Wednesday, February 3, 2010

America's Choice - Sucking up the Stimulus


So, it's true. As Channel 2 is reporting, nearly 200 DeKalb County school employees will be boarding flights to Los Angeles this week to attend an education conference that will cost taxpayers nearly $400,000. The money isn’t coming from local tax dollars but from federal dollars that came to the county as part of the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus package.

Stimulus money from Washington is often discussed in terms of “shovel ready” construction projects that are supposed to create jobs for unemployed Americans. But the DeKalb County School System has decided to use stimulus money to attend a four-day conference sponsored by America’s Choice, which a schools spokesman calls “a great thing.”

The organization’s Web site describes it as a “solution provider" ... that offers “comprehensive, proven solutions to the complex problems educators face in an era of accountability.” The Web site also says America’s Choice has “an unparalleled history as a national thought leader.”

School spokesman Dale Davis told Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Richard Belcher that 184 principals, instructional coaches, district staff and teachers are scheduled to attend the conference in Hollywood. We found that the primary conference hotel is the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa.

Davis said the school system will spend $91,500 for conference registrations and another $291,400 for hotels, flights, meals and incidentals. That’s a total of $382,900 in federal tax money. In an email, Davis wrote, “I am happy that you are expressing interesting in this training opportunity for our employees. We are focused on student improvement. America’s Choice is in partnership with the district to help improve the academic success in 40 of our lowest performing schools.”

Click here for the entire story from WSB.

To view the conference agenda, click here.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Virtually every day we learn of a new outrage committed by this school system and its board of education. I am sick of it, and thankful that I only have one child left in the DCSS. At least when she graduates, I won't take this as personally as I do now. What can we do besides write our board members -- which I've done again and again with no results -- and support better candidates -- which I fruitlessly did last election cycle?

Anonymous said...

Why go when school is in session?? What kind of leadership lets 200 staffers including principals skip school like that?

It doesn't matter that it's fed money. It's still taxpayer money. And DCSS would have never even gone with America's Choice is they didn't hire a DCSS administrator to lobby C Lew. I wonder if Talley was for or against it.

One Fed Up Insider said...

SO if Obama is paying for the America's Choice... Who is paying for the sub's? And how many of them are there going to be?

I bet Obama is not paying for them.

Ella Smith said...

My concern is that this is money to help bring jobs into Dekalb County. This trip to Hollywood does nothing to stimulate or bring jobs into the schools into Dekalb County.

Whomever is making these decisions to spend stimulus money to send people to conferences is the person who has the problem. I do not think this was the intent of the stimulus money. The stimulus money was to stimulate jobs here in Georgia and in Dekalb County. What does our school system do? They spend it on services in California.

I have heard nothing but negative comments from our teachers about American's Choice. I am concerned about decisions being made solely by the county office without collaboration from the most important individuals in our school system who are the teachers.

When I used to teach in Dekalb I heard teachers talk about being on committees with certain board members and instructional members from the county office and after the meetings the school board members and county office staff would totally ignor the teachers and do what they county office wanted to do anyway.

I think many decisions are made on not what is best for our students but what may be best for a friends' pocketbook. I am fearful that many political decisions are made without true decisions based on scientific data.

I hope what I have heard is not true. I am always one who always questions what I hear. However, American Choice is not used in many schools around the state that seem to be successful regarding making AYP each year.

Anonymous said...

How many people are attending this conference? I'm guessing that DeKalb is sending the largest or one of the largest contingents.

What was the name of the DCSS administrator who sold her soul to America's Choice and sweet talked C Lew into buying this crap?

Cerebration said...

Dr. Deborah Rives

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the benefit if they had worked with Orton-Gillingham or possibly with Georgia Universities to provide training to DeKalb teachers at a facility in DeKalb?

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Deb Roves, tell me what it is like to sell your soul?


Look at this AC presentation:
http://www1.pgcps.org/WorkArea/downloadasset.aspx?id=29008

It's a whole lotta nothing. Teachers hate it. if it looks like sh$%, and smells like sh%^, it is sh$%.

