Saturday, September 18, 2010

Comments on the response to SACS

The response to SACS inquiry is posted online at the DCSS website. Click here to view or download the files.

While I give them credit for posting it at all, I give them an "F" for making it accessible. The documents are scans of the original (not pdfs created from a word-processing program) so they are enormous file sizes and they are not searchable. If these had been pdfs created from say, a Word doc, they would be much smaller file sizes and searchable. (FWIW, the federal government was criticized for the same thing regarding the health care bill.)

Anyway, if you have a fast internet service, hard space for storage, and time to read the whole thing, (not search for topics), then click here to start downloading or to just view and read online. Read as much as you can and post comments below.


Anonymous said...

Ramona Tyson, former head of DCSS MIS. Tony Hunter, the sales rep who sold her the "data pipe" for MIS. They can't figure out who to put asimple, searchable pdf on their website for one of the most important documents in the system's history???

Oathetic. But the BOE doesn't give a flip and won't even ask why.

Anonymous said...

Thank you DCSS for putting the full thing out there. It is one of the most important documents in the system's history -- second only to the recent indictments.

Anonymous said...

The PDFs are bookmarked, but you have to wait for them to download completely before they're available.

Anonymous said...

Presuming that the documents were composed in Word or some other program, saving them as PDFs would take far less time and effort than printing and scanning each page. If the person running the school system had a tech background this would not have happened.
Maybe there were a few staff members who didn't have anything better to do last week so they spent the whole time scanning.

Anonymous said...

What is it that you are unable to "search" for? As the poster said previously, once the document loads you can access the bookmarks. Is this just more of something to complain about?

DCSS Teacher said...

To Anon 12:29: you are SO right! We teachers are stuck with this technology and with this group of losers at MIS, who consistently do things in the most awkward way possible. Of note: our computers are locked into a "cage" on the desk that has the locking mechanism blocking the USB port, making it impossible to insert a flash drive. Also, the Smartboards (which aren't really Smartboards: they are Promethean boards, a different brand) were installed county wide in a colossally stupid way.

First, they're all mounted at the same height. They are partly obscured by the lab desks that sit at the front of high school classrooms (i.e., they're too low), and yet they are too tall for most elementary students to reach to write on.

Second, they have been put directly in front of what is often the only usable whiteboard/chalkboard in the room in ES classrooms. Teachers are only left with a little margin of space to write on at the side of the Promethean.

Third, the Promethean Board doesn't let more than one person write on it at the same time. Thus, given that the regular board is blocked, activities that involved, say, five or six teams of kids where each "captain" writes up results on the board at the same time, are now impossible.

Fourth, most teachers--and I do mean, MOST--don't use the Promethean board as anything other than a projection screen for Powerpoints or as a regular whiteboard. This is partly because the software is tricky and training is not easily available, but also partly because the technology doesn't, all in all, really add value to the classroom.

Check out today's NY Times magazine (The Education Issue: not only will you weep when you see where DCSS is at technology-wise relative to what's out there (as all those scanned .pdf files reveal), you'll rage at where your tax dollars went when you see our interactive whiteboard described on page 63 as a 1999 device. There are newer Smartboards available, but even with those, you need a tech-savvy support system and intelligent planning that takes teachers' pedagogic requirements into account.

Dan Magee said...

The Georgia Gang is the only local tv station news commentary weekly show. It's an institution and has been chugging along for years.

But the show seems to be breaking the basics of journalistic integrity.

For the past two telecasts, the DeKalb County School Board has come up. Jeff Dickerson, one of the show's four pundits, now has a lucrative contract with the school system as a PR consultant ($3000-$4000 per week). Dickerson defended board members Zepora Roberts and Sarah Copelin-Wood's recent antics on both telecasts.

Also, the old GM plant in Doraville was mentioned in both telecasts, and Dickerson supported DeKalb County spending millions in available federal bonds to purchase the plant, which would directly benefit the school system with increased property taxes.

I know and really like the show's moderator Dick Williams (and he's a fantastic high school basketball referee too!). I also usually like Jeff Dickerson's comments and observations on the show.

