Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No message sent to the school board

Today's AJC recaps the election results for DeKalb schools. Tom Bowen is quoted as saying:

“The election results were all over the place with no clear message being sent from the public,” Bowen told the AJC. “There was no visible anti-incumbent message in the votes cast and the publicized endorsements did not seem to carry any weight. The voters made up their own minds. “

I disagree. I think there is a message in here. A very sad message. The message that the racially divisive politics of old are still very strongly at play in DeKalb and voters still harbor mistrust and antipathy toward "others" in the system. Sending Sarah, Jay and possibly Zepora back to the board is definitely a "statement". And sending Dr. Walker back is an endorsement of his racial perspective. He openly admitted his own racially-motivated thinking when he stated at a board meeting, “I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.”

Sarah Copelin-Wood inserted herself into the redistricting task force discussions, injecting a race-baited argument and pitting schools in her own district against each other. As the head of the task force reported , “As a board member, she [Copelin-Wood] has the responsibility to stay neutral and not make this a racial issue because it was not a racial issue,” Coward said. “But she kept making comments about black and white task force members.”

In fact, one email campaign in support of Sarah Copelin-Wood summed up the anti-"north" racially divisive sentiment quite honestly -

Do not be so "gullible" to allow these groups, mostly comprised by Dunwoody, "to tell you how to think," "what to think" and "what to do." You just try to attempt to go to Dunwoody and tell them "how to think" or who to "vote for" - Dunwoody would object your presence and reject your opinion. If the people in Dunwoody wanted to be a part of you, they would not have created their own city.
I think Bowen is wrong - I think the voters of South DeKalb have sent a very strong message. The message so blatantly stated in the writers email above. The message states that South DeKalb continues to feel as if they are fighting some kind of power in North DeKalb and the only people who can save them are Copelin-Wood, Cunningham and Walker. To me, this is a very sad statement that the racial divide has not healed much at all in Georgia.

At least the people in District 7 will open their minds to the idea that a younger, well-educated African-American woman, a woman with a degree in mathematics, a certified public accountant, could quite possibly actually represent them well in today's world. Maybe, just maybe, this one district will be the one to take a chance and step into the light of the new millennium by voting for an African-American success story - Donna Edler - a rational woman who exemplifies the very level of educational success that we want our school board to ensure for all of our students.

Although voters turned their backs on the wonderfully qualified Kirk Nooks in District 5, I hold out this hope that the voters of District 7 will rise to the challenge, stand tall and proudly vote in faith that we can move forward together - offering professional representation for their district - with confidence in a future where race is no longer a "card"–it's simply the color of one's skin.  I hope District 7 voters realize that ensuring that all of the children in DeKalb are well-educated and that the tax money spent on this endeavor finds it way to the students in the classroom is the real task of a school board.

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought there would be a change in the winds, but I am sorry, The DeKalb taxpayers have no where to blame but themselves on this one. You voted them back in and the county taxpayers will reap what they sow.

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out the whole Cunningham thing, but I think that the district that SCW represents is so very poor and unempowered and she has been consistently their voice. I don't think she does a good job, I think the schools there are dismal and she knows it, but can't quite figure out how to fix them.

But she is their constant advocate.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievably sad BOE results. Time to send my child to private school. As soon as we can sell this house, we're out of DeKalb County!

Cerebration said...

Stand-by to pay a lot of money to attorneys in 2011!

- Lewis and Pope - criminal trial (we pay the DA's case plus some of Lewis' defense)

- The Heery-Mitchell trial - already estimated to have cost us between $12-20 million - the trial should begin in 2011

- The Alexander law firm costs us in that there is double-coverage of many legal issues with our other attorney of record, Alston & Bird.

- I predict that the teachers will sue for the board's action in taking away their retirement contribution, while still not participating in Social Security.

- I also predict that there will be many lawsuits filed by persons who lost their jobs in the budget cuts - cuts that disproportionately effected those lowest on the pay scale.

Anonymous said...

Sad that you attack Dr. Walker yet this blog is a race-based site. You push North v. South in most posts. Let it go. The county will not be united until all sides stop the racial antics.

Anonymous said...

The re-election of these incumbents reminds me of a quote from The American President, one of my favorite movies. They are referring to presidents, but I think it rings true to our newly re-elected officials:

Lewis Rothschild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we've had Presidents who were beloved who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand 'cause they're thirsty. They drink the sand 'cause they don't know the difference.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of hearing about race in DeKalb. I remember the teacher orientation that I attended in 2007 where Lewis made a remark something like this: "some people say DeKalb is too white, some people say DeKalb is too black..." I tuned him out after that, as I what I wanted to know and needed to know as a new teacher to DeKalb, but not a brand new teacher out of college, I wasn't getting in the orientation. The fashion show, showing me how to dress, didn't help me to be the best teacher I could be or answer the questions I had about taking attendance, materials available for me to use, and such.

I worked in South DeKalb in a school, where I was the minority. I was appalled that I saw teachers working on their doctorate degrees and other advanced degrees during the school hours. I was appalled that sorority crap was everywhere in offices and around teachers desks, as this does not belong in a classroom or should be promoted by teachers. I was appalled how some people got away with things that were unethical and immoral, but those in charge looked the other way. What saddened and upset me most of all, was that the African Americans in charge were not putting the children first.

I have come to the conclusion, that a quality person, who wants to put the children of DeKalb first probably won't apply. I realize that good teachers, won't want to apply or will take a job if that is all that they can get, but will run like hell if they are offered a job else where.

I also realize that I cannot put my children in DCSS. I care too much about their education and want them to receive an education, where they can compete with anyone. I don't see that happening in DCSS, and I am not willing to make fighting for my child's education my job, with the apathy I see in the county.

Cere, I believe that you are correct with increased spending on law suits. I would also add, less transparency, and probably higher taxes, as the board is not willing to cut the costs (jobs of friends and family members) that we do not need or to right size the salaries of those that are over paid. I see the education of our children put first less and less, and it being harder and harder to sell your house.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a message in this vote. And I think the message is that the voters of DeKalb County do not care about their public schools.

There is no sugar coating the abysmal state of our schools. Declining test scores, third world infrastructure, vanishing resources, incompetent management, corrupt leadership, criminal indictments, at risk accreditation . . .

And the voters of DeKalb are just fine with it. At least 3 of the 5 incumbents on the ballot are being returned for more of the same. It's all good. Everything is acceptable. No need to change.

Anonymous said...

