Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Check this out: School Corruption - the movie

Don't Miss "The Cartel" This Thursday!

"The Cartel," an award-winning documentary about school corruption and the promise of school choice will be shown this Thursday, August 19th at 8:30 PM as part of the Atlanta Documentary Film Festival.

The screening will take place at:

The Carter Center
453 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30307-1406

To view a trailer of "The Cartel," visit www.thecartelmovie.com

Tickets are $8, available online by clicking here.

Click here for directions.


Anonymous said...

Will someone/anyone please go to this viewing and report back to the dekalb nation on what was said and how we may attack your problems! I can't make it to the viewing. Thanking you in advance!

Anonymous said...

The film is about the corruption in New Jersey school systems and the all powerful unions there.

While we don't have teachers' unions in GA, we all know that the corruption issue is a national one.

The solution that the film seems to be pushing is competition for schools in the form of charters and perhaps other school choice that doesn't involve school systems.

If you go to youtube and search for the cartel the movie, you will find a whole bunch of outtakes.

While they are almost all worth watching, if you only have a few minutes, watch the one about local school corruption and you might think GA school systems are honest. It is fascinating how much corruption there appears to be in NJ.

Anonymous said...

After viewing this trailer, I now realize our BOE along with CLew's former and now Tyson's current cabinet members of Turk, Moseley, Thompson, Beasley, Mitchell-Mayfield, Ramsey, Berry and the rest are a part of a cartel and they are recklessly taking our system and flushing it down the toilet while lining their pockets with OUR tax dollars. If we get too close they basically threaten us and call us names. It's time we close down this cartel and take our system back from these thieves.

Anonymous said...

You need to watch more of the movie. The message is that all school systems are like this and that really the only hope for children, especially those in the inner-cities is charters and vouchers.

themommy said...

Not the movie, but this video about Beverly Hall and the cheating is something to see.


Anonymous said...

It is time for vouchers-- money into the school house and into the hands of parents. I don't think that there is any other answer. If you couple vouchers, with limits to schools based on capacity, with preference given to resident students, add in the charters and allow half vouchers to go to private schools, you would infuse competition and it might just start to change things for the better. Let the principals run the schools like small businesses, audit the money regularly by folks who are not friends and family who actually know something about auditing, publish all expenditures on line so everyone can see everything and all allow free "walks" to other schools if it isn't working for someone. Watch the competition clean things up.

Anonymous said...

It is time for vouchers-- money into the school house and into the hands of parents. I don't think that there is any other answer. If you couple vouchers, with limits to schools based on capacity, with preference given to resident students, add in the charters and allow half vouchers to go to private schools, you would infuse competition and it might just start to change things for the better. Let the principals run the schools like small businesses, audit the money regularly by folks who are not friends and family who actually know something about auditing, publish all expenditures on line so everyone can see everything and all allow free "walks" to other schools if it isn't working for someone. Watch the competition clean things up.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being unpopular, I have concerns about vouchers and the benefits of competition. Wasn't the dimanling of Ma Bell and her sibs supposed to lead to better, cheaper, more reliable phone service? Didn't work. The government used to control gas companies, but allowed "competition" to improve service and reduce costs....bills doubled as we now have to pay not only the provider but also for line services.

I'm NOT happy about the schools, but I'm also not sure that vouchers will provide "compteition" and success as some suggest. What I do see is more "for profit" schools entering the market, add-on fees emerging, additional layers (and monies) resulting from required (and perhaps expanded) regulations and reviews and, ultimately, the middle- and working classes squeezed out entirely.

Anonymous said...


This is a fantastic blog for the DCSS. Are you thinking of ways to incorporate sites for the individual schools into this blog? I have two kids in elementary school in Dekalb and find the school and staff to be outstanding. We didn't make AYP this year and don't see how any school is going to make AYP in 2014. I think that having our own school blog attached to this site would also be a wonderful idea. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. BTW. I am going to find a way to attend the showing of "The Cartel" at the Carter center tomorrow night. I will report back on Friday morning, if not sooner. Keep up the fight! Great job!

Cerebration said...

Glad you like the site, Anon. It's very easy to set up your own blog - I use Blogger, but you can also choose Wordpress. It literally only takes 5 minutes to set up. If you do, send me the link and I'll add it to our list of links on the homepage side panel. Good luck!



Anonymous said...

The one comment that hit home and says how I really feel about education, which is one huge reason why I stopped teaching this past school year to stay at home and educate my own children at home, is that the children are being raped.

I have known too many children who are being pushed ahead without being educated (could barely read) because they were nice kids, good football players, and didn't cause trouble. I was tired of not being able to educate the children.