But I can't believe neither has mentioned Dickerson's contract with the school system.

Even though Dickerson is a "pundit", and not a reporter or news anchor, it still seems like a breach of basic news journalism principals to disclose his contract with DCSS.

If Dickerson is going to present himself as someone with enough gravitas to be a trusted commentator on local news issues, then Mr. Dickerson and the show should obviously just be honest and frank with the public and disclose he has a contract with the school system.

Would love to hear some more comments on this.

Anonymous said...

@ DCSS Teacher 1"03 pm

"Of note: our computers are locked into a "cage" on the desk that has the locking mechanism blocking the USB port, making it impossible to insert a flash drive. "

Teachers have been complaining about that for years. That complaint even made it up to Ms. Tyson.

Teachers were not the only one impacted by that one. Five years ago, MIS installed a brand new lab like that and the students couldn't save any of their work since it can't be saved on the desktop (changes every period due to MIS log-in procedures) and they couldn't save it on the share drive. It rendered the lab virtually unusable by students.

This is what happens when no schoolhouse personnel are involved in making decisions about the use of technology by teachers and students.

Anonymous said...

@ Dan McGee

I absolutely agree that Jim Dickerson should preface comments that defend the school system with the fact that he is paid by the school system to defend them. It really takes away from the credibility of the Georgia Gang. Wonder what other opinions they are paid to give on TV?

All the more reason for bloggers and readers of DeKalb Watch to get the correct information out there and to encourage every DeKalb citizen we know to read this blog and AJC Get Schooled, continue writing Ms. Tyson and the BOE, and by all means get out the vote and vote every BOE member out. I think I have told everyone I know about the sorry state DCSS is in and lay it squarely on the BOE's shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me Ms. Tyson didn't send this scanned, patched together document to SACS. If she did, please don't tell me SACs will actually accept it. Supporting documents consisting of thousands of pages of blurred scans. This does not look professional.

Anonymous said...

^^^ Good grief...It's no wonder this blog is becoming a laughingstock. I have had teachers actually say to me they come here just to get a few laughs from the "drama divas".

Anonymous said...

^^^They also say that know that many of the complaints, comments and carrying-on are posts by members of ODE.

Anonymous said...

Laughing stock? really? I find that comment laughable. There are great conversations taking place here. If you have an opinion you are welcome to leave it. But to call this blog a laughingstock makes me think you are either a "friend or family" of a BOE Rep or DCSS Leader, taking advantage of taxpayer dollars or Ernest Brown.

This blog is one of a very few places where you can actually find information about DCSS. Our local media do not have the time to explain the true state of crisis that OUR school system is in. Plus, DCSS does they very best at misleading the public or just hiding facts from public view. Like the 4 year old audit, that Clew hid along with the minutes of the BOE meeting when it was presented to the board.

You can laugh and call this blog and the commenters names but you will not stop us. I for one, value this blog and the conversations we have here.

Anonymous said...

Dan Mcgee, I have worked in the media for 30 years here in Atlanta. I can tell you I am just as disappointed in Dick Williams and Jeff Dickerson for not disclosing Jeff's contract with DCSS.

Even Bill Kristol, of Fox News, fully discloses his ties to a conservative operation and publishing unit. It would not be that difficult for Jeff to say, before commenting on DCSS, something like.

"In the spirit of full disclosure, I am under contract to provide public relation services for DCSS." At least that places some context for his comments.

Anonymous said...


It has been a while, but Jeff Dickerson did disclose his relationship with DCSS on one occasion on The Georgia Gang. However, he needs to disclose his relationship every time DCSS is discussed and he has comments.

Anonymous said...

"It has been a while, but Jeff Dickerson did disclose his relationship with DCSS on one occasion on The Georgia Gang."

I've watched every show since he was hired by DCSS, which wasn't that log ago, and have not seen him disclose his contract.

Cerebration said...

The absolute best PR for the school system was the electronic newsletter called "Kaleidoscope" that was created and published by Julie Rhame (who was let go in the cut backs.) That newsletter went to a lot of trouble to report all the good news in DeKalb schools - and it hasn't been updated since May. Instead, we are spending our PR money on "crisis management". Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:00 - so what is wrong with being an ODE member? It's not as if we have any real power.......except to educate your children.

