Reed’s board-packing plan for Atlanta schools is a bad idea

I will assume that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has the best of intentions with his recent idea that someone — namely, himself — should be given the power to appoint new members to the Atlanta school board. The board had a controversial change of leadership last year, and the system now faces the threat of losing its accreditation due to this internal politics (although, as I’ve noted before, a 5-4 split among elected officials is hardly the worst problem at Atlanta Public Schools).

That said, and to paraphrase Chief Justice John Roberts, the way to stop political interference in the school system is to stop political interference in the school system.

If the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accrediting agency takes its own warning about board politics seriously, it cannot approve of what amounts to a mayoral board-packing plan — one that would have to be backed by the governor and General Assembly, no less.

Reed’s plan is no less political than a split among board members who were elected to do their jobs and see matters differently. That’s because, if his potential appointees were to have any impact on the problems SACS identified earlier this year, they would have to be tilted toward either the five-member majority or the four-member minority. Otherwise, the same schism would remain. So, one side will get an undemocratic boost at the expense of the other.

How is that any better than the current politicization?

The city and state governments have an interest in seeing APS succeed, but not to the point that they should run roughshod over the established electoral process. If Reed wants to lead a campaign to have all board members — it has to be all of them — recalled and fresh elections held, fine. The Georgia Constitution allows for recalls, and wiping the slate completely clean may not be a bad idea at this point.

What Atlanta needs is a group of strong board members who are independent enough to challenge the next superintendent when necessary, and to stand up to the outside interests that have only exacerbated the APS cheating scandal and the board’s split. It doesn’t need another group of board members beholden to someone other than the voters.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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50 comments Add your comment

carlosgvv

March 22nd, 2011
9:14 am

If Reed has his way, will we go from bad to worse?

RxMacduff

March 22nd, 2011
9:23 am

Well you and your paper endorsed him. You mean to tell us that you didn’t know he was like this or capable of doing this? No wonder no one reads your paper. Dingbat.

Aquagirl

March 22nd, 2011
9:25 am

Kyle is right on this—-What Atlanta needs is voters who don’t elect self-centered jerkweeds to their school board. That’s the real problem.

We really need to cut local elections. The elected office of Sheriff, Coroner, Court Clerk, etc. are holdovers from back when most people didn’t leave their County more than once a year.

Churchill's MOM.....Rand Paul for President

March 22nd, 2011
9:28 am

Reed is a member of the Jackson political gang, they get several million dollars out of the cafateria operations in APS. Reed is a status quo backer of Hall.. What a mess, the real loser is the poor black children and the winner is the black politicians like Reed.

michael

March 22nd, 2011
9:36 am

Big Whoop. A new smell coming from the pig farm that is Atlanta / Fulton County government, politics and competence..

Ricardo Cabeza

March 22nd, 2011
9:41 am

“Hizonner” thinks that his blatant arrogance will somehow fix that which has been irreparably broken. Just how do you think these elite “mayoral appointees” will be received by the remaining “bode membahs?” The train wreck that is the APS board is already well on its way to losing accreditation all by itself. Reed’s plan will simply hasten the inevitable.

Wyle Kingfield

March 22nd, 2011
10:00 am

I am so boring today. But at least I ripped a Black Guy.

tjatl

March 22nd, 2011
10:19 am

Atlanta voters need to put a stop to the practice of electing school board members who view their position as a preschool playground for their political ambitions. Ostensibly, the purpose of school boards is to grow and nurture students, not politicians.

Tyler Durden

March 22nd, 2011
10:35 am

So when Sonny Perdue or Nathan Deal loads up the Ethics Commission, the PSC Board and various other oversight entities with cronies and financial supporters, it’s 100% above-the-board, ‘no questions asked’ service to the community. Yet if Kasim Reed suggests it, it’s suddenly ‘politicization’.

Hmmmmm… no double standards at play here. Nope. None at all! Just a conservative being a conservative :-)

Kyle: this is why you remain a hack, and will continue to remain so until you can manage at least a hint of objectivity in your approach.

Will

March 22nd, 2011
10:36 am

Your right on this one Kyle.

It’s usually republican yahoos who get elected by preaching “less gov’t is good government” and “local control is better than state control” and, once elected, set about trying to control everything at the state level – see charter schools and “vouchers”.

Although I have zero faith in the electorate of Atlanta – the electorate at the local level selects a local board of education to, among other things, formulate policy and direct the Superintendent to implement the policy of the local board of educaiton.