Parents, I implore you to think, is your school really good if your children are not making AYP? I don't buy the arguments any more, as they are just excuses. It's not having too many very poor children.

IT IS NOT Taking children where they come and moving them forward from there. IT IS LOWERING expectations, so that the children "feel good" and the school system looks good. IT IS NOT spending money, so that it really impacts the learning of the children. How many of those expensive smart boards are utilized to their fullest and aren't just an expensive projector?

I LOVE teaching. I LOVE being a teacher, but I realize in our country right now, politics does not allow education to take place. The government can make all of the laws it wants, but we are dumbing down what our children are learning, as the current standards are a mile wide and barely a quarter inch deep. Our children will never have a grasp on all that they are to know.

I am going to try and get to the showing of this movie, and I hope and pray that it will awake parents and that they realize that this is not just happening in urban districts, but throughout America.

Anonymous said...

Friends and Family: Can somebody check these facts for accuracy? I used the Ga Tch Certification website:
ZR's daughter --- 23 years w/ DCSS
39 yrs old
1987 (?)-- clerical position (?)at age 16 (?)
1st Teacher Certification - Mar 1999
Leadership Cert - 2008
1999 to 2010= Teacher, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Corruption is not always the fault of unions. We have a problem with corruption in DCSS and there is no union behind it. We need to blame the people in Dekalb who are causing the problem, not some nebulous entity that doesn't exist in this state.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anonymous, if your facts are correct about Robert's daughter she was able to go up the ranks to assistant principal fairly fast.

You can do that when your mom is on the school board.

Anonymous said...

Corruption is not the fault in DCSS, but in states where teachers are part of Unions they are big and they are strong. In my town, there was a teacher who was drunk, she would come to school drunk, drink during lunch, and this was very well known. It wasn't until a child who was deathly allergic to bees was stung and almost died, that they could get enough on her to get her out. Things like this, maybe not to this degree, happen here in DCSS. Teachers may not have unions, but there is still a great deal of paper work to do to get a teacher fired.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:56

"Corruption is not the fault in DCSS, but in states where teachers are part of Unions they are big and they are strong."

The states where there are teacher's unions just happen to have very hgih scores on national tests (e.g. SAT) - much higher than Georgia's as do 48 other states). One reason is that administrators are not in the teacher's unions - just teachers. I've never taught in a state where there is a teacher's union, but I hear the conditions for teachers and students (aka - the classroom) are much better than in Georgia. There are a considerable number of negatives as well, but if we look at the outcomes for students, then the states with teacher's unions come out ahead.

Georgia is notoriously anti-teacher's union, but has that correlated with a great educational system? States with strong teacher's unions would not allow 36 to 39 students per classroom. The Central Office would have to figure out another way to balance the books, and it wouldn't be on the backs of our students.

Anonymous said...

I teach at one of the few Dekalb high schools that did make AYP, and I am very concerned about the impact that increased class sizes and ineffective county mandates will have on classroom instruction and students' learning.

Can anyone start a discussion about the county's decision to increase class sizes while retain such a large out-of-school staff (when studies prove that smaller classes are crucial to developing students' critical thinking and writing skills)? I'm also concerned that the department of instruction and learning is not only ignoring the very differentiated instruction it promotes but also turning teachers into nothing other than record keepers who post attendance, record benchmark grades, create class profiles, and record grades earned only for completion or participation.

According to Dekalb's website last spring, the county employed 23 people in its research and development department. Today it seems that the county has transferred that department to instructional services and renamed it research and evaluation. Can anyone request the (reliable, relevant, current) research that proves that posting lesson plans, appealing to multiple intelligences, creating class portfolios, and using benchmarks actually translates to students' acquisition of analytical and writing skills?

Dekalb's approach to "instruction and learning" is a recipe for teacher burnout and student suffering.

During pre-planning, we teachers were forced to listen to Ramona Tyson explain that teachers would no longer be excluded from decision making. So far we have.

I would be happy to elaborate on any of this information or provide more details.

Anonymous said...

I would say that the higher test score rates, are because of more experienced principals and superintendents. APs or Principals with 3 to 5 years of teaching would never be considered where I have previously taught. They want teachers with proven experience and a track record of good, quality teaching. This would go for each of the three states that I taught in with unions.

Also, as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools which is affiliated with AFLCIO, not NEA, I had 36-40 children in my first grade and kindergarten and fourth grade classrooms. Usually 38-40, so don't be so sure about the high numbers. Districts everywhere have increased numbers to decrease the number of teachers that they have to pay. This is happening in both city and smaller districts where I have taught and continue to have friends.

Anonymous said...

Beasley needs to go. There is no doubt that what he is doing is damaging our teachers, which in turn is messing up our children.