Anonymous said...

Cere 4:36 Julie Rhames does not produce the newsletter it is done by Andrea Russell and was printed by the graphic arts department until it was shut down by Pat Pope and Clewless.
The graphic arts/printshop department also ensured that the newsletters were distributed to each school within the district via couriers.
I guess you never miss your water until the well runs dry....I wonder how thirsty the school system is now that everything has to be outsourced....we had a department to do all of the things that we are being nickeled and domed by the four (4) print companies that Marcus Turk mentioned at last week's BOE meeting. I don't agree with Eugene Walker often but we need our Printshop back in operation.

The students and parents are suffering at the hands of bad decisions being made by Turk and Tyson. We need to fix this mess. Printed documentation must go home to the parents about their schools...everyone can't go online and read about the news in their child's school or the DCSS. Isn't it a federal requirement that the schools must send things home in writing to the parents if the schools are under Title I funding...I think so.....
I don't agree with

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the clarification. I think this was maybe Julie's department, and I understood that she at least started the newsletter. But Good Job Andrea Russell!

It was quite a shock to lose the in-house print shop. Especially after spending so much money on new equipment and space. (Is that space still sitting there? Is the equipment still there?) I'm not sure we're going to see a savings from this move - in fact, I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:20
" I have had teachers actually say to me they come here just to get a few laughs from the "drama divas".

Well, the benchmarks every 6 weeks were changed, SACs is now looking into the Friends and Family plan with their nepotism question as well questions about selling goods and services to the school system, Simpson got demoted and Butler got let go, Ms. Tyson is addressing questions about the buried 2004 Compensation audit, and the list goes on. I'd say that this blog has contributed to all of the above.

The "drama" expressed here has a purpose. You want people to be engaged, and the best way to do that is to tap into their emotions (we're only human). This blog does that in the way a news article cannot.

DeKalb School Watch is filled with opinion pieces (as are all blogs), but the many of the references (State DOE site, AJC news, DCSS website, Port Arthur news, etc.) are factual. I think it's noteworthy that teachers are paid less than Kitchen and HVAC mechanics with a high school diploma. That piece of information came straight from the DCSS PATS webpage. How many teachers laugh about that - not many I'll bet.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:30 pm

"I wonder how thirsty the school system is now that everything has to be outsourced"

Kaleidoscope has been around for 20 years - at least since the 90s (maybe the 80s, but I remember receiving it in printed form in the early 90s). We don't need the PR department to publish this newsletter and post it online. It was not published by the PR department for at least a decade, yet it was still an excellent publication.

I'm for outsourcing, consolidating jobs, and cutting any and all non-teaching positions - not just in PR, but also in MIS, Security, HVAC, Professional Learning,Food Services, Transportation, and any other department.

I'm for whatever we can do to free up money for direct instruction for students. I started with DCSS in 1971 (retired now), and what a change I've seen. We are to the point where complete responsibility for AYP rests on 4,050 employees out of 15,859 total employees (Please ask me for a specific number breakdown. I'm happy to give them and cite my sources). No school system can be successful when only 25% of its employees are responsible for student achievement. It seems anyone could see this is a situation that needs rectifying.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher and I'm not sure who the teacher was that left the ludicrous message that this is just drama.. Perhaps, they are related to some of the others. I personally appreciate all of the information that has come to light on this blog. Many teachers work very diligently and I hope that the readers don't take that one opinion too seriously. They obviously don't take their job very seriously.

Anonymous said...

Cere 5:37 The entire department is gone but the printshop equipment is still on North Decatur Road...brand new equipment purchased just 3 years ago per the BOE meeting.

Who knows what is going to happen with the equipment...maybe they will auction it off for 1/4 of the price taxpaying citizens paid.

I appreciated that Eugene Walker asked for an audit of the cost of printing in house vs. outsourcing. The printshop made money and paid their own salaries and benefits so how could the Turk say that there are savings. The department was self sufficient. They may need to revisit some of the BOE meetings from 2009 and watch some feed on salaries and cost and who's driving up the cost in DCSS. It wasn't the few handfuls of individuals RIF'D in 2009. In fact our schools are the one's paying the price with cuts to the wrong areas.

