Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some good news on new policies

According to the AJC, DeKalb school board protects whistleblowers.

The DeKalb County school board is implementing a whistleblower policy, which officials say is the first in the state to prevent retaliation against school employees who report wrongdoing.

In addition to the whistleblower policy, the school board voted Tuesday to add or amend policies on purchasing, an employee code of ethics and staff conflict of interest. The policies are all designed to deter a full-scale investigation into the district’s accreditation.

Click on the link above to read the entire AJC article highlighting the policies passed as a first response to SACS requests of DCSS leadership.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean I can take my case where I was innocent-but-framed, and then reassigned after much pain and suffering and loss of reputation in my field, back before the board and they will actually want to listen and go after the guilty parties? Really? No kidding? Seriously? Do you mean someone will actually care about what happened to me and seek justice?

Anonymous said...

I think this is to impress sacs and we will all be treated the same. As long as we have the cronies of lewis nothing will change. I too went to the same thing. Just watch and see.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to note that Zepora Roberts voted AGAINST the whistle-blower policy.

Cerebration said...

Really? OMG.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no confidence in anything that this board does. Even after the outcries of so many of us, they continue to appoint friends and family to administrative positions. I certainly hope that the SACS reps do not allow them to insult their intelligence. They are certainly are trying to insult ours.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:12 pm

Keep writing and calling and emailing SACS. Publish their responses on this blog for all to see.

Anonymous said...

I also have no confidence in this Board. Zepora Roberts is an embarrassment to all of us in Dekalb County and especially to the 7th District. Jay Cunningham has never appeared to be "with it". If he can't figure out that using his position to sell goods and services from his business to Dekalb County Schools is not ethical, then he lacks the basic intelligence to be on the School Board, of all places. I suspect that the best we can hope for from SACS is probation if we're lucky. The State of Georgia should take over the Atlanta Public Schools, the Dekalb County School System and the Clayton County School System. This sad comedy of errors has got to end somewhere and sometime.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I don't know my way around the DCSS website. But for the life of me I can't find the anonymous tip site? They say if exist but I'm afraid to ask where it is if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Have they put it up yet? The policy just passed on Monday and I find that changes to the website always take a few days.

I will send a question to the webmaster today. However, I am not sure we have a webmaster anymore. LOL

I will post here what I find out.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I sent the question in. We will see if/when it is answered and I will share what I find out.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Jay Cunningham used his position as board member to solicit sales of pizza and wings to schools. There was an investigation about this in 2007 and he was cleared. I dounbt he made much profit of these sales, probably selling things at cost to schools. He had done this prior to becoming a board member. Nonetheless, taxpayer dollars should not have been used for the purchases and hopefully this policy clears things up for everyone.

Non taxpayer dollars through booster clubs and classroom parties can still buy from his restaraunt. If kids say they like the food from his restaraunt and he offers a competitive price, why shouldn't he have the opportunity to make the sale? You would be hard pressed to find someone to say that he offered considerations to a parent who recommended food purchases from his restaraunt.

Anonymous said...

"I will send a question to the webmaster today. However, I am not sure we have a webmaster anymore. LOL"

DCSS still has a webmaster. Jeremy Harnois:

Anonymous said...

I think Ramsey did the investigation into Jay Cunningham. What do think old Mr. Ramsey did? Nothing! If you want to 100% transparent, which this BOE will never do, why even attempt to sell products to DCSS. After what happened to Cassandra Littlejohn and her husband, you think BOE members would learn.

As long as Francis Edwards holds this BOE in her little hand and as long as her family, and there are a lot of them, continue to work for DCSS I have NO confidence in t.
his BOE or staff. Like a previous poster said, as long as these leaders stay in place, nothing is going to change.

They always point their fingers at someone else and they think they are above the very policies that they vote for.

Vote the BOE out and then demand for everyone, who is paid a 6 figure salary in DCSS to tender their resignation immediately.. Time to hit the famous, Hilary Clinton reset button.

Anonymous said...

Zepora "I'm going to slug you" Roberts, voted no since she is worried someone is going to blow the whistle on her threats to many more people than just Wendy Salztman at CBS 46.

Zepora needs to be dragged into court for her threats and racist remarks, at every BOE meeting. It's only equitable....

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous 11:12 PM and Anonymous 11:14 PM

Keep writing SACS ...?