Time to split the county into two or three districts. If the constituents of the southern end really think who they elected is the best group to run a school system, then let them. But don't drag us in the central or those in the north down with them.

Anonymous said...

Yes folks, racial politics are alive and well in DeKalb. Did you really expect they would not be? Do you really think race played zero role in the national elections yesterday?

SCW squeaked by, over another African-American candidate, because that candidate had too many problems of his own to unseat an incumbent. It's as simple as that.

Gene Walker's victory was about race, yes, but also about the fact that his opponent was not an overwhelming improvement in many people's eyes. Don't believe that? Look at some of the AJC blog posts taking Ella to task. Or look at some of Ella's old Pollyannaish posts here. People may not like Walker but Ella didn't inspire either.

J. Cunningham, I don't know much about that contest, except that this morning's posts are the first times I've read his opponent's name.

But the broader point I agree on--the district is too big. We need to either stop electing school board reps for particular constituencies (at least some of the ridiculously large board of 9 should be county-wide) or, better, split up into 3 school districts.

Cerebration said...

Anon 1:10 PM - I have no idea how you have come to the conclusion that this blog "pushes" the race issue. The only thing we ever try to do is dispel any notions that the "north" gets more than the "south" with facts. It's simply not true - we've proven it again and again and yet, still, we are called out as "race-based" by you. You have proven my point. Someone in the north cannot even respond to racial comments without being themselves called race-based.

What a vortex! I am dizzy.

Loretta said...

I live in Sarah Copeland-Wood’s district. The elementary school where my son should go (Sky Haven) is falling apart in every way. We hoped that the school would be closed this year as it was slated to be, but, as we all know, that decision was changed at the last minute. The principal is a joke and she constantly pushes the north/south division at every school function. We decided to take our son out of Sky Haven when 2 different teachers told me they would never send their children to that school. I also spoke with the head janitor who has worked there for years and he said the building should be condemned.

I think that many people either don’t vote or don’t have a full grasp on the issues. And when the high school (McNair) where most of us do vote looks so nice, it is easy to assume that Sarah Copeland-Wood has done something positive. I mean, really, who doesn’t like superfluous mustangs all over a school façade?

Anonymous said...

Just sent an email to Tom Bowen and told him how disappointed I was with his comments. This is a dark day for DCSS and get ready for a New Super who will be an insider and not one of Clew's former cabinet will be shown the door.

You folks in South DeKalb can call me racist all you want, but I know that you folks do not vote for change, but for more of the same. I can't believe you folks in the south part of DeKalb are happy with mediocre education and a crumbling infrastructure.

EduKalb was a farce and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce will not get another dime from my business.

I'm now looking to move my business out of DeKalb, since the job force in DeKalb will most likely be uneducated and unable to read!

Anonymous said...

It's the civil war all over again. North and south-if we can not get our way then we will go. Nothing like the tryanny of democracy. There are school systems bigger than our (Gwinnett for instance) that do quite well. Find us some good candidates and convince the voters they are good.


What have the citizens DeKalb done lately to find common ground? Actually the vote came closer to some incumbents than it has in 10 years. You can still make government and this system work. It will not work if we are all critical and adversarial. Maybe instead of taking our ball and going home we can actively work to insure that whatever board we have does the job. Perhaps some postive attempts to cooperate for our children might work. After all the common ground is the future of our students. Even if I become an island school system that suits me, unless we fix the whole county everyone will suffer from the results. For that matter what is this in Georgia about education? Why do we take such a backseat to other states? Oh I remember, we want to cut our way back to prosperity. God forbid that we would want to pay for what we get. After all we are entittled.

The idea that it is only our backyard is the road to ruin. We need to think of all the students. When Lakeside and Dunwoody parents start thinking that no school in DeKalb should be in disrepair and act to make sure that it doesn't matter where you live when it come to education(and of course, that goes for the folks in Sarah's district too)then we might actually do as well as Gwinnett.

Anonymous said...

4:29 hit the nail on the head:
"Find us some good candidates and convince the voters they are good."

Corey Wilson was not a good alternative to SCW, not once the dirt on him came out.

For the electorate whose votes she sought, Ella was not an optimal candidate.

Politics really is not that complicated. Incumbents have an advantage and you need someone twice as attractive--to the voters, not to the bloggers--to overcome that.

Anonymous said...

4:40 hit the nail on the head. Was Jill Chambers the only incumbent in DeKalb that was not re-elected? At least the school board has 2 run-offs involving incumbents.

It's not just limited to the school board or DeKalb. Unless there was a motivated electorate, most incumbents were re-elected.

Cerebration said...

4:29 PM, you don't read this blog much, do you? We always focus countywide on this blog - anyone can come here at anytime and let us know the condition of their school. And, If there are people in this county working their butts off for ALL of the students in DeKalb - they are many of the contributors to this blog.

@ 4:40 - Critique Ella all day long - but at least she had the moxie to throw herself in the ring. I admire her immensely for her courage.

Anonymous said...

Cere--
I'm not critiquing Ella per se. I'm pointing out that a challenger candidate has to appeal to the constituency, more than the incumbent does, and the fact is she didn't. We like her more here than they do in that district, for any number of reasons.

Cerebration said...

ok - makes sense. thanks for clarifying. I do give Ella a lot of credit. She was instrumental here digging up the waste and bloat with Kim for an in-depth report last year. Click on Mr. PotatoHead to read about it. If this isn't looking out for everyone, then I don't know what is...

Anonymous said...

I don't think voters sent any message. I teach in Copelin-Woods' district and I read the total on the door. I think the voters in my area are not educated about the candidates and many did not even bother to show up.

Anonymous said...

4:29 I think about ALL of the children in DeKalb, and the entire system sucks, unless your child is able to attend one of the magnet school programs. Having worked in 2 DCSS schools and being in others during the school hours, I wouldn't send my dog to school here. Too many schools are falling apart and unhealthy. Too many teachers are poorly educated and have no clue as to how to teach children unless they are really smart or above average. Too many administrators have gotten their jobs because of who they know and not what they know. Too many within the district are over paid and with little knowledge.

It sickens me as a white person how poorly ALL of our children are being educated, and I mean ALL!! I don't understand why the blacks in South DeKalb are standing for the substandard education that their children are receiving. Maybe these people are poorly educated themselves, but my parents never went to college and were able to understand if I was receiving a good education or not.

