Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fall 2009 EOCT results have been released on the DeKalb County website


Ok, ok, enough about fish. The End Of Course Test results have finally been posted for you to review. To access all of the testing data for DeKalb visit this link. End Of Course Tests are very important since they automatically account for 15% of a student's final grade. Have a look and let us know what you think!

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. The math.

Is the math a DeKalb issue? I realize that the statewide passing rate is poor, but DeKalb's is so much worse...whether you area follower of the "new math" curriculum or not, our students are performing WELL BELOW the state average. How does that happen??

Anonymous said...

MATH MATH MATH. Fulton County has opted out of this disastrous program. Wake up, DCSS administration and School Board. IT'S THE MATH, STUPID.

Anonymous said...

Ya know . . . parents get dismissed with a patronizing pat on the head and visit from a County Schools "math specialist" to tell us this is GOOD for our students. Then the EOCT comes out. Are they reading what we're reading? We don't have 5 - 10 + years to wait for this curriculum to "take hold," as a recent presenter told parents. The new math is a disaster NOW.

Each county school system can opt out of Kathy Cox's pet math program. DeKalb County - do it now, and let us get back to the basics.

Anonymous said...

Look at the numbers of students who took the math course. These are only the students taking math on a Block. In most cases, the weakest students are taking math all year. So, these are primarily (in the case of DeKalb anyway) the brightest students.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that DeKalb Truancy aced the U. S. History test and the other schools didn't do so hot? What should we learn from that teacher?

Anonymous said...

Oops - read too low - that's Early College again on the good scores, including U. S. History.

Anonymous said...

Fulton County 9th grade students are taking Math 1...at least, they ones at North Springs are. I work with 2 students in Accelerated Math 1. And I've always noticed that their work is much more rigorous and intense than the Accelerated Math 1 students I see from Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

Wait...let me restate that. North Springs kids are taking "accelerated integrated algebra 1," but it covers the same topics as the Accelerated Math 1 course at Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

And Dunwoody students are doing Accelerated Math 1 in one semester.

Square Peg said...

The math scores are absolutely appalling. But they've always been appalling in Dekalb. Scroll down for previous years' summary charts and compare. The state seems to have set the math passing scores on the EOCT so the pass rates were about what they used to be for Algebra I and Geometry. I will be curious to see what the new math does to PSAT scores.

Dec 2007:
Algebra 1: Dekalb 24, state 57
Geometry: Dekalb 50, state 61

Dec 2009:
Math 1: Dekalb 39, state 59
Math 2: Dekalb 42, state 64

Regarding weakest students taking math all year: Actually if you look at the EOCT Summary Charts, it looks like scores in every subject are historically a little better in the spring than the fall. You see this pattern at the county level (where you could argue that it's affected by the pool of magnet students taking all-year courses), but you also see it at the state level. Oddly, geometry was an exception.

themommy said...

Chanblee and Lakeside aren't on the block so for courses that are traditionally a year long (I think economics is traditionally a semester course regardless), their schools figure in and raise DeKalb's averages.

Anonymous said...

We are paying a private math tutor $50 an hour because our student didn't master basic operations in this new curriculum. We honestly can't afford this, but we also can't afford NOT to. What about all the families who can't squeeze private tutoring fees out of already tight budgets? Morning tutorials at school don't work because the teacher is facing a classroom of kids who are all floundering - no one on one possible. My kid scores high enough on the math portion of the ITBS to qualify as gifted, but you wouldn't know it from the test grades. (Our math tutor, an engineering major who has worked with high school students all over the metro area, loathes this math because it glosses over fundamentals and spirals back and forth with no logic whatsoever - all of his students are demonstrating profound loss of basic operations, particularly in algebra.)

Anonymous said...

Lakeside and Chamblee are not on the block, who are these students taking the EOCT?

Anonymous said...

Nice Decatur school system program where approved, background checked volunteers come in on Saturdays for two hours to tutor students in math. We have a bunch of good colleges in the area; this is a no-brainer for DCSS.

But instead, the Crawford Lewis way is to build a bloated army of high paid non-teachers, who instead of assisting the classroom, make up crazy, nonsensical busy work for teachers.

When C Lew sees these scores, he will buy an America's Choice-like math program for $10 million dollars. But first the company will hire some DCSS administrators to grease the wheels.

Anonymous said...

I love my child's elementary school and principal, and my wife and I are active with the PTA. But we are really considering a private school, even though it will be a financial hardship. This school system is so poorly run, and no matter how hard we all try to improve it, the current administration and Board of Education will keep the status quo. I don't see county residents paying enough attention to the BOE elections to vote in a new board, and/or demand that the current superintendent and bloated administration is swept out. My wife attended DCSS schools, and loved them, but even her loyalty isn't enough to not look at our other options. Maybe the Museum School at Avondale will be a nice model for charters in DeKalb.

Square Peg said...

The old Algebra I data shows that ALL our high schools are terrible at teaching math to students who aren't already proficient in math. In May, 2008, I calculate that 1015 out of 1101 middle schoolers (92%) who took the Algebra I EOCT passed it. Only 1210 out of 3979 high schoolers (30%) passed. Yikes!

The LOWEST pass rate at any middle school was 76%. The HIGHEST pass rate at any high school was 51%. Huge gap!

Too many schools to list all, but here are Spring 2008 Algebra I EOCT scores for schools that have been mentioned on this thread:

Chamblee Middle: 97% pass rate
Chamblee High: 38%

Henderson Middle: 96%
Lakeside High: 33%

Peachtree Middle: 98%
Dunwoody High: 46%

Tucker High had the highest high school pass rate:

Tucker Middle: 92%
Tucker High: 51%

(Data comes from "EOCT Summary Data - Spring 2008 (HS)" and "EOCT Summary Data - Spring 2008 (MS)". 26 students are missing from my calculation because the tables don't show data for schools with a group size less than 10. Also, I transcribed the numbers from the tables manually, so I could have made small mistakes.)

P.S. I volunteer as an elementary school tutor. The school has a very caring math specialist who knows her stuff and actively teaches a pulled out group of kids. She and the homeroom teachers do not use scripts and do not confine themselves to "discovery" methods, but try to do whatever works. Despite all the loving effort, mastery of arithmetic is an uphill battle for the least proficient group. I worry about what will happen when they are required to take Math 1, Math 2, etc.

Anonymous said...

@the mommy: MLK is no longer on Block scheduling & the economics class is now a full year course as are all of the classes, even the electives. This of course makes no sense to me, there is no reason why an art or home ec class should be a year long. IMHO, all math and science classes should be a full year with mid-terms & finals. US & World History would be yearlong, while other SS classes such as psychology, geography, & econ would be 1/2 credits to offer choice. Only the first 2 years of English should be year long (Literature & Composition--which focuses on term papers) During the Jr. & Sr. years, there should be a selection of 1/2 credit English classes to choose from, some kids would love to focus on drama & poetry, while others might like to focus on more contemporary literature or creative writing.

Anonymous said...

Pitiful. To "pass" the EOCT one would think you need a grade of 69 or higher. You don't. You need about a 50, sometimes even lower depending on the subject.

Now take another look at the passing rates -- These kids haven't learned enough to make a 50!

It would be interesting to see how they performed in the classroom and what their report card grades were. If better than half of the math students didn't earn a F, then once again Grade Inflation is alive and well in DeKalb County Schools.

Who needs instructional coaches, America's Choice, and all these charades when ultimately the teacher is just going to put a passing mark down regardless.

If a kid can't get a 50 on the EOCT, how can his teacher give him a passing grade (sometimes an A or B) in the course?

And you wonder why our students feel like they've suddenly become stupid when they go off to college -- all along their teachers were telling them they mastered the material, when in actuality they had no clue.

Crawford, Talley, and the BOE have known grade inflation is and has been rampant all along, but refuse to do anything about it.

Square Peg said...

