Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Orleans Charter System vs Traditional Public Education

Two sides of the charter coin below. This is a very hot topic in DeKalb.  We will open three new charter schools this fall, drawing several hundred students away from already thinly populated neighborhood schools. How should we plan for this trend?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that your opposing viewpoint really tells the story of public schools. I think the charter schools in New Orleans are successful, because they are essentially their own school system. They make their own decisions. Most teachers, given a choice, would prefer to work in this type of situation. Small school systems mean greater autonomy for the learning community. Parents have more say in what happens in the school. If a teacher isn't getting the job done, there are complaints and that teacher probably won't be back the next year.

I have several questions. Are these charter schools taking all students? What happens if the school is full? What about class size? What happens if a student is disruptive or violent? What about special education services?

Kim Gokce said...

I think the key to the hope represented in the first video (wasn't the piano music lovely?) is simply to facts: 1) A "clean" start always feels better, 2) The school house level of control empowers faculties.

If DeKalb BoE or any other public schools governance body could do a good job of creating a new vision for their system and actually empowering instruction at the school house, we see the same enthusiasm (and possibly piano music) covering the public schools.

May God bless the teachers and families trying their best to care for their children in Orleans Parish - charter, no charter.

Ella Smith said...

My concern is the Destiny Academy of Excellence, which is an at-risk youth high school program designed to meet the needs of students who are not currently succeeding in their conventional high school, attending sporadically or may be in danger of leaving school prior to graduation. Destiny Academy will provide an environment designed to meet the comprehensive needs of these at-risk students by utilizing small learning groups and interaction with a multi-disciplinary staff that is trained and committed to successfully educating each student.

These are the same services that we offer in our other alternative schools which was questions by only a few of the school board members.

Can we afford to continue to pay for these additional schools in a time of crisis when this school did not finish its charter paper work as requested last year?

Is this a political move on behave of some of the school board members and even possible the new Secretary of Education to try to get votes? I wondered but do not know if this is the case. Why was the other charter not given the same opportunity as Destiny? Destiny is currently continuing to run like a Charter School in Dekalb County politically by our school board but it has not bothered to finish its paperwork. Why? Something does not smell good to me regarding this situation particularly since we have outstanding alternative facilities in Dekalb. I could understand if we did not have fine alternative programs. Our alternative programs in Dekalb have won honors. However, we need a charter school in this area. Why? Who is involved that will benifit someone at the State Department and also some individuals on the schoolboard during the next election? Would it have something to do with a certain church in South Dekalb? I wonder but I do not know if this is the case. I just smell some politics which has nothing to do with what may be best for all the students in Dekalb. A great deal of money is being spent on this program. How is getting votes out of pushing this program through even if they do not have the correct paperwork complete? Why is it ok for them not to have the paperwork and others are turned down? I do not understand!!! Something seems unfair to me or smells politically fishy. Can someone do some homework on this one for me? Something just is not right.

I am not against Charters. But if you turned down any one Charter because they do not have their paperwork done then you must turn down all Charters because they do not have their paperwork done. Otherwise I would think this would discriminatory toward the others who also did not have their paperwork. Why was this group treated differently?

Paula Caldarella said...

Ella, I believe this was the point Pamela Speakes was trying to make with her, I thought appropriate, probing questions - she was quickly and vociferously shut down by Eugene Walker.

Anonymous said...

Numerous studies (at lease those studies funded by someone other then entities that have eggs in the charter school basket) continue to show that charter school do NOT perform better than regular public schools as long as you control for things like income, language ability, parental involvement...those things over which public schools have no control.

"On average, charter schools are not performing as well as their traditional public-school peers, according to a new study that is being called the first national assessment of these school-choice options. The study, conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, compared the reading and math state achievement test scores of students in charter schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia—amounting to 70 percent of U.S. charter school students—to those of their virtual "twins" in regular schools who shared with them certain characteristics."

Read the full article here:

There are big-money interests pushing the charter school model, and bashing public schools in the process. If corporations benefit from charter schools and children don't, why is this a good option?

Ella Smith said...

I noticed Dr. Walker shut her down and was upset with her and this made me wonder why he is so upset.

I also saw the three people vote against it probable because they also suspect that it is politically laced with votes and really has nothing to do with what is best for the kids in Dekalb.

This is so much money and we already have these services. The alternative programs we have are excellent in this county for students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. They have so many other options in this county. Right now I am not for sure that we can afford to spend this kind of money.

I agree it is nice but many services we have dropped are nice and they serve many more kids and we already have services for this population of kids and I worked with at risk students in DeKalb for many years and I know how great the services are for our kids in Dekalb. I think this is a political decision for many on the school board. I hope I am dead wrong on this one. I just want to see decisions made on what is best for our children in DeKalb and I think many times this is not the case.

I give Don props. He voted "NO" on this one and I noticed.

Ella Smith said...

Currently 96% of our schools in the nation are public schools so their really is not that much data present yet for charter schools.

I teach at a Charter School and I sincerely do not see the difference between a charter school and a public school. Schools are turning to charter schools as a means to try to get more attendance of students because it is a trend. I see positive things and I see negative things about Charter Schools.

However, charter schools are public schools in reality since public money is used so there really is not a difference finacially.

Anonymous said...

What I noticed about the video is how the teachers greeted the students and how the students walked and acted in the halls. I have been in charter schools in IL, PA, Conn, NYC, MD, DC, New Orleans, and AZ. These schools all had discipline. Their students knew the expectations and they knew that would have to meet them to stay. The school years and days were longer for the most part, and the students at many of these schools were not the cream of the crop from the public schools. In fact, many of the public schools were not sad to see these children go. It is difficult to compare the schools until you really look at where the students were at the beginning and look at the progress that they made at the end.

I am all for competition in our public schools as keeping things at status quo is only hurting our children and our society.

Anonymous said...


Your charter school isn't a real charter school. It is a conversion charter school that still operates much like a traditional public school.

Real start up charter schools may or may not perform better than the schools their students come from. There are, in my opinion, some fabulous models out there that show how to educate at-risk students.

The latest independent study actually showed that students in charter schools perform no better than students who don't get selected in the lottery for the school. However, there was one big exception to this, lower income charter students performed better in math than their peers whose names weren't drawn.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Stanford University disagrees with you that there is not enough data to evaluate charter schools. If you have information to support that claim, I would be most interested in a link.

There are monumental differences between most charter schools and regular public schools. The greatest difference, in opposition to your claim, is the funding. While charter schools do, indeed, receive public funding, they can and do also receive massive private monies.

The charter schools in New Orleans, including some discussed in the video, are funded by such groups as the Walton and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations. One 10-school charter collaborative in NOLA is funded by the Baptist Community Ministries.