There is a significant difference in the cost and quality of work being outsourced. The product looks the same but the cost is up by 300% in most cases because we are paying for graphic design layout which was included in the in-house cost of printing and binding (boxing, cutting, shrink wrapping, stapling, hole punching, etc) which drives up the cost outsourcing.

And now they are discussing outsourcing more areas...can we afford anymore mis-steps like the printshop debacle?

BTW Andrea Russell works for Office of School Improvement (Audria Berry) department. They have always done the newsletters and gathered the stories, with the help of PR dept. The images were taken by parents or staffers and put together by Mrs Russell.

Anonymous said...

This site must be commended for its insistence of transparency. This is important to the citizens of DeKalb but it also sets a precedence of what can happend when concerned citizens/employees get involved and start to tell the truth about corruption.

The nation will be watching the trial of our Super and COO because these are serious charges and this is the 23rd largest school system in the US...a lot of press coverage will be monitoring this case. And I assure you that some of the information that has fueled the DA's drive has come from this little blog....keep talking fans of the blog we are not done an insider we need to tell our stories so that that good will prevail over evil...think about the students crammed into schools and bussed all ove the county..let's get those test scores up or get those administrators out in excuses they are over paid and our students are not making AYP what is going on....

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:23
"And now they are discussing outsourcing more areas...can we afford anymore mis-steps like the printshop debacle? "

I would have to see the figures including benefits to conclude that the printing is costing more money now that it's outsourced. Could you provide a link to a website that shows that? Cere is right in that all expenditures should be listed for taxpayers online.

I do agree that schoolhouse positions were the ones cut. We should not have 1 Central Office employee for every 5 teachers as we currently do.

Cerebration said...

Any way - good job, Ms. Russell. I guess I ineloquently tried to make the point that we are currently spending at least $3,000 per week for a PR consultant to conduct "crisis management" when all along, the best PR we ever had - the positive stories about the actual students and teachers in our schools - was cut.

Anonymous said...

".let's get those test scores up or get those administrators out in 2011"

Failing test scores rests with the DCSS administration and the BOE members. Ms. Tyson, the DCSS administration and the BOE must be held responsible. Teachers have done what these folks asked them to do, and the programs they used tax dollars to fund have not worked. Blaming teachers is just another way of deflecting blame from their failed policies. Our students will never move ahead with the current administration and BOE.

Cerebration said...

Good comment Anon, 6:37 PM -- We ARE the Little Engine that Could! We may not always be accurate, but I have discovered time and time again, that our contributors often know more about a topic than our board members. Why do they fight us so? Just think of what they could learn if they actually read some of our postings and chatted with some of our contributors. We ALL want what's best for kids in the end, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:46 that is what I stated in my post....administrators are making the decisions for the teachers therefore they must go...however some ineffective teachers must move on as well....if they are constatly having failing students we must lay blames where it should be...parents, students, teachers and administrators...all play a vital part in a school's success...working together for the greater good which is educating our future not giving them a pass to later become an uneducated failure to society...just saying

Anonymous said...

Cere 6:53 so that's what all the fuss is about...the children...I thought it was just a bunch of angry noise makers....this seems to be the consensus of the administrators and BOE members..however we know better...our children and tax dollars are at stake everyday they make ineffective decisions.

Parents that are concerned are the one's who often time receive the most critism from spectators (arm chair quarterbacks). We must fight with our voices not be critical of good but speak loudly about misconduct and inappropriate spending (the Palace & relocatio of MIS)...if only they (BOE & Administrators) could see what we see from the outside for just one hour of the day...I believe the BOE and administrators would have a change of heart about this blog and the persons feeding information into it. Because they don't respond to emails being sent to them.

Anonymous said...

It seems that they are outsourcing all the jobs that actually require knowledge and skills to perform. These are the type of jobs you can't stick anyone friend or family member in.

Anonymous said...