So as not to pick only on northern schools, here's the data for MLK, since somebody happened to mention it. Same pattern:

Salem Middle - 89% pass rate
Martin Luther King High - 28%

Countywide, high achieving math students did very well taking algebra in 8th grade. Letting proficient kids move ahead clearly doesn't hurt their performance, and it allowed them to be taught separately from those who struggle.

Unfortunately, if you weren't ready for algebra in 8th grade, it looks like you won't be ready in high school, either.

Anonymous said...

as an MLK parent, we've known for quite some time that the 9th graders are failing miserably in math/science/ela. When speaking with the math teachers, they say the freshmen are not coming in prepared hence the high failure rates.

Also, I would think those EOCT scores are from those students that are taking recovery classes for those failed while MLK was doing block scheduling. Some of those taking the test may not be true 9th graders but jr's & sr's, would be nice to know if that is the case.

Anonymous said...

"Crawford, Talley, and the BOE have known grade inflation is and has been rampant all along, but refuse to do anything about it."


Anon 10:28 AM is right. Grade inflation happens at every school system, but it's almost accepted at DCSS. This administration has this overarching need to pass and graduate students who haven't done the work. The administration really fears parents who make a big stink on this. DCSS ignores parents on most issues, but if a parent comes in kicking & screaming that their child, no matter how poor their attendance or academic work, isn't going to graduate, DCSS almost always lets the student graduate to the next grade.

Square Peg said...

MLK parent, good point about how many of those EOCT takers are repeaters. I wonder that also. And although I personally think the block is bad for math, Lakeside's low pass rate shows that a year-round course is not a panacea. (Again, all this data is from the May 2008 Algebra 1 EOCT.) I wish we could figure out how to prepare children better.

Anonymous said...

I hope the EOCT scores do not mean that DeKalb administration is going to be adding another program or more instructional coaches.

The teacher in the classroom is the most important determinant of student achievement.

Low pupil teacher ratios give teachers more time to work with students who are having a difficult time grasping difficult subject matter - e.g. math and science.

Nothing can substitute for a teacher in the classroom directly teaching students.

We have 6,500 support and admin personnel in DeKalb versus 7,300 teachers. We need more employees teaching students and less in support and administration.
See DeKalb Schools Website Fast Facts Page:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/fastfacts.html

This is directly from the DeKalb Schools Fast Facts page:
Total 13,842
Teachers, Media Specialists and Counselors 53.1%
Support Personnel 42.3% Administrators 4.6%

Slightly over half of our employees directly teach (and by the way all those instructional coaches are counted in those figures as teachers so it's even worse than it looks).

If we cut more teachers as Dr. Lewis is proposing we will soon have less than half of our personnel teaching our children.

Write every BOE member and ask him/her to make severe cuts in the support and admin areas (Information Systems, Transportation, Service Center, Human Resources, etc.) before they cut teachers or increase class sizes.

Kathy Cox has stated that the pupil teacher ratio should be more flexible for local systems next year (ie. it can be moved up from the current 33 per classroom for high school teachers next year).

Can anyone imagine a child who does not understand math getting the attention he/she needs in a class of 34 or 35?

Dr. Lewis is proposing moving to a 7 period day for some schools whereby teachers can teach 6 period of children (210 student per day).
See DeKalb County website page and click on Superintendent Plans, A,B, and C.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/fy2011-budget.html

Can anyone see this as a realistic solution to our students' understanding of math or science (low scores there too)?

I'm a retired DeKalb teacher so this will not affect me. However, DeKalb children are still my children. I can understand how increasing classroom sizes while retaining jobs in the admin and support side is a recipe for disaster for many of our students.

Platos Republic said...

Listen to lyrics of 'Wonderful World' by Sam Cooke.

ARTIST: Sam Cooke
TITLE: Wonderful World (Don't Know Much)
Lyrics and Chords


[Capo 2]

Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took
But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

/ A F#m / Bm E / : / A D / / E A /

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much trigonometry
Don't know much about algebra
Don't know what a slide rule is for
But I do know one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be an "A" student
But I'm trying to be
For maybe by being an "A" student baby
I can win your love for me

/ E7 A / / B7 - / Bm7 E7 /

{Repeat first verse}

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder that in May 2009 or May 2008, the only students who would have been taking Algebra I at a high school were those who had either failed it in 8th grade or transferred into a DCSS high school without the course. There were only 32 students who took the EOCT in Algebra in May 2009.

Square Peg said...

Good catch. May 2008 (5106 students total) was an anomalous example because an unusually select group of middle schoolers took Algebra 1 that semester. They were the ones who elected to waiver into the traditional track from Math 8.

May 2007 would be a more "normal" situation. 10,694 Dekalb students took the Algebra 1 EOCT, of whom 35% (3743) passed. The "2007 EOCT Spring Summary Data" only details how many took it at each high school - a total of about 3541, of whom about 1145 (32%) passed. By subtracting them, one estimates that 7153 8th graders took it but only 2598 passed - about a 36% pass rate for 8th graders. In both 2007 and 2008, the high schoolers would have been repeaters.

I'm terribly curious about Math 1, but there isn't much data yet.

Setting wishful goals of 8th grade algebra for all or "rigorous" Math 1-4 for all is not sufficient to ensure math achievement!

Anonymous said...

Students at Lakeside and Chamblee who took the EOCT in the fall would be students who failed the test last year. While their pass rate still isn't stellar, it at least explains why the data is skewed.

Anonymous said...

To the earlier posters who suggest that DCSS "opt out" of the Math !, etc. like Fulton County: Fulton has only opted out of the new math program for K-8. That is because they can still teach the DOE Standards without using the methodology proposed by the state DOE.

To my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong), Fulton county cannot opt out of the high school integrated math program because the state DOE writes the EOCT tests. So they are stuck with it although I understand that they are working very hard to tweak it as much as they can.

Once a student enters the Math I, II, III, IV program it is almost impossible to transfer to a private school or to another state without repeating a year of math because the integrated math strands never quite finish a traditional topic. It is like academic quicksand.

Please write to your legislators about the math issues. Please send an email to Georgiaparentsformath@gmail.com to get on the mailing list if you are interested in this topic.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... I wonder if these poor scores contributed to Gloria Talley's decision to leave DeKalb County. She seemed to be such a big cheerleader for the new math program.

SongCue said...

QUICK CHANGE OF SUBJECT: I have a reservation to go to the Chamber of Commerce breakfast tomorrow at which CLew will deliver his state of the system talk. Starts at 7:30 am and there are no more spaces available. I CANNOT GO. If anyone wants to go in my place, please send me a note. (click on my username)
Particulars: Hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Presented by Oglethorpe Power
When: Friday, Feb 19, 2010
Time: 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM Refreshments and Networking, 8:00 Am – 9:00 AM Program
Location: Oglethorpe Power, 2100 East Exchange Place, Tucker, GA 30084-5336
Sponsors:
Presenting – Oglethorpe Power, Others – Gas South and Corzav's Auto Advantage Collision Center

SongCue said...

Sorry....my bad. If you want to take my place at the breakfast tomorrow morning, send me an email at georgiaparents@gprhe.org

themommy said...

There is a state wide parents group being formed to address concerns surrounding the new math curriculum.

If you are interested, you can email them at
georgiaparentsformath@gmail.com

and ask to be added to their mailing list.

Anonymous said...

The "new" math isn't successful in the high schools because the teachers were not properly trained. You cannot expect them to rework their teaching style and learn a new math curriculum in a weekend training course or by being trained by an administrator or teacher who attended in Hollywood. Don't forget the new math is not "taught" by the teacher they are merely the "facilitator" of this curriculum. Pray you child has another student in their group who is a natural at math so they can learn something.

The county high schools are full of poor math teachers and it has become even more apparent now that the curriculum has changed. Many of them aren't proficient in statistics, pre-calc. and calculus which all spiral into the new math. When you were hired to be the Geometry teacher and suddenly have Math I or II thrown at you with no text books available; along with a lousy new computer program, ungrateful parents/students, no raises, a super getting a raise, what incentive is there to go the extra mile to learn to be a good facilitator? I do have empathy for the math teachers.

