Questions for DeKalb school board candidates: Vision, inspiration, student achievement

Here are the questions sent to the 400 applicants for the DeKalb Board of Education. (AJC)

Here are the questions sent to the 400 applicants for the DeKalb Board of Education. (AJC)

55 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

March 8th, 2013
11:25 am

And this is going to improve the DeKalb County Schools? Ha! Nothing will really change. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

bootney farnsworth

March 8th, 2013
11:35 am

God help us. DeKalb is determined to recreate this mess all over again.

hell, we may as well give the gang of six their jobs back.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
11:41 am

Gotta tell you – I’d love to see the answers to those questions by the current & suspended board members! Especially 7&8 on the bottom. In fact, if the current 3 want to insure they even are on the level of the appointed 6 they should complete them & make them public!

Orson, Johnson & McMahan, I’ve just given you a homework assignment until you can reach the elusive quorum. These candidates were given 24 hours, I look forward to seeing your answers here on Monday.

@Maureen could this be presented to the “in waiting” 3?

Disgusted in Dekalb

March 8th, 2013
11:51 am

I agree wholeheartedly with Chamblee Dad that Orson, Johnson, and McMahan should fill it out. Wish I could see it clearly enough to know if there are any typos/misspellings on the questionnaire.

Educator for Life

March 8th, 2013
11:57 am

I wish people would give things a chance. Success can come after failure. New people and a better vision is the beginning. I see people thinking negatively, assuming DeKalb will never be successful. I really pray that things go for the best and I’m not going to be pessimistic at all. Change is not taken well by some, but others see change as an avenue to regain trust in the community and improve the system so that student achievement can be the focus.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
12:07 pm

@Educator I really want this to work. Some mock me as naive & dilusional. I don’t think so. Right people doing the job the right way = we’ve got a chance. Since you’re one of the 400, then I assume you feel the same way. I wish you success. Whoever gets it, we HAVE to have immediate transparency on every step, starting with accreditation & budget as the first 2 agenda items, well at least after addressing the issue of legal bills. Transparency should include public live broadcasting of every board meeting, on TV &/or online, preferably both. In the past they’ve claimed too expensive. Hah, how about cut the legal bills, that should pay for it.

Pride and Joy

March 8th, 2013
12:16 pm

Vision Smision. Phooey and Baloney.
Dekalb needs to start with what we should be able to assume is already there — honesty, integrity, intelligence.
I don’t want vision. Anybody can write a mission statement and put some nice words into a document. What the new board needs is nine people with the honesty and integrity of Nancy Jester. Nine people who are willing to fire do-nothing people in made up jobs and nine people who are willing to look at every expense and objectively determine whehther it’s really necessary. Nine people who care whether kids are learning more than they care about politics and agendas.

quiet no more

March 8th, 2013
12:17 pm

@Educator for Life:

Thank you! Seriously. Would suggest all you misery-loving-commenters here to go ahead and move out of Dekalb County so you can go make some other county miserable. I’m guessing the more positive thinking, forward focused Dekalb County citizens aren’t wasting their time reading all this useless negative rhetoric like I am. Think I’ll hop off now and perhaps do something productive. Jeez.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 8th, 2013
12:23 pm

Dr. Trotter. Who is talking about change at DCSS. Ramona Tyson is in charge of giving SACS the response. When Thurmond selected her to do that, it was business as usual. As long as the Palace is staffed with the same folks, who got us in this mess, do not expect change.

The sad thing the 3 who remain are of one ilk, according to their votes on the BOE so far. Walker is still pulling all the strings. I guarantee you the 3 only need 2 more of their Waker ilk and boom, were right back where we started from and it is Deja Vu all over again.

Mr. Thurmond now is your chance to be seen as a true vehicle of change. However, your decisions to this point tell me you are only interested in continuing down the ditch of muck that Tyson and her staff so steadfastly placed OUR school system in.

