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Friday, August 13, 2010
The Parrot is Dead... stop denying it
For a bit of Friday fun, we thought that some humor might better describe our frustration. This classic Monty Python sketch well represents the feeling we get when dealing with the DeKalb school board and the upper level managers and administration. Ramona Tyson is now telling WSB that DeKalb just has a "perception problem".... Tom Bowen loudly decried at the recent DeKalb business meeting that he didn't understand why anyone would think DeKalb is not a top-notch system. Our board reps supported our former superintendent, even going so far as to give him a raise as he went down in flames. Now, they are trying to convince us that Dr. Lewis and Pat Pope were anomalies and the entire source of our problems. Which begs the question, then how did they get away with so much? Who signed off on the work orders? Who wrote the check? Who approved the 2007 SPLOST III Capital Improvement Plan? After the approval and generation of a Needs Assessment "road map", who then never questioned the order of spending as millions went to administrative offices (and chairs) rather than schools first? Who is so caught up in grandstanding about racial politics that they are not paying attention to the millions of dollars of waste and fraud happening under their noses? Who never demanded that the internal auditor's position be filled in order to closely monitor the $1.1 billion DCSS budget? Who allowed principals to believe that Title 1 school funds exist for their pleasure and that raiding those funds to purchase hundreds of books written by their peers was acceptable?
Who? The board of education. Wake up. This is Notlob and the parrot is dead. This is not a simple perception problem. We need a full-blown culture shift and thorough housecleaning.
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COMMUNITY FORUMS! What a joke, our last Super, Clew-less did these but there was a problem. Decisions had already been made in private meetings. The community forums were a way to lie to the constituents that the BOE and the Clew-less cabinet, who remain intact today, cared!
I remember when we had the community meeting about the closing of Nancy Creek. Fran Millar, our State Rep. back then was in the back of the room, he told me and my wife before the meeting started that closing Nancy Creek "was a done deal!" I asked him what the hell were we doing there then. He said it was all for show!
After that meeting, Bowen told us that they had to be equitable since they were closing 3 schools in south DeKalb. Now we have Montgomery with over 625 students, Huntley Hills with 4 maybe 5 trailers and over 500 attending. The BOE and Robert Moseley never talked with DeKalb Planning, they used a fraudulent demographers report and refused to listen to the parents who proved the area was growing very fast!
That's all water under the bridge, however, Community Forums would be a good idea if the BOE actually listened and used the ideas of the community.
These people do not hear us! The Guilroy's, Edwards, Thedfords will stay on after stealing thousands of dollars meant to educate our kids. Ms. Tyson, just resign so we can move on, Moseley, Turk, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Ramsey and the rest should just resign too! Until wholesale changes are made it will be business as usual at the most corrupt school system in the country. The DCSS parrot is dead and will not be revived until we vote 5 new BOE members in and the cabinet of our former Super resign.
One more thing, I think Dr. B, what a ridiculous nickname, should resign too before he buries his entire teaching staff in a mountain of paperwork, that will NOT do one thing to improve our kids education. Everyone have a great weekend! These dog days at DCSS will never end, until some folks are gone for good.
Can you or someone else list
where (which schools) Title 1 funds
were used to purchase the vanity books? And who's books purchased?
Sorry to give you extra work, but this is important.
(find the "report fraud" space, and do so).
Grassley's on the Senate Finance Committee. He was also the Senator who was investigating New Birth and World Changers a few years ago.
I do not know Mrs. Tyson, so I am loathe to criticize her heavily or attribute hidden motives, but I'm not really happy with the official line that I keep hearing. It seems like her public statements are all pretty much the same - image repair, people want transparency, educating our students comes first. What she said on WSB is the same as what she said at ELPC, which is the same as DCPC,...
There's a script, and there is no real deviation. Perhaps she really doesn't like public speaking, and relies on the script when it is unavoidable. She did say at the ELPC meeting that she would have others speak to issues whenever possible. The problem is that the more I hear the same thing over and over, the less genuine it sounds. Where's that public relations firm?
Amen DeKalb Parent! My thoughts exactly!
Dekalb parent. You really may not understand the big picture here. The DCSS administration runs DCSS for the benefit of the DCSS Administrators under the guise of educating children. Like one of those charities where 90% of the money collected goes to the officers and the remaining 10% to the supposed beneficiaries of the charity.