Another issue with the new math is in the implementation. Why did DCSS not roll it out in the first grade and then continue adding a year as those students progressed. Instead they sacrificed the current 10th,9th,and 8th graders saying to themselves - yes we are going to lose some of these kids along the way but that's the price you pay. The price of ....progress...the greater good for all? The true test of this curriculum will be how these students do on the ACT and SAT.
Get a math tutor for your child if you can't afford moving him/her to a private school.

Cerebration said...

I've heard that you almost can't find math tutors these days - they are all booked up!

Anonymous said...

Anon. I agree with your comments about the very poor training and implementation of the new math program....to a point.

DeKalb did not have any "choice" to start with the first grade and build year by year (which would have been logical). Kathy Cox and Sue Snow at the state DOE REQUIRED every public school system in the state to begin implementing the new math in 6th grade about 4 or 5 years ago.

Moreover the State math program is essentially yet another unfunded mandate, meaning that the state government imposed new standards and criteria without providing sufficient funding for training, textbooks or implementation. This is a statewide problem. The academics who served on the panel that helped develop the high school curriculum warned the state that it would only be successful if there were sufficient high school teachers with the experience and mathematical background to teach it. If it is hard to find great math teachers in an urban area like Atlanta just think how hard it is in Clinch County!

I agree that the DCSS math teachers are depressed over this. I know that the teachers at my child's school have worked very, very hard to roll out the math courses and are very frustrated.

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

Anonymous 9:03 "We are paying a private math tutor $50 an hour because our student didn't master basic operations in this new curriculum"

We did the same for 3 of our 4 kids. Frankly, math was high on the list in decision to change to private for high school for our youngest. With the prospect that she might be placed in general math classes at Lakeside, she would never be successful because she would not be put in classes with good teachers.

Believe me, I know that from experience. She is a sophomore now, making A's in algebra last year, geometry this year - no tutor. Math is now her FAVORITE class, and finally her PSAT scores are in sync with her grades. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know a good website or other place to find good math tutors here in the county?

Shayna said...

Math was also very high on our list when we decided to pull our middle son private for high school. As I've previousely stated, he's cruising through Honors Geometry but didn't feel too good about an Algebra 1 test they were given for 10th grade Algebra 2 placement.

Anonymous said...

Crawford and BOE, ya'll know Mary Kay and Shayna. Look at their comments above.

They have invested literally thousands of hours championing your schools. They're EXACTLY the type of parents you want in your buildings. Likewise are their children.

But you've let them down. You need to get the focus back to providing a real education for the child in the classroom. Parents like them have demonstrated that they'll stick with you through the bumpy times, but when boulders are falling on their kids, that's it.

The Kittredge "brain drain" pails in comparison to the hundreds of others who have pulled their kids due to similar disappointments. These people don't picket or jump up and down on TV, they simply and quietly take their child and resources and walk in another direction.

You all need to give this some serious thought because if the go-private spigot stays on you'll never make AYP, despite all the money, instructional coaches, and technology you throw at the problem. You need these good students to stick around if for nothing else to be role models for those on the cusp.

Cerebration said...

I'm sorry to bring my cynicism to this thread, but the administration does not care one iota that anyone like Mary Kay or Shayna takes their kids private. In fact, it opens up slots for transfers to Lakeside - so it's a good thing to Lewis. And it gets people who demand improvement out of his way - leaving only supporters - cheerleaders - people who actually call DeKalb "premier" and sing the praises of Dr. Lewis and crew.

Remember - it was Bob Moseley who best described how the administration and the board feel about parents - calling us "background noise".

Anonymous said...

In defense of general math teachers: I know of at least 2 good teachers who are teaching some general freshman/sophomore classes at Lakeside this year (Valentine's greetings to them!), and can think of some poor Lakeside teachers who taught accelerated freshman/sophomore classes this year or last year. Overall, though, when you combine curriculum issues with weakness in the math departments at both the middle and high school, few students get a very solid foundation. As the parent of a sophomore, I hear about lots of $$$ spent on tutors by other families.

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

I'm glad to hear that LHS has shifted around teachers, finally, and I know that this has a great deal to do with Anthony Stinson and Joe Reed. All familiar with the climate at LHS 3 years ago knows that it was a crapshoot at that point, and the middle school math curriculum was changed mid-year. Based on experience with our older kids who had been through the math wringer at LHS, we couldn't take that chance again. I hope that DCSS gets the math program on track, because it's a real-world disadvantage for for our kids if they don't.

FYI, A+ Learning Lab in Tucker is excellent.

Anonymous said...

It is very apparent from multiple comments that Dr. Lewis, the people he has put into top positions, and the School Board have failed miserably in the critical job of educating the children.
DeKalb is anything but Premier.
Dr. Lewis had the perfect opportunity when the budget deficit ballooned to $88 million to go to the Board and tell them that it was not the time to accept any pay raise. But, instead, he says he is owed the raise.
Most of us in the private sector would not have a job if we met less than half our goals, and conducted ourselves in the manner that Dr. Lewis has.
It should not surprise anyone that he is "rethinking" the magnet and montessori programs. This is the way to "buy" supporters. All he has to do is get one of the current Board members relected and he is all set.
Wow, he is good!!!!!

Cerebration said...

Interesting info from the doe website -

Fulton County
Enrollment: 84,337
Econ Disadvantaged: 37%
Number of Schools : 91
Schools Meeting AYP : 78 (85.7%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 13 (14.3%)

Gwinnett County
Enrollment: 154,901
Econ Disadvantaged: 41%
Number of Schools : 105
Schools Meeting AYP : 101 (96.2%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 4 (3.8%)

Cobb County
Enrollment: 106,673
Econ Disadvantaged: 35%
Number of Schools : 111
Schools Meeting AYP : 95 (85.6%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 16 (14.4%)

DeKalb County
Enrollment: 97,580
Econ Disadvantaged: 66%
Number of Schools : 140
Schools Meeting AYP : 98 (70.0%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 42 (30.0%)

Clayton County
Enrollment: 52,029
Econ Disadvantaged: 74%
Number of Schools : 59
Schools Meeting AYP : 41 (69.5%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 18 (30.5%)

There's a good lesson in inference here (we had discussed inference on another thread). From this data - I think that we can safely infer that if DeKalb is "Premier" then Clayton is also "Premier" and Fulton, Gwinnett and Cobb are - well, what would they be - is there a word with higher meaning than premier?

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to attend the math information session this morning at Peachtree MS. I thought it was very informative and was really impressed with the teachers who were there presenting. There were LOTS of teachers and "coaches" (from Title I schools) on hand and they seemed well prepared. I was pleansantly surprised by the whole thing -- it was well run and I learned a lot. I was surprised at how few parents were actually there -- no more than 30. The parents were outnumbered by the teachers and other school system employees. I hope those of you who have express unhappiness about the curriculum attended (there is another one upcoming so you have another chance, don't remember where or when but I'm sure you can check the website) because this might be a good place to express concerns, give feedback, and just get more information.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 11:50 - you are correct, magnets are sacred in DCSS.. CLew is not willing to take on those parents while he is on the chopping block. The best us
" regular school" folks can hope for is that they will eliminate the millions of dollars spent on transportation - yes, they could save several million. But, the magnet parents see this as a right.. Or perhaps some changes to promote equality of resources in the settings of regular vs magnet.

( you will remember they talked about this last year and folded when it came time to make a tough decision - saving half as much as they could have by going to a hub system )

Given the turmoil in the county over the shrinking dollars, the administration will make choices that impact the people least likely to make noise - that being the small neighborhood schools not the ones filled with high achieving kids..... Their parents are in "fat city" of resources and will scream to high heavens - something CLew will avoid at all costs. He will, instead, take more money and resources away from the schools and parents who don't complain as loudly.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Magnets are favored. Dr. Lewis does not care that when they take kids from the home school it often results in the loss of a teacher and whole grade levels have to be changed. Sometime it affects more than one grade level due to the newest hire being the one that has to move.
This affect 100's of children, but Dr. Lewis just does not care!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Okay, magnets are favored and lewis does not care because it elevates him with the parents of 7000 who organize and have loud voices.... But why do the parents of the other 93,000 ( of 100,000 ) not speak up ?
Check the information, the parents of the magnets and the montesorris are organizing, e-mailing lewis and the board members. But yet, the parents who are short changed seem either uninformed about how inequitable the situation is or do they not care??

