Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Open Letter to the Board

A letter from Shayna

Please allow me to share my thoughts. In June of 2008, I decided to run for a position on the DeKalb County School Board. I made this decision because I cared about kids and about the education of all 100,00 children in Dekalb County. I naively believed that the School System was about educating these children. I think that I now understand that the System's priorities are more about maintaining jobs and programs and that education is a by-product. I believe this and share this with you because I am frustrated about the decisions being made at the local level.

My research shows that if you were to compare the size of the System now to when Dr. Brown left, you will find that the number of children enrolled in the System had been increasing and showed a bump in 2005 due to Katrina. If you look at the size of the System when Dr. Lewis took over and now, enrollment has steadily decreased to an October, 2009 FTE count of 97,958 to our current reported enrollment at the state's DOE website of 97,907.*

However, you look at past and present organization charts (if you can find them) you would find that the central office has grown tremendously since Dr. Brown's departure. Maureen Downey at the AJC reported that DeKalb has the highest number of employees per student by far of any metro school system. At 157 employees per 1,000 students, DeKalb is wildly ahead of Cobb (144/1000), Gwinnett (113/1000) and even Atlanta Public Schools (115/1000)**. Further, the salaries of many of the employees in the central office over just the past few years has increased significantly. The ratio of central office staff to teachers, with staff currently outnumbering teachers by over a 1,000 is appalling -- and your proposed budget cuts will increase that disparity even more. Furthermore, just between 2007 and 2008, “General Administration” nearly doubled from $10.6 million to $20 million and “Improvement of Instructional Services” grew from $53.4 million to $56.9 million but “Instruction” itself barely increased from $631.4 million to $639.2 million.***

I campaigned on an issue that bothered me deeply: I have a problem with former principals, without a business background, in charge of pure business functions. I believe that it isn't a wise use of tax payer money. I believe this is simply a reward system offering an increase in salaries for former principals, without consideration as to how those principals would best serve our system as a whole. This leads me to conclude that the System’s priority has not been about educating kids -- because while this has been going on in the central office, the class size in the school house is increasing, buildings are not being maintained, the teachers are having their retirements cut or eliminated (possibly incurring liability for a law suit based on a failure to alternatively fund social security from a prior program worked out between the County and the teachers), they are experiencing furlough days and other situations of massive stress exist. This certainly has a negative effect on the children.

The priority must be on the children. The children only have one chance at a childhood and one chance at their eduation. Many of our kids don't have adults in their lives who are responsible beyond their teachers for role models. Many of the kids will hit a point where they will make a choice to either get their education or to take some alternative and, for many, that alternative will ultimately lead to gangs and jail. There are already gangs in many of our Middle and High Schools. This results in criminal behavior. That crime may be against you, me, your child, my child, your friends, my friends, our neighbors, etc. The unproductive citizens that these uneducated children become cost society in terms of welfare, unemployment and other benefits that come out of pocket because you have made the decision to not take their education seriously and more importantly than the jobs of those in the central office.

The budget must focus on eliminating every unnecessary job and program, including America's Choice and similar programs. The very last place the cuts need to happen is in the school house and to the teachers who impact these children. They are your first and foremost responsibility -- they have this one chance and depend on you for their future. It may be that 30 years ago 38 of them could sit in a classroom all day. That is no longer the case. Have you seen a Lakeside classroom of 35? They can not move. You can't fit between the desks. The teachers can't hear themselves think. Kids figure out how to distract the teacher. The teachers have the kids grade each other's papers. The kids can't learn what they need to learn. They wind up failing a large number of their freshman class. Mr. Reed reported in his State of Lakeside address that 34.4% of freshmen received an "F" last semester. The classes are not homogenous. The teachers must differentiate the lessons. The teachers must comply with No Child Left Behind. They are supposed to meet AYP and pass the CRCT (at the younger ages). And now, they will have to teach more students with less planning time. None of this is as it was when the classrooms were stuffed to the gills in the 1970s and 1980s.

