Friday, October 15, 2010

Cross Keys HS Lands "A Big One" ...

Lately, I have refrained from using DCSW articles to "pump" my favorite high school. But today I cannot hold back - the students, families, faculty, Foundation tutors, and community at Cross Keys deserve to be called out today.

This school which is a composite of every "sub-group" that other school communities blame for their failures made AYP in the summer re-test. The Georgia Department of Education posted the results today on their site and I could not be more proud of our young people!

Amid all the noise of an election year, the swirl of the corruption at the Central Office, with the back drop of the RICO trial of our former superintendent and COO, and in spite of being isolated and shunned in many ways, these young people and their dedicated families, faculty and staff, all put left foot out, then right foot out and "made the grade."

This comes two days after the State Board of Regents caved into political pressure to ban some of these same children from our most competitive universities. Oddly, the Regents voted this way while at the same time saying there was no problem that required the policy (see CNN article).

Yesterday, I was at Woodward ES handing out accolades to the "Students of the Month." As I congratulated them I wondered if their older siblings' academic success inspired them. Then I wondered, "Will they stay motivated to learn when they see their older siblings further isolated by the new Regents' policy." It was bitter sweet to watch the pride of these little children juxtaposed against the obstacles to education some of them will face.

We all have learned that AYP is not necessarily "all that," but as the designated cheerleader for our Cross Keys area young people who have overcome so much I have to say loudly ..."BOOYAH!"

62 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Yea!!!Yea!!!!Yea!!!!

My hat is off to this wonderful group of young people.

andi said...

Woo Hoo!!
Congrats to all the hard working students.

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

Way to go Cross Keys.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all - the students, teachers and parents at Cross Keys!! And to you, Kim, for exemplifying "Be the change you want to see in the world". You are a role model for us all and I'm sure a morale booster for all involved at CKHS.

Cerebration said...

Yeah Cross Keys! Awesome students! Awesome staff! What a great example of overcoming obstacles! Warms my heart! I think I'll go re-watch "Seabiscuit"!

Cerebration said...

BTW - In my opinion - this is a classic "American" story!

Cerebration said...

Cross Keys -- AND -- Seabiscuit!

;-)

Anonymous said...

Kim Gocke, your work to bring attention to Cross Keys HS, which was the stepchild of all DCSS high schools, is more than admirable. You're a hero.

Ella Smith said...

Kim, you are my hero of the week also. Your care and comparsion for others is such a beautiful thing.

Go Cross Keys!!!! Go Kim!!!!!

Anonymous said...

and yes I did read the article, it says the list will change each year. It's too bad, but this is the tip of the iceberg. 27 this year but how many illegal children are in the primary schools now? This number will rise in the future. The state has to do something.

Kim Gokce said...

"... It's too bad, but this is the tip of the iceberg. 27 this year but how many illegal children are in the primary schools now?"

Actually, most of the affected families are mixed documented/undocumented - this is the insanity we have created. There are families with freshman in college that are undocumented with two, three, or more younger children who are documented.

I'm afraid we have created an untenable situation and it is no accident that this is such a high profile issue - it is a HUGE problem and we have been living in denial for decades.

But rather than debate the national immigration issue (which deserves its own blog), I want readers here in DeKalb to understand that these children (mostly documented!) are our future and they are doing fine. I want readers here to understand that the issue is more broad than our relationship with Mexico - people from the "3rd World" have been flocking here for a century from China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, former Soviet Republics, etc. with no documentation (or expired docs).

Thank God their children are getting a solid education at the seven schools of Cross Keys!

Anonymous said...

Kim is an example of what one individual can do for a school or a community. And this is just awesome.

The real problem for students who aren't here legally isn't whether the students can go to UGA or GT but the fact that they have to pay out of state tuition and aren't eligible for HOPE, making college inaccessible for most anyway.

Anonymous said...

Kim,

Undocumented = illegal. Illegals not only cause our schools to be overcrowded (affecting the education of legal residents)they also over-crowd our emergency rooms. Not only have illegals brought bed bugs, but the increase of illegals does directly correlate with the rise of heirloom diseases like typhoid, leprosy and TB. Good on paper for your school, bad everywhere else illegals live.

Cerebration said...

I'm sorry, but what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

We can't solve the immigration issue here in DeKalb nor get anywhere debating it on this blog. There are certainly students in our schools - and in schools all over this country - whose parents came here illegally. However, this is not the fault of their children in any way! Our job as a community is to educate them - meeting them where they are. To not care about their well-being due to decisions made by their parents is no different than to treat another child differently due to the fact that their parent committed some other crime. And to punish an entire school and community because "some" of the population has broken the rules is totally out of order.

FWIW - there are blogs out there that discuss immigration - and you can certainly write your US Congressperson (mine is Hank Johnson) regarding your opinion on illegal immigration. But we can't do a thing about it here - we are simply committed to bettering our school system -- for everyone.

Anonymous said...

no one suggesting to punish the schools. The people punishing the schools (and the kids in the school) are those people in the country illegally. I agree we have to educate the kids here in USA. But I think we need to stop the policy of accepting illegals in our country. I applaud the decision to keep illegals out of college. Is it right for a legal resident to be denied college due to an illegal gaining entry? I'll drop the topic and go post on an anti illegal alien blog

Anonymous said...

