Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Business leaders wary of DeKalb school troubles

Yesterday's AJC tells us that the business community is getting very nervous about DeKalb school system's tribulations.

With foreclosures and business closures already a problem for DeKalb County, threats to the school system’s accreditation are worrying business leaders and prompting them to get more involved.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is reviewing 2,500 pages of documents to address allegations of nepotism, conflict of interest, a questionable procurement process and shaky leadership in the school system.
On Monday, DeKalb County schools’ interim superintendent, Ramona Tyson, told about 120 business leaders that she is confident the district has addressed those concerns. But she was unable to reassure them that accreditation will remain intact for the state’s third-largest school district.
Tyson acknowledged that the school system -- one of the county's top three largest employers -- is struggling to meet federal academic standards, balance budget cuts and respond to ethics questions. That’s one of the reasons she changed the school system’s logo to no longer call the school system premier.
“We got work to do. The district’s premier logo was a beautiful logo, very uniquely designed, very colorful, looks good on paper,” she told the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce on Monday. “But we got to have the backup to be able to carry the name and we got work to do.”

Click here to read the article.

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

How long have we've been saying this on this blog! How long must the same people, who got us in this mess and have had raises of 50% and higher, stay on the payroll!

The current leadership got us in this mess, the BOE rubber stamps everything they want and they expect us to sit back quietly and not say a word and are offended when we start asking questions.

Please will someone please take the reins and start firing these people, who have been on the DCSS gravy train entirely too long.

Everyone must go, if they are still around in a year, businesses will no longer look at DeKalb as a viable place to locate their business.

Anonymous said...

Emory LaVista Parent Council, 9:15am tomorrow morning, Oak Grove Elementary, Ms. Tyson will speak.

Anonymous said...

When a business looks to re-locate, one of the top three things executives examine is the public school system. Pretty hard to make a case for DeKalb over any other county in the metro area except Clayton when your supt. and COO are under indictment.

When a young family is looking to move, they look at the local school system. Gwinnett, Cobb, and yes, even Fulton County have superior school systems to DeKalb.

It's about time the local business community gets involved. The City of Atlanta through its AppleCorps program (since re-named) has developed some strong ties with the business community that yielded tangible results.

But here in DeKalb, DCSS does not play nice with the county (the county is just as mch at fault), or have strong partnerships with Emory University, the CDC, Agnes Scott, etc. It's sad that Emory sends its student teachers to City of Atlanta schools when Emory is actually located in unincorporated DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

GREAT POINT ANON 5:35!

Why doesn't DCSS have a deal with Emory, CDC, or for that matter, PDK Airport?!

DeKalb continues to slip away, while the Central Office gets new offices, MIS gets renovated and yet the school buildings, where the kids learn, continue to leak, grow mold & mildew, and get older by the day.

1.2 Billion dollar budget and what do we have to show for it? Overcrowded and deteriorating successful schools and the only reasons they are successful are because the teachers work hard to teach the students, despite the deplorable surroundings around them. Teachers keep up the great work, you're doing admirable work, despite the poor leadership at the top.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think that one of the challenges to true school reform is that DeKalb lacks large influential private business headquarters. There are no Coke CEOs, Delta CEOs, etc demanding change in DeKalb the way there were in the city of Atlanta and their edupac. Of course, with the latest cheating scandal and now board of ed tension, who knows how well that is really playing out.

DeKalb lacks a true private industry force.

I think that is part of the reason that New Birth has so much influence.

Anonymous said...

" Ramona Tyson, told about 120 business leaders that she is confident the district has addressed those concerns. "

Who does she think she is kidding?
How have the concerns been addressed?

FAIL!

Anonymous said...

My favorite part was her statement about changing DCSS's image; she fired the whole PR staff. Ms. Tyson, it was not the fault of the PR staff that our image is so bad....... It's the continued incompetence of our administrative leadership. No PR staff can make a silk purse out of this sow's ear. Do you really not understand that?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:07

You have to understand that the last time Ms. Tyson walked into a classroom was in the late 1980s. She taught Business Ed at Lakeside High School over 20 years ago. She has no content background and no experience with the extraordinary efforts necessary for students who lag behind in academics, often 4 or 5 years behind. She doesn't realize that attracting and retaining great teachers is the only way to increase student achievement. How many times do you think she set foot in a school as the head of MIS or the Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations?

I think her view of the classroom is about what I would expect given her background.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:16 pm

That's true. Ms. Tyson taught 2 years of Business Ed at Lakeside in the late 1980s. It's a different world.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/22nd-dekalb-school-board-613651.html?cxtype=ynews_rss

Second BOE Member Reprimanded!

2 down, how many more to go??

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:07,

Nail on the head. looks like she's trying to use the PR staff as the scapegoats. The only one that had any advisory priviledges or had Dr. Lewis' ear was Dale Davis and we all know what kind of job he did. But to lump the rest of the department in that statement is a very sad attempt to deflect the blame. BTW, was the PR depertment "dismissed" because of doing a poor job, or were they laid off as part of a reduction in force? Can't have it both ways, Madam Superintendent. This just goes to show, same ol' same ol' when it comes to how these people operate. SACs please INVESTIGATE this school system don't take their word for it, TALK to people.

Anonymous said...

DCSS is it's own industry. I believe the school system is the largest single employer in the county. This is one of the problems. This is why it's hard for SPLOST not to pass especially when the election for it is held at at a time when nothing else is being voted upon. What a racket.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 6:32

"I believe the school system is the largest single employer in the county. "

That's what happens when your school system becomes a "jobs program" instead of an educational system.

Anonymous said...

Emory University and its hospitals have more than double the employee number of the school system.

Sad that Emory doesn't want to work with DCSS, but they tried, and DCSS was extremely difficult to work with.

Heard It All Before said...

The DeKalb business community is becoming extremely restive about the situation with school administration.

Wow. I bet the thought of ticking off a toothless tiger like DeKalb business just sends shivers down spines at DCSS. If they weren't all serving on the same impotent study commissions (just make sure you get there early enough for the breakfast) ...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really expect someone to fire themselves? Most of the DCSS hierarchy outside the schoolhouses are incompetent or simply not needed. They won't be firing themselves.

I wish they would take away Microsoft Word from all these people who have learned how to use the "table" function. They sit around for days creating new forms for us to fill out. I'll bet they show off their new forms to their co-"workers" and proudly explain how teachers will now have to fill in this and that to get anything done.

Anonymous said...

We GOT? You must be kidding.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to know what's going on in DeKalb County schools, ask a teacher. Here's the latest example of the "leadership" in this system:

For the past several years, the county has provided Benchmark Tests for math and reading for elementary students. These tests are administered every 6 weeks prior to teaching the material and after teaching the material. The intent, to create "data" to "inform instruction". These tests have been, for the most part, nothing more than a bother, taking time away from instruction. Good teachers don't need a county generated test to know where their students stand. Assessment occurs every day in the classroom. Be that as it may.

This year, teachers were again expected to give the usual Benchmark #1 Pre-Test in math and in reading. We also were told to give Placement tests in reading - three vocabulary and three comprehension, as well as an Annual Math Pre-Test of some 50 questions. That was not enough - also give a test on Multiple Intelligences which the teachers were held responsible to find (on the Internet) because apparently there was no one in the "county" who could figure out how to log on to the web.

Are you still with me? In the first week of school, teachers were told to give 2 math tests, a multiple intelligence test, and 7 reading/vocabulary tests. In fact, at my school we were told not to teach anything...just test, test, test. When teachers are
"told" what they must do the "county" calls it "Non-Negotiables". How quaint.