Thought that was AJC Agenda

March 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

Did you clear this piece with Galloway and Bookman and Downey. It’s clear that’s their program.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
11:01 am

Good morning all. While I agree with most of your arguments, Kyle, one intrigues me: “The city and state governments have an interest in seeing APS succeed…” Were the board apolitical, that statement would not be true – the political entities would have no theoretical interest in success or failure of the government school system, it would be an interest only of the school board. I think the perception of “interest” in the success/failure of the school system may be a factor in driving down the standards, leading to “more political interference…”

Of course I would chuck the whole system, set up a system of autonomous neighborhood schools, let them compete for pupils.

Tea

March 22nd, 2011
11:03 am

You said: “What Atlanta needs is a group of strong board members… ”

No one disputes that. How to install such a Board is what’s at issue. Do you have any ideas or do you see your job as limited only to critisicm?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
11:03 am

The problem with government schools is the traditional leftist hubris, that attitude derived form the apocryphal medical practitioner who afirms, “the operation was a success but the patient died.” The government school system is a similar success,

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 22nd, 2011
11:04 am

All of my typos @ 11:03 prove I am one of the public school system success stories.

Kyle Wingfield

March 22nd, 2011
11:06 am

RxMacduff: Neither I nor the AJC endorsed Reed. The paper didn’t endorse anyone in the race, and I enddorsed Mary Norwood

Real

March 22nd, 2011
11:33 am

Maybe the people should stop electing officials with online “doctorates” in Education. The administration also should not enable such endeavors by advancing these people through the system. If you show up with an online Ph.D. as your only credential, then you should be laughed out of the building, not promoted to principal.

MiltonMan

March 22nd, 2011
11:54 am

The people of Atlanta elected these clowns. They and their children deserve what they elect. Gov. Deal please do not get involved in this garbage. My over-inflated North Fulton tax bill will only end up getting larger.

MiltonMan

March 22nd, 2011
11:59 am

The AJC quit endorsing candidates in 2009. They did this in an attempt to keep the only literate readers they had left – those in North Fulton.

Note 1 to Gov. Deal: Tell Reed to go pack sand. The loser endorsed your opponent Rat Roy Barnes in the lastest election & now he expects you to bail out his city.

Kyle Wingfield

March 22nd, 2011
12:08 pm

Tyler: The PSC members are elected, and I’m not aware of Perdue or Deal (or any Democratic govs, for that matter) adding members to the Ethics Commission to negate an irritating majority. I’d tell you to get some better examples, but most of the other boards and commissions whose members are appointed by the governor don’t rise to the level of a school board’s importance.

Ragnar: All I meant by the city and state’s “interest” is that it’s not good for Atlanta or Georgia to have APS flailing so publicly.

Holly

March 22nd, 2011
12:16 pm

Wake me up when somebody in Atlanta has a good idea…

dudeski

March 22nd, 2011
12:28 pm

What is in the best interest of the kids is their accreditation. If the board can’t compromise then they should commence to steppin’ (in the best interest of the kids). If the mayor is stepping in then he is acting in the best interest of the students.

Dabir Dalton

March 22nd, 2011
12:43 pm

Compared to the Republicans, led by ethics challenged nathan deal, funneling Hope dollars to private colleges while taking them away from State colleges Reed is only playing politics as usual. So Kyle I suggest that you take your fellow ethically challenged republicans to task before you take on the democrats.

3rd world politics

March 22nd, 2011
12:45 pm

This whole thing smacks of the same kind of 3rd world politics that goes on with the Clayton County school system. The problem is that in Atlanta just like with Clayton you have a good number of people that are symptomatic of 3rd world politics- ignorant, utterly foolish, irrational dumbarses who would cut off their noses to spite their faces. And who suffers? Their children of course. These people need saving from themselves- otherwise Atlanta could end up being another disaster like Detroit or Newark.

DebbieDoRight

March 22nd, 2011
12:46 pm

Reed is a member of the Jackson political gang, they get several million dollars out of the cafateria operations in APS.

Reed was only a teenager when Jackson was in power. duh!

DebbieDoRight

March 22nd, 2011
12:50 pm

Kyle: If Reed wants to lead a campaign to have all board members — it has to be all of them — recalled and fresh elections held, fine

Reed should not be allowed to circumvent the election process. Atlanta resident voters who put those people in office should be the only ones who can pull them out. Heavy sigh……….o.k. here it goes……….you’ll probably never, ever,never,never,ever, never see this again, but ………………….I AGREE W/Kyle!!! another heavy sigh………………hell must be at subzero temperatures right about now.

Grasshopper

March 22nd, 2011
1:03 pm

‘Reed was only a teenager when Jackson was in power. duh!’

Jackson’s third term was 1990-1994; Reed would have been about 21 in 1990. Not a teenager.

Reed is definitely a protege of the Jackson political machine; if you don’t know this, you don’t need to comment on Atlanta politics.

And you don’t need to have lived in the time of Marx to be a Marxist. Duh Debbie!

jm

March 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

Kyle, I respectfully disagree with you on this. Executive decision making should be vested in the mayor, with the proper checks and balances. I don’t think the mayor’s proposal maintains that very well, but it is one solution.