For the sake of DeKalb children Ms. Tyson, RESIGN! Your golden parachute is in place and the taxpayers will be treating you very well for all your bad decisions and weak, feckless leadership.

gsmith

March 8th, 2013
12:24 pm

i am not an educator but i would think one thing everyone would like to see is less students per classroom , smaller neighborhood schools , more teachers per classroom. spend less money on transportation, diesel fuel, bus drivers , and administrators……. and spend more money on teachers and teaching materials

Bernie

March 8th, 2013
12:25 pm

I understand Completely, why ALL of the many residents of North Dekalb want to secede from this Circus of a School System that is Dekalb County. if I had a child or children there, I would no doubt join them!

There will be No end to it, to this “HOT MESS “anytime in the near future. This system is like a rudderless ship that has no destination. There is not even a Captain aboard to insure its efficient operation. This is so very, SAD!

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
12:25 pm

@Pride and Joy I do want an aspirational vision from my public servants. How do you reach these goals? With people who have honesty, integrity, intelligence – as well as other attributes – dedication,openmindedness, preparation, & a background that helps be effective – doesn’t always have to be educational or governmental.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
12:31 pm

@Bernie Not sure where you live, but I know far more in North DeKalb (were I actually live, have childen in DCSS & actively participate in the schools), that want to right the ship rather than leave. Loud proponents who can grab the headlines & rally the troups, they certainly exist & in measurable numbers. But that goal is far away, if it can even be reached. In the meantime, how about working for the goal of fixing what is already here?

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
12:34 pm

@AMG When it comes to personnel changes I wholheartedly agree Tyson should be 1st on the list to go. Her tenure as interim was a disaster & has more to do with the current mess than most people know.

Educator for Life

March 8th, 2013
1:06 pm

@Chamblee Dad, thanks, but even if I’m not chosen, I will remain optimistic that things will get better. If the vision for every board member is keeping students first, things could work out. Every board member must serve as a voice for his/her district. All major decisions should be made with the thoughtful input from teachers, parents, and even students. All that other political agenda crap.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 8th, 2013
1:22 pm

Amen Chamblee Dad, how can anyone expect change when the same folks are in leadership positions throughout the system. Tyson and her staff were responsible for missed deadlines with the Feds regarding Title 1 and RTT funds and State BOE regarding state funding. It took a Dunwoody legislator to talk the state into looking past Tyson’s staff errors and delays to restore that funding to DCSS. This mismanagement runs rampant throughout the Palace! The work that has come from this staff for years has been shoddy at best. Why do you think so many minutes from BOE meetings have been edited, redacted, lost or never even completed, certainly not posted on the website like Ramona Tyson promised parents when talking about transparency. There is no one at the Palace that knows what transparency means.

Thurmond could win a lot of trust and buy-in from the stakeholders, if he would make some very public firings or forced resignations of folks like, Tyson, Beasley, March, Howe and the rest of the Clew Crew, that have been dispersed throughout the system.

Stakeholders have not been asking for much, but an honest and open dialogue can not begin until DCSS rids itself of the past. Sure some things could slip through the cracks, but if Thurmond is as good as he claims, then DCSS should be able to withstand a huge riffing of the very folks that caused this mess. Leaving them employed for us will only guarantee failure again in place for whomever takes the reigns permanently from Thurmond.

Mr. Thurmond it is up to you to begin the true reform of DCSS, by ridding the Palace of the old and bringing in an entire new slate of leaders to lead us into the future and out of the muck of mediocrity!

Melanie

March 8th, 2013
1:26 pm

Tyson kept us on advisement as thing were improving. Seven of the Eleven items had been corrected and accepted by SACS. It was Cheryl Atkinson and her incompetent outsider friends that made us skip “warning” and go directly to “probation”.If you read her responses to SACS, you will see she didn’t response to the 3 needed actions but bragged on Success for All etc. I am not a fan of Tyson but every time we have seen change lately, it has been change for the worst. Now is our chance to work together and “get it right”.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 8th, 2013
1:28 pm

I almost forgot….HAPPY FURLOUGH DAY to all DCSS teachers and staff. I sure pray we can find a leader who knows how NOT to balance a budget on the backs of teachers, but on the backs of those friends and family hires that have permeated themselves throughout the Palace.

