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Friday, February 13, 2009
Where's Mr. Potato Head?
No worries - our very important conversation has just gotten a little buried. Please click here to access the original post and continue the investigation and conversation about the salaries, bloat, compensation and budget of DeKalb Schools.
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FYI. As feared, the BOC approved Eugene Walker's reappointment to the Development Authority. I sent an email to Jeff Rader expressing my concern and asking for an explanation. Here is the response:
Thank you for your email. Commissioner Rader abstained from voting in this matter. Some time ago, he had asked for a determination as to the question of a conflict of interest of Dr. Walker's appointment. No one followed through with this request. In fact, the Chief of Staff of the BOC finally sent a memo on Tuesday to the Ethics Board and the County Attorney requesting review. It is unfortunate that the other commissioners decided to hold the vote before obtaining an answer.
Please let me know if I can do anything else for you.
Commission Office Coordinator
Jeff Rader, District 2
I guess we'll see how the Ethics Board assesses the situation. I'm not optimistic.
Abstained? Wow - he's so gutsy!
Here's an old post about Walker - so that people can know the scoop - we need to be aware of the breadth of his power and watch how he votes on land sales (the school system has starting lining them up already) and then see who develops that land.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Dr. Eugene Walker - Someone to Watch...
Did you know…
Dr. Eugene Walker – our newly elected representative for District 9 on the DeKalb County School Board - has also served on numerous boards for the county – and currently STILL serves as the Chair of the DeKalb Development Authority?
Did you know that the DeKalb County School Board and the DeKalb Development Authority are not his only responsibilities? Eugene Walker currently serves as the Chairman of The Private Hospital Authority of DeKalb County and The Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly of DeKalb County as well.
Development Authorities were created by the Georgia General Assembly in for the purpose of promoting trade, commerce, industry, and employment opportunities for the public good and to promote the general welfare of the State. The Development Authority of DeKalb County was established in 1974 to promote economic development within DeKalb. It assists in financing business facilities and equipment for job creation and expansion. Do these goals align or conflict with the goals of a school system?
Did you know that the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia deemed the practice of using school taxes to fund developments known as TAD’s unconstitutional?
Did you know that the Georgia Legislature introduced and voters in November, passed an Amendment to the Georgia Constitution allowing School Boards to take part in funding these private developments using school tax dollars?
Did you know that one of the private developers with the deepest pockets, the Sembler Company – the people who tried to buy and develop school property at North Druid Hills Road also contributed at least $18,000 to the recent winning School Board campaign of Eugene Walker?
One more thing – did you also know – Dr. Lewis – Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools - was sponsored into the Commerce Club by Eugene Walker?
Think about it. Are these connections to developers good or bad for someone elected to serve our schools?
Truly, did you expect anything else from the DeKalb BOC? Cluless Connie is too busy trying to make a name for herself by becoming the female version of Vernon Jones.
On the topic of Stimulus -- here is a link to a great site that breaks down the Stimulus bill line by line. http://www.stimuluswatch.org/ You can search by city/state, project type and keyword.
DeKalb doesn't have a single line item. With this government run by Democrats, how does that happen? You wouldn't believe how much money the "boomtown" of Akron, OH has coming to them. Check it out.
Stimulus, schmimulus! What a big, fat waste of ours and our children's taxpayer dollars! Of course it would be painful in the short term, but I wonder what would happen if our government did nothing? (I tend toward the Liberterian side in theory. Not always practical, I know.)
A buddy sent me a copy of the markup on what is reported to be the final American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Section XIV is the State Fiscal Stabilization Section. In my brief review of this, it 'seems' this language indicated monies cannot be used for capital projects unless authorized under ESEA, IDEA, or the Perkins Act. Again, this is my initial interpretation but unless those acts allow for renovations, I'm not sure how much money will come to DeKalb for that purpose. This section discusses the use of funds to restore state funding.
Gene Walker has no ethics. But he does have friends, like Larry Johnson. For Walker to even want to hold both positions is an example of his lack of character.
All this bad economy - stimulus - job loss - cutbacks - is getting pretty distressing. But let's try to remember that we've been here before - in the 70's - remember the gas crisis and 16.5% mortgages??? Well - the 70's also brought us these things -- in hindsight - it wasn't all bad - in fact - things were pretty darn good in the 70's:
Noxema, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, Gumby, Bozo the Clown, Lifebouy Soap, Mr. Bill, Rock Em Sock Em Robots, TAB, the Afro, 8 track stereo, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jaws, David Cassidy, Andy Gibb, The Osmonds, Lucy's Lemon Squares, Divine Divinity, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dukes of Hazzard, The Brady Bunch, The Munsters, Gilda Radner, The Captain and Tennille, Captain Kangaroo, Columbo, The Electric Company, Gilligan's Island, Get Smart, Creepy Crawlers, Ouija boards, ESP (the game), Schwinn Sting Rays, The Who, The Beach Boys, Aerosmith, concert tickets for $7.75, Psssssst, Field Parties, Far Out, Man!, Flower Power, Que Pasa?, Say What?!, Right On!, Cool, Keep on Truckin', Groooovy, Man, At Rock Concerts, everyone lighting a match, Shag hair cuts, Shag Carpeting, Platform Shoes, Avocado green & harvest gold appliances, Bean Bag chairs, Stridex pads, Sun-in, Nixon, Watergate, Deep Throat, Dorothy Hamil, Pet Rocks, Mood Rings, Hey, Foxy Lady!, George Carlin, The Weiner Mobile, Black Power, Black Panthers, Civil Rights, Womens Lib, Gloria Steinem, Roe V Wade, Billie Jean King, Helen Reddy, I am Woman, Mini-Bikes, Farrah Fawcett, Don Kirchner's Rock Concert, Quadraphonic Stereos, Nothing Books, Wanna make something of it?, Wolfman Jack, Vinyl Records, Streakers!!!, cassette tapes, "Pardy Hardy!", Greasers, Freaks, Jocks, Nerds, Disco, "Do the Bump", "Shake your Booty", Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer, was president, Billy Beer, Ding Dong! Avon calling!, Shaklee Vitamins, Amway Distributors, Howard Cosell, China Syndrome. Casey Kasem, Dick Clark & American Bandstand
Just somthin' funny to cheer you!