I, too, worked in a charter school. And while it is true that some are not very different in day-to-day operations that regular public schools, the larger issue here is to what we are opening our doors.

Anonymous said...

Ella I was at the BOE meeting and thought it was a travesty that DeKalb Path's Charter application was summarily denied and they were told to go back to the drawing board and start over. This would have been a K-8 school in Tucker.

However, Destiny Academy has been unable to write a sufficient charter application for a high school program for at risk students and the county is going to help them re-write their application. Folks, if you will remember during the initial budget talks the proposal was to eliminate Destiny's funding because their charter application was denied. In addition, DCSS was to consolidate all the tiny, schools that serve special populations and often duplicate services.

Magically, Destiny re-emerged Monday night not as a Charter school but as a "vendor" to DCSS to operate an at risk school. In addition, instead of graduating students the new focus is to provide services for a semester or two and then return the students to their home school. (of course the students could be 21 or 22 years old).

The head of Destiny is Dr. Callaway who I understand is married to Frankie Callaway.

This is one of the few times I agreed 100% with Ms. Roberts. She was trying to get a straight answer about how much money was being budgeted for Destiny and Moseley and the Turk were dancing all around. According to my notes, I thought the final answer is that we are spending $1.4million for a maximum of 100 students. Plus this seems to duplicate services provided by other programs such as Eliz. Andrews, Open Campus and Night Truancy.

Roberts, McChesney and Redovian voted against this proposal. Speakes asked questions but AS ALWAYS she voted with the recommendation of DCSS.

Ella, this did not "smell" right to me. I would rather have spent the $1.4 million (plus a lot more)to close down a chronically underperforming high school that has never made AYP and reopen that school with fresh staff and a fresh focus on academics.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, a correction is in order in my post. It was not DeKalb Path, it was DeKalb Prepatory Academy that was denied.

sorry for the mistake.

Ella Smith said...

I agree that more money is received particulary in the beginning of the charter from private and public sources for charters. But, public schools also get the same funds from these foundations as charter schools get and charter schools are still public schools as they are mostly funded by public money.

However, I heard that charter schools percentage is about 2% in the nation at the meeting I went to for school board candidates by the State Board of Education and that private schools are 4%. Charter schools are considered public schools so their percentage goes into public schools however it is still a very small percentage.

I agree they can be a positive thing and that a start up Charter is very different than a conversion charter like North Springs.

However, I have had one horrible experience when I worked at a charter school for a short period of time before this and they were not paying my insurance premiums which made me think twice about working at a charter several years ago. I resigned and went back to public school to teach. I saw discipline but also folders handled inappropriately and many public funds handled inappropriately.

I am not against Charter Schools. I do feel that some charter schools are much better than public schools as we know them know. I think administrators need to support their teachers more with discipline issues in many public school and we need more disciplined classes so learning can occur. However, students are different so teachers also must change their way of presenting information to meet the needs of todays learners.

Again, I am concerned about decisions in Dekalb being made fairly for all Charter Petitions and I do believe Politics should not be involved with decisions being made. All the paperwork must be filed and and followed for all. There should be no exceptions to this rule. This is unfair to all the charters which get turned down.

Ella Smith said...

Annonymous 2:43

I thought the same thing. Somethings was not right about this. I also felt Mr. Mosely explained very well that these services were provided in our school.

I think the news media needs to look into this a little further myself. I think the answer may lie in what church Mr. Callaway goes to. I know Dr. Walker wants this churches support. I want it also. I heard the State Department wants Detiny to be successful. Does our new Secretary of Education need support also in South Dekalb? Is this possible why another fraction of the board is pushing this through for the new Secretary of Education who used to be the Chairman of the School Board. I hope I am wrong on what I was concerned might possible be happening here. This is a political year.

A position on the school board would never mean enough to me for me not to vote always for what is bests for the taxpayers and children of Dekalb County. This is what is wrong with our Dekalb County School Board currently now in my opinion. However, I do believe Pam Speaks does try to take time and evaluate the situation before voting. I think she had reservations about Destiny Academy.

Anonymous said...

If the Destiny organization is
now receiving funds as a "vendor" to Dekalb, didn't this need to be bid by the school system? Perhaps there are other educational vendors who could provide a superior service for less money?

Paula Caldarella said...

I have to agree, this Destiny "situation" just does not pass the smell test. The BOE claims they "got the message" with regards to the corruption and questionable deals. It is obvious from the "conversaton" concerning Destiny that they still don't get it.

Paula Caldarella said...

This is definitely a contract with Destiny. So, the question about putting these services out for bid seems to be a legitimate one, imo.

Ella Smith said...

I just saw that Brad Bryant did not get the signatures to run for GA School Superintendent. I wonder if one or two members of the school board with try to get him as our school superintendent. He has a business degree and actually knows the Dekalb County School System well. What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

We are spending a lot of money on these special schools and, I think, it is being done at the expense of our regular school program. Extra teachers, smaller classes, and added subject area learning cost money.

A regular school doesn't have the luxury or ability to turn away a student just because the school is over crowded. If the child has a behavioral problem, is disruptive in class, or hurts another child, you can't send that child away. I think we put up with a lot of problems that charters don't have to deal with. That being said, it is possible to maintain good quality discipline in a public school, even with difficult children. I see it every day.

There are "invisible" obstacles to participating in these programs, including parental participation requirements, travel distance to the school, and knowing when and how to apply for the program. This may mean that the student who would most benefit from the program doesn't participate.

Anonymous said...

Destiny takes the kids you don't want at your school.

There is a link on the board item, that I can't open. I am curious if it is a sole source letter, which would eliminate the need for competitive bids. I would question though if they really are the sole source of such services?

Can anyone open the link on the board item?

Follow this link and then go to item #7

Ella Smith said...

We already have the Dekalb Alternative School which takes kids in which have serious issues that cannot be in the regular school setting.

The Dekalb Alternative School is where we send our special education students who had serious problems like bringing guns to schools, stealing, gang activity etc. This is duplicate services which I what I do not understand at all. I am very familiar wiht Dekalb Alternative School. We would send Special Needs Students with serious issues and their parents would want them to stay because of the support the students received from the staff which was exactly what the students needed. The students could earn the privilege to come back to the regular education setting after good behavior.

I think this Destiny Academy may be a great idea. However, it is a duplicate of what we have. We cannot afford both programs. DeKalb Alternative is in a bought Plaza over in Stone Mountain. It is in the middle of the county which is centrally located while this location is in Ellenwood which is not in a Central location at all. Is this area an area of high-risk children that we know nothing about? However this school only served 100 students. The other location is large and would appear to hold these students. I do not understand why we need both programs. This is what stints. Something is wrong here. I promise you the old Dekalb Alternative Program was excellent.