Anonymous said...

I don't think they know. I think that even the parents in the programs often don't realize the costs.

I also don't think that anyone is talking about what the budget crisis means for the typical school/student. When Dr. Lewis proposed the transportation changes a year or two ago, how many non-magnet parents were aware of the fact that they eliminated all bus stops less than 1.5 miles from the school? Not one -- in large part because the magnet parents hijacked the discussion.

Finally, parents do need to wake up. There are already a bunch of elementary schools that don't have music and/or art this year. Next year, there will be more. Make no mistake, the inequities between non-magnet and magnet schools will be even greater next year.

Anonymous said...

Yes Anon, Magnet and Regular school resource differences have always been inequal but now it is becoming just plain wrong. Can anyone outline what they really are or what the budgetary differences really are for these groups ?
Information is power - maybe this group of 93,000 parents just need the proper information to summon up the motivation to be a voice for ALL the children of the county.
Wake up people, there is a real reason that magnets have been so controversial and it isn't a racial issue or a north/south issue.

Square Peg said...

Warning: Eliminating magnet transportation will worsen the brain drain problem Anon 2:38 cites. If you live far from the magnet, it will become too inconvenient to transport your child. That will open up more places for families who live near the magnet. Then with more students coming from the same area, it will be even easier for their parents to organize carpools, and the brain drain from their home schools will get even bigger. Vicious cycle.

Instead of cutting the transportation, I'd first cut the extra teachers and programs at Kittredge. Even without German and extra music and small classes, Kittredge would be desirable because the concentration of high achievers gives teachers freedom to meet these kids' needs. They don't have to waste their energy on CRCT test practice and other similar garbage.

Anonymous said...

How about cutting magnet transportation will save millions of dollars? How about parents taking some responsibility for their choice to have their child attend a non local school ? Perhaps they could organize and carpool from the area of the county that they live in?
Interesting point that eliminating transportation will worsen the brain drain. However, if we had a more equal distribution to begin with we would face neither problem - transportation or brain drain.
I have not yet heard an argument that convinces me that we must spend so many COUNTY dollars for 7000 students who score above the 75th percentile.
The solution is to made changes that benefit ALL of the county students. Yet, I contend that Dr Lewis and the Board ( in an election year ) will not have the guts to make any changes. We have already heard that the specialty programs are "off the table". Is anyone surprised?

Anonymous said...

Kittredge would be desirable because the concentration of high achievers gives teachers freedom to meet these kids' needs

Why should just a small, very small, percentage of students have benefit from this "freedom"? Should not all HA's and Gifted students all across the county have this same opportunity?

Get rid of the magnet programs - ALL of them.

Anonymous said...

Many highly placed DeKalb Schools executives have their own children in magnet schools or those schools are their childrens' alma mater. Those schools automatically have champions in the Central Office that are also magnet parents.

Many Central Office employees send their children to magnet programs or choose a school with good test scores for their own children. Just one of the perks of upper management.

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon 1:07 PM. Those Central Office administrators better darn sure be county residents, beause if they are not, they are getting a $10,000 perk on the back of of taxpayers, and are taking a magnet spot away from a county resdient student.

I aven't heard it on the table for budget cuts, but again, any teacher who is not a county resident has no right to bring his/her child or children to a DCSS school. That is a $10,000 per child perk that is unacceptable at any time, let alone with a huge budget deficit.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I have never seen teachers or other workers of a school be able to bring their children to the district or school that they work in for free anywhere else. Maybe it's a Georgia thing?

This perk needs to stop! Live in the school attendance area where you want your child to go to school. That is what they do everywhere else, or pay for school choice. Plain and simple. This is stealing from the children who live in DeKalb and the taxpayers who foot the bill.

Dekalbparent said...

Again, in the interest of "just the facts", I am trying to discern EXACTLY how many students are served by the magnet programs. We are saying 7,000 altogether, but I want to find how many are in each program. This way, when we are discussing allocation of resources, we will be speaking exactly, and we will have credibility (not "background noise", or "those folks don't have their facts straight").

To make a case, we must be able to express the impact the magnet programs have on the education of the rest of the DCSS students.

The following programs have a 75th percentile requirement:

Wadsworth High Achievers - 165 students

Kittredge High Achievers - 417(?)

Chamblee MS High Achievers - 350 (?)

Chapel Hill MS High Achievers 150 (?)

Chamblee Charter HS High Achievers 350(?)

Southwest DeKalb HS High Achievers 150 (?)

The following magnet programs do not have any standardized test score requirements (but they do require a 3.0 average):

DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts Magnet Program

Clifton ES Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education Magnet

Evansdale Mathematics, Science, and World Language Magnet Program

Snapfinger Elementary School Mathematics, Science, and Technology

Columbia Middle School Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Magnet Program

DeKalb School of the Arts Magnet Program (DSA)- 291

Columbia High Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Magnet Program

Where can I find the number of students in these programs?

Anonymous said...

There are Approximately 1855 students in the high acheivers magnet programs combined.

I recommend you email Pat Copeland tomorrow to get the exact figures for all the programs.

PAT_COPELAND@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

Cerebration said...

I don't know how you sort out the magnet students within a regular school, but you can find enrollment data by grade, race, etc - here

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 1:48 PM, this is in accordance to DeKalb School Board Policy JBCB - C. To paraphrase it reads, Non-resident students shall not be accepted for enrollment except for students having a parent or guardian who is a full‑time teacher, professional, or other employee of the DeKalb County School System. This is in accordance with the State of Georgia policy. This would have to be changed at the state level.

Typically you could charge tuition for non-resident students to attend a DeKalb County School, space permitting. This is an 'untaxed' benefit for those teachers. Supposed this numbers less that 1000 for the district.

They recently amended the policy in DeKalb due to a parent who spoke frequently at Board meetings with her two children that attended DESA (we call this the Jackson rule). The amendment indicated students could only attend the school their parents worked in, NOT any school in the district.

Anonymous said...

@Dekalb Parent - you make a good magnet point, it is likely that the freestanding magnet schools carry a higher price tag of inequality to the rest of the county students than those magnets and montessoris that are housed in a "regular" school.

And, I also agree that it would be very interesting to see just how much this is sucking away at the shrinking amount of county resources supposedly for ALL students. And, don't forget the transportation ( millions ) spent from county dollars for this program...

I would love to know if Pat Copeland is eager to share much information, for what it is worth, I have not exactly found her or her staff to be very forthcoming with details.

I am hard pressed to hear an argument that warrants the continuation of this high ticket service that benefits few. If it were truly what it was supposed to be ( for the highest achievers ) I anticipate the problems would not be as pronounced?

Anonymous said...

Dekalbparent:

You left off the brand new Medical Magnet announced for Druid Hills High School. How many students are going to be admitted to this specialty magnet program?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:49 This isn't happening in the school that I work in. There are two children whose mother works in the district, but not at my school and they do not live in this county and they attend my school. This may be a rule, but it appears to me that it's a rule not being equally enforced. This is just one case and I can think of 2 others like this as well.

We get these kids in to the system and don't want to let them go, so they stay and attend some of the best schools and waste our tax dollars. Not fair. This is a state law that needs to go! And the DCSS rule needs to be followed for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Dekalb Parent, I have read your posts and many others that seemed to be in opposition to the magnet system as it exists in Dekalb.
Do you think anyone would be interested or willing to start a effort that would put DCSS Admin and the BOE on notice about how many are disappointed that they are ( once again ) caving to the magnet parents??
I noted that the Fernbank science program started an on line petition and already has over 200 comments and e-signatures. It is listed on the site as to how you can do this...
Anyone game?

