Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Still Waiting for Superman?


Don't Wait for Superman to Fix our Schools!

See Waiting for 'Superman' this weekend at the UA Tara Theatre
2345 Cheshire Bridge Road NE, Atlanta, GA - (404) 634-6288

Hallelujah! Charter schools have finally arrived. They are the subject of the powerful and courageous new film Waiting for 'Superman,' which opens this weekend in Atlanta. Charter schools are also the focus of the "Done Waiting Coalition" -- a national coalition of public education reform groups.

Many problems plague our public education system and there is no single solution. But this much is clear: It's not the kids. It's not their parents. It's not their neighborhoods. It's an outdated bureaucratic system, the special interests that benefit from it, and the politicians who protect it. Children’s futures must not depend on the zip code where they live or whether they win the educational lottery.

For too long, we waited as we spent more money, reduced class size, and chased the latest fad. We Are Done Waiting. We know what works and we need more of it now. The kids can't wait. You shouldn't either. See the movie. Join the movement.

  • Expand proven school models, such as high-performing public charter schools
  • Demand a highly effective teacher in every classroom, and treat them like a valued professional.
  • Put kids before the politics of special interests


If you are done waiting:

GCSA and G-PAN are official partners of the Done Waiting Advocacy Coalition and we want you to support it too. Click on the petition tab at www.donewaiting.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iamdonewaiting to tell your state and federal elected officials that you are Done Waiting!

See you at the movies!
G-PAN will be collecting signatures at the 7:00 pm and 9:40 pm screenings.


-- Nina Rubin

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you really want to watch a movie that crucifies teachers and misrepresents the effectiveness of charter schools? It's a one-sided film produced by people with an agenda.

Anonymous said...

I am a huge proponent of school choice, but gotta tell you that even with the huge advantage that every student (or their parents) chooses a charter school, most aren't performing any better than traditional public schools.

Dunwoody Mom said...

"Strengths and Weaknesss of Waiting for Superman"

Waiting for Superman could have been an “A” film, but despite all its strengths, it is also a naïve one. Its analysis of the problems is often superficial, it’s conclusions and recommendations simplistic and, at times, misguided.

Ironically, one of the failings of the film is that it is too much like a "Superman" film, replete with heroes and villains, hostile threats and romanticized outcomes. Like a Hollywood thriller, drama is heightened and less exciting realities ignored.

We have good teachers and bad teachers, good schools and bad schools. Instead of Lex Luthor we have the threat of the evil teachers unions and their super weapon, tenure. There is even a dark scene set in one of New York City’s infamous "rubber rooms" for teachers, those on probation who do nothing for years because they can’t be fired.

And while there may be no Superman, both Canada and Rhee are cast as heroes who are saving education in their respective territories. We’re lead to believe that the road to a quality education for every kid in America is paved by charismatic leaders and leads to a charter school for every kid who wants one, the closing of bad schools and, with the neutralizing or elimination of tenure, the firing of bad teachers. This may be good docudrama but it is not a good blueprint for educational reform.


http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/strengths-and-weaknesses-of-su.html

Anonymous said...

Well EXCUSE ME...



But this much is clear: It's not the kids. It's not their parents. It's not their neighborhoods. It's an outdated bureaucratic system, the special interests that benefit from it, and the politicians who protect it.


"...an outdate bureaucratic system"
is not to blame for the abhorent behavior, attitudes and disrespect shown daily to teachers by students.

It takes only one, one student to disrupt the educational environmment of an entire class. Teachers are basically powerless to remove the offending (students.)

Until this society grows a pair big enough to hold children (and their parents) responsible for their behavior or lack thereof, there is no solution, charter or otherwise that is going to save our schools.

No Duh said...

I saw the movie at its preview last month. The director was there.

The movie does point out that only 1 out of 6 (or was it 5?) charter schools is performing above the typical public school. And the director (who was there for a discussion with the audience) pointed out that even though the movie seems to come off like an advertisement for charter schools -- he did not set out a make a movie advocating charter schools.

His point is/was that if we know what works (as illustrated by charter schools that improve achievement) then we should try to implement those same concepts into our public schools.

Reminds me of when our kids first hit the hallowed halls of DCSS. Everyone was arguing about "the Kittredge model." And saying, "Let's just reproduce the Kittredge Model in all the schools." Over and over, from Mosley, et. al. came the refrain "it would be too expensive."