@ 8:37 & 9:37:

If you guys were "smarter" than the "illegals", you would not have to worry so much about "illegals" getting accepted into Georgia colleges.

Right now, thanks to the Governor, you only have to worry about the "legal" aliens from India, China, and Korea taking your valuable spots at UGA, GTech, Emory and so forth!

By the way, when an Emory Clinic doctor is treating you** for cancer or a heart attack, do you ask him or her if he/she was an "illegal" alien in undergrad?

(you is a metaphor for you or a relative or a friend!)

Cerebration said...

ok - end of subject please. This is not the forum for this debate.

Dan Magee said...

8:37 & 9:37, please take your nonsense to a blog on immigration, not the county school system. This post is about celebrating student achievement. There are many more non-county students at DCSS schools than there are non-citizens. Seriously. Know the county before posting idiocy.

Kim, great job as always celebrating the fantastic work being done by CK students and teachers.

Hopefully one day the Central Office, BOE and Sam Moss staff will provide a facility and grounds deserving of a fantastic student body and teaching staff!

Anonymous said...

Things to think about: (1) it's not the kid's fault that the parents are here illegally; (2) what will happen to the kids if they can't get an education because they are illegal/undocumented because their parents broke the law coming here illegally when they were very small? Do they (the children) wind up like Gypsies in Europe condemned to be criminals here with no real productive future? Is it really in our best interest to educate them to the best of our ability so we don't wind up with them in prison instead? Are we better off with future murderers and drug dealers? Is this the better answer? And, yes, I believe that this analysis applies to the kids we aren't educating in other parts of DeKalb whose parents aren't disciplining them who are mostly being born to single (never married, probably teenaged) mothers. Finally, we need to stop being hypocrites -- if the illegals aren't eligible for some purposes for educational benefits then the schools should not be punished when they are not passing in appropriate numbers as "English Language Learners" on the English portion on the CRCT -- come on now... which is it? Can't be both... either you are or you aren't....

Anonymous said...

Awesome, awesome job CK.

And Dunwoody Mom (@4:32), I appreciate/agree with your point and I certainly don't mean to nitpick, but this is not about tutoring. This is about a massively dedicated group of teachers who bring their very best to the classroom every single day, and have inspired their students to do the same. This school has banded together to move mountains, and they have.

It's awesome to see CK getting the recognition that it deserves - that these are some of the best teachers in the county.

Kim Gokce said...

"Undocumented = illegal"

Wow, thanks for the clarification - that has been confusing me for so long.

We can talk about immigration as far as I'm concerned - it is a critical issue for our time and for the future. If what is happening to some of the children wasn't so sad, these attitudes about them would be hilarious.

However, in the context of public education what exactly the "burden" is I find a very interested question. If you understand how public education is funded, then you know that the sales taxes and property taxes are being paid by these families just as with any other. If there is any argument to be made, it is about the federal dollars that are directed to their schools because of poverty rates. But why bother with details when it is so much easier to chant slogans.

Ultimately, it is in our community's interested to educate and socialize all the little children who live here - those with bed bugs and those without.

While you and your friends at the State and Federal level concoct the next great plan to save the country from mutant alien bed bugs, I'm going to focus on helping my neighbors' children get a proper education. I have the crazy notion from somewhere that I am to treat my neighbors' kids like my own - can't quite remember where I got that one ...

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

I think there's value to the tutoring that was done last spring by volunteers but the real work has been done by the teachers - not only in the classroom but also in many extended sessions including non-school hours and house calls.

Frankly, the highest value to the tutors has been to help the children recognize that people besides teachers care about them and want to see them succeed. This thread is a microcosm of the type of messages that bombard them everyday.

It makes it all the more amazing that these young people resist the temptations to give into the negatives laid upon them. The goal of too many of us is to make their lives miserable so they will go away. Trouble is, they are a hardy bunch they continue moving forward in spite of the roadblocks thrown in their path.

Short of pogroms, we need to accept that these people have lived among us for generations and they are not going away. Call them illegals, call them what ever you like. Give them papers, don't give them papers - it doesn't change the reality of the community and the need to educate the children.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this right - you create an article where you mention the State Board of Regents "caving" into political pressure (which means they acted in order to preempt the legislature from taking action, knowing the legislature is full of legislators responding to the legal residents of GA who are tired of illegal immigrants). Then when someone responds to this post in a way that disagrees, what they say is misquoted, mischaracterized, exaggerated, or simply dismissed as irrelevant or irrational arguments. If you don't want to debate something, then don't bring it up! Yes, the article you made celebrates the success of these students, it also takes a thinly veiled jab at anti-illegal immigrant policies.

Debating illegal immigration may not be what this blog was created for, but it is one of the factors affecting education in our society - discussing it should not be off-limits. Telling posters "end of subject" is akin to allowing only one side of an argument to be presented. I am a supporter of this blog and have always enjoyed how open the discussions have been where only posts that purposefully offend people are removed.

Discussing illegal immigration does NOT mean:
we are punishing a school,
we don't support the students,
we are blaming students / children,
we don't want to give these students a great education.