Dekalbparent said...

What I am trying to do is tease out whether the magnet and special program offerings in DCSS are a significant drain or not. They rub a lot of people the wrong way, because they seem to benefit a special lucky few at the expense of many, so we (at least I) focus on them. I am trying to make myself be more objective.

When I went to the DCSS site, I noticed there are TWO medical magnets - Druid Hills and Arabia Mountain. Yet, they are not listed in the School Choice brochure. Again, "Wall of Confusion". I will add them to my list, however.

There are 3 free-standing magnet programs - KMS, Wadsworth and DSA (housed at Avondale, but separate teachers and administration). The rest are in schools. This is what makes it hard to tease out how many students are actually in them. I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that these three are the only ones for which there are more applicants than seats; I don't think there is a lottery or selection process for any of the others.

I'm thinking that the extra costs of these programs (if any) would be transportation, extra teachers (beyond what a typical school at that grade level gets), costs for the two free-standing buildings, admin salaries for the three programs that have their own administration, materials, technology and equipment above and beyond the typical - anything else?

Here are my biases - if the magnet program is only serving a fraction of the students who could benefit from it and is sucking up resources that could go to serve more students, it should go. (If a program is serving all the who want it and does not have a huge overhead, then perhaps it can be kept.

There are a whole lot more kids who would qualify for the high-achiever programs than are in them, so they rub me the wrong way. The selection of 8th graders to go into the STT program at Fernbank is also subjective - at least in some schools - because it is the perception of the kid by the science teacher that determines whether his or her application is accepted. There could be a kid who would be great in the STT program who bugs his science teacher with too many questions and observations. The teacher is irritated, and the kid is passed over. Also, kids coming from other schools or systems cannot get into STT because their application is judged by the local middle school science teacher, who doesn't know them, and so doesn't pick them. The transportation to STT is also costly.

However, there are currently programs offered to high school students at the Science Center (Forensic Science, Ornithology, Ecology, Food Science, etc) that the student has to get to by themselves. These programs supplement the school-based science programs by offering specialized study that the individual schools can't. I don't think anybody is excluded (except by GPA), so perhaps these programs are worth it.

Before I get up a petition drive, I want to have real facts and figures to use - otherwise we are still "background noise" and no attention is paid.

Anonymous said...

@Dekalb Parent - Brilliant Magnet Point ! I have long attempted to describe why I perceived magnets as an inequality of resources for all DCSS students. Although we were a lottery loser, I knew that it went beyond that. However I could not come up with an explanation, now I get it .......

I think that the pie was not sliced properly before and now that the pie is even smaller, a huge budget for freestanding buildings and millions for transportation is an ever bigger injustice.

If there is a collective avenue to get this point across , I think you would find many people would be petition friendly.

Cerebration said...

It makes perfect sense to me - these schools are a main source of positive PR for DCSS. Kittredge is a crown jewel -- always tops in the state. Same with Chamblee and DSA. They need the PR. If they gave up these programs, I think only Lakeside would get any state/national recognition whatsoever. So to stack the deck, we collect our best and brightest and hold them up as examples of what great schools we run!

Anonymous said...

I will respectfully disagree regarding only a few schools remaining that could be recognized if Kittredge did not exist.
In fact, I would argue that the only reason Kittredge does so well is that it takes some of the best from home schools. It ought to do well.
Over the past many years schools like Austin, Oak Grove, Vanderlyn, (and I apologize for others I am missing) have consistently been ranked as top performers. And this after they lose many quality students to Kittredge or other magnets.
I would offer that if all the children went back to their home schools (and the teachers with them), you would see Austin, Oak Grove, Dunwoody Elementary, Vanderlyn, and others continue to be among the best in the state. On top of that the kids would still get a great education.

Molly said...

DeKalbParent - The Evansdale Math and Science Magnet also gets more applicants than it has room for. There is a lottery for this program as well.

Dekalbparent said...

Thanks, Molly - I will add Evansdale to the lottery side of he scorecard.

Anon 2:08 - not only are several of the DCSS elementary schools top performers, there have been some years when one of them outscored Kittredge. I am recalling that Oak Grove, Fernbank and Austin have all had the highest scores in DeKalb in prior years. I know that fewer Fernbank parents are thinking about KMS since it relocated. I was also told by a parent of a CMS magnet student that they asked an admissions person from Tech which high school they would rather see on an applicant's file - Chamblee Magnet or X High School - the student's home school (one with a number of good students). The Tech guy said no contest - he would rather see a student come from X High School!

Cerebration said...

You're right Anon. But I'm talking about PR. Kittredge is great PR for the system. So is DSA and the Chamblee HS program. Those programs get state and national attention. But as you say, of course they should - they collect the best and brightest from all over the system.

Anonymous said...

Chamblee HS gets to "hide" behind the success of the Magnet students. The academic prowess of the non-Magnet students leaves much to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Magnet Expenditures - Certainly, maintaining a separate building for magnet programs is very costly for the system and this directly decreases available monies for ALL of the students in the county. The impact is both financial and detrimental to the operation and learning environment of their home school.

Clearly, we know that, even when the Superintendent and the Board were given the opportunity to rightfully eliminate transportation to schools attended by choice, they backed down to the ever vocal magnet parents. This continues to cost ALL county students with expenses in the millions.

Another cost to the system/students, though somewhat difficult to measure,is the salary/experience factor of the teachers and resources in the magnets.

For example the average salaries for 4th , 5th and 6th grade teachers at Kittredge are pretty solid. I suspect higher than in a regular school. This indicates: 1) staff turnover is low - heck, what teacher would leave a school when your class size is 1-18 and you have all the resources that you want?? and 2)a higher percentage of more experienced - thus, well paid - staff are in magnet settings.

What ever happened to spreading the wealth of the methods from this setting to regular schools?

KMS Averages:
4th - 54,446 average
5th - 57,404 ( missing one in average )
6th - 63,271

Don't get me wrong. I am all about paying a teaching professional well. However, I find it troubling when a magnet school is held up as a shining example for DCSS when it is self created. It exists at the expense ( literally ) of ALL DCSS children. The earlier point
( Dekalb Parent ) of
" not enough to go around" settings is well taken, and I suspect it is probably the final straw for many parents.

Dunwoody Mom said...

However, I find it troubling when a magnet school is held up as a shining example for DCSS when it is self created

AMEN!!!!

Anonymous said...

I sure agree with recent posters.
The shining examples to me are the schools where administrators, teachers and parents have to deal with K-5 grade levels, all levels of student abilities, changes in teachers and classes due to magnets taking students at any time, overcrowded classrooms, etc. and still produce great results - and there are a lot that do this.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 3:25 PM

"Chamblee HS gets to 'hide' behind the success of the Magnet students. The academic prowess of the non-Magnet students leaves much to be desired."

Prove it! Or take it back. That is a highly irresponsible statement. And, by the way, it is Chamblee Charter High School.

Anonymous said...

Actually, read the CCHS charter and you will see for yourself the concerns about the high school program outside of the magnet school. The reality is, after all these years as a charter, the inherent differences in the two programs have not changed very much at all. I have sat at numerous meetings where this has been discussed.

When Dr. Brown was here, he disaggregated the magnet schools' test scores from the rest of their host schools. CCHS' scores (without the magnet students) were among the lowest in the county.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Prove it! Or take it back. That is a highly irresponsible statement. And, by the way, it is Chamblee Charter High School.

Have DCSS split out the magnet test scores from the "resident" test scores - there will be your proof.

Oh, and for those of us who are "old" alums, it will always be Chamblee High School, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:53. That is absolutely untrue and incredibly rude. CCHS has many incredible resident students. CCHS also takes more NCLB transfer students from schools not making AYP than any other high school. And I would add that all these students come from Title I schools, yet CCHS does not get any Title I money.

Dunwoody Mom said...

CCHS also takes more NCLB transfer students from schools not making AYP than any other high school

I'm sure Lakeside and Dunwoody would disagree with you on that one.