I am an ODE member and Area Rep. Much of my personal philosophy regarding education is at odds with ODE, GAE and NEA. I would also be at odds with PAGE as well on many issues. I do post here but my post do not reflect my association with the group.

Anonymous said...

MIS has a history of poor expensive decisions for improvements in classroom tech. ( years ago there were those massive quirky Destination units that were supposed to do everything but no one knew how to operate them.) There was also the purchase of the ETP software for Elementary Schools much of that never got used and the programs are no longer compatible with the current OS they are using. But bad hardware and software choices are pandemic in most school systems.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:43

There are very few jobs that can't be outsourced outside the schoolhouse.

For example, I'm all for outsourcing Professional Learning. This in house training group has done little in the way of training for teachers. Before Crawford Lewis became the head of Professional Learning (his job before becoming Superintendent) and increased this Central Office group exponentially, schools were allocated Professional Learning dollars. Principals and teachers hired educational trainers or sometimes just professionals who could contribute to their success with children to come into the school and train faculty members. Training was tailored more to the needs of the particular student groups within each school.

When Crawford Lewis took Professional Learning over, he drew the dollars back into the Central Office and began to create an expensive group of trainers who treated all schools as if they have the same needs. Sound familiar?

This highly educated, specialized group could be outsourced or partially outsourced. So could Human Resources - the poster child for misspent taxpayer dollars.

I don't think any group outside the schoolhouse should be off limits when trying to make our tax dollars go less into admin and support and more into direct contact and instruction for students.

Anonymous said...

"There was also the purchase of the ETP software for Elementary Schools much of that never got used and the programs are no longer compatible with the current OS they are using. But bad hardware and software choices are pandemic in most school systems. "

Millions and millions were spent purchasing the ETP (Elementary Technology Program) software and very little of it worked. Much of it was based on CD ROMs which never worked with the DCSS Network. Waht a mess. Millions down the drain. It was finally just thrown away - literally. Two or three people in MIS made all the decisions on using millions of dollars to purchase this software (no teacher input). This is typical of DCSS.

Most systems do not make the bad decisions that DCSS makes. MIS has been run like a separate entity - subject to no one, and with absolutely zero input from schoolhouse personnel. And we wonder where tens of millions of dollars of general operations student funds go every year?

Cerebration said...

Anon 7:10 PM -- how very true. It's all about perspective. I try very hard to see things from leadership's perspective. All I ask is that they take the time to see things from the parents' and teachers' perspectives. This is a lot to ask of a lifelong administrator who is paid very well for doing things the way they've been done. We all need to stand up, shake off, and head in a brand new direction!

Anonymous said...

"years ago there were those massive quirky Destination units that were supposed to do everything but no one knew how to operate them."

Those Destination units cost millions of taxpayer dollars. They were not used because they were extremely heavy to move and multiple teachers were supposed to "share" a unit. The problem was by the time the teacher left his/her classroom and rolled the unit into his/her classroom (they were so heavy it was dangerous for students to move them), hooked them up to the network via a hardwire ethernet connection, and booted the Destination unit up, too much classtime was taken up (also they had their own hard drive so teacher computers couldn't connect to them). MIS finally C-50ed all of them. Again millions down the drain. No input from anyone except a few people in MIS for these extremely expensive units.

Burroughston Broch said...

Do you really think that they wanted to make it easily accessible and searchable? They said that they would post it, and now they can say that they did. It's all part of the bureaucratic, CYA behavior of the bunch. I say vote the entire Board out and start with a new bunch. It couldn't be any worse than the present Board.

Anonymous said...

@Dan MgGee

I agree with your comment about Jeff Dickerson. Full disclosure would be in order.

Why not just send your post to the Georgia gang at Channel 2. They do read the emails. Dick Willims is a fair guy.

Meet the Georgia Gang

* Dick Williams (Moderator)
* Jeff Dickerson
* Philip Kent
* Alexis Scott
* Martha Zoller

Marta is the smartest one of the bunch
E-mail your comments to the Georgia Gang:

Dan M. said...

I e-mailed Jeff and Dick, and got a snarky reply from Dickerson.

Be True to Your School said...

@ Dan M., 10:07 PM

Would you please publish the comment from Dickerson? I think we would all like to know what our tax dollars are paying for.