Some, maybe the majority, of the BOE members are complicit in this. The Others either are either too naïve to believe it or are afraid of taking action because they might be tagged with the R word.
Ms Tyson was trained by CLew and will keep the job machine running in the same way. The rest of her actions are just diversions and wall paper
I said what I did because I am trying (really hard) to stick to 1)facts I can prove and 2)opinions I own. Tryin' very hard to keep credibility here, and I want to be able to prove anything I say without backing down.
I have suspicions (LOTS and LOTS of suspicions), but I cannot as yet prove them. I will keep digging and learning, however, and I look forward to reading what others have to say.I think it's going to take all of us (the real people) to find out way out of this miasma.
I am terribly disappointed in how both DCSS and DeKalb County government function, and how deplorable things keep being just swept away without anyone paying the price (e.g. the IT consulting debacle that took place under the former CEO - they [we] paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for IT consulting and hardware without submitting it to the BOC by breaking the invoices up into amounts $1.00 under the limit of discretionary spending. There were, as I recall, 6 or 7 invoices paid in a day sometimes. SOUND FAMILIAR??) The current administration ain't too cool, either.
I'm also very concerned about Ramona Tyson being the interim. I don't think she is choosing the best people for jobs. I don't like the reports from Texas about Morcease Beasley and the paperwork he handed down to teachers there - to the point that they filed a formal complaint. I don't think she should be deciding who gets promoted where - or should she hire the very important auditor. Why? Because as interim, and a long-term DCSS employee, she had alliances and relationships with people who will soon become again, her peers. It's a fine line she's walking - she has to leave this post and return to the rank below. I'm wondering how that is ever going to really be possible. I wonder if she hasn't just shot herself in the foot by agreeing to serve as interim. I don't think she can now go back to the way things were... and the public would not be happy if she was named permanent super - she has too many relationships. We simply must have an outsider as permanent superintendent.
Furthermore, Tyson (it seems to me) has done a very good job of defending her former turf (MIS) from high-level cuts. She slashed schoolhouse tech people, but she kept her managers. She has to return there, remember?
I'm sure I am going to be blasted about what I am about to say, but I don't really care....
I'm going to cut Ms. Tyson some slack. I am appalled at some of the personal comments focused toward this woman. If you want to disagreee with what she has done as interim, that is fair, but leave the personal remarks out of the conversation. As far as Ms. Tyson, when she agreed to take the job, she had no idea it would be for this long. Dr. Lewis was convinced that he would be re-instated in a few weeks. He really did not believe he would ever be fired from his job at DCSS.
So, Ms. Tyson really saw this as a short-time job, not the nightmare it has become.
And Cere does have a point - Ms. Tyson has to go back and work with these people again. Have some feelings for a woman, with 2 school-age children, that is just trying to make it through an interim period that she has no idea would go on this long. Perhaps she would jump at the chance for a new interim and let her go back to her own life.
Addressing the book deal -- here's our post on the topic. I would suggest many of us file a report at the site listed above by Anon. We realized long ago that formal complaints must be filed in order for government agencies to take a look --
Feel free to copy and paste the text below into the "contact" space at U.S. Senator Grassley's website:
Ralph Simpson DeKalb area superintendent, sold 605 copies of the book to Miller Grove, the high school where he had recently served as principal. The current principal there, Selina Carol Thedford wrote the purchase orders. She broke them into parts that each were less than the $5,000 threshold for scrutiny. Her assistant principal, Latasha Searcy was named as a participant as well.
Taxpayers would like to see a full-blown audit of the $30+ million in Title 1 funds DeKalb schools collected last year and similar amounts in several years prior.
Additionally, a new charter school, which will be collecting Title 1 funds, opened last week inside the doors of New Birth church, a church already running a private, religious school within it's walls. There is a concern for co-mingling of these funds.
Dunwoody Mom, that's exactly why I think she should not be in this position. She's between a rock and a hard place. Many people asked for a corrective superintendent - someone with this kind of experience from the outside - to step in until we find a permanent replacement. That might have served us all better - including Ms. Tyson. She must be wondering what she was thinking...
Basically, we are in limbo, but our board is insisting that all is well, now that Lewis and Pope are out. Not true. There's still much more housecleaning and streamlining that could take place - if an outsider with no allegiances could take an unobstructed look.
Right now, we have an interim superintendent, an interim COO and director of hundreds of millions of dollars of construction, an interim head of curriculum and instruction and 5 school board members up for re-election who wouldn't dream of rocking any boat anywhere.