Ella Smith said...

I opened and read it and it saud that the contract can be done away with a thirty day notice. This did make me feel better. Sometimes we do need to read everything available before we get upset. However, I still feel this is a duplication of services we do not need in a time of financial crisis. Dekalb County does not even have fire inspectors enough to inspect buildings in Dekalb. We really need to be carely with our money in the school system.

Anonymous said...

I read where Ella Smith posted on the AJC Get Schooled Blog that Brad Bryant would be a good superintendent of DeKalb Schools. This is just exactly why I urge anyone reading this not to vote for her for the BOE. We need someone from OUTSIDE the insular world of DeKalb County Schools. Not someone who sat at its head and has a building named for him. Jeeeeez.

Anonymous said...

I appologize for going off the topic of Charter schools, but DCSS posted all the EOCT scores today. They are not pretty in math, science and US History.

Statewide only 52% of students passed Math II and only 44% in DeKalb. 59% in DeKalb passed Math I, and this is the second year it has been taught.

Anonymous said...

I think we sometimes jump to conclusions before we have adequate information. The Destiny Academy is a "State of The Arts" Alternative program quite different from the other alternative schools in DeKalb. It is my understanding that Destiny was a charter school and that misdirections were given by the State Charter School Office ( where there is a new Director now) as well as Dekalb School System . Mrs. Tyson admitted thsi an put check points in place for this not to happen again.
Personally, I am not in favor of Charter Schools at all.
Alternative schools were to be consolidated but Zepora Roberts oppesd this so heavily because it would require a lost of jiob for her daughter, who is in an over-staffed alternative school. That is why she is so opposed to Destiny... she would rather have those students attend the school where her daughter works.
Gene Walker has always been overly passionate about potential prisoners since he served on the State Parolle Board and heard so much testamony about how schhols had let kids fall through the crack. At least Wommack, Walker, Speaks, Woods and Cunningham had visited Destiny Academy. I hope all candidates wll have the time to see what is going on and not continue to rely torally on what staff reports. Clewis learned that lesson the hard way.
Ella, for the record, it was Brad Bryant and Francis who started "Friends & the Family" with the "undeserved" Bryant sellin administrators and asprising administrators home in " The Southlands".
Yes, let's go as far away from Georgia as we can to bring a Real Supt. to DeKalb.
Wow, this was the first tiem I have heard Dr. Beasley speak about Education. He really took the "system to the next level". Hope he is allowed to do his job. Too bad we had 5 years of Tally without a DeKalb curriculum.

I think great things can happen in DEkalb if we learn from the past and focus on all of the children in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for enlightening us on Zepora "soap Boxx: against Destiny. I felt something was weird. By the way, where ir Board Chair TOM BOWEN? I AM TIRED OF ZEPORA CHAIRING AND DOMINATING THE MEETINGS.

Anonymous said...

Just because a program is great, doesn't mean that DCSS can afford it.

That said, I felt ZR's concerns about Destiny were driven by something personal. Almost to personal, you know what I mean.

This would explain it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cheryl,
Thank you for your comments. So many people on this blog support special schools for gifted students. Programs for the arts, like DSA but when it comes to programs for students having trouble the climate changes.
I have spent my career working in very high performing schools on the northern end of the DCSS.
Many time students that are having personal, family or academic problems are lost in certain settings.
I am not going to debate back and forth with someone who says help is there in those schools, I am stating a fact from not just hearing about the situation but actually working in it.
Every school is not right for every student. One of the best points of the DCSS was that we offered program that tried to meet the needs of students with problems.
If you want to talk money, it takes less to educate than to arrest and house a young person. DSA, IC, Fernbank Center, DECA, DOLA they are all small. No one asked for data related to them.
Yes, the DCSS is in financial trouble. We are not in financial trouble because of the steps that we have taken to try and educate our students.
We are not in court and the newspapers about that.
Keep Focused

Anonymous said...

Keep Focused continued.

We were not good stewards. Someone made this comment once a long time before.
People in high places were so busy trying to keep their jobs that they forgot to do their jobs.
It is so easy to select small targets. Gifted, special education, alternative education but we were not mindful of the bigger problems.
Think about the money we did not get from the state. What other money did we lose by those in the very top levels not following through or keeping their words.
We build a wonderful school to reduce over crowding, but someone how it gets changed to a school that will only admit certain students, Arabia Mountain.
We created jobs, like a wellness director and lose a person with a health background. We create a big PR department and it spent so much time trying to put a good spin on all the bad. When the system is sinking fast, we agree on a raise.
I am sure there are many bad decisions that we have made all along the way for years. But in the last few years we lost our moral compass.
So as an educator, northern end resident and a tax payer. I have no problem with my money going to schools that provide programs for students having problems and need support to learn in a different way. In my family we were blessed to go to Ivy League Schools and most of our children are following that tradition. That does not mean that I do not have compassion or an understanding that even the Ivy League is not for everyone. A nephew is going to a small local school in Georgia and that school is helping him evolve into an amazing young man.

I love Kim G. He supports students that many people over look. Alternative schools do the same thing. Many students that go to our schools may be in this country illegally. Do we throw them out of school? Do we deny them an education? Issues with humans are complex. Should we close the International Center? It is a special school. What would you like to do with those students that need support? ELL classes are very small. I want my money, time and effort to go to educating all students. No I do not want schools created for the sake of creating schools. But before we jump on a Destiny. How about looking at the money we spend on America's Choice. That's more than the entire budget of Destiny.
What are the benefits of that program? Do we have data to support the results of it?
How about the pep rally that all teachers had to attend last school year? How much did that cost? What good did it do?
How did the fitness center advance the school system?
I do not type well so forgive my errors. I am not related to anyone in the school system. I actually work in a school.
I hope that we do not get so focused on gifted versus alternative or special education vs ELL that we do not keep our eyes on the elections and the bigger problems in this county.
Let us not fight each other at this time.
Before we judge any school, let us have true knowledge of the program and how it benefits our students.
I appreciate the courage of Ms Tyson the other night.

Ella Smith said...

I thought the situation might be political and personal for Ms. Roberts also but I did agree with her on this one.

I do not know if Brad Bryant would or would not be a good school superintendent. I shall he withdrew from the Secretary of Education race due to lack of votes. I know how close he is to some members of the school board currently and know he has many political connections. I know they are looking for someone with a business degree possible. He has a business degree and is a lawyer. He is familiar with the school system and has many political connections on the school board. I thought it may be a possibility and I believe I ask what individuals thought.