There is no way to work with people who say that they are doing to strike you if you question too much, especially if the questioning hits too close to home. There is no way to work with people who think that allowing students multiple times to get work turned in and/or done correctly is helping the children, is just plain wrong, as we are harming our children and making them unlikely to hold a job with any good employer. There is no way to work with people who don't want students to earn the grades that they have earned with the effort that they have put in, as giving a child a C when little to no work has been done, is doing a huge disservice for the child and our society.

Educated people aren't willing to sacrifice their children's education. My husband and I are not willing to send our children to schools that we know will fail our children in the long run. I was not willing to work in a school where I would not want to send my child (most teachers don't or didn't send their children to DCSS schools-ask around-and if they do, they have chosen the school to which they attend and are usually attending the best schools).

I want education to improve in DCSS, I really do, but the DCSS community deserves Beasley, as he will probably be the new superintendent and continue the same corrupt policies of Lewis. I want a change in the quality of education. I don't care what a person's color is, I do care that they are well educated and willing to help the children receive the best education possible. This isn't happening now and it will not happen with one or two new board members.

Paying more for an education isn't necessary, as there is an abundance of waste throughout DCSS. Until DCSS begins to spend what it has wisely and is a good steward of what they have I and many others in the county will fight tax increases. We spend multi-millions on lawsuits-does this make any sense?

The only way that our schools will improve is that we get a smaller board of ed and an outsider for superintendent. I don't see any on the board giving their power and pay check up, and I don't see anyone who is well educated wanting to come to DCSS after just doing a Google search.

Anonymous said...

As a voter in S Dekalb, to say it is all racial is totally ludicrous. If all races were black vs white candidates, then you might have a leg to stand on. THE ISSUE IS EDUCATED VOTERS VS UNEDUCATED (APATHETIC PARENTS). And I don't mean level of formal education. Throughout this election season, many people haven't taken the time to educate themselves about candidates at any level. While at work yesterday, all I heard was, "I have no clue who I'm voting for", let me google them". Or, "I'm voting straight down the party ticket" this coming from Dems & Repubs!!!

In district 5, only Jay had name recognition. Attendance at the candidate forums was dismal, Nooks was the best of the bunch, but he is really new to the district. He will need a lot more face time in the schools in the area in order to be elected. I'm glad at least Zepora will be in a runoff--hopefully, she will lose there. But again, with very low turnout, she may pull it off.

Sad day in GA!!!

Anonymous said...

Time to split the county into two or three districts. If the constituents of the southern end really think who they elected is the best group to run a school system, then let them. But don't drag us in the central or those in the north down with them.

WELL SAID. BY THE WAY, SANDY SPRUILL HAS BEEN SAYING THIS FOR SOME TIME ...IF ANY ANY ANY OF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEGINNING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT A DUNWOODY-CHAMBLEE CHARTER CLUSTER TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THIS INSANITY, SANDY SPRUILL IS THE ONE TO FOLLOW. SHE KNOWS HOW IT'S DONE IF SHE'S WILLING TO DO IT. SHE'S SMART ENOUGH TO DO IT AND HAS THE CONNECTIONS TO DO IT.

IF YOU ARE THE SLIGHTEST BIT INTERESTED IN PURSUING THIS, PLEASE EMAIL HER AT SHSpruill@gmail.com. By the way, I'm not Sandy Spruill ... I am someone who knows we are doomed to less than mediocrity if we don't make a change. I think we all know it ... the ones who see the writing on the wall. The voters in Copelin-Woods district either don't see it or don't care. IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON WITHOUT THEM AND SAVE OURSELVES.

SHOW YOUR INTEREST BY EMAILING SANDY AT SHSpruill@gmail.com SO WE CAN GET AN IDEA OF HOW MANY MIGHT JOIN IN THIS EFFORT.

Anonymous said...

Ella, thank you for running for the school board. I admire your courage and sense of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Ella, I second 7:30's comments. Thank you for sticking your neck out there. You had two votes at my house.

Cerebration said...

Anon 6:57 PM - you are most likely right. There is a lot of apathy and plenty of uninformed voters. However, the issue of race in the school board politics isn't one candidate against another - it's the hardened feelings of racial inequities in DeKalb's past -- the "north" vs the "south". See, it has been the candidates in the south's mission to convince their constituents that the schools in the "north" still have more than they. I'm not making this up or espousing a theory - I've heard them say it over and over. Pay attention to Ms. Woods. I can't even count the times she has pontificated on "why is a 'poor black child' expected to get up at 5:30 in the morning and ride a bus all the way to the north to get to a decent school?" I even heard a lady running for a commission seat say it. It's a political trick plain and simple and I've been trying to dispel the thought and get people to realize that we need to work together for the good of the whole system - for two years now -- obviously to no avail. The reps in the south end of the county play up the idea that they are being discriminated against, and only "they" can rescue their constituents from "them"... sigh!

Really - how can you say no one knew anything about school board? IF the AJC, WSB and CBS Atlanta can't get people to sit up and take notice, than certainly an itty bitty blog can't either. There's far too many gaping holes in our billion dollar plus school budget - are they kidding when they say they don't have enough money to get the job done? Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! After all, "he" is robbing the school system blind - and stealing our children's futures in the process.

Anonymous said...

Before you expend energy on the effort to split DeKalb, please understand that the state constitution must be changed for this to happen. First, both bodies of the legislature must approve the change by a 2/3rds majority and then the entire state gets to vote on the change in a general election.

The GA Consitution says no more school districts.

Anonymous said...

ARTICLE VIII.

EDUCATION

SECTION V.

LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEMS

Paragraph I. School systems continued; consolidation of school systems authorized; new independent school systems prohibited. Authority is granted to county and area boards of education to establish and maintain public schools within their limits. Existing county and independent school systems shall be continued, except that the General Assembly may provide by law for the consolidation of two or more county school systems, independent school systems, portions thereof, or any combination thereof into a single county or area school system under the control and management of a county or area board of education, under such terms and conditions as the General Assembly may prescribe; but no such consolidation shall become effective until approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon in each separate school system proposed to be consolidated. No independent school system shall hereafter be established.

Anonymous said...

OK so we have know that this blog--which I read regularly and consider a valued source of information--and the media didn't convince some folks. Let's face it, many are just not consumers of news and information. We know now that we didn't do enough.

SO what can WE do differently to get folks who have another day at the polls to understand and to care? How do we get that seat for Elder? Are there going to be head to head debates/dicussions between the two candidates? If not, how can we bring that about? Is there some way to get some solid information out to the property owners who can vote again? If so, how??