The status quo is not acceptable, and recalling will only make matters worse.

poison pen

March 22nd, 2011
1:12 pm

Debbie, I’m getting cold also because I agree with you & Kyle. Wow!

Adriene

March 22nd, 2011
1:52 pm

What would be the interim solution. Nobody disagrees with the basic concept that the board needs to serve the mission of APS rather than self-interests of being heard as an individual. But no opinion writer has offered up a good, “how do you handle it now,” thought. A voter driven recall would take more time than May 2011. If the board did the honorable thing – and resigned, setting up elections would take more time than May 2011. Given the current situation – what suggestions do op-ed writers and/or others have as the interim period solution?

Old South

March 22nd, 2011
2:01 pm

Let Mr. Reed do what he needs to do. He strikes me as a General-esc kind of character. People like this know how to get things done, but you might not like what the recipe calls for.

captguitarman

March 22nd, 2011
2:43 pm

This whole SAC accreditation thing is a fraud. The courts found nothing improper with how the school board operates. Close votes on a Board of Education is no reason to pull a school district’s accreditation. All politics at all levels are extreme hardball to the hilt these days — that’s just the way things are, and they are not going to change any time soon. Plus, the rift of the Board of Education occurred because a majority of Board members not then in power figured out that a cover up and whitewashing of the cheating scandal was under way and being orchestrated by Hall, her minions, the Board of Education, and the Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta business leaders. So, they took over — legally. And good thing they did. Thank goodness for the rift. But do you think that if the Mayor’s office had a couple of hand picked political hacks on the Board that the cover up would have come to light — not with what the City has at stake in this fiasco. And nothing from the SAC on the attempted cover up of the cheating scandal. Are priorities screwed up there somehow- or maybe just politics? Yes, there is much at stake, and the Superindent’s office keeps trying to intimidate the teachers. This is going to go down badly for many education “professionals” and many vested interests when the state’s investigation results are published. And rightly so. In following this story and the actions and statements of the superintent’s office, some teachers, some Board members, the business community, etc. you rarely see concern expressed for these already disavantaged school children who are moved ahead without the necessary skills to succeed. You only see that from the critics. The mayors office needs to butt out. There are enough politics already. A culture that puts the school kids first needs to be created and that won’t happen if designated City of Atlanta first advocates are placed on the Board of Education.

Churchill's MOM.....Rand Paul for President

March 22nd, 2011
3:09 pm

DebbieDoRight

March 22nd, 2011
12:46 pm

The Jackson family still controls the Atlanta Airport and the cafateria services in APS..

songbird

March 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

MiltonMan – I just love your narrow minded, uninformed opinions of those of us who live in the City of Atlanta. I live in the Morningside/Virginia/Highland area of the City where most of the residents are white, upper middle class and well educated. Homes here cost upwards of $500K with many over $1MM.

There’s also Buckhead where I suppose you think all of the residents there are uneducated, freeloaders too?

You clearly are an idiot!

Michael H. Smith

March 22nd, 2011
4:20 pm

Kyle Wingfield

March 22nd, 2011
12:08 pm

What is truly not in anyone’s best interest is to have failing students. On that the three of us would likely agree, including agreement on public funding of education that is not limited solely to the public school system. Schools should have to compete for students: On that the three of us would agree once again. What we should consider, is how much of the politics involved in education could be eliminated in having the money follow the student, instead of all the money following only the public school system. There is something always nasty happening when there is too much money in conjunction with politics that usually brings the worst out in all politicians.

TruthBe

March 22nd, 2011
4:51 pm

The problem with Atlanta is there is too many Corrupt Black “Give Me Give Me” Democrat Politicians that run almost everything. And if you oppose them, their corrupt policies and under the table deals the media (AJC, CNN ) will call you a racist. Mayor JACKSON WAS A COMMPLETE CROOK as the Mayor of Atlanta. Little Mayor Reed is a junior jackson mayor himself. And why hasn’t the AJC investagated the under the table deals that the Jackson Family has with the City and County? How come Kyle???????????

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 22nd, 2011
5:45 pm

To understand the public education system in Atlanta, one must have a doctorate in grievance mongering.

Why would we want an outsider imposing the unqualified upon status quo?

They made their bed, let them sleep in it.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 22nd, 2011
5:51 pm

If the Abu Ghraib mainstream lib media says nothing about this, does that mean they approve of it?

In a public relations nightmare for the U.S. military, the German news magazine Der Spiegel has published photographs of grinning American soldiers posing next to the corpse of an Afghan civilian.

Or were they just going after Bush?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 22nd, 2011
5:53 pm

If the “Rush To War” mainstream lib media says nothing about this, does that mean they approve of it?