I have disagreed with him and several things but I respect him as an individual who wants positive changes in education in GA. I have not made a decision about what I think about him as a school superintendent of Dekalb Anonymous. Please do not make announcements on here about what I think about something. I believe I can blog for myself. I also have thought it should be someone from the outside to bring in new visions and ideas. However, I also have no idea who would even be in the pool to be considered so I have no opinion at this point about who should be our next school superintendent.

Anonymous, I do not believe I would get your vote regardless. You love to cut me down on this site. However, I am not bothered in the least. If I knew who you were I might not vote for you either. I have asked you to email me. You ask me questions as a candidate and when I ask you to email them to me because I will not answer them on this blog as a candidate you refuse to do so.

I do believe I would have the guts to sign my name to my response if I posted I would not vote for you. This is a free country and you are free to vote for who you want, just like each one of us. Just go vote. This is what each of us must do on Novemeber 2, 2010.

I love blogging on this web not as a candidate but as a concerned citizen. I have had surgery twice in the last few weeks, been in bed or in the hospital and not been out of the house. I set down at the computer to blog and do something I enjoy because its been a little tough for me lately and I run into your smart comments, just trying to be mean again. This is your only intent. I feel sorry for you.

I care deeply about what happens to the Dekalb County Schools, schools in our state and nation whether or not I am ever a school board member in Dekalb County. My passion has been here for an extremely long time and there is nothing negative or ugly you could say at this point Anonymous that could ever change this. I love children. This is why I became a teacher and a coach. I am at the end of my career as a teacher having taught for 30 years, but my passion and love for the children will continue to be in my heart and soul until the day I die and Anonymous you cannot take that away everytime you blog your evil words. God knows my heart and soul and will judge me. He will judge you also. May God Bless and Keep You in his Prayers Anonymous.

Winning this postion does not mean enough to me not to defend such meaness. Again, I sincerely will pray for you that you find something better to do with your time than to try to be mean to me.

Please stop putting words in my mouth which are not true. I am getting tired of it. You are not Anonymous which has been talked about on this web several times.

Please do not make me find out exactly who you are due to hurting my character by making false statements on this site repeatily.

Be True to Your School said...


I believe you are well-meaning. But, there is a huge difference between being well-meaning and being well-informed and effective. It seems to me that you often make statements based on feelings or unfounded opinions instead of considering what you are going to say (doing the hard work of research, documentation and and critical thinking) and the impact your words will have on others.

Personally, I would not care EXCEPT you are running for a BOE position and there are people out there who are even less well-informed. These people read your words and take them as Gospel. These people, if they vote at all, are likely to vote for you.

No matter how well-meaning you are -- and, again, I believe you are well-meaning -- we simply cannot afford to have another ineffective BOE member whose vote is driven by feelings and unfounded opinion instead of by the hard work of research, documentation and critical thinking on the issues.

Ella Smith said...

You are probable correct Be True to Your School and Anonymous, I probable need to go over and take my name off the ballot so Dr. Walker has no competition at all.
I thought this website was promoting individuals running against the current board but I guess I was wrong in my assumptions.

I am sorry I blog on this blog again. I made a mistake again. I have always loved this blog and what it stands for and what it attempts to do. I have been here since the beginning and think I had much more perfer to be myself that to worry about being cut to pieces because I want to make a difference as a candidate.

I had perfer to be a writer on this blog than a candidate being cut to threads just because I am a candidate. Maybe I do need to reconsider my decision.

I was sick at home and want to communicate with some outsiders professionally about viewpoints about what is happening on the board. I guess this is not the place for that. We have to be ugly repeatily.

Ella Smith said...

You have emotionally hurt me. I am an individual who is disabled who may have worked hard her whole life getting a good education. I just finished all my classwork for my ED.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration but because I am an individual who does have weaknesses just like most people do have regardless if they are disabled or not I do have feelings and a heart and words do hurt when they keep coming and they are mean. They may not be true but sometimes they hurt just the same. I hope this was what you wanted as it is was what you got.

I am sick and feel horrible so I am emotionally also. You got through my thick skin. I hurt. You made me cry and you are making me reconsider my decision. Does this make you feel better? I hope it does?

My gradepoint average in a 3.87 so and most of my grade is based on
doing the hard work of research, documentation and and critical thinking from 10 different teachers with ED.D's or PH.D's as I am in a ED.D. program but words still can hurt sometimes when you are down and out and really need supportive words instead of negative ones at some points in your life. I guess I really should take their word for my ability in Administration and Leadership in Education over yours but it is hard.

Anonymous said...


Get some rest and take care of yourself. Each of us has areas of need. You are honest enough to share yours, but none of us is perfect. Even if we disagree with one another, we should do it in a respectful way.
Take some time and get well. Before you know it, school will be back in session.

Dekalbparent said...

To Ella's "Anonymous" critic:

I believe you are being unnecessarily rough in making your point. Please consider your words - I do not want to censor anyone's opinions, but this is a real live woman you are speaking to.

And please invent a name for yourself, There are so many Anonymii on this blog (some for very understandable reasons), it is confusing for me to try to sort out who is saying what, never mind for Ella to discern who is calling her to task.

If you don't want to associate your email with a name, invent a new email account, or sign a pseudonym to the bottom (there are some anonymous bloggers who do this).

Thank you.

GlennnDennn said...


I apologize to you sincerely for causing you any angst. That was not my intent. I do not think you have what it takes to sit on the BOE. I am not attacking your character, and I am not purposefully trying to say harsh, mean things to/about you. You have set yourself up as a wannabe public official. You need to be able to take what comes your way, unless, of course, it is threatening, like you threatened me: "Please do not make me find out exactly who you are due to hurting my character by making false statements on this site repeatily." If you have any form of administrative access to the identities of posters on this blog, that needs to be taken from you immediately. It is a blatant conflict of interest between this blog and your aspiration for the BOE. Also, I can assure you that were you (or anyone else connected with this blog) to communicate with the "real" me without my consent, I would certainly make a legal effort to affect remedy.

I have logically pointed out why I would not vote for you and why I would urge others not to vote for you:

1. You are a Pollyanna. Your constant and athletic support of Crawford up until his indictment quite frankly appalled me. Who didn't know what a negative clank he was for the school system? Would you be able to react when needed as a BOE member when some other administrator needed to be disciplined or restrained?

2. You are a teacher; however, your spelling and grammar skills are very, very lacking. How can an educator sit on a BOE and mandate certain literacy skills for students when that BOE member does not model them?