Reproducing the "Kittredge model" would have mirrored the charter school "methods." Enough teachers for smaller classrooms. Teachers who want to be there (or who will be run off if they are not effective), foreign language in elementary school, music and p.e. for everyone -- every day.

Didn't seem so complicated to me ten years ago, and doesn't seem so complicated to me now.

I believe the money is there. But, DCSS has been spending it on marshmallows and not meat and potatoes.

Anonymous said...

http://www.valentino.org/2010/09/were-not-waiting-for-superman.html

No Duh said...

I forgot to add...

Go see the movie whether you are pro- or anti-charter. You must see it for the "dance of the lemons" achingly accurate...

Anonymous said...

Moseley said, "it would be too expensive."

Like America's Choice? Like Audria Berry's Dept.? Like MIS? Like the Palace? Hey Moseley, I think the staffs spending of OUR tax dollars is a bit misguided..

First the 1.4 Billion Dollar budget should start with the schools. Then we move up to the Central Office last. By the time we get there, let's hope we have no more money left for the likes of Moseley. Last night's meeting proved he has done shoddy work or at least he was trying to sneak something by the BOE until McChesney and Speakes spoke about the WHY, that was lacking in the handouts provided by the overpaid, under-performing staff.

Last night a lot of sunshine was shone on the shoddy staff work.. Turk's list of +$50k vendors, no explanation as to why Gateway needed the supplemental funding, Beasley's answer to the $30K science funding divided between the whole system, and the lack of respect for the taxpayer.

ENOUGH! This staff must be shown the door! Ernest Brown proved last night he has drank the Kool-Aid, the rest of us have not and expect better work from these overpaid staffers.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Oh, I'll probably see it at some point - do you think it will be "On Demand"? :)

Does anyone really believe that all it takes to fix our schools is to fire teachers and open charter schools? I mean, come on, that's really naive.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time trusting the guy who directed this film is the guy who directed the Al Gore fraud, "An Inconvenient Truth" I'm just saying.....

I would like to try to get the money to the teachers in the classrooms and see if we can get our kids to learn better. This current DCSS leadership thinks 6 figure salaries for a lot of people, who do nothing in the classrooms, is the right thing to do! Really?

Anonymous said...

No one who has been involved and in the trenches of our public school system believes for one nanosecond that just opening a bunch of charter schools will fix what ails DCSS, APS, etc.

The point of the movie is that we need to cut through all the ancient red tape (it is more like thick red walls) and leave the old notions of education behind.

Putting aside the issue of selecting highly motivated, engaged, creative teachers, No Duh has a great point. All our schools could perform like magnets if we used the Title I funding to hire and fund the actual schools rather than pay consultants and purchase scripted teaching programs from some huge corporation.

Anonymous said...

It's getting close to the November election. Have you volunteered to walk door to door and get your neighbors to the polls to vote agains all DCSS BOE Incumbents? Especially critical is the retiree vote. They have no idea what is going on, and they intensely dislike wasted property tax dollars.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Test scores, firing teachers and opening charter schools is pretty much what Arne Duncan is promoting.

Cerebration said...

I haven't seen this one, but I did see The Cartel and that producer also was surprised to find out the truth behind the corruption in school systems -- money is being squandered and stolen all over this country. His conclusion too was to put the money closer to the student for more local controls - and charters seem to fill that order these days.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just school systems, it seems to be most forms of governments and at least some private sector people.

On the front page of Sunday's AJC was an article about the millions lost in the airport advertising contract and another article about the nearly 80,000 being paid for mules by the Cobb County government.

There was one Arizona charter school that will billing the state for students that didn't exist and "educating" the handful of students that they did actually have on the front porch of a house.

How about just being honest and saying that government corrupts and then go from there?

Anonymous said...

3:26 wrote,
"...an outdate bureaucratic system"
is not to blame for the abhorent behavior, attitudes and disrespect shown daily to teachers by students.

AMEN and thank you! Student acheivement begins at home, folks.

I am not suggesting that DCSS is not a bloated, poorly managed mess of a bureaucracy that must be overhauled.

BUT I can't teach to a kid who sleeps in my class or becomes belligerent when I ask him to pay attention. And no, I can't just make him go away.