DeKalb Inside Out

March 8th, 2013
1:57 pm

From Dar’shun Kendrick’s:
Meeting with the Governor- Point No.8: The nominating committee will NOT consider political affiliation but will consider race.

Asians, Hispanics and Indians … I’m pulling for you!!

dekalbite@Atlanta Media Guy

March 8th, 2013
2:03 pm

“Ramona Tyson is in charge of giving SACS the response.”

Is that official? Surely not. So many of the complaints SACS has in the probation document are specifically regarding actions Ms. Tyson took when she was interim superintendent. All those budgets she created showing the budget was balanced when it clearly wasn’t, laying off 200 Paraprofessionals, eliminating over 300 teaching positions, increasing class sizes for students, eliminating the teachers’ TSA – all of these actions to keep non teaching personnel employed. The Board approved her recommendations, but she was the person in charge doing the recommending. Not once in the entire discussion of budget cutting was the idea mentioned in BOE meetings that Ms. Tyson’s recommendations would result in decreased student achievement. This is the heart of the SACS complaint – too much attention on the adults and not enough on students and the actions that negatively affected their academic progress.

How can we got out from under probation if Ms. Tyson who is responsible for many of the actions cited by SACS is in charge of developing the responses to SACS?

It does not seem possible that Mr. Thurmond would put her in charge of this. If Ms. Tyson is in charge of the response to SACS or even involved in making recommendations to satisfy SACS, then parents need to be asking him some very hard questions about this decision.

Ms. Tyson appears to be a very pleasant person and is well spoken, but if you read the SACS report you will see that much of the blame for DeKalb being on probation can be laid at her feet as well as the BOE. She didn’t have the financial acumen or the educational background to do the job yet the BOE went along with everything she recommended because it preserved the status quo. This has proved disastrous to our students and to our county as a whole.

I certainly hope the new BOE members are reading the SACS report and scrutinizing every recommendation that Mr. Thurmond makes as it relates to the report.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 8th, 2013
2:20 pm

Hey dekalbite! Ramona Tyson told the State BOE, at the 14 hour hearing, that she was already selected to head up the response to SACS. It was at that time I knew nothing was going to change, unless the Governor acted. Tyson talks a good game, but her promises of transparency and trust, when she first became interim, were dashed when she obfuscated about the original Ernst & Young audit that Clew hid from the public, when it showed his crew were overpaid at the Palace, while teachers were woefully underpaid. She lives and breathes CLEW CREW!

Lynn43

March 8th, 2013
2:24 pm

I have been on the “choosing” side of a Board member replacement. We had only a few applicants, but there had to be a process of elimination. I’m sure the above list of questions is just the first step in shortening the list. The final 6 members will certainly be chosen with more indepth information and (maybe) interviews. I remember when Dekalb was a great example of what an education system can be. I certainly hope it gains back that reputation. Parents and citizens, please don’t just sit back and criticize, but try to help. Dekalb’s reputation affects every school district in Georgia.

The Deal

March 8th, 2013
2:24 pm

@Dekalbite, sad but true. Thurmond and Tyson testified at the state board hearing that Ramona Tyson was leading the SACS response.

Dunwoody Mom

March 8th, 2013
2:30 pm

Yep – Ramona Tyson proudly exclaimed SHE was heading up the SACS response. I don’t know if any of you have had a chance to look her “preliminary” response, but it’s full of generalities and short on detail. And I thought to myself, here we go again, we just can’t break loose from the Crawford Lewis regime.

dekalbite@Melanie

March 8th, 2013
2:32 pm

“Tyson kept us on advisement as thing were improving. Seven of the Eleven items had been corrected and accepted by SACS.”