These kids are entitled to an education and a chance at a future. Don't leave them behind to protect adults who can ultimately get other jobs or return to the classroom to teach. Furthermore, the tax increase idea doesn't really work: there are too many foreclosures and equalization is still out there. More cuts need to be made to the central office and other areas outside the classroom. The budget cuts proposed by the committee hit teachers and students much harder than others. That is not only unfair, it is counterproductive to what should be the primary goal: educating each and every student to the best of your ability.

Thank you.






Shayna Steinfeld Campaign said...

Ladies and Gentlemen . . .

S H A Y N A S T E I N F E L D ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Anonymous said...


What a letter.

And what were the voters thinking when they were given the opportunity to elect her and they failed to do so?

Anonymous said...

Great letter, Shayna. Smart thinking and well written. Hard to argue with any of your points. Thanks for writing it. And thanks for sharing it.

Shayna Steinfeld ROCKS said...

@ Anon 5:55

Maybe the problem isn't the Board of Education.

Maybe the problem is the voters who elect them.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You woulda been GREAT on the school board.

Teacher said...

That is a fantastic letter. Talk about classrooms that are too crowded: I've seem science classrooms where doing a lab is an impossibility because the desks are so crammed together that you can't open the cupboards to take out supplies (if you even have supplies). Classrooms were built for a certain number of big, clumsy adolescent bodies--not for that number, plus 50% more.

And, to repeat a point: has anyone noticed the absence of TEACHERS' voices in all of this mess? You'd think, maybe teachers would have some really good ideas about what to do. But no one on the Board or in the Administration has asked. It simply does not occur to them! This is a significant insult to teachers: are we not to have an important voice in how we educate DCSS children? Apparently not.

As you note, schools need to put the priority on students and teachers. No teacher can possibly teach, with love and passion, 200 high school students each day, with 55 minutes of planning time. You can count on at least 25% of those students having some kind of special need--either an IEP, an emotional problem, a family crisis, or an illness. 25% is probably an underestimation. Each of those students needs individualized attention--but wait, they ALL need individualized attention!

Adding 2 students per class is a guarantee that teachers will feel pressured to work at home at night, even more than they already do. Many teachers routinely spend 2-4 hours each night, even now, trying to get the grading done, at significant cost to their own family lives. Small wonder that turnover in teaching,especially among young teachers, is now very high.

Putting kids first means using methods that have been proven to help kids learn. We don't need:

-any more expensive "programs"

-new and impossible-to-use information systems whose real purpose is to let administrators monitor test scores on a teacher by teacher basis (look back a couple of years to when the new data management system was proposed)

-administrators without proven records in whatever they are administering--budget, HR, facilities, transportation, etc--in DCSS, the same people are shifted from position to position. We need new, experienced people without ties and loyalties to influence their decision-making.

We need:

-greater authority in the hands of principals, and less in the hands of centralized administrators. Principals and teachers usually understand their students best. Administration should enable and support, not dictate, what is to go on at the schoolhouse.

-fewer administrators overall!

Anonymous said...

This is THE best letter to the Board I've seen. It addresses everyone's concerns (not just the narrow interest of a few). It's comprehensive. And it's built on solid values we can all agree on. Bravo, Shayna Steinfeld! Bravo!

themommy said...

Go Shayna.
We have a problem with WHO votes as well. Two candidates won with very small margins because of their agendas/campaign promises. One won because of the perception that he could return Lakeside to the "good old days" and the other won because he appealed to a narrow slice of one elementary community that wants to be redistricted.

Going forward, we must seek out and support candidates that speak to the issues that Shayna's letter talks about.

While each community has its own pressing issues, the reality is that DCSS is a large system and the dysfunctions of it are impacting each and every student.

Throwing out some food for thought on this Thurday evening... Dr. Lewis has clearly not stepped down yet (at least not publicly) but if he does, do we want this board to pursue his replacement or do we want them to wait until January 2011 after the election.

I eagerly await your input.

Dee Minus said...

Give us 6 more Shayna Steinfelds and a 7 member school board sounds like a great option! If we can only find 4 more, than keep the board at 5.

Shayna... run again!

