Thursday, June 16, 2011
Someone save this leaky ship!
What can be done about these leaks? Why does no one in power seem to have an issue with the fact that people like Zepora Roberts (former board member) are given inside information and then have the nerve to publicly share it? This kind of knowledge can only come from private personnel discussions in the school board's executive meetings. The Zepora leak came AFTER the first leak of contract details with superintendent finalist Lilly Cox to Richard Belcher at WSB - which triggered Cox to withdraw from consideration and sent the board off for training on executive session confidentiality. Worse, after this "training", someone not only leaked information about the next finalist to Zepora, the entire Chamber of Commerce was given confidential information! The Chamber Chair then boldly made a public opinion statement (aired by WSB) that the Chamber thinks the school system should stick with interim Ramona Tyson!
What is going on? Are there ethics left anywhere in DeKalb? Why didn't Bowen shut Zepora down? Her comments were about a personnel issue, which is strictly and officially off-limits! Is the media complicit in this sabotage of the school board's effort to hire a new superintendent? Why? Is it ethical of Richard Belcher to publicly air private contract negotiations, thereby destroying the process and ruining someone's career? Are reporters compelled to report everything they are told? How would Belcher like it if he was in private negotiations with CNN and someone leaked the details of his contract requests?
This is all so discouraging. SACS won't intervene. The governor won't intervene. We are virtually unprotected. Board members who successfully leaked information have now been given a license to behave badly in order to get their way. No one will interview in DeKalb now. Really, who would, when you go into negotiations knowing that people like Zepora, Richard Belcher and the Chamber of Commerce are going to blab it all over the airwaves?
Compare our dysfunctional county with Chattanooga/Hamilton County. Click here for their Public Education Foundation's annual report. They have a private educational foundation that focuses on improving their schools. It is a public/private partnership involving citizens, the school board, school system leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and local universities to ensure their schools have the proper tools, highly trained principals and the very best teachers as well as opportunities for students to improve their success.
How far we have to go to get to a point of community collaboration like Chattanooga! We are infants in the world of educational enlightenment - take a look at our leaders' behaviors and compare them to quality systems around the country. We need professional leadership and help. We need good people to run for school board, forge community partnerships and partnerships with local colleges and government agencies. This is a plea for a lifeline. Please, consider doing whatever you can as a citizen to step up to the plate and be the change we so desperately need!
Zepora: The Rant
Read our post with Zepora's speech transcribed. Her words are proof that she was given inside information that she should never have known – much less been bold enough to publicly state her opinion of the person under consideration for superintendent before that person had a chance to announce his intention to his current employer.
Also, many thanks to John Heneghan for compressing, editing and posting this video clip for us! Read his article posted on Heneghan's Dunwoody Blog.