on their behalf. The teachers have more kids, less resources, idiotic testing schedules, no easy access to interpreters, and no adequate compensation. They have been the most dedicated all along, as opposed to the lazy, incompetent, uncaring central office staff. (I have documented evidence for this latter statement for several departments).
So Mr. Thurmond, appologize and treat teachers as a group as the true heroes they are. If you hear about specific teachers who need to do more, pick on them individually, thankyouverymuch.

bootney farnsworth

February 14th, 2013
12:43 pm

1-invite an outside auditor in to make wholesale changes in the central office. freeze pay, fold positions, reassign staff. eliminate redundancy and unnecessary positions within the system.

2-invite the feds or the GBI to do an intensive forensic audit. whatever the find, don’t dispute it.

3-(if possible) institute criteria for serving on the board. at the very least, state the need for it

4-completely divest yourself in every way possible from Gene Walker. friend or not he’s poison

5-have the courage to consolidate schools.

6-divest: ie, sell Fernbank and the administrative Taj Mahal

7-establish an independent advocate position to act as buffer between staff and management

8-institute rules against nepotism. family members may not be hired into non existing positions, and only hired into existing positions which are at least two degrees removed from the family member in question. and they MUST be qualified.

9-require any communication between BOE and Central office staff to include you. do not allow BOE to threaten employees.

10-establish a functioning committee (not a showdog one) to establish criteria for legitimate career advancement of employees.

then, and only then, start looking at the classroom

Pardon My Blog

February 14th, 2013
1:25 pm

@Bootney – I agree except with the selling of Fernbank. We won’t go down that whole diatribe again but I think it should be part of the learning tools but the running of it could be outsourced to and used a teaching tool for some of the local colleges (including Georgia Perimeter).

Jennifer

February 14th, 2013
1:27 pm

I would add:

8. Truly engage parents/community in decisions. Don’t give us lip service, hold “town halls or roundtables” that involve only one-way communication. Sit down with us, administrators and teachers and REALLY listen.

Parents in DeKalb have had the DCSD “vision” shoved down our throats. We’ve been given NO say in the matter. We have chosen to support public education, we should be involved in its design. Small, neighborhood schools are what make DeKalb’s schools unique. I realize they must have 450 pupils to maximize funding, but believe that if you ask, you will find that the vast majority of stakeholders do NOT support 900 pupil schools. Most of us chose DeKalb because of the neighborhood schools and unique communities. Tyson & Atkinson seemed to be working to destroy that.

DeKalb Inside Out

February 14th, 2013
2:02 pm

“Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”

This is all wonderful, but you are putting the cart before the horse. First you need somebody who cares about the quality of education. SACS and the State DOE don’t care about the quality of education, or else they would have done something long ago about failing schools in Georgia. Michael Thurmond obviously doesn’t care … I don’t think he’s shown up to the office since his swearing in Saturday. The Walker 5 doesn’t care about education cause this is the 4th a$$ clown in a row they appointed Superintendent.

otherwise, “The lights are on, but nobody’s home”

DeKalb Educated

February 14th, 2013
2:55 pm

But, it was a really nice list…
Thurmond’s stated goals of keeping the board in place and “maintaining” SACS accreditation seem to have no room for your list. Obviously, this board never was or is about doing anything for the students of DeKalb County. It is all about power, nepoitism, corruption and whatever else they seem to try to get away with. Hiring a state level Bureaucrat / Lobbyist has nothing to do with doing anything for the students of DeKalb County either. Why would anyone think anything this board ever does is good for the students? Come on DeKalb County. Wake up, step up and make sure the state board and Governor Deal know this has never made the “classroom a priority” and must be shown the door.

Rah Rah

February 14th, 2013
3:08 pm

I attended the meeting held by the Lakeside City Alliance last night and the DeKalb County Public Schools (Sesspool) seemed to be on everyone’s mind. As Rep. Fran Millar has stated, the loss of accreditation would be a huge economic blow to not only DeKalb County, but to the state as well. I certainly hope the state reps from DeKalb County along with the county government are putting their two cents in about getting rid of the school board in order to stop the bleeding before it is too late. Thurmond might actually be a great administrator, but he will need to get rid of the waste in the system and hire someone who knows how to get the schools back on track.