3. You are very thin-skinned when it comes to even the tamest of criticism. You resort to pleas for sympathy because of a disability. You cloak yourself in God's arms. You claim an educational pedigree. You assert your own altruistic reasons for wanting a BOE position. You state your health causes you to react thusly. You even go to the lowest level and hurl threats against anonymous "accusers." Will you have a public meltdown on the BOE that is televised to DeKalb's citizens should someone in the citizens' comments call you out for something you have or have not done?

4. You offer support to the old baggage of the BOE (Brad Bryant)when such baggage needs to remain in the lost baggage section. What will you do if Brad were to approach the school system hawking some educational program for millions of dollars? Would you willy-nilly go for it, like Crawford did with America's Choice via Debbie Rives, for example, even though it is of dubious worth and reviled by DeKalb's teachers?

I hope you do not drop out of the race. You made the decision to enter the public arena. Just be ready to fight the GOOD fight, not lash out against anyone who might have something critical to say about what you have written.

Anonymous said...

Ella don't quit. If I had stopped every time someone told me that I wasn't right for the task at hand, I would be nowhere today. I would have missed out on some really great experiences.

Paula Caldarella said...

Nothing sadder than an internet bully. Ignore it, Ella. The nastiness is a reflection on GlennDennn, not you.

Cerebration said...

Ella is in this race and may the person with the most votes win. Remember, her opponent is Gene Walker who has been blistered in the press for taking major contributions from a developer interested in school property. There's an opening here ... (Maybe "Glenn" is a "Gene" supporter? Politics is ugly business.)

And although Ella has been a contributor here since this blog's inception, she in no way has administrative privileges. In fact, as the administrator, even I have no ability to determine "real" identities. I "could" find out an IP address linked to a certain comment (not an easy task, but "possible") but unless I can get Google or an internet provider to give me the ID of the IP address owner, which they would NEVER do without some kind of court order, I have absolutely NO way of figuring out anyone's identity. This is true whether you use a "moniker" or "anonymous" ID.

Think said...

@ GlennDenn...

You have spent a lot of time personally attacking Ella and her opinions. This blog is based on opinion. People participate by sharing the information they believe to be true or interesting. It is not intended to be a cat fight nor should it be an off topic attempt to convince someone they are not good enough to pursue their passion. You should be able to express your views without putting some one else down. Disagreement is fine but there is no need to be petty. I would hope you are mature enough to communicate respectfully with everyone just because it is the right thing to do. I am disappointed in the direction your comments often take this blog.

Be True to Your School said...

Thank you, GlennnDennn.

My thoughts, exactly.

No need to throw yourself a pity-party, Ella. We do, indeed, want opponents for the current board members. But, you have got to throw off the rose-colored glasses and see things as they are.

There is very little that is right about the DeKalb County School System at this point -- and the administrators and board members who should be making radical changes in their behavior are continuing to act with impunity. They believe that they are bullet-proof. They will be if they can get just one or two more apologists on the BOE -- you, Ella, are an apologist -- and keep the rest of the current BOE.

So, Ella -- if you want this job, then you need to get tough in a hurry and be preparing yourself right now for what's ahead. When I say "preparing", I mean educating yourself about what the best school systems do -- and steel yourself to get rid of EVERYONE who overtly or covertly participated in the thug mentality of CLew-less and his cronies. That is going to go pretty deeply into the DCSS administration and may possibly eliminate some principals and others who did what they were told -- or looked the other way -- even when they knew it wasn't right.

There is always a silver lining, though. Those deep cuts will save DCSS bushel baskets of cash. And, quite frankly, with fewer students, DCSS will do better without all of these people. DCSS managed without them back when it truly was Georgia's best school system. It can and will do so again. Meanwhile, the money saved can go into the classrooms and into technology. Title I monies can go to the children who really need it.

And, hopefully, soon CLew-less and his thug cronies and maybe even some deserving BOE members who looked the other way will find themselves doing well-deserved jail time for lining their pockets with big money and stealing years from our children's education -- years that can never be replaced.

I am going to go even further and say that with fewer non-teaching personnel -- and there MUST be deep, deep cuts -- DCSS should put the Taj Mahal on blocks, put it up for sale, return as much as possible, and move everyone back to Buildings A & B.

So, Ella, if you really want to make a difference -- toughen up and educate yourself on how the best school systems in the real world are run. Then determine to win so you can get rid of the crooks and bring back excellence.

BTW, Ella -- everyone has issues and handicaps. Some are more visible than others. I am a writer, but I have trouble adding two numbers together. You can bet I have someone who is better at math than I am look over anything I do that involves numbers. Your family, your friends, and your teachers are doing you no favors. This year, everything about a candidate will be scrutinized and evaluated.

Be True to Your School said...

Thank you, GlennnDennn.

My thoughts, exactly.

No need to throw yourself a pity-party, Ella. We do, indeed, want opponents for the current board members. But, you have got to throw off the rose-colored glasses and see things as they are.

There is very little that is right about the DeKalb County School System at this point -- and the administrators and board members who should be making radical changes in their behavior are continuing to act with impunity. They believe that they are bullet-proof. They will be if they can get just one or two more apologists on the BOE -- you, Ella, are an apologist -- and keep the rest of the current BOE.

So, Ella -- if you want this job, then you need to get tough in a hurry and be preparing yourself right now for what's ahead. When I say "preparing", I mean educating yourself about what the best school systems do -- and steel yourself to get rid of EVERYONE who overtly or covertly participated in the thug mentality of CLew-less and his cronies. That is going to go pretty deeply into the DCSS administration and may possibly eliminate some principals and others who did what they were told -- or looked the other way -- even when they knew it wasn't right.

There is always a silver lining, though. Those deep cuts will save DCSS bushel baskets of cash. And, quite frankly, with fewer students, DCSS will do better without all of these people. DCSS managed without them back when it truly was Georgia's best school system. It can and will do so again. Meanwhile, the money saved can go into the classrooms and into technology. Title I monies can go to the children who really need it.

And, hopefully, soon CLew-less and his thug cronies and maybe even some deserving BOE members who looked the other way will find themselves doing well-deserved jail time for lining their pockets with big money and stealing years from our children's education -- years that can never be replaced.

Ella Smith said...

I want to say that the courts can get access to the email addresses as to where your addresses come from. My husband is an attorney. This is what I am referring to. I want to make that perfectly clear. Everyone needs to be careful what they say as Anonymous.

I am an individual who is disabled and I am not ashamed of those disabilities. I wish this was not true. But it is. This is not hiding behind these issues. This is acknowledging weakness I have. This is acknowledging I am not perfect.

However, what we are suppose to be talking about is Charter Schools. The School Boards fight them mostly because they do not want the money going away from the school system to the charter schools.