Anonymous said...

A fellow teacher told me about Shayna Steinfeld, and I voted for her because I saw in her then what her letter shows now. She is the breath of fresh, honest air DCSS desperately needs! Unless someone with some sense (hard to find in the Central Office)does whtever it takes to protect the schoolhouse, the education of the students of Dekalb County is doomed. They are so worried about their own tails that they are willing to sacrifice the welfare of thousands of children. Is that really who you want running the show?

buges said...

What a great letter. Big picture clear. (And no selfish self interest nonsense.)

We blew it when we didn't elect Shayna Steinfeld to the school board. Big time.

I hope she runs again. And, next time, I hope she wins.

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

Terrific letter, Shayna. It encapsulates what most on this blog agree upon as the real and only pertinent issue - education of children and young adults.

If this board not have the good sense to replace Lewis with an honest, ethical, student-centered and business-oriented superintendent, and if competent BOE members are not elected, the system will continue to lose families as they relocate or choose other alternatives to DCSS.

SongCue said...

Way to go, Shayna! the wordsmith's wordsmith. It is such a shame you weren't elected last year.
I copied and pasted your letter with a "Hear, hear!" to all of the school board members.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, Shayna.

Anonymous said...

It's all about getting out the vote. BOE members get elected by an extremely small percentage of voters because that's who turns out to vote in BOE elections. Visibility and name recognition also are paramount. I believe Paul Womack's name was familiar since he was a former BOE member and that helped elect him.

The key is to get dedicated campaign workers to help get people to the polls who care about the educational system in DeKalb. And of course campaign contributions are important for the name recognition factor.

Anonymous said...

11:09 -- Great post.

Why is there no agenda posted yet for Monday's board meeting? Anyone know what is up?

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

We certainly worked hard to do for Shayna last election, but not hard enough. Hopefully, voters will remember what has occurred with this board and this administration when the next election rolls around. They'll be reminded.

To edit my last post:

If this board does not have the good sense to replace Lewis with an honest, ethical, student-centered and business-oriented superintendent, and if competent BOE members are not elected, the system will continue to lose families as they relocate or choose other alternatives to DCSS and lose good teachers as they leave or choose not to be hired by DCSS.

Dan Magee said...

An overly bloated school system administration with overpaid uppe level administrators is always unacceptable. Ridiculous expenditures like eSIS and America's Choice are unacceptable.
Too many employees and too large of a budget for non-academic departments like MIS and school police are unacceptable.

It's time for lean and mean, and it needs to stay that way.

SongCue said...

Mary Kay's posts are great. One point in her last post brings up the subject of losing families because of our schools.

I'd be interested in a very unscientific poll: how many bloggers know friends who have either withdrawn their kids to private schools or moved to another county because of the mismanagement of/frustration with DeKalb County Schools?

I know 3 that would feed into Fernbank ES/Shamrock MS/Druid Hills HS

Dekalbparent said...

Teacher - Please keep posting, and let your fellow teachers know about this blog. We absolutely need to know what you all think - what is going on in the schools, and how what is going on affects you. I realize teachers are apprehensive about posting (and justifiably so, according to what we have been told); rest assured that we are on your side and WE are listening to you!

Shayna - brava! wish I could have voted for you. You have summed up our frustration eloquently.

Anonymous said...

Add to your list the families that are opting for charter schools, and maybe even those that are on the waiting list for charter schools. Even though they get LESS funding than the mainstream DCSS schools they are a favored alternative by many.

Anonymous said...

Parents need to be weary of conversion charter schools. From my stand point, they are simply DCSS schools with a charter name. They have to follow all of the same curriculum of a regular DCSS school, plus whatever is in their charter; unless the people writing the charter were smart enough to write in alternatives.

I had never heard of conversion charter schools before coming to Georgia and think that they are a joke. I am excited about the Museum School opening in Avondale and hope that they blow away the DCSS surrounding schools. Their idea is original and I wish them the best.

Anonymous said...