And C Lew didn't even pretend that the only reason he bought this junk curriculum was because of Deb the Sellout:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/press/pdf/2009-07-30.2009-09-11.DCSS_Joins_with_Americas_Choice.pdf

DCSS Joins with America’s Choice
DeKalb County School System is committed to increasing
student performance and closing achievement gaps. As a part of
this work, DCSS has welcomed the America’s Choice
comprehensive school reform program into 40 of its elementary,
middle and high schools.
America’s Choice is a research-based, instructional improvement
program that addresses low student achievement in literacy and
mathematics—ultimately “changing the culture and expectations
of low-performing schools.”
“We are very excited about [America’s Choice] because it will
connect teaching and learning and will improve student
achievement,” said Dr. Wanda Gilliard, Associate
Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “We are
strengthening our curriculum, but we’re also strengthening our
students who will come through our program here in DeKalb
County School System.”
America’s Choice will work to enhance the state-mandated
Georgia Performance Standards curriculum by providing
accelerated programs so that elementary students are well
prepared for middle school, middle school students are equipped
to handle high school coursework, and high school students are
college-ready and/or work-ready.
DeKalb will implement the Intensive Design program for its
selected elementary schools and the Rigor & Readiness program
for middle and high schools. Both of these programs target
students who are not performing at grade level and exposes them
to a higher level of critical thinking with focused programming
intended to accelerate the students’ learning in one school year.
According to Dr. Deborah Rives, a Project Coordinator for
America’s Choice and a former administrator with DCSS, the school teams were highly engaged
and excited about the new initiative.

“I have been very proud that this is my old school district because I’m very proud of the people
that have been here and the work they’ve done…It is my belief that we will have the best
implementation of America’s Choice nationwide of any other district that we’ve had,” said Dr.
Rives having helped to facilitate the summer training.
The 40 schools chosen for the first year of implementation were identified based on the school’s
inconsistency in meeting AYP standards. In these 40 schools, America’s Choice is designed so
that the principal is the instructional leader and creates a literacy and mathematics-rich culture by
reviewing available data with stakeholders, diagnosing school and student needs, and setting
targets for achievement.
This year’s partnership with America’s Choice actually marks DeKalb’s second run with the
research-based tool. In 2001, America’s Choice was implemented in select schools and though
proven effective, the program was discontinued due to budget constraints.
DeKalb County School System expects that its implementation of America’s Choice will grow as
the benefits of its collaboration with America’s Choice become apparent in increased student
learning and achievement. Careful analysis of student data will guide the pace of implementation
and expansion of the program.

Anonymous said...

The bathroom in my sons school looks like something from a 3rd world country, I bet even 100 grand would fix it right up. This is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so you have to bring your own toilet paper to go into some bathrooms in DeKalb and you sometimes have to cover your head cause its raining through the roof on you... but these people are going to Hollywood. Hmmm...

Platos Republic said...

I looked at the conference schedule. Looks like about 8 hours total (for the entire weekend)at most for sessions.

https://register.americaschoice.org/event_sched.pdf

Anonymous said...

America's Choice sucks the life right out of the teachers. As always in cases like AC, SpringBoard, and the new ELA textbooks that are most definitely NOT needed, follow the money trail. None of these things come into the county for the benefit of the students. Someone is making money-plain and simple. Just find out who it is.

Anonymous said...

Dear Board Members,

By embracing America's Choice (and/or any other such programs), are you saying that the vaunted and first-place seeking DCSS needs "training wheels" to succeed? Is America's Choice a "tutoring service" for district-level administrators?

If that is truly-really-really-the case, should the Dekalb Board of Education just hire "slice" of the America's Choice staff and an executive as a complete replacement for for the current Building B staff?

DCSS should educate and lead directly not by "proxy"!

Vox Noctae

Anonymous said...