Now, one week of school is down the drain and we have a bunch of "so-called data" that's not worth the paper it's printed on....if you were in first grade and your teacher gave you test after test after test in the first week of school, how do you think you would feel by the time you got to the last one? Would you really try very hard? Would you even care?

That's Part I.

Anonymous said...

Part II.

We are now in the 2nd week of school and the coast is clear. We are given the green light to teach. So, that's what we do....only the new reading series is way above the reading level of most of my students (even the books labeled "below level"); and the math guidelines appear to have been developed by people who have never stepped foot into a classroom.

I teach third grade and here is what I was asked to cover in math in the first six weeks of school (oops, 5):
place value to 10,000
adding and subtracting with regrouping to the 1,000 place
Commutative, Associative, Identity properties
Mental math
Counting back change up to $5.00
Relationship between addition and multiplication
Relationship between subtraction and division
Relationship between multiplication and division
Estimating and rounding to the nearest 10, 100, 1000 and greatest place
Use of symbols for unknown problems
Geometric patterns
Arrays and area
Problem-solving in all operations
Multiplication facts

That's Part II.

Part III.
So 3rd grade teachers are scurrying around teaching place value one day and rounding the next. Let's throw in some subtraction and don't forget multiplication..... The same thing holds true for other grade levels - too much content, not enough time, students lacking pre-requisite skills.
The teachers are frustrated, the kids are lost, and I hope if you are reading this and you are a parent, you are outraged.

Now, for the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

Part IV
Last week, the "county" released the Math and Reading Post Tests. I am reproducing the third grade math test here so you can see it for yourself:

1. Which one of the following represents "sixteen tens"?
a. 16
b. 160
c. 1600
d. 1610

2. Which of these shows how to use mental math to add 35 and 87?
a. (3+8) + (5+7)
b. (30 + 8) + (50 + 7)
c. (30 + 80) + (50 + 70)
d. (30 + 80) + (5 + 7)

3. Gordon Stadium can seat 79,407 people, while Hillcrest Stadium seats only 58,868 people. How many more people can Gordon Stadium seat than Hillcrest Stadium?
a. 138,275
b. 21,549
c. 21,461
d. 20,539

4. Jaleesa was born in 1962. When she was 20 years old, she went to college. Five years later she started her own business. How can you find out what year Jaleesa started her business?
a. 1962 + 20 + 5
b. 1962-20-5
c. 1962 + 20 - 5
d. 1962 - 20 + 5

5. Chen bought one model plane, one tube of glue, and one can of paint. The cost of each item is shown in the figure. There was no sales tax. How much change should he have gotten back from $10?

(picture of airplane) $4.99

(picture of bottle of glue) $1.29

(picture of paint can) $2.19

a. $1.50
b. $1.53
c. $1.63
d. $1.73

6. Postage stamps come in sets of one hundred stamps, ten stamps, five stamps, and single stamps. If you bought 3 sets of 100, 4 sets of 10, and 2 singles, how many stamps would you have in all?

a. 3,402
b. 3.042
c. 432
d. 342

7. Wendy multiplies 25 by a number. The product
is 25. What number did Wendy multiply 25 by?

a. 0
b. 1
c. 25
d. 5

8. Marlene made 6 batches of muffins. There were 24 muffins in each batch. Which of the following number sentences could be used to find the number of muffins she made?

a. 6 x ? = 24
b. 6 + 24 = ?
c. 6 + ? = 24
d. 6 x 24 = ?

9. Which set of number can be used to make a multiplication and division fact family?

a. 3,5,8
b. 2,8,12
c. 3,6,9
d. 3,4,12

10. The square and the circle are numbers in the fact family with the number 48. What are the other numbers of the fact family?

a. 12 and 3
b. 8 and 7
c. 5 and 9
d. 6 and 8

Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Tests in the other grade levels were similar in "rigor" which is one of the "county's" new favorite words. The minute this hit the First Class e-mail system, teachers from all grade levels began to give feedback to the "county". Here are a few of the comments -

It is obvious to me that all learners (especially those below grade level) were not considered when this test was developed.

I am an experienced teacher. I know it takes more time and practice for children to really learn and master important math concepts. We are jumping all the way up to the top of Bloom's Taxonomy to application and generalization when the basics have not been adequately taught or mastered.

I have tried to cover the material suggested for the first six weeks of school but your pacing chart does not flow well and most of the students are not ready for the concepts were are introducing and testing.

Why are we setting the children up for frustration and failure?

I am extremely frustrated with the pacing chart...we are forced to pick and choose because there is not enough time to cover everything.

The presentation of the material in the post test is very different from any of the resources we have been given for teaching these concepts.

Where does the pacing chart allow for or address remediation and/or prerequisite skills? And if I'm spending time on remediation, what activities do I omit in the first six weeks?

Keep reading!

Anonymous said...

These are good teachers asking legitimate questions - none of which were given the courtesy of a reply. Instead, here is what Dr. Beasley and his staff decided to do...."Fine, if you don't like what we have come up with, then you can do your own testing....but know that at the end of each semester, we will (that's the mighty county) provide a Benchmark test and your students better do exceptionally well, or else!! And, no we will not change the pacing, and even if we decide to, it's going to be too late to help the students.

So, instead of listening to the very people who are with the students every day, analyzing the concerns, and inviting open dialogue, they act like two-year-olds.

Couple all of this with the fact that there is no math book (Math Expressions which was the holy grail of math 3 years ago is now being replaced by the State Frameworks - a series of activities and performance assessments that can be found at the Georgia Standards web page) and you have the ingredients for disaster.

If you have a student in elementary school in DeKalb County I encourage you to seek out your child's teacher now and find out what you can do to help extend math teaching time at home. It's either that or plan on paying a tutor $50 and hour when your child gets to middle and high school.

Somebody has to do something to help the kids. They are victims of an enterprise being run by people who don't have a clue about what goes on in the classroom. Teachers are nothing more than a scapegoat for all the overpaid cats at Mountain Industrial.

Parents - you are the ONLY ones who can make it happen. Start showing up at the school. Demand answers. Don't back down. Help!!

Sincerely,

Frustrated, but not giving up yet.

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous 10:58 PM

I am outraged! My children have graduated (1995 and 2000) and I am still outraged!

We MUST take our schools back from these hacks! If we don't, our children will pay the price and it will be very, very steep! Ultimately it will cost us all dearly. Our home values will drop like a rock. Businesses won't locate in DeKalb, so taxes will rise. Our good teachers will go elsewhere where good teachers are appreciated and rewarded. And, our communities will fail -- because we are turning out students who are barely educated and who have NO critical thinking skills -- and we have entrusted our future to them.

Who is to blame? Go look in the mirror.

We must take back our schools -- beginning with creating charter clusters. It is going to be a struggle -- but one well worth winning! Are you up to the challenge? E-mail me at shspruill@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Ending the night with a smile ...

Have you read We Could've Finished Last Without You? It was written about the early Atlanta Braves by Bob Hope -- not the world-famed comic; this Bob was the PR director and vice-president of the Atlanta Braves from 1966 to 1979. Funny, funny book! (Available in the DeKalb County Public Library ...)

The title for this book comes from a comment made by an executive in the Braves organization when asked for a raise by one of the Braves players. The player was making a case for how great he was and how much he did for the team and how much he deserved a raise.

The Braves executive looked at the player and said, "We could've finished last without you." I nearly fell off my chair laughing the first time I read that!

Anyhow, that is how I feel about every last one of the BOE members! And all of the over-paid, under-talented central office administrators, too.

Anonymous said...

Now for the rest of the story...Part IV

Last week the county released the Benchmark 1 post tests for reading and math. I am providing a couple of questions from the third grade test to give you an idea of the "rigor" of the test (one of the county's favorite new words.