I'm not suggesting that there is a fix--we can't legislate what kids are taught at home. But please realize that there are many layers here. Yes, there are bad teachers--I work with a few. But there are also great teachers who spend too much time on crowd control when they would love to be teaching.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I read an article today that the Pennsylvania state solicitor has requested a moritorium on charter schools in that state pending an overhaul of the funding system in that state. He has indicated that in PA the law states that the funding for charter students is based on the school systems cost to educate that student rather than what it costs the charter school to educate that student.

Cerebration said...

True that, Anon 8:20. We lost a very good Georgia Tech educated math teacher last year when her grade book was changed (at the request of Frankie Callaway allegedly) in order to allow a student who had barely attended school and was failing her class -- to graduate!

DCSS asked the state to investigate the TEACHER when the issue came to light. The state did not - as they found no evidence of bad behavior on the teacher's part. And Frankie promptly retired and is now serving as principal of the newly formed Leadership Prep Academy.

How are we to attract the best teachers when word gets around that this is how they are treated in this system?

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/did-frankie-callaway-encourage-cheating.html

Anonymous said...

Of course the concept of "put the money closer to the student for more local controls" is a good argument for both charter schools and breaking up a too huge school system. And when you can't do the latter you do the former. Not unlike incorporating a part of North Dekalb to get out from under another part of overly large and disntantly controlled government.

BTW if you think climate change ain't real, I've got some beachfront property I'd like to unload on you. But let's keep this blog about schools.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say anything about climate change. I talked about the movie's director also directing An Inconvenient Truth.

In Gore's film the director used Computer Graphic Animation of an Ice Flow crumbling, while Gore spoke that is was true! Over the past 10 years there is more ice covering the Antarctic then ever before. Plus, there is NOT a consensus about climate change. If there was why did those professors have to lie about it and try to hide the facts, until exposed through those emails that were uncovered.

The British Government found 7 things that were not truthful in Gore's movie and before their schools showed it they had to provide the students with a disclaimer showing the inadequacies of the movie's script.

The man is a very good director, but before believing everything we see in documentaries we should always check the facts ourselves! That's all I am trying to say!

Anonymous said...

The other day I was volunteering at my child's school when a parent came in to sign in her three elementary school students because they were late. She couldn't tell you the name of any of their teachers. It is the 9th week of school.

Horrifying and yet typical of a certain percentage of parents.

A few years ago, there was a family at our school that we were certain were on the run from something/someone. Anyway, the father wouldn't allow his children to do homework as they had to many chores to do.

How does society fix these kings of situations? Schools certainly can't.

Anonymous said...

"The other day I was volunteering at my child's school when a parent came in to sign in her three elementary school students because they were late. She couldn't tell you the name of any of their teachers. It is the 9th week of school."

I saw a similar situation...in this case, the parent actually had a conference with the teachers on her child's team. However, when asked to name one of the teachers, she was unable to name a single teacher.

Obviously, it was the teachers who asked for the conference. The fact that she couldn't name any of her child's teachers probably indicates that she does not ask any questions about her child's day at school, whether or not there was any homework assigned -- much less completed, etc. I guess the plus in all this is that she did show up for the conference.

Parent involvement ought to be a requirement for ALL schools; not just choice schools.

Anonymous said...

Parent involvement has always been a problem, but it is not the only problem in DCSS and far from the biggest.

There is great waste in salaries, people running the school with little to no experience, teachers not speaking up about the wrongs that are being done to the children by lack of instruction or quality of instruction mandated by those above them, misuse of funds, people who are in positions that they have no right or experience to be in, etc.

Just blaming parents is not going to help DCSS, and lets those who make the decisions in DCSS off the hook.

There is nothing that the school can really do about the lack of parent support and apathy, but they could be doing so much more to help the children during the school day and put the education of ALL children in DCSS first.

Anonymous said...

Happy Furlough Day!!

http://southdekalb.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/celebrating-furlough-day-in-dekalb/

Anonymous said...

Sorry to change the subject a little.... In addition to this Friday's furlough day, how many people out there think that there isn't school Monday, October 11? There IS school on Monday but an earlier calendar listed it as a day off and there are many families who think Monday is a holiday. In fact Druid Hills High School sent an email this morning in an attempt to correct the confusion.

Cerebration said...

Weird - a furlough day on the Friday before a national holiday - but the national holiday is a work/school day?

Anonymous said...

Monday may be a Federal Holiday, but the only people off are banks and federal/state government employees. Everyone else is working. Columbus Day is hardly a major holiday.