As one who teaches in one of the schools selected to implement the America's Choice program, I find that the curriculum is poorly written and does not meet the needs of the students. The program does not provide rigor and readiness as it indicates, but it requires an enormous amount of mundane paper work for the teachers implementing the instruction. The students are bored, the curriculum does not provide the necessary skills students need to meet, and/or exceed on the CRCT test. In fact, the curriculum does not relate at all towards the skills students should know and learn for the test. Schools that are currently implementing the program will continue to fall short of making AYP if CLewis continues with it.

In addition, I would like to know why most of the schools implementing the America's Choice program are on the south end of the county? The majority of the schools on the north end are not using the America's Choice curriculum. Why is there a division among the curriculum for the schools? Instead of spending the stimulus money on an inadequate program, new books should have been purchased so that teachers could implement their on skills, strategies, and creativity with instruction.

It is time for the citizens of Dekalb County to demand a quality education for their children. The entire board of education continues to go along with whatever CLewis wants without investigating and/or inquiring about it. The things going on in the school system are appalling, and degrading, to say the least. Please read and print the article in today's AJC about CLewis and the gas purchases.

Anonymous said...

@ One Fed Up Insider:


"Obama" isn't paying for anything. DCSS chose to pay for America's choice, using stimulus funds...I have used a scripted program and it was terrible...waste of money, time, etc. Who's paying for subs? Hopefully the schools out of their funds. The county should not be on the hook for the subs.

Anonymous said...

Most of the schools using America's Choice are in the south end of the county because the program is being paid for with Title 1 Funds and can only be implemented in Title 1 schools. Most of which are in South DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Is there a list of schools implementing this program? I want to make sure my kid goes to a school NOT on the list :-)

OK, I'm a former DeKalb educator. I've been to conferences, workshops, school visits, reverse site visits, professional learning opportunities in and out of the county, and I know it all costs money. Some of it is even valuable and worth it. But Dr. Talley in the piece says "I don't know how else we could have done it". Well, she's an idiot. I can come up with three other ways to do it, all cheaper.

1. Hold a mini conference on the East coast, even in DeKalb, or use school facilities like the Bryant Center or Fernbank to introduce and train teachers in the concept. You pay for facilitators to come in from the west coast, but its a lot cheaper. You can still send some people out to the conference, maybe one per school, but you save thousands trucking in a few facilitators rather than shipping out .

2. Send teachers to schools participating in the program already - or is this just on the West Coast? Again, some, but not 180 people still can attend the conference, and bring back some ideas.

3. Get it working in one to three seed schools here in DeKalb. Again, some people get the free trip to Hollywood, but they put the program together, get it working, it could be worth it. That's year one. Year two you expand it to ten, by watching the first set of schools. Year three you get all 40 on board. Meanwhile, you assess and tweak as you go, and you use the schools where it works as your models for the next level of school.

OK, I have a fourth idea but its radical and maybe not doable on the conference end, but definitely doable as far as technology in the Bryant Center. Most conference sessions I've seen are little more than powerpoint presentations (or "lectures about how teachers should never lecture". Have the conference streamed online for a subscription fee. Have teachers at the Bryant Center watch the presentations. Seriously, its not much more than you do at a conference anyway. Create a system to handle questions, activities, deliver handouts, and you won't lose much of the experience of being there, but you will shed the hundreds of thousands in a) travel b) hotels c) per diems.

Seriously...there's a few things about the education reform that you should know:

- School reform never happens overnight.

- Once you have the reform in place, it becomes the old way of doing things...and so here comes another reform!

- The best teachers - you know who they are - set their standards high, no matter what the reform or latest curriculum idea is.

Anonymous said...

This is a gross waste of taxpayer money. Even if America's Choice is the answer, $400,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend.

Bring 20 or 30 of the America's Choice people here. Have a big conference. Send them into our schools to meet our teachers. Fill up the conference center at Stone Mountain and stimulate our economy while getting the job done at a fraction of the cost.

Molly said...

$380,000 divided by 180 teachers and administrators comes to $2,111 per attendee. I wonder how many more teachers might have been trained if that money was spent hosting a local training instead.

Anonymous said...