Every parent and community member on this blog needs to send Ms. Tyson an email about this subject.

Since we can't be sure she reads it, make sure your subject line is something with Beasley's name in it.

Then, make sure your email is brief, in case it is read, and expresses your outrage about the amount of paperwork being required by Beasley.

Ms. Tyson's email...


Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to you... but in Tyson's eyes- Beasley can do no wrong. Similarly.. in the board's eyes- Tyson can do no wrong! ... Sad state!

Anonymous said...

The Tyson-Beasley relationship is much akin to a completely blind person (Tyson: whose professional career had very little contact with students-just 3 years at Lakeside)being led by a half-blind person ( Beasley: administrator under the wings of Johnny Brown on his first solo flight).

What do you expect from charlatans?

Paperwork will bring AYP like a rain dance will bring rain.

Anonymous said...

MI Theory is very simplistic, has little academic/peer reviewed support from the 80's. It has been largely discounted.
Maybe MB sang his dissertation...that's why he can't produce a copy.

Anonymous said...

Getting ahead in school is usually a good thing; at least, about 35 students at Cross Keys High School, in Dekalb County, used to think so. In the 8th grade these students were presented with an opportunity to sign a “miracle” contract. This contract stated that by their sophomore year they would have completed the four required mathematics credits for high school. The students were also told that after the completion of those 4 math credits they would have their choice of math both their junior and senior year. Now they are juniors and are now being told that they must take Advanced Placement Calculus, a college level mathematics course. Most of these students in this “hybrid” program struggled with pre-calculus last year. This two semester class is weighted on a 5 point scale meaning that it counts higher than an average class. This class could ruin their GPA. In light of this, the students asked to be placed in a normal Calculus or AP Statistics class. To this they were told that they had no option but to have their schedules altered drastically and be placed into AP Calculus. The student’s parents and guardians were outraged. They have been calling, e-mailing, and complaining all the way up the Senator of their county’s district. The principal, Dr. McMillan, several teachers, and several people, namely Ken Bradshaw, Don McChesney and Robert Mosely at the county office are trying to be of help. Yet several of the people at the same county office, for example Wanda J. Audrict, and Eugene P. Walker are not. They say the students must take AP Calculus because of this contract that has magically disappeared and are also showing indifference to the matter. Neither student nor county has this contract. None of the students or their parents want this. Get the word out. Fight with us. The last time we checked this is the United States of America. Being discriminated, ignored, lied to, and railroaded by a county should never happen! The parents have the right to choose what is best for their children. Help us fight by proclaiming this injustice!

-DeAnna Parker, Laura Moreno, Iris Sanchez (C.S.A.)

Anonymous said...
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Cerebration said...

Awesome documentary. I highly recommend that you find a way to view it. Although a lot of it focuses on N. Jersey (and the teacher's union), much of what is covered is also relevant here.

Anonymous said...


Were you there last night at the Carter Center? I got a babysitter and went with my wife. I spoke with Bob Bowden for many miuntes before the showing. He is well informed about New Jersey, but knew nothing about the Dekalb's fight over the similar issues. Can you please send me an email for further discussion?
Jimmy Mac

Cerebration said...

The producers of this documentary did some math very similar to math we've done here. I felt endorsed. We are not outside of reasonable - and there is a national movement toward ridding school systems of greed and waste. Everyone is angry pretty much everywhere.

Check out the logic - it makes complete sense.

This is from the current budget book (2011) - page 7

General Operations Fund $746.64 million

PLUS Other Funds:

Special Revenue $97.78
Capital Outlay $194.79
Debt Service $95.84
Enterprise Funds $48.78
Trust & Agency $19.41

Total Other Funds - $456.60

TOTAL "CONSOLIDATED" BUDGET FY 2011 - $1,203,240,000

So when you divide the OPERATIONS budget by 98,000 students you get a per pupil cost of $7,618.

However, when you divide that CONSOLIDATED BUDGET total by 98,000 students it equates to $12,277 per student.

That's an additional cost of $4,659 per student. (For all costs in addition to what's described as "Operations")

Now, let's multiply that times an average of 30 students per classroom.

Our annual CLASSROOM costs are therefore $228,540 if you use the Operations number only - or $368,310 if you use what the school system spends in total - per student - times 30).

The point here is -- IF students were given vouchers for somewhere between $8000-15,000, depending on their FTE number (regular, special ed, gifted, etc) don't you think that everyone could find a private choice that they could afford? Would public schools in turn then have to compete - and improve - in order to lure students back?

This movie made a VERY good case for vouchers and charters.

Anonymous said...

Oh God...