A friend who knows Mark Elgart professionally asked him to meet with me. When I phoned for a 15 - 20 minute appointment, he would not even speak with me. He had his director of communications, Jennifer Oliver, call me back. She was very nice, but she is not a decision-maker for SACS.

I have copied the director of communications on the e-mails I sent to DCSS regarding overcrowding of Chamblee Charter High School and the hurried approval of 4 critical policies that, as written, contain no transparency, much less real penalties for ignoring them. So far, no response from SACS.

It seems that SACS has forgotten -- or chooses to ignore -- whose money pays all of DCSS's expenses associated with SACS.

Anonymous said...

Yeah too many of us who have tried to blow the whistle have been greeted with the following: cover up the issue, discourage the individual from reporting incident, intimidate individual, reassign the individual, ruin the whistle blowers reputation and do nothing to the person who has been reported. I will believe it when I see it. Otherwise, this is just for more of the same. I think we keep forgetting the most of lewis regime are still in high position therefore nothing has and will change until most of those people are removed.

Anonymous said...

"I think we keep forgetting the most of lewis regime are still in high position therefore nothing has and will change until most of those people are removed."

Amen! Truer words have never been written on this blog. The vestiges of the Lewis administration are still all in place. Even those staffers who accompanied him on resort trips on his taxpayer paid purchasing card are still on staff!

Nothing will change until Lewis leftovers Bob Moseley, Marcus Turk, Ramona Tyson, Audria Berry, Steve Donahue, Ron Ramsey, Melvin Tucker, etc. are all shown the door! You too Mr. Unnecessary Paperwork Morcease Beaseley.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:17 PM, do you think the reason SACS is ignoring you is because you are coming off as a whiny, complaining parent? Given Ms. Tyson has already said she speaks to Mark Elgart daily, do you think she may have reviewed these actions with him and he approved of the process?

fedupindcss said...

A lot of parents and teachers have contacted SACS for several years, primarily for the same reasons that got Clayton County in their crosshairs: BOE meddling in personnel issues. Yet when Elgart was asked recently about complaints about DCSS, he claimed there were none! I am at a loss to explain his statements in this matter.

Anonymous said...

Blogger above says, "do you think the reason SACS is ignoring you is because you are coming off as a whiny, complaining parent?"

I BEG TO DIFFER. This person who you perceive as "whiny and complaining" has much knowledge and many success stories behind her, and she is one sharp cookie. If she says something you can bet she's done her homework.

She's done more for DCSS with her research and hours and hours of volunteering over the last 25 plus years than most of us put together. She's an asset to anything and anyone that she believes in fighting for.

What have you done to make a difference?

I don't care one iota if Mark Elgart has spoken every single day with Ms. Tyson ... it's all political.

When an organization who is in place to, among other things, police corruption essentially shuts down a Clayton County and lets DeKalb County continue with "business as usual" for months before they even bother to step in ... well, I don't have to be too smart to realize there is something wrong with that picture.

I have no faith in SACS, just as I have no faith in DCSS ... Not until new people come on board that care as much about transparency as all of us out here on the "outside." Not until all the "no gooders are replaced by the do gooders" ... I don't really blame Ms. Tyson. She, too, has to take direction from a very corrupt BOE.

We actually have a right to whine and complain. You should watch this BOE at meetings. They don't even listen to the people speaking, IF they show up to the meeting at all. And, if they do speak, I am embarrassed for them.

We need a whole new crop of BOE members who will start the process of making DCSS a place where a great superintendent will want to reside.

This board and "inner powerful circle" have been so blinded by lies that they wouldn't know truth if it hit them hard. It's disgraceful. AND, we elected these people. Shame on us! We'll do better next time around.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that SACs approved the process for this round of policy vetting.

At DCPC, Ms. Tyson said that there would be no less than 30 days given for the public to vet policies from here on out.

As far as I know DCSS has no policy on overcrowding schools and therefore, there is no SACs complaint there.

The complaint we all ought to have is that Beasley seems to have messed with the school choice options, eliminating the DOLA option at the 11th hour and leaving DCSS between a rock and a hard place.

Who died and made him God?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:13 PM

Why Bob Moseley -- you old scamp, you! I had no idea you read this blog. Live and learn!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:09 PM who said,

I BEG TO DIFFER. This person who you perceive as "whiny and complaining" has much knowledge and many success stories behind her, and she is one sharp cookie. If she says something you can bet she's done her homework.

regarding the blogger who said,

I have copied the director of communications on the e-mails I sent to DCSS regarding overcrowding of Chamblee Charter High School and the hurried approval of 4 critical policies that, as written, contain no transparency, much less real penalties for ignoring them.