Vox Noctae, good point, bit also: By Crawford Lewis forcing taxpayers to pay for 545 instructional supervisors and specialists (and their pensins and benefits), most of whom just assign budy work for classroom bulletin board, Lewis is also admitting that not just the vaunted and first-place seeking DCSS needs "training wheels" to succeed, but our teachers do too.

We really, really, really need all five current BOE members to lose their elections this fall. We need a new BOE that will come in with some consultants from not just education, but from corporate, and then we can cut well over a thousand of non-teachers. Lewis and Gloria Talley built up an armey of non-teachers, and it is time to cut them all lose. Lean and mean, BOE...lean and mean.

Anonymous said...

You can't turn on the local TV news without seeing a story about the mess that is DCSS. Clayton County must be jumping for joy seeing that Crawford has run DCSS into the ground and deflected attention from them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPf3sNior_0

Dekalb Educators spend $380 Thousand on Trip to Hollywood for America's Choice

Anonymous said...

How did the 11 Alive reporter not mention Dr. Deborah Rives??!! DCSS only bought the ultra expensive America's Choice curriculum AFTER America's Choice hired Rives. What are the chanes Rives would have got hird without brining in DCSS? Zilch.

Also, he actually got Gloria Talley to speak on camera. How did he miss the opportunity to grill her on her salary of $162,648.00, PLUS 5 directors of curriculum instruction at a cost of $438,500.00, PLUS 72 "Instructional Supervisors" at a cost of almost $6.4 million - PLUS 473 "Instructional Specialists" totaling $23.9 million".

If and when C Lew is fired, Gloria Talley needs to be firing with the gas guzzler.

Anonymous said...

My former principal sent sent several of my co-workers to a conference in caifornia last year. The only comments that were share with the rest of the faculty was how great the Zoo was. This was Title I money at work!

Anonymous said...

If memory serves me, we tried America's Choice a few years ago in DeKalb and decided it was not working and too expensive.

Rockhound said...

I personally know of at least one principal who was invited to go to Hollywood whose school is NOT, and probably never will be, an America's Choice school. This person is a county super star, and I guess the higher ups felt a vacation would be in order.

Anonymous said...

So C Lew and Gloria Talley (who is clueless to 21st learning) send out a huge number of DCSS-ers out there, and Dale Davis says hey, it's all federal money. But what does it cost of in lost productivity? Are we paying for their meals and other expenses? How much is it for the sub's back here? This is going to cost us some local DeKalb taxpayer money, and it is going to cost us again in bad will. Everyone in Georgia knows DeKalb likes to spend, spend, spend on everything but the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Open records: can anyone get a list of who was sent to California?

Anonymous said...

We have so many smart parents in DeKalb. Professors, nurses, businesspeople, mom's who are at home by choice, etc., etc. But if a parent ever tries to talk to Gloria Talley about academics, Talley will either refuse to speak to you, ignore you, and look at you like you are a complete idiot and only she and her staff know anything about academics and you have incredible gall to ever question anyhting her and her staff does, like America's Choice.

It is long past time that she retires and is replaced by someone from far outside the system, who will have the guts to eliminate all the worthless and unproductive admin positions Talley has accumulated through the years.

Anonymous said...

A lot of companies are doing web based training to eleviate the stress of budget woes like financing scores of people across the country for training. There are other methods that could have and should have been checked. I do understand how Title I funds work and know there are stipulations on what can and cannot be purchased...put this new stimulus bill was open ended which is why so many in Congress had problems with passing it. Not because it was a Democratic bill...but the possibility of this type of misappropriation. Sounds like Wall Street has passed on some of it's traits to good old Main Street in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

It is completely shameful to send this many staffers to a conference across the county while school is in session. Of course America's Choice could have sent out staff here for a fraction of the cost, but still, if you are going to have so many staff attend, do it over spring break or during the summer. This is just the latest example of the lack of good judgement by Crawford Lewis.

Anonymous said...

They really seem oblivious to public relations.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lewis and Ms. Talley need to be held accountable by demanding they show the taxpayers the improvement in these schools. How are they tracking the vaule of this training? What type monitoring is set up? If it is as great as they say we should expect all these schools to meet AYP.