2. Which of these shows how to use mental math to add 35 and 87?

a. (3 + 8) + ( 5 + 7)
b. (30 + 8) + (50 + 7)
c. (30 + 80) + (50 + 70)
d. (30 + 80) + (5 + 7)

9. Which set of numbers can be used to make a multiplication and division fact family?

a. 3, 5, 8
b. 2, 8, 12
c. 3, 6, 9
d. 3, 4, 12

8. Marlene made 6 batches of muffins There were 24 muffins in each batch. Which of the following number sentences could be used to find the number of muffins she made?
a. 6 x = 24
b. 6 + 24 = ?
c. 6 + ? = 24
d. 6 x 24 = ?

Keep in mind these are questions for students who have barely scratched the surface on multiplication.

As soon as these tests were released, teachers posted questions and comments - none of which were answered - here are a few...

"It is obvious to me that below-level learners were not considered when this test was developed."

"It takes time and practice for children to really learn and master important math concepts. This test goes straight to the top of Bloom's Taxonomy - how can students be expected to apply and generalize until the basics are mastered."

"I feel like I have to pick and choose what to teach because there is too much to cover and not enough time."

Anonymous said...

Is this story accurate? I spoke to someone who attended this meeting. They indicated Ms. Tyson got 3 standing ovations during her chat with the group and Mr. McClarty publicly praised her efforts so far. If you don't believe me, see if you can find someone that attended the meeting and ask for yourself.

Is this another attempt by the AJC not presenting a balanced story to citizens? I understand some of the attendees will ask the AJC that question.

Anonymous said...

“We got work to do. The district’s premier logo was a beautiful logo, very uniquely designed, very colorful, looks good on paper,” she told the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce on Monday. “But we got to have the backup to be able to carry the name and we got work to do.”

I would have stood up for her when she said this. The premier logo/slogan was a joke from the minute it was adopted. You may and should aspire to be premier but before you call yourself that you need to get there.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous teacher, Benchmark are required per NCLB requirements. All school systems use them.

Students will learn what you teach them. If you assume the students cannot learn what you are asked to teach, they will not. These students will follow your lead with regards to attitude and "Yes, I can".

It's obvious the status quo is not working. You don't want to even attempt to have a good attitude with trying something different.

Maybe the problem isn't the benchmarks, it's you.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:52 AM

“We got work to do. The district’s premier logo was a beautiful logo, very uniquely designed, very colorful, looks good on paper,” she told the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce on Monday. “But we got to have the backup to be able to carry the name and we got work to do.”

I am embarrassed that DCSS's Interim Superintendent could not even speak in standard English.

Dunwoody Mom said...

In reviewing the GPS standard for 2nd Grade as defined on the GADOE website, it seems to me that the benchmarks that you provided in your post appear to relate to the standards that the children were to be taught in 2nd grade, so these are appropriate benchmark tests for the start of 3rd Grade. Or maybe I am missing something?

https://www.georgiastandards.org/standards/Georgia%20Performance%20Standards/K-8%20Math%20Standards/2_Mathematics_Standards_REVISED_September_11_2008[a].pdf

Anonymous said...

@DM, my daughter was a 2nd grader last year and I can tell you that at least in her class, only 5 of the 20 kids were working on multiplication problems at the end of the year. Mind you, this was supposed to be a high achievers class. Additionally, after the CRCT in April, I could count the number of times she game home with math homework. Needless to say, my hubby and I have gone into hock just to be able to pay for her to return to private school.

Cerebration said...

Teacher, thanks so much for sharing such insight. I wish I had known this years ago. I think the one thing I tell parents that they are surprised about is that they are going to be responsible for teaching their children the basics like multiplication tables and good reading skills. Teachers are required to teach higher level concepts and can't spend much (any?) time on rote learning. As parents, we tend to assume that these things are being taught in the schoolhouse, like they were when we were in school. But they are not. This may be ok for a high achiever who can pick up math concepts intuitively, but it definitely does not work for those who struggle and need direct instruction. This is the case with my daughter. We placed her in private school in 4th grade after being completely frustrated that she didn't seem to be learning core skills, she seemed to be randomly learning all kinds of things at very shallow depths. This worked out well, as the private school had very direct, very deep instruction and brought her up to speed. (She had missed a lot.) We put her back into DCSS in middle school, which in the end proved to be a mistake.

Cerebration said...

Love the book, "We Could've Finished Last Without You"... that's exactly what we have here. A school system that finishes at the very bottom in nearly all categories yet had the audacity to refer to themselves as "premier". How much more disconnected can you get?

(BTW, that logo was absolutely terrible, graphically speaking. It was like something from the '80s.)

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 7:52: How do you know what the other children in the class were working on?

I swear people just come on here and make stuff up.

Anonymous said...

ANON 6:59 and Dunwoody Mom.

You are true in your comments regarding the benchmark testing and the 3rd grade should know the math. Our kids want to know and learn math. But the teachers don't have the resources to teach.

Have you volunteered in your elementary school? Have you spent time with any of the remedial kids in the classroom helping them catch up to last years lessons? Our schools are great learning environments, but that is where the learning STOPS for many children in our school system. Once they leave the campus, they are done for the day.

Our school failed AYP for the first time ever this past year because of a specific subgroup (English Second Language, Economically Dis-Advantaged). We are taking responsibility for our school and the children in it! The "Silver Lining" for failing AYP is that we are not receiving additional students this year.

The principal has requested additional resources and teachers numerous times. Guess how many have shown up? You know it, NONE!
That's why I'm in there trying to help these kids!

I volunteer tudoring TWICE a week for 5th GRADE math and how these kids got to 5th grade is beyond me. They want to learn, they want to be a part of the classroom. They want to raise their hand and participate, but they are soooo behind in math skills they can barely count to 100 by 5's or even 25's!

If these kids were still in the general population of the classroom, the teacher would spend the entire hour helping a small group (5-6) catch up to the learning material while the other kids work on their own.

The other scenario is that the teacher teaches the entire class the work and the kids are LEFT BEHIND!

It is not the teachers fault, it is not the schools fault, it is the administrations fault for not understanding the current NEEDS of our classrooms and not getting the proper resources to the schools.

I will be at the ELPC this morning to ask MS. Tyson about $5,000,000 being spent on MIS instead of additional teachers at the schools! I will suggest to her that she should stop spending her time public speaking and get in the classrooms and HELP our schools! She needs to find out what is needed and take action! Ask the principals (especially ones that are not promoting their own books, YSB), better yet ask the TEACHERS!

This is a great forum for discussions, but realize there is a great need for additional teachers and funding in our schools and the money is stopping at the palace! The waste in INCREDIBLE! Parents unite! We need to turn the ship around!

I'll report back from the meeting and hopefully have something good to share from Ms. Tyson.

Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

@anon 8:20, I knew what the other children were working on because I spent a lot of time volunteering in her classroom. Couple that with the fact that when I questioned the teacher, she told me that the others were still having issues with double & triple digit addition, so they were not able to move on. Teachers that taught at the same school had children that they too pulled out and sent to private school. So if a teacher doesn't want their own child attending the school where they teach--what does that tell you?

Dunwoody Mom said...

It is not the teachers fault,

Yes, sometimes it is the teachers fault. There are great teachers in our schools and there are some not-so-great teachers. I know, my children have had both. I can tell you that when my oldest child had a not-so-great teacher, I made sure my youngest child did not have that teacher.

Dunwoody Mom said...

And sometimes those "not-so-great" teachers are teaching gifted classes.

Kinda scary, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:59

It's not the teacher. The math plan that the teachers are to follow makes little sense and does not allow for teachers to teach math in a way that makes sense. Teachers are to skip around without the ability to spend enough time on any one topic to ensure that the children have a grasp.