Teed Off

February 14th, 2013
3:19 pm

I have mixed feeling about Mr. Thurmond being a good fit for DeKalb based on his relationship with a couple of the DeKalb BOE members and his stated goals about the board and accredidation. It is not the superintendent’s job to baby sit or cover the backsides of board members. This should be an immediate red flag about why he was put in this position. He should worry about the school system and let the chips fall where they may with the BOE. On the other hand, he might be just what is needed to clean out the bloated mess that has become the DeKalb County Schools, but only if left to do his job without the current board meddling in things they have no business meddling in (threatening employees, hiring friends and relatives). I only see Thurmond having a chance at success if the current board is booted out by the state. If the board is kept in place, I see an very unhealthy alliance between board and superintendent that will allow things to continue in the same vein they have for years. I think SACS would see the same thing and yank accredidation.

The Deal

February 14th, 2013
3:30 pm

Thurmond spent today in Decatur meeting the President. You know, instead of helping our kids.

bootney farnsworth

February 14th, 2013
3:34 pm

@ pardon

Re: Fernbank

sell it, rent it, put in on wheels and roll it around the perimeter, get fed grants for it, I don’t care.

just get it off the backs of the DCSS taxpayer.

bootney farnsworth

February 14th, 2013
3:38 pm

@ Deal,

you can’t expect a professional politician not to worship at the alter of the president. I don’t begrudge Decatur executives meeting Obama, he is the president. even though I don’t respect the man, I respect the office. give the office its due, if not the office holder.

problem is, Thurmond has no standing in Decatur schools. in that sense, its inappropriate for him to be there. if he just wants to take notes on how to run a successful system, come back another day.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

February 14th, 2013
3:40 pm

@bootney A couple weeks ago, I took my two Dekalb students to a pretty cool learning event at Fernbank Science Center. It was crowded, but well planned, and the kids had a lot of fun. Hundreds of other kids I saw there seemed to be having a lot of fun too, and the event was completely free.

Now, I respect your opinion on these issues, so I just thought you should know. I think FSC is a great resource, and my guess is those who complain about it have probably never found time for a visit or haven’t visited in many years.

concernedmom30329

February 14th, 2013
4:10 pm

Not to get to far off topic, but the folks who rallied around FSC promised to start a foundation. I would contribute. I don’t think it has happened again.

Dekalbite@Bill and Ed

February 14th, 2013
6:40 pm

“@bootney A couple weeks ago, I took my two Dekalb students to a pretty cool learning event at Fernbank Science Center. It was crowded, but well planned, and the kids had a lot of fun. Hundreds of other kids I saw there seemed to be having a lot of fun too, and the event was completely free.”

How was this event “free”.

Fernbank still costs taxpayers $3,000,000 a year. the science center eploys only 20 teachers yet they have 21 NON TEACHING support staff. The 20 teachers are primarily in the schools giving students once a year science lessons since the county no longer pays for field trps to the science center (exception is the STT program that serves 90 students a semester and still provides free transportation from all over the county for those 90 students).

Why does Fernbank Science Center still need 21 non teaching support personnel if their 20 teachers are hardly ever there?

Do you have any idea how many science teachers $3,000,000 would fund for DeKalb students? It would fund 58 science teachers with a Masters degree and at least 5 years experience teaching science (this includes benefits). Enough to give every middle and high school at least one extra science teacher to teach science content EVERY day to 150 students and we would still have 14 left over. Or maybe we could actually reduce the number of students in the science classes so that science students could actually participate in labs and hands on experiences.

Our science scores are abysmal. Do you think 58 seasoned, competent science teachers instructing literally thousands of the same students every day might help our students master science content?

This center has again done absolutely nothing to be self sustaining. No wonder. What organization would want to take on an organization that is so administratively top heavy?

Count the number of teachers versus non teaching staff at Fernbank:
http://fsc.fernbank.edu/faculty.htm

The forest has reverted to the Fernbank Museum, there is no money for field trips, the exhibits are old, the building is in need of millions in repairs, and the technology is from the 1970s (literally). This was a good idea 50 years ago when gas was cheap and DeKalb was solidly middle class and flush with money. Times have changed but this concept has not. Cut it loose and reinvest the money in the schoolhouse science programs and equipment. Our kids really need the help.

dekalbite@Bill & Ed

February 14th, 2013
6:48 pm

“A couple weeks ago, I took my two Dekalb students to a pretty cool learning event at Fernbank Science Center. It was crowded, but well planned, and the kids had a lot of fun. Hundreds of other kids I saw there seemed to be having a lot of fun too, and the event was completely free.”

How was this event “free”.