The overcrowding at CCHS??? Are you kidding? Several high schools is DeKalb have been overcrowded for years. Southwest DeKalb and ML King both had over 25 trailers on the campuses. Fairington had over 30 trailers a few years ago, with more children in trailers than some of the elementary schools in the Chamblee area had in their entire school. If that blogger had a genuine concern about trailers, they would complain about trailers throughout DeKalb, not just their neck of the woods.

If you look at the policies on the DeKalb website, you'd notice they welcome feedback AT ANY TIME. Did that blogger ever attempt to suggest changes and have them ignored? Through obvious prodding from SACS and other sources, immediate changes were needed to 4 of over 240 policies. Why does that blogger think there is an obligation to give more time when they could have submitted recommendations AT ANY TIME??? Guess what, they can still submit recommendations even though changes were just approved.

Someone just posted a link to recent data about students in an attendance zone. Did you see that Avondale and Chamblee high schools both have FEWER THAN 800 STUDENTS that reside in their attendance zones. Do you think that blogger would recommend consolidating those attendance zones? Seems like there is enough space in nearby attendance zones for those children.

If that blogger advocated for all of DeKalb, they might get a call back. Otherwise they come off as being a whiny, complaining parent.

Cerebration said...

That is exactly why I have been so appalled that Arabia was withheld from "regular" students and instead became a "specialty" or "choice" magnet type of school. Arabia was specifically built to alleviate the over-crowding in the south areas of the county - especially SW DeKalb and MLK.

Ironically, I seem to be screaming in the wind, because those same crowded people in south DeKalb aren't upset in the least that they can't use Arabia for regular students to relieve over-crowding. I'm stumped about this actually.

Anonymous said...

Lewis was smart to hire Gloria Talley. She came from the Southern Regional Education Board which has excellent relations with SACS. I guess we got what we paid for - DCSS easily got through the last SACS review.

SACS deserves to have their reputation sullied for turning a blind eye to the corruption and unethical behavior of the BOE and the DCSS administration. It took the top two members of the school system to be indicted on RICO charges and day after day headlines in the news before they would finally move to review DeKalb. SACS has really failed the children of DeKalb County.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10"07 pm

"Fairington had over 30 trailers a few years ago, with more children in trailers than some of the elementary schools in the Chamblee area had in their entire school."

Fairington had 34 trailers and 33 classrooms in the building. More students were literally outside the building than inside the building. And the smell of toilets built for half the number of students hit you when you walked in the door.

Did parents of students who went to Fairington complain? If so - did they complain to the BOE members and the DCSS administration? I don't recall parents who sent their kids to the "theme" school up the street from Fairington advocating for Fairington kids to go there to help ease the overcrowding. My understanding was that the theme school was originally to relieve overcrowding until they made it more exclusive.

It seems to me that the real culprits here are the DeKalb "upper management" and the BOE members. It's hard to believe that Lewis and the BOE left those students in such disgusting circumstances. Of course, the same could be said of Cross Keys. That was a disgusting situation to leave students in as well. After years of overcrowding, Fairington and Cross Keys finally got some relief. The administration and BOE would not want to spend years in these overcrowded and substandard schools. Why would they ask students to do so?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:13: At the BOE Instruction and Policy committee meeting last Monday, BOE members, staff and attorneys reviewed the 4 proposed policies and made suggested revisions. The attorneys committed to get the revised policies back to DCSS by the 26th. Jim Redovian asked Ms. Tyson to consult with SACS and ask for direction on whether it would be best to move forward with fast tracking the 4 policies or whether SACS preferred the policies lie on the table for 30 days. Based on that, Elgart likely approved the process.

Cerebration said...

My understanding was that the theme school was originally to relieve overcrowding until they made it more exclusive.

I sense a "theme" with the "themes". That theme would be, "I got what I needed for my kid so I'll just shut up and move along!"

Anonymous said...

School system officials tend to ignore schools where parents don't complain. If a trailer park has sprouted up around your neighborhood school, you should complain even if you don't have kids in that school. This affects property values. Contact your elected school board representative.

Anonymous said...

