Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OMG! Dare we hope? YES - Change is coming!

9:00 PM

FINAL


Have a look at these election results. According to this chart from the DeKalb County website, JESTER and EDLER both won!

To check out the results yourself, click here.  To follow the Twitter reports on the North DeKalb Neighbor's website, click here. Here's their latest tweet, "Incumbents are out. Nancy Jester wins the BOE District 1 seat with 55.38%. Donna Edler wins District 7 with 72.36%."

104 comments:

Sagamore 7 said...

100% of pricints reporting as of 9:08pm!

Jester wins and Edler wins!

Way to go to the polls voters!

Let our voices be heard!

Now it is time to go to the state Legistlature and reduce the size of the board from 9 to 5 and get rid of 4 more that hsould be gone!

I refer to the incumbents that are still on the board.

Someone please publish notes regarding the Charrette from Peachtree MS this evening.

Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

whewre are you seeing that Sagamore 7?

Ella Smith said...

Congradulation to Nancy and Donna! You will be excellent school board members. You will make us proud.

I guess changing 40% of the individuals on the school board up for election is not bad. I guess the community made more of a statement than was originally thought by Tom.

I also would like to thank Jim and Zephora. They have put in a great deal of time and have worked hard on this board and do care about the children in DeKalb County. Regardless of how you may disagree with any decision or decisions either of them have made they have been elected officials and have put a great deal of time and effort into serving our community. The pay is not all that much for all the phone calls and meetings and effort that goes into being a school board member.

Anonymous said...

Now I believe it. Unofficial results posted at 9:20 are
Edler winning with 72.36% and Jester winning with 55.38%

I'm so happy I could just slug someone.

Anonymous said...

Sigh of relief!! 100% of votes are counted and Jester and Edler WIN!!!

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that Edler won by such a large margin. Much more than the District 1 seat, this gives me hope for the future of DeKalb. Edler basically got three votes for every 1 vote Roberts did. I think the weather kept the older voters home.

Sagamore 7 -- If the board is shrunk to 5 or 7 new electons will be triggered for all seats in 2012. It is the right decision, but just wanted to make sure you understood the situation.

Anonymous said...

Cere

You have the wrong image up.

http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/pdf/UnofficialGeneralRunoffNov302010.pdf

No Duh said...

Zepora just got slugged!

Thank you District 7 voters.

PolitiMom said...

OK folks! Congratulations Nancy and Donna! You have your work cut out for you now! Looking forward to some exciting times! I'm especially thankful that both ladies pay attention to this blog. Perhaps we can really affect some positive change.

Two Out of Five Aint Bad said...

Two out of five ain't bad. It's 40% and that's a good start.

Cere - If Jester or Edler have any unpaid campaign debts, please let us know and how to contribute to retiring their campaign debts. I don't live in either district, but as parent of DCSS students I'll gladly contribute to both.

ADIOS JIMBO said...

ADIOS JIMBO ! ! !
ADIOS JIMBO ! ! !
ADIOS JIMBO ! ! !
ADIOS JIMBO ! ! !

Anonymous said...

I am an older voter, and the weather did not keep me home.

I voted!

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but you folks have to help us out here. I have written a letter to Dr. Beasley with regard to the benchmarks. Sadly, I cannot email it to him, as even a personal email can be traced.

The text of the message follows. Would someone who has nothing to lose please copy and paste this and send it to Dr. Beasley?
Gosh, this sounds so silly to be passing a message along thirdhand, but honestly, if you read my letter, you will agree--the situation is beyond ridiculous!

Thanks in advance to whoever will pass this along. I just hope they can't retreive my IP address by hacking this blog--OH, wait--DCSS MIS--never mind.

_________________________________

Dr. Beasley,
I and my colleagues across the county continue to struggle with issues related to benchmark testing. Your admonition today that we are not to “cheat” was not needed. We know that integrity and ethical practices are expected of us.

But at the same time, using the data from a horribly flawed benchmark to assess me and my students is a much greater form of cheating. We are being judged as having performed poorly when that is not the case.

You state that “students are expected to take benchmark assessments to demonstrate what they have been taught and what they have learned.” I couldn’t agree more. However, the American Literature assessment has very little relation to what my students have been taught. We have studied the literary works of the Native Americans, Puritans, early Colonial writers such as Thomas Paine, and the Romantics—Longfellow and Poe. These are the works in the canon and the curriculum and certainly the ones one would expect an 11th grade student to have read.

Other than a reference to Paine—which was more historical than literary--not one of the selections on the benchmark mentions any of this material, which comprises over half of our nation’s literary achievement. How is this a measure of what has been taught or learned?

I was quite surprised to find the work of Charles Dickens—a British author—on the test. Not only that, but the answer supplied in the key is not correct. Four English teachers read the question carefully and all agreed that the choice deemed correct was wrong.

When I received my students’ scores, I was dismayed at their poor performance. They seemed confident that they had done well. I checked to see which items were consistently incorrect so that I might reteach the material. To my surprise—no, disgust—two of the questions that many students answered correctly were scored as incorrect! Apparently, whoever entered the key into the system did not do so with the necessary care.

In today’s email to the county at large, you refer twice to “excellence.” Where is the excellence here? What are we modeling for our students? What are my superiors modeling for me?

I wish that DCSS provided the type of work environment in which I could discuss this with you openly. But then again, I share my identity with dozens of others. I am an experienced and dedicated member of the English department at my school who strives for excellence in my daily practice.

It is shameful that those who report to you cannot do the same.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but you folks have to help us out here. I have written a letter to Dr. Beasley with regard to the benchmarks. Sadly, I cannot email it to him, as even a personal email can be traced.

The text of the message follows. Would someone who has nothing to lose please copy and paste this and send it to Dr. Beasley?
Gosh, this sounds so silly to be passing a message along thirdhand, but honestly, if you read my letter, you will agree--the situation is beyond ridiculous!