I have never quit anything before. However, right now I need to focus on getting well, on finishing my Comps. next week. going on vacation with my family the week after that. Then I will put all my energy on the school board race and discuss this with my grassroot committee.

Ella Smith said...

You are talking when you talk about technology for the classroom. Go to my blog and see my Anomoto @ on Technology.

Anonymous said...

Re GlennnDennn's comments and Be True's comments on Ella's blog content ... the concerns and criticisms WERE respectfully written and, sadly, true. No one is maliciously trying to hurt Ella's feelings.

I admire Ella's interest and willingness to run, but I do not want more of the same. Therefore, at this point, I do not want Ella to run for the BOE either. I cringe when I read her blogs ONLY BECAUSE she is running for school board.

I'm sure she is a very nice person, which does come across in her blogs. She is genuinely concerned. She cares. She is seemingly an honest person. And well-intentioned. BUT A BOE CANDIDATE THAT DOES NOT MAKE. Especially at this juncture.

We need professional, well-informed, candidates who will make educated decisions for our students. We need candidates that are business men and women with successful track records to run our school system in a financially sound way, someone who can come in and be thick skinned enough to "clean up and out" ... that will require getting rid of a lot of employee baggage, family and friends included. It will not be an easy task and will be met with a LOT of resistance.

We need board members who are good communicators, both orally and with the written word, who represent the taxpayers with thoughtful, deliberate, educated decisions based on research and facts, not feelings. We need board members who will be well prepared for meetings and who will handle themselves in a professional manner. We need QUALIFIED candidates more now than ever before.

At this point, from what I've read from her blogs, Ella is not who I want on the school board anymore than I would vote for myself if I were running (for many of the same reasons). However, I will keep watching for improvement before I make my final decision. My first choice is to vote all incumbents OUT, if I can possibly justify voting for any other candidate. SO, I want to vote for Ella ... I just cannot bring myself to do it with the information I have thus far.

GlennnDennn and Be True made some very good suggestions, Ella. If you want to be taken seriously, please listen to them instead of going into attack mode.

Anonymous said...

BE TRUE, have you thought about running next time around? I know it's too late for this race, but you are just what the doctor ordered. Too bad CLewless was clueless ... he would be better off today had he jumped on a different bandwagon (yours), and we might just have had a system that was truly premier.

Be True to Your School said...

A direct quote from Ella Smith:

I want to say that the courts can get access to the email addresses as to where your addresses come from. My husband is an attorney. This is what I am referring to. I want to make that perfectly clear. Everyone needs to be careful what they say as Anonymous.

Maybe I was wrong. I thought you were a well-meaning person, but your quote above sounds very much like a threat to me. In fact, it sounds eerily, scarily similar to the kind of intimidation that has been going on for far too long in DCSS.

The last time I looked, freedom of speech was still guaranteed in this country. Opinions were expressed. No one libeled you, Ella.

Your husband may have a law degree, but he is an in-house counsel for a small publishing company and it has been 15 years since he practiced law. He may be a very nice man, but I am not comfortable with the idea that he may put on his attorney hat, at your behest, and go to court to get someone's e-mail address because his wife took exception to what that person said.

It will be interesting to see if your threat shuts down people voicing their opinion on this blog. I am hoping it won't. Time will tell.

Cerebration said...

Ok people, this is enough beating up on Ella. This is exactly the reason we did not want to open posts with each candidate. This is not a fair forum for debate - anonymous bloggers against someone who has publicly declared to run for a school board seat.

Ella's comment about anonymous blogging was not a threat - it was a warning to people who think they are absolutely untraceable. But I will say, that this is very difficult and requires a judge's approval - it's very, very unlikely unless it's relevant information for a criminal case or something legal. We still have freedom of speech in this country, after all.

So, all that said, discuss charter schools please.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

Sorry. This post is not about charter schools.

I'm a retired DCSS teacher, and I was in Boston this past week touring with my sister (retired Tenn. teacher). As we were taking the ferry to Charles Town, we started talking to a very nice young man and his friends who turned out to be from Atlanta. He said he lived in the apartments directly across from the Tara Theater.

This young man asked what I did, and I said I was a retired DeKalb teacher. He said, "Wow that must have been be rough" since DeKalb was such a "rough" school system. He wondered how I could have lasted to retirement in a county like DeKalb. I said there are very nice areas in DeKalb. He said he had heard and read terrible things about the county - that it was the worst school system in Atlanta.

This young man said he was looking to buy a home - he said he probably would buy in the John's Creek area. He didn't even want to consider DeKalb because he had heard so many negatives about the county - in particular the school system.

I told him I had lived in DeKalb for almost 30 years, and there are many nice areas to live in DeKalb. He looked pretty skeptical.

This young man was single and totally unattached, yet the articles in the newspaper and the TV coverage of DCSS had "scared" him from even looking at homes in DeKalb.

This brought home to me how the past and current administration and BOE has brought this county to its knees.

Anonymous said...

This is your blog, Cerebration, but you are wrong.

No one was beating up on Ella. You laid down the ground rules earlier and Ella is the one who broke them. You expect your readers not to comment? Ella is untouchable?

And discussion is limited to only one topic at a time now?

This used to be a great forum. It's just not worth it to spend any time at all with this blog.

Cerebration said...

This post is titled "New Orleans Charter System vs Traditional Public Education". It's a very important topic in DeKalb, as we have seen charter (and theme) schools proliferate - especially in South DeKalb. These schools are not bringing in new students - they pull students from our neighborhood schools, causing those schools to be under-enrolled and lose funding. The current solution on the table (literally, as it is a political hot potato and keeps getting tabled) is to consolidate the under-enrolled neighborhood schools. Really, read my post on the north vs the south and think about the effect these charters are having on the area neighborhood schools.

Obama and Duncan are really hip on charters - it's a large component of the Race to the Top... this trend will only increase and we need to figure out how to consolidate the other schools or we will go broke maintaining them all along with the charters.

Cerebration said...

This is a great question for potential school board candidates - "would you support consolidating under-enrolled schools and if so, which ones?" or how about - "would you have the courage to consolidate schools given the public outcry and push back?" or even better - would you consider cutting back the number of charter schools and instead putting more resources back into the neighborhood schools in an effort to make them better so that people don't feel they need to leave their schools?"

Anonymous said...

I don't think cutting the number of charter schools will improve the local schools. We do not have enough students sitting in the seats in our local neighborhood schools. We have too many schools and it is too costly to have schools open filled half way to capacity. Charter schools are not the only causes of parents making better choices for their children, the magnet schools, theme schools, and other specialty schools also add to the parent flight of the failing neighborhood school. Parents want the best education that they can give their child. Pouring more money and resources into failing schools and a failing school system that has show time and time again that it does not know how to handle money properly is not the answer.