We saw that our efforts weren't enough. Are we going to sit back and let the same thing happen in the runoff? That's the proverbial definition of insanity--doing the same thing and expecting different results.

There still--I hate to say it--seems to be an attitude of "well, THEY didn't pay attention, so THEY gave the keys to the asylum back to the lunatics." OK, maybe THEY did--maybe THEY didn't inform themselves well enough. But WE are going to be sending our kids back to the nuthouse to be educated.

I am not sure that I have the answers, but we still have a chance to unseat one of the crazies, and if we don't do everything within our power to make that happen, we have to take some of the responsibility.

There are some great minds in this forum; I have read your words. What actions can we take? Let's not wring out hands in defeat--let's grab one small victory.

Anonymous said...

'scuse the typo in the first line above. That's what I get for editing.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:49

"What actions can we take? "

Contribute to Edler and Jester even if they are not in your district. Volunteer your time to Edler and Jester even if they are not in your district.

Anonymous said...

Jill Chambers was the only Republican seat in the state that flipped to a Democrat. Nothing really to do with the school board, but it says something that that was the region that split the vote for Redovian, while most of the others have a pretty safe seat. The electorate was not riled up in those areas..not hit hard by the tea party, anti-democrat, anti-incumbent mood of most of the rest of the state.

Seriously, in years past, no one noticed these races. It wasn't until Nancy came around that N. DeKalb noticed either. We have to find people like her on the south side, people who can toss them out down there and bridge the divide (don't tell me it doesn't exist - perception is reality).

Anonymous said...

Jill Chambers had become extremely unpopular in her district. And even then, Parent only beat her by less than 300 votes.

She may have been the only Republican incumbent to lose anywhere in the US last night.

Anonymous said...

I was at a meeting tonight and the consensus was one of disbelief and this was from a cross section of county residents. Almost everyone was still in shock and dismayed.

I think that the culture of this county is such that it is going to take outside forces, not an election, to change things.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 8:48, I certainly will contribute and volunteer. I still think we can do more. Can we get the teachers who work in those districts involved? Even those who live elsewhere have direct access to the parents.

Anonymous said...

The only way Elder is going to win is for outsiders to get out of the way and let the people of the 7th District make up their own minds. WE want to do the right thing but we do not want OUR Board member to owe her soul to the company store (outsiders).Please get out of the way and Donna-let us know who you are going to represent.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28

I think that would be a very bad idea. Imagine the consequences if a parent disagrees with their endorsement.

You should never put teachers on the spot like that. If they live in the district, then they can campaign on their own time in their community, but not during the school day.

Anonymous said...

We sold our house in Dekalb County three weeks ago 20% under the assessed value. It is sickening and alarming that folks such as Eugene Walker continue to fight the racial battle - Dekalb County is 82% African-American. Walker, you are in the majority in Dekalb County - enjoy it while you can.

I can't speak for other properties, but I can sure tell you one that cannot justify the taxes we have paid. Maybe the new Governor or the Legislative delegation can step in and save Dekalb before it implodes.

Anonymous said...

"WE want to do the right thing but we do not want OUR Board member to owe her soul to the company store (outsiders)."

The problem is that school board members make decisions that affect schools all over the county. It's not just my neighborhood school or your neighborhood school, but OUR school system. That's 98,000 (?) school children. This is a big job and all of our children deserve to have the best schools we can create.

I'm tired of the infighting, I'm tired of hearing about the haves and have nots. The people who think their child deserves that special program even if it means that some other child does without. It is time to have a real discussion about what our school programs should look like and work to make it happen. Not just for some children, but for all children.

Kim Gokce said...

Regardless which nine end up sitting in that very elevated dais at Mountain Industrial, what actionable proposals do we have for the BoE?

These are politically elected positions and most of those in the seats do what pleases their constituents in the long run. To accuse the folks of playing politics is like blaming an opossum for playing dead.

I am not saying I like our system - I'm simple saying that if educational policies and governance issues are so important to us (by being here, that is a safe assumption), why can't this virtual community spawn a "real" organization?

I've asked this on the blog before and heard crickets. PTAs are great. Local school foundations are great. But what DeKalb lacks sorely is a private organization with the drive and mission to cultivate excellence in the policies and governance of DeKalb schools ... not by picking candidates, not by pitting local groups against one another, but rather by developing the resources and credibility to put concrete proposals in front of the BoE.

To accomplish this would be a very slow and difficult process - easily 5-10 years to even start having an impact. Does anyone really think we'll get where we need to be faster some other way? I don't see it ...

Anonymous said...

Kim, how can we do that?

I worry most about the have not schools, as these kids are the kids that suffer the most. How can we organize a foundation that works to make DCSS better for all kids?

Cerebration said...

I'm in... how do we do it. I'm tired of the endless discussion... Time for action.

Anonymous said...

In the past, and I won't list names, the candidates who have lost BoE races have faded off into the sunset never to be heard from again. With the exception of the election two years ago, I can name only one or two who really stayed involved. Some weren't really involved to begin with.

In January, when all is fresh, I suggest we gather our energies and engage those candidates who didn't win and many others who will be interested starting a county wide advocacy group.

This will not be easy, it has been tried before, but it is worth trying again.

Dan Magee said...

Tom Bowen, what planet do you live on? Seriously? Clearly voters sent a message!

-Two incumbent BOE members are in run-off's.
-One barely received over 50%.
-And Gene Walker, a former four term state senator who has received a huge amount of out of state campaign contributions only received ten percent more votes than a teacher who doesn't have any of his connections or relationships with developers who will contribute tens of thousands to her campaign.

Seriously Ton Bowen: You showed an incredible lack of judgement when you cluelessly appointed David Moody to head of the Citizen Construction Committee, the same David Moody who's company bids on school construction contacts.

That is such a massive conflict of interest that even Vernon Jones would not have made such a mistake.

Sorry, Tom...you just don't get it and probably never will. Good luck with the rest of your term, because there is little chance of you being re-elected. Remember, the school superintendent and chief operating officer were indicted for multiple charges with you as BOE chairman. That's something you have to live with.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:31

"The only way Elder is going to win is for outsiders to get out of the way and let the people of the 7th District make up their own minds."