Thanks in advance to whoever will pass this along. I just hope they can't retreive my IP address by hacking this blog--OH, wait--DCSS MIS--never mind.

_________________________________

Dr. Beasley,
I and my colleagues across the county continue to struggle with issues related to benchmark testing. Your admonition today that we are not to “cheat” was not needed. We know that integrity and ethical practices are expected of us.

But at the same time, using the data from a horribly flawed benchmark to assess me and my students is a much greater form of cheating. We are being judged as having performed poorly when that is not the case.

You state that “students are expected to take benchmark assessments to demonstrate what they have been taught and what they have learned.” I couldn’t agree more. However, the American Literature assessment has very little relation to what my students have been taught. We have studied the literary works of the Native Americans, Puritans, early Colonial writers such as Thomas Paine, and the Romantics—Longfellow and Poe. These are the works in the canon and the curriculum and certainly the ones one would expect an 11th grade student to have read.

Other than a reference to Paine—which was more historical than literary--not one of the selections on the benchmark mentions any of this material, which comprises over half of our nation’s literary achievement. How is this a measure of what has been taught or learned?

I was quite surprised to find the work of Charles Dickens—a British author—on the test. Not only that, but the answer supplied in the key is not correct. Four English teachers read the question carefully and all agreed that the choice deemed correct was wrong.

When I received my students’ scores, I was dismayed at their poor performance. They seemed confident that they had done well. I checked to see which items were consistently incorrect so that I might reteach the material. To my surprise—no, disgust—two of the questions that many students answered correctly were scored as incorrect! Apparently, whoever entered the key into the system did not do so with the necessary care.

In today’s email to the county at large, you refer twice to “excellence.” Where is the excellence here? What are we modeling for our students? What are my superiors modeling for me?

I wish that DCSS provided the type of work environment in which I could discuss this with you openly. But then again, I share my identity with dozens of others. I am an experienced and dedicated member of the English department at my school who strives for excellence in my daily practice.

It is shameful that those who report to you cannot do the same.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but you folks have to help us out here. I have written a letter to Dr. Beasley with regard to the benchmarks. Sadly, I cannot email it to him, as even a personal email can be traced.

The text of the message follows. Would someone who has nothing to lose please copy and paste this and send it to Dr. Beasley?
Gosh, this sounds so silly to be passing a message along thirdhand, but honestly, if you read my letter, you will agree--the situation is beyond ridiculous!

Thanks in advance to whoever will pass this along. I just hope they can't retreive my IP address by hacking this blog--OH, wait--DCSS MIS--never mind.

_________________________________

Dr. Beasley,
I and my colleagues across the county continue to struggle with issues related to benchmark testing. Your admonition today that we are not to “cheat” was not needed. We know that integrity and ethical practices are expected of us.

But at the same time, using the data from a horribly flawed benchmark to assess me and my students is a much greater form of cheating. We are being judged as having performed poorly when that is not the case.

You state that “students are expected to take benchmark assessments to demonstrate what they have been taught and what they have learned.” I couldn’t agree more. However, the American Literature assessment has very little relation to what my students have been taught. We have studied the literary works of the Native Americans, Puritans, early Colonial writers such as Thomas Paine, and the Romantics—Longfellow and Poe. These are the works in the canon and the curriculum and certainly the ones one would expect an 11th grade student to have read.

Other than a reference to Paine—which was more historical than literary--not one of the selections on the benchmark mentions any of this material, which comprises over half of our nation’s literary achievement. How is this a measure of what has been taught or learned?

I was quite surprised to find the work of Charles Dickens—a British author—on the test. Not only that, but the answer supplied in the key is not correct. Four English teachers read the question carefully and all agreed that the choice deemed correct was wrong.

When I received my students’ scores, I was dismayed at their poor performance. They seemed confident that they had done well. I checked to see which items were consistently incorrect so that I might reteach the material. To my surprise—no, disgust—two of the questions that many students answered correctly were scored as incorrect! Apparently, whoever entered the key into the system did not do so with the necessary care.

In today’s email to the county at large, you refer twice to “excellence.” Where is the excellence here? What are we modeling for our students? What are my superiors modeling for me?

I wish that DCSS provided the type of work environment in which I could discuss this with you openly. But then again, I share my identity with dozens of others. I am an experienced and dedicated member of the English department at my school who strives for excellence in my daily practice.

It is shameful that those who report to you cannot do the same.

Anonymous said...

Sorry--the system timed out and then posted my lenghty missive twice! Maybe you can delete the second one, Cere? (after you send it)

And now that I am done with Dr. B, I join you all in rejoicing today's great victories!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jim Redovian, for all of your hard work. You are an honorable man and will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

"they have been elected officials and have put a great deal of time and effort into serving our community. The pay is not all that much for all the phone calls and meetings and effort that goes into being a school board member."

Ella, Zepora put a great deal of time and effort into serving herself and her family members ... uh oh, now there will be more people out here competing for jobs. Yikes!

And, the pay is a non issue.

You must stop sitting on the fence if you want to be taken seriously. You can be the nice person that you are and still take a stand.

And, please, use spellcheck.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, DISTRICT 7!!!!!!!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jim Redovian, for all of your hard work. You are an honorable man and will be missed by many. ....

yes, this is true. Jim is a nice man with good intentions. but he won't read about this here, because he doesn't participate in this blog.

We sincerely wish him the best. He and Zepora are not to be compared. Most want to pat Jim on the back and slug Zepora. Thankfully we will never again have to listen to her speak in a position of undeserved authority. Maybe she'll finally get the message that arrogance and rudeness eventually get you. Hey, let's even hope that Sarah Coplin-Wood will get the same message and change her tactics. Well, one can hope.

Can't wait to watch the new board in action. Any chance of putting Tom Bowen on a back burner and getting a new chairperson that really LEADS?

Cerebration said...