We also need to add the Georgia Cyber Academy and home schoolers to the list. As a teacher, I have referred frustrated parents to the Cyber Academy. I know a few families that have already signed up for it for next year.

In my neighborhood, I know of three families that send their children to private school instead of DCSS. In the schools that I have worked in, I know of at least 4 families that bought houses in another county, 5 that have their houses on the market to sell and move to another county and will consider private school if they are unable to sell. Others are considering private school or moving, if they don't get into Kitteredge.

From where I am sitting: I am seeing our best teachers trying to leave DCSS along with our best and brightest students and families. This brain drain will continue until DCSS makes a huge turn around and that will take several years.

Anonymous said...

They have to follow all of the same curriculum of a regular DCSS school

No, they don't. The schools charter council can include as part of their charter the ability to use alternative textbooks. This has been done in at least 1 converstion charter that I am aware of. Conversion charters now have much more leeway with their charter applications than before.

SongCue said...

GOOD POINT, Anon. 1:27. I'll bet we all know several families who are no longer in DeKalb County Schools or are opting for charter schools; I had a meeting a few months ago with a parent who is trying to decide whether or not to stay in the system. Her kids are elementary school age. I think they're going to swallow the cost and move to the city of Decatur.

BTW, a friend of mine said that Druid Hills High School has locked all of the student bathrooms--they've had some problems. That school, like many, is so overcrowded. My question is this: with all of the school resource officers, why can't they post them at the bathrooms and keep at least one per hall open? Good grief, we have so many officers, at least use them!

Anonymous said...

A little clarification - as long as the textbooks meet GPS and national guidelines.

Teacher said...

Thank you, DeKalb Parent, for your encouragement about contributing to this blog. You can be sure that I'll let fellow teachers know about it, and I hope teachers who read this do, too. Besides being a great community forum, this blog fills in a critical hole: since the BOE and Administration haven't asked teachers for their suggestions or input for improving things, a public forum like this is the ONLY way we can be heard.

Yes, Teacher Anonymous, I also concur heartily with your observations. I know two families near me who will send their kids to private school next year because of the chaos in DCSS. One of these families is looking for a new neighborhood, as well. These are two very bright kids and just the kind of families we do not want to lose in DCSS. They also will need financial aid to afford private school: so, I can see down the line, a flood of smart, high-achievers from better-off families taking an increasing share of financial aid in the private schools, leading the schools to become even more selective and less diverse, and harder and harder to get into for still poorer kids.

I also know of several teachers who would like to relocate, but the hiring freeze in surrounding counties is holding them back.

And what will all that leave us with? I think that the people who are moving are just the tip of the iceberg. We don't want to have a community where people feel trapped into staying by sunken property values and the lack of jobs nearby. More and more, I hear, "I'd like to leave, but..." Although this is a national--or even international--economic slump now, our school system could rally by deciding to be the absolutely best it could be. Sure, times are rough, but we have enormous resources in people and facilities that could be employed to improve education. Only 15 years ago, DCSS was an outstanding school system.

Leadership is a big part of any Dekalb County School System comeback, though, and that's what I don't see on the horizon. If we were all sitting in a room together, who would we propose as having the intelligence, charisma (yes, it matters in a leader), tact, and experience to oversee the next few years? Are there any people in the current Administration who we think could do the job? On the Board? How would we actually want DCSS Administration to function, going forward? Does Ms. Tyson have what it takes, to be part of this? (Many teachers think, yes).

The next few weeks, when key budget decisions are finalized, are likely to be important for whatever Phoenix will rise from these scandal-ridden ashes. It's the time for more, not less, input from all concerned parties. Even a Phoenix needs proper care and attention--she won't rise without concerted efforts from the whole community. Think, speak out, tell the Board AND the Administration what you think about how best to educate OUR children!

Cerebration said...