Why do you think that DCSS ceased publishing separate scores for the Magnet students and the resident students? There is a valedictorian for each - why not report the scores for each.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom:
This year Lakeside was removed from the list of receiving schools for NCLB transfers due to the construction of their addition might begin. Druid Hills was also off the list because of construction ( the addition is now finished). CCHS was one of the few receiving high schools this year.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I realize that - both Lakeside and Dunwoody did not receive NCLB transfers this school year. However, for the past 3 to 4 years, both schools received several hundred transfers per year - to the point of overcrowding both schools. This school year, Chamblee was slated to only receive 50 NCLB transfers.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 7:53 PM

I asked you to prove your contention about Chamblee Charter High School. Simply repeating an untruth does not make it true. Show us the documented disaggregated scores from the Brown era that you reference. As I said, prove it [your contention] or take it back!

Anonymous said...

DCSS did not stick to the 50 number plus a large 9th grade. CCHS is extremely overcrowded- dangerously so. One of the problems is that many of the classrooms were designed for 25 students and now have 30 plus students. Because there are many more students than classrooms, CCHS has at least 12 teachers who do not have a classroom. I call them homeless teachers pushing carts up and down the hallways with their materials on them. When one teacher is on their planning period, one of the floating teachers uses their classroom to teach a class. This is not a good situation for either teacher.

SongCue said...

This will take more than one post....sorry it's so long.
As I've stated before (ad nauseum), at DeKalb School of the Arts we would LOVE to have more students! There are MANY kids in DeKalb County who should be able to take advantage of the program offered at the school. But, in its never-ending inability to see beyond its nose, the DeKalb County administration and BOE continually puts us in inadequate facilities that cannot hold any more students. I'm very sorry that we displaced Avondale's band and ROTC, but at least our building, with both schools, is now at capacity. BTW, we haven't been able to have any performances at our school this year. Our theatre is still unfinished. We've been using the facility at McNair.
Sidebar: word on the street is that Sarah Copelin-Wood got that auditorium built at McNair (part of the SPLOST 2 that was questioned) because she wanted McNair to become the new DSA. Who knows? That auditorium--if anyone were to ask theatre people--is inadequate as it stands, to serve as an actual theatre, but modifications could be made. But good grief, she got that thing approved for a NASA Explorer School!

Back to the topic. Here's the scoop on DSA and the number of students and teachers we have and how we work. I'm a parent, not a teacher or DSA administrator.
DSA is a pre-professional program that prepares students for college and/or the real world of the arts. Our students go on to college in both the fine arts and other areas. One of our alums is a lighting major at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Another is a pre-med major at Barnard. Our alums have starred on broadway, are in dance companies, are doctors, lawyers, teachers, moms, and dads.

We have 291 students, grades 8-12.
All students are admitted through a two-stage process. First, they fill out an application in which they must submit an essay, 2 academic letters of recommendation, 2 arts teacher letters of recommendation; a transcript (B average or higher required), and proof or residency in DeKalb County. They must apply in two arts areas, one of which must be a performing art. If their application is in order, the second part of the process occurs: auditions.
Applicants must audition in the 2 arts areas on their applications. There is no lottery at DSA. You apply, audition, and are accepted or not.

Students admitted to DSA must maintain a B average. If they don't, they will be sent back to their home schools. I personally know students to whom this has happened. The students, of course, must take all of the academic classes and standardized tests as every other DeKalb County Student. In addition, they each major and minor in 2 arts areas. They are not required to stay in the arts areas in which they auditioned; some students explore a new area once they enter the school and change majors.

SongCue said...

cont'd
We are on the A/B block at DSA. Each student takes 8 classes all year round, alternating them by day--4 one day, the other 4 the next.

8th grade students take the 4 academic classes; PE and health; one arts class; arts dabbling class called Trilogy, which gives them a taste of other arts classes.

Each subsequent year students have more and more room in their schedules for arts classes, as well as high level academic classes. AP classes at DSA include World History, US History, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Lit, and (I think) Calc.

The arts majors and the number of teachers in each :
Dance-2 FT, 1 very PT
Visual Arts-1
*Creative Writing-1
Career Tech (Computer Graphics/Tech, Media Tech/Film-2
*Drama-2
Orchestra-1
Band/Jazz Band-1
Choral Music-2
Theatre Tech (set design, lighting)-1
1 voice teacher who comes 1 day/week
1 piano teacher who comes 1 day/week
*Denotes teachers who also teach ELA

Academic Teachers
ELA-4, including the two above
Social Studies-3
Science-3
Math-3
World Languages-1 FT Spanish, 1 PT French shared w/ Druid Hills, 1 PT Latin shared w/ Druid Hills
PE/Health-1 PT
Sp. Ed-1 PT (we do have students w/ IEPs and 504s)

In addition to their academic and arts classwork, each student must earn 2 Production credits per year. They do this by being in shows and crewing shows. Students in band or chorus earn 1 production credit per year, if they take part in all 3 of their concerts.

We start production of shows in August with the first round of auditions for the Fall Drama and don't stop until the last week of school. Juniors who are in the Spring Musical every year can count on taking the High School graduation tests during production week of the show.

We have 4 groups who tour: HighLeit (show choir--think Glee); Dance Repertory Company; Theatre for Young Audiences (play geared toward elementary aged kids); Jazz Ensemble Hire these kids for your next event! They're all great!

Our show choir, dressed in their dresses and vests, just came in 3rd in a competition over the weekend in Nashville against groups twice their size who had 2 costume changes, sets, and special staging! Our drama ensemble will be going to a competition later in the month. The kids raise their own money to go to these competitions, with a little help from the PTA.

I think we receive 6 FTEs more than traditional high schools. Our productions are done on a shoestring budget.

SongCue said...

cont'd
As I've also said before, Cobb County and Fulton County each have arts magnets. The Fulton county school, North Springs, is a math/science/arts charter school. That's a very interesting idea. Both the Cobb and Fulton schools have wonderful facilities.

I will defend the DSA magnet until I die. This school meets educational needs of a group of students who cannot get this at their home schools, especially on the 4X4 block, which is killing band, orchestra, and choral programs in DeKalb County. (Students can't afford to use 2 credits in order to stay in these groups year round and no one will come up with creative scheduling to make it work).

Our student body is extremely diverse, although we don't have as many hispanic kids yet. Our diversity also extends to sexual orientation. Quite frankly, I think a number of our students would have a tough time at their traditional home schools--not only would their ability to express themselves artistically be limited, but they would not be in as accepting an environment (I'd like to think that wouldn't be the case, but I think it would be a problem).

This post is long, but I'm passionate about this. Many of you have found it unbelievable that DSA and Avondale HS have two separate administrations. That may be a fair argument, although I see how hard our principal works and have trouble picturing her or Dr. Wilson--the Avondale principal--running the entire place.

I'm totally fine with the magnet transportation ending. Our families began to work out carpools already when the magnet transportation was pared down.

Anonymous said...

Lakeside received 139 NCLB transfers according to a 8/20/08 PTSA email; I seem to recall Chamblee received about the same or more in 2008.

Chamblee deserves credit for running pretty smoothly considering all the challenges. The impression I got from talking with parents and students at both schools was that the 2008 influx of transfers and the 2009 eSIS rollout caused less disruption at Chamblee than at Lakeside.

There are homeless teachers at Lakeside, too.

Also, as I recall, when magnet slots open up at CMS and CCHS, half the slots are preferentially given to Chamblee resident applicants. That would cause a little brain drain from the resident side of the school to the magnet side.

I would like to see a shining example of a high school which produces great results among all levels of student abilities, but I can't throw stones at Chamblee for not living up to that goal.

Anonymous said...

That's nice Song Cue, however, all DCSS students should have access to what goes on at DSA- not just the lucky few.

Again, it comes down to the same argument. Yes, we need to reduce the budget, but don't you dare touch my school. Enough!!!

Anonymous said...