I am so proud of District 7! You all went to the polls and did the right thing for the children of DeKalb county, IMO. Donna will be a fresh, new, professional representative for District 7 - you will see change, I'm certain. Donna is all about a quality education - for ALL students in DeKalb. Donna is a stand-up, quality individual. Good going District 7!

And hurrah for voters in the 1st choosing Nancy to represent them - another breath of fresh air! People were saying, "oh, they'll eat her up"... but they don't know Nancy -- she may be tiny - but she is very tough. And very smart. And very wise. And very much about creating equity in our schools as well as watching over those books!

We now have two people with financial experience and kids in the system. This was a very good day for DeKalb Schools.

PolitiMom said...

Anon 10:03
That brings up an interesting question. If not Tom, then who? Who would be the best leader? I'm just not sure. Certainly not SCW. Speaks, Womack or McChesney?

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that I got out and voted for Donna Edler this evening!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:03--Sara would have lost too, if a credible candidate had been up against her--a lesson to remember 2 years from now when the other 4 are up

Cerebration said...

I think Pam Speaks would be great as vice-chair of the board. She is very smart, informed and even-tempered. She would keep the meetings on track for sure when she had to take over for Tom.

M G said...

The board will vote for Chair and Vice-Chair at the first meeting in January. Chair and Vice-Chair only serve for 1 year. Just like almost everything else they do, it's always obvious that they've agreed amongst themselves before the vote on who will be chair and vice-chair.

Sarah Copelin-Wood has been Chair in the past - around 2003, I think.

Cerebration said...

ok - gotcha. Then - Pam for chair!

Ella Smith said...

Anonymous I am sorry I am not as perfect as you. I thought we were not suppose to make smart comments about grammar or spelling on this blog. It is one of the rules of the blog as I read it. That is why I have always felt comfortable participating and felt that I would not be judged for my deficits. Apparently you need to read the basis rules again if you want to be taken seriously on this blog. Otherwise you may not be taken too seriously. I am aware I have these issues. These issues are well documented. I do not need you to tell me about them. I actually probably have more graduate hours from good colleges around the country than anyone else on this blog so your smart remarks are nothing more than mean and insensitive comments meant to hurt me. I feel sorry for you. It is individuals like you who turn so many students off from writing and learning with their red ink pens and their judgemental comments just because of spelling or punctuation. These things are important but they have nothing to do with an individuals ability to learn and succeed in life or ability to be creative.

I am not on any fence. I have been actively involved in the campaign and made donations to candidates during the run-off election. However, I respect everyone and I do not go around being rude and disrespectful to people because I may disagree with some of their decisions or because I may disagree with some of their actions.

If you were brave enough to use your real name then maybe we could evaluate you for your deeds and actions also. I would not do this to you or Zepora.

As far as Tom Bowen goes (IMO) he has done a very good job in working with the current school board. This is not an easy school board to work with. You cannot be too tough. You cannot be too easy going. Tom Bowen is respectful to everyone. I think Tom Bowen has done a very good job in a tough situation. I am not for sure anyone else could have done better on the school board. However, I think Pam Speaks also would be a good Vice-Chair.

The phones are ringing off the hook at the two new candidates homes. The current school board members want to make contact. If individuals are interested in leadership positions they will be after their votes.

Anonymous said...

I am guessing Paul Womack will want to be chair.

Anonymous said...

I am guessing Paul Womack is throwing a party tonight.

Anonymous said...

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Tom Bowen needs to step down as chair. He was chair while the supt. and COO were indicted on RICO charges, among other numerous scandals.

This is a major step to ending nepotism, cronyism, Central Office bloat, MIS ineffectiveness, school police dept. overstaffing, eliminating the office of School Instruction,
the end of the fraternity/sorority/New Birth grip on admin positions, the failure of the Office of Internal Affairs, etc., etc., etc.

In two years, more ineffective incumbents will also be voted out.

Best of luck Nancy & Donna!!!

Anonymous said...

In two years, if all goes well, we will have an election for all 5 seats, that will be the total size of the Board of Ed.

I am certain that Bowen is ready to not be chair.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about these results I can hardly contain myself!!! Thank you district 1 and district 7 voters! And thank you to all of those outside of these districts that helped support and fund Nancy and Donna.

I feel like there is now hope for our school system!

Nancy Jester said...

Thank you all for your kind words and support! I am honored and humbled by them. I will work diligently to serve you on the Board.

Cerebration - Thank you for all you do to advance the cause of transparency in our district and focusing our attention on educating the children of DeKalb.

Please feel free to email or call me anytime.
Appreciatively,
--Nancy Jester
nancyjester@gmail.com
678.360.1148

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope this is a new day in DeKalb County Schools where all can work for the betterment and fairness of all children. I voted for Donna and Hidden Hills knows who put her there. We expect her to represent "US first as promised" for we have many serious instructional needs.
I would predict Wommack as chair and Speaks as vice chair. What a disaster. Speaks just started talking recently and she always has prepared statements written by McChes. She definately can't think on her feet with one of those on line degrees and she has that nervousness that is so evident that now she tries to come across as in control when she indeed is being controled.
Let's put our support toward the present Board to get us out of the NEWS and back to focusing on our children's education.

NO LEGISLATIVE TAKEOVER. NO EDUKALB and no LOG INTERFERENCE.

Let's get positive and begin to make our school system No. 1 again. Ella,you are one jewel of a person AND I RESPECT YOUR TRUE LOVE FOR THE EDUCATION 0F ALL STUDENTS. You are appreciated!
PLEASE START PREPARING FOR THE NEXT ELECTION!

Anonymous said...

Happy Dance! This belated sign of change from the voters (who left us in limbo after first election) will hopefully go a long way towards satisfying the "board efficacy" component of the next stage of the SACS review

Anonymous said...