Divide between grades, scores can’t be ignored
Sunday, February 15, 2009
That’s the question raised by a new report on the state mandated End of Course Tests by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The study revealed startling gulfs between the scores many students earned on the 2007 End of Course Tests and the grades they received from their classroom teacher.
And at DeKalb’s Cedar Grove High School, 59.6 percent of those who aced geometry flubbed the test.
REPOSTING -- Open Post For The Week of Feb 8, 2009
Aside from reporting what you hear at meetings in the thread below, post your random thoughts, information and ideas on this thread. Food for thought begins with today's AJC article describing a recent study by the State focusing on the discrepancy between the levels of student failure on the EOCT's and the levels of passing those same students (with an "A"). You can use the pull-down menu in the article to check your school and individual test scores vs passing grades, but it's only accessible one test at a time.
The paper published a chart which showed at a glance that DeKalb is a bit more consistent with the Biology and English tests, however, as a system 38.2% of students given an "A", had failed the EOCT in Geometry. In English, the worst offenders were Clarkston and Cross Keys; in Biology, of Stone Mountain and Towers "A" students, over 20% failed the EOCT, but in Geometry, at Towers, McNair, MLK, Columbia and Cedar Grove, half the students receiving "A's" also failed the EOCT. DeKalb School of the Arts, Lakeside and Chamblee had the lowest levels (near 0%) of giving students who failed the EOCT, an "A". Dunwoody and Druid Hills were also very consistent, except in Geometry.
Overall though, DeKalb had far and away more schools giving "A's" to students who failed the EOCT. Gwinnett, by contrast, rarely gave an "A" to a student who failed the EOCT.
The quote in the article that I most identified with was from Sheryl Gowen, an education policy professor at Georgia State University, who said, "With education spending tight, it’s better to catch up students in high school than leave them to flail in college... “You don’t want to spend more resources at the higher level remediating students who could have been helped at the K-12 level,” Gowen said.
The AJC article goes on to tell us, "Last year, one in 10 college freshmen with a HOPE scholarship needed remedial help. In 2006- 07, only about one in four students in the Georgia University System held on to their HOPE for the equivalent of three years of full-time held on to their HOPE for the equivalent of three years of full-time study."
QUESTION: Has the Hope Scholarship encouraged high school teachers and administrators to "dumb down" curriculum and grading to ensure that students receive the money for college? Further, has it created an uneven delivery of high school education across the state? Or worse, has HOPE sent some students on to college when others who perhaps may actually have been more college-ready were turned down because they didn't attend a school that would inflate their grades?
This is from the State DOE website
How does the EOCT affect the student's grade?
The EOCT is administered upon completion of one of the above courses. Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, a student’s EOCT score is averaged in as 15% of the final course grade. The student must have a final course grade of 70 or above to pass the course and earn credit toward graduation. When the student repeats a course to earn credit for graduation, he/she would participate in the EOCT at the end of the repeated course. EOCT scores will not be “banked”. The EOCT is also one criterion for a student to receive a variance for the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).
Our representives are looking at a bill which might or might not apply to Dr. Walker:
09 LC 33 2749
Senate Bill 36
By: Senators Buckner of the 44th, Seay of the 34th, Jones of the 10th, Tate of the 38th, Sims of the 12th and others
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local boards of education, so as to provide for the adoption of codes of ethics to govern members of local boards of education; to provide for annual review of such codes of ethics; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
SECTION 1.Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local boards of education, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:"20-2-72.Each local board of education shall adopt a code of ethics to govern members of the local board of education. Each local board of education shall annually review its code of ethics and shall announce such review and any changes in the code of ethics at regular meetings of the board."
SECTION 2.All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
Here's another website where you can check out city by city what the mayors have requested from the stimulus package
"Overall though, DeKalb had far and away more schools giving "A's" to students who failed the EOCT. Gwinnett, by contrast, rarely gave an "A" to a student who failed the EOCT."
Gloria Talley, you are the person responsible for academics and curriculum for all of DCSS. Students can not be given "A"'s as a grade and then fail the very basic state EOCT. The EOCT is not incredibly hard. it doesn't happen in Gwinnett and SHOULD NOT happen here in DeKalb.
Academics and curriculum are much, much more important than any other topic discussed regarding DCSS, more important than facilities, more important than the horrible DCSS Central office bloat, more important than district lines, etc.
Gloria Talley, you've been with DCSS for a long time. This needs to be fixed and fixed now.
I completely agree. I have posted probably 100 times about the fact that our school system focuses far too much on putting out fires and fixing buildings or building new ones... they really don't seem appropriately focused on the delivery of education. And the communication about the curriculum is not good. After 13 years in the system - I still don't have a grasp on the entire curriculum across the grades. However, if you Google just about any other system, you can find a wealth of information about their delivery of education.
What is the next math, for example? In high school now - it's going to be Math 1, 2 and 3...
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