Dickerson needs to remember that regardless of "who" hired him, our tax dollars are paying him. He is not working for a private company.

In fact, perhaps Dickerson should take a leave of absence from the Georgia Gang while he is working for DCSS. At the very least, Dickerson should recuse himself from any discussion that could concern or relate to DCSS in any manner.

Anonymous said...

Well, started to wade through this. I found a few interesting things, this was just from section 1, not sure if I have the stomach to wade through the rest.

One: Some of the sample letters to new hires referenced "Premier" DeKalb. Way to send them outdated info, Whee!

Two: The very last page of document 1: On August 30, Laura Stevenson emails S. Spruill and Ramona Tyson, copies the Board and others, and basically says, "I agree that...the process of reviewing, revising, receiving public input and vetting these rules should not be rushed for the sake of expediency." We all know what happened, but thank you M. Spruill for trying. It got rushed through anyway, didn't it?

Three: P. 333 has some juicy irony. In order to pass these four policies the Board votes to waiver Board policy on how policies are adopted. Which means - any policy could be be waived at any time, so why have any policies at all if you aren't going to follow them.

Four: I was glad to see that comments I sent in were included. But because of the short time, there were very few comments overall. I had posted that more sufficient time was needed for review, and a few other things.

Question one: Did any of our comments matter? Were any changes made to the policies based on public input?

Question two: Will SACS notice that these policies were changed very quickly? If they wade through the thousands of pages, will they notice the line that says on p333 "It is recommended that the Board of Education waive Board policy on Policy amend response to inquiries from SACS." In other words, you asked us questions, we knew our answers were going to be junk, so we changed our policies to fit your questions. Hope you don't notice. And yeah, all those people that got their jobs because of nepotism - yeah they can keep them, the policies aren't retroactive.

Anonymous said...

I read through the docs - some could have been OCR'd to be searchable. A lot of it was documents, copies of web pages, etc. Some of it had handwriting on it. My guess is they compiled all of it together and ran it through a document handler (part of a souped up photocopier) that scans all the stuff for you into a PDF which you can email from the copier. I have one at work, pretty nifty.

Anonymous said...

WHOA there! I call FOUL on Anonymous Sept 18 436pm. Completely WRONG regarding Kaleidoscope. Cere you had it right. Kaleidoscope is a publication that has been ongoing for well over 24 years at least. It almost dies out with the budget cuts just before Julie took over. Under her leadership it was revived as the electronic version you referred to. It was painstakingly designed by she and her staff with the help of an outside graphic artist.

AT NO TIME did Andrea Russell have anything to do with Kaleidoscope! The stories were all written by the two writers on staff, one a writer/photographer.

I don't know where this Andrea Russell idea comes from but it is completely incorrect. I know this because I am one of the ex-staffers that worked on Kaleidoscope and we took great pride in that publication and the TV show by the same name and worked very hard on both.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, you definitely had it right the first time. Julie Rhame (not Rhames) and two other members of her PR staff painstakingly produced the Kaleidoscope electronic newsletter each month, and they also produced the Kaleidoscope TV show for PDS-TV with the help of a couple freelancers. I worked next door to them and can tell you that they put in a LOT of overtime to get the good news out about our district. It's a shame that they are taking the fall for our districts bad behavior.

If Andrea Russell did produce the Kaleidoscope, then she'd still be doing it since she still works there. She produces a Title 1 newsletter for the parent centers. You can see them on the Title 1 site - and in my opinion they are amateurish compared to Kaleidoscope.

Anonymous said...

Kaleidoscope has been around for 20 years - at least since the 90s (maybe the 80s, but I remember receiving it in printed form in the early 90s). We don't need the PR department to publish this newsletter and post it online. It was not published by the PR department for at least a decade, yet it was still an excellent publication"

First of all, you are correct in saying that Kscope has been Around for a long time, however, you are very wrong in saying that it has not been published by the PR dept for a decade. It has ALWAYS been published by the PR department ( although that department has had several name changes through the years).

But thank you for saying it was an excellent publication.