Cere...no one complimented you on your wonderful use of Monty Python! That was an AWESOME post! Gosh, I'd forgotten that sketch! Hilarious and tragic to think it's so true in our schools.
Thanks, Cere! No matter how you spin it, the parrot is dead, folks!
Truth be told, I didn't think of it myself, a regular blogger emailed me about some frustration that made them feel like they were in the Dead Parrot sketch - and the light bulb went off - that's it! That's it exactly!
Have a nice weekend everyone!
Dunwoody mom, I understand your frustrations. However, we have placed and insider to watch over a 1.2 Billion dollar budget. Clew trained her and she is too close to too many folks inside DCSS. Perception is it's business as usual. Can't they see this? All these CLew cabinet members let Pope/Lewis/Reid get away with this. It's time for wholesale change. They have had a summer to make things better and the perception is nothing has changed, why?
This is why there is talk of the Independent School Districts and the like, there are too many frustrated people and it seems to me a lot of them are DCSS employees who are venting here. I know I've been and I thank Cere for monitoring and administrating and very informative blog. If it wasn't for Cere a lot of the stuff we have been exposing for 5 years would have never come to light. Come to think of it, DCSS needs sunlight! A lot of sunlight to expose the corruption and the fraud that is running rampant in the system.
DCSS does need sunlight. What Ms. Tyson actually said was that before contracts are let, they are going to have community forums!?!
Community forums are meaningless as we could tell by the school closing ones a few months ago.
What we need is good, honest leadership. The reality is that difficult decisions need to be made, ones that will make people unhappy. A strong leader makes those decisions. Say what you would like about Beverly Hall, when she needed to close schools, she just did it.
@ Cerebration and Dunwoody Mom
If Mrs. Tywon went back to her former job, it would not be as Assistant Superintendent of MIS. It would be as Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations, one of only 4 direct reports to the Superintendent. She was over the departments of Finance and Human Resources.
I wouldn't worry so much about Mrs. Tyson. She will have superintendent of one of the largest school systems in the U.S. with a billion dollar budget on her resume. She may very well be planning her next career move as we blog.
I doubt she asked for this job. Remember, Lewis only had 4 direct reports, and one of was indicted and one was his chief of staff with no managerial responsibilities. That left either Tyson or Moseley for Lewis to to pick from.
I do not want Mrs. Tyson to be the permanent superintendent for the following reasons:
1. Mrs. Tyson has been an integral part of Lewis's Cabinet at the highest level. These Cabinet officials have presided over a decline in student achievement while directing a greater and greater share of the DCSS budget for highly paid non-teaching positions.
2. MIS, the department Mrs. Tyson managed for many years, is expensive compared to other counties, has not given good customer service to students and teachers, has provided little in the way of technology access for our students, and has provided no benefits 3 years after the costly purchase of critical data functions such as student data management (SchoolNet) and online gradebook and schedule building (eSIS).
3. When Mrs. Tyson "rightsized' our budget, she cut teacher positions and lower paid schoolhouse employees rather than keeping class sizes at a reasonable level and cutting higher paid non-teaching positions outside the schoolhouse.
4. Mrs. Tyson hired a head of Curriculum and Instruction that is short on teaching experience and long on paperwork for teachers.
We should be concerned with Mrs. Tyson's actions, not her personality. That is irrelevant. Either those actions have helped students or they have not helped students. It's really about the bottom line. That's what data driven is all about.
Cere, I totallly agree. DCSS needs an "outside" Interim.
I don't know Mrs. Tyson, but I'll bet big bucks if she knew at the time she accepted the job, that it would become what it has, she would never have accepted the job. It's a nightmare beyond anyone's wildesg imagination. An outsider is needed to start the cleaning process and the BOE needs to realize this and take action.
Anon 3:22 PM
This stuff has been going on much longer than 5 years. The system that eSIS replaced had a terrible reputation when DCSS selected it all those years ago? Why was it chosen?
Dr. Halford had not one, but two DUIs but kept his job. His daughter had a plum teaching job.
His drinking buddies had the best principalships.
Dr. Brown brought in many of his friends and family at the same time he was getting rid of the old friends and family.
This is nothing new and I believe probably won't go away anytime soon.
The next concept those contacting Grassley might want to explain:
The plethora of Title 1 (instructors? Coaches? what's the proper job title here?) at the front office that have been put in place over the last few years.