In 6 months we will have a new Supt. Praise the Lord! This is the person that will lead us up or down. The new Board members will be in shock when they discover their role as policy makers and not what they have promised but that's okay. The present Board will carry the BALL in getting us a Supt. who is hopefully competent and not fearful of citizns! That's what happens to Dr. Brown!

Anonymous said...

Now, if we could only vote to derail Beasley on his Teaching and Learning ego trip. What a load of hot air! Ask any teacher you know about his threatening email yesterday regarding the ridiculous semester-end benchmarks. He only wants you to know that always, everywhere Big B is watching.

Ella Smith said...

I would suspect Womack is counting the number of days left on the board. This has not been a nice experience for him. I would also suspect that Pam Speaks is considering if she even wants to run again due to the climate on the board.

I also suspect Tom's wife ask him frequently why he even wanted to be on the school board. This has not been a good experience for many of the board members who currently are on the board. Some of them really do not like much of what they see.

I want to see change in this school system and school board as much as anyone who blogs on this site. However, I do think that with the change of a few board members you could actually see some dramatic changes on the school board. I guess I am hopeful. I always like to see the best in everyone and I really do not want to take the negative road.

I think Jester and Edler will be able to work well with the other school board members and I think new blood on the school board is a positive thing. We will now have three school board members with school age children and this is also a positive change.

I suspect Tom Bowen will remain the Chair of the School Board. I could see Pam Speaks, Dr. Walker, or Womack as the Co-Chair.

Anonymous said...

Womack has said he is and isn't going to run again. Not sure he has made up his mind.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/11/30/two-new-faces-on-dekalb-school-board-congrats-and-good-luck/

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37 am
"...Hidden Hills knows who put her there. We expect her to represent "US first as promised"

What do you mean? Do you mean that you expect her to put one school's interests above the others that she serves? Isn't that one of the unethical behaviors that got SCW in hot water? If so, I would hope that one of the two new members that everyone is hanging their hat on being a harbinger of change does not so quickly go the way of the past status quo.
Unless I misunderstood you, or am just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

Cere at 10:11 last night: "This was a very good day for DeKalb Schools."
And you, our friend, deserve some of the credit. Thank you
--Al

Anonymous said...

as a teacher in the south end of the county, i am glad i won't have to hear parents snicker at graduation when zepora says "georger"; now can we all work together to make the whole county a good school system - i mean without the constant threats and demeaning fault-finding missions from the county folk?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the school board is set up to have members advocate for one district (their own) and by extension one school, if that's their main voter base. Let's hope Donna is able to balance that and her commitment to the system as a whole better than some others have been.

Anonymous said...

Ask any teacher you know about his threatening email yesterday regarding the ridiculous semester-end benchmarks

All his email said was cheating on tests is not acceptable and that is true.

Cerebration said...

Hopefully, Donna will be able to enlighten the rest of the board as to the inequities and needs of the students in her district. She now represents a group of students who very much need an advocate. If Donna can work with the board to get them and their teachers the instructional support they need in order to improve learning - then she should. That probably only translates to enlightening other board members as to the needs of her district and voting for things that will help and against things that won't. And helping to find a new super who will realize that we have some schools that need serious intervention and help.

Nancy certainly knows the abilities and limitations of being a board member. She has already taken training. She can hit the ground running and she is very transparent, so much of the horse-trading behind the scenes will be diluted. We're on our way to a new way of doing business.

It will be good to have new dynamics on the board. Voters just opened the door and let some fresh air into the board room. I am very proud of the voters in DeKalb. I hope Tom heard a message this time.

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

To: All DeKalb Employees
From: Dr. Morcease Beasley, Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Subject: District-Wide Benchmark Testing
Date: 30 November 2010

All employees are expected assist DCSS as it sets the standard for excellence. Therefore, everyone is expected to assist in maintaining testing environments that reflect high expectations, honesty and integrity.

Students are expected to take benchmark assessments to demonstrate what they have been taught and what they have learned.

It is unacceptable for anyone to provide inappropriate assistance to students during benchmark assessments. Cheating is not allowed and will not be supported.

All such incidents will be investigated and appropriately addressed. Our teachers and students do not deserve to have their hard work marred by such incidents.

All employees are expected to report testing violations, incidents of cheating, etc. to the Principal. We appreciate everyone's contribution as we create a climate of excellence and high performance.


Doesn't sound threatening at all. Actually sounds quite encouraging that DCSS is taking such a firm stand on cheating.

Anonymous said...

Will the benchmarks be shared with parents/PTA, etc. Aren't we entitled to know how our children did individually as well as how the group of students taught by a specific teacher did, how the school as a whole did, how the grade across the county did? Wouldn't that make for some interesting reading?

What actions are taken as a result of the benchmark?

Is there any clarity as to whether benchmarks are graded? some of the High school teachers put them in as a grade!

Anonymous said...

9:54,

I wish you would ask to see a copy of the American Literature Benchmark, along with the accompanying key and the key that was entered into the scoring system. Those documents should be made available, though I doubt that they will be.

There is a passage from Charles Dickens on the test! And to add insult to injury, the answer provided for that question is incorrect. Everyone in my dept. looked at it and all agreed that the key was wrong.

I am NOT advocating cheating in any form. But what do you do? You know that if students are clever enough to answer the question correctly, they will be marked wrong.

Also, whoever entered the key into the scoring system did so incorrectly. I wondered why my students did so poorly, so I hand-graded their tests, using the answer key that we were provided.

For two of the questions, the answer accepted by the grading system as correct was not the one indicated in the answer key. Students who answered correctly were marked wrong.

I found Beasley's message insulting--but what is more insulting is that my students and I will be judged by the results on this poorly-designed and incorrectly scored test!!

Anonymous said...

They ( the benchmarks). Have to be graded and put in as test grades. I do not agree with this but is what I have to do.

Anonymous said...