Well, you may say the 7th district is only your concern, but your Board member does affect every child in DCSS. I'm not in Jester or Edler's district, but I'm concerned about every child in DCSS. All children are equally important. My child is grown up now so I have no stake in this race except I want every child in DeKalb to have the best education possible. I sent money to Jester and I'll send it to Edler. If they don't want my money because I'm from outside their district, I guess they'll return it. Unfortunately, I'm in a district where the BOE candidates are not up for re-election.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:21

January? Respectfully, the time for action is now while we are all pissed off. Looks like the county as a whole just simply do not care about their tax dollars, public education, and the product our public schools are turning out.

What was it, a third of the colonist were British sympathizers, a third of the colonist could care less about what was going on in early Colonial America and a third were instrumental in fighting for independence to make this country what it is today?

So, the most of us here on this forum are in the minority with heartfelt concern for the education of the children of this county. When we gonna start?

Kim Gokce said...

Anon: "How can we organize a foundation that works to make DCSS better for all kids?"

There is the www.dcpsf.org that helped me get Cross Keys Foundation going for the benefit of seven area schools. They could use all the money they can get! Besides supporting the Teacher of the Year programs, they serve as an advocate for local school foundations to be spawned.

Better still, we should look at some local education funds and see which ones have been successful and why:

Local education funds

Bottom line is we are talking about a whole lot of time and resources over a long period of time. This proverb has always summed it up for me, though, when looking at daunting tasks:

"The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today."

How many individual parents or small, dedicated PTAs tried to make a change at DCSS and were quashed? It will take a broadly based and well funded group to develop influence on the BoE and its policy making.

I sort of thought eduKalb would become this type of organization - let's see what they do now after elections end ...

Anonymous said...

Kim, How do we know that this group will have ALL children's best interest at heart in DCSS. No offense, but being an ex-teacher in DCSS, the teacher of the year program is a joke and a popularity contest.

I have never heard of the group or any of the people running it. I don't have money to throw away or time. Are they apart of DCSS? Can you give me more information? I did not learn much from their web site, and am skeptical of anything already in partnership with the district. Thanks!

Cerebration said...

Let's just form a group composed of former board members and those who ran and lost. We can hold meetings with public input and all - and we can follow the exact same agenda as the published agenda of the real board. We can videotape them and then compare them to how the actual board does the same thing.

We'll call it Ghost Board...

How bout it?

Anonymous said...

I am a Dekalb County resident, parent, and teacher. I'm worried about the education of my child and all of the children of Dekalb. HOW did those bozos get re-elected? If anyone asks, I will tell them to buy a home, teach, and educate their children as far away from Dekalb County as possible! What a hot mess.

Anonymous said...

I wish to thank this blog for getting some movement going. Jester, while in a run off got more votes than Redovian. This was in the face of endorsements from ODE and Edukalb for Redovian. Roberts is also in a run off. These two elections can send a message of sorts to those in power. Also keep in mind that Wood won by a narrow margin. Looking past the run off we need to focus on getting viable candidates to challenge the entrenched board members.

Anonymous said...

Kim said "Regardless which nine end up sitting in that very elevated dais at Mountain Industrial, what actionable proposals do we have for the BoE?"

Kim, the most important role of this BOE is to select the next superintendent. The BOE selects the individual and establishes the goals and then should help eliminate policy and other hurdles so that the new superintendent can turn this sinking ship around.

I think that is a pretty dang important role.

My FEAR is that we are going to have a very hard time attracting a great new superintendent once they see that some of the most divisive and interfering BOE members were re-elected, plus the community re-elected another with a criminal history. Gee, wouldn't you want to uproot your family and move here to work for these folks?

Anonymous said...

Advocate or support? That is the first decision that has to be made before forming any organization. LEFs normally support, but sometimes use the monies these raise as a bully pulpit. I am not confident that we can raise that much money, so I am not sure that will work.

Anonymous said...

Three step action plan:
1. there's two races yet to be determined. Contribute to, talk to your neighbors (especially if they are in the deistricts) about, write letters to the editor in favor of the challengers
2. Pressure the BOE to do the right thing in electing the next Super
3. Find candidates, preferably one per district, around who we can rally and who have a good chance of appealing to the constituents in districts 2,4,6,8.

Anonymous said...

4. Contact state legislators about a 5 member school board, elected by the county at large but residing in 5 different areas of the county.
5. Contact state legislators about legislators mandating that (a) school system (and county) check registers and p card registers get posted on line and (b) that nepotism policies apply to all (including retroactively-- e.g. to current and prior school board members and to current "cabinet" members).
6. You can urge state legislators to propose a constitutional amendment to allow for independent school systems so that the county system can be made smaller if that is what you would like to see happen.
7. Folks -- we can make a difference if you do this.... the legislature is actually listening...some of this is already in the works and if you do make these contacts you will help "seal the deal".
fyi -- people who lose school board races are usually made to feel unwanted by those who beat them so they wind up disappearing... some more than others.

Anonymous said...

Can I please add one to this list? When you contact your legislators, please add to your comments about shrinking the size of the board to 5 a note that it would be best to have an election as soon as possible.

If we have to wait 4 years to see the board's size changed, it is almost not worth it.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly understand the sentiments and frustration expressed here. However as a black woman, I did not, would not and could not vote for any of our incumbents. I am probably more saddened than any of you because the schools in my area have the worst teachers, the worst principals, no books, and are horrible. And if you share that with me, I feel sorry for you as well. For those who voted simply because of someone's race. Heaven help us all. I cannot wait to get my kids out of this miserable, poorly managed and reckless school system.

Anonymous said...

Our solution lies with the DeKalb delegation. Most of this session will be taken up with reapportionment of both state and national legislative seats.

It is a perfect time for the delegation to address the DCSS board.

For starters, we need a smaller board. Gwinnett and Cobb have 5 members, DCSS has tried both 7 and 9 and it hasn't worked, time to try 5.

While I am hesitant to have them elected distrit wide, I believe that the districts can be drawn in such a way that thinking locally will be nearly impossible.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Ruth Primm of the DCSS PTA announced at the DCPC meeting yesterday that there will be a meeting with DeKalb legislatures to discuss upcoming legislative issues with regards to public education.

Tom Taylor and Elena Parent have accepted so far.

The meeting will be 11/18 at the MIC. More information will be sent out via each school's email system. I would think this is a place to start if you are serious about letting the delegation know you want to go from 7 to 5 BOE reps.

Anonymous said...

The DeKalb delegation- that would include Ron Ramsey? Do you really think he would sponsor or even support such legislation?

Anonymous said...