Anonymous said...

Since when are they ever held accountable?

Joe said...

My wife is one of the teachers in LA for this conference. It's called professional development. My wife is not satisfied with mediocrity or simply ending her education at the college level. As teachers, both of us value life-long learning, which is what we hope to pass on to our students. The trip is a fruitful one, so I hope that Dekalb County School Watch will get their ear on the ground and interview teachers who actually went, rather than looking down their noses from afar with critical detachment and flights of intrigue. My wife has been in sessions all day today learning how to be a better teacher to educate your children better. A little appreciation, and a little less scrutiny, will help. Or would you rather her use the same, tired teaching strategies that burn teachers out or keep them behind desks, rather than truly engaging children by instilling excellence in the learning process?

By the way, Dekalb County did not ask for the conference to be in LA; they are obligated to be an active part of America's Choice, and LA just happened to be where the conference was this year around.

Anonymous said...

"Or would you rather her use the same, tired teaching strategies that burn teachers out or keep them behind desks, rather than truly engaging children by instilling excellence in the learning process?"

I don't buy it, dudes. Your posts really anger me. AC does anything but truly engage children. It is burning out very good teachers in our school because it is so damned scripted, and the local trainers or coaches are incompetent.

Only one teacher from our school went. The other three were two APs and a coach. The two APs have not wanted the responsibility or to expend the effort to learn about AC and have dumped in on teachers, who, BTW, were not allowed to go on the trip. The trip was not announced until our principal sent us an email enroute to LA.

I guess you have to defend your wives (and you sound a little defensive to me), but don't defend AC, and don't defend DCSS. I can't imagine the mind-numbing experience of training for a such a closed, narrow-minded curriculum.

I bet Deborah Reeves is in hog heaven in Hollywood. I still think what she did (leaving DCSS for a private corp that then contracted with DCSS) was unethical as hell, maybe even illegal. And I wonder if the Gas-man got some compensation in the deal--on top of his 288K he earned last year.)

Give me novel, creative strategies and techniques anytime at a teacher-led staff-development, not warmed over scripted-crap that requires teachers to leave their creativity and independence at the door. Who needs training in that?

The folks at the AC trip are being brain-washed at an extravagant for-profit corporate burlesque designed to dazzle and impress, while AC is destroying and dumbing-down our curriculum!

themommy said...

There was more than a year between when Debbie Rives left and when DCSS purchased AC. Debbie Rives left the system in Summer of 2008, before Obama had been elected and before anyone had any inkling of of a stimulus package. I know this for certain because our school was in the midst of a crisis, she was our Executive Director and she was handling it one day and gone the next!

Did she use her connections to make a sale? Who knows? DCSS had already been using AC in a few schools.

To Joe, it sounds like your wife is a dedicated teacher who will benefit from the workshop. I appreciate that. I have no doubt though, that for at least some of the employees that are in CA, this trip will be a waste.

I am not a fan of America's Choice type programs because I wouldn't want my child taught that way, so I shouldn't want other children to have to be instructed that way. I do however appreciate that DeKalb has, in some schools, an instructional crisis, and that a well executed scripted program can alleviate some of the downside of a weak teacher.

I hope your wife continues to feel engaged at the conference, learns a ton and brings it back to both her own students and to fellow teachers.

If we believe in AC, then I still believe that the resources should have been brought here, where every teacher in an AC school could have personally been "touched" by an AC trainer.

Cerebration said...

No one is criticizing your wife, Joe. And I truly don't think we are "looking down our noses from afar", however, we are outraged that the school system signed an $8 million contract that basically required them to spend another $400,000 to get the training needed for the program.

Further, the training now appears to only directly impact 47 teachers. The rest are all principals and administrators. I will assume the system expects these folks to train the teachers in what they learn. Do principals usually provide in-service training like this?