That is simply not correct. Please read page 13 of the SACS report that deals with students, their achievement and how resources were not allocated to the classroom. Those actions were taken by Ms. Tyson.

Look at her 2012 proposed budget and then look at page 13 of SACS for example:
“Evidence from interviews raised questions about the system’s and school leaders’ use of a formal, systematic process to determine the number of personnel necessary to support the district’s and schools’ purposes, educational programs, and continuous improvement…. This can also be seen in the Board’s decision to eliminate over 200 early learning paraprofessional positions during the budget process despite all the research that supprts the importance of early learning as the foundation of future student success. According to interviews with stakeholders and board members, this decision was made with little or no discussion as to the education impact of such a reduction in staff.”
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/advanced-sacs-accreditation-review/special-review-team-report-(10-2012).pdf

Ms. Tyson was the “school leader” who eliminated those 200 paraprofessionals. Here is a copy of Ms. Tyson’s budget that she asked the Board to approve (click on the image to see the details) – Look for the 200 paraprofessionals eliminated:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/budget-recommendation.html

In addition, she eliminated over 300 teaching positions. The BOE may have approved these cuts, but Ms. Tyson proposed them:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-have-all-our-teachers-gone.html

When Atkinson took over the “balanced” budget, she immediately found out there was a $45,000,000 shortfall – $26,000,000+ was because Ms. Tyson’s budget had not included the interest on $300,000,000 previously borrowed earlier by the school system. So the “balanced” budget Ms. Tyson was complimented turned out to be an “unbalanced” budget:
http://www.championnewspaper.com/news/articles/1501dcss-discovers-41-million-budget-shortfall-for-splost-projects-1501.html

Dr. Atkinson made plenty of mistakes, but the budget that was supposed to be “balanced” by Ms. Tyson was a full of errors. How can anyone “forget” they owe $26,000,000 in interest and then say the budget is balanced.

Lynn43

March 8th, 2013
2:42 pm

What has happened to my response?

Decatur Dad

March 8th, 2013
2:43 pm

@ Chamblee Dad – Believe it or not, I’m starting to like you a little bit. lol. We can meet at the border one day, have a cup of hot mud (coffee) and solve all of the school systems’s problems. lol. I still don’t agree that Gov. Deal (of all people) should have been given the power to remove elected school board members, but I believe that the Six should have resigned long time ago. I have confidence that the school system will turn things around under Mr. Thurmond’s leadership.

bootney farnsworth

March 8th, 2013
2:45 pm

@ Lynn43

this blog actively censors and engages in prior restraint

Maureen Downey

March 8th, 2013
2:47 pm

@Bootney, Absolutely correct, but her post was not one that I withheld. That was the auto-filter, and I have released it.
Maureen

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

March 8th, 2013
2:47 pm

Also remember that so many of these terms have counterintuitive meanings. Georgia’s new definition of student achievement is laid out in the NCLB waiver. Likewise, when officials talk of student growth they do not mean knowledge. Most of it is affective–changes in values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. That’s why the term Competency is now used so much. It obscures the blend of generic skills and desired affective dispositions. Objectives and outcomes do the same.

If we get new school board members who simply assume that terms like rigor have the dictionary meaning, nothing will get better.

Marney

March 8th, 2013
3:14 pm

@maureen Is it fair for you to print in almost legible form the scoring rubric for the questionnaire before the 5 p.m. deadline for filling it out? I had already finished mine, but knowing that the point system for elimination clearly focuses on board experience, strategic planning etc could easily allow one to tailor their answers to cover those areas more extensively.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
3:21 pm

@Decatur Dad See if these answers surprise you. If you’ve read my posts over the past couple of weeks they shouldn’t:

“I still don’t agree that Gov. Deal (of all people) should have been given the power to remove elected school board members” Agreed – constitutionally I think it’s problematic & perhaps the GA SC could rule that way, BUT if this is the path we go – I want it to go as best it can & will do anything I can do to support it.