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on Monday, April 12, 2010:

4:30pm Called Meeting to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a
personnel and a legal matter
William Bradley Bryant Center of Technology
2652 Lawrenceville Highway
Decatur, GA 30033

6:00pm Work Session & Business Meeting
William Bradley Bryant Center of Technology
2652 Lawrenceville Highway
Decatur, GA 30033

1. Debbie Schneider
2. Molly Bradsley
3. Leslie Freymann
4. Rachel Van Valkenburg
5. Aesha Baldwin
6. Bill Armstrong
7. Kelly Adam
8. Cynthia McGuinness
9. Elfreda Berry
10. Albert Barthe'
11. Joe Ani
12. Shawnya Williams
13. Lisa Morgan
14. Terri Beech
15. Cameron Parham
16. Tonna Harris-Bosselmann
17. David Schutten
18. Rosilind Taylor
19. Jacqueline Henry
20. Andrew Milne

Cerebration said...

1. Budget, Finance & Facilities Committee
Presented by: Mr. H. Paul Womack, Committee Chair

2. Business, Community & Government Relations Committee
Presented by: Dr. Eugene P. 'Gene' Walker, Committee Chair

3. Instruction and Board Policy Committee
Presented by: Dr. Pamela A. Speaks, Committee Chair

It is requested that the DeKalb Board of Education adopt the April 12, 2010 work session
& business meeting agenda.

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Ms. Ramona H. Tyson, Interim Superintendent

2. Financial Report
Presented by: Mr. Marcus Turk, Chief Financial Officer

3. DeKalb County School System Proposed Budget for 2010-2011 (FY2011)
Presented by: Mr. Marcus Turk, Chief Financial Officer

4. Human Resources Monthly Report
Presented by: Dr. Jamie L. Wilson, Jr., Chief Human Resources Officer

5. Amendment to the Bylaws and Policies: INITIAL REQUEST - Summer Internship Program,
Descriptor Code CI
Presented by: Dr. Jamie L. Wilson, Jr., Chief Human Resources Officer

6. Purchase of K-5 English-Language Arts and K-2 Consumable Mathematics Textbooks for
Presented by: Ms. Gloria Talley, Deputy Superintendent, Teaching and Learning

7. Adoption and Purchase of K-12 ESOL Textbooks and K-5 Supplemental ESOL Materials
Presented by: Ms. Gloria Talley, Deputy Superintendent, Teaching and Learning

8. Explore Learning Annual Maintenance Renewal
Presented by: Mr. Tony Hunter, Executive Director, Management Information Systems

9. Redan High School Technology Package
Presented by: Mr. Tony Hunter, Executive Director, Management Information Systems

10. Elluminate Live! License
Presented by: Ms. Kelli Wright, Director, Elementary Instruction, Teaching and Learning

11. DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) located at Avondale High School A/E Firm Architectural
Improvements Project
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

12. Clarkston High School Additions & Renovations Construction Contract
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

13. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Addition A\E Design Firm Approval
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

14. Towers High School Career Technology Addition Construction Change Order
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

15. SPLOST II Budget Reallocation (419)
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

16 Capital Improvement Plan Budget Reallocation (421)
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

17. General Funds Budget Reallocation (101)
Presented by: Ms. Barbara M. Colman, Interim CIP Operations Officer

18. Naming of the Mountain Industrial Center
Presented by: Dr. Pamela Speaks, Board Representative, District 8

19. Amendment to the Bylaws and Policies: READY FOR ACTION - Board Policy on Ethics,
Descriptor Code BH
Presented by: Dr. Pamela A. Speaks, Board Representative, District 8

Anonymous said...

@ Teacher 3:26 pm

I've lived in the Lakeside area about a mile from the schools for almost 30 years so I know what Lakeside used to be, is now and is projected to be. I wrote my BOE member Paul Womack regarding Dr. Lewis's proposal to pack as many students as possible into Lakeside while preserving as many admin and support jobs as possible.

I'm retired, and my child is through high school and college. However, I'm concerned about the quality of education for the children in my neighborhood. Also, my property taxes have gone up this past year as my neighborhood has actually seen an increase in property values. Now DCSS proposes to degrade the quality of education for the high school, and I can't help but feel this will be detrimental to our property values. I've encouraged my neighbors to write Ms. Womack because even if they are retired DCSS BOE decisions affect them too.

