Archive for the ‘Discipline’ Category

Suspended DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker: ‘I will not quit or step aside.’

Suspended DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker says his removal by Gov. Deal violates the constitution.

Suspended DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker says his removal by Gov. Deal violates the constitution.

In a pro/con today, suspended DeKalb Board of Education member Eugene Walker explains why the governor was wrong to suspend him and five other board members Monday. Taking the other side is state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta. Please read her piece here.

Here is Dr. Walker’s piece. Please focus on his arguments, which are the same ones that the lawyer for the deposed school board will put forth in court later this week. It is important to understand that under challenge is not just the removal of the DeKalb board, but the constitutionality of the state law that permits the governor to step in and yank school board members.

By Dr. Eugene Walker

The governor is wrong in his decision to suspend members of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

The DeKalb School District has been placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a …

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By arresting fewer students, we create safer schools that put more kids on path to college, jobs and not prison

Here is an op-ed on school safety by Judge Steven Teske of the Clayton County Juvenile Court and Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the national civil rights group Advancement Project.

By Judge Steven Teske and Judith Browne Dianis

In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, policymakers across the nation are grappling with how we keep our schools and communities safe. Georgia is no exception. Local school districts in Georgia and across the nation are developing plans to create their own police departments.

While the safety of our children is our highest priority, we must not allow isolated acts of violence to result in reactionary policies that, though well-intentioned, actually undermine school safety and the educational outcomes of our children.

Research shows police in schools operating absent a written protocol do not increase safety, and they do not catch early indicators of mental health needs, identify root causes of underlying violence, or use the …

Continue reading By arresting fewer students, we create safer schools that put more kids on path to college, jobs and not prison »

Lunch and back to business: Should DeKalb board go or stay? Thurmond goes to bat for board.

Afternoon session of state Board of Education hearing on whether to oust the DeKalb County Board of Education. (See earlier blog on what happened in the first half of the day.)

Waiting again for Sarah Copelin-Wood who was on the stand when the hearing broke for lunch. I am listening to the hearing online and the microphones are picking up general chatter around the board table.  Some board member is complaining about how long Copelin-Wood is keeping them waiting. “No respect. No courtesy.”

DOE attorney Jennifer Hackemeyer is back to the email and whether it went to school employees. “Your earlier testimony was that you did not send to a list of employees. I have given you this email and ask that you take a look at it to see if it refreshes your recollection. It appears it was sent to at least one DeKalb County employee. Is that true?”

Copelin-Wood: “Not me, I did not send it. I didn’t sent it to her. Maybe, she was on her personal email. I never would have sent this to our …

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An email so bizarre that I thought Copelin-Wood could never have sent it. I was wrong. And she is out on a limb.

Earlier this week, a reader copied me on an email that Sarah Copelin-Wood sent to some folks.

The email contains a long cut and paste job on the powers and duties of school boards vs. the State Board of Education. The pasted material focuses on the local board’s power to “manage and control” the school system and plays down the state’s power to intervene. I assume that Copelin-Wood sent the email to voice her displeasure with today’s reckoning in front of the state Board of Education, which is considering ousting her and five other DeKalb school board members.

But what floored me more than the body of the email was what Copelin-Wood attached to the email. (By the way, she signed the email, “Ms. Sarah Copelin-Wood, Board Member DeKalb Board of Education – District 3.”)

The attachment features an attack on SACS and Mark Elgart by longtime and vocal critic John Trotter, head of MACE and a frequent commenter on this blog where he has been quite open in his disdain for Elgart and …

Continue reading An email so bizarre that I thought Copelin-Wood could never have sent it. I was wrong. And she is out on a limb. »

State board hearing on DeKalb under way. Newly elected board members off the hook. Board attorney says SACS got wrong info

Updating State Board of Education hearing on whether to suspend DeKalb County school board:

The state Board of Education hearing on DeKalb opened this morning shortly after 8 with a statement from the DeKalb school board attorney Bob Wilson that his clients are challenging the constitutionality of the statue and objecting to the evidence on hearsay and relevance issues.

Wilson is the former DeKalb DA. He was one of the two people appointed by Gov. Perdue to investigate CRCT cheating. He is a noted attorney on education issues.

With DOE lawyer Jennifer Hackemeyer and Wilson making opening statements, the proceeding has the feel of a trial.

Before the formal start, a lawyer from the Attorney General’s Office takes up the issue of the lawsuits that DeKalb school board filed this week in both state and federal court.