“but I believe that the Six should have resigned long time ago.” Agreed 100% I even said that even though I voted for Jester & really d/n think she did anything that would warrant her removal – it would serve the greater good for them all to do so together. Turns out she’s it so far.

“I have confidence that the school system will turn things around under Mr. Thurmond’s leadership.”
Honestly – I don’t fully believe that – yet, especially based on some early moves by him. I want to see how he & this new board work together. If they are doing things differently it will obvious immediately to those that have watched this closely for ther past 8 years (myself), if not longer. How? It will be transparently put into place. And if the emphasis is put in the classroom while cleaning house, then we’ll know. Budget time between now & the end of May – big test.

No need to come to the border I go into Decatur pretty often – I’d love some Taqueria del Sol, been a while. Need some fish tacos & shrimp corn chowder. Would say Farm Burger, but we have one up here now – actually across 285 in Dunwoody. Sneak over there from time to time.

DeKalb Inside Out

March 8th, 2013
3:26 pm

The SACS report is vague, so a vague response is what they are going to get back.

Page 13 of SACS for example: “Evidence from interviews raised questions …

What evidence ?
Raised what questions ?

Dunwoody Mom

March 8th, 2013
3:32 pm

SACS Item 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.

Answer: The Board hired Interim Superintendent, Michael L. Thurmond. The Board and Mr.
Thurmond have established that the top priority is to respond to the AdvancED SACS actions
and earn full accreditation for the DeKalb County School District (DCSD).
• Engaged the technical assistance services of AdvancED SACS to respond to the eleven
required actions.
• Engaged the services Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) to assist the board in
developing a long range and sustainable professional development plan.
o Whole Board Training Session, February 20, 2013
o Topics to include Legal Issues & the School Board Member, Ethical Issues & the
School Board Member, Effective School Board Meetings, Superintendent Evaluation
& Governance Team Self-Assessment Instruments
• Engaged the services of an external firm to provide board governance training.
• Registered three new board members for Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) New
Board Orientation training.

I’m sorry, but to me that is not a COMPREHENSIVE plan…..Those are bullet items not a plan.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
3:44 pm

@Dunwoody Mom “Effective School Board Meetings” Sadly, that made me laugh out loud.

Dunwoody

March 8th, 2013
3:45 pm

I agree Marney. Too bad we can’t amend our responses. Putting the scoring rubric up prior to 5 PM was not a good idea. Of course the ‘chosen’ folks already had that rubric most likely. And someone on the selection committee leaked the scoring rubric? Makes you feel that this selection board is unethical.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
3:55 pm

@Marney As this process moves forward, hopefully quickly, please keep up posted on the process to whatever degree you are comfortable, as “Educator for Life” has. I’m going to take at face value that anyone who applied & posts here with constructive & thoughtful ideas, should be admired for stepping up, and if deemed worthy, perhaps even chosen. So you included, good luck.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
4:02 pm

@Dunwwody, didn’t realize you too, same goes for you.

Dunwoody Mom

March 8th, 2013
4:03 pm

@Chamblee Dad…I am a regular viewer of the DCSS School Board Meetings…It their actions were not so tragic for 99,000 students it would be comedic. Clueless, selfish, self-serving, well, I could on and on…I am optimistic that our next BOE meeting will take on a more professsional tone with discussion and decisions made in an adult-manner with what is best for teachers and students their only goal.

dekalbite@DeKalb inside and out

March 8th, 2013
5:06 pm

“The SACS report is vague, so a vague response is what they are going to get back.”

From page 13 of the SACS report:
“This can also be seen in the Board’s decision to eliminate over 200 early learning paraprofessional positions during the budget process despite all the research that supports the importance of early learning as the foundation of future student success. According to interviews with stakeholders and board members, this decision was made with little or no discussion as to the education impact of such a reduction in staff.”