Teachers in the elementary schools are shoveling math down the throats of children. The benchmarks that they are (or maybe not) giving the children often do not reflect what was taught during that particular six weeks.

Anyone with any common sense will see that we are harming our children. Our children are being pushed along and have huge gaps in their learning, because of all of the skipping around.

Math Expressions was not developed to skip around in the way that the DCSS Guru has told the teachers to. Math Expressions is a decent program when it is followed in the way that it was written and researched. The Math Gurus at DCSS believe they are smarter than the company and millions of dollars and time spent on developing the program. They have screwed with the math program for the four years that the program has been in place.

If a parent really cares about their children's math ability, they will be working with their children at home. A teacher can't teach your child math when they are teaching lesson 9, Lesson 6, Lesson 11, Lesson 2, and Lesson 19 in that order. It doesn't make sense.

So it's not that the teachers don't know what they are doing. The people in charge of writing the math program-Math Guru- don't have a clue. Many teachers have complained, only to be labeled that they are trouble makers and most likely background noise.

I have no problem with Benchmarks that reflect what a child is to have learned. Our benchmarks often do not do that.

No Duh said...

Went to the screening of "Waiting for Superman."

Audience was filled with fresh young faces from Teach for America. The Atlanta Director for TFA was there, too. He was scheduled to speak with Dr. Lewis two days after the arrest. He says DCSS is very hard to get into. He still hasn't made it in. Imagine that. TFA has bright, young, energetic teachers chomping at the bit to teach math, science, physics.

Go see "Waiting for Superman" -- if only to see the "Dance of the Lemons" -- quite possibly the funniest/saddest depiction of the fate of lousy teachers I've ever seen.

The bureaucracy is described as "The Blob." And is partially responsible for the huge central offices because the systems have so many masters (fed regulations, state regulations, title one regs, BOE policies, etc.)

The movie is big on charters and derides the teachers' unions. It does point out that only 1 in 5 (or was it 6) charter schools is performing better than the public schools.

The discussion with the director was interesting. His bottomline point in a nutshell: we know what works (based on successful charters), let's try to move this model into the public school system.

Anonymous said...

Sagamore 7,

The district needs to use money in a different way. They do not need more money. The coaches that they have should be on the teacher salary scale and should be in the classroom helping out. They are glorified administrators making more than teachers and not helping teachers in any way.

Also, there is no way that even most average students are getting the math. The math is so scattered. I have had gifted students in my DCSS class who do not know their basic facts (addition and subtraction) let alone multiplication and division, while in fourth and fifth grade. I no longer teach in DCSS, because I did not feel like I could ever be the teacher I would want for my own children and did not want my own children to be taught in this manner.

It is not the children's fault, and often it is not the teacher's fault, but it is the administration's fault, as they are ones cooking up what the teachers are and are not to teach. It is also the administrations fault, when children who do not understand the basics are passed on year after year. This is not helping the child and is setting them up to eventually give up and leave school, as they know that they are never going to catch up.

Teachers in classrooms can help these children who are behind, even with the larger classes, by pulling small groups and helping the kids on what they need and giving them meaningful work to help them catch up. Yes, this takes work on the teacher's part, but it can be done.

Until we get better administrators making instructional decisions, the instruction that the children receive will be substandard.

Cerebration said...

This is how it's happening now. We have administrators asking teachers to pass along failing students all the way to graduation. In the end of the story linked below - the teacher (a GA Tech educated math teacher) left the system, while Frankie Callaway retired and went on to become the new principal of the Leadership Charter school.

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

Anonymous said...

In the back of my mind (what's left of it) is the haunting feeling DCSS has taken it's lead and is following the script of the movie "IDIOCRACY."

If you haven't seen the movie do so! Our new mega school, Sam Walton High School could very well be the Costco! "I went to law school there."

"Hi, Welcome to Costco. We love you."

Anonymous said...

I retired from teaching at the end of last year after 30 years. I will tell you that the way the county is having teachers teach math in elementary school is awful. We could not teach in a sequence that builds and makes sense. We had a book that went along with the Ga standards, but were not allowed to use it except for a supplement. I don't know what those math coordinators do during the summer, but the benchmarks were terrible. They did not always match what was taught so in order for my students to pass I would have to make up practice questions similar to the benchmarks to practice for the test-a total waste of time. Students need time for practice and need to master certain skills before moving on. In 5th grade this year they are starting with graphing and mean. This does not make sense to most of us teachers. They finally threw out the benchmarks because the teachers complained so much. The math coordinators have no elementary school experience-let them go teach math for 6 weeks on their pacing chart. They are awful and need to be fired.

Anonymous said...

These comments are beginning to scare me. Where have our leaders been? It seems to me they are more concerned about parking for NON-TEACHERS, Building conditions in places that NOT ONE student steps foot in, Federal grants of $120k for services run by outside companies that write lousy reports, how to spend money that never touches our students or teachers and to busy chasing down lawsuit after lawsuit which is costing us real money that COULD be spent in the classroom.

Can we now say that our leadership has failed us and we demand changes at the top?! Tyson, Moseley, Beasley, Thompson, Turk, Hunter, Mitchell-Mayfield, Berry, Ramsey and your friends and families should leave promptly or nothing will change. 1.2 Billion dollars and what do we have to show for it? NOTHING!

I appreciate the teachers for weighing in here, it seems things like this never get discussed in public, since the leadership does not want to expose the frauds that they really are.

Cerebration said...

You bring up a very good point, Anon. How much exactly are we spending and have we spent in the past on lawyers and lawsuits? How much has been paid to King & Spalding just for the Heery Mitchell civil case? How much to others for the criminal cases? How much for discrimination lawsuits? And - which budget exactly do these bills get paid from? We are never told. (This could be why they have such a fear of the Online Check Register.)

I wish the AJC would request this info and do some heavy research.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Ask a working support staff ie, bus driver,food service,etc.(low man on the pole)this is really hard to swallow. For FYI we have already been cut Approx. 28% from our base pay which amount to 5 hours per day and can not met any of our debts,feed our families,buy petro to get to work,and are losing most or all of our goods which we have worked for. We are below the proverty level at this point with no were to turn! Most of us are 10 month employees with our pay prorated during the summer months, which only netting most only 800-1000.00 in the month of august! This is a pretty hard pill to swallow!(Morale is at super low)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just in case someone comes up with the bright suggestion that we go an apply for unemployment, we did and were grantedsome form of help but were when notified that we were are on paid vacation. DCSS once again slide below the radar! Go figure! (WE EARNED OUR MONEY IN THE 10 MONTHS AND THAT IS WHEN WE SHOULD BE PAID)!!!!!!!! Stop making is look like we are 12 month employees on paper!

DEAR DCSS TOP BRASS,WE THE PEOPLE ARE TIRED,HUNGRY,AND SOON TO BE HOMELESS. (YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAME OF YOURSELVES)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

********Greed,Greed,Greed********** Greatfully Yours,
(Low Man On the Pole)

Cerebration said...

Wow. That is shocking. The admin is trying to say that 10 month employees are on paid vacation the other 2 months? Is that true? I agree, the best way to keep this perfectly clear is to pay you as you work. Of course, you'd be on your own to budget for the summer months (or take a summer job).

On another note - as far as the quality of instruction in DCSS, read this post at the blog called "South DeKalb" (a really good blog BTW)...

Heartbreaking...

Education FAIL

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/2nd-dekalb-school-board-613651.html
Copelin-Wood also issued an apology Monday. “I did not intend to offend anyone by my comments,” she wrote in a statement.


