Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dare We Hope?

As published in Maureen Downey's "Get Schooled" blog, "Gwinnett County Public School system has been declared the nation’s top urban school system by the Broad Foundation, earning the district a million dollars in student scholarships and its controversial superintendent validation of his strong leadership style."

This award comes with a very nice monetary prize -- A million bucks!

I think DeKalb should keep in mind all of the things Gwinnett is doing to have earned such an honor and to focus very hard on finding a superintendent who could lead our system to this kind of recognition!

Good for you Gwinnett! I pray that our leaders in DeKalb see this as a blueprint for them to follow.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Maureen Downey's blog:

"While I know that Wilbanks has his critics, I have to share a conversation I had last week with a former DOE official. He said that he dealt with the leadership teams of all the districts, and he understood why DeKalb and Atlanta had so many more problems that Gwinnett.

He said Wilbanks assembled a leadership team that was sharp, responsive and together, while the other two systems’ teams were disorganized and non-responsive.

When I need photos of top students or a statement, Gwinnett is the first to respond. From an outside point of view, Gwinnett is well run, efficient and responsive.

So, while Wilbanks may be demanding and, according to his critics, imperious, I have to offer that he is also effective in what matters most: Educating children."

Is DeKalb ready for a superintendent like Wilbanks? Are we ready for a system that offers virtually no choice, no parental input into big decisions and only 5 school board members, so they aren't even accessible.

I think it is the path that DCSS needs to take. I just am not sure that the parents in DeKalb are ready for it.

Anonymous said...

Cere: "I pray that our leaders in DeKalb see this as a blueprint for them to follow."

I think you'd do better to pray for new leaders.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Is DeKalb ready for a superintendent like Wilbanks? Are we ready for a system that offers virtually no choice, no parental input into big decisions and only 5 school board members, so they aren't even accessible.

Good questions.....Would the parents of this school system trade the choice, access and input they have now for a school system like Gwinnett?

As an aside, I can't believe Alvin Wilbanks is still alive and kicking...heck he was an AP at Chamblee when I was there - back in the dark ages.

Anonymous said...

"Dare We Hope$"

Dare we hope that, now that Gwinnett County Public Schools has been acknowledged as an "urban" school system, the State of Georgia will see fit to stop sending some of our property tax dollars to Gwinnett?

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom,

You have only the illusion of "choice, access, and input." If we really had those things, we would have no need to be online venting our frustrations.

At least this guy is upfront about it.

Anonymous said...

Nearly 30 percent of DCSS students are attending schools other than their home schools.

That to me is choice.

Anonymous said...

We should be asking why 30% of our students are choosing to transfer from their home school.

Anonymous said...

DCSS has never been noted for looking at how other systems operate. They've always said, "We do things the DeKalb way".

Anonymous said...

5:12--A great majority of that "choice" is mandated by federal law.

Other than magnet (which are a joke in DCSS) and charter schools, which are fairly ubiquitous(including in Gwinett, which has 3 charter high schools), there is little in DCSS policy that provides for true choice in the way your child is educated.


I would rather choose a responsible, ethical leadership team and let them do their job. I might not agree with every decision, but I can live with that if the overall result is excellence.

Yeah, I would probably move to Gwinett if I could sell my house!

Anonymous said...

Choice in schools is not mandated by the law. There are other options like offering tutoring. DCSS has chosen choice as its mantra as it cares more about making people happy, rather than putting more effort into educating the children.

Anonymous said...

What DCSS and APS do is placate. They simply try to make populations that matter in a fiscal sense happy enough that they won't complain. Then they do whatever they want to with your tax dollars. Sadly DCSS does not placate as well as APS.

Anonymous said...

That is a very good analysis. Placate.

Cerebration said...

Personally, I would give anything to have solid leadership and fantastic educational results - and no need for a blog!

Anonymous said...

The right decisions are not always the decisions that please the parents. DCSS needs to start making decisions that are in the best interest of the students. We used to be on of the top school districts and hopefully one day we will be at the top again. If the right decisions are made that will improve the student's education, hopefully parents will come around.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the comments. We have many great parents in DeKalb but too often they want to micro-manage. If DeKalb is to really get back on track, we have to get a super Supt. and let him or her really lead without parental dictatorship and griping. I worked under every Supt. we have had with the exception of Dr. Lewis. Each one held it in the road until Dr. Halford came along with Ginny Springer. That is when the politics began to override student achievement. Sorry, you can't always please parents at the expense of what's best for the students of DeKalb. Had we had a different Board, Johnney Brown & Abby Boring could have gotten that million that Qwinnett received. Positive parental involvement is best at the local level. The culture in DeKalb must change. We need a TAKE CHARGE SUPT. Like DR. Cherry to become # one again!