Since DeKalb is obviously one of AC's largest customers, AC could have and should have figured out a way to provide on-site training to all of our teachers. Online learning in this case would have been a great choice. Chat rooms with teachers from around the country could have provided that peer interaction Gloria insists teachers can only get by attending the conference and meeting other teachers face to face.

As I stated before, the speakers are very good. (They don't work for AC though.) In fact, I attended a conference here in Atlanta where the AC keynote speaker gave a lengthy presentation. I learned a lot about brain-based learning. (Could have learned it just as easily viewing the lecture online.) But the interesting thing is - there were NO DeKalb teachers in attendance! (Some from Fulton and Cobb, many from private schools) I even offered to pay the $99 for my child's teacher to attend and she politely declined.

A local conference could have been provided here at home and impacted ALL of our teachers. I would have imagined that a local in-service convention type training would have been included in the $8 million contract. Somebody doesn't know how to negotiate.

Cerebration said...

Joe, I would openly ask your wife to write an article about what she learned at the conference and email it to this blog. We will happily post it and if she requests, we will even have it closed to comments.

Here's the address -

reparteeforfun@gmail.com

We'd love to hear about what she learns. So would many of the teachers who read this blog and didn't get to attend.

Cerebration said...

If you visit the hotel's blog, you can download the meeting room capacity charts here.

It appears that the Grand Ballroom will seat 2000 theatre style or 1200 classroom style. If they use all of the tother ballrooms, (for breakout sessions) the total capacity of those is 1650 or so. So, to me it looks like the hotel can host a conference for around 2000 attendees.

fedupindcss said...

America's Choice is the teaching version of the schools' disciplinary policy: a kid with a toy sword for a play gets the same punishment as a kid with a real knife, because no one wants the responsibility to actually make a decision. America's Choice is to keep from having to worry about whether your teachers can teach--they just read the script.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's email from Tony Hunter mandates teacher's "attend" EIS training via web...surprised a conference a posh resort wasn't planned instead. Guess the material from AC can not be delivered through distance learning??

Anonymous said...

When Deborah Rives (who now works for America's Choice) was the principal of Cedar Grove Middle School which used America's Choice had much praise for America's Choice:
http://www.wingcomltd.com/Articles/Perdue.htm

Question for teachers who taught under her at Cedar Grove Middle School - Do you have the same fond memories of America's Choice as Dr. Rives?

Another question - did Cedar Grove have academic improvement as measured by academic test scores the years it used America's Choice?

Cerebration said...

I do think that this investment was made with the intention implied by the US Dept of Education. I think they could have sent more teachers rather than administrators, however, according to the wording of the Act, they are in compliance --

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
SAVING AND CREATING JOBS AND
REFORMING EDUCATION
U.S. Department of Education
April 3, 2009

Historic, One-time Investment
•Over $100 billion education investment
•Historic opportunity to stimulate economy and improve education
•Success depends on leadership, judgment, coordination, and communication

The success of the education part of the ARRA will depend on the shared commitment and
responsibility of students, parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, education boards,
college presidents, State school chiefs, governors, local officials, and federal officials.

Collectively, we must advance ARRA’s short-term economic goals by investing quickly, and we
must support ARRA’s long-term economic goals by investing wisely, using these funds to
strengthen education, drive reforms, and improve results for students from pre-kindergarten
through college.

Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs. ARRA funds will be distributed quickly to States, local educational agencies and other entities in order to avert layoffs, create and save jobs and improve student achievement. States and LEAs in turn are urged to move rapidly to develop plans for using funds, consistent with the law’s reporting and
accountability requirements, and to promptly begin spending funds to help drive the nation’s economic recovery.

• Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability. To prevent fraud and abuse, support the most effective uses of ARRA funds, and accurately measure and track results, recipients must publicly report on how funds are used. Due to the unprecedented scope and importance of this investment, ARRA funds are subject to additional and more rigorous reporting requirements than normally apply to grant recipients.

• Invest one-time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the “funding cliff.” ARRA represents a historic infusion of funds that is expected to be temporary. Depending on the program, these funds are available for only two to three years. These funds should be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the
funding expires.

• Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. To close the achievement gap and help students from all backgrounds achieve high standards.

Advance Core Reforms: Assurances
States must address four specific areas identified in ARRA that evidence shows make a critical contribution to student results:
•Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality
assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
•Establishing pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
•Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;
•Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing school

Anonymous said...

Cere,
The language is very open-ended. It leaves a lot of the decisions up to the local system, which means it's not a top down approach. I think a more economical and perhaps a more effective way could have been chosen to train our teachers in America's Choice schools while still meeting the intention of the ARRA.

I agree that more teachers should have been sent if the decision was made to deliver training with this model.

Most of the complaints I have read on this blog deal with:
1. Te initial choice of the America's Choice program
2. Questions asking if this is the most effective training model
3. That an expensive conference in a glamorous location sends the wrong the message in the middle of a budget crunch
4. The issue of why so many administrators and so few teachers are going to the conference

Dekalbparent said...

I would add to Anon 2:43s post - could the training objectives not be met by sending people to the regional conference in Nashville in April?

I agree that we cannot judge the value here until we 1) hear from TEACHERS who attended and 2) see results.

Perhaps, though, there is something we could gain by looking at results from DCSS first use of AC.

Cerebration said...

You restated this entire thread perfectly, Anon 2:43 PM. You should send those comments to Lewis, Dale Davis and members of the board. I think you were very reasonable in your approach.

Anonymous said...

Hey, folks,

Crawford was just grilled on Foxnews, NATIONAL, on the Neil Cavuto show about the boondoggle to Hollywood. Crawford looked very uneasy, constantly licking his lips and staring up at heaven. He sounded like SUCH AN IDIOT, oh, yeah, well, he IS such an idiot.

Ciao.

Cerebration said...

Wow. What a camera fiend. Why oh why would he agree to an interview with Fox News? They are very conservative and already upset at the spending spree called "stimulus". Lewis just really must love the spotlight.

At any rate, check out their report on stimulus spending - it's really upsetting -

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/04/millions-doled-questionable-jobs/

One Fed Up Insider said...

Cere... Could you please post the interview when you get a chance? I was in the dentist chair when it was on.

Anonymous said...

"Wow. What a camera fiend."

So...if Dr. Lewis doesn't talk, he's trying to hide something and is not "transparent." If he does talk, he's a "camera fiend"

Cerebration said...

YES - I'm saying that he must be a camera fiend - since he willingly chatted on Fox News. Anyone in the world would know that Fox is all about exposing the waste of the stimulus. Of any interview, this is one he should have definitely politely declined.

I can't find it online, but I found the interview with State Rep Tom Price that preceded it.

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/28899121/stimulus-funds-pay-for-teacher-spa-retreat.htm#q=cavuto+dekalb+schools+lewis

Anonymous said...

You'd think that with a $30,000 expense account he'd at least have hired someone to help him prepared for such an interview. He looks less and less intelligent as the week goes on. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Cerebration said...

Here's the press release about Dr. Lewis addressing an audience at the America's Choice symposium. Arne Duncan was keynote speaker of the event.

http://www.dekalbkaleidoscope.com/?p=1181

Anonymous said...

One of the middle school America Choice instructional leaders use to work for Georgia Department of Education. According to many who know him, he is a showboat and a little childish. How can someone who has taught about 10 years tell veteran teachers how to teach? Also, he goes from one job to another. Cushion job to do nothing but read a script!!

Anonymous said...

In ten years, you can learn a lot about doing any job. Considering our large teacher turnover rate, he's an old timer".

Maybe he's given a script and told he needs to follow this script to keep his job. America's Choice is scripted teaching for kids. Why would it be different for the trainers?

Most teacher trainers in DeKalb are given scripts and told not to deviate from these scripts. It makes teaching teachers very stilted, but the people who develop the training feel that these scripts can control the information that is disseminated, and this is a very effective way to do it.

Anonymous said...

Does any one know how much money Dekalb County pays each year for PDS TV 24 on Comcast? This seems like wasted money