Bed bugs are not mutant bed bugs Kim. But to the poster who brought up bed bugs . . . really? These pests are re-occurring due to international travel, not illegal immigrants.

Kim you said "If you understand how public education is funded, then you know that the sales taxes and property taxes are being paid by these families just as with any other. If there is any argument to be made, it is about the federal dollars that are directed to their schools because of poverty rates. But why bother with details when it is so much easier to chant slogans."

I beg to differ Kim. According to the DeKalb County budget, only 58% of the budget comes from property taxes, with the state providing roughly 41% of the funds. According to the state's "budget in brief," 40.7% of the state's budget comes from individual income tax - a tax often not paid by illegal immigrants (and many legal residents). So, there is room for debate and discussion - and that is not me chanting a slogan. :)

Kim Gokce said...

Fair comments and there is a fair debate about immigration enforcement to be had. Unfortunately, the debate at large has turned into something far from that due to, imho, a shrinking economy and electioneering. As long as there's a growing economy we look the other way. When we have extended hard times, now and in the eighties, we have the sudden urge to purge these people

Kim Gokce said...

"mutant alien bed bugs" was an attempt at humor ... The children I am advocating for are mostly poor, mostly some shade of brown, and mostly legal. Attempts to sensationalize the realities of these children and their families are simply confirmation of what i have learned first hand - too many folks have spent too little time working with our children and too much time creating political positions.

Kim Gokce said...

a local politician cited Georgia's expenses to support the view of the burden illegals are placing on the State. When i inquired about the revenue figure the same group brings to the State, they had no information. This tells me two things: 1) we are only looking for data that supports our positions, 2) we have positions based on things other than budgetary realities.

Kim Gokce said...

"thinly veiled" ... I thought i was pretty open with my criticism. I think we collectively are being harsh in our judgements of these American children growing up in our communities. I call them "American" intentionally because for the majority of them this is the only countrty they know and love. For some, it is the only country they are willing to lay down their lives for. I am proud of there efforts in making AYP and I will not shrink from crying "foul" if anyone tries to put them down with bromides.

Kim Gokce said...

"prevent action by legislature" ... Well, if the Regents can block the legislture, i need to go back to school! Whether they voted to diffuse political pressure from the State or whether they were acting on their own motivation we cannot know. We do know that in their judgement there was no significant issue to be addressed. To me, that says it all.

Cross Keys Teacher said...

First of all, thanks to Kim for his kind words and for his Herculean efforts over the last couple of years. Our school community is thrilled to have passed AYP, and we can’t wait to tell the students the news on Monday.Obviously, the intent of this blog is not to debate immigration issues. But this issue seems as relevant and germane as many other issues that contributors have debated on this forum without being quashed. Recent decisions by the Board of Regents directly impact the educational motivation and potential of hundreds of our students. And I can’t move to educational issues without a comment to the anonymous poster who is so worried about bedbugs and other infestations. Sadly, with each successive wave of immigration weaker minds are preyed upon by fear-mongerers; rumors of foreign disease and “scourges” were trumpeted during patterns of Asian, Irish, Eastern European, and Jewish immigration to this country. Will that contributor’s brain explode when he learns that many experts blame the spread of bedbugs on cheaper airline tickets for European tourists? Finally, Kim and I use the term “undocumented” with great intention; many of my students lack documentation but their existence and dreams are as “legal” as any one else’s.

Now for some concrete suggestions. We certainly do not claim to have all the answers at Cross Keys. Many of our best pedagogical and administrative ideas have been borrowed and tweaked from teachers and schools across the county, state and country.

-highly qualified teachers with a major in their content area. At Cross Keys, a general level student can go through the day learning from a math teacher from Clemson, a Physics teacher from Georgia Tech, an English teacher from Oglethorpe (props to my wife!!), and an economics teacher from Indiana. Clearly, degrees from elite colleges/universities do not automatically equal great teachers, but students know very quickly when teachers lack specific content knowledge or seem unsure of their knowledge. Of course, these teachers never want to leave Cross Keys because….


-Extra help. Extra help. Extra help. I have to give it up to my colleagues in the Math and Science departments; our students’ scores in these areas are now competing directly with schools like Druid Hills and Dunwoody. Teachers are tutoring or conducting small extra-help sessions CONSTANTLY. One Social Studies teacher routinely has 15-20 students stay every Friday after school to complete the weekend’s homework. Rather than complain about students not doing work at home, we try to wring every drop of instructional time from the day. Before and after school tutoring. Lunch sessions for students who have failed multiple graduation tests. The Media Center is packed with students every morning from 7:30-8:00.

-high academic expectations. In my A.P. literature, 100% of the students are on free and reduced lunch. Not a single student comes from a family that owns their home. Does this mean they should not have been asked read Madame Bovary and Vanity Fair over the summer? Heck no! I always tell my seniors that we competing with the same schools my soccer team plays against – Westminster, Blessed Trinity, Decatur, Paideai, and Lovett.

Thanks for your time and patience.

Jake Eismeier
English Teacher/Varsity Girls Soccer/Interact Club
Cross Keys High School

Cross Keys Teacher said...