I've been following Ms. Tyson's proposals, and I can't see that she has anything much different that Dr. Lewis except that she has 5 proposals instead of 2. She has not been willing to address the problem of too many admin and support personnel and not enough teachers.

I think DCSS needs a new BOE and certainly we need a new superintendent - one that will make the hard decisions to downsize the enormous bureaucracy of non-teaching personnel that Dr. Lewis created. At this point there does not seem anyone inside the DCSS who is willing and able to take one that task.

themommy said...


Currently, Board policy states that the DeKalb County Board of Education will support a Summer Internship Program. It is recommended that the policy be amended to provide flexibility in program implementation to meet the needs of the school district.

The Summer Internship Program is designed for graduating high school seniors or current undergraduate college students, ages 17 to 24, to have an opportunity for up to 10 weeks of employment during summer break.

It is recommended that the Board of Education amend Policy CI to reflect the following changes in the Summer Internship Program: (1) require a recommendation from the Superintendent for program implementation; (2) require college applicants to be undergraduate students; and (3) limit the participation requirements to non-current employees and non-immediate family members of current employees.

Anonymous said...

@themommy 5:52 For equity purposes across dristics they should also add a clause that board member Mrs. Zapora Roberts cannot hand pick anyone for this program for the next 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Budget Plans E-I proposed eliminating summer interns. Seems like a no-brainer since this program doesn't impact the classroom. So why is the board discussing amending the policy?

Anonymous said...

You know I really like how the BOE doesn't give a flying flip about anyone but themselves. Check out Zepora Roberts comments when questioned abot raising the mill rate.
Board members Zepora Roberts, Sarah Copelin-Wood and Pamela Speaks either refused to comment or didn’t return phone calls.

“I am on vacation. I have thought nothing about it,” said Roberts, the board’s vice chair. “I just got back from out of the country and I have no thoughts [about the budget].”

Excuse me...but what the heck is that about. You don't deserve a vacation when the DCSS is 115 million in the red due to all of their negligence. They suck big time...they need to stop passing the buck and do the job they were Elected to do...get rid of all those freaking programs that do not benefit ALL students...This is not to offend but if Gwinnett doesn't have them why should DeKalb or any other local school system. This is the heart of waste right along with NCLB and over employment of family and friends. Let's really put the focus on educating all children on the same value system. Parents should be calling the BOE members all day and night making them do the right thing.

Cerebration said...

There's more --

“If you think we can cut $115 million from a budget and not affect services, you are in la-la land,” board member Don McChesney said Friday.
“People are unreasonable to think it can’t change. It has to.”

Read on --

DeKalb board remains divided on school tax hike

Anonymous said...

“If you think we can cut $115 million from a budget and not affect services, you are in la-la land,” board member Don McChesney said Friday.
“People are unreasonable to think it can’t change. It has to.”

Funny, but if McChesney thinks we can cut $115 million from a budget and not affect non-teaching personnel outside the schoolhouse, he is in la-la land.
Ms. Tyson and the BOE are unreasonable to think admin and support numbers can't be reduced. They have to.

Cerebration said...

IMO, this section of Shayna's letter tells us all we really need to know -

Furthermore, just between 2007 and 2008, “General Administration” nearly doubled from $10.6 million to $20 million and “Improvement of Instructional Services” grew from $53.4 million to $56.9 million but “Instruction” itself barely increased from $631.4 million to $639.2 million.***

She provides the link at the state's website to the DCSS audit where she got these numbers. This is the truth - this is for real. This represents about a $14 million INCREASE in non-schoolhouse, management personnel in under 2 years. We need to begin our budget cuts by at least returning to where we were BL (Before Lewis).

SongCue said...

Hey Cere--thanks for putting the BOE Agenda on the blog. I know you receive alerts about board meetings, but the called meeting isn't on the DCSS web site. Do you know why that might be? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Who are the Family Coordinators that cost DCSS $4,500,000 in salary and benefits?

What does this group do? I know they aren't teachers. I know BOE member Zepora Roberts daughter is one the Family Coordinators.