Most of these Title 1 positions have salaries that we mere plebes would be more then happy to receive.
The concept, as has been stated before: better then fair to middling chance of Title 1 funds being used for friends, family, and church brethren job hires.
Anyone having proof of gaming the system would also help the case:
"Don't ask, don't tell" automatic free meal accounts at various schools ( instant increase in Title 1 funds).
Transfers. What's Lakeside's free meal figures like compared to when the student dump began, for example?
It's pouring rain. Any schools leaking yet?
This has been circulating -
From Mr. Bob Moseley, DCSS Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations........ Mrs. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent, has received numerous emails about the ESEA School Choice Option at Chamblee Charter High School. Approximately 200 ninth grade students have selected Chamblee Charter High School as an option. Mrs. Tyson appreciates the input from parents. She is reviewing options with staff to determine if better options are available. Once final decisions have been made we will communicate with all parents. Please look for communication from the school district on this matter next week.
So as you can see, DCSS can proclaim that all went well for the start of school, however, for schools that have to insert an unexpected 200 new students - life can be ridiculous! Chamblee has to insert 200 students in with their freshman class - while Arabia gets to place an "annex" of itself elsewhere, dust their hands and proclaim the problem solved!
No Duh, I just spit iced tea all over my scream with your leak comment! I'm sure Kittredge at Nancy Creek is leaking.
There is no place to put these 200 students at Chamblee - ABSOLUTELY NO room for ANYMORE trailers, nothing. Chamblee needed an "annex" moreso than Arabia.
And, please, don't let Dunwoody make AYP next year.
Dunwoody Mom, agreed! Just think of that ugly piece of property, the old Chamblee Middle, that could be torn down or renovated to accommodate High School students. I know about the toilets being designed for younger kids, however it could be renovated.
What bothers me most about the coach positions, is that they make more than a classroom teacher. I have asked friends who teach around the country and their coaches are on the same salary scale as other teachers and don't make more.
Our coaches are over paid and do not help teachers or children. These positions need to go.
Why haven't we heard about the happenings yesterday in the media? I feel a cover up, something DCSS really can't afford.
The Shallowford ES property has been so neglected and is so toxic it would have to be torn down, but had it been kept up properly, it certainly would have been a perfect site for an "annex".
I think the media has DCSS overload and needs a break. Similar to the Paris Hilton overload that happened a few years ago, but nearly as pretty to look at!
Title 1 is gamed across the country. If the government wanted to fix it, they could.
They don't and they won't. It doesn't matter which party is in control.
Here is the problem in DeKalb -- We have preached choice for so long, that those parents of those 200 freshmen believe that anything is better than their home school. Frankly, depending on the school, it might be true. It also might not be true.
No other system, even those with many high schools not meeting AYP, are having these kinds of transfer numbers.
This is because the culture of choice is so inbred into our system that the result is that parents will pick an old run down building with school climate issues and unbelievable overcrowding over their newer, more comfortable buildings.
Here is the problem in DeKalb -- We have preached choice for so long, that those parents of those 200 freshmen believe that anything is better than their home school
QFT. The families transferring into Chamblee most likely believe their children will have access to the same education as the magnet students.
I live in South DeKalb. Unfortunately, we pay to send one child to private school and send the other across town because the schools are so bad. There are a number of factors involved in the schools being bad. As a very involved parent, here are a few of my thoughts. We get the most ridiculous "family and friends" hires for administrators. Also, as a parent who demanded a quality education for my children on this side of town, the obstacles were insurmountable, starting with the lack of support of other parents in the same boat. When you escalate issues to the county office, no actions are taken. Common phrase: You are the only one complaining.
After being involved with several "fights" over several years, I decided the fight was not worth it. Nothing changed and if anything, my local school only got worse. It was only affecting my family and my children.
Until parents stand up and demand better schools, then there is no hope for South DeKalb. We must get rid of the board members who do not support us and continue to scream racism. The problem is not racism, it is greed, on their part. They are in it for what they can get. The problem is not north vs. south, it is who shows up at their schools and supports the students and teachers.
I have seen both sides. I have seen teachers, staff and parents take a run down building and make it beautiful on the north side. I have seen a new building in poor repair and DIRTY on the south side.
I don't know what the answer is...but I do wish I could have some of my DCSS money to pay for the quality education my private school gives. Ten years ago, I was a stanch public school supporter. Now, I am get tired of being RIPPED a new one every time I turn on my computer, TV, etc. and see this DCSS Circus. It is truly a travesty! All of our kids deserve better!