I agree on Nancy's willingness to tackle the tough magnet issue. Please don't let us done on this one.
Come on - newly elected representative - It is time to acknowledge the inequities of the magnet system and the need to revise how we make those decisions. We simply cannot afford to dump a disproportionate amount of resources to a small population. Until we really address each school at the proper levels, a magnet ( even if it did have higher entrance guidelines than 75% ) will only worsen the problem.
The community too must speak out on this issue. The magnet parents are a cohesive group and they will fight strong and loud to keep their place in line ( that would be the front of the line ).

Anonymous said...

Beasley should have proof read the memo before it went out. The errors are atrocious and should have been caught with someone with a PHD.

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

@ 9:54

I was told last year that I was not able to use the Benchmark as a test in elementary school. Don't work for DCSS this year, but last year we were not able to do so.

Anonymous said...

We have been told this it has to count for a test grade.

Anonymous said...

We have been told this it has to count for a test grade.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 10:48. As I've said before, I take real offense to the insinuation that magnet parents are pushing their way to the front of the line.

Yes - the educational opportunities at all schools should be equal, and no - they aren't right now. But all we're guilty of is availing our children of an option that Dekalb County has made available to ALL students.

I acknowledge that I'm lucky - that my child is lucky to have been selected in the lottery. But none of us is clawing our way to the top as you've suggested. Stop making it sound as though magnet students and parents are doing something unethical.

Anonymous said...

i was not referring just to yesterday's memo regarding threats - and this memo seemed to come out as aps is going thru major cheating scandals; if you think yesterday's memo had typos, you should have seen the high school language arts benchmarks of the last twoyears; it is difficult to get students to take a "benchmark" test seriously when they enjoy pointing out typos and mispellings on the evaluation instrument.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I will miss Jim Redovian ignoring my telephone calls, letters and emails. I'll also miss his sarcastic dismissals of my in person requests. Things just won't be the same without him.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 12:41

Yes. I noticed grammar errors in Dr. Beasley's memo as well and wondered why he didn't use spell and grammar check. I've read some of his writing on the Internet, and generally it doesn't contain a lot of errors. He is not a very fluent writer, but it looks like he usually proof reads his writing. That's why I was surprised to see those errors in an email sent to teachers.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:40 this is not magnet bashing....parents in the "regular" school world don't have disdain for you or your children. However, it is frustrating that magnet parents hold on to their precious resources and don't dare want to talk about the inequity of the magnet system. If you really wanted to see the system improve you would wave the flag for all children to receive the same level of magnet services - lottery or not !!!
So, you can put the paranoia , victim stuff away. We aren't upset with the people who get it, it is the fact that they want to continue to fly under the radar so as not to jeopardize their situation. And, they willingly allow county funds to be utilized to bus kids all over the county. When, classrooms are packed and valuable employees are being eliminated.

David Montané said...

On behalf of The Friends Of DeKalb Schools, I want to congratulate Nancy Jester and Donna Edler for winning their seats on the board. We see this as two major steps forward in our goal to have the school system check register published online every month.

Nancy and Donna, you should also be able to look for positive support from Jay Cunningham, who e-mailed me "I have no problem with register online" and from Gene Walker, who e-mailed me "David, I am for this."

With four of nine in favor, we are only one vote away from financial transparency in the DeKalb County School System!

Anonymous said...

Ella,

Please stop trumpeting your degrees from online, for profit schools. Argosy and Central Michigan (Atlanta branch) are fine if you need the piece of paper to get a raise or promotion. But some of the dullest folks who have ever walked the earth got paper form them. And the smart ones who "earned" degrees from them know it was junk to get more money or some job security or whatever.

Lets be honest about the junk degrees that the tax payers give us raises for, OK.

Anonymous said...

Watch what you say about Zepora - she will slug you!

Cerebration said...

David, wouldn't it be awesome if DeKalb schools could set the example for transparency and be the first in metro Atlanta to post the check register online? That would be a huge corner to turn!

Anonymous said...

A final election comment: with Nancy and Donna winning handily it just makes me wonder how Jay Cunningham won so big in the General Election. Was there "walking around" money to entice voters to get to the polls to vote for him? It just doesn't make sense that he absolutely trounced his opponents, especially since Zepora and Jim got the boot.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:44 -

Don't despair about missing Jim R's ignoring your emails and dismissing you in face-to-face conversation; all you need to do is start up a conversation with Don McChesney, and you will have all the dismissal and disrespect you want!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03

If you look at the general election numbers both Zepora and Jim R. were winning the election. They just didn't have 50% of the vote to win in the general.

The runoff election is a different story, only 5-10% of the voters showed up for the runoff election versus the general election and that is how they won.

The more informed and educated voters voiced their opinions in the runoff election. The sheeple showed up for the general election.

What are interesting to see are the absentee ballots for both elections? The general election had 25-35% of all votes cast were absentee votes. The runoff had 15% in the south Dekalb district and 3-4% in the Dunwoody district.

Hmmmmm. What could have happened?

I have a theory but it is VERY jaded and has something to do with large church congregations.

Let me give an example of a sermon about voting your conscience.

This could be from a local Pastor who heads up a very large mega church congregation in Dekalb County that has several ties to DCSS and would like to keep their deacon on the BOE.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Deacon C--------- is up for reelection this month and it is not time for CHANGE!
You see where that's gotten us!
It is time to keep our friends in high places!
It is time to voice your opinion about Deacon C---------.
Please look in the hymnal and you will find an absentee ballot that you can fill out and return in the collection plate.
Every vote counts so please do a friend and family member a favor!"

How about them apples?
I told you it was jaded.
Next question?

Anonymous said...

Jester had the most votes in the general election. Gillis and Jester had about 60 percent combined.

Please try to get facts right.

There is no church influence in District 1.

Cerebration said...

The DeKalb County School System will host two Community Meetings in December regarding the DeKalb County Board of Education Superintendent Search Process. The public is invited to attend both meetings.