First of all, thanks to Kim for his kind words and for his Herculean efforts over the last couple of years. Our school community is thrilled to have passed AYP, and we can’t wait to tell the students the news on Monday. Before I get to the heart of this post, a few comments. Obviously, the intent of this blog is not to debate immigration issues. But this issue seems as relevant and germane as many other issues that contributors have debated on this forum without being quashed. Recent decisions by the Board of Regents directly impact the educational motivation and potential of hundreds of our students. And I can’t move to educational issues without a comment to the anonymous poster who is so worried about bedbugs and other infestations. Sadly, with each successive wave of immigration weaker minds are preyed upon by fear-mongerers; rumors of foreign disease and “scourges” were trumpeted during patterns of Asian, Irish, Eastern European, and Jewish immigration to this country. Will that contributor’s brain explode when he learns that many experts blame the spread of bedbugs on cheaper airline tickets for European tourists? Finally, Kim and I use the term “undocumented” with great intention; many of my students lack documentation but their existence and dreams are as “legal” as any one else’s.

To be continued...

Cross Keys Teacher said...

...continued from previous post

Now for some concrete suggestions. We certainly do not claim to have all the answers at Cross Keys. Many of our best pedagogical and administrative ideas have been borrowed and tweaked from teachers and schools across the county, state and country. It would be wonderful to see ALL Dekalb high schools celebrate AYP next June; with that dream in mind, here are some specific practices that seem to work:

-highly qualified teachers with a major in their content area. At Cross Keys, a general level student can go through the day learning from a math teacher from Clemson, a Physics teacher from Georgia Tech, an English teacher from Oglethorpe (props to my wife!!), and an economics teacher from Indiana. Clearly, degrees from elite colleges/universities do not automatically equal great teachers, but students know very quickly when teachers lack specific content knowledge or seem unsure of their knowledge. Of course, these teachers never want to leave Cross Keys because….

-somehow we have very few classroom management issues. Why is this? I wish I could give more specific reasons. Our diversity certainly helps; from their early days at Woodward or Cary Reynolds, our students are used to being around peers from other cultures with very different cultural and religious beliefs. This is reinforced at almost every level. Academic success is celebrated, not disguised or hidden. Many of our families bring a deep respect for teachers and education. Some families regard us as almost an extension of the family, people who should be trusted and respected. Trust me when I say that even the toughest young man is usually brought to tears and an apology very quickly when we call or meet with the mothers.

-Extra help. Extra help. Extra help. I have to give it up to my colleagues in the Math and Science departments; our students’ scores in these areas are now competing directly with schools like Druid Hills and Dunwoody. Teachers are tutoring or conducting small extra-help sessions CONSTANTLY. One Social Studies teacher routinely has 15-20 students stay every Friday after school to complete the weekend’s homework. Rather than complain about students not doing work at home, we try to wring every drop of instructional time from the day. Before and after school tutoring. Lunch sessions for students who have failed multiple graduation tests. The Media Center is packed with students every morning from 7:30-8:00.

-caring adults in the building. Our students often remark that they can’t do ANYTHING, good or bad, without half the school’s teachers knowing about it by the end of the day. From counselors to custodians, coaches to administrative assistants, our students get more advice about life, college, studying, pregnancy, gangs, etc. in a single day than they probably want in an entire school year! These conversations with students happen everywhere, not just at scheduled meetings or in a counselor’s office.

-high academic expectations. In my A.P. literature, 100% of the students are on free and reduced lunch. Not a single student comes from a family that owns their home. Does this mean they should not have been asked read Madame Bovary and Vanity Fair over the summer? Heck no! I always tell my seniors that we competing with the same schools my soccer team plays against – Westminster, Blessed Trinity, Decatur, Paideai, and Lovett.


If you have gotten to the end of this very long post, thank you for your patience and please excuse any typos. For the bedbugs poster, let me state for the record that I have spent thousands of hours in the classroom with immigrant students. I have also been to numerous apartments for family dinners, traveled to hundreds of soccer games on school buses, and driven countless students to SAT administrations and Brookhaven Rotary meetings. Not a single bedbug bite.

Thanks for your time.

Jake Eismeier
English Teacher/Varsity Girls Soccer/Interact Club
Cross Keys High School

Cross Keys Teacher said...

...continued from previous post

Now for some concrete suggestions. It would be wonderful to see ALL Dekalb high schools celebrate AYP next June; with that dream in mind, here are some specific practices that seem to work:

-highly qualified teachers with a major in their content area. At Cross Keys, a general level student can go through the day learning from a math teacher from Clemson, a Physics teacher from Georgia Tech, an English teacher from Oglethorpe (props to my wife!!), and an economics teacher from Indiana. Clearly, degrees from elite colleges/universities do not automatically equal great teachers, but students know very quickly when teachers lack specific content knowledge or seem unsure of their knowledge. Of course, these teachers never want to leave Cross Keys because….

-somehow we have very few classroom management issues. Why is this? I wish I could give more specific reasons. Our diversity certainly helps; from their early days at Woodward or Cary Reynolds, our students are used to being around peers from other cultures with very different cultural and religious beliefs. This is reinforced at almost every level. Academic success is celebrated, not disguised or hidden. Many of our families bring a deep respect for teachers and education. Some families regard us as almost an extension of the family, people who should be trusted and respected. Trust me when I say that even the toughest young man is usually brought to tears and an apology very quickly when we call or meet with the mothers.

