At last night's BOE meeting, Ramona Tyson reminded everyone that "time is running out" for her to take care of the many things she wants to do. Helpfully, though, after stonewalling for months on the Ernst & Young Compensation and Classification Study for which DCSS has already paid, Tyson has put together a whole plan and timeline for a new study. A little something for the new superintendent to do -- while Tyson manages status quo during the superintendent's first year. (More on this in a later blog article.)
Time is, indeed, running out -- for DeKalb County School System.
DeKalb County School System – a school system that has not made AYP in 6 years and that is, quite frankly, running out of schools eligible to accept AYP transfers – sports a whole rogues’ gallery of inept and overpaid sham-administrators and quasi-dictators.
Many of these embarrassments have “Dr.” before their names and can be seen on TV at every BOE meeting. Most are African-American whose soft bigotry of low expectations for disadvantaged African-American, Hispanic and ELL students -- and their willingness to hire incompetent friends-and-family – have kept the majority of DeKalb’s students (African-American, Hispanic and ELL)way behind their far better educated peers.
It’s not enough that Ramona Tyson demanded and got a big salary for a job for which she is clearly unqualified. She has not done the first thing to reduce the Palace bloat or to get rid of Crawford Lewis’s insiders circle (of which she was a part). Further, her salary extends into the first year of the new superintendent to make sure, I suppose, that the new person gets a clear message about maintaining status quo – above all else and at any cost.
As COO, Tyson was one of only four direct reports to Crawford Lewis. All the money flowed through Tyson. It is not possible that she did not know what was going on that led to RICO indictments against Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope. She had to have known. As did Marcus Turk.
Only the BOE can fire Tyson. So, what does Tyson know about one or more BOE members that has secured her job? With a big, undeserved raise. What makes it so critical to maintain the status quo that one or more BOE members broke Board policy and state law to go to an equally less-than-ethical, shop-worn reporter with highly confidential information about ongoing personnel negotiations with a potential superintendent?
Friends-and-family continue to feed at the DCSS trough even though they have clearly failed at their jobs. Six years – and hundreds of thousands of federal dollars later – of not making AYP as a system? For starters, anyone involved with “School Improvement” should be fired and shown the door with the admonishment to not let the door hit them on the way out. And that’s just scratching the surface of ineptness in DCSS. If you or I had failed so completely at our jobs, we would be out on the street, looking for a new one.
What is with constantly buying new “programs” that are “guaranteed” to “turn around” student achievement – or lack thereof? Yet, DCSS cannot supply textbooks for every student in every class. What is with constantly training and re-training teachers – instead of letting them spend their time doing what they do best and have already been trained to do: teach.
We know how to teach children. We know what works and what doesn’t. What Tyson and DCSS don’t know how to do is get rid of the hangers-on, the make-a-quick-buck folks who promise big achievements with little work and the inept well-connected who take up space and gobble up money – all the while ultimately consigning our children to a life that is little better than that found in a third world country.
The BOE meeting on Monday, 2, 2011 involved a well-orchestrated PR parade of people singing the praises of their schools and Ramona Tyson. A parent sang Tyson’s praises, claimed that DCSS has the best leadership team in the country and implored the BOE to appoint Tyson as Superintendent. No one bothered with pesky documentation to back up their claims. Not one person spoke up about the BOE's breach of trust in revealing confidential information.
In which alternate universe do those people live?
They are engaging in magical thinking – as always. Just because they say it is so does not make it so. Successful education requires hard work. For disadvantaged, at-risk students who are already way behind, successful education requires one-on-one or small group teaching, preferably by a real master teacher with a real degree from a respected college or university.
DeKalb County School System has the money needed to successfully educate DeKalb students – all DeKalb students. The money must be re-directed from inexperienced, inept “coaches” seeking a cushy, do-nothing job. The money must be re-claimed from under-talented, overpaid friends-and-family – the very people that Tyson refuses to get rid of.
The question now, though, is: Can the forces of decency get organized, elected and start building a different future for DeKalb County’s students – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds? That is the most important question. Everything else is noise.