Here we go again! The only solution to public school corruption is vouchers. Let's see... Privatize the military, the banking system (Federal Reserve which is neither Federal nor a reserve), FEMA, OSHA, Minerals and Mines, prisons, etc. The conseverative movement has had wet dreams regarding the Social Security and public school. I say hell no! Let's try voting the bums out and take back our education system from political conies. There's no difference between corrupt public officials and sociopathic corporate officals. The main issue is that we as taxpayers can directly control who manages the public schools. But we can not directly control corporations unless we are majority shareholders. [see the recent Supreme Court United Citzens case]

Anonymous said...

We can kill the voucher politics by ONLY giving MANDATORY vouchers each worth $50000/per year (no private boarding school costs more than that)to 5-10% of the lowest performing student as determined by an academic and citizenship formula.

Cerebration said...

So what is your opinion of charter schools? They're not that different from vouchers, really. They are a major evaluator for RTTT funds - Obama and Duncan love them. What if the school systems became networks of charter schools?

Anonymous said...

If we're spending $15,000 per pupil (all budgets combined) and we had $10,000 per pupil vouchers -- the vouchers could be set up so that: (1) home schools are "honored" with "first dibs" going to in resident kids to promote neighborhood schools; (2) procedures get set up to develop how to fill the school to capacity once the resident kids get their choice; (3) the selection process respects capacity issues (this will be a problem in areas where the district "home" kids already exceed capacity -- e.g. Oak Grove, Vanderlyn); (4) CFOs and Auditors are put in place at the school level for financial issues and the principals are the academics champions for the schools, which are then are run like businesses much like private schools are but under the public school system; (5) the vouchers are used by the parents to select their school wtih the dollars flowing directly to the school for the principal to be used as that principal best sees fit as the head of that buidling -- making all of those decsiions; (6) some small fraction of the money, lets say $1500 of each voucher gets "uploaded" to the central office for central administration; (7) title I dollars stay at the school house under the same guidelines and restrictions; (8) private school kids get "dinged" -- their vaouchers get split -- say $5,000 to the private school, $3,500 to the neighborhood school and $1,500 to the central office; (9) public charter and magnet schools get the full $10,0000 voucher and $1,500 goes to the central office; (10) if the school isn't working in a year for your kid, parent uses voucher to go somewhere else with a spot the next year with their voucher. So, with the private school "ding" and the money going directly into the school house with external, legitimate ("big 8"-- I know there are fewer than 8 now, I'm showing my age) auditors regularly supervising and reporting on how dollars are spent -- maybe, just maybe, we would start to really educate the kids rather than providing so much money in one place that it's just an enticing pot to steal from. I promise it can not be any worse than what is happening now -- it has got to be an improvement! (And to the "naysayers" about the privatization of other enteriprises -- go look at how expensive airline tickets were in the 1970s compared to today or how few options we had for telephones before MaBelle was split apart--since then we now have call waiting, voice mail, portable phones, cell phones that are affordable and not $1000 a month.... competition really does work in most instances).

We need some new paradigms (including vo tech!).

Anonymous said...

Now about the cheating scandals -- anyone who is surprised that there's cheating going on with the CRCT with such high stakes involved, when the teachers have no "say so" over what the kid's reading, writing and arithmetic level is when they start the school year, over whether the kid gets to eat outside school and over the kid's home envioroment is kidding themselves. The teacher can't work miracles -- they can get a child from where they start the year to a few levels beyond that but they can't take kids reading and doing math grades below grade leval and have 80% of them passing at grade level by the end of the year. This is particularly true without help from people working with these kids one on one from the title 1 "help office" like what was happening with title 1 dollars before programs like America's Choice, etc. The kids need attention paid to them.... to work with them one on one and in small groups to get them from poing A to point D, F or H. It is time to say "forget it" to the feds and stop all of this testing and focus, instead, on actually teaching the kids what they actaully really need to know and forget about trying to comply with all sorts of laws that don't net us any dollars in the long run and just provide incentives for cheating and ultimately results in everyone losing out. (This is where the Vo Tech comment belongs... sorry).

Cerebration said...

Two excellent comments in a row, Anon. How do we get the school board and administration to listen? Although we are parents, we do have some good ideas! We know our own kids... and one size never fits all.

Anonymous said...

I think the proper approach is going to be state legislature and not BOE. It will require a barrage of letters to legislators and the governor (whoever wins).

Cerebration said...

News from the producer of "The Cartel", Bob Bowdon

The Cartel Movie has been picked up by a major distributor, and the DVD release date has finally been set. The worldwide release will be December 1, 2010. That's when anyone & everyone will be able to visit our website , put in an order for the DVD, and bask in the good feelings that will flow from helping reform public education.

This was a very enlightening documentary. I would encourage groups of you to get a copy and watch it.