-Extra help. Extra help. Extra help. I have to give it up to my colleagues in the Math and Science departments; our students’ scores in these areas are now competing directly with schools like Druid Hills and Dunwoody. Teachers are tutoring or conducting small extra-help sessions CONSTANTLY. One Social Studies teacher routinely has 15-20 students stay every Friday after school to complete the weekend’s homework. Rather than complain about students not doing work at home, we try to wring every drop of instructional time from the day. Before and after school tutoring. Lunch sessions for students who have failed multiple graduation tests. The Media Center is packed with students every morning from 7:30-8:00.
of the day. not just at scheduled meetings or in a counselor’s office.

-high academic expectations. In my A.P. literature, 100% of the students are on free and reduced lunch. Not a single student comes from a family that owns their home. Does this mean they should not have been asked read Madame Bovary and Vanity Fair over the summer? Heck no! I always tell my seniors that we competing with the same schools my soccer team plays against – Westminster, Blessed Trinity, Decatur, Paideai, and Lovett.


If you have gotten to the end of this very long post, thank you for your patience and please excuse any typos. For the bedbugs poster, let me state for the record that I have spent thousands of hours in the classroom with immigrant students. I have also been to numerous apartments for family dinners, traveled to hundreds of soccer games on school buses, and driven countless students to SAT administrations and Brookhaven Rotary meetings. Not a single bedbug bite. To a more recent anonymous poster who raised the issue of sales tax vs. income tax, please be reminded that most apartment dwellers whose children attend Title I schools actually do not pay any income tax. In other words, our undocumented families who contribute through the sales tax are paying as much money as U.S. citizens in other attendance zones.

Thanks for your time.

Jake Eismeier
English Teacher/Varsity Girls Soccer/Interact Club
Cross Keys High School

Kim Gokce said...

Sorry for my pixelated posts but I'm posting from a mobile phone this AM ...

"... only 58% of the budget comes from property taxes, with the state providing roughly 41% of the funds. According to the state's "budget in brief," 40.7% of the state's budget comes from individual income tax ..."

So 40% of 41% of the Operating budget comes from the State Income Tax? That's 16% I think ... What is the other source of State funding? I really don't know and would like to understand it better.

I will add that the Operating budget is about half of what we're spending currently with the other half coming from County sale tax. And based on who I see shopping at my local Target, Publix, etc., my "brown" peeps from the really deep south are paying their "fair" share.

Please fellow posters! Don't mistake my motivations! My politics are my own. I'm forty-seven years old and have called myself a "Solocrat" from most of my adult life. I have proudly voted for Libertarian, Republican, AND Democrat candidates. I think politics is a life and death sport and of supreme importance. I take my vote so seriously I do not tell my wife who I am voting for in a given election. Seriously.

My motivations for the hundreds of hours and personal sacrifices of my family (my wife is a tireless volunteer "behind the scenes") are driven out of simple civic and moral imperatives. Don't look to me to lead or fight a political debate. My only interest is this case is as stated in the slogan of the Cross Keys Foundation: "Every Opportunity for Every Child."

We don't check visas. That's someone else's imperative.

Kim Gokce said...

Jake, you're a credit to the faculty and I can't think you enough for having the courage to post here. It is the same frank and courageous approach you bring to your job. I hope you are still the AP English teacher at CK (if that's your goal!) when my son is there in a decade or so :)

"not a single bite." rotflmao

Kim Gokce said...

P.S. Good luck to you and your students today on the AIDS walk! Be sure to de-tox all the money raised by the bed bug nation at CK! In spite of the infestation, your Interact service club has won three of the last four regional competitions, haven't they? You don't have to answer that - just being a little cocky on their behalf!

We may need to consider "Bed bug" as a new mascot ... sorry, i haven't been able to stop laughing ... "not a single bite ..." - thank you for that!

Cerebration said...

All valid points, Anon October 16, 2010 8:19 PM. I am sorry to have said "end of discussion" - but truly - there is nothing we can do about illegal immigration at this blog. Please - send your very cogent points to your US Congress and President Obama.

Our job is to ensure that all students in our school system are educated. If there is a small percentage of students in a school who are here without official documentation because of decisions made by their parents - through no fault of their own - this is not relevant to our mission. Not that the immigration issue is not important - but just that it has NO impact on our mission.

ps - Jake - thank you and all the CK teachers for being such wonderful examples of dedicated service to the advancement of all for the good of the future - for us all.

What a caring bunch you all are!

Anonymous said...

Part I . . .
To Kim, you said: ‘"thinly veiled"’ ... I thought i was pretty open with my criticism.
Although I picked up on it quite readily, I’m glad you admit to it b/c it seems as though some posters thought your post was only about congratulating Cross Keys. Like you, I applaud the success of any student who achieves. To me, educating kids and debating illegal immigration are not one-in-the-same.
Revenue v. Expense
Yes, those figures will be difficult to come by, but I’m sure that some hard data (mixed with guesstimates) is out there somewhere
. . . collectively harsh on the children
I am opposed to illegal immigration but I would never take a stand against educating any kids.
"prevent action by legislature" ... Well, if the Regents can block the legislture, i need to go back to school! Really Kim? LOL Anyone who can use the term “bromides” can surely recognize that the meaning of “block” was not literal. And you are wrong Kim, we do know why the Board of Regents acted – we know by the very words you spoke when you said: We do know that in their judgement there was no significant issue to be addressed. If there was no significant issue to be addressed, then why address it? Ahhh, it leaves only that which they cannot say, the debate had begun in the legislature this past session and by acting in advance, it took the wind out of the sails of those who wanted tough measures taken.