The Community Meetings will be held at the following locations:

1. Peachtree Middle School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2. Columbia High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Board of Education is seeking a permanent superintendent for the DeKalb County School System. This is one of the Board's most important responsibilities, and the Board is conducting a national search for a leader for DeKalb Schools.
The Board of Education is committed to making the Superintendent Search Process open and transparent, and its search will include Community Meetings and open Board meetings for public discussion. Employees and members of the public are encouraged to participate in this important decision for our schools.

For more information, please visit http://www.dekalbsuperintendentsearch.com

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:11

Thank you for your response.

I should have left the Dunwoody candidates off of the post, but my post was in response to the previous post that asked "Why did Jay Cunnigham win by a landslide" versus the others.

I did not mean to offend anyone.
Even in District 1. I hope you accept my apology.

Would you like to comment on the enormous amount of absentee ballots in the other District?

Anonymous said...

Beasley's people strike again!

1. Color-coded maps in benchmark assessments tests. Where in the world is there a color copier?

2. Charles Dickens is now an America author.

Guys: you are way over your heads when drafting benchmarks. Quit! Leave this task to grown-ups!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

BENCHMARKS ARE DEAD. What are you talking about?

One Fed Up Insider said...

Cere:

With next week filed with Holiday Performaces/PTA/PTO meetings in elementary schools, high schools, and middle schools throughout the county.... Don't you think that the county sent this email out last mintue because they really want parents to show up?

Anonymous said...

Fed UP

You might be right. Or it is just the rush, rush, rush mentality that the system seems to have fallen into lately.

I think Ray and Associates feels like they need these meetings before they can finalize job description, etc.

Somehow it got to be December....

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:11..

Per DCSS central office last week... Teachers had to give Benchmark tests this week. It also had to count for a test grade. Granted that there are 2 weeks left in the semester.

Some students grades dropped overall by 3 - 5 points.

Granted that the test were so poorly written. Too bad the students of DCSS had to suffer due to the Central Office being clueless.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Anon 10:14
Here is my feeling.

Paul Womack, thinks that Dr. Morcease Beasley is doing an awesome job. Don McChesney will just follow Womack, so will Tom Bowmen.

They really do not want parent involvement because they have already figured out who is going to be the next superintendent.

The votes are there to make Dr. Beasley the next superintendent.

Cerebration said...

No. They wouldn't (hopefully) do that. Beasley is not qualified to be the superintendent. We hired an agency to find us an experienced super who is an outsider and can right this ship. Beasley and Tyson are not going to fit that bill. Although I do continue to give Tyson credit for her dedication to the task - she has certainly stepped up to the plate. But we need an experienced leader with outside ideas to take the helm. Someone not beholden to anyone in Georgia.

The superintendent search schedule has been posted for quite a while. IMO, it's tracking too slowly. By the time they actual report to work, we will have been a year with an interim - which is far too long for a system in such turmoil.

http://www.dekalbsuperintendentsearch.com/

Hopefully the board and Tyson will continue to pave the pathway for whoever the new super will be. They need to ensure accreditation, reduce the bloat and get the horrible task of redistricting underway. I would also applaud them heartily if they ordered a salary audit.

Anonymous said...

"I would also applaud them heartily if they ordered a salary audit. "

Extremely overdue. The BOE refused to post the last audit by Ernst and Young that cost taxpayers over $300,000. $15,000,000 in annual salary over payments to 2,500 non-teaching BEFORE Lewis controlled DCSS was exacerbated by his tenure. Looking at the state Salary and Travel audits from 2004 to 2009 shows salary increases for admin and support personnel totally out of line with private industry or other metro Atlanta school systems. We will have a hard time getting solvent until we rectify these over payments.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Cere:

As a teacher in DCSS, you can not beleive how bad he is working for this job. Beasley puts in long hours, not because he wants to better the system. He is doing it to better his chances.

The school board is going to go on the reccomendation of the Central Office.

Do you really think that the Central Office wants things to change? The are working real hard to get rid of employees that they do not want. For example, 3 people in payroll left as of November 30. Why you ask, because they got tired of getting dumped on. They were forced out. So have so many others....

And the school board has never asked why such a high turnover in the Central Office. This has been going on for years.... This is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

Paul Womack thinks that teachers are the source of DCSS failure. So to him, one must get rid of bad teachers to make the school better.

To him, the County Office can put out any flawed benchmark (Charles Dickens is an American author!), allow students 3 chances to make up assignments, force teachers to teach without textbooks....and so forth.

Anonymous said...

DCSS has a great plan for success. It is Magic 101!!

1. Misdirection: poorly written benchmarks, ill-timed initiatives, inadequate training of teachers, etc…. all of these activities are blatantly useless or counterproductive to a thinking person.

2. Change the reality: Students can pass with 50% in the classroom if they take DOLA, students have 3 cracks at every meaningful assignment, and teachers are punished for too many failures.

3. Help from allies: Wait for the DOE to lower EOCT standards (cut-off scores) for the State Tests.

This scenario brings complete credit to DCSS if scores improves (as the test cut-off declines). If the scores do not, they can blame the teachers because they where deficient in soaking up and implementing the infallible diktats of DCSS.

Cerebration said...

Is ODE doing anything to communicate this and support teachers to the board and Tyson? It certainly sounds like you need stronger representation -- someone who can sit down at the table with the superintendent and members of the board (maybe the instructional committee?) and make your position known.

Cerebration said...

For those concerned that Morcease Beasley will be named the new superintendent, let me share the opinions and information from many on this blog.

Beasley just makes statements and promises, but in the end is virtually ineffective in any measurable way.

Here's his promise to Columbia HS in the first newsletter last year.

