Thursday, March 25, 2010

Should we reduce the size of the board?

The Champion recently published an article describing the racial tension on the school board.  Specifically, the fact that there is a proposal to reduce the size of the board from nine members to seven.  Walker and Cunningham see this as a ploy by Womack to squeeze Walker off the board.  Womack says he just thinks they will be more efficient and save money.

Zepora made a statement I found very interesting:

“I don’t trust the people that’s going to be drawing the school board members,” Roberts said. “If we approve this, we’re doomed.”

What are your thoughts on reducing the size of the school board?


arroznegro said...

Why not to five?
But, it won't really save any money. It will just make it easier to pass things as there are fewer people to deal with.

But, again, be careful what you ask for. Those looking for smaller numbers assume their picks will dominate. It could well go the other way and you will have given those you thought would lose even more power.

Anonymous said...

How about we require at least a Bachelor's Degree for all BOE members? This would exclude 2 or 3 of the current members. Don't we want our BOE members to be educated? Eugene Walker has a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

How about if we require BOE candidates to use good grammar, have a colorblind passion for educating our children, and speak civilly to one and all?


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to get an off-the-record response from each of the board members to the following question: If you were guaranteed that your seat is secure, would you want the number of board members reduced from 9 to 7?

I'm positive they all would say "yes".

For those board members following this blog you need to ask yourselves why holding your seat is more important than building a more effective board of education for our children now that you have that opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Parents and teachers need to pay close attention to every word from Board members. Why? Because if you discern FEAR, that Board member is afraid of losing CONTROL. The message is, do what's in the best interest of the children, and NOT yourselves as politicians do. Be quiet, listen, and watch what they "DO."

Anonymous said...

I don't think the educational level is as important as understanding that the classroom where students are actually taught is the most important part of a school system.
I don't think it takes a degree to understand:
1. Children are absolutely the most important component of a school system
2. Teachers are the most important employees of a school system
3. Good customer service from support personnel:
a. is quantifiable
b. should be a requirement for continued employment
c. should be mostly measured by input from the end users (students and teachers)

I've been reading all of the BOE meeting minutes, and all I read is a constant discussion of how to keep support jobs intact. Never do these BOE members mention what's best for students or student achievement. If I didn't know better, I would swear the school system didn't even have kids.

In addition, I have many friends who run successful businesses and they have the business acumen not to starve their core business.

You don't have 8,800 support personnel to to 7,000 teachers, Surely they can see that over a thousand support personnel were added over the last few years as our student base was shrinking. Cutting our teacher base is going to ruin our core business of educating students.

Business acumen, familiarity with spreadsheets, and the ability to apply basic accounting principals to the business of educating our children seems to be lacking in all of our BOE members. Granted this should be done by the superintendent, but neither Dr. Lewis nor Ms. Tyson are doing this so it falls back to the BOE. They hire the superintendent, not the voters.

I'm not sure that reducing the numbers would improve this shortfall.

I do see the efficacy of making the superintendent an elected position. You bet an elected superintendent would be listening to his/her constituents since he/she would face the voters.

DCSS really can't get much worse so why not make the superintendent position an elected position. Is there a state law against this? If not, what needs to happen to make the superintendent an elected position?

Making the superintendent an elected position seems to be a good article for this blog if someone who is more knowledgeable than I am wants to write it up.

I think that's something a lot of voters would get behind.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:28 pm

That's actually not a bad idea. Instead of trying to coordinate pressure on 9 BOE members, taxpayers would have just one person to hold responsible - the person who really runs the school system - the superintendent.

Can we do that in Georgia - elect superintendents of school systems?

Anonymous said...

Instead of reducing the board members, we should add two additional slots; one for a teacher representative, and one for a student representative. Stakeholders should have representation in the decision making process that directly affects them.

Cerebration said...

Q: Who exactly are these "people" Zepora doesn't trust? I can't figure out what that comment means.

Anonymous said...

Education level of the board IS important. If the board has not pursued an education, why would we think they truly value having a good one? The board should be at least as educated as the teachers in the system.

Ella Smith said...

First of all the Board of Education needs to get it house cleaned out before it makes anymore significant problems for itself.