These conclusions don’t seem so vague to me. Ms. Tyson proposed and the Board eliminated 200 paraprofessional positions.
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/budget-recommendation.html

Also fromSACS report – page 13:
“Evidence from interviews raised questions about the system’s and school leaders’ use of a formal, systematic process to determine the number of personnel necessary to support the district’s and schools’ purposes, educational programs, and continuous improvement……”"

Ms. Tyson proposed and the Board approved eliminating over 300 teaching positions through “attrition” (simply not replacing 300 that left the system). The Board of Education praised her on not laying anyone in the school system. Does anyone think it is better to keep everyone employed than to keep class sizes manageable for students?
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-have-all-our-teachers-gone.html

Look at the budget for 2010-2011 – Executive Summary – page 8
“Reductions include laying off of approximately 150 central office positions, eliminating non-central office positions (paraprofessionals, media clerks, and CTSS), reducing work calendar days (or furlough days) and other pay reductions for employees, increasing class sizes, downsizing staffing for programs, reducing staffing through attrition, consolidating schools, lowering energy usage, and continuing the suspension of the Board-sponsored retirement funding.”
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/budget/approved-budget-(2011).pdf

“Reductions include laying off of approximately 150 central office positions”:
The Central Office personnel were primarily bus drivers, custodians, and other lower paid employees Ms. Tyson classified as Central Office personnel.

“….reducing staffing through attrition”:
eliminating 300+ teaching positions by not replacing departing teachers – accomplished by allowing class sizes to increase

“suspension of the Board-sponsored retirement funding”
Eliminating the Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) for teachers – The TSA took the place of Social Security in 1979 – DeKalb pays and has paid no Social Security contributions for teachers since 1979. This case is winding its way through the courts and will be a $50,000,000 liability if the teachers win. Their case is strong since their vote to opt out of Social Security hinged on the commitment that DeKalb would fund the TSA.

Ms. Tyson’s 2010-11 budget certainly looks like it was balanced on cuts to staff and programs that directly impact students. The 2011-2012 budget which Ms. Tyson oversaw and Dr. Atkinson had to live by was pretty much more of the same:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/budget/approved-budget-(2012).pdf

IMHO – Looking at the historical data, Ms. Tyson was responsible along with the other two superintendents Lewis and Atkinson for actions that placed students and student achievement last. Ms. Tyson is the last person in charge of the SACS response.

BTW – these are conclusions SACS reached. The vast majority of the specifics are not in this document.

living in an outdated ed system

March 8th, 2013
5:23 pm

Seems to me that folks on here will find issues with everything. You folks have to give the process a chance. You asked for change, now give it a chance to work. Comments like “God help us” are not helpful at this juncture. Reform is not a smooth process – there will be hiccups along the way. I am just very skeptical because we don’t have the right leader in the Superintendent role at this time, and that job is as important, if not more so, then the school board. Thurmond has had a great track record, but I think his tenure started behind the eight ball, and that may sabotage his administration.

Marney

March 8th, 2013
5:46 pm

@Dunwoody…my criticism was aimed at the AJC, who could simply have folded the page and been fully accurate in the title that these were the questions. Champion had the questions on their website this morning, and I found it helpful because my computer wouldn’t start this morning and it gave me a chance to think about my answers a bit before I managed to get logged back in to the link after lunch.

And I don’t think it is fair to accuse the nominating committee with “leaking” a rubric that I believe they worked on in consultation with the delegation in an open meeting this morning. I could have gone to that meeting, listened and then filled it out. But as a practical matter most people wouldn’t have the time for that. This blog would be much easier to access–I don’t even disagree that they explicitly publish the rubric…just do it after 5 p.m. Perhaps there will be an article tomorrow discussing the desired skill set. That discussion in the abstract will make the actual culling make more sense as that also plays out over the next few days.

DunMoody

March 8th, 2013
5:49 pm

Aha! I know who Dunwoody is! (Hope you’re chosen … you’ll bring some much-needed humor to the proceedings.)