Anonymous said...

It would have made sense to take Monday instead of Friday, but this is DCSS, so when do they do anything that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Cere, but I don't remember us usually having Columbus Day off. However, an earlier calendar had it listed as a holiday following the furlough day. I'm not sure when the school system changed the calendar.

I filled out my home calendar from the web site of my daughter's school and, by then (the beginning of the school year), the only day off for students was Friday, October 8---a furlough day. But I have several friends who filled out their home calendars over the summer when, apparently, October 11 was also a day off.

These same friends also said that the start of second semester is different than it was on the summer-edition of the school system calendar. I guess everyone should look on the DCSS web site and be sure your home calendars still match.

Anonymous said...

The revised calendar was approved on the 6/14 BOE meeting. I'm not sure why some schools had the most recent and some did not.

It was my understanding that the teacher furlough dates were determined based on a survey from the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Yes the calendar was changed fairly extensively in June. There are still the incorrect versions of the calendar floating around out there.

Anonymous said...

Another true story from the trenches: I called a parent to come pick up a sick child. Had to give directions because she didn't know where the school was located.

Anonymous said...

Cereb @ 8:29 PM 5 October

And "Walkaway Calloway" got her pension as she avoided investigation by hastily retiring. She is now happily double dipping at taxpayer expense as principal at the Leadership Charter housed at the world famous NBBC.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Speaking of Leadership Prep, here is a document that outlines the Federal grant money they were awarded.

$200,000 in FY10 and $200,000 in FY11.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=1262&AID=259009&MID=13441

Cerebration said...

Did everyone catch the article by the president of the W.E.B. DuBois Society in the AJC? Good reading. Good organization.

How to motivate students when culture attacks ambition

http://www.webduboissociety.org/

Anonymous said...

You are right, Ms. Calloway did resign in such a hurry. Now, she get to head a school. Only in DCSS. Had this been any one else, they would have been in Ronald Ramsey's office sitting looking in his stupid face.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a school district that hires retirees back the way that DCSS does. This happens in the schools as well as with Ms. Calloway.

Ella Smith said...

Talking about Mr. Ramsey. I talked to him this week-end. He is really respected by the legislative body and I asked him about taking off work due to all the comments on this blog. He explained that it is legal which I knew but he also explained he takes a leave of absence when he is gone. After talking to him I realized that he is doing nothing wrong by taking leave while working at the capitol. I did think this was interesting as it was not what many on this blog apparently think is happening regarding his salary.

He actually can probable lobby and help the school system by being at the state capitol. I really do not know him other than I have noticed he is respected in the community by many political leaders. I would not assume this by just reading this blog. Through going out in the community at functions I have seen a different side of different things. This was one thing I did want to share.

Kim Gokce said...

Wow! That is a good share, Cere. I will line up 100% behind the Society's position on the role of student motivation!

The impact of this type of communication and recognition is one of the areas we have focused on with the Cross Keys Foundation. We feel our teachers ARE doing a great job with the young people and have steered away from instructional/curriculum debates.

This thinking about student motivation is precisely why the Cross Keys Foundation Scholarship Program focuses on recognizing the hard work and service of one male and one female senior at Honors Night - we feel these are amplifying attributes when held up for praise and reward among the students. Our only academic requirement is a "extraordinary work ethic and commitment to self-improvement through education."

Our goal is to encourage a culture of hard work and ambition in academics. This year, we're working on a similar award for one male and one female graduate from Sequoyah MS but instead of a scholarship award we'll offer a high quality experience camp. In fact, if anyone knows a rockin' good leadership, service, or youth development "summer camp" in the middle/north Georgia area, please let me know!

I wish the DuBois Society wind in their sails in their efforts!

Anonymous said...

My son's best friend raves about the Y camp in Athens. So much so that now my son wants to go, I know it's a week long sleep over camp.

Anonymous said...

Just one clarification; when the teachers were given a vote to select the furlough days, we were told that Monday would be a holiday. Teachers voted for the payless day off to combine it with Monday for a four day holiday.

Surprise Surprise, the board and administration changed the calendar after the vote. Gee, now they wonder why we don't trust them?

Anonymous said...

"Just one clarification; when the teachers were given a vote to select the furlough days, we were told that Monday would be a holiday. Teachers voted for the payless day off to combine it with Monday for a four day holiday."