Song Cue, I enjoyed and appreciate your passionate description of DSA. However, I have to agree, the budget needs to be reduced to promote an equitable distribution of shrinking resources.
This should mean specialty programs. I agree that the programming is beneficial to the lucky ones who get to receive it. But, frankly those of us who were not lucky are tired of paying for it at the expense of our children's limited enrichment experiences.

Cerebration said...

Lakeside has over 1700 students in a building built to hold about 1300. There are over 20 trailers on campus. The plan is now that construction will begin in May - after being postponed time and time and time again. We'll see.

As far as successful completion to graduation over 4 years at Lakeside, let's just say that the current graduating class which stands at 282, began as a class of 525 freshmen. Technically, that's a 54% graduation rate in 4 years - as is supposed to be measured. (I was told this directly by the reps from the federal gov't at the RTTT meeting.) Now, people will say - oh, those kids must have transferred or moved - and then they will drop it. The fact is - no one really knows for certain what happened to these 243 kids.

Cerebration said...

SongCue, the problem with DCSS is that we are set up like a third world country. Lots of "aid" (money) pours into the system, but somehow, little of it manages to make it to the people it was intended to help. The money gets skimmed by the political players along the way. So - even though we are all the same "little people" who are supposed to get all of the pie, by the time the pie gets to us, it is already half-eaten. Then, we start squabbling over the remaining pie. Ordinarily, we would all likely take the time to enjoy the skills and talents of others like the students at DSA, but since the pie is so small now, all we can see is that you guys are getting a bite and a half to every one bite the rest of us get.

It's stupid and I believe, controlled. I think squabbling amongst ourselves is what the administration wants to see. Don't you all get it? They are only spending a little over HALF the budget on teachers and students - the remaining nearly half is skimmed off way before it reaches our children. That's where we need to point fingers.

SongCue said...

All of your comments are fair and I agree with you. And I won't stop defending DSA--I DON'T think the funding is fair! And I'll also keep working on this DCSS administration to get its act together.
I just wanted you all to know how students get into DSA, what they do, and how the school operates.

Cere is right about the pie. Here's my question: If you're a regular blogger and graduate of DCSS, what year did you graduate and what were the schools like when you attended?

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 10:55

Well said. Excellent analogy. You're right - the real money is in the 47% spent in non-teaching personnel. When did DeKalb cease to be an educational institution and turn into a job creating machine?

As the ranks of administrators, MIS, and Service Center personnel swelled, teacher numbers dwindled. The "trickle down" effect does indeed have us fighting over the scraps left for our children.

SongCue said...

Sorry....Ice Dancing and the lateness of the hour made me mess up my last post.
What I meant to say was....I DON'T think that funding magnets differently than traditional schools is fair. Yes, a school like DSA has higher costs in some areas, but some traditional schools have things that we don't need (we need a dance studio, but we don't really need a gymnasium, for instance).
Cere's analogy is always correct, I think. We're all fighting for the scraps when we should band together and get all of our schools funding for what they need.
Anyway, thank you all for a good dialogue. I appreciate the honest conversation of this blog.

show me the data said...

In order to put the argument about Chamblee's magnet vs. non-magnet populations to rest, I have filed an open records request for the disaggregated data. Let's not fight about it anymore until we see the actual data.

Anonymous said...

Show me the data,

You shouldn't have to file an Open Records Act. Just ask the principal or school council member.

Here is a quote from Chamblee's charter...

"CCHS seeks to narrow the gap between the high achiever magnet program and the resident and charter student programs by making benefits of attending CCHS available to resident and magnet students alike to enhance the educational experience for every student. These benefits include access to the best teachers, high teacher expectations for resident and charter students and effective action to improve the low performing students. In addition, CCHS will separately measure and track results for magnet and resident/charter students for PSAT, SAT and GHSGT."

Dunwoody Mom said...

In addition, CCHS will separately measure and track results for magnet and resident/charter students for PSAT, SAT and GHSGT."

As stated earlier, the scores are measured separately, why aren't they reported separately as they once were. Draw your own conclusions. Even Crawford Lewis made the comment last fall that he had concerns about the non-magnet students.

Dunwoody Mom said...

FWIW, the enrollment by grade levels:

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_enrollgrade.display_proc

themommy said...

Songcue

North Springs and Pebblebrook each have only one administrator and the arts resources are available to all students in the building. If it works well for those schools, why not DeKalb? I find it hard to believe that across the country, and even within this county, magnet programs are well run within schools and it won't work for DSA?

In the budget for this school year, as passed, DSA receives 9 extra Magnet points plus 1 point advanced for programs.
Because of the very small size for a high school, I am guessing that DeKalb receives almost no reimbursement from the state for any administrators DSA may have (principal, counselors etc). The state formula is prorated some, but given how much smaller DSA is, I am guessing that very little state money flows in for those rolls.

My frustration with DSAs' speakers at the BOE meetings has always been that there was never an iota of graciousness about the extraordinary instructional benefits that students receive there. Instead, parents/advocates acted like it was a huge sacrifice to send your children there because of the facilities.

I get that the facility situation has been challenging, but look at what the kids get extra. My children attend a DCSS high school that often struggles to put on one play a year, something that I believe is a integral part of a high school experience. Other DeKalb schools don't have adequate arts teachers and most don't have auditoriums either.

Cerebration said...

"These benefits include access to the best teachers..."

Are they admitting they have the best teachers at Chamblee?

And, as far as DSA goes, I and many others advocated for merging DSA into Lakeside - following the North Springs model. Lakeside is scheduled to finally get an auditorium built. They already have over 400 students in the music program, and put on some fabulous plays in the "cafetorium". I think you would see those enrollment numbers grow for DSA, SongCue, if it was merged with a school that could benefit both schools exponentially. And one set of administrators could handle it.

BTW - why does DSA include 8th graders? Without them, the enrollment at DSA could easily merge into Lakeside (if the administration would quit sending so many random "administrative" transfers). I have figured that Lakeside has somewhere between 400-600 non-resident students in the building. (No application process, no tryout, you just need to ask the right person for a transfer.)

Dunwoody Mom said...

BTW - why does DSA include 8th graders?

I have wondered that myself. Also, if Kittredge would move to 4th and 5th, it could be moved into another facility as well. If the problems at Nancy Creek are as those parents say they are, why not just close the facility? Nancy Creek/Kittredge sits smack in the middle of a neighborhood. Perhaps when the economy recovers a developer would wish to purchase that land?

Anonymous said...

Good idea, Dunwooody Mom.

Why couldn't you combine Kittredge 4th and 5th with Wadsworth 4th and 5th and put it in central DeKalb where it's more accessible to all students? Couldn't the 6th through 8th magnet high achievers could go to exiting the Middle Schools that serve the 8th grade magnet students now?

giftedkids said...

SongCue, I love the way you stand up for DSA & I am standing with you! I have always wondered though, why does DSA have 8th graders? Why not put them in DESA? It already has K-7. I think the transition would be easier for the kids if they started the DSA program in the traditional HS freshman year. I also think combining some Magnets would work as well & they could be moved to a central location in the county. I have always liked the idea of combining the K-7 & 8-12 program for DESA & DSA together. Although I don't know how housing them in one place would work...

Anonymous said...

We used to mention it here all the time, but another way the BOE has faied us is administrative transfers (remember the Lakeside cheerleading booster club/Elaine Boyer mess?).

Admin transfers originate from one place and one plce only: The Superintendent's Office. Admin transfers have morphed into a way to grant a favor, personal or political. The BOE has allowed C Lew to dramatically increase the number of AT's from previous sup's. The BOE should make public the full list of AT's (names redacted), with the school and reason why. It's become just one more abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

Themommy @ 7:42 said: "In the budget for this school year, as passed, DSA receives 9 extra Magnet points plus 1 point advanced for programs."

Mommy, let's not forget the admission requirement of a B or better average -- One can assume that a bright student population would also bring a higher number of "gifted" students than found in an normal DCSS school. This in itself earns extra funding (teachers) based on the State funding formula which provides extra resources for gifted students.

Put those gifted kids back in the home school and the extra funding follows them back.