Nice comment, Anon. Thanks for sharing.
Boy, I think we've all heard this one-
You are the only one complaining.
@ Anonymous 3:41 pm
"The system that eSIS replaced had a terrible reputation when DCSS selected it all those years ago? Why was it chosen?
SmartWeb was chosen by a small group in MIS. No classroom teacher input was asked which is typical of MIS (and to fair all programs that impact the classroom in DCSS). The company promised many things that weren't forthcoming. The teachers had some difficulties adjusting to SmartWeb. It had startup problems, but nothing like eSis.
One reason it didn't have as many problems is that it wasn't asked to integrate with the Student Data Management System to produce the data reports that SchoolNet is supposed to produce. That requires intense programming and we just don't have that many people in DCSS with that kind of expertise. We spend most of our money on network personnel.
Another reason Smartweb had an easier implementation is that it was rolled out to a few schools at a time and only middle school and high school used it. Elementary school teachers used "Making the Grade" which was installed to their hard drive.
If you ask teachers what they think of eSis versus Smartweb, I think we know which one they would pick.
Actually, eSis already had a reputation as being hard to implement. Anyone who bothered to look on the Internet could see the complaints teachers in other systems had. Even teachers who were satisfied said that if they didn't have a topnotch Information Technology group, they would be in real trouble with eSis.
The Central Office personnel were sold on eSis because that they were told that they could pull up all those lovely reports if they only had an integrated eSis and SchoolNet system. Who cared that it was $11,000,00 and that there would be maintenance fees at the end? Money flowed like water.
Benchmark tests were instituted due to eSis and SchoolNet, but unfortunately MIS was never able to get the results of the benchmark tests to teachers so they could make modifications in their plans or give groups of students remediation. The programmers in DCSS warned the MIS administration (Tyson and Hunter) of the programming difficulties, but they were anxious to please the Central Office personnel so it was a done deal. Both Ms. Tyson and Mr. Hunter got promotions out of eSis/SchoolNet, so I guess it was good for them.
Possibility: the poor choices in the budget cuts were because of laziness and lack of commitment to creative thinking, rather than intentional malfeasance.
Mrs. Tyson and the Board simply looked for the first places they could cut some dollars (like reducing the number of paras and clerks and spreading librarians thinner) that would not affect them - i.e. the problems created would have to be handled at the school level - rather than looking to creative rearrangements and cutting that would require them to reshuffle at a higher level (e.g. cutting ICs which would mean they would have to find another way to run the Title 1 packages - like maybe turning it over to the schools, requiring them to think again about how to do it at the schoolhouse level, who to designate to handle it in each school, and how many advising positions would be really be needed at Central Office.
Not any less of a disaster for DCSS, just a different reason.
All the more reason to be searching for new people with the experience and creativity to turn DCSS upside down, shake out the loose and outdated pieces and put it back together right.
On another subject - another thread - if we are serious about breaking up DCSS, which I also think is a great idea, we need to get with our state reps and senators to find out what it will take to change the constitution.
A comment on Chamble Charter High School overcrowding ...
You can thank CCHS recent principals -- particularly the current one, Rochelle Patterson Lowery and the recent and current "Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil" CCHS governance councils for what is now happening at CCHS in terms of overcrowding. They did not have the courage of their convictions to hold the line on a strong charter when it was up for renewal. Lowery was the worst.
Lowery was also involved in very questionable financial activities with per-pupil funds condoned by the finance department. So, she had a vested interest in not making waves. Unfortunately, she threw CCHS under the bus.
DCSS would not have denied a charter renewal to a school doing as well as CCHS because CCHS could have gone directly to the state for approval. Cowards, all! Now their chickens are -- literally -- coming home to roost.
This year, DCSS may get exactly what they have wanted for years -- and what they managed to get last year at Dunwoody High School: DCSS will bring CCHS down to their level of "no" achievement.
It may take a while, but we MUST go for splitting up DCSS and creating independent school districts. Meanwhile, we can start by going for charter clusters in our area: one high school, one middle school, and feeder elementary schools for each cluster. It is critical, though, that the charter for the cluster be written strongly. On the plus side, every school in the cluster will become a charter school. It is a very efficient use of time and resources.
I just drove by Chamblee. Last Saturday, there were 5 trailers. There are now 10 trailers. Argh.....