That is my recollection, too. I would have preferred a full week at Thanksgiving. Then, I could spend the holiday with my family. Too expensive to fly, and too far to drive. :-(

Anonymous said...

Hey Ella, I was wondering something, If Mr. Ramsey, a state legislator and is not a registered lobbyist, wouldn't him advocating for DCSS be a conflict of interest?

Does he receive pay from DCSS when he takes his leave of absence to tend to his state duties? Also, the retired gentleman (name?) who is helping Ramsey out when he takes that leave, make additional salary above his pension?

It seems to me we need a full time staffer in this position. We are a large system with a lot of employees who have been taking advantage of their positions at DCSS lately. Am I wrong? Can Ramsey really take care of these two vital and very difficult positions?

Anonymous said...

ELLA said:
"Talking about Mr. Ramsey" .... etc. etc. above.

My response: Then you haven't had to face him as an internal investigator, as many of us have. He has no interest in digging for the truth, only an interest in protecting those "friends and family." It's quite unfortunate that he's in a position to help the unfortunate who are hoping against hope that investigations will be thorough and above board, but with this man and his department, it's simply not the case.

Your comment is the only positive thing I've heard about this man IN his position at DCSS. He has either allowed, or turned and looked the other way, when many innocent people were being framed for the deeds of the guilty.

If you were not running against an incumbent, I could not vote for you because of "blindness" like this. You have ONE conversation and you are sold on his "credentials." !!! You need to take a tip from Sandy Spruill and do more research and talk to more people before you blog.

It may not be illegal to be a state senator and the head of internal affairs at DCSS, but it is most certainly questionable at best. And could very easily be a conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

In the previous post, I should have added in the first paragraph that if Mr. Ramsey advocates for DCSS, while being a state legislator, could this be a conflict of interest? He is employed by DCSS and not registered with the state as a lobbyist, can someone clarify this for me? It just doesn't seem right to me.

Anonymous said...

And "Walkaway Calloway" got her pension as she avoided investigation by hastily retiring. She is now happily double dipping at taxpayer expense as principal at the Leadership Charter housed at the world famous NBBC.

SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU BELIEVE SHE GETS AWAY WITH THIS? DOESN'T THE D.A.'S OFFICE WANT TO INVESTIGATE THIS WOMAN?

Anonymous said...

Ella,

You are so off point where it regards these people at the County Office. You raved and raved about Crawford and how wonderful he was. Look at him now. Now you're raving about Ron Ramsey being something wonderful for DeKalb. PLEASE. Where was he when all this went down with Pat Pope and Crawford and crowd? What does he do to administrators? NOTHING. He spends his time making every effort to destroy teachers while administrators get a pass. Check out all the various entities he has formed with himself and his wife as lead factotums of them. I can only imagine how he has leveraged himself to get $$$$. Sure, he takes a leave of absence when he goes off to the Capitol, but he certainly makes up for it with all the other $$$ he brings in. Plus, his salary is hardly something to sneeze at, considering how they've screwed teachers in this County. All it takes is some administrator making an accusation that a teacher has done anything wrong, and here comes Ron ready to destroy. Let a teacher make an accusation about an administrator, and the teacher is branded a troublemaker and hounded. Someday Ron will face the consequences of his failure to act in accordance with the State Bar.

I pray to God that you are not elected, but I really do not have to worry because Walker is going to smoke you in the election. You haven't a chance, dear, THANKFULLY.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see anything in Ella's post where she "raved" about Ron Ramsey. She simply made a statement about how he is perceived in the legislature.

Why is it that some of you posters are so nasty and disrespectful when you post?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. Spruill for that ringing endorsement for your wife.
Did your wife do her research when she claimed that DCSS wanted to close CCHS?

Anonymous said...

Did your wife do her research when she claimed that DCSS wanted to close CCHS?

The jury is still out on that.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the previous posts about Ramsey were that outrageous! I do believe he should receive more scrutiny than others, since a lot has gone down while he had been in charge of internal investigations. There are a lot of people being perceptive here and everyone in leadership positions should be extra careful, in this current environment created by their own.

If DCSS was run like a private company there would have been a lot of people asked to resign by now. Instead it's a lot of business as usual.

I hope as we approach the election that some of our current BOE Reps will get out in the public and take the questions. I know there will be tough ones to answer but come on, just look what has happened over the past year and one would have to wonder if the tough questions were not asked.