In redrawing the lines the at large districts would probable stay and the other districts would get larger. There were 7 board members until a few years ago I believe when two board members where added. I think these positions where Ms. Roberts and Ms. Woods. I could be wrong.

In going back, the districts would be withdrawn more equally within the county again with the new census with 7 school board members. This would cut 2 of the board members out. Whom ever is cut out of there district would no longer be on the board. They would have to run in another district against someone else when the position came open.

This is done all the time politically to cut politicians out of either running for a position or to politically cut them out of a position they hold. It depends on who is drawing the lines. Ms. Roberts is correct. It is not always a fair thing for many politicans. It is a political process.

I am sad to see some of the behaviors I am seeing on the board. The same racial tension is present that was there many years ago and some of the same people are still on the board and the same buttons are being pushed.

I respectfully do understand the concern of the board members about having the lines withdrawn. This can always be an issue.

Anonymous said...

The number of support personnel should not outweigh teachers and administrators. In fact, the ratio should be something like 1:4 or 25%. With advances in technology, reliability, and competition driving down costs -- we DO NOT need these kinds of support staff numbers. Most teachers, not all, are NOT proficient in technology. I see this almost on a daily basis. Many students are more tech savvy than their respective teachers (let's be honest). This is not to say that teachers should be exempt from layoffs. Good teachers know who the bad teachers are. The issue is, by what procedure can school districts identify bad teachers for expulsion without lawsuits. This is a very delicate issue, but needs to be implemented. I surmise merit pay is start in that direction, but not the sole approach. Armed with this knowledge, there will be no need to close any schools in any DeKalb neighborhood.

These are the kinds of issues the BoE should be working diligently to tackle -- not worrying about saving their own butts.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine a school with children who can read and write, but with teachers who cannot, and you have a metaphor of the Information Age in which we live."

-Peter Cochrane

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need to reduce the board. Why do we need districts? Make it a five member board that represents all DeKalb County schools. Having districts is what has stoked the us against them mentality. The board members fight for their special interests (pork) for their districts.

That said not all board members support the districts they represent. A 7 period day school teacher said their school's BoE rep. told the teachers to "suck it up" when they expressed concern over being asked to potentially teach 200+ students A DAY next year.

Why should a 7 period day school teach 200+ kids while the block schedule teachers who make the same salaries teach approx. 90?

Too bad Shayna didn't win.

Anonymous said...

@7:44pm, 1:8 (supervisor:worker) was the corporate metric that seemed to work. FWIT

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:28 pm

In 1992, a constitutional amendment was approved that changed the process to electing school boards and appointing all superintendents.

Too bad. In DCSS's case an elected superintendent would be a good option.

Fire the Five said...

First, we reduce the number of incumbents reelected this November to ZERO. Fire those five immediately. Then, we can talk about reducing the size of the BoE.

Anonymous said...

I think 1:8 is fine for the corporate world where I worked very successfully for a decade. However, in the educational realm these numbers are not necessary. I also spent 20 years in the classroom.

Teachers are more autonomous. and their time needs to be devoted almost exclusively to their students, especially with the extraordinarily high class sizes that are typical of every school. Consistent, abundant instruction is necessary to maximize student achievement. There are no substitutes for spending your time planning or teaching.

Teachers are not available for meetings like corporate employees since they spend virtually all of their day teaching students or planning for their students.

The meetings that teachers attend are after they have planned and taught for 7 hours. Their attention span is very short at that point, and this often makes meetings counterproductive.

Since educational administrators do not have a 7 hour day with students, they often spend their days planning how to train teachers and what data they are going to require teachers to submit to them. However well meant, these demands have the effect of draining the teacher's time from his classroom responsibilities while he needs to have a greater focus on interacting with students.

Anonymous said...

I heard that many years ago the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders started a group/organization of people whose sole purpose was the recruit qualified people for the school board and help them get elected. And it turned things around completely - they no longer have developers, real estate agents, etc winning the elections. They also help ensure that their Board is well-rounded and they have experts in different areas.

And APS spends a considerable amount of money on "development" of the Board - giving them lots of continued eduction and training.