Anonymous said...

Part II . . .
”So 40% of 41% of the Operating budget comes from the State Income Tax? That's 16% I think ... What is the other source of State funding? I really don't know and would like to understand it better.” I understand what you are saying and I based my position on the same logic you are presenting, but I’m not sure that ultimately we could break down which revenue dollar goes to which service. But as for the other source of state funding, take a look at this website (you’ll have to cut and paste, sorry):
http://opb.georgia.gov/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/4/42/163066223budget%20in%20brief%20afy%202010%20and%20fy%202011.pdf
Top five sources of revenue:
40.7% - Individual income tax
29.3% - Sales tax
7.8% - Fees and sales
6.4% - “Other taxes”
6.3% - Lottery
And Kim, as for paying fair share because of paying sales tax / operating budget, etc. Again, breaking down which dollars go to what service, or which part of what service, is futile. If we didn’t have state and federal dollars paying for what they pay for, then we couldn’t spend all the sales tax dollars on the operating share of the budget. 

Anonymous said...

Part III . . .
To Jake Eismeier I enjoyed reading your post . . . all of it. But I take exception with your statement To a more recent anonymous poster who raised the issue of sales tax vs. income tax, please be reminded that most apartment dwellers whose children attend Title I schools actually do not pay any income tax. In other words, our undocumented families who contribute through the sales tax are paying as much money as U.S. citizens in other attendance zones. I’m calling you out on this one statement. I keep fairly abreast of financial and economic information (a subject I teach) and I’ve never heard of any such data being available. In fact, I lived in a Title I school zone, in an apartment complex, and I as well as most of the neighbors that I knew (even those with kids had jobs and I presume paid income tax. I really doubt you’d be able to substantiate your statement that most apartment dwellers with kids don’t pay income tax. Other than that, I really did enjoy reading your post.

Anonymous said...

Part IV . . .
Cere, first, thank you for this blog! Second, I agree that typically, we discuss matters more directly related to the education of students (but at times, we have brought up external issues). Third, I do hate to disagree with you, but illegal immigration does have an impact on our mission. The connection may not be obvious, but IF in fact our state is spending revenue on any service to illegal immigrants (and I suspect that it does), then these are dollars that could have been directed towards education.

That being said, it's time for some yard work!

Anonymous said...

http://opb.georgia.gov/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/4/42/163066223budget%20in%20brief%20afy%202010%20and%20fy%202011.pdf

Anonymous said...

For some reason, it keeps cutting off the .pdf ending of the web address. :(

Cerebration said...

The state pays about 40% of DCSS operating budget, the rest is paid by county residents, mostly through property taxes. It used to be exactly the opposite (60/40) before Perdue.

I think I understand the point about who is actually paying the taxes that pay for the school system's operating expenses. Many people contribute very little to the cause either through payroll (income) tax to the state, or property taxes (Zepora only pays a little over $300/year and Womack pays a bit over $2000 due to senior benefits, on a house that is bigger than mine, which I paid over $6000 in taxes for last year).

The sales tax (SPLOST) only goes to school construction. It cannot be used for operating expenses.

Cerebration said...

Here's an easier way to access the link from Anon (Kim taught me how to do this...)

State of Georgia FY 2010-2011 Budget

Cerebration said...

Or maybe it was John Heneghan - he helps me out a lot with technical issues with the blog.

His blog is fantastic by the way - check it out - it's a great example of transparency in government!

Heneghan's Dunwoody Blog

Cross Keys Teacher said...

In response to Anonymous 3:11, I'm the first to admit that I'm a dilettante when it comes to Economics. If you factor in things like Earned Tax Credits, I don't think my argument is too far off the mark in terms of federal taxes. My mistake was in assuming that states taxed poverty-level families at fairly equal rates. This is from a D.C. policy think-tank:

* In 16 of the 42 states that levy income taxes, two-parent families of four with incomes below the federal poverty line are liable for income tax;
* In 12 states, poor single-parent families of three pay income tax;
* And 26 states collect taxes from families of four with incomes just above the poverty line.

As it turns out, Georgia is one of those states that places a heavier tax burden on working families at or below the poverty level. Several tax policy sources state that married couples with children who are below the poverty line pay no income tax.

Definitely an interesting discussion, and I'm glad to have learned something new.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Cross Keys. Both faculty and student should be very proud.

With regard to taxes. Keep in mind that an apartment complex owner pays taxes on the rental property he owns. A tenant pays rent and a part of that rent goes to the property taxes.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:30 - property taxes were never really in doubt, but on that point, it gets really complicated. With bond-lease transactions / triple-net financing leases, etc. property tax can be partially abated. This could apply to many developments, apartments / condos / towers, etc. and is really far outside the realm of my knowledge. Have fun researching that. haha

Kim Gokce said...