We need accountability in all departments of DCSS. We can not proceed in the future with "this is the way it's always been done" attitude.

Mr. Ramsey has some explaining to do to the very people who pay and employ him, US!

Some people on this blog come across as nasty, most are just angry like I am. I just want to know if Mr. Ramsey has some conflict of interest as a state legislator and advocating for his employer under the gold dome. That's all! Ella, knows business can't go on like before. Mr. Walker asked some good questions the other night about America's Choice let's hope this BOE continues to ask the tough questions to the staff. There are a lot of tough decisions coming over the next 11 weeks, before the new board is sworn in.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that some of you posters are so nasty and disrespectful when you post?

Not nasty and disrespectful, just stunned/blindsided/amazed at the comment(s). Almost rendered speechless (and that would be nicer.)

Kim Gokce said...

Anon at 2010 9:34 PM: "Y Camp"

Thanks for that - I'll inquire with Metro Atlanta Y and see what they know about that one.

Anonymous said...

I really could not recommend Athens Y Camp to minority children or even very young children.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused--is Ms. Calloway currently a DCSS employee by virtue of being principal at the New Birth Charter School? At the charter with which I am familiar the staff have DCSS IDs, but I'm not sure if that means they are DCSS employees. I'm thinking if she is a DCSS employee her actions while in DCSS employ are still subject to investigation--quitting and coming back (and collecting a pension somehow as well) would not be a get out of jail free card.

Anonymous said...

The advantage charter schools have is that parents who care about their chidlren's education opt to send them their (Is this like school choice). The secret advantage is that unlike public schools they do not have to accept or retain everyone. The application process can be manipulated and has been in many cases to accept only the "right kind of student". Moreover, the discipline plan for most charter schools is is a student is difficult expel them and send them back to public schools. Although national studies show that on average most charter schools do not out perform public schools few people have developed the statistics that most charter schools fail through financial mismanagement. If the charter is run by a for profit company and many are then the company takes 12% of the top before expenses. (That's what for profit means) Faced with the choice of corrupt public school officals and the for profits I note that there are no documented cases of corrupt school officals stealing anywhere near 12% of the budget. Oddly enough although all the tests comparing US education to other countries show us behind in science and math they do not show any continued movement downward. That is, in the past 10 to 15 years we have not be in a decline. The major education issues in the US are really the achievement gap between middle class white students (and some middle class black students) and the urban black poor. The gap is particularly gret for black males. As the public school system struggles to close this gap the result has been growing unease from parents of students who are doing well. Universal education is not found in all the countries that we measure ourselves against. Public schools and a society faces a monumental challenge and one of the barriers to overcome this chaalenge is thinking that the solution will be easy or simple. What is important is finding a win wn solution. Incidentally several public schools, private schools, and even charter schools have had a great success with an approach that begins with the student and their family. The Harlem project begins almost at birth and encompasses working on the family and social problems of low income families that are barriers to getting a good education. However, a conservation response to this type of program is that it is socialism. One thing that history tells us is that if we do not overcome this ever grwoing gap of haves and have nots that the have nots will soon vastly outnumber the haves and the threat of revolution will loom.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone read the Crier article about the edukalb forum that was held in dunwoody? It states that Bobbie Gillis thinks that the 5th grade should remain there but that it would be expanded to k-5. Does anyone know what is meant by this? Does it mean that the schools would be redistricted so that some kids from each of vanderlyn, Austin and chestnut would go there for k-5 but that ALL chestnut, vanderlyn and Austin 5th graders would go there too? I was just confused by the comment about keeping the 5th grade there.

The other confusing thing is that doing this would seem to help, but there would still be overcrowding at at least one of the schools no matter how they redistrict. Hhow is that possible given that dunwoody es is only in it's second year???

Anonymous said...

With Dan Drake operating the software that can balance our attendance zones, maybe they should let him try to balance attendance at all the Dunwoody schools and see what the map looks like. It can't hurt!

When Moseley and CLew tried it with a sharpie marker, they had divided neighborhoods and in a couple of instances a couple of cul-de-sacs were even separated.

I think we should let Dan Drake attempt to balance all the zones and see what he comes up with. I do think Dunwoody Elementary should be PreK-5 or at least K-5, which was the original intent of the school to begin with. Plus, the upper grades could continue their lead rolls at all the schools like the rest of DCSS. Safety patrols at all schools and children not being separated until Middle School, like the traditional schools.