Why can't we do this in DeKalb? Seems problems would eventually fix themselves if we only had good, qualified people on the Board who worked for the best interest of all children in county.

And the only way to get that is to setup a group of people who can pool resources and make it happen - not just for their own representatives, but for the entire County.

Is there any effort like this happening now? I would love to join it.

Anonymous said...

It's been said before: 7 county commissioners for 740,000 people.

9 Board of Ed members for 100,000 students.

And you are crazy Zepora Roberts. Term limits. Term limts are way past due. Zepora and Sarah Copelin-Wood are serving on the board way past their expiration dates.

themommy said...

Anon 11:38 PM

A small group of parents/citizens met many years ago to try and replicate a couple of things that Atlanta Public Schools were doing for DeKalb.

One initiative was AppleCorps which you can read about here. (It appears to have changed their name.)

This organization is like the one that DCSS is trying to start from the inside out. A local education foundation, Apple Corps has raised money for targeted programs. It is a "partner" of Atlanta City Schools.

In some communities, local education foundations have been able to leverage the funds they raised to seek reforms in how local school boards have been run. (Of course, the LEF has to have a lot of money to spend to get the system's attention.) For example, in one system the LEF said no more donations until a forensic audit was done (which the LEF paid for) of the system's budget.

I will talk about the edu pac in the next post.

themommy said...

Because it is the elephant in the room, let us all understand that at the moment there is some doubt about the "actual" academic achievement that may have occurred in City of Atlanta schools.

That said, one of the first steps in turning around the Atlanta school system was the creation of EdePAC. You can read about it here.

This organization was founded by businesspeople and civic leaders to try and steer the CoA schools in a different direction.

I believe that the CoA board behaves much better than the DeKalb board. On occasion, I watch the CoA meetings (ok, total geek here) and they seem much calmer than most of our meetings. On the other hand, I find that the CoA board is far less transparent on occasion.

While a LEF is nice, I am far more interested in putting my energies into an EduPAC for DCSS. I don't know, though whether DeKalb has the level of civic involvement necessary to do such a thing. It will require substantial fund raising to be successful.

If the members of this blog think this is a good approach and one that is workable, then I will organize a get together to further the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Why should a 7 period day school teach 200+ kids while the block schedule teachers who make the same salaries teach approx. 90?

This argument is irrelevant. Teacher salaries are not based on how many students they teach. So, are you saying that teachers who teach gifted classes should also not make as much as teachers who teach general classes? If a 7-period teacher is so concerned with making more than a teacher on the block, then I say to that teacher, just quit and quit now. You're more concerned about yourself than your students.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. While a teacher who teaches 200 students certainly has a tremendous workload--and would justifiably be resentful of it in comparison to his/her co-worker with 90 students--I imagine that he/she is also concerned about giving adequate time and attention to those 200 students. That means time in the classroom, time at home assessing their student work (math teachers would revert, if not already doing it, to pure multiple choice questions--really, can you even assess student learning with MC questions in math??), time communicating with's not just the time burden on him/her but the effect of that time on the students.

The teacher bashing around here has got to stop...most are truly concerned about the students but want to also protect themselves. No one gets into teaching to become a millionaire, but we would all like to have a reasonable life while serving our students.

Anonymous said...

I agree Anon 6:57 am

The blanket accusations about "Central ffice folks" also needs to end. There is a hieracrchy that exists at the county office level (i.e. secretaries earrn consideraby less that Executive Administrative Assistants). Despite this, recent communication has indicated that in all liklihood ALL 12 month employees will take the furlough days and the 6.25% pay cut. Many of those in the lower ranks dont earn the "over 100k" that I keep hearing mentioned here. They include 12 month maintenance, secretaries, HVAC etc.
Understanding the political inter workings of the DeKalb system an what each person does is a must before throwing out who needs to be cut and who needs to take cuts!

Anonymous said...

Please answer my question instead of trying to sidestep the question by your bashing accusations.

By your argument then, teachers who teach gifted students, which means they teach less students, should also not make as much as teachers who teach general classes in a 7-period school?