SCW, that's a cop out, not an apology. You should have stated: "I was rude and unprofessional, and it will never happen again. I apologize directly to Ramona Tyson and Dan Drake for my verbal lashing of them."

SCW, no one gives a darn that you "did not intend to offend". You did more than offend. You personally made the public lose even more respect for a Board of Education that allowed its Superintendent and Cheif Operating Officer to operate in a manner that brought about RICO indictments. You shamed the BOE even more than its been shamed, and it sure has been shamed a lot ($2,000 chairs!!).

I pray the voters from her district give SCW the boot his fall election!!

Anonymous said...

Yes,Yes,and Yes Cerebration!!!!! The media has seemed to forget about us since we all are not in the news (TV). The only BOE member that seemed to say anything about us/underlings was Mr. Walker or at least pretented to care openly! Please forgive me if I seem a little negative at this time. My stomach is empty,the mortage 2 months behind,praying that I make it back to work (no petro),but as we were told "JUST BE THANKFUL YOU GOT A JOB". LOL.
Please us in your prays. LOST AND NO WERE TO TURN! See you later.

Dekalbparent said...

When I worked for DCSS as a 10-month employee, I was given the option to get all my pay in the 10 months or have it prorated over 12 months.

Anon, is this no longer a choice you are given?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom 7:19pm

"In reviewing the GPS standard for 2nd Grade as defined on the GADOE website, it seems to me that the benchmarks that you provided in your post appear to relate to the standards that the children were to be taught in 2nd grade, so these are appropriate benchmark tests for the start of 3rd Grade. Or maybe I am missing something?
"

I taught every grade but 1st and 2nd and also taught gifted for over a decade. You need to consider where the children are when they come to you. If some children are on a 1st grade level in math when they come to you in 3rd grade, then you will probably not get them to master all 3rd grade skills in time for 4th grade without intervention. By intervention, I mean one on one or small group participation.

Students who were far behind grade level in Atlanta City Schools made great gains - some 2 or even 3 grade levels. The state began to investigate. That's when they found erasures. You didn't think they noticed the erasure first did you? Please reference this AJC article:
"The state ordered the investigation after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on statistically improbable increases in CRCT scores at schools in Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia. "
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/atlanta-superintendent-calls-alleged-593824.html

The AJC was told by statisticians that increases of 2 to 3 years were statistically improbable. That's when the state investigated. Statistically, it was improbable and reality bore out the statistics.

When I taught regular education I often had as many as 40% of my 4th graders who were below grade level in reading when they started with me in the fall. As many as 20% were on a 2nd grade reading level. Was it statistically probable that all my students would be on grade level when they left my classroom?

Many of DCSS students come to 3rd grade 1 or 2 grade levels behind. Asking teachers to move them up 2 or 3 years in one year without any intervention is statistically improbable. Large classrooms are not designed for intervention. A teacher has around 6 hours in the day to teach a variety of subjects. It comes down to minutes per student. One on one tutoring or having Title 1 money spent to provide small group instruction is the kind of consistent intervention that increases struggling students' chances of success.

I taught around a thousand gifted students and was the mom of a gifted child (extremely gifted in math). The same is true for them. The teacher must teach to the middle of the class to reach the maximum efficiency of increasing the achievement of the most students during the year. If your gifted child is in a class with students that are mostly at or below grade, he or she encounters the same problem as that child on the other end. My gifted students in schools with average students could not do the math problems my gifted students in schools with mostly gifted students did. They had the same mental ability, but they had not been taught at a higher level.

Disparaging the classroom teacher will not get the job done. And all the training in the world cannot give the classroom teacher what he/she needs most for struggling and gifted students - time and smaller class sizes. Tutoring and teachers teaching small classes are methods DCSS can use however, because we have Title 1 funds and NCLB allows us to use tutoring as a way to reach struggling students. That's an administrative decision.

I had small groups of students in my Discovery classes and utilized that time with them to address those issues so I know what works.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot going on in Atlanta Public Schools -- and elsewhere in Georgia -- with regard to cheating on the standardized tests. So, I am really surprised that no one, including the media, who was at the DCPC meeting on September 1 has mentioned that father who questioned why his child got more answers right than questions answered. I think he was talking about the CRCT. And I think he said his child was a special needs child.

Tyson completely ignored him.

Does anyone remember this?

Anonymous said...

To answer the question about the 10 month employee (prorated pay)for, Dekalbparent posting. It's always been it that for some of us! Maybe it has something to do with being certified or non-certified. We have never been given the option. If you find out please post your findings. Something has to change and soon were drowing!

Anonymous said...

Leonardo, don't be fooled by Ms. Tyson!! She is just the same as the old guard. If she REALLY had the balls to do what needs to be done for the betterment of the school system, then she would get rid of the nepotism weak links (read Guillory, Edwards, T. Freeman, etc) and then ask the entire senior staff to submit their resignations! And the BOE needs to do the same thing.

For those of us who are in the system and know what's going on, it's laughable that she's making the PR dept. the fall guys for all the ills of the system. Those folks (minus D. Davis) worked their butts off and she knows it. They didn't even design that stupid logo. The person who did design it is still employed at DCSS and she isn't even a designer - she's in Support Services. The logo is so bad because it wasn't designed by a professional graphic designer. And Crawford Clueless is the one who came up with the"premier" moniker. The folks I know in the PR dept. hated that logo and tried to get it changed a couple years ago. But that met with castigation from Clueless and his cabinet. How dare they bring up something that the community HATED!!! Off with their head!!

This place is a joke and I am looking so hard to find another job so I can get off of this sinking ship. SACS, please come and save us!! Don't buy all the lies in Tyson's bogus report. You can't take anything they say at face value. Come and do a thorough investigation yourselves - for the good of our students....please, I beg you. You won't believe what you'll uncover. Clayton is a cakewalk compared to DeKalb Schools.

Anonymous said...

There are problems within the DCSS and SACS should interview the teachers, cooks,paras, and custodians to really find out the truth.
Teachers cannot effectively teach on a day to day basis because of all the unnecessary changes and no time to plan lessons or teach. Yet, lesson plans are due but teachers are bombarded with meetings, hall duty, bus duty, lunch duty, PTA meetings, conferences until 6:00 p.m.,every kind of duty while administrators stay in their offices until guests are in the building.
It takes time to properly plan academic lessons for students who are struggling below grade level in all subjects. Yet, teachers are expected to be superman or superwoman and make test scores increase with no planning or teaching time. In the meantime, where are these wonderful instructional coaches? Or, what exactly are they doing while teachers are working with four and five groups on a daily basis? How can these people really sleep at night knowing that you didnot work at all from Monday- Friday. You were given a check with benefits. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

Those are not SACs issues.

Anonymous said...

Now if a board member was coming into the cafeteria and telling the cook directly how to do their job -- that is a SACs issue

Anonymous said...

What an interesting conversation I just had with a girlfriend of mine who is retired and subs almost every day at Sutton Middle School for APS. She said they are way overcrowded due to the fact that there are many transfers from NCLB into Sutton while the Buckhead neighborhood that Sutton Middle serves had an influx of kids in the Sutton attendance area who were taken out of private school and put into Sutton due to the economy. She says there are a lot of trailers this year.

I remarked how difficult the situation must be for students and teachers, but she said that is was not bad at all. The students and teachers are pretty happy. The class sizes are in the 20s and even below for most classes. When I asked how that was possible, she said that Sutton had a large number of students who brought Title 1 and ESOL money with them, and this money was poured into hiring teachers at the school. I told her DeKalb invests their Title 1 money into expensive non-teaching positions.

What a difference it makes in how you spend your Title 1 money!

After we got off the phone, I looked up Sutton's AYP status. They made AYP last year. 48% of their students are Economically Disadvantaged. I guess that's where they get their Title 1 money. BTW they've made AYP every year since 2006.