"If there was no significant issue to be addressed, then why address it? Ahhh, it leaves only that which they cannot say, the debate had begun in the legislature this past session and by acting in advance, it took the wind out of the sails of those who wanted tough measures taken."

That is a logical leap that has no foundation I can see. Why would this stop the legislature from doing anything? If they want to impress their constituents, they will simply complete the ban to all public institutions as many would have them do.

If anything, this gives them even more political red meat: "We won't let those namby-pamby Regents fool us! Just watch us thrash the snot out of those kids and ban them from every State institution! Vote for me." I do not think the electorate is placated in any way by the Regents decision - most do not even know it occurred.

I stand by what I said - they voted to ban students from our most competitive institutions due to political pressure. I make no assumptions about their motivations or political calculations in their decision.

" ... I’m glad you admit to it b/c it seems as though some posters thought your post was only about congratulating Cross Keys."

I have no idea what "some posters thought" ...

I'll try a third time - Cross Keys is chock full of every subgroup that other schools blame for their not making AYP and these young people defy those assumptions and biases in the face of high obstacles.

I hear the insults they are subjected to every day in my own community and can only imagine what it does to their morale. Actually, I'll take that back - I do know ... many of them were in tears the day of the Regent's vote. Thus, the melodramatic, "BOOYAH!"

Quit trying to paint my comments as somehow deceptive - I take offense to the imputation of my honesty and ask that you continue debating without insulting yours truly - I am sensitive soul and it is a weak debating technique.

For anyone who did not understand the obstacles faced by many of our young people - by reading this thread you can get a small sense of it. Just imagine what folks think but do not say in writing and you'll get a sense of it.

I have heard it many times in its unadulterated, pure forms and that vitriol has made me a staunch ally of these children. I've a thing for helping the least of us. This is not a mystery or political gambit.

To quote Steve Martin, "Weeeellll, EXCUUUUUSE ME!"

Georgia Income Tax

Unless you are abjectly poor, you are going to pay income tax in Georgia. Your first dollar of income is taxable at 1% and I believe the bracket rises to a max of 7% for $7,000 and above. Even with joint deductions and dependent deductions, a family of four making $20,000 is likely going to pay income taxes to Georgia at the maximum rate (all other things equal).

Lastly, dear Anonymous poster if my comments are somehow being taken as a personal attack, please be reminded that I have no idea who you are much less have any basis to make personal judgment about you. I am vigorous in my defense of my support of these children and will continue to be so.

Kim Gokce said...

Ella, Anonymous, and others: "... hero ..."

I run from these kind words because they are not deserved. I'm a neighbor of Cross Keys doing what I think I should do. Hero? On the contrary, I have questioned whether I am doing more harm than good.

I left a public meeting a couple of years ago where the bigotry and disdain for these young people was so depressing I thought perhaps it were better that I left these schools to their own devices. It seemed that the more I brought attention to the positive things going on at CK the more it brought out the crazies.

To this day, I truly wonder if I am doing more harm than good by bringing recognition where it is deserved. God only knows and my heart won't let me abandon them now - they have be heartened by the presence of supporters that have been sorely lacking in years passed.

So, please call me a good neighbor and not a hero - I've read history well and my mythology. Heros usually have a bad end so 'thanks, but no thanks!"

Kim Gokce said...

"Kim is an example of what one individual can do for a school or a community."

Again, thank you, but not fair - there are many, many folks who have answered the call to help the seven schools of Cross Keys attendance. I'd name them here but I'm afraid to for their sake. If you think I'm exaggerating, I've had to meet people in parking lots to receive donations because they feared rebuke from associates if they were seen with me.

First, there is a great group of folks on the Board of the CKF. Also, we have had over twenty volunteers step for everything from tutoring, to mentoring, to conditioning athletes, and more. We've had a few businesses join the effort also with significant in-kind and direct donations.

Above all, it is the students of CK area themselves that deserve to be called out for recognition. It was witnessing over one hundred of them working hard on the grounds at a Hands on Atlanta Day that first inspired my commitment to them.

Since then, the more I learn the more i realize these are the best young people we have in DeKalb and a resource to be cherished. They have put forth more effort in service organizations than anyone would believe. They have stepped forward to help with the Foundation's initiatives, the YMCA partnership and in other ways.

These young people are my heroes and the testimony of their service and accomplishment are what inspire me to continue my work via the Cross Keys Foundation in spite of some hefty criticisms.

Anonymous said...