Welcome Back for the 2009-2010 School Year
Greetings Students and Parents,
It gives me great joy and excitement to say welcome to the 2009-2010 school year. For our seniors, this will be your last year of high school. However, for our incoming freshmen, you are preparing to start an exciting era of learning and social growth in American Life. To our Sophomores and Juniors, you are preparing to continue making excellent progress toward earning senior status. As your new Principal and Chief Learning Officer, I am honored and prepared to provide leadership, vision, and high expectations for ensuring our students are learning at very high levels. My vision is to ensure Columbia High School is the highest per- forming high school in the state of Georgia. With a strong focus on teaching and learning, along with clear and consistent practices, policies, and procedures, Columbia High School will usher in a new era of EXCELLENCE building upon the winning traditions we have already established. Please know that I am available to you and eagerly desire that our students are successful in every way. I look forward to serving you this year.
Sincerely,
Dr. Morcease J. Beasley


So, how did that work out for you Mr. Beasley?

NOT WELL AT ALL.

Anywhere from 25 to 70% of Columbia's students failed the EOCT that year. That's not exactly a "winning tradition".

http://www.gadoe.org/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&SchoolId=23012&T=1&FY=2010

COLUMBIA DID NOT MEET AYP

http://www.gadoe.org/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=103&SchoolId=23012&T=1&FY=2010

School is in Needs Improvement Year Three (NI-3).
This school must offer both Public School Choice and Supplemental Education Services (Tutoring).
This school is in Corrective Action.

We must be very careful to not take someone's self-promotion at face value. Find the data. Share it with the board.

Here's another Beasley promise.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/files/D3C4A800C83441FF9278EE21A2D2760D.pdf

In the letter to parents at the link, Beasley promotes reading 25 books a year. Did he miss something? That was started years ago.

NO, Beasley would be a wrong choice for superintendent. We need someone who knows how to run a school system and has already shown success at it. We are one of the largest school systems in the country. We should be able to select a superintendent from a nationwide pool of people with proven records, not promote someone from within and no experience at the helm.

Cerebration said...

For an example of self-promotion expertise, read the "Publisher's Review" of Beasley's book, "A Passion For Improving Schools" at Barnes & Noble.com

Editorial Reviews - A Passion For Improving Schools
From the Publisher
This book will provide school leader with twelve keys to unlocking phenomenal school improvement. The strategies are practical and research based. However, the book presents the strategies based upon the school improvement initiatives lead by Morcease Beasley. These use of the 12 keys have created successful schools in Birmingham, Alabama and Stone Mountain, Georgia. Reading this book will motivate, inspire, and encourage the passsionate school leader to fulfill his or her purpose in the area of school improvement.


http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Passion-For-Improving-Schools/Morcease-J-Beasley/e/9781418470449

Now, who exactly is the publisher of this book? Beasely himself. (As stated on his "Chief Learning Officer's Webpage")

http://fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us/~morcease_j_beasley/?OpenItemURL=S114F6D9C

Dr. Beasley is excited about the return to the DeKalb County School System and as principal and chief learning officer of Columbia High, Dr. Beasley will implement strategies that he wrote about in the book he authored, published and titled A Passion for Improving Schools: Twelve Keys for Achieving and Sustaining Phenomenal School Improvement.

So you see how easy it is to set up an image of yourself and promote it all over the internet? You can even do your own reviews at hundreds of websites, literally soaking up Google search results (SEO) regarding your own image. This is the danger of believing everything you read on the internet.

Anonymous said...

I think Dr. Beasley will leave in the next year or so to be the superintendent of a small(er) school system. If you look at this resume, he moves every few up - always in a measured upward trajectory.

Dr. Beasely does a lot of self promotion, but that's typical of many DCSS (and other school system) personnel who want to get ahead.

It's really about who you know and not what you know since we are a "social" species. Those of you who have been in corporate America know self promotion is the strategy many employees use. Take one look at the Titans of Wall Street - e.g. heads of AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers - to see that self promotion is what got many of them where they were. And how did that work out for us? Not very well, but predictably it will happen all over again.

The "business" strategy applied to education has brought us many of the same bad habits of business - e.g. DCSS refers to themselves as "upper management" and desires all the perks of travel and prestige ($30,000,000 office building complete with $2,000 chairs) of the corporate world. Just a byproduct of "incorporating" education.

Dr. Beasley will not be picked to be superintendent of DCSS, but he probably will find a superintendency somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Correction:
"If you look at Dr. Beasley's resume, he moves every few years - always in a measured and steady upward trajectory."

Anonymous said...

Why stay in the Dekalb kitchen indeed?

Would you stick around if you had cooked a beautiful-looking yet rot-tasting dish?

You'd want to be miles away when Dekalb citizens will have to actually eat it... and you can blame it on the minor cooks (teachers---hell yea) left behind.

There are other kitchens in other foolish homes looking for charlatan chefs such as he!

Cerebration said...

For a look back at what some call "atrocities" against students in Birmingham schools in 2000- 2002, read this report

http://www.susanohanian.org/atrocity_fetch.php?id=127

YOU Can Stop an Atrocity!

Dear Friends,

The students of the World of Opportunity program in Birmingham desperately need your help and support, whether it be monetary or moral.

In the Spring of 2000, 522 high school students were pushed out of Birmingham schools for "lack of interest" prior to the administration of the SAT-9 test, in a devious attempt to raise standardized test scores.

Some students, parents, and community members tried to get some of the kids back in school, but they were refused.

I was a proud employee of Birmingham City Schools Adult Education Program, and a union member. When I helped to blow the whistle on this despicable act, and tried to get all of the kids back in school, our program was immediately shut down, the students were locked out, and I was fired. Since before I was fired and to this day, I submitted a reasonable proposal (developed through discussions with numerous public school administrators, teachers, parents, and students) in writing and on the table. The proposal is to develop, within the public schools, a progressive literacy initiative and to contact ALL of the students who have been pushed out and develop an individualized plan to help them continue their education and earn their GEDs (the plan has numerous details to make sure it works). The leading administrators within
the school system will not discuss this proposal to get these kids back in school or to prevent this from happening again.