I hope you are not a teacher, btw. A teacher who is more concerned with salary, rather than dedication to her/his professional is not someone I want teaching in our schools.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to our esteemed governor, more precious state dollars will be wasted on a lawsuit against the federal government over health care reform. Let's face it - the problems for education in Georgia extend well beyond the county level. k-12 education is simply not a top priority for our state.

Anonymous said...

"While a LEF is nice, I am far more interested in putting my energies into an EduPAC for DCSS. I don't know, though whether DeKalb has the level of civic involvement necessary to do such a thing. It will require substantial fund raising to be successful." themommy, prior to the last election there was an effort to start an EduPAC in DeKalb but there was not enough support to get it going. Perhaps we can do a better job this year?

Marshall Orson was very involved in the Atlanta LEF and in the nation-wide LEF system (which is unquestionably successful in other cities) and had hoped to bring to DeKalb county. If we could succeed in creating one it would provide another local entity which can hold the board and superintendent accountable for their actions/inactions. The beauty of the LEF is that large donors are much more willing to donate to them than to a school system because the level of trust is greater with an LEF.

The DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation was created to try to replicate the success of Atlanta's LEF but it hasn't happened because it is run by the system and not independently.

Anonymous said...

@7:49 Lets say you and I both work for the same company making nearly identical salaries. The bosses come to you and say you will be taking a pay cut and by the way we will be taking away about an hour of your day which you used to do an important part of your job; you can take care of that business when your off the clock; oh and did I mention we going to give you an additional 30-38 student to teach?

In the meantime I'm sitting at my desk thanking my lucky stars my job has had no change other than the salary cut. It's a good thing to - I've got a family I spend time with and after school sports I coach for a stipend which will help some w/ that cut in pay. I might actually be able to pick up another sport at a 7 per. school off season as those teachers won't have the time to do anything afterschool except play catch-up grading papers, projects, and entering grades into the flawed ESis (which we know can be very time consuming).

The equitable thing is for all high schools go to a 7 period day and teach 6 out of 7 periods or make no changes this year at all to the schedules. Or I know, we can totally dumb down every high school and go with the unproven block schedule across the board.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 6:38

Perhaps we are not using a clear analogy.

Teachers are not paid per student, that is true, but their workload is per student. Every student requires a certain amount of the teacher's time and attention, both in direct instruction in the classroom and indirectly, in terms of grading tests, reviewing and grading homework, and preparing class materials (takes longer to make 100 copies than to make 50).

The inequity being discussed is that a teacher has a finite amount of time to do the job, and each student gets a portion of that time. Students of teachers with a larger student load will get less of that teacher's time.

I think what frustrates the teachers is that they know they will not be able to do as good a job of educating their students if they have a larger number of students.

Frankly, the teachers who are not bothered by this (who "suck it up") would be the ones I would advise to leave the profession.

Cerebration said...

Anon 6:57 AM, I have to jump in here and defend the bloggers. By and large, we are very supportive of teachers here at the blog. Our main focus throughout these budget discussions has been trying to ensure that the bulk of the cuts do not come off the backs of teachers - and our children in the classroom. There will always be people with a different opinion and we allow them to express those opinions here as well, however, most of us are very much in support of teachers.

Which leads me to say, how can anyone not see the problem with making high school teachers at a few high schools take on educating about twice as many students as other high schools? I see the gifted vs regular argument - does this mean that this is regular vs struggling? Is it possible that schools on the block will not move to a 7PD because they simply don't think their students would be successful? It's a very grueling and demanding schedule. Many students at Lakeside flunk their freshman year and return as "freshmores". The freshman classes are all well over 500 - even 600 students, yet Lakeside consistently only graduates around or less than 300 each year. Is there possibly a better graduation rate at block schools due to the ample opportunities available to retake courses?

Personally, I would rather have my child on the block schedule than the 7PD. But some kind of modified schedule would be best.

Interestingly though, our board never can quite get around to having these discussions based on which educational tactics work best - they're too busy with legal issues, charges of corruption and a budget crisis. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Science teachers like block scheduling because they can do a 30 to 40 minute lecture and then a lab, assuring continuity between the two. It's not really a matter of what is best for students when this decision is made.