@ Be True to Your School
Very good post. I also was struck with the simplicity of the budget proposal. It's like Mrs. Tyson looked at the TSA and said - oh - That's an easy $28,000,000. Then she looked at teacher positions and said - gee teachers are worth $65,000 a year. Let's just eliminate 100 positions and get another $6,500,000. We'll just let the remaining teachers take up the slack. Now let's just have some furlough days and that's more millions.
What she should have done is kept our classes at a reasonable size for students. Then she could have said ok, with what's left over, how much do all non-teaching departments need to trim. Each department could have come back with detailed, innovative and creative plans regarding how they were going to meet their decrease in funding (cutting, consolidating job functions, and outsourcing). This would have required some work, but our children would not have been sitting on floors. I could have created Mrs. Tyson's budget in 2 days. She cut the core business by cutting the schoolhouse personnel. Since non-teaching personnel average more than teachers and number more than teachers, it looks like she passed up a great opportunity to really "rightsize" our system.
She was upfront about that. At the ELPC meeting she stated that while it seemed like a good idea to pick away at central office and other managerial positions, they had to first go to the big budgets and crack big nuts... (so to speak)... She had to start with cuts that would be big chunks to get any traction on a necessary $115 million in total cuts. Plus, there was a clock ticking. Using a scalpel takes longer than a hatchet.
The 100 positions cut were para's, not teachers.
Be true to you school, good post however we need Dunwoody and Chamblee to join forces. Just one high school and the feeders would not give you a tax base large enough to draw from, with two full areas like Chamblee and Dunwoody you can have a larger base to draw taxes from. You can also offer classes to students from both schools. If you create ISD's too small you will leave areas in no mans land. Earlier today, I suggested using the parents council areas. I think we need to have a discussion at the DCPC on Sept. 1st. I'm appalled that the charter issues at Chamblee were thrown under a bus. Where are the parents? We're discussing a charter at Chamblee Middle right now. I also saw the 5 new trailers. Dunwoody Mom, now do you see why the current leadership must go NOW! They are taking our system and dumbing it down. Our leadership hates achievement. My wife and I are ready to fight for our kids.
The media has not reported on DCSS because there are people in the media who are teaming up with DCSS leaders. Can you say 100 Black men of deKalb?
I'm yet to see a story done on why this non profit's offices are located at McNair High School. Are they paying rent? Are they using equipment that the taxpayers paid for? I know they do some good for the community, but why do they get a chance at locating at a local high school, when neighborhood associations must pay liability and overtime for personnel to lock up buildings at other schools? All I'm asking is how can this non-profit use McNair as their home address? Look at their website and google their address, it's McNair High School!
The parent council areas I suggested earlier...
@ Anonymous 7:36 PM
I completely agree for an ISD that Chamblee and Dunwoody MUST join together. No question!
However, while we are pushing to amend the Georgia constitution to allow ISDs, I think the next right step is to go for a charter cluster. It was my understanding that a charter cluster is made up of only one high school, one middle school and the feeder elementary schools. However, if I am wrong, then perhaps Chamblee and Dunwoody need to join forces to create a strong charter cluster.
A strong charter cluster will give our schools the protection they need from the corruption, fraud and theft at DCSS -- as well the current inept BOE.
I am a former co-president of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Council. I am all for Chamblee and Dunwoody working together for the good of our schools, our students and our teachers. I will take a day off from work and will be at the September 1 DCPC meeting at Peachtree Middle School.
Because of the corrupt, immoral and unsalvageable school system administration and BOE we have, sooner than later Dunwoody will have a state rep or senator write up a bill for them to become a charter school system separate from DCSS, or Milton County will eventually come to be and our pathetic school system will be the overarching reason D-Woody leaves DeKalb County to join Milton.
Of course Ron Ramsey will still be the head of DCSS Infernal Affairs, and will blast D-woody, call for an economic boycott, and make blantantly racist rants, which Zepora Roberts, Gene Walker and Sarah Copelin-Wood will echo.
P.S. Whatever happened to Ernest Brown?? He was a real hope to be a BOE member to make a difference, even though he made some disturbing comments fully supporting the indicted and disgraced Crawford Lewis.
@ Anonymous 7:43 PM
In terms of media coverage ... in spite of what Wendy Saltzman did ... Channel 46 is helping to sponsor the 100 Black Men's 18th Annual 2010 Casino Royale on August 28, 2010.
