Archive for the ‘School boards’ Category

DeKalb school board drama distilled down to two questions for state Supreme Court, which has six months to answer

The controversy surrounding Gov. Nathan Deal’s removal of six DeKalb Board of Education members has been distilled down to two constitutional questions and presented to the  state Supreme Court.

I hate to think of the chaos if the state’s highest court, which has six months to rule, invalidates the governor’s appointment of six new members.

The court sent out this notice today:

The DeKalb County school board case, in which many media have expressed an interest, has just been docketed in our court. Please see the attached order certifying the questions the federal judge is asking this court to answer.

This case will be handled by the Supreme Court of Georgia like any other. The court has up to two court terms from the time it’s filed here – which is about six months – to make a decision. If the parties request oral argument, this Court will hear the case, as opposed to considering the case based purely on the briefs.

The brief from the “appellant” – the DeKalb County …

Continue reading DeKalb school board drama distilled down to two questions for state Supreme Court, which has six months to answer »

Tea Party explains its opposition to Cobb education SPLOST vote on Tuesday

J.D. Van Brink is a Cobb County resident, businessman and chairman of the Georgia Tea Party, Inc.  In this essay, he explains the Tea Party’s opposition to the Cobb Education SPLOST IV referendum.

On Tuesday, Cobb taxpayers will decide whether to renew a 1 percent special sales tax.

The special purpose local option sales tax was created in 1996 as a way to fund capital projects. Of the 562 education tax referendums held statewide since 1996, 94 percent have been approved by voters, according to the AJC.

While Cobb’s first proposal for an education sales tax failed, the three campaigns since have been successful.  Cobb voters passed their last SPLOST in 2008 with 60 percent approval.

According to the AJC:

The Cobb and city of Marietta districts would use the projected $773 million collected from the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for hundreds of projects including repairing or replacing dilapidated buildings and athletic facilities and constructing a …

Continue reading Tea Party explains its opposition to Cobb education SPLOST vote on Tuesday »

Suspended DeKalb school board member: SACS distorted our record and DeKalb’s performance

Deposed DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker continues to challenge his suspension and the reasons for it. The matter has now moved to the state Supreme Court.  Walker says the new appointees named this past week deserve support.

However, Walker maintains the decision to suspend him and five other board members was not only illegal but based on distortions by the accrediting agency. Walker says the record needs to be corrected, on both the performance of the school board and the district.

By Eugene Walker

‘The governor made the unilateral decision to replace six duly elected officers of the DeKalb County Board of Education. As our constitutional challenge makes its way through the courts, these appointees, along with the three elected officers allowed to stay, are in charge and everyone should be supportive of these stewards until the matter is resolved. I agree with the governor that there is a lot at stake and I urge the public and the media to stay involved as we move …

Continue reading Suspended DeKalb school board member: SACS distorted our record and DeKalb’s performance »

Can we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

artchangeCan we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

I wondered about that question after meetings with Georgia’s last Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, and House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta. The men sat down with the AJC recently to discuss education issues in the state.

In many areas, the two leaders — both noted for their interest in education — see eye to eye.

“Just because a child is born in Schley County and not Forsyth County, you cannot constitutionally justify that child is going to receive an inferior education just because of an accident of birth,” said Barnes.

Speaking to AJC reporters a week later, Lindsey said much the same thing. “The fact of where a child is born should not determine whether they are going to have a future or not. Wherever a child is born, we have to concentrate on how to get them the education they need.”

Where the two leaders disagree is over the fundamental definition of public education: Is schooling a collective concern funded and …

Continue reading Can we simultaneously fix and flee public schools? »

Here are bios of the six new DeKalb board members. Impressive credentials by any standard.

Here are the bios of the six new board members from the governor’s office.

Both these bios and Gov. Nathan Deal’s comments at the press conference that just ended indicate that the selection focus was on a fresh start and on a board that could work together. Deal noted that several of the appointees have experience in mediation.

The board will be sworn in at 1 p.m. today, so DeKalb can now hold meetings and take action.

As I noted in my first blog on the six, I have seen Thad Mayfield in action; he headed the 20-person citizen panel that reviewed school enrollments and recommended closings three years ago.  I thought he did a good job, and the panel was fair and efficient. (That the school board didn’t act on its recommendations is fodder for another day.)

The statement and bios:

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the names of the six new DeKalb County school board members.

“I tasked the nominating panel with finding excellent board members who will put the school system back on …

Continue reading Here are bios of the six new DeKalb board members. Impressive credentials by any standard. »

DeKalb set for its own version of papal white smoke to rise today. Deal to announce six new school board members.