In reference to the whistle blower policy, Ronald Ramsey will continue not working for DCSS. For years, reports have surfaced about the upper elite in DCSS and nothing was done. Ronald Ramsey terminates or reassigns people based on what the upper elite tells him to do,not the law or evidence.
I think in the future when whistle blowers uncover unethical problems, then some of the money that we are paying Ramsey needs to be deducted from his check.It is his job to make sure policies are followed regardless if infractions are violated by friends of the family plan in the system.
I have never seen a school system that use to be decent turned into a mafia gang style of operations.
Friends, cousins, neighbors, church members, and of course, fraternity/sorority members placed in such high positions. The majority of these people worked as teachers or etc in the system and some were late to work every day, did a poor job of teaching, followed no one directives except their own, and now, these same people are walking around everyday trying to micromanage others. This is really funny to see on the south end of the county.Most offices are adorned with administrators fraternity colors /sorority colors/ or church affiliations and you have to wonder, why are these people in these high administrative positions. Mainly because of their connections such as , area directors, and etc.
Schools without principals are usually filled using fraternity members or sorority members who did nothing but keep up confusion when they were administrators in the system. So, why are the same sorority members (AKA's) being used Check it out if you donot believe us. Evidently, the blame comes from HR who has a large number of sorority members and fraternity members within the school system. SACS could really uncover a lot of nepostism if they really do their homework.
Is it like this on the north end of the county? Someone please answer, no. People on the south end of the county are plain tired of this same regime and wants leaders who are competent. Maybe if HR hired through an agency this would at least curtail some of the members from the family and friends plan and would help at least one aspect of the whistle blower policy. Since we know, that Ramsey's job is to protect these people but terminate others.
It behooves me that he failed to see any wrong doings in all of the scandals that the newspapers uncovered. Can I get an amen from somebody out there?

Anonymous said...

"Given Ms. Tyson has already said she speaks to Mark Elgart daily, do you think she may have reviewed these actions with him and he approved of the process?"
September 2, 2010 8:13 PM

What a joke. The fox raiding the chicken coop has friends.

Outsiders submit views to policies... another joke. If the suggestions are not supportive of the views of the insiders, they will never see the light of day

Whistle blower tips and policy changes should go to an independent group not affiliated with the administration.

Is there a policy on double dipping? In DCSS there probably is one that encourages it. Look at Walkaway (with her pension from inquiry into getting a teacher to change her testimony) Calloway (now Principal of New Birth University Leadership Charter School)

Anonymous said...

You are correct. An independent company should not DCSS should be over the whistle blower policy. Because,once again, the same family and friends, sorority members/frat/ New Birth members are intact.
Oh, several high elite officials are even allowing their child/children to attend the new charter school that is being operated by the same person who hired all of her sorority members in the county office and within the system. So, with this is mind, the same people in HR/ BOE hired her back again to double dip.
Her sorority members (Calloway) in HR and the county office put her back in power over New Birth /DCSS .
With all of the resales and properites (buildings), how could DCSS selected New Birth and of course,a double dipper to preside as the principal. Knowing the system is in the red and furlough days are affecting most people. This woman and her family irks me!

Anonymous said...

Something that has to change: Central Office administrators and staff should not be allowed to pick whcih DCSS school they send their children to. You send them to the schools in your attendence zone. Period.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:01 p.m. --

Indeed the Fairington parents did complain to the administration and to the BOE. Meetings were held and the administration was called upon to put forth some solutions, which I recall even involved some students being bussed to another elementary school, teachers and all, to relieve the disgusting situation at Fairington.

The discussion about South DeKalb overcrowding several years ago should really be held in a broader scope than that of many students, not enough classrooms, and questioning whether parents voiced their concerns or not (or how). You must also look at the mantra of the county government and the developers who fed it. Subdivisions were popping up at an alarming rate with virtually no impediments. There were many acres of green grass in the Panola area surrounding Fairington, and it seemed as though one day we all looked up and a sea of families had arrived. This also ocurred in the Lithonia, Stephenson, MLK and Miller Grove areas. Area residents were aghast at the speed with which new subdivisions were built, and when they appealed to the county to stop handing out building permits (some to developers with questionable credentials) without so much as a by-your-leave, they were told no. Then-commissioner Hank Johnson tried to provide some perspective from the county level, but when you had a CEO who lamented that if we didn't let builders into the prime South DeKalb spot, where would we get our property tax revenues from, well... you begin to see the picture.