Let's give Dan a shot at redrawing all the lines and balancing attendance throughout the system before the battles begin again!

Anonymous said...

My issue with the testing (dovetailing into what DuBois Society is doing) is that it doesn't account for the population the teacher inherits at the start of the year. I think if you're going to "grade" teachers on "student improvement" and use "tests" then the way to do is to use a test like the IOWA or the Stanford and attach it to the child with our lovely computers. Then you take the child's score at the end of one year and see if it has improved by the end of the next year and, if so, by how much. Then you know how much the child has learned. If you have a 3rd grader who starts the year at a 1st grade level in math or language arts and the teacher gets that child to end of second grade -- that's a tremendous success for that teacher that would never show up in the way we do things now. At the same time, that same teacher could have a 3rd grader who began the year on a 6th grade level and completed the year on a 6th grade level and that child would have been completely failed by that teacher and that would not show up under the current system. The effectiveness of the teacher can not be truly measured by the way we do things now and we have just turned the kids into robots who are being trained to take tests. So, therefore, it's no surprise that they are not engaged and are not interesting in learning becuase, gee, it's really not interesting any more. This is especially true when the curriculum jumps arround (like in math) and doesn't allow for mastery and doesn't allow the teachers the luxury to guage where the class is and double back to help struggling kdis and to ensure that they know basic math facts or know basic phonics. This is even more true when you eliminate the "fun" things that help with math such as music and foreign language and other "fun" things that help kids learn like gym, recess, talking during lunch and art. School amost begins to look like jail and not like a place that a kid would want to spend time in (don't start me on some of the facilities and their conditions). Hello...anyone home? (spoken by an educated parent who's been in the system for too long and can't wait to be out).

Anonymous said...

please don't get me started on the basics, something my 4 graders didn't get. Since they taught her whole language, she didn't get phonics. Hence her spelling is atrocious. No word families to depend on.

Math facts...they didn't teach those either, just stategies. Then they expected her to just magically know the facts enough to start timed tests by the end of first grade.

Now she is in the 4 grade and we drillllllllllll multiplication at home because that's what works! Thanks to the curriculum department, her foundation is shaky. But according to the folks at school box who practically know me by first name, I shouldn't be bitter my kid get taught this this stuff. Just start working on it now, they said. go forward from here.

MY POINT IS, DEAR FOLKS, SHE SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAUGHT THIS STUFF. WHY AM I TEACHING MY CHILD?????? LITERALLY, TEACHING MY CHILD THIS basic STUFF.

Dekalb education sucks, it's all paperwork and accountability. I barely saw her homework, tests, classwork in the 3rd grade because of the "portfolio" system. Each teacher has gleaned a different perspective of the county's mandate to keep a portfolio. My kid's teacher kept and graded every scrap of paper. I had to go round and round for the first semester with the principal, the teacher and the curriculum dept. to get that stuff to come home, just to see what my kid was doing in school everyday. In the second semester, I saw it every 2-3 weeks, not weekly. We had no real meaningful review at home about her work.

I am so over this system, their ever changing curriculum ideas and most especially this board.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 12:14am

I'm not sure what school you attend, at our school the teachers send home a weekly packet of assignments divided by subject. We have to sign a cover sheet that says that we have viewed the pages and send it back to the teacher who keeps everything until the end of the year.

We have a great review system in place and our kids are learning. Our teachers are great, despite the Central Office edicts, and they do not complain in public.

I suggest you take your complaints, about your school, to the area supervisor. If that person doesn't help you, I suggest you request a meeting with Ms. Tyson. Don't let this fester!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Calloway must be an employee of DCSS since she used the PATS system to hire her teachers and assistant principals for the school. Applicants were told to contact her, Director/principal of the school.

Anonymous said...

What about Ernest Williams, he was also an employee (PE teacher) and state rep. Was he still on payroll when he took off when the assembly was in session? I heard he worked with some athletics program during the summer to make up this time, but teachers are not allowed to earn comp time, so how did he earn comp time that he could use to take off? Just wondering? Someone should ask for those time sheets.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least she made the 6 o'clock news. What goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

Calloway, that is. Comment regarding cheating and making someone change a grade ... that's qualification enough for a new principalship at another school. The bonus for doing such a good job is you get to keep your retirement benefit, too. Good to know what one must do to succeed in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

"Someday Ron will face the consequences of his failure to act in accordance with the State Bar.