How many BOE members have relatives in these non-teaching positions? No wonder they don't want to touch non-teaching positions while they want to cut the teacher positions that teach our kids.

Dr. Lewis asked that Ms. Robert's daughter receive a salary increase in 2006 during a BOE meeting.

This looks like a make work department. Wouldn't $4,500,000 be better spent in the classroom?

Ella Smith said...

Another great letter, Shayna.

You are a jewel and it is too bad you are not one of our school board members.

The internship program may need to go. The school board members should not have a say in who gets the interships. These are very political and need to go. We need to make cuts and we cannot afford this program this year.

concerned reader said...

Ms. Steinfield did not win because of name recognition. Sounds as though she would have done a good job. Next time she will. She appears to have some interpretation of what is occurring in DCSS. DCSS needs more involved community stakeholders, such as Ms.Steinfield and Mr. E.Brown.

Blogs should be a place to share truthful information, and quoting Meagan Mattuci from the ajc is not doing anything to improve DCSS. If a quote from Kristin Torres was on here, you would have a better leg on which to stand. MMattucci is always negative in her coverage of DCSS as if she does not give a damn about what happens to the children, but as long as Lewis is gone fine with her (her wish came true today).

The general busget incrceased and instruction services increased because when the STATE decided to cut the prevention intervention specialist funds then require that graduation coach program expand without the full funding to go along with it, money had to come from somewhere to fund projects that are actually making a positive change inside the schoolhouse.

As far as Dr. Lewis asking for a raise for a board members daughter, that is funny as somebody does not understand the policy that changes to employment or salary of board member relatives has to be adopted by the board. Because the group of parent staff had received salary adjustments, Ms. Roberts' daughter's had to be voted on though her co-workers automatically received. Based on what is blogged, you would think that Dr. Lewis just said "Ms. Roberts your daughter is getting a raise" and the entire board went along with it.
We claim to want the best for DCSS and the best way is to have accurate information floating around on blogs. Just the same as the quote from Ms. Roberts, it made no sense when I read it for 3 times. then I thought, I should not pass judgement on the conversation between an ajc writer who hates Lewis, and a board memeber. Anyone can write a quote without writing every question in between the answers, I can even move the answers around as long as they are true quotes, they can be consolidated from several interviews, they can be from a automatic email response,etc. So repeating what is on ajc only does an injustice to the DCSS students and taxpayers.

Sorry for such a long comment, but happy to see this blog.

Cerebration said...

Glad you're here, 8:38 PM. Thanks for the clarification... We are a blog - a discussion among parents, teachers and community people. We try as we might to be as accurate as possible, but of course, we are not insiders, so we can't know all.

That is why I always encourage DCSS to create their own blog! People could submit questions and get answers "from the horse's mouth"... which would nip a lot of misinformation in the bud.

Anonymous said...

"The general busget incrceased and instruction services increased because when the STATE decided to cut the prevention intervention specialist funds then require that graduation coach program expand without the full funding to go along with it, money had to come from somewhere to fund projects that are actually making a positive change inside the schoolhouse."

48 graduation coaches consume around $3,500,000 of a billion dollar budget so that is not what inflated DCSS's budget. An unparalleled increase in admin and support personnel increased DCSS's budget.

While DCSS graduation rates (under local and state control) have improved, DCSS SAT scores (a nationally normed test - not under local control) have gone down.
2004 – Verbal 464 Math 459 No data
2005 – Verbal 465 Math 457 No data
2006 – Verbal 462 Math 451 Writing 452
2007 - Verbal 457 Math 443 Writing 446
2008 - Verbal 452 Math 443 Writing 444
2009 - Verbal 451 Math 441 Writing 442

I would trust a nationally normed test that students sit for all over the nation on designated days with strict proctoring over inflated grades, pressure to accept late work, let students retake tests, and reworked and diluted criterion referenced GHSGTs.

If our students were truly achieving more and graduating at higher rates, then we would not see the SAT go down - they should be going up. That is not the case. A nationally normed test like the SAT says volumes about the performance of a school system's high school achievement level.