Anonymous said...

What's best for students is always the missing component. That needs to drive everything. If time for teachers to prepare and contact parents as class sizes that allow for individualized instruction is important for students, then fund all of the above. What's left over can go for admin and support. That's the way a business operates.

waterman said...

I have a couple of ideas.

Making the Superintendent and Board of Education accountable to voters is an idea that is way past due. It's obvious that the current governance model isn't working. I wonder if the same issues persist in other school districts.

Reduce the Board's size? Sure. At-large districts? Sure. Maybe we get people who are concerned with DeKalb Schools as a greater community than just the ones in their District.

Here's a further thought about accountability. The University System has a Student Advisory Council made up of representatives from all 35 of the institutions' Student Goverments (graduate and undergraduate). SAC worked collaboratively all year and presented recommendations to the Chancellor and the Board of Regents during the General Assembly session. As stakeholders in higher education, we were taken seriously. Maybe DeKalb's secondary school student governments could use something similar - they are suffering at the hands of an indifferent Board that needs to receive a cohesive opinion of the mature student leaders of our high schools without the filtering of local school administrators. As an aside, the USG Student Advisory Council was advised by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. While he did not interfere with the Council's business, he was very helpful to keep us focused on the big picture of higher education in Georgia. It was a very effective means for the ones paying the bills for a college education communicate with those the Governor picked to run the entire USG. (

My two pennies..

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:49 am
I taught regular ed (3,4,5,6 and 7) for 10 years and gifted for 11 years. There is no comparison.

I could do so many more hands-on, in-depth activities with my gifted students because I had such small classes. I could bring in guest speakers. We could go on field trips to places like the Carlos Museum, Georgia Tech, Chattahoochee Nature Center, or the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts. We published the school newspaper and wrote and produced plays. I had the time to teach them how to write fluently. They learned how write directions, write opinion pieces, and write creatively.

We did science experiments and had Mds and PhDs to come talk to us. They played the Stockmarket Game and had stockbrokers to help them. They learned how to use technology to do word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, and animation.

I never had to raise my voice. My students loved to come to class. I could truly individualize my lessons.

I had no test scores hanging over my head. It's amazing what you can accomplish with small class sizes and the sacred test scores put on the shelf.

I really didn't do anything I could not have done with a similar sized class of students - regular ed or gifted. The key was class size and the freedom to just instruct. I spent almost all my time on instruction.

It pains me to see regular education ground down even further. I'm retired now but it is still painful to watch what's happening to regular ed.

Fire the Five said...

The DeKalb County school board will vote on a budget with at least 427 layoffs, seven teacher furlough days and at least four school closings.

On Friday morning, the board’s four-member budget committee adopted a tentative budget with $115.8 million in cuts and no tax hike.

Board members H. Paul Womack, Don McChesney and Jay Cunningham voted in support of the budget. Board member Eugene Walker voted against the proposal, saying he wants to raise taxes.

The budget includes laying off 200 paraprofessionals, 150 central office employees, 59 media clerks and 18 technical specialists.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the schools are getting cut a lot more than the central office in this new budget. Thanks Womack, Cunningham and McChesney. I guess when McChensey said he was only interested in cutting "fat" he really did mean "school house employees" and was not quoted out of context.

Cerebration said...

DeKalb says no to school tax hike

I commend them on this - it couldn't have been easy. I'm disappointed in the high number of furlough days, but I think they are correct in making cuts first. If we see that more needs to be done, then the time will come to look at taxes - but you can't just raise taxes to maintain the status quo. Hopefully, these cuts will be thoughtfully made - and the 150 central office cuts will really be made to unnecessary, expensive jobs - not everyday hard-working central office staffers.

We'll be watching!

Anonymous said...

Write to all your BOE members and Ms. Tyson and express how disappointed you are that classroom personnel are being laid off and teacher positions (7,000) are not being filled so that admin and support positions (8,800) will be virtually untouched.