Millions of Catholics are waiting for the white smoke to rise from Sistine Chapel, signifying their church has a new leader.  Thousands of DeKalb residents are waiting for their own version of white smoke to rise today from the Capitol.

Gov. Nathan Deal  is scheduled to announce new leaders for the DeKalb school board at 11 a.m. Those new board members will be sworn in today, according to the AJC political reporter Greg Bluestein, who already talked to the governor this morning at a breakfast event.

When the smoke clears today, DeKalb will have a functioning school board. The district may also have residual bitterness from those who feel that Deal overstepped his legal bounds in ousting six legally elected board members. Those board members were elected by as much as 72 percent of the voters in their districts.

The newly appointed board members can best overcome that ill will with competent and quick action. The six Deal appointees, culled from an applicant pool of more than …

Continue reading DeKalb set for its own version of papal white smoke to rise today. Deal to announce six new school board members. »

Cellphones in Atlanta schools: Call me maybe. But only in emergencies.

I remain amazed how often I see groups of kids sitting around on their cellphones. Even when they have actual human beings sitting across from them at the Dairy Queen or the Starbucks, they are engrossed in their phones. And the worse offenders are the kids with iPhones, who apparently have no reason to ever look up from their screens.

So, I have mixed reactions to Atlanta’s decision to allow all students to bring cellphones to school.

There is nothing mixed about the position of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, which issued this formal statement:

Whereas, we understand that the superintendent may be charged with constructing a regulation in regards to APS’ existing cell phone policy, the AFT is requesting that the Atlanta School Board disallow cell phones on school grounds and within school buildings by students.  (Change the existing policy.)

As we continue to hear from and interface with APS instructional staff, we have gained a greater comprehension and …

Continue reading Cellphones in Atlanta schools: Call me maybe. But only in emergencies. »

Here are folks interviewed for the DeKalb school board

Here is the list of 63 people interviewed by the governor’s panel and the districts for which they were under consideration. (The districts are the numbers next to their names. Remember, DeKalb has two super districts.) The governor is scheduled to announce six board members from this list tomorrow at 11 a.m.

“I am overwhelmed by the extraordinary group of people in DeKalb County who stepped forward to try to help their community,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “I greatly appreciate the nominating panel’s hard work and the difficult choices the members faced when narrowing down a field with so many excellent candidates. These individuals have worked with the best interests of DeKalb’s children in mind, and I’m proud of the progress we have made. Protecting the opportunities of our youngest generation is a sacred trust; I want DeKalb’s parents, students, teachers and homeowners to know, it’s a trust I will keep.”

The list:

Ophelia Mims 5,9

Melvin Mitchell 5,9

Cheryl …

Continue reading Here are folks interviewed for the DeKalb school board »

Breaking news: Governor will select new DeKalb board members tomorrow

AJC political report Greg Bluestein is reporting that Gov. Nathan Deal expects to announce six new DeKalb County school board members on Wednesday at a mid-morning press conference. Deal met today with the nominating committee he assembled to review the candidates.

According to Bluestein:

Deal said the five-member panel interviewed about 60 applicants and then met with him Tuesday morning to discuss their findings.

“I’m very encouraged by the names I saw. And I think everyone will be encouraged when they see the qualifications that the individuals that have been interviewed bring to the table,” he said. “It’s a commentary on the citizens of DeKalb County that we’ve had so many very qualified people.”

Deal suspended two-thirds of the DeKalb school board last month after an accrediting agency placed the district on probation. The Republican said he was wary of intervening in an overwhelmingly Democratic county, but that he took action because he feared metro Atlanta’s economy …

Continue reading Breaking news: Governor will select new DeKalb board members tomorrow »

Where are the voices of teachers in DeKalb mess? Here is one and he’s not holding back.

downeyart0726 (Medium)A DeKalb teacher sent me this piece, noting that none of the blog commentaries on the crisis in DeKalb have come from teachers.

I suspect teachers all over the country will agree with his comments about the lack of respect for the profession. (At his request, I am not using his name because of his concerns for his job.)

This teacher is responding to a recent DeKalb commentary on the blog  by Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall, but his essay speaks to the conditions facing teachers in many places:

I’ve seen so many commentaries over the weeks about the plight of the DeKalb School Systems – from interim superintendents to possible ex-board members to concerned politicians. The blaring omission of a teacher voice rings louder about our current state of affairs. I’ve shrugged all of them off and kept-calm-and-carried-on as has been the trickle-down mantra for years in DeKalb County.

Then, l read I read Lawrence M. Schall’s “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” commentary.

His …

Continue reading Where are the voices of teachers in DeKalb mess? Here is one and he’s not holding back. »