Fast forward a few years, and here we are. Having a discussion about that which should have been on the table many years ago. Comprehensive Planning, by its very definition, means that communities and schools get together and map it out. We've seen what happens that comprehensive planning fails. Residents north and south alike are resigned to little pockets of success in their immediate community, but as little as a 1 mile radius from their homes is something I bet they didn't plan for or want. Maybe in the form of unwanted businesses or aesthetics or (no) sidewalks or recreation centers.

The bottom line for north and south DeKalb residents rings the same, but the path to that bottom was certainly a different one.

Anonymous said...

To round up support, Butler first told the school superintendent what she planned. (to steal money, I'm sure) She got school parents (Really, how many?) together and showed them comparative test scores – the Browns Mill kids did no better on standardized tests than children in the inner city, and the Lithonia community, 80% black, was the second most affluent in the United States. What the two groups of pupils had in common, Butler told the parents, was a sugar-rich diet. (Sugar free diet at school, not home, I'm sure.)
The parents were sold. (Poor, parents, fooled.) Butler, has a history of lying. I am reading her web and just in disbelief at how Crawford lewis allowed this lady freedom to travel and use the school system's students to promote her financial gain for herself and company, Ennvoye. Shame on Ms. Butler!!

When her opponents threatened to call in the US Department of Agriculture, which sets nutrition guidelines for schools, Butler sent school lunch menus to the agency for analysis. (WHEN?) Date Needed , Butler.
USDA declared the menus, which she supervises in daily meetings with the school cafeteria manager, to meet government standards

Anonymous said...

What happened at the hearing last Friday For Yvonne Sanders Butler?
Anybody know?
Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

I don't think we really know. Presuming the hearing really was Friday, I think if the result was good for Butler, who is a queen of self promotion, we would have heard about it.
But since we don't really know anything, we don't really know anything!

Anonymous said...

Principals, teachers and school staff members are under a great deal of stress. There are still buildings that have had no air in rooms this entire school year. The new procedures that principals and teachers are having to follow are coming so quickly, that you cannot get one done before another one comes. It is not to say that the changes may not have good results, the problem is that you are required to do so many things so quickly. The first progress reports will be issued on next Monday. I hope that everything is working correctly with eSIS. Pay has been cut. It is almost impossible to get anyone at the DCSS offices to return a call or an e-mail. School staff is required to do that , but it must not have reached the DCSS offices. This school system will probably lose anyone that has another option. That means that we will lose some of our best. I think people have stopped saying anything because they are so frustrated. Oh yes one very positive thing. The system is better now that our former superintendent is no longer in charge. People may be tired, but at least they are not fearful.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers, please note that Dekalb has a CULTURE of "management by Intimidation" that permeates the leadership from the top down. Administrators lead based on what has been modeled, "Do it MY way or (die) lose your job." And by the way "my fraternity,sorority, church member, relative has been hired even though not qualified and you answer to them" mentality will persist until there is a major upheaval in the administration. The school system historically REACTS rather than PLANS.

Anonymous said...

There are some school board members who are relics of the past and can't manage their way out. Zepora R. is one of them. She belongs in a previous decade. She thinks she should be revered and never challenged. She can't defend any of her actions or decisions and is just plain confused. She doesn't care about a 'whistleblower' policy. She will just 'slug' you.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if everyone who sent info to SACS who still has evidence of the specific contacts and contents of the contact could forward the fact of the contact (time, date, contact point) and the information from the contact (the specific point of wrongdoing/fraud/etc.) to Sally Yates (US Attorney) -- maybe we'd start to get somewhere -- and, possibly, prevent DeKalb DA from turning back as may be desired from who ever managed to get Ms. Keyes her promotion.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, I've seen this trick before. Offer a whistleblower policy? Don't buy it. I think in the 80's it was called the Ombudsman or something like that.

This program helps the employer keep eyes on the so called trouble makers. Lawyers love these programs. It makes there job alot easier.

They get all of your lawsuit facts early. Then they beat on your boss for not controlling the troublemaker. He/she will then tell everyone and they figure out how to get rid of YOU........Don't trust it. Don't trust it.

Whistleblowers lose everything
(friends, coworkers, team members, jobs, etc.) No one wants to be associated with a whistleblower.

Don't trust it.
Why whistleblow ZeppieR, we have film?