As Maureen Downey has pointed out DeKalb has 155 employees per 1,000 students (and we know most are not teachers). Cobb comes in 2nd with 137 per 1,000 students (they're in the news today - "fat" admin and support always hurts your budget). APS only has 119 employees for every 1,000 students. Maureen has said on her blog that DeKalb is the "fattest" of all the metro systems. I guess Maureen has been number crunching - something our BOE and Ms. Tyson don't have the will to do.

So DCSS has the highest employee to student teacher ratio (and most are not teachers) and has the least schools making AYP. Can the BOE and Ms. Tyson really not see any correlation here?

Ms. Tyson and the BOE are squandering our tax dollars and cheating our children. Property values will not rise this way.

Education Last said...


The teachers are really getting creamed on this. A 6.5% cut. Seven furlough days. And the loss of parapros and media support.


"We'll cut a teacher's pay twice AND increase her work load so we can preserve the central office jobs."


Face it, folks. DCSS is NOT an education enterprise. DCSS is an employment agency. The primary function of DCSS is to provied high paying central office jobs. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Cere - you'll be watching. And here's what you'll be seeing: cut the teachers, cut the schools, hurt the students and preserve the central office jobs and all their perks.

Anonymous said...

Glad the BOE and Super put on the Tell-us-where-you-want-the-cuts charade, complete with a hot link from the DCSS main web page.

They're so full of it.

Am I supposed to believe that the majority of ideas submitted were to hit the schoolhouse hard, thin out the libraries, make the teachers' jobs harder by eliminating parapros, reduce teacher pay, and only do a token job of reducing central office overhead?

I'm sick and tired of the "we want your input" charade. The only input they're going to get from me for now on is a "No" vote everytime I see "incumbent" on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

Looks like they don't pay attention to the employee suggestions either.

Here's proof:

Maybe the employees already knew their ideas wouldn't be considered -- that would explain why only 371 of 15000+ employees even offered a suggestion in the first place.


Anonymous said...

@ Education Last said... 5:54 pm

"The teachers are really getting creamed on this. A 6.5% cut. Seven furlough days. And the loss of parapros and media support."

The STUDENTS are really getting creamed on this. Declining teacher morale. Less instructional days (since the state will no doubt add their furlough days. And the loss of parapros and media support.

Anonymous said...

"Board member Eugene Walker voted against the proposal, saying he wants to raise taxes."

I'm praying Ernest brown decides to run against Gene Walker again. Now that Gene is off the DeKalb Development Authority, he won't get $20,000+ in quid pro quo campaign donations from Sembler, Mel Sembler, Jeff Fuqua, and Semb;er consultants/former Vernon Jones advisor Angelo Fuster.

Please run Ernest; you'll win this time in a landslide!

Anonymous said...

How about reducing the Board to 7 positions elected by the entire population of DeKalb County, not just a section? Once elected, the members would be given a "zone" of schools to monitor and to support through attendance at graduations, school events, etc. Because the members would be elected by the ENTIRE county, they couldn't just campaign for their particular zone. This would cut down on the back-biting, fighting, and refusals to vote for something to improve a school whose parents can't vote for them. That's all that happens on our Board these days.

I don't even know how such a movement could be started (and it would SURELY be fought by some members). I just hate to watch them up there, behaving like children, more concerned with egos & votes than what children really need.

Dan M said...

The lack of budget cuts to the Central Office and non-academic departments such as MIS, school police, etc. is incredibly disappointing. It is also well past time to contract out many services such as MIS, HVAC and grounds.

Ms. Tyson comes from a non-academic department, MIS, which has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years. Over $20 million ayear on MIS with 290 employees, yet our teachers receive mediocre service, and millions are being spent on unproductive software such as eSIS.
That's a whole lot in benefits and pensions for MIS administrators and staff, pensions and benefits we'll be paying for decades.

It is unacceptable to allow such departments to grow budget-wise and staff-wise while class sizes are increased dramatically. Prioritize the classroom.

There are still many cuts to be made, and they need to be made on the administration side!

Ella Smith said...

The issue is simple. All high school teachers should be teaching 6 out of 7 classes currently in this situation. Yes, we all want better situations. However, the money is just not there and tought decisions have to be made.

However, this issue should not have been an issue. All the high schools should be on a regular schedule and all teacher should be teaching 6 out of 7 classes.