Ramsey is one vote. Jones and Oliver seem pretty content to this without his assistance. Plenty of other legislators to get this done.

Anonymous said...

DM - please keep us posted on the meeting with DeKalb delegation at MIC - I don't have a kid in the system, and neither do some of the others here - so we won't get the school emails.

Wyndy Amerson said...

Please pray that Edler can defeat Zepora in the run-off. At least one bullying, self-promoting member would be gone from the Board. I know the South DeKalb hates us by the comments made from many of the leaders there. They think our schools are walled in gold with private tutors for all of our students. They resent anything we have and really hate it that our tax dollars may come up this way to fix up our schools. They refuse to acknowledge that our test scores come from excellent teaching in the classrooms, involved parents and motivated students. We should consider a separation and form our own School Distric with better accountability for what is done. Look to the City of Decatur and see how well they have done with a diverse school system.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Just received this update:

The Dekalb Council of PTAs is hosting a Dekalb County legislative forum on November 18 at 7 p.m at the Board of Education Complex at 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083. (The complex is located at the Mountain Industrial Exit 4 of U.S. 78, the Stone Mountain Freeway. Make a right turn at the exit and the complex is .2 miles on the left side of Mountain Industrial Blvd.)

All of the Dunwoody-Chamblee area newly elected members of the Georgia General Assembly will be present: State Senator Fran Millar and House of Representatives Members Tom Taylor, Elena Parent, and Mike Jacobs.

After a brief orientation as the relationship of the the General Assembly with public school education, we will divide up into groups according to areas of Dekalb County and have a chance to discuss issues of concern with our respective elected officials.

Ella Smith said...

I think we should start a new citizen's group. Dekalb County Education Advocates. We can even raise money and have money to use to put adds in the paper to publish our viewpoints. I think it is a great idea.

Celeb, I am in. However, we need to not limit our membership like EduKalb to a select few. This should be open to all who want to be members. We should not be exclusive at all. We need members from all walks of life and from all parts of the community who care about education. We definitely need my favorite person-The bathroom guy. He writes great grants and may be able to get up some money to be able to spend on kids in Dekalb. I think it is a great idea.

Let's meet and talk about it.

Anonymous said...

We should all also seek legislation that limits school board members' terms.

Anonymous said...

Yes to term limits.

Ella Smith said...

I also would agree with term limits. However, Elizabeth Andrews was a dedicated school board member for years and truely cared about the students in Dekalb County.

Anonymous said...

Kim, I emailed DCPSF to get more information other than their web site gave and was told to go to their web site. Not impressed with this organization and will not be sending any funds their way.

I continued to be baffled by the lack of focus on adults in DeKalb and affiliated with the schools for ALL children of DCSS.

Rob said...

Rob Augustine said -

Anonymous, if you want some info about DCPSF, send another email and identify yourself and provide some contact information. As an organization dedicated to raising funds to help improve all DeKalb Public schools, we don't usually respond to Anonymous requests for information which is readily available on the DCPSF website.


Let me just add that your categorically stating that your not going to provide any money to DCPSF because of a referral to the DCPSF website is ridiculous. Why would anyone make such a snap judgment and be so negative for no real reason.

Anyway, let us hear from you and we'll try to provide whatever it is you feel you need to know that is not otherwise available on the website. But please, don't dismiss or criticize a group of dedicated volunteers out of hand as you have done. And remember the bottom line here are the public school children of DeKalb. That's what the DCPSF is all about. The goal is to provide opportunities for them as stated at www.dcpsf.org.

Chip Franzoni said...

Anon 9:19 am. I recently asked the DCPSF for their help in setting up a foundation to support the students of Warren Technical School. My experience was 100% positive, their follow-up immediate, advise helpful, and support invaluable. I'd encourage all schools interested in an easy way to be able to solicit tax deductible contributions to benefit DeKalb's children to contact them as well.

Or if you want to contact me to hear about my experience first-hand do so. Home is 404-816-5022, e-mail is franzonis@bellsouth.net

Rob said...

Rob Augustine said:

If you want information about The DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation, please go to our website: www.dcpsf.org.

On this site you will see our mission statement, a list of board members,and a number of other items that, if you take the time to look them over, describe the basic functions of the DCPSF.

If you look at some of the events the DCPSF has sponsored, you will see a list of company's that have supported our schools. For example,
http://www.dcpsf.org/sponsors.html

KIM, I SEE THIS WEBSITE IS NOT ON YOUR LIST OF FAVORITES. PLEASE ADD IT. And thanks for all your attention to the DCPSF.

Anonymous said...

@Nov 3 10:51- you were correct that other groups trying to put in "their" candidates who "they" think will work well with "their" established group only sets the children up for failure. Playing politics and group grandstanding is going to affect the children and the teachers, who everyone claims are the reason we are fighting so hard.
No! people are fighting so hard because they understand that if you do not have power you are not invited to the negotiating table. One parent left a comment that she is just sitting there while her 2 children just drift through a horrible school- she has NO power. Where is EduKalb, ODE,GAE, The PTA, the parent advisory councils when she needs them? She needs someone to empower her, but all I hear is rants about personality conflicts and getting even with board members. Another post commented that it does not matter if we have 5, 7, or 9 people on the board, it is the intent of the group of people who are voted on by each district.

Race is alive and well in DeKalb, just look at where black teachers and administrators are employed, as well as where white and other non-white teachers and administrators are employed in the county. Look at the shaker and mover behind the board change- he was on the board once before, and still thinks poorly of South DeKalb. How about people protest that non-sense when he can say( I am paraphrasing) in a board meeting that the reason DCSS will never be great again is because of special needs and ELL students?

The voters have clearly stated that they know when people are attempting to use them, only to be controlled by yet another group of people with an agenda that has nothing to do with student achievement. The focus was to just put people on the board that could "get along". Sadly today, SACS and AJC have made it even harder by saying that "problem" board members are still on the board. Yet the board meetings have been successful in the past few months. Seems the "problem" board member is the millionaire who is well connected with the chamber of commerce and local media.

And another thing to prove race and socioeconomic factors drive DCSS- if all of the parent councils have the same goal, why do we need 4 councils: Emory-Lavista, South DeKalb, Dunwoody, and Tucker? If parent groups cannot get together to meet the needs of the COUNTY, how can board members be successful in doing so, when they are responsible to those who voted them in?

Plenty of chiefs, not enough Indians.

Anonymous said...