No Duh said...

Anon 9:53, How I wish your experience were an anomaly. A single man rejecting DeKalb (so close to the action of Atlanta, Midtown, Buckhead -- in my day there was action in Buckhead, etc.)because he had heard the school system was in shambles breaks my heart. But, he's right. We all know he's right.

We are supposed to elect Public Servants. But, the people of DeKalb have elected Public Child Abusers. BOE members who think nothing of spending tax dollars to keep their friends and family members employed, who fight for brick and mortar but understand NOTHING about what is needed to truly educate a child. BOE members who see the teachers as the enemy because the teachers see first hand how BOE budget decisions abuse our students through neglect of their needs.

We need BOE members who have not spent their entire lives sucking from the teat of society. And since the people of DeKalb have consistently proven they are incapable of electing responsible, intelligent, competent BOE members, it is time for our legislators to get creative and come up with a better model through which to oversee our schools.

A Mother said...

I was going to sit this one out but I just have one thing to say then we'll get right back to the topic of charter schools. It is an important topic.

The registration period for the Board of Education election is CLOSED. The choices are and will be the candidates that have declared already. That means you as voters will have to choose between the incumbent and the "ONE" challenger as in Ella's district.

May I suggest that the bloggers on this board continue its mission of voting out the incumbents by supporting the challengers in any way we can. One way to do that is respectful disagreement here. We can disagree with an idea without labeling the idea or the person.

We can start over right now. All that has been said is in the past.

Another might be to email her, call her, talk with her, help her in ANY way you can, be willing to do whatever it takes to defeat the incumbents.

I find that I am more inclined to grow with support, encouragement, assistance than with criticism, although it has it place.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Let's share ideas and work together.

Unite and win!

Ella Smith said...

Celeb To Answer Your Question:

The first step for any school superintendent and school officials is to complete a SWOT anaylsis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A committee of stakeholders would need to review the options and make changes as needed to the SWOT and come up with different options for the school superintendent to review and present to the school board to make an informed decision. No individual school board member can make a decision like this. It is only as a group a decision can be made and it is as a collaborative group a decision is made.

It is equally important to involve all stakeholders through committee involvement to make sure all stakeholders are involved in the process. Decision making should be a team approach with involvement of all stakeholders to enable a buy-in from all stakeholders. This is particularly important in Dekalb County School System with all the political and legal mistrust in the School System currently. This trust must be re-build with reconnection with involvement of the stakeholders.

GlennnDennn said...


Again, I apologize sincerely, Ella, for disturbing you. My posts, however, hardly warrant another threat. How else do you explain mentioning your husband, the attorney?

I highly encourage you to adopt a different attitude toward criticism. If you cannot handle what I represent, you will never be able to handle the actual wear-and-tear of non-anonymous BOE interactions. I have in no way impugned your character. My references are definitional and quite easily explained in relationship to your writings. You should stop with the threats.

@Cerebration: Thank you for the explanation of anonymity on this blog. I want to assure you (and others) that it was never my intention to cause Ella (or anyone else) such apoplexy. I merely state my opinion based on what she has written.

A Mother said...

I don't know the particulars of the schools in Dekalb County as I live in SC. I don't know which school are under-enrolled, like some of you do. School closings have to be done sooner or later. Sooner is better. All of us seem to know that. It's the board that doesn't know it.

This is where we could get off onto seemingly unrelated discussion. The leadership of the school system will be critical. Somebody is going to take some heat, a lot of heat when they do what has to done on this issue.

I am very clear in my view that the under-enrolled school need to be closed / consolidated no matter who screams or how loudly.

The under-performing schools could be more complicated. The question for me would be, why are the students in this fully enrolled, properly staffed, well resourced school performing poorly? The school / school system might be doing all the right things for the "average' student to be successful, yet not getting the expected results.

I am not a teacher. I am retired civil service. My input would be that of a parent and what I would like to see happen if this were my child.

First, I would like to see the school find out how to help these children succeed, my child included. I'd prefer to have my child go to school and be as much a part of the "general" program before streamlining my child into any "special" programs.

Of course, I'd want to do whatever is best for "my" child to the exclusion of all others. That's my job as a parent! It's my job to take responsibility and not blame the school for everything.

That brings us to charter schools. I would want there to be a charter school or some other program "opening" to accommodate my child.

So yes, there needs to be an appropriate number of alternative programs for students who need them. Careful budgeting to provide for the need would be important. I wouldn't want my child moved toward a special situation just because there is room, resources, facilities over there and not over here. It could happen.

Charter schools can serve a need. The need should drive availibility and not the other way around.

Kim Gokce said...

I really think this discussion about charters is important but it is sort of a moot point - the trend is in full swing at the national and local level. There will be more charters before fewer.

In our area, we can now look forward to a Dunwoody cluster charter, a Chamblee cluster charter, and who knows what else coming down the pike.

My concern with this movement in DeKalb is not whether charters perform better (they seem not to but that is another debate), it is that they will inhibit what I think the REAL debate should be in DeKalb and that is about our infrastructure and attendance areas.

I have to confess that like the young man in the above anecdote I have become very jaded about DeKalb public education over the past two years. So much so that I made an oath to my wife that if the BoE failed to support the YMCA partnership at Cross Keys, I would put a for sale sign in our front yard the next day. I was deadly serious - I'm tired of being the laughing stock of this city.

We are really up against it folks and it is time to put aside peripheral matters and focus on the long-term vision for our public school infrastructure in DeKalb. The status quo is a slow death spiral with or without charters in my judgment.

P.S. Ella: For all the ranting on this blog about "throw the bums out," you are the only one who stood for office. Run, baby, run!

Anonymous said...

So Cere, if not here where do we debate the issues? You raised a question at 10:13 that we all agree needs to be asked of the candidates: "Would you have the courage to consolidate schools?"

Kim at 1:16 raised a similar one: "The REAL debate should be...about our infrastructure and attendance areas."

The "THROW THE BUMS OUT" neglects the need to really consider where everyone stands on the issues. So much so that the implied endorsement for Ella completely overlooks the fact that on this very blog a few months ago she said she would be unable to redistrict her own neighborhood. If you can't redistrict yours, you shouldn't be allowed to do anyone else's.

All voters will have their hot issues be it redistricting, the budget, central office bloat, superintendent search, Charter Schools, magnets, and the list goes on. Somewhere there needs to be a League of Women Voters type survey the candidates can respond and be held accountable to. Any ideas on how to get this accomplished without hijacking your blog or giving the appearance of "attacking" big hearted candidates?

Anonymous said...