Fernbank still costs taxpayers $3,000,000 a year. the science center eploys only 20 teachers yet they have 21 NON TEACHING support staff. The 20 teachers are primarily in the schools giving students once a year science lessons since the county no longer pays for field trps to the science center (exception is the STT program that serves 90 students a semester and still provides free transportation from all over the county for those 90 students).

Why does Fernbank Science Center still need 21 non teaching support personnel if their 20 teachers are hardly ever there?

Do you have any idea how many science teachers $3,000,000 would fund for DeKalb students? It would fund 58 science teachers with a Masters degree and at least 5 years experience teaching science (this includes benefits). Enough to give every middle and high school at least one extra science teacher to teach science content EVERY day to 150 students and we would still have 14 left over. Or maybe we could actually reduce the number of students in the science classes so that science students could actually participate in labs and hands on experiences.

Our science scores are abysmal. Do you think 58 seasoned, competent science teachers instructing literally thousands of the same students every day might help our students master science content?

This center has again done absolutely nothing to be self sustaining. No wonder. What organization would want to take on an organization that is so administratively top heavy?

Count the number of teachers versus non teaching staff at Fernbank:
http://fsc.fernbank.edu/faculty.htm

The forest has reverted to the Fernbank Museum, there is no money for field trips, the exhibits are old, the building is in need of millions in repairs, and the technology is from the 1970s (literally). This was a good idea 50 years ago when gas was cheap and DeKalb was solidly middle class and flush with money. Times have changed but this concept has not. Cut it loose and reinvest the money in the schoolhouse science programs and equipment. Our kids really need the help.

Anne Murphy

February 14th, 2013
9:33 pm

Wow – great list. And really not all that complicated. PLEASE, Mr. Thurmond, give this list your fullest consideration. Turn our schools around. And feel free to enlist the help of us parents. We want our schools to succeed and are willing to help.

Bernie

February 15th, 2013
12:24 am

We ALL must keep in mine that Michal Thurmond is a politician first and foremost. Secondly, he is a Lawyer, what seems so far primarily hired to represent and insure the continuation and operation of the current Board members and its goals as it stands. Furthering the educational skills of the children of this school system is a secondary concern at this junction. Talented as Michael is as a moderately successful politician. A proven successful Education Administrator he is NOT! With that in mind, time will only reveal what level of success will be achieved and where.

I would say to all the parents remain cautious,involved and observant during this critical time to insure that your child’s education does not fall victim to what seems to be the usual “GOOD OLE BOY” Georgia political shenanigans with your child and or children being used as the PROP for some future political opportunity.

Remember – Beware of the WOLF, wearing SHEEPS clothing.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

February 15th, 2013
10:04 am

@Dekalbite Obviously, I’ve struck a nerve by trying to see something positive amidst all this mess and chaos. Your opinion of FSC is just that, your opinion. And you’ve stated that loud and clear since the discussion of Dekalb’s budget crisis came to reality last year.

This blog, in my opinion, has spiraled into what to me resembles a sewer. It is a pit of negativity and cynicism. Your arguing a moot point is a perfect example of that. Yes, perhaps FSC staffing should be reviewed in the next budget cycle, and it probably will be given the most recent shortfall estimates. Yes, some continued effort to change the way FSC is funded should be made.

“Times have changed but this concept has not.” Maybe you just don’t get the concept???

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

February 15th, 2013
10:08 am

And let me add that I pay approximately $5000 in Dekalb County school tax annually, so the visit to FSC was not “free” for me either.

Pardon My Blog

February 15th, 2013
10:29 am

@ rah rah- before you get all excited about the “City of Lakeside” just know that it was some of these same individuals that were 100% behind Crawford Lewis and bought into his agenda. They were also part of the group who hired Mouton to be the Principal at Lakeside and helped shape some of the current policies at the school and even on the district level. When they saw the fruits of their labor they immediately yanked their kids out of the public schools and sent them to private schools. City of Lakeside sounds nice until you see the additional taxes and my guess is that these same individuals will then “retire” elsewhere.

I think, at least for the school situation, we should spend our energy campaigning for a Charter cluster with Lakeside High being the anchor and keep the feeder schools (like what Druid Hills is trying). It will be a start and an answer to a district that is apparently too large for an individual to handle.

Pardon My Blog

February 15th, 2013
10:33 am

@ Bootney – I agree it is a problem and not being run correctly, perhaps there is an answer where the funding would not come from taxpayers. I would encourage the school system to put that as a priority. There has to be a good solution.