DCSS really needs to address how Title 1 funds are spent. Direct instruction for struggling students needs to happen. How terrible for kids that almost all Title 1 money goes to non-teaching personnel who take absolutely no responsibility for student achievement.

Anonymous said...

We have often mentioned on this blog that DCSS has not taken any offers of help from the state dept of ed during Dr. Lewis' tenure.

Sutton is a perfect example.

When Sutton wasn't making AYP, the state provided support, including a mentor type person for the school administration who had a proven track record with the demographics at Sutton. He was a retired principal, from wait for it, DEKALB! I hear he was a big help. And they made AYP that year and ever since.

themommy said...

(That post was from me. I must have gotten logged out.)

There is another difference in the City schools. They have a lot more money per child. City of Atlanta has a growing tax base and a significantly shrinking enrollment. They spend the most per student of any school system in the SE.

Having visited many city of Atlanta schools through the years, many of them have very small class sizes. The Buckhead elementary schools did as well until they got so popular and ran out of space.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:24 pm

Very interesting. Here is a link to the list of Title 1 schools. Parents of students in the Title 1 schools need to be asking the DCSS administration and the BOE why the expenditure of funds for Title 1 schools is not being spent on direct instruction for their children. The Office of School Improvement which oversees Title 1 expenditures needs to be held responsible for student progress in Title 1 schools.
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/title1/files/1DF847F425BA4F049CE5AC3E0B02554B.pdf

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cerebration said...

Sorry, but the above comment was dismissive and belittling in my opinion, so I deleted it.

Please, this is hard enough to discuss. Try to be respectful toward each other. Some of our bloggers are very frustrated and need understanding, not a lecture.

Anonymous said...

No 6:02, not all schools across our country have benchmarks that have nothing to do with what is taught. Not all teachers across the country have had to take a pay cut in salary as well as no step increase, while the job requires more and more of personal time because the district can't get it's act together. Not all districts across our country pass on children that lack the skills necessary to have passed the previous grade. Not all districts across our country offer little help for children who require a little extra help to get on track-whether this be for reading or math. Not all school districts across our country look down on schools that do nothing about the discipline issues in the school and frown upon them when they follow the discipline guidelines set up by the school, so that learning can take place. Not all schools across our country stop teachers from giving children the grades that they earn, even when they are a zero. Not all districts across our country allow students multiple chances of getting work in or improving upon.

There are many schools across our country where:
1. Work from students is expected on time and students receive the grades that they earn.
2. Where disruptive behavior of any kind is not tolerated and steps are followed for children who do not want to get an education.
3. Where teachers give benchmarks that provide data that they can use to improve their instruction and knowledge of what children understand, because they coincide with what was taught.
4. Where having leaking roofs, moldy duct work, bathrooms and AC in disrepair would never be heard of.
5. Where teachers have had to take a pay cut, but they don't have twice as much paper work, because the administration values their time and wants them to concentrate on their main job of teaching.
6. Have administrators that have real teaching experience in charge of areas of instruction and superintendent.
7. Have teacher coaches who are paid just like a teacher and help teachers in the classroom with improving instruction or with helping students who would otherwise slip through the cracks.
8. Where class size wasn't raised because of lack of funds-instead right sizing of administration was done-getting rid of jobs that really weren't necessary for operating the school district.

I have seen better schools in much poorer areas than DCSS, run effective schools. I am not willing to make any more excuses for DCSS. Their use of money and the extra work that has been put on teachers is unnecessary. We can't afford to lose any more good teachers, but I fear that if DCSS keeps the same old ways that they have had for the past 3 years that I have lived and worked in DCSS alive, that they will leave just like I did. Good teachers already only come here, if they can't get a job anywhere else. It's not a first choice, but a last choice.

DCSS could be doing many things much better than what they currently are, but I do not think that the board or the administration has the skills or knowledge to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

"Good teachers already only come here, if they can't get a job anywhere else. "

I agree. I live in the Northlake area, a beautiful tree filled area close to many cultural venues. My child went to DeKalb schools. However, I would not move here today unless I could afford private school. Currently, DeKalb Schools has a terrible reputation. The administration has done nothing to attract and retain quality teachers.

There are many beautiful areas throughout DeKalb. Citizens love their neighborhoods. But the schools have experienced a steady decline, and that is the main concern of parents all over the county.

Please get out and get involved to elect BOE members who want to put our tax dollars into the schoolhouse.

Anonymous said...

RE Good teachers.

This isn't totally true. Good teachers will come to DCSS when they can pick their school. The best teachers won't take open ended contracts with DeKalb that say you have a position, but we just aren't sure where yet. But the same is true in Gwinnett, Fulton and Cobb, the best teachers want control over where they teach in terms of schools not just systems.

Anonymous said...

Sorry good teachers do not want to work in school districts that are constantly in the news for things like RICO charges, large expenses on furniture for administrative offices, school board members that are disrespectful and rude, schools that are run down, etc.

When I moved to Georgia and DeKalb 3 years ago. I was excited to teach in a district in which I live. When I left in May, I was glad that I had the experience, because I know that my children will not attend a school in DCSS unless some severe changes take place.

There are a number of teachers in my neighborhood and many are looking to get out of teaching and they are very good teachers. I saw some of the best teachers in my school retire at the end of last school year because of the not being able to teach.

Until DCSS makes significant improvements to the quality of education that it desires to deliver to the children, good teachers will not choose to be in DCSS. Our good teachers don't want to be here now, and are looking to get out.

Anonymous said...

"This isn't totally true. Good teachers will come to DCSS when they can pick their school. The best teachers won't take open ended contracts with DeKalb that say you have a position, but we just aren't sure where yet. '

So where does that leave many students in schools that are mismanaged but who need good teachers?

Anonymous said...

Many of you discuss benchmarks, CRCT, and AYP. The Annual Measurable Objectives for schools to pass the CRCT in Math will be 80%. There are approximately 30 schools that scored between 48%-65% on the 2010 CRCT. It is very, very difficult to do 10% in one year. Most School Improvement Plans suggest that each school should improve by 2-3% annual. Yet, we are expecting some of these schools to do 15%- 23% increases in one year. These are impossible task. "George W. Bush" NCLB Policy is truly imposible achieve. You will never, and I say never have every school with 100% passing on the CRCT or any creditble assessment. I am including students with disabilities. George W Bush and his fellow policy makers are not living in reality.

Anonymous said...

It leaves our students out of luck, until positive changes come to DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:21 -
YES, I REMEMBER! I SPOKE TO THAT GENTLEMAN AFTER THE MEETING!

If that isn't a sign of blatant cheating, I don't know what is.

He said that his child went to Vanderlyn, the most envied ES in DCSS, the one where people jump through all kinds of hoops to get their kids into.

And that is how they treat their special needs kids.

That does it. My kids are going to Catholic school.

Anonymous said...

Vanderlyn is not always so welcoming to students with special needs and that is part of the reason that their last principal was moved. However, I know this family and I know this father and there is much more to this story.

Simply wanting your child identified as special needs isn't enough. The needs have to be documented and proven and in today's environment it is much harder to do.

Anonymous said...

Google Response to Intervention and see what is wrong with special ee identification in GA and about 35+ other states.

Response to intervention requires classroom based interventions before proceeding with testing etc for 60 days. If you have a kindergartner who can't say the letter L, the classroom teacher is suppose to intervene in the classroom before the child can get speech therapy.

It is a bad policy for most students, and it is had caught on like wildfire in GA. The state department of ed is who is pushing it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Goodness, it' more of the same. This woman has got to go. Yes there are some schools that are over/under enrollment. But this is hardly the problem. These folks on this board are out for their own districts and pet projects. They must function as a whole. They gotta go and take Ramona with them.