So Channel 46 is unlikely to report on 100 Black Men of DeKalb in terms of any wrongdoing.
Channel 46 does not have clean hands here.
Looks like I'm going to take a day off and go to the Sept 1 DCPC as well. ANYTHING to make me feel less powerless. Thing is, I fear we can be as much a part of the process as they will let us, but they really don't care what any of us think, so are we really making any headway? I want to be strategic and organized about how to make a difference, but quite frankly, I don't even know where to start. Cere does a great job of shining a light on the craziness, but how much can one person do?
I to believe the Parrot is Dead. I waited & waited for someone in south DeKalb to take the lead in stating outrage and disgust with the state of our school system during the indictments. No voices arose. No Chamber of Commerce leaders, no Leadership DeKalb graduates, no corporate leaders said anything. No "I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it anymore."
The problem is not just 2 or 3 board members or three or four (dozen) administrators. It runs much deeper than that & I am not optimistic it will change quickly or easily.
Serving on the School Closure Task Force this spring reminded me just how difficult and strained relations are. And there is NO trust. (A political advantage for some.)
Changing the constitution seems like blowing in the wind but we can at least ask the DeKalb Delegation to reduce the number of board members to 7. Nine is too many and why pay the extra money.
I like Ms Tyson and implore all to be respectful. But I was frustrated that she told the DeKalb Delegation and Chamber attendees that all of the Communications Department has been cut... while Philandria Guillory is still employed.
Allegiances do run deep and I hold little hope that an outsider will come in a miraculously glean the wheat from the chaff.
To all Ramona Tyson devotees--no disrespect to Dekalb County Christians here---please do remind her that prayer and faith in God is a personal matter not to be foisted on the rest of the DCSS employees.
She is an Interim Superintendent not a high priestess for heavensake!
One more of these "call to prayer" and there will be a lawsuit from the Catholics and Episcopalians!!
Stop mentioning Ernest Brown! He supported Clew-less and he supports the current leadership (CLew's cabinet, no matter what he says in public. I'm sorry to say, I have a trust and perception problem with Mr. Brown.
A Call to Prayer? What's that about? Please tell me she doesn't think we're only relying on hope and prayer. She has the power to FIRE. Stop praying and clean house for god's sake woman. If you're doing the right thing, he or she will support you in the actions you take.
Some suggestions of people to fire that the public would support -
Anyone known to have had an affair with Crawford Lewis and received a promotion during that time. We're all aware of who the XXX's are.
Philadrea Guillory - it is well-known that she only has her job as head of the television studio due to the strings her mother pulled years ago. She is not good at it. The students at Dunwoody could have made a far better video than the one she showed a the last board meeting. Fire her and replace her with a professional from the field. Professionals do not cost nearly as much as we are paying Phil. We could save at least $50,000 and associated additional costs in benefits.
Ms. Butler - the CNN cookbook queen who stepped over a PhD qualified director of health and wellness to become "Executive Director" of health and wellness. She is a book and self-promoter with no qualifications whatsoever for her current duties. (In fact, do we need this position at all?)
Morcease Beasley - nip this fiasco in the bud. We have directors of core subjects and school levels - these people can handle the workload until a permanent superintendent takes the reins. He has been the WORST move for teacher morale since furloughs.
David Guillory (see Phiandrea above - same issues only insert transportation instead of television). Hire an experienced PRO from FedX or UPS or somewhere where they know how to route buses efficiently - perhaps even using computers!
How about your own cohort Tony Hunter? You know, the guy who brought us Esis? You have not heard what teachers are saying about this system if you think it's remotely successful.
Marcus Turk - FInd a check that he signed in payment to Vincent Pope and Associates. He knew damn well that Pope should not have been on the job. Who signed Pope's checks? Who is responsible for the money? Where does the buck stop in DeKalb? Was he so beholden to Lewis that he wrote checks for millions to the architect husband of our director of construction without question? How about the fact that he specifically told Lewis not to use his Pcard for vacations, yet somehow, the bill got paid in the end! We need someone with a more rigid backbone with their hand on the checkbook. (And speaking of -- please - join the hundreds of other school districts nationwide that are posting their check registers online for the public to see. Now THAT would be transparent!)
Any other suggestions? I am guessing that Ramona needs help in figuring this out.
The BOE should review all the AP's or Principals who won their job unfairly through "set-up" interviews where the candidate and/or interviewer were well aware of the personal or family relationships and were tacitly pressured to chose the pre-chosen candidate.