Again, teaching 6 out of 7 classes is the norm today. We would love to be teaching 5 out of 7 classes like Lakeside is. However, our school systems in other counties have not been doing this ever. The teachers in Dekalb have been lucky in the extra planning time that Dekalb has provided them. The teachers have been treated well in Dekalb County.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 8am: "The DeKalb County Public Schools Foundation was created to try to replicate the success of Atlanta's LEF but it hasn't happened because it is run by the system and not independently."

Well, that is an interesting point - that is not my understanding at all. The Board of the DCPSF is independent of the BoE and their bylaws prohibit any BoE member/family, DCSS employees, clergy and others that could dilute their independence. DCSS has contributed some administrative personnel to help run the day-to-day of the Foundation but has no ability to control its functioning as far as I can see.

Here is their Board: DCPSF Board

I have worked with DCPSF to launch Cross Keys Foundation and have not run into any issues of "DCSS meddling" so far. All financial accounts are separate from DCSS and are dedicated to our Foundation's purposes.

Ultimately, the DCPSF needs an ocean of cash before it can really have significant influence on the future of DeKalb public education. This is where the business community and high net worth individuals must be cultivated for deep, long-term partnerships.

On a side note, I stumbled upon Cobb's performing arts magnet school's web site tonight and was slack-jawed:

see: Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts

When I see schools like this and Wheeler High School Magnet in Cobb, I am embarrassed to be DeKalb taxpayer.

I know we have Arabia to brag about, I think, but a system of our size should have much more to show in terms of facilities and programs. And let's don't cry that we have an old system - Wheeler was opened in 1965, for example, and has managed to be cared for and nurtured by the community and County.

Square Peg said...

Ella, you say that teaching 6 periods is the norm, but does that apply to only some of the high schools in the county where you teach? Based on their websites (I'm not actually in the schools like you), it looks like many of the high schools in Fulton are on a 6-period day, so the teachers actually teach only 5 periods. That's a lot fewer students for the teacher than 6/7.

I went down the alphabet and looked at school websites for bell schedules or student handbooks. By the time I got to J, I had found 3 or 4 schools on a 6 period day and 1 on a 7 period day. I am not a fan of the 6-period day, but seeing that some excellent Fulton schools have it has opened my mind.

Just trying to get my mind around what is possible. I'm very worried about 4 schools (+ Tucker?) getting slammed with the worst cuts.


Alpharetta's bell schedule shows 6 periods:

Banneker's student handbook shows a 6 period bell schedule on page 12:

Centennial's website says they are on a 6-period day but their student handbook actually shows a complicated schedule with a seminar + 7(?) periods.

Chattahoochee's handbook says they are on a 7-period day

Couldn't find bell schedules or handbooks for Creekside, Hughes, and Independence.

Johns Creek has a 6-period bell schedule:

Anonymous said...

Correction to my comment- I meant to type that Gwinnett contributes to a separate retirement account for their teachers ( I accidently typed students).

Anonymous said...

I want to see the names of the central office cuts, this is the only way i will beleave that they are making cuts. We must remember a large number of the staff at the central office are relatives. And remember they cheat and lie, as we have seen in the pass. They will get rid of every body else before they touch family.

When they did the last lay-offs they kept the people who had less time and got rid of the people who had been there a very long time.

The lady that lewis gave a job she had only been with system a year and before they did the lay-offs he moved her, so therefore she kept her job. So just remember they take care of the friends and family. I will bet you that no one in there families lose there jobs.

Anonymous said...

How about seeing who potential persons might be that would consider running for the school board, and creating a campaign fund money bomb for them.
It worked to get Scott Brown
elected in Massachusetts awhile back. Oh, and please pay attention to the concept, not what political party Brown happens to be from. I know someone here will shoot the idea down because it worked for a
(gasp) Republican.
The idea can work at the local level, and in the case of Dekalb needs to. The big money boys have been calling the shots for decades. Leadership Dekalb is an indoctrination process.
Let's see who's running for office this year, and have many send them five or ten dollars, instead of a few throw tens of thousands of dollars their way.