Where did Mr. Obama get the authority to commit United States forces to war in Libya? There was no declaration of war. There was no authorizing resolution by Congress allowing money to be spent on a war against Col. Gaddafi. As far as I know, there was no meeting of Mr. Obama and top leaders of Congress to discuss the subject in even rough form, let alone detail. There was no lengthy buildup in which the Congress was “allowed” to express the people’s opinion on whether we want to be in a third concurrent war.

Or were they just going after Bush?

I sang DIXIE as he died...

March 22nd, 2011
6:35 pm

The APS will lose its’ accreditation and then maybe those dolts who have run it into the ground will wake up and do the right thing to fix it, or someone who knows what to do will TCB! Maynard Jackson was a crook whose family got and is still currently filthy rich because of Hartsfield airport. For you new comers to Atlanta, find yourself a “native” Atlantan who can tell you what happened after Sam Massell lost in 1973. It wasn’t pretty.

killerj

March 22nd, 2011
7:50 pm

Are kid,s are so screwed by pompous asses that can,t see past the almighty dollar.Go Tea Party.

WillieRae

March 22nd, 2011
8:37 pm

Whether I like how Atlanta runs or not, having APS lose its acredation is bad for everyone in the metro area. The publicity would be awful and its effects will linger for a decade. Is Atlanta capable of electing a competent board?

buck@gon

March 22nd, 2011
9:42 pm

Damn Kyle,

That’s a great article. It’s well argued, well-thought and reasoned.

Take a hint from Jay and Cynthia and post lousy blog articles. It seems that in the world of editorial blogs there is an opposite-world syndrome: “you get more flies with crap than with honey”!

Maybe that means we’re all flies….. bzzzzzzzz

Emmanuel Hall

March 22nd, 2011
10:59 pm

Non-sense, just pure non-sense. There is no evidence that Mayor Reed would not make great strides in changes for the better in the APS. The children of Atlanta are the victims and I for one don’t give a damn about the APS board.
I do; however, know that if something is not done soon, another generation of so-called urban school children will be lost to a life of misery.

DebbieDoRight

March 23rd, 2011
8:49 am

Oh booo hooo that mean ole Maynard Jackson he RUINED Atlanta!!

During Jackson’s first term as the Mayor, much progress was made in improving race relations in and around Atlanta, and Atlanta acquired the true motto of “A City Too Busy to Hate.” As mayor, he led the beginnings and much of the progress on several huge public-works projects in Atlanta and its region. He helped arrange for the rebuilding of the Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport’s huge terminal to modern standards, and this airport was renamed the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in his honor, shortly after his death.

Jackson was mayor when the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) obtained a large amount of Federal funding for a rapid-transit rail-line system, when its construction began, and when MARTA began its first rail transit service in Atlanta and in DeKalb County in 1979, and during its continual expansion thereafter. He was also mayor when Atlanta was selected as the host city for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, when the decision was made in September 1990. As mayor, he accepted the Olympic flag at the 1992 closing ceremonies in Barcelona, Spain. Many public works projects needed to be completed in and around Atlanta anyway, such as Interstate Highway rebuilding projects and park renovations, but they were expedited from 1990-1996 in preparation for the Olympic Games that began in August 1996.

Man!! He should’ve been tarred and feathered for bringing prosperity to Atlanta!!

DebbieDoRight

March 23rd, 2011
8:50 am

Reed shouldn’t open that can of worms, (circumventing the election process); he doesn’t know where it’ll lead. Someone may want to take HIM out of office without a recall vote; just as he wants to take out the APSB.

Grasshopper

March 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

Debbie, your WikiClip (or whatever that is) changes nothing about the fact that while the city maty have prospered under (despite of?) Maynard Jackson, he also created a huge political machine that ran through Bill Campbell (remember that crook?), Shirley Franklin and current mayor Kasim Reed. They all continued to expand the political power of their clique and practice their own type of largesse upon those that help them stay in power and get rich.

If you deny the existence of this machine, your opinion of Atlanta politics is childish at best.

tar and feathers party

March 23rd, 2011
10:08 am

More tribalism….The Chief rewards his loyal lieutenants with plum jobs and opportunities for plunder.

tar and feathers party

March 23rd, 2011
10:12 am

Jubba the Hut Jackson was the biggest hater of all, always bashing the white folks….a quote from Jubba “I am not paying to light I-75 for the white people to drive home from work in Atlanta.” So the lights went out on I-75 for years and years…..Thanks Jubba, may you rot in hades……forever and a day….

tar and feathers party

March 23rd, 2011
10:15 am

Dear TruthBe: Kyle and the AJC got no guts or ethics, they just roll over the the Black Mafia in Atlanta…That is why white people long ago canceled their subscriptions to that rag.