So I look at the DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation website, and who do I see as one of its Directors Emeritus:

Robert L. Brown, Jr

Yes, that Robert Brown who made millions of dollars from the DeKalb County School System as an architect, with his most famous project being the SW DeKalb High addition that was budgeted for only $9 million dollars, but wound up costing $21 million dollars of your taxpayer money.

Robert Brown is another one of DeKalb's ultimate insiders. Friend of C Lew's. Friend of Vernon Jones'.

He was on the Grady Hospital Board for years, the bad years, when millions went wasted, when there were criminal investigations, etc. Who will ever forget the shadiness of Charles Walker & Grady?

http://clatl.com/atlanta/was-walker-the-tip-of-gradys-iceberg/Content?oid=1254113

So when Robert Brown finally left the Grady Board after his tenure of disgrace there, what happened to him?

Well, since his was so politically connected, the Dekalb Delegation elected him as our representative on the State Transportation Board. Yep, after he allowed millions of DeKalb taxpayer dollars to be wasted at Grady, our incredibly clueless delegation put him in a position that oversees billions of dollars each year.

Sorry, DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation and Rob Augustine, if you have Robert Brown as one of your Directors Emeritus, your credibility is no better than eduKALB's (and we all know what that's worth these days).

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:29, you sound like the kind of person that is looking for everyone else to solve your problems. Have you heard the saying that you can lead a horse to water but can't make them drink? Think about that with the recommendations made for Board candidates. Organizations can suggest a slate of qualified candidates however they can not make the selection for every voter. If they could, there would have been several different winners from the election.

You also ask why there are separate Parent Councils. How about because of the size of this school district, there is not a one size fits all solution to education in each community. Could they also meet as one group and compare notes? Sure but that should not eliminate the need to meet within their own communities.

The DeKalb Council of PTAs fills a need of an umbrella organization for all school PTAs. They serve as great advocates for all children.

Anonymous said...

Geography plays a big role in the challenges that race this county. For those of you on the southern end of the county, if you happen to work at Perimeter Center you know how difficult the trek up in the morning and home at night is.

Everytime I want to go to a different part of DeKalb at rush hour, either morning or evening, I have to plan carefully.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 10:29, you sound like the kind of person that is looking for everyone else to solve your problems." I don't know how you can determine my social and political philosophy based on a COMMENT left on a blog. When UGA and Ga State ask for alumni donations, I will have to let them know my degree programs should be done away with, because all issues and diagnosis cane be solved using blog comments. :)

Actually I am against groups involving themselves and giving out "endorsements". See what has happened in APS with Chamber of Commerce handpicking who would run because "they" assumed that highly educated candidates would do better than those who have been in the community for years (sounds familiar in District 7 in DCSS).

My point is that the number one goal should be to graduate students ready for the workforce, military, or college. Does not matter what politically drawn district they reside in- the goal of all of us (society) should be to work for the best of ALL children, not just those in our immediate community.

Ella Smith said...

The issue should be educating our children in DeKalb County and improving our schools. I do not know that I will ever run for school board again. Celeb knows that I had a problems having the energy in this race I needed. It was not that I do not want change as I do. It is not that I do not care about our kids in DeKalb because I do. It is because I thimk I have the strength to work on such a disfunctional board for the student or DeKalb but I did not have the strength to fight hard enough or spend the money needed when I knew the democratic legislative body in this county plus the republican delegation intended to do away with district 8 and 9. Hopefully Pam Speaks will decide to run for Womack position in two years as Womack is ready to step aside.

Dr. Walker will probable be left out in the cold without a position in about 2 years. It is a real strong possibility and I did not want to be a part of it once I knew about it. I just did not have the energy to fight hard for a position that was not politically not going to be there. I am excited about the showing I did have with the effort I put in.

I would like to see a group formed without all the endorsements that will go into school board meetings as a group and fight for causes. It will make a difference if we go in with numbers from all parts of the county. This must be a group open to all and not just a few. This is where I disagree. It may take a few to start a movement but it takes numbers to make changes. We need numbers of people who want better schools for DeKalb County who are willing to pay $25.00 or $50.00 a year to be member and then this money should be used along with the numbers of members throughout the county to make changes. We can go talk to PTAs. We can go talk to EduKalb. However, we would need to be different in the sense that we would represent all the people of DeKalb and not any specific group with any specific agenda.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:29 PM, 11/5/2010

What on Earth are you talking about?

Your generalizations are inaccurate, poorly stated and confusing. How about documenting your claims?

For example, document this: "... just look at where black teachers and administrators are employed, as well as where white and other non-white teachers and administrators are employed in the county." Black, white, non-white?

Name names. Name groups. Provide examples of recent "successful" BOE meetings.

Otherwise, you are just writing fiction. Your post should come down because, unfortunately, DeKalb County is filled with credulous people who will believe your unfounded claims.

Anonymous said...

Please read this!!

http://southdekalb.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/inside-the-numbers-boe-elections/

"Inside the numbers – BOE Elections"

OK, I looked at the precinct level numbers for the BOE election from earlier this month and they tell a better story about how some candidates fared. In district three, Sarah Copelin-Woods did not cruise to a victory. Lets remember she got 51 percent of the vote. It looks bad because her opponents Holt and Wilson got 18 and 30 percent respectively. But if you look at from a precinct level, Woods only walked away with two precincts. In both she had a ten point differential between her and her combined opponents. She actually lost seven of the 25 precincts. I think it is fair to say she squeaked by. Also lets not forget that Robert Holt did no campaigning, and attended no forums. He pulled nearly 1/5th of the vote on name and dissatisfaction alone. Had he put an effort into this race we would be talking about a run-off in the 3rd.

In district 5, it was a wash. Jay Cunningham got 60 plus percent in every precinct save one, and in that one he got 57 percent. The voters in district 5 are obviously happy with their representation.

In District 7, Zepora Roberts won no precincts outright. In fact the closest she came to winning a precinct was a tie in Snapfinger Elementary precinct. In all the other precincts the combined opponents percent of the vote was double digits over Roberts. In half the precincts it was 25 percent or more. Roberts lost outright to Donna Edler in seven precincts. In Contrast, Edler lost four precincts to Roberts. In a nutshell, Edler, with thirty percent of the vote, is within range to unseat Roberts. Roberts has a heck of a hill to climb if she wants top keep that seat. When looking at the numbers, I have to wonder if Willie Mosley sucked votes from Edler or from Roberts. Mosley got 22 percent of the vote. If he sucked votes from Edler, She will be a shoo-in to win. If he sucked votes from Roberts, we may have a WTF moment on December 1st. I spoke to Mr. Mosley and he has strong opinions about both candidates. He has a dislike for Roberts , who he sees as taking the schools in that district down among other issues, and he thinks Edler is unprepared for the seat. If he gets vocal, in the next couple of weeks I think he can get quite a few people to go back to the polls. We will have to wait and see if Enough people are upset enough to return to the polls on what will almost assuredly be a defining moment for DeKalb schools.