Anonymous said...

When we moved here in 1975, Dekalb County was where Gwinnett is now. We can begin the process of regaining that status by going to the polls on November 2, 2010, and voting out the incumbents - especially Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Woods. They may be fine people, but they are not school board material.

As an aside, Michelle Rhee has resigned from her Superintendent position in Washington, D.C. She is a performer that can deal with our bloated bureaucracy at the DCSS and earn the respect of SACS and our business community. We need to talk with her and pay her whatever we need to bring her here. Tax revenues from higher property values would more than offset the cost. Just compare her to Crawford Lewis who made over $250,000 per year!

Don't forget - VOTE on November 2, 2010!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee isn't going to come to DCSS. She is to ambitious for that.

While we all know that DeKalb is the 3rd largest system in GA, outside GA the named system is Atlanta. She wants to be in a place where national focus is on the system, in my opinion. She might consider Atlanta but I also think she is going to California or at least out West where her fiance is.

Anonymous said...

I also want to add that perhaps a good place to start is the superintendents from the other systems that were nominated. I know nothing about them but perhaps they are a good first pool.

Be prepared though, if we wrote that we were going after Alvin Wilbanks, plenty of Gwinnett people would say "please take him" and "here are his skeletons." Probably find some of the same kinds of comments from the other communities.

Being in charge of any large organization, you will have critics and supporters. Google has made it possible to find both if you are researching someone.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee?
You have got to be kidding!

I suppose you bought her glory story, but is is not true.
Test scores did not rise during her time as all powerful chancellor in DC.
Her own "back story" of miraculous teaching changed regularly and is unverifiable.
Rhee and the mayor who gave her absolute power were run out of town by the very people she was supposed to be helping (low income minority voters with children actually in the DC public schools.)
Her biggest fans in DC were the upper class whites who either did not have children in the schools or whose children attended on of the hard to get into magnets.
I know the Waiting for Superman movie is very persuasive, but it is a slick PR job.
Look into the facts before you cheerlead for this kind of education "deform"
This DC blog has a lot of facts on Rhee:
http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/

Dunwoody Mom said...

Michelle Rhee isn't going to come to DCSS. She is to ambitious for that.

Quitting before her contract was up? Somehow the word "ambitious" does not come to mind.

Anonymous said...

"Quitting before her contract was up? Somehow the word "ambitious" does not come to mind."

I don't know, Sarah Palin seems pretty ambitious.

Anonymous said...

We moved four years ago to Gwinnett with their huge schools and changing demographics to get out of Dekalb.....I am happy everyday that my kids do NOT go to a Dekalb County School.....

Anonymous said...

^^but yet here you are on a DeKalb School blog...Amazing!!

Anonymous said...

I think in acknowledgment of this award Gwinnett needs to turn down the extra money from the state.

Think that will happen?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, DCSS is a sinking ship! There's too much bad blood in the system...from the top down. Until DCSS rids itself of poor leadership it will never receive such accolades...sorry to say :(

Anonymous said...

Superintendents are extremely important to a school system.

I'm Anonymous 9:37 pm who posted on April 22 on the article "What are we looking for in a superintendent?"

This was part of my post:
"DCSS needs a superintendent who builds on the strengths of teachers. While best practices is a good idea, a superintendent should recognize that different teachers have different teaching styles just like learners have different learning styles. What might be effective for one teacher may not work for another.

When I was a very young teacher, I was a real hotshot and thought I had the best teaching style with my hands-on, individualized instruction. But the students of Virginia Burke an older teacher in the next room had remarkable results with her students. She relied heavily on the lecture method, but she was incredibly interesting and compelling. Her students loved her, felt safe in her class, hung on her every word, and she truly was the best teacher I have ever taught with. We taught in a very low income area with many "at risk" kids. Watching her success with "old style" teaching taught me that "best practices" should be defined as "what gets results with kids". I continued to use hands-on learning and individualized instruction because that was my style, but I came to respect the many different styles successful teachers bring to the classroom. Watching Ms. Burke certainly humbled me. "

I just learned Mrs. Burke passed away at the ripe old age of 91 a few weeks after this post.

I suspect Mrs. Burke may have not been appreciated in this educational climate, but what lucky children who had her as a teacher! She could turn around the most intractable student, and all of her students adored her. Virginia was in her mid-50s when I was all of 24 years old. She exemplified the feeling of safety and excitement that students should feel in a classroom. I hope the new superintendent respects that unique teachers are our treasures.

Here is what the AJC said about her:
http://www.ajc.com/news/virginia-walsh-burke-marine-547432.html

Cerebration said...

Thanks for sharing that beautiful story about such a wonderful teacher.