To Kim
Calm down. It’s obvious you are flustered.
I ADMIRE the work you do and have not set out to demean that work. But you brought up illegal immigration and with that topic you had to know that there would be debate.
You said: That is a logical leap that has no foundation I can see. It’s not really much of a leap Kim. The Board of Regents only took action when it became apparent that they were losing funding and could in the process lose some power and control.
When you said that most people aren’t even aware that their vote occurred (that is a leap too right?) – I’m not so sure about that. It was everywhere in the news, it was kind of hard to miss.
I'll try a third time... You don’t need to. That part of your posting was very clear and again, I also am happy that they have made AYP. This has never been a question. Why do you keep coming back to it?
Quit trying to paint my comments as somehow deceptive - I take offense to the imputation of my honesty and ask that you continue debating without insulting yours truly - I am sensitive soul and it is a weak debating technique. Kim, “thinly veiled” is not synonymous with deception, disguised maybe, but not deception. However, it was actually used in the sense of being muffled and not standing out in an obvious way – hence the discussion on illegal immigration. A discussion many thought was unnecessary because they thought your article was only a congratulatory article. As for weak debating techniques, I’ve noticed your constant “appeal to emotion” which is an error of weak reference and your attempt to “transfer” the positive aspects of these students making AYP to the negative aspects of the Regent’s action. I've a thing for helping the least of us That’s known as “an appeal to the people” and is also classed as an error of weak reference . . . after all, who would challenge someone who is trying to help the least of us. See Kim, I can spot weak debating techniques too. (isn’t this fun) And by the way, when you said that I was engaging in weak debating technique, you know you were actually attacking me and not my argument and you also know that is called an ad hominem argument.
Unless you are abjectly poor, you are going to pay income tax in Georgia. Unless you are an undocumented or illegal immigrant being paid in cash right?
Lastly, dear Anonymous poster if my comments are somehow being taken as a personal attack . . . I am vigorous in my defense of my support of these children and will continue to be so. First, no one ever questioned your defense of these kids, but you keep coming back to that as though that was what was in question . . . no such issue Kim. And, no one has taken anything you said as a personal attack, but please don’t call me “dear” in this way as most people would assume you meant it as a subtle way of belittling. And you wouldn’t stoop to that would you?
At this point, I think our “debate” is over, yes? It is for me.
(PS – I still admire the work you do.)

Anonymous said...

moost of the illegals in DeKalb County are paying my social security, paying sales tax at the grocery store, and doing work that no one else wants to do. It would actually cost more moeny to round up illegal aliens and send them back than any possible costs of their being here. The America I grew up in was

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Let's educate everybody and everbody wins.

Anonymous said...

Cross Keys has seen dramatic improvement over the last 5 years.

Don't take my word for it. Just look at the graduation test numbers for 2005 and 2010.

Math 2005 = 76%
Math 2010 = 92% (a 16% increase)

Social Studies 2005 = 62%
Social Studies 2010 = 83% (a 21% increase)

Science 2005 = 42%
Science 2010 = 90% (a 48% increase)

These scores rate Cross Keys near the top of ALL high schools in Dekalb County.

It is time for the powers that be and the community to take a long hard look at Cross Keys and realize they have something special going on........

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10/17: "It’s obvious you are flustered"

Indignant, not flustered.

"At this point, I think our “debate” is over, yes? It is for me."

Truculent. Nah-nah! Last word ...

Joking aside, we could go on parsing one another's arguments but that'd be boring for everyone else and we'd get no where. So, I'll leave all your last points dangling in the air where they can float along the ether unchallenged and thereby have peace on this thread. Amen.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10/21: "It is time for the powers that be and the community to take a long hard look at Cross Keys and realize they have something special going on........"

You know what, I ran into one of those science teachers last week and congratulated her. Then, I asked her about the > 100% improvement in results and she stopped dead in her tracks.

She paused and said she was grateful for the notice because six years ago the department had a tearful meeting where they all asked how the results were so bad and what they were doing wrong. Apparently, the recent results have come only after enormous soul-searching, planning, and then execution.

I asked her if she be interviewed on camera about their effort and experience and she agreed. So, it may be a few week before I can pull this off but I will be documenting at least a little portion of the story behind their success in Science. Thanks for sharing the dramatic numbers!

Cerebration said...

Great idea on the science interviews! We have our very own television station that creates their own content. They will also broadcast much of what is produced by students. I recently watched several promos filmed by students at DSA about their school. Have students conduct the interviews and then submit them to DeKalb's channel 24 for broadcasting. This is exactly what our tv station should be used for - to highlight successes in our schools so that others can learn and replicate.

Kim Gokce said...

PDS 24 does a regular feature called, "In the Classroom", that I've enjoyed on broadcast. They have also started posting some of them on demand on the web site. Unfortunately, the regular video production of the Kaleidescope newsletter seems to have gone the way of the dodo after Julie Rhame''s team was kicked to the curb.

We have a few of them from the old days at our YouTube channel. Here are a couple of recent "In the Classroom" features with a couple of Cross Keys' schools among others:

Cary Reynolds

Briarlake and Sequoyah

Kim Gokce said...

If you want to feed your brain postive images about DeKalb, check these out.

Here's a couple oldies but goodies from the video newsletter days:

Brookhaven Honors Abu Bangura

Hands on Atlanta at Cross Keys

Atlanta Opera at Woodward

And my personal favorite, our CKF's first scholarship winner (along with Linda Khor):

Cross Keys Foundation Scholar 2010

Kim Gokce said...

Looks like our Georgia System is doing a crackerjack job of enforcing the new policy about residency:

ACLU Asks Regents to Repeal Residency Policy

If you take the time to read the long letter, you'll reach the part where it reports that an audit determined that there were 21 students at the five institutions in question ... who would have been paying out-of-state tuition, anyway.

Wow ... we've really solved a major problem here and should pat ourselves on our backs ...high fives!