Anonymous said...

I think Ramona actually needs to go only b/c of the appointment of Beasley to his position. He is interim - he should NOT be making the huge changes that he is as an interim. Have we heard anything on the hiring process for his position?

Anonymous said...

I think Dr. Beasley was promised the position of head of Instruction by Dr. Lewis. Why would he leave a system where he was the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction for a principal's position making less money in a city with a higher cost of living? No doubt Dr. Lewis knew Gloria Talley was leaving. I think Ms. Tyson was just following the plan.

Anonymous said...

The entire leadership needs to go! Nothing has changed since Clew was disgraced. SACS forced Ms. Tyson to look at the policy review. So far that's the only thing I have seen that has actually SEEMED important.

The Beaseley hire was an embarrassment. Just more of the same. Ms. Tyson talks about trust yet how can you trust this bunch?

I do not see anything changing until we get a new Super with NO ties to the current DCSS. We also need a REAL Director of Instruction, Beasley thinks he knows what to do, all he has done has taken morale to a new low.

The time is NOW for change. Real change. Why are they so scared to put that 3 or 4 year old audit back into public view? They are scared because it goes against everything this fraud of a BOE and leadership has done over the past 4 years.

We're living in a nightmare, please will someone wake me up?

Anonymous said...

Response to Intervention works when the classroom teachers are able to do interventions and know what interventions to do. Teachers in Georgia have not had proper training at the district level or even from the state to really understand RTI. Also we do not have enough personal in the schools to do RTI justice. If the coaches were instead in the schools, making teacher salaries and helping with interventions that would help the district and the children make RTI work.

RTI will never work if the teachers are bogged down by pages of lesson plans and looking at meaningless data and don't have time to get a real handle of the problems that their students are having.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What is going on at Arabia Mountain? There is a job posting for the Principal position...

https://pats.dekalb.k12.ga.us/pats/pats.nsf/MainWebFrameset?OpenFrameset

M G said...

Rumor has it that the principal from Arabia Mtn has been promoted to be Region 2 Area Supt.

Anonymous said...

We are soooo SKA-RUDE!

No dinner, no cabfare and not even a kiss good night.

Cerebration said...

That's not a rumor. It was announced at the last board meeting. Dr. Pringle is now an Asst Superintendent.

pscexb said...

Cere is right about the announcement at the 9/13 Board meeting regarding Dr. Pringle. She will serve over Region 2, which contains SW DeKalb, Columbia, Towers, and Avondale. I understand she in turned announced it to the school at a PTSA meeting the following night. She will remain as principal until a new one is hired. The process is expected to move quickly.

Anonymous said...

Good links on BOE candidates from the South DeKalb blog

http://southdekalb.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/dekalb-school-board-candidates/

Anonymous said...

We were told 16 months ago that if Dekalb did not get on board with RTI, we would lose either state or federal funds...proabably federal. They are doing RTI all over the country. Some staff members are concerned that less students will receive services because of the process of RTI. I agree. If a parents asked for their child to be tested, depending on what tier ther are in, their requests have to be granted by law. I do not know what the current regulations are.

Cerebration said...

Good candidate link from the south DeKalb blog, Anon, thanks.

Also, click on the picture of the VOTE box on the side panel of the home page to read the bios sent to us by most of the candidates.

Anonymous said...

I found this review on Amazon about Ralph Simpson and his book. The book is no longer available through Amazon.

From Remedial to Remarkable
by Ralph L Simpson Ed. D
Edition: Paperback
Availability: Currently unavailable


Remarkable that a seventy-page paperback sells for $19.95!, August 30, 2010
This review is from: From Remedial to Remarkable (Paperback)
After misappropriating federal funds to purchase thousands of dollars worth of overpriced books, Ralph Simpson has been demoted from Assistant Superintendent of Dekalb County Schools to Assistant Principal at Tucker High School. His last reported salary was $122,000. Having been employed in the prison system after receiving a degree in Criminal Justice, he pursued a career in teaching. Yet, how much experience had he acquired as a teacher when he was hired by Dekalb County Schools as an Assistant Principal at Stone Mountain High School? There seems to have been a seamless transition from working in the prison system to being hired as an administrator. Exactly, how does this work? Who hired him, and what were his credentials at the time? His doctorate degree is from the University of Sarasota which is known to have no rigor in its program. Basically, if one pays his or her tuition and does very minimal work, a degree will be given. I'm not sure what is remarkable about an unremarkable man hired into a corrupt school system diseased with nepotism foisting fifty-one pages of dribble upon a captive, ignorant audience. The other nineteen pages of his seventy-page overstuffed pamphlet is actual other people's quotes. Only in a corrupt system fueled by greedy televangelists preaching to an ignorant mass of blind followers could this absurd reality flourish. Proud of his low SAT scores and rise to power through corrupt means, what does this say about the state of education today? This typifies the dumbing down of America and signals the cultural demise of intellectual discourse. While Americans consume more and more information each day, it has become apparent that most of what we consume

Anonymous said...

At some schools the administration has decided that they are going to still give the posttest on the first banchmark in math even though they are poorly written. What is happening at your school?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:39
What schools are still giving the benchmark test?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:09 -

I don't know what the current practice is in DCSS, but I attended a meeting five years ago where the LTSE said (right out loud) that RTI should be used instead of testing as long as possible to keep the student out of Special Ed services. The instruction was if an intervention was unsuccessful, modify it (i.e. simplify it)repeatedly until it was successful, then state that the child could be served in the classroom without special services - just the intervention.

This is unfair to the child, the teacher and the reat of the class. Most parents do not know they can demand their child be tested; they just go by what the teachers and specialists say.

Anonymous said...

The magnet program at Chamblee High Accelerated Math is still giving the benchmark....and counting it as a test grade!!!!!!!

Cerebration said...

Wow. Whoever wrote that Simpson review is a pretty good writer!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Tyson has not seen a real uproar yet! ***OUTSOURCING***? keep it real Mrs. Tyson.

It's amazing how DCSS said that they needed to get rid of X amount drivers, but they are still hiring!

It's amazing how they(DCSS) comes and makes these motivational speechs and then stabs you it the back!

Mr. Turk were you when Lewis was doing his thing, and not to mention Pope-Reid or what her name is?

Ms. Tyson, Mr. Turk and all that sit high and look low. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are starving at the bottom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tell the truth about outsourcing!!!!

Cerebration, here we go!!!

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with many of your comments and with the concern of the business community. After looking at the 2500 page Dekalb response to SACS, I fully expect that it (SACS) will announce on October 10, 2010, that it will launch a full-scale review of the DCSS. If that is the case, I believe that the best we can hope for is probation.

I am hopeful that we can reshape the BOE in the upcoming elections - that is critical. Please, please go to the polls and vote the incumbent out!! Quality begins at the top and this BOE has clearly been asleep at the switch and does not seem to have any clue into what needs to be done. In all honesty, why would any strong candidate for Superintendent even consider working for this BOE?

Businesses are essential to a viable tax base and their concerns are important. Given the current economy and the fixed-income nature of many of our residents, especially Senior citizens, tax increases are just not practical right now. This BOE and school system administration needs to understand that the goose that laid their golden egg cannot produce bigger or more golden eggs - they can't afford to!!

Anonymous said...

If DeKalb Perimeter College has three locations to adequately serve a county the size of DeKalb, then why would there be a problem with having at least three locations (north, central and south) for magnet programs for high achievers? It seems like that is much smarter and "greener" that having everyone converge on the same location at the same time every weekday.

Anonymous said...