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
6:26 pm

@Dunwoody Mom Agreed to all. I’ve been to alot of those meetings, spoken at several going back several years, still do on occassion. I’m sure we’ve seen each other, I used to wear my red shirt as we addressed to Montessori issue. If I remember from back then from your postings here & DSW, you disagreed with us, or at least the way “school choice” worked in DCSS. If I’m mistaken – sorry, lurked here for years, just a recent poster.

But I did agree with some of how you presented your arguments, and they were always soundly & consistently argued – I can always respect that. I’m sure we could go back & forth, but these days I would consider our “special program” not so special in the “extra goodies” sense, rather a working “Method” to teach kids in a Title 1 school, with a budget gutted last summer. We’re still chugging along & a great school in our eyes, far from fancy compared to many.

All that said, I always enjoyed being at those meetings in person, still do. Well “enjoyed” might not be the right word. More like much more to see – talking to others, checking out the regular & “irregular” speakers. Who was there & who was not. Best was watching the “off camera” silliness by the board & central office employees up front. Can’t beat being there.

I bet you would agree that televising every meeting live as well as online would be great for those that can’t attend. You miss out on some, but not all. There are times only a few people are there, even though public, not noticed by many & they would act that way. True transparency can’t be beat. They could pay for it by cutting the lawyers.

And unfortunately it can be entertaining. As you say “if not so tragic.” Must be 20 years ago when I lived in midtown, I would watch the Fulton Country Commission meetings – Emma Darnell, Tom Lowe, etc. they were frighteningly hysterical.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
8:28 pm

The lead photograph reminds me that I had never heard the word “rubric” prior to school teaching. My teachers never used the concept or the word and I have attended among the best schools in the United States, never a “rubric” anywhere.

Rubrics are bad news and part of the dysfunction. They’re like instruction books from people who do not know what they’re doing being forced upon other people. They’re highly inefficient and distracting. Time is valuable. Independence is maybe even more valuable. In truth, the term “rubrics” translates to “colonisation.” Give a rubric to a Formula 1 driver and see if they win the race. Even more relevant, give a rubric to a Formula 1 materials sciences designer. “Rubric” is time-consuming complex checklist. It is anti-intuitive in that it leaves no room for volition, for volition has been appropriated – on the rubric. It’s the same routine as the required “self-reflecting” teacher. It’s poor boundaries and lacking dignity for any intelligent person. But like I said, I have never heard the word prior to teacher training, then, in the school house, it becomes a requirement.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
8:30 pm

I guess I missed the rubric section on closing an italics html tag. Allow me to pony-up.

Rubrics are bad news and part of the dysfunction. They’re like instruction books from people who do not know what they’re doing being forced upon other people. They’re highly inefficient and distracting. Time is valuable. Independence is maybe even more valuable. In truth, the term “rubrics” translates to “colonisation.” Give a rubric to a Formula 1 driver and see if they win the race. Even more relevant, give a rubric to a Formula 1 materials sciences designer. “Rubric” is time-consuming complex checklist. It is anti-intuitive in that it leaves no room for volition, for volition has been appropriated – on the rubric. It’s the same routine as the required “self-reflecting” teacher. It’s poor boundaries and lacking dignity for any intelligent person. But like I said, I have never heard the word prior to teacher training, then, in the school house, it becomes a requirement.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
8:39 pm

When you add up all the column numbers, you get a human being!

Rhetorical question: Did Napolean have a rubric*? Plato? Isaac Newton? Georgia Washington? Benjamin Franklin? Arundhati Roy?

footnote: *the colonisation has begun.

PS It is a serious matter. If you have ever read the Upanishads or Mahaburata, intricacy quickly exceeds anything that can be reduced to the barbarous quality of a grotesque simpleton’s “rubric.” It is basically a stagnant or static (not moving) form of reasoning, dull as a bedpost on a pine bed from the fly-by-night discount furniture store.

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Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
8:54 pm

So how is that rubric going? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sf02zLZWQk

This is not my first rodeo.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
9:04 pm

A rubric is a greeting card from educrats – education bureaucrats. It’s like Vladimir Putin sending you some polonium on a Q-tip.