Make it a firing offense upon discovery for any candidate for AP or Principal not to divulge any connection (business, familial, or romantic ) to the interviewing panel.
Has ELPC announced their 2010-2011 meeting schedule? I've not seen it. Just went to their website and still has last year's dates. I think I'm on the ELPC email list -- haven't heard anything...
Such hiring practices (nepotism, crony-ism, sexual/romantic)robs DCSS of desperately needed personnel with skills, experience, and judgment.
Our district's students suffer because--even with DCSS diploma in hand--they are not marketable. Tax payers suffer that DCSS has paid 1 000 000 of dollars to rent trailers that it could have owned and maintained for less!
The BOE can't fire anyone except for the superintendent. We need a new interim superintendent.
The new superintendent will need to review assignments and make sure that appropriate personnel is in place.
Cere, you're right on target with the firings.. I'd like to add Robert Moseley, who think the parents who actually care and ask tough questions are "background noise" those were his words. Plus, his little black book of attendance levels at schools needs to be pried out of his cool fired hands. He has never seen a honest number he couldn't fudge a bit. Plus, he was the one who kept saying the cut and paste, Fairfax, VA, demographers report was honest and true. This guy needs to go. Dr. Thompson and Mitchell-Mayfield should also think about resigning. Cere, the entire cabinet of Clew's need to go. How can we trust any of them?
Listen, does anyone actually think that these people will resign. Hockey Sticks no! The will have to be forced out. They believe that they are above us. If their children, friends, and other relatives are so qualified, they should apply in other systems. I don't know what Mark E. is waiting on. He removed accreditation from other school systems for far less. Mark, yes, I am calling you out. You are in bed with the DCSS. Because nepotism exists know, actions must be taken now. I agree with Z. Roberts, seems like she is the fall guy. There are other out there doing the same things. I believe that if you put SCW, ZR, and JC together, they couldn't pass the 5th grade CRCT. I am in favor of a board member being required to pass a basic (very basic) skills test to qualify for this office.
We've been knowing that the BOE and the Elitists in the district office have been corrupt for years. This is truly old news. Thanks Ch. 46 for breaking the story, but we need more. We challenge you to keep pushing forward. Oh, and did Beasley's school make AYP last year? If not, then shut up. AYP is a big joke. Most parents don't really know how it operates anyway. Anyway, does AYP indicate the teacher or the student? I tell you what, why don't the little precious babies from N. DeKalb switch with students in S. DeKalb. I bet that S. DeKalb would make AYP and N. DeKalb would not. Many, not all, but many parents in S. DeKalb have children who don't value education. Is that my fault? No, it isn't. So, the failing schools have nothing to do with the school or the teachers, its the people who attend these schools. In order to get parents to attend functions, they have to offer food, and that sometimes doesn't help. Yes, I said it.
Question-What do you think the current BOE members will do to a new Superintendent if he or she starts cleaning house?
Answer-The same darn thing that they did to Johnny Brown. Say what you must about him, but people retired by the handfuls. He downsized positions that were'nt needed. Boy the BOE didn't like that, especially SCW. There was no real explanation given to the tax payers when they got rid of him. I really don't give a rat's behind if the BOE doesn't like the Super. Whether he/she does his/her job is my concern. In came CLEW, and the next is history. Right now, $20,000 yearly is missing from my household. And now to hear that people's children received preferred treatment.....sickens me. Some of these people make more than me, by doing a lot less or nothing for that matter. Somebody....please help us. We love our jobs. We love our students. But we are tired of being used and abused by the folks over there in the Palace.
You know that your school system isn't in a "good place" when problems aren't allowed to be discussed in an open and frank manner. This has been the case for YEARS in DeKalb County Schools. Principals are only allowed to paint rosy scenarios, even when their buildings are falling down around them. If they DO raise concerns, they are punished instead of their concerns being addressed.
And then it trickles down from the principals to the teachers. Teachers are told to never speak negatively about anything and, again, if they do, they are punished.
And then we parents and concerned community members go to school board meetings and raise these concerns and we're called "background noise." How can our children EVER get the education they need in this atmosphere?
Has anybody tried to go over there lately? I had to see someone about my certification last week. Well, you will not be able to go past security in the front. It was not like that in the old office. It's awful. Sonny Perdue, please do something before you leave office, especially if the Republican candidate wants my vote. SACS, actions speak louder than words.
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