DeKalb Inside Out

February 15th, 2013
10:51 am

Mr Schutten said
“He faces many daunting tasks. The first is leading the school board and the school system off of probation. To accomplish this he must have the full cooperation of the nine members of the DeKalb school board.”

If Mr Thurmond wants to get DCSD off probation, shouldn’t he be addressing the SACS issues? If he wants to solve any of the issues mentioned, shouldn’t he at least show up to work? Instead, he’s assumed the role of board lawyer and is down at the dome begging the State DOE not to remove the board.

Mr Thurmond doesn’t need the cooperation of the full board. He just needs the Walker 5. The Walker 5 and their administrations have been shoving this crappy educational system down our throats for the last 7 years.

Schutten goes on to say
“Finally, the citizens of DeKalb need to take a break from cynicism, negativity, and constant criticism … If their opinion has merit, they would be willing to put their real names behind their statements.”

I’ll take a break as soon as the Walker 5 reign of terror stops appointing a$$ clowns as Superintendents.

Way to get off topic and derail the convo on your own personal issues with anonymous bloggers. While I admire you and Peter for putting your names on your comments, there are those of that could no more put our names on this than “Deep Throat” could. DIO is a retard sometimes (no offense to retards), Bootney is … well Bootney, etc… so for all intents and purposes that is who we are.

dekalbite@Bill & Ed

February 15th, 2013
11:54 am

“@Dekalbite Obviously, I’ve struck a nerve by trying to see something positive amidst all this mess and chaos. Your opinion of FSC is just that, your opinion. ”

Perhaps it would have been more accurate if I had stated:
IMO – it is not cost effective to employ 21 non teaching admin and support personnel at Fernbank Science Center when there are only 20 science teachers, most of which are in the schools doing outreach. We need to be cost effective with our science education dollars since science achievement is very low in DeKalb. Science content is among the most difficult to master for most students. Students receiving one or two exciting science lessons a year are less effective in ensuring science content mastery than everyday science instruction conducted by competent science teachers with reasonable class sizes and access to adequate science supplies and equipment.

My opinion was formed when I taught science to middle school students in DeKalb and also by the NSTA’s official position Statement:
“”A hallmark of science is that it generates theories and laws that must be consistent with observations. Much of the evidence from these observations is collected during laboratory investigations. A school laboratory investigation….is defined as an experience in the laboratory, classroom, or the field that provides students with opportunities to interact directly with natural phenomena or with data collected by others using tools, materials, data collection techniques, and models (NRC 2006, p. 3). …..While reading about science, using computer simulations, and observing teacher demonstrations may be valuable, they are not a substitute for laboratory investigations by students (NRC 2006, p. 3).
For science to be taught properly and effectively, labs must be an integral part of the science curriculum. ”
http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/laboratory.aspx

“Classes containing more than 24 students engaged in science activities cannot safely be supervised by one teacher. Additionally, research data show that accidents rise dramatically as class enrollments exceed 24 students or when inadequate individual workspace is provided (West et al. 2005). ”
http://www.nsta.org/pdfs/PositionStatement_Liability.pdf

This is not happening in everyday science classrooms in DeKalb – we are told this is due to a lack of science education dollars for our students.

Fernbank Elementary School knows the value of having frequent hands-on lab science experiences as the parents fund a certified science resource teacher to provide these experiences for their children.

Here are a few examples of modern day science centers in Georgia that are not funded by school systems:

http://tellusmuseum.org/

http://fernbankmuseum.org/

http://www.nscdiscovery.org/

http://www.maconga.org/listings/?listingID=3213

Again – IMO – Fernbank Science Center should be a non profit organization. Because it has not moved in that direction we have lost so much of what was great about this center. DeKalb Schools has not/does not have the funds to modernize it (science advances require modern technology and equipment) or the will to change their instructional model.

FWIW – I pay around $4,000 in school taxes. That is absolutely not my concern with respect to FSC. My concern as a former science teacher is that EVERY child should have EVERY DAY competent science instruction. We must put our science education dollars to work to make sure that happens.

initforthekids

February 16th, 2013
1:39 pm

“worried about the numbers”, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for saying what has been on my mind since I read the letter from Mr. Thurmond. I was deeply offended that he would think that I have been anything BUT dedicated for the past twenty-five years. Those of us who teach in Dekalb have had to tolerate all sorts of nonsense from the people in charge who, even though they are not in the classroom, think they know more than we do about what to do in the classroom. Something positive must happen and with parents like you, I have hope that it soon will.