You can thank the federal court for the current magnet program in DCSS. The bar had to be set low enough -- 70th percentile -- to accommodate the requirement for 50% black and 50% white from every elementary school sending students to one of the two high achievers magnet programs.

The demand for spaces led to the lottery system to be "fair," instead of simply taking the highest achieving students regardless of race.

Now basing admission to a magnet program on race (50% white, which includes Asian and Hispanic according to the DCSS definition, and 50% black) has been ruled illegal. But, that 70th percentile minimum requirement is still there.

I have to agree -- 70th percentile minimum is hardly a high achiever benchmark. Discovery is much better at identifying high achievers. Though Discovery does miss high achievers who "learn differently" and are not good test-takers.

Anonymous said...

Other states that have implemented RTI have given school systems and teachers much more training than that given by the state of Georgia or DeKalb. The problem is that those in charge of RTI do not know any interventions. They do not understand RTI or how to collect data. The problem isn't RTI, the problem is the way that DeKalb and the state of Georgia are implementing the program.

Anonymous said...

@ anon Sep 19, 11:12 pm-

The standard for admission to the high achievers magnet programs is a composite ITBS score in the 85 percentile or higher with total reading and total math of at least 75 percentile. While I agree that that standard is too low, it is not the 70 percentile as you claimed.

The admission standards for all the magnet programs are available online in the school choice brochure. Please take a minute to check your information before posting it as a "fact."

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice/magnet.html

Anonymous said...

@ anon Sep 19, 11:12 pm-

The standard for admission to the high achievers magnet programs is a composite ITBS score in the 85 percentile or higher with total reading and total math of at least 75 percentile. While I agree that that standard is too low, it is not the 70 percentile as you claimed.

The admission standards for all the magnet programs are available online in the school choice brochure. Please take a minute to check your information before posting it as a "fact."

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice/magnet.html

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Perimeter College is a not called DeKalb Perimeter College, rather GA Perimeter College and is marketed state wide and has students from across the expanded metro area.

Anonymous said...

75th percentile is not in the 70% range? Splitting hairs. A child also only has to have a 3.0 average in their core subjects. That is not "high achieving" in my book.

Anonymous said...

No, it is not splitting hairs. You claimed all the student needed was to be in the 70 percentile, when in fact the student most have a composite score in the 85 percentile or higher. While I agree that 85 percentile isn't a particularly high standard, it is a far higher standard than the 70 percentile.

Anonymous said...

Middle and high school students who apply for the magnet programs for high achievers must have a fall 3.0 (or higher) grade point average (GPA) in the core subjects. DeKalb students rising to grades 7-9 must also earn a 75th percentile (or higher) total reading score, 75thpercentile (or higher) total math w/computation score, and an 85th percentile (or higher) complete composite score on the fall 2008-2009 or fall 2009-2010 Iowa Tests of Basic Skill

And to say in the Magnet program once you get in:

All middle and high school students who are enrolled in special interest programs must maintain an overall numerical core average of 80, a numerical grade of 71 in all core subjects, and meet the promotion criteria throughout the academic year

Since when is an '71' considered "high-achieving"?

Anonymous said...

You failed to highlight the bit about the composite score in the 85 percentile. As far as the total reading and total math of 75% or a grade of 71, it is not uncommon for gifted children to have asynchronous development. A math and science genius might struggle in English or vice versa. The student must still maintain an overall B average, but isn't booted from the program if they happen to struggle in one area.

Anonymous said...

Just quit while you are ahead. The so-called "high-achievers" program is a bunch of baloney. People know it, but are too afraid to dismantle and put the money back into the traditional schools where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

PS 77, a NY Public School in Manhattan, K-5, is a gifted and talented public school -- it is enrolled by competitve application and is highly selective, only accepting the top 1 or 2% of the students academically, in kindergarten... read about it here: OUR SCHOOL History
The New York City Lower Laboratory School for Gifted Education, also known as the Lab School and the Lower Lab School, is a public elementary school for kindergarten through fifth grade. The school is an option school, where children apply for admission.
The school was founded in 1988 with the support of former District 2 Superintendent Anthony Alvarado and then Department of Education Chancellor Joseph Fernandez. The school began with kindergarten classes and grew by adding a grade each year.
Located at 1700 Third Avenue between 95th and 96th Streets, the Lab School shares the Isador and Ida Straus school building with PS 198. The building honors the prominent New Yorkers who owned Macy's and the Abraham and Straus department stores. The couple is also notable because of their death on the Titanic in 1912.
Philosophy
Asking intelligent and provocative questions and teaching students to make knowledge their own are the essence of the Lab School's philosophy and the key element to our school's approach. Accessing information is the first step in constructing knowledge. Students are encouraged to listen carefully to differing perspectives and to reflect on what they've learned and how they've learned it. Students learn to incorporate a variety of approaches to build a repertoire of strategies for understanding and evaluating information. As a result, they begin to develop an understanding of the learning process itself.
The Lab School operates on the premise that every child can benefit from a research-based curriculum. The students are expected to work both independently and collaboratively to research information and then communicate the results to their peers, parents and teachers.
The core approach is an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary curriculum. In our program, students prepare for the future by raising questions and posing problems. They learn how to access information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, to think critically about that information and to apply their knowledge to the problems they have posed. They also learn to communicate their knowledgeclearly, both orally and in writing.
Teaching is based on literature rather than textbooks. Science and math use a hands-on approach made tangible through "manipulatives." The students' work is displayed on the classroom walls. Projects often spill out into the halls, where students can work alone or in groups away from the class as needed. Bulletin boards in the halls reflect the work that is in progress in the classes. Children making knowledge their own and sharing their understanding with each other are the essence of the Lab School.
Our thematic, interdisciplinary curriculum also includes music, art, science and Spanish. It is individualized and project oriented; students have the opportunity to work independently, in collaborative groups and within the whole class setting.

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

continuing....
In New Jersey, a school too good to be ranked by US News & World Reports in Union County has as its MISSION STATEMENT as follows:

The Union County Magnet High School for Science, Mathematics, and
Technology prepares selected students of Union County to become self-directed, responsible, and
productive individuals within the challenging landscape of society. Our challenging, collegepreparatory/
vocational-technical program emphasizes the utilization and responsible application of
technology through problem-solving, project-based learning, and interdisciplinary education.

Its admission process is done blindly and numerically with each of the following criteria being assigned a certain weight (a friend has 3 kids in this school) -- there is no way to "fudge" the entries it is purely done by the numbers:
STUDENT SELECTION: Applicants are selected from a diverse population of eighth grade students in
each of the twenty districts of Union County. Admission to the Magnet High School is competitive and is
based on middle school grade point average, standardized test scores, and two admissions assessments—one
in mathematics and one in reading comprehension and writing. For the 2009-2010 school year, 26% of the
applicants to the Magnet High School were offered admission.

If DCSS is going to continue with the high achiever magnet, I feel very strongly that it must be continued only with similar policies and not the current 75-85% "luck of the draw" lottery system. The differences in what is provided educationally and resource wise are too stark to justify leaving non-lottery winners in home schools and others really winning the lottery.

Anonymous said...

I lived in dekalb county area snapfinger for 30 years. I know that things change but education starts at home. things have change people use to care a little more. A lot of people that lived and grew up in dekalb have left because they want to give there child the best possible education. The area has really gone down. memorial drive looks terrible more for criminals and jails then education. I'm not sure if there teaching the kids on how to dance, get nails, hair done then to teach them on how to talk how to act and educate the mind. the blacks move in and the whites move out. how many of dekalb county homes and kids are being raised by single parents, on section 8. what are we teaching our kids. wear there pants down. act like a fool put all these tatoos on there body. what is the real deal?