Finally a look at the numbers in district 9. Since this is a so called super district, it encompasses neighborhoods from the south and central parts of the county. Ella Smith essentially won the precincts above Memorial Drive, and Walker those south of Memorial. There were some notable exceptions. Walker one four precincts in the Emory area. Not only did he win them, he won them by double digits. He also ran a closer race in all the other precints than Smith did. Smith won ten precints by more than ten percent. Walker on the other hand won 44 by ten percent or more. Walker recieved at least 40 percent of the vote in every precinct except one. Walkers strength was in South DeKalb precincts, but he ran strong enough in all precints unlike Smith. Walker was put back in office by residents throughout the district.

The numbers can be had if you go to DeKalbs website for elections here and download the statement of vote. Here are the excel documents I created from the election results database.

BOE-D7 Results

BOE-D3 Results

BOE-D9 Results

Anonymous said...

Please read this!!

http://southdekalb.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/inside-the-numbers-boe-elections/

"Inside the numbers – BOE Elections"

OK, I looked at the precinct level numbers for the BOE election from earlier this month and they tell a better story about how some candidates fared. In district three, Sarah Copelin-Woods did not cruise to a victory. Lets remember she got 51 percent of the vote. It looks bad because her opponents Holt and Wilson got 18 and 30 percent respectively. But if you look at from a precinct level, Woods only walked away with two precincts. In both she had a ten point differential between her and her combined opponents. She actually lost seven of the 25 precincts. I think it is fair to say she squeaked by. Also lets not forget that Robert Holt did no campaigning, and attended no forums. He pulled nearly 1/5th of the vote on name and dissatisfaction alone. Had he put an effort into this race we would be talking about a run-off in the 3rd.

In district 5, it was a wash. Jay Cunningham got 60 plus percent in every precinct save one, and in that one he got 57 percent. The voters in district 5 are obviously happy with their representation.

In District 7, Zepora Roberts won no precincts outright. In fact the closest she came to winning a precinct was a tie in Snapfinger Elementary precinct. In all the other precincts the combined opponents percent of the vote was double digits over Roberts. In half the precincts it was 25 percent or more. Roberts lost outright to Donna Edler in seven precincts. In Contrast, Edler lost four precincts to Roberts. In a nutshell, Edler, with thirty percent of the vote, is within range to unseat Roberts. Roberts has a heck of a hill to climb if she wants top keep that seat. When looking at the numbers, I have to wonder if Willie Mosley sucked votes from Edler or from Roberts. Mosley got 22 percent of the vote. If he sucked votes from Edler, She will be a shoo-in to win. If he sucked votes from Roberts, we may have a WTF moment on December 1st. I spoke to Mr. Mosley and he has strong opinions about both candidates. He has a dislike for Roberts , who he sees as taking the schools in that district down among other issues, and he thinks Edler is unprepared for the seat. If he gets vocal, in the next couple of weeks I think he can get quite a few people to go back to the polls. We will have to wait and see if Enough people are upset enough to return to the polls on what will almost assuredly be a defining moment for DeKalb schools.

Finally a look at the numbers in district 9. Since this is a so called super district, it encompasses neighborhoods from the south and central parts of the county. Ella Smith essentially won the precincts above Memorial Drive, and Walker those south of Memorial. There were some notable exceptions. Walker one four precincts in the Emory area. Not only did he win them, he won them by double digits. He also ran a closer race in all the other precints than Smith did. Smith won ten precints by more than ten percent. Walker on the other hand won 44 by ten percent or more. Walker recieved at least 40 percent of the vote in every precinct except one. Walkers strength was in South DeKalb precincts, but he ran strong enough in all precints unlike Smith. Walker was put back in office by residents throughout the district.

The numbers can be had if you go to DeKalbs website for elections here and download the statement of vote. Here are the excel documents I created from the election results database.

BOE-D7 Results

BOE-D3 Results

BOE-D9 Results

Anonymous said...

" Walker one four precincts in the Emory area. Not only did he win them, he won them by double digits."

You know why? because he pandered to Fernbank Elem parents and promised them their attendance lines would not be changed, even if there is overwhelming data to do so, as nearby Medlock Elem is underpopulated.

Instead being a leader who has to make some tough decision regarding re-districting, Gene Walker cowardly made a promise in return for votes.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from gene Walker? This is a guy who failed to disclose that he has a number of relatives working for the system, that he had lawsuits against him for sexual harassment, that he accepted over $20k in out of state campaign contributions, etc., etc., etc.


http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/06/decision-on-tax-break-for-sembler.html

Anonymous said...

Fernbank parents ate up what Walker was feeding them. I received an e-mail from a Fernbank parent begging me to vote for Walker. They didn't care about his numerous ethical issues, problems, Development Authority/Sember mess, etc. As long as he promised not to move the Fernbank attendance lines, he secured the backing of one of the most powerful and vocal PTA's in the system.

Anonymous said...

"You know why? because he pandered to Fernbank Elem parents and promised them their attendance lines would not be changed, even if there is overwhelming data to do so, as nearby Medlock Elem is underpopulated."

Medlock will does not have the capacity for the 450 student threshold required to generate state funding so Medlock will never have some of the extras that other high performing schools have. As a Medlock parent, I would rather see Medlock closed and us redistricted into Fernbank (not that I could ever say this publicly). I don't blame Fernbank parents for wanting to stay there, Fernbank is a much higher performing school than Medlock and I would love to be part of it.

Anonymous said...

But do you understand that Medlock and Fernbank have vastly different populations.

If Fernbank had the same population as Medlock, do you think Fernbank's test scores would stay the same?

Anonymous said...

"If Fernbank had the same population as Medlock, do you think Fernbank's test scores would stay the same?"

Fernbank's test scores are not likely to be negatively impacted by adding some Medlock children to the district - quite a few Medlock kids from my neighborhood already attend. But I can guarantee that Medlock scores will not be improved by redistricting a small part of Fernbank into Medlock - those children will never end up going to Medlock.