DeKalb will be a hot bed for charter starters for a couple of reasons. Many parents in DeKalb have been programmed to believe that any choice is better than their neighborhood school. It is the legacy perhaps of M to M, a magnet program and out of control administrative transfers, but it is the case. DCSS parents are willing to take a chance on new charters at a much higher rate than I have seen in other districts. There were nearly 1000 applicants for 540 spaces at Peachtree Hope. That is a very large number for a first year start up charter in GA.

We have density of students that allows for access to schools without providing much or any transportation.

We have cheap commercial real estate and agents who are actually marketing it to education management organizations for the purpose of leasing it for a school.

Anonymous said...

My opinion is that if a candidate posts on the blog, then they have left themselves open to criticism of what they said.

But, I don't think we should each attend a forum and come back and say candidate Joe said this or that and I agree or disagree...

Does that make sense?

Ella has put herself out there and that is admirable but it opens her up to criticism from those who disagree with what she says.

Perhaps she needs to rethink her participation on this blog during the campaign.

Paula Caldarella said...

Disagreement is fine. Civil debate and discussion is what we want.

It is the personal attacks on Ella that are unwarranted.

Anonymous said...

did anyone go to the meeting last night at Henderson Middle School?

Cerebration said...

To Anon 7:09 AM - yes - the League of Women Voters will pose questions. The Emory Lavista Parent Council held a forum last time and I hope they will again - they did a great job. And the AJC has promised to do much more in-depth reporting and interviewing candidates at all levels.

And Anon 7:14 AM, you are exactly correct. There is a strong desire in this county to send your children to some kind of "prep", "charter", "theme", "academy" or anything other than "home" school. I'm not certain why - but I have been leaning toward classism. The biggest symbol of this being the brand new gorgeous Arabia Mountain HS - built expressly to relieve over-crowding, yet at the 11th hour, converted to a "choice" school requiring uniforms and application with an essay. Now add to that the K-8 "Leadership" charter at New Birth and you have a seamless "elite" program in South DeKalb.

Cerebration said...

ps - If anyone made any of the meetings about redistricting, please write up a report and post it if you have privileges or email it to us -

We'll make a new post and discuss the transfer plans for this fall.

Paula Caldarella said...

I went to the one at Chamblee. Here is a link to my report:

Cerebration said...

May I repost it here with your byline?

Paula Caldarella said...

I emailed Dr. Berry to see if I could get a copy of the Powerpoint presentation she used at the meeting.

Paula Caldarella said...


Cerebration said...

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

You didn't need the charter at New Birth for the seamless transistion, you have the Theme schools in South Dekalb for that.

These parents drove the rebirth of Arabia Mt. from a neighborhood school to a theme high school.

A Mother said...

I would like to see Ella continue posting to this blog even during her campaign, with her posting being treated much the same as we would any other non-candidate. There might be rare, respectful exceptions.

I see this as a place to talk about the issues facing education in Dekalb County and finding viable solutions to some of the problems.

It seems to me that Cere has been very careful to NOT turn it into a political debate of the candidates. That makes sense to me, especially since there is only 1 candidate (other than Cere to my knowledge) posting here.

We can discuss the issues without it becoming a "Debate". Debate is way overrated, although, it has its place. Discussion gets more done, shares information faster and better, builds more stepping stones, etc.

To quote another poster - "Stay Focused, folks". Keep your eye on the prize - Better Education for the students of Dekalb County and how to get there.

I'm not overlooking the fact that the board is an important part of that. If I lived there and could vote in Ella's district, I already know which of the "TWO" candidates I could vote for and support.

She can't misspell enough words on this blog to change that. I'm only going to double check my postings so well and I've seen typos in my own postings. It doesn't mean I don't know better. This is not the final draft of my bes' sellin' novel.

We all have spell-checkers, grammar-checkers, figure-checkers, etc. when we need them. What we can't pull out of a box in Integrity.

If I knew of something she could do to improve her chances of winning, that's something I would tell her in private and do what I could to help her with that. Every winning candidate has people standing behind them. I stand behind Ella.

That's just me. Now let's "discuss" the "issues".

Ella Smith said...

I totally agree that I have opened myself up for criticism of what I say. People have always disagreed with me on this blog and we have debated the issues. Since I became a candidate, I cannot blog on this site. I just am having difficulty walking away. I respect so highly, what this site is trying to do. I disagree with some of the negative attitudes on this site that always just want to bad mouth individuals and make everything as negative as I see the problems but also want to see all the good in the DeKalb County School System. OUR CHILDREN IN DEKALB COUNTY ARE SO GOOD. We have so many other positive things in the DeKalb County School System also. However, we spend so much time looking for the bad that we seldom look for the good.

However, yesterday was not criticism of what I said. Where did anyone mention what I said about Charter Schools? This was just an attack and dirty politics of politicians setting on the DeKalb County School Board. Yesterday was mean and cruel and way out of line regarding my intellectual ability and character. When you question if someone can make decisions on research, and critical thinking, and they just finished all their class work for their ED.S. In Administration and Leadership in Education and are working toward their doctorial degree that is mean and way off base. This last year as a student all I have done is researched topics on education regarding administration and leadership and used it critically to write papers and make decisions based on that research.

One of the number one rules of this blog is not to cut people down over their spelling and grammar on this blog and this is exactly what was done to me over and over again. I have a specific learning disability in written expression. I have felt comfortable on this blog to blog due to the rules. It has been wonderful and I thank Celeb and all of you who have been so supportive of me. These are not limitations any child or person wants would want to have. For instance, you do not see Tom Cruse, blogging or tweeting. Could it be because he has a learning disability and he is afraid of critics? However, I believe Einstein also had a learning disability.

When I turn something in professionally, I have to have it proofed, as I cannot always see my eras. I know I have this problem. It this hiding behind it? If you want to believe this is hiding behind it knowing I have this disability go right ahead and believe this.

Every student in the world has faults. Too many times teachers judge students in class the same way that I have been judged here. How many of our students who might be struggling with writing in school would be able to continue to learn despite their issues with writing? How many young writers shut down and stop writing? Let me tell you. Many. It is sad. They become learned helpless and this is extremely hard to correct. Do the research yourself in this area if you do not believe me.

This is what is wrong with our Educational System now. We have to find innovative ways to teach our children. We have to make learning fun and exciting. We have to make students want to learn even when they might have some limitations. We have to do more collaborative planning, and use the new technological tools in the 21st century to make a difference in the classroom. However, the key is not more Charter Schools. The key is highly qualified teachers in every classroom throughout DeKalb County working collaboratively to improve our broken system. We also need an honest, innovated, superintendent who has the leadership skills and vision to lead us where we need to go. He must be the right leader.