Ten days before we were to reopen for the Fall semester, the School Board dispatched a pickup truck to collect our books and materials.
The Board refuses to assist our program in any way. They will not score our computerized assessments for our students. They will not let our students fully participate in the annual GED graduation ceremony. They will not recognize the amazing contributions of our wide network of volunteer literacy tutors. They will not invite us to in-service training workshops. They sabotage our efforts to obtain public grant monies.

They have sent our students, our staff, and our program into exile.

Nevertheless, the building did not belong to the school system, so we
reopened anyway as World of Opportunity on September 5, 2000.


This is how test scores improved in Birmingham. Students who struggled were forced to leave.

Here's more on the terrible financial mess at Birmingham schools under Brown

http://www.susanohanian.org/atrocity_fetch.php?id=1560

Anonymous said...

Well, even the guy who ran the audit said "long time practices" contributed to the financial problems. Johnny Brown was only superintendent for a few years in Birmingham (2 or 3?) so it's hard to pin everything on him.

As far as DCSS goes, he did commission the 2004 audit that showed the over payment of $15,000,000 a year in non-teaching salaries. He used the reputable and unbiased firm of Ernst and Young instead of "one of his cousins", he presented the findings to the BOE, and he was ready to move on these findings before the BOE replaced him with Lewis. I remember the Central Office power people talked about him like he was he devil. He sent a lot of them back out to the schools to be APs, etc. when they were used to being high paid Coordinators and Managers. I've never seen such a commotion as they were calling in every marker they had to out of the schoolhouse and back to their Central Office jobs. They absolutely loathed him.

Besides the beginning of school "pep rally" and his wanting students to wear uniforms, I don't think teachers felt too much pain under him. They didn't see their pay decreased, their class sizes increased, or get a lot more paperwork like they've seen under Lewis who added non-teaching employees and boosted their salaries while he cut teacher positions and salaries. The rise in paperwork also came with him, and we can't blame all of it on NCLB. Most of those non-teaching employees Lewis hired needed to generate paperwork as part of their job (Teachers know this is true).

One thing Lewis did for Brown is make him look good by comparison.

Anonymous said...

I think Johnny Brown at his core understands educaton and instruction. No way, no how is that true of Crawford Lewis.

Little things and some big things messed up Brown. Board members demanded a uniform, and then when some in the public protested, those same board members isolated Brown. They were cowardly at best.

Anonymous said...

--Most of those non-teaching employees Lewis hired needed to generate paperwork as part of their job---

True statement and a morale killer!

Anonymous said...

@3:12

You have not felt hot air, not seen high mime, nor heard sound and fury signifying nothing unless you have attended one of the core subjects coordinators meeting with the high schools department chairs.

Instead of providing support, these coordinators are meddling on behalf of the Lord of Instruction and Learning.

By Jupiter, let principals be principals and let teachers be teachers!

Wikileaks, where are you?

Anonymous said...

-Board members demanded a uniform, and then when some in the public protested, those same board members isolated Brown. They were cowardly at best.-

Another true statement! This really got to him that when the heat turned up, Board members did not stand with him on this decision.

It should be noted that Brown also made sure their was greater equity with AP offerings throughout the school district. Another key point that most are not aware is that he was instrumental in making decisions to restore the financial health of the school district. Ask anyone what the reserves looked like when Hallford left then when Brown left.

Brown was addressing many of the concerns we currently have with the school system. Having a divisive Board led to his undoing.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Anon 8:36

Where do you think Paul Womack got that idea from.... CENTRAL OFFICE... Central Office feeds so much "big word" nonsense to the board members that they eat it up. Redovian bought into it for years. He will even admit that.

Why do you think that this past benchmark test were so bad.... So Beasley can show the school board how bad we are and how is going to be the fix all. Then in the spring... POOF... Dramatic turn around in benchmark testing. Grades improved and then Beasley can show the school board that all his manidates are working.

Then we will have Beasley as our new superintendent.

Anonymous said...

@6:10

That's probably the likely play from the old play book except that the Dickens is American author and sending out color-coded maps on black & white printers and copiers is of Beasley's making.

DCSS management will want credit for the sun rising in April because it is a direct result of benchmarks.

Anonymous said...

@6:10 (Sorry, I was not done editing!)

That's probably the likely play from the old play book except that the "Dickens is an American author" and "sending out color-coded maps on black & white printers and copiers" laden December-surprise benchmarks are of Beasley's making. (Yes, your benchmarks are still amateurish and silly)

DCSS management will credit these flawed benchmarks for "higher" State test scores in the same manner Cerebration can take credit for the sun rising in April because of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but wasn't Beasley in Birmingham at the same time as Brown? The time as stated above where students who didn't test well were forced out of schools?

Anonymous said...

"Yes, but wasn't Beasley in Birmingham at the same time as Brown? "

I believe that was Cerebration's point.

Anonymous said...

Let's don't forget the much maligned Johnny Brown built up a $40,000,000 reserve in DeKalb Schools before he left DeKalb, and this was in the middle of a recession.

I remember when Dr. Lewis started dipping into these reserves. We need a superintendent who is fiscally prudent and will seek to build up our reserves similar to what all of us try to do with our own savings.

We need a superintendent who will send as many certified personnel as possible back to the classroom. We need someone who will put the classroom first.

I'm not a Johnny Brown fan. I disagree that Algebra should be for all 8th graders. I'm not really against uniforms for students - a point of contention that parents had with Brown. High schoolers spend way too much time in high school paying attention to the way they dress.

Johnny Brown was criticized so much for holding a pep rally for teachers on a pre-planning day. Considering what Lewis did to teachers, doesn't that seem minor?

At least Brown tried to cut non-teaching positions and right size their salaries. And at least he left us with a surplus in our budget.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that the moment Lewis took control from Brown, he changed the employee Board Contribution TSA to only begin for teachers who had 3 years of service. This began the demise of the TSA. Meanwhile, teachers had no participation in Social Security.