But those of you that say they don't need a PR department are just not being realistic. Any operation as large and as much in the public eye as DCSS desperately needs PR PROFESSIONALS on staff (not failed principals or other staffers pretending to be PR people). It does not need to be a large staff or a very highly paid staff. But the good word needs to be put out there and we used to do a great job of getting the word out about the amazing things our students and teachers wer doing in the schools. Crisis management was not part of our job responsibilities since Clew took us out of that loop and relied on DD for that job. To his detriment, obviously.

Taking a look at the DCSS web site, All I see are a couple of stale old rather poorly written stories. We were producing upwards of 20-30 good news stories per month. Tell me again how a PR department is not needed.

Anonymous said...

"Tell me again how a PR department is not needed. "

EVER DeKalb student deserves these educational components:
1. A safe and clean learning environment
2. A competent teacher in a reasonably sized classroom
3. Abundant access to cutting edge science and technology equipment

Give our students these educational components, and we will have no trouble attracting good teachers, successful students, and enthusiastic parents. That's what creates good public relations.

I think we need to let the citizens of DeKalb County see the wreck our school system has become - unfiltered through a PR department's verbiage.

I'm tired of DCSS hiding behind the Premier logo (who thought of that one - glad it's gone) coasting along on academic successes we haven't seen in 20 years.

The fact that more and more funds have been drained out of the classroom and into the admin and support jobs program should not be disguised. Transparency needs to occur in order for voters to get upset and get organized. Until our students have the 3 components listed at the beginning of this post, PR is just another expense on the admin side.

Anonymous said...

I'll agree with you that the public should see the mess that is the DCSS unfiltered and unspun. I'll give you that. But, there are also a lot of GREAT things going on in the schools that our students and teachers do that the public needs to be aware of as well! The budget for the PR Dept. was not that great. But MILLIONS are still being wasted on the educational program of the day that works no better than the last, bloated administration, salaries for the beneficiaries of nepotism that don't produce anything of value, legal fees due to inept administration, etc, etc, etc.

Cerebration said...

Not to mention MILLIONS more in legal fees!!

And thanks for clarifying about Kaleidoscope. I had always thought Julie was the one who made that so wonderful. That's what PR is - keeping the GOOD word out there. Crisis management - well, that's a totally different thing!

So - correction -

Hurrah for Julie Rhame! (Too bad her efforts were all for naught.)

Anonymous said...

FYI: Anderia Russell writes the Parent Resource Center Newsletter for the Office of School Improvement. This newsletter is specific to information about the Title I funded Parent Resource Centers located in select Title I schools. Not in any way related to Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope was originally a printed newsletter about positive events throughout the district. After the Lewis coup and his subsequent promotion of Philandrea Guillory (then BOE member Francis Edward's daughter), she become responsible for publishing it. Articles that had been submitted by teachers and administrators piled up for months before she attempted to write and publish. After the top officials realized that she could not string a sentence together in proper English, the newsletter was abandoned.

After Julie Rhame became head of the PR Department, she took it over and redesigned it as the on-line jewel it became. Now that she is gone, there is no good news available about DeKalb. Ironically, Philandria is the ONLY person in that department who did not lose her job in the central office bloodbath.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:30

"Ironically, Philandria is the ONLY person in that department who did not lose her job in the central office bloodbath. "

That's not irony. That's family connections.

Anonymous said...

Amen Anon. 9:46. Philandrea, the daughter of a former BOE Chairman, Francis Edwards, makes 120k as well as her husband who runs transportation gets paid about the same. One family, over 225K of OUR tax dollars. It doesn't include her brother, Jamal Edwards, of MIS fame. He was the one who hid out in a school for 6 months after getting a promotion and a raise. The parents finally exposed him to Ms. Tyson via, Asst. Super Debbie Loeb. Ms. Tyson seemed so surprised when she was told Jamal had not reported to his new job.

This is what has to stop! Jamal would have been fired if this had happened in a real corporation. However, he is celebrated as someone who got away with it in the DCSS circles, they even laugh at his nickname, "Where's Waldo"

Is this what we want in our school system? Is this how we expect OUR tax dollars to be spent?

November 2nd, time for change!