I pray to God that you are not elected, but I really do not have to worry because Walker is going to smoke you in the election. You haven't a chance, dear, THANKFULLY."

Now Now, you don't "know" these people, so please don't be so judgEmental.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ramsey is not fair when it comes to teachers. He only protects administrators and friends of the family plan.
He is arrogant and doesnot deserve to be paid his salary as an investigator of internal affairs. First, he is not fair, secondly, never at work, and cannot control the ethics of administrators who are constanly breaking the law and will get by with infractions. Teachers are unfairly targeted by internal affairs/ human resources. Just ask yourself, how could Ramsey not know that lewis was abusing his power as a leader, others making money on the side speaking and writing or hiring your girlfriends or relatives to steal taxpayers money doing nothing. Calloway is a big example, what did Ramsey do when she authorized the teacher to change the student's grade to allow her to graduate. Then , she disappears within seconds and a everyone starts hearing that Calloway has retired. WOW! so , fast. Next, she disapears for almost nine months, then resurfaces as the headmaster of the new academy that houses some of DCSS elite administrator's children.Oh, donot forget , this re-surface again administrator even had the nerve to use PATS (DCSS) But, keep in mind rumor mill still refuses to beleive that our taxpayers money is not going to rich Birth Church. As Stevie Wonder would say, "Wake up everybody." The Calloways remind me of GREED like Eddie Long.

Anonymous said...

Is Ramsey investigating the female DCSS employee who according to the DA took trips with Lewis on the county P-Card. Did she receive any promotions due to her relationship with Lewis?

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about the Harlem Children's Zone schools that are featured in this movie.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/education/13harlem.html?src=me&ref=general

"The school, which opened in 2004 in a gleaming new building on 125th Street, should have had a senior class by now, but the batch of students that started then, as sixth graders, was dismissed by the board en masse before reaching the ninth grade after it judged the students’ performance too weak to found a high school on. Mr. Canada called the dismissal “a tragedy.”

Anonymous said...

If you read the article in the NY Times, you will see that the results of the schools in the HCZ are not nearly as fabulous as have been portrayed.

Dunwoody Mom said...

More Charter School "shenanigans"...

"I received an email from Dr. DeWayne Davis, the principal of Audubon Middle School in Los Angeles, which was sent to several public officials. Dr. Davis said that local charter schools were sending their low-performing students to his school in the middle of the year. He wrote:

"Since school began, we enrolled 159 new students (grades 7 and 8). Of the 159 new students, 147 of them are far below basic (FBB)!!! Of the 147 students who are FBB, 142 are from charter schools. It is ridiculous that they can pick and choose kids and pretend that they are raising scores when, in fact, they are purging nonperforming students at an alarming rate—that is how they are raising their scores, not by improving the performance of students. Such a large number of FBB students will handicap the growth that the Audubon staff initiated this year, and further, will negatively impact the school’s overall scores as we continue to receive a recurring tide of low-performing students."

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/10/are_charters_the_silver_bullet.html

MAPS said...

I would like to see the film, but from what I have heard it is yet again a well-funded excuse to promote the privatization of our public schools as opposed to truly saving them...and yet again, blaming teachers and all unions. Check out our website for research on charter schools in Georgia and more:

http://mapschool.wikispaces.com/Georgia+Educator+Links

Cerebration said...

For an opposing viewpoint, please read this article by Diane Ravitch -

The Myth of Charter Schools

A quote --

Some fact-checking is in order, and the place to start is with the film’s quiet acknowledgment that only one in five charter schools is able to get the “amazing results” that it celebrates. Nothing more is said about this astonishing statistic. It is drawn from a national study of charter schools by Stanford economist Margaret Raymond (the wife of Hanushek). Known as the CREDO study, it evaluated student progress on math tests in half the nation’s five thousand charter schools and concluded that 17 percent were superior to a matched traditional public school; 37 percent were worse than the public school; and the remaining 46 percent had academic gains no different from that of a similar public school. The proportion of charters that get amazing results is far smaller than 17 percent.Why did Davis Guggenheim pay no attention to the charter schools that are run by incompetent leaders or corporations mainly concerned to make money? Why propound to an unknowing public the myth that charter schools are the answer to our educational woes, when the filmmaker knows that there are twice as many failing charters as there are successful ones? Why not give an honest accounting?