She explains to the state board that the DeKalb Board of Education has filed lawsuits in both state and federal court. “The DeKalb Board believes the statute …

Continue reading State board hearing on DeKalb under way. Newly elected board members off the hook. Board attorney says SACS got wrong info »

The task facing Michael Thurmond: Save the system from taking a nose dive

David Schutten

David Schutten

David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, wrote a column on the challenges facing new superintendent Michael Thurmond from an educator’s perspective.

His essay will be part of a package in the Sunday op-ed pages on DeKalb Schools. Please check out the entire package Sunday.

By David Schutten

Michael Thurmond is a proven and accomplished leader who has undertaken a daunting, difficult and perilous job as interim superintendent of the DeKalb County School System, a system that appears to be in a tailspin.

Much like the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 crashing into the cold waters of the Hudson River, I feel as if I am on DeKalb Air Flight 2013 crashing into the granite face of Stone Mountain.  In the midst of the tailspin we have switched pilots.

As  Stephen Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and former Fulton superintendent, stated, Michael Thurmond possesses three of the qualities of a …

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Why is the image of public education distorted by media?

grabarart0920Here is an interesting essay by University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky, a regular contributor to this blog.

He writes about the distance between the reality of public education and the images portrayed in the media.

By Peter Smagorinsky

A few years ago, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly was invited to dinner in a Harlem restaurant by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Each has served as a foil for the other’s constituencies. To O’Reilly, Sharpton represents Black Wilding, the phenomenon that many in the Fox News audience assume is a daily urban occurrence: when a band of poor, black youths roam the streets engaging in social mayhem from assault to robbery to rape to vandalism to murder.

To Sharpton, O’Reilly represents those aspects of White society that believes that all Black people are Wild, based on media reports that emphasize crime and rely on fear to construct images that serve to characterize whole groups of people according to stereotypes based on the behavior of the …

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An Asian-themed party earns a Duke fraternity criticism and suspension

Duke students upset over an Asian-themed frat party went on the offensive and posted these photos around campus.

Duke students upset over an Asian-themed frat party went on the offensive and posted these photos from the event around campus.

In the stupid fraternity tricks department, Duke University’s Kappa Sigma is making national headlines for an Asian-themed frat party Friday that it held despite concerns from the university.

The consequences have been swift and considerable. Hundreds of Duke students condemned the party in a campus rally Wednesday. And the national organization of the Kappa Sigma fraternity suspended the operations of the Duke chapter pending an investigation.

The party is igniting debate nationwide including on the Duke Chronicle, the independent newspaper on the campus, which stopped public commenting after nearly 400 remarks.

I read a lot of the comments, many of which went like this: “I can’t believe people get offended so easily. Pretty soon they’ll be shouting to ban Halloween… No more nuns, or cowboys, or beer girls… The problem is not THEM the problem is …

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Under pressure and deadlines, is DeKalb school board falling apart when it’s supposed to be pulling itself together?

The DeKalb Board is under a microscope and a deadline now that the state Board of Education is considering its dissolution. It doesn’t appear that the board is holding up well under the increased scrutiny.

Despite multiple closed meetings, the board has yet to announce the status of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, who reportedly resigned.

It seems those closed meetings are to find an interim replacement for Atkinson. The board called another executive session for 3 p.m. today. (State law allows elected bodies to duck behind closed doors and shut out the public and press for approved exemptions, including personnel and legal matters.)

Former state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond emerged from a session with the board Monday, which suggests that he’s under consideration for the interim slot. (Let me applaud the reporting of the AJC’s Ty Tagami who is staying with this story. That has meant a lot of waiting around while the DeKalb school board meets in executive …

Continue reading Under pressure and deadlines, is DeKalb school board falling apart when it’s supposed to be pulling itself together? »

If testing and measuring makes for better schools, why are the Obama girls in a school that doesn’t agree?

The Obamas opted for a pricey pivate school for their daughters. (AP)

The Obamas opted for a pricey private school for their daughters. (AP Photo)

In a powerful essay in Education Week, retired educator Alan Jones of Illinois shares his experience accompanying his daughter to look at schools for his grandson.

Jones talks about today’s test-driven education classrooms, codified through No Child Left Behind and incentivized through Race to the Top. He compares schools that measure students almost entirely by test scores to the holistic approach of the Sidwell School attended by President Obama’s girls, saying. “When President Obama talks about good schools, he is talking about schools for other people’s children, not his own.”

Jones makes great points, although comparisons between public and private schools are not necessarily instructive in view of the wide gap in costs. The best private schools in metro Atlanta cost $18,000 to $22,000 a year — and that does not count books and fees — while the average per-pupil spending in public schools in …

Continue reading If testing and measuring makes for better schools, why are the Obama girls in a school that doesn’t agree? »