Anonymous said...

Not intending to get off topic here, but a question needs to be raised. Why in the world would DSA have a requirement of a B or better?

With all the schools of choice in DCSS's portfolio, it seems this one should have no grade requirement at all. There are countless examples, globally and historically of some of the world's most talented artists who couldn't make it academically.

Sure an actor in the performing arts may make you memorize lines, but what if you aspire to be a set designer, dancer, singer, or light man instead?

Why do you need a B or better to be a good visual artist? Does a B make you better at sculpting clay or painting portraits?

Really now. What DCSS has done is put together another elitist exclusionary school under the guise of diversity and choice.

Cynical? Yes.

Dekalbparent said...

Another KUDO for Cross Keys - they are on the honor list for AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Schools with 30% of AP test takers that are African-American or Hispanic and at least 30% of all AP exams scoring 3 or higher.

There are other DCSS schools on the various lists, too, but I for sure needed to point this out.

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/02/17/georgia-fares-quite-well-in-ap-exams-and-scores/

Anonymous said...

Don't have a kid at DSA, but I gotta say this - the performance credit requirement and the B average requirement make it very demanding for the students and their families. I don't think a kid could make it there without family support. We have said that the magnets need to require families to contribute and they do.

The other thing - even bigger in my book: If you don't get the performance credits, and/or you don't keep the B average, you are EXITED. This is not true in the high achiever programs - they make the teachers turn every which way to keep the kids there. Kid didn't study for the test and flunked? No prob, just give a special make up test. Kid blew off the project? No prob, give them a smaller one and help them with it so they can get a good grade.

Been there on the inside and watched it happen.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:55 I totally agree. If the child (& parent) can't handle the extra load of performance & the B average requirement, they should be exited. The same should apply to athletes. My son played football. They tried that special testing & classwork nonsense when he got lazy junior year. I benched him myself & his grades suddenly went back to A & B's. It was like a miracle. ;0) It's a hardcore approach but education is paramount even if you are talented.

Anonymous said...

Why turn the magnet issue emotional? The system is not equitable and needs to be eliminated because it will never work,particularly in times of shrinking resources.

Each time the well made points come up and parents start to chime in about the lack of equality, the discussion suddenly turns to how we are being "tricked" into squabbling with each other.

This is simply not true, parents should be mad as heck that resources to support ALL children are diverted to help a special few who happened to have their number drawn, Then, to make matters worse, more monies are diverted to transport them all over the county. The system is a drain financially and a drain on the quality of local schools.

Songcue, other magnet parents, those who have the most to lose yell the loudest. I understand, but don't make it emotional because it is just another area that needs trimming. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps everyone who is against the Magnet programs would be happiest if we just pulled our students out of the public school altogether, pooled our resources & put them into private arts/math/science/tech schools. Most of us drive them to school everyday now anyway. We could create our own endowments for funding the programs & tuition, like the liberal arts colleges. I know some people in those fields with the funds who would like to help "us" if we do. I would love to have & am willing to pay for my child to be in such a place but none exists here, yet.....

Anonymous said...

I think that's the concept that founded charter schools.

Anonymous said...

No such charter exists in this area that is geared specifically toward the programs that I metnioned. This would be for parents whose children know that they want to be those target programs.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 2:04 -First, I don't think people are "out to get magnets". The parents that have voiced opposition have simply asked for the playing field to be level. Again, why do you need to deflect attention away from the real issue? - Which is a blatantly unequal distribution of county funds for the education of DCSS children? Special services funded by all for a few - looking like less that 7000 of the nearly 100,000 in the county.

Second, I don't think anyone is trying to stop you from pulling your child for a privately managed system. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the superintendent or the board give a hoot about the high achievers departing the county schools. ( 75th percentile for magnets with ITBS eiligbility ).

So, come on, be real. Stop with the entitled, keep it or I will leave attitude, Please, consider ALL of the children in the county, don't they ALL deserve the very best we can give them? This cannot happen when we will not objectively look at our system and be truthful about what might have been good for some but is not fair for all.

Anonymous said...

@DunwoodyMom, 7:31 AM

I am not surprised that Crawford had some concerns about the non-magnet students at Chamblee Charter High School. Both his kids were students at CCHS even though Crawford lives out of the attendance area. His daughter, Denise, was there when Crawford was the Area Executive Director over CCHS. The reports I got from several different, reliable CCHS teachers were that Crawford was frequently at CCHS to "lobby" for grade changes for his kids and for more basketball playing time for his son, Matthew. I did not want to believe it at the time, but now -- knowing what I know -- I am certain the teachers were telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 2:56, you can leave the rude 'tude if you like, I have more than enough of my own thank you. I know no one is trying stop me pulling my children out if I see fit because no one is able to do that. That is my right, along with anyone else who chooses to do so. That comment was primarily made for the Magnet parents to consider.

Secondly, (would be the correct way to word it btw) I am already aware that CL & the BOE could care less if my high achiever children stay or go. They could less about the children period in my opinion.

Thirdly, I am always real & I don't feel entitled for my children, most of whom are not in a Magnet, only one is. So I am looking at both sides of the coin. I was standing up for the kids in this county before mine were even students in it! Just like I did for Clayton county kids & I have never lived in that county.

Lastly, I always consider, am conerned about & fight for all of the children in the county, state & country. I have already stated the BOE & CL should do right by ALL of the children (& the teachers as well) by making sure the budget is fair & shared equally in a budget neutral system & providing "premier" education no matter what school the child is in.

There are other Magnet parents who have children in both their neighborhood school & a Magnet school who are fighting several battles at once just like I am. So I'm not speaking as an outsider of either situation. I am what I have always been, an advocate for both, one & all children, without separation or favoritism. What are you trying to be?.....

I apologize for the run-on post everyone, but WT*. Let's not be rude to each other. We can all find a reason to be angry...

Anonymous said...

Yes. "Lobbying for grade" is alive and well in DeKalb County and the Central Office personnel are parents so they are not immune to this.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:45 PM

"Yes. "Lobbying for grade" is alive and well in DeKalb County and the Central Office personnel are parents so they are not immune to this."

Wait. So this makes their behavior understandable? The fact that they are parents makes it okay to lobby for a grade for their child? What are you thinking?

It is unacceptable. Period. The fact that they are DCSS Central Office personnel takes it beyond unacceptable to unethical. Further, the fact that Crawford would pressure teachers and coaches to give his children something they had not earned when he was in a supervisory position over Chamblee Charter High School smacks of rank harrassment. Because of his position with DCSS, essentially Crawford was threatening the jobs of CCHS teachers and coaches.

Anonymous said...

""Further, the fact that Crawford would pressure teachers and coaches to give his children something they had not earned when he was in a supervisory position over Chamblee Charter High School""

NO WAY. His kids were not even at Chamblee Magnet School.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:30 pm

I'm thinking that apparently at least one and possibly more high level DeKalb officials didn't think grade changing was so bad. See Channel 2 video at the web address below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlFiNlZ3uo

Channel 2 followup:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azXiXchsI9A

Guess who still has his job - the high ranking school official ($122,195.84 a year)

Guess who is no longer with the school system? The teacher

Here is the most recent discussed at length on this blog:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

Of course the teacher is no longer at Redan HS or anywhere in DeKalb.

I wonder if DeKalb settled the lawsuit with the MLK teacher. If they did, I'd like to know how much we taxpayers were on the hook for.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:27 pm

Well, a poster on the strand "dekalb to close 4 schools, cut aministrators" says differently:

Oh, yes they were. His daughter, Denise, graduated from Chamblee Charter High School with my daughter in the Class of 2000. His son, Matthew, graduated from CCHS about 4 or 5 years later.

Why would you say something untrue as if you had the facts? Someone else who doesn't know better might believe you. Kind of dishonest, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:27 pm
Why would you say something like that? In Names Database, she is listed as a Chamblee HS graduate, 2000.

I don't like to see her name listed in this blog though. I really don't think we should list a family member of an employee in this blog.