Saturday, March 5, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Why - the lawyers, of course!

Below is a snippet of a February 12, 2011 article in the Daily Report written by R. Robin McDonald. This is a very expensive, subscription-only news source for the legal field. Not long ago, we quoted from a past report in the Daily called, "School Case has a Civil Side". (Click here to read our post on it.)

OF ALL THE LEGAL QUESTIONS currently dogging the DeKalb County School District, one about a fee arrangement with a law firm would appear to be among the least of its concerns.

After all, the district's construction contracts have spawned criminal charges against former top school officials and a civil suit against the school district by its former construction management companies that has already cost it more than $20 million to defend.

But the fee deal with King & Spalding, which is representing the district in the civil case, has taken center stage as it has become entangled in the criminal case.

The fee contract, inked in June 2008, allows King & Spalding to collect both its standard hourly rates and a contingency share of whatever damages the school district may collect-should it win its $100 million counterclaim.

If the case settles in a way the firm does not like, it can convert its contingency payment to hourly fees.

Lawyers for the district's former construction managers claim that those terms give King & Spalding so much power over its client that the firm could effectively veto an attempt by the school district to settle the case.

The opposing lawyers say that King & Spalding's resulting financial stake in the case prompted it to try to delay the criminal investigation of its star witness until after the civil case went to trial.

For these reasons, the former school construction managers — Heery International Inc., E.R. Mitchell & Co., and Heery/Mitchell Joint Venture — have asked a DeKalb judge to disqualify King & Spalding as the school district's counsel in the civil case.

King & Spalding lawyers have countered in court pleadings that the allegations against the firm are "complete and utter fiction" and "reminiscent of a John Grisham novel.

The firm dismissed the attacks as a tactic intended to delay a trial at any cost, distract from Heery/Mitchell's alleged misconduct while overseeing $500 million in school construction projects, and "to punish the school district and denigrate its lawyers for holding Heery/Mitchell accountable for its near decade-long reign of fraud, waste and abuse."

There's more. Much more. But you'll have to find a hard copy of the Report to read all about it. Ask the lawyers you know — the ones in the big firms, as this news report is very pricey and small firms don't usually subscribe. Read on for just a bit more:
According to Heery/Mitchell's pleadings, from February 2007 when it filed suit in DeKalb County Superior Court to June 2008, King & Spalding ran up a $20.5 million bill to defend the district and assert what was then a $17 million counterclaim. The total included $8.7 million for attorney fees at what King & Spalding attorneys have said was a discounted hourly rate and more than $11 million for experts and consultants the firm had hired, all of which the district has paid.

King & Spalding's running tab occurred at a particularly inopportune time, Heery/Mitchell said, as the school district was preparing to furlough teachers and close schools to save money.
Below are some interesting facts I pulled from the article as well as from our archives and include here as bulleted text:

  • Heery/Mitchell served as DCSS construction manager for DCSS for nine years.
  • The system terminated HM's contract in 2006, about a year after replacing long-time manager Stan Pritchett with Pat Pope.
  • Heery/Mitchell then sued the school system in February, 2007 for $478,000 in outstanding invoices plus $1 million in damages, interest on the outstanding debt and attorney fees.
  • DCSS countersued for $17 million — alleging fraud among other claims.
  • After paying $8.7 million to King & Spalding, $3.6 million for a study conducted by Neilsen-Wurster/Marsh, and millions more for other experts, the school system ratcheted up their countersuit to include racketeering and boosting damages to $100 million.
  • In a big twist, last May a DeKalb County grand jury charged Lewis, Pat (Pope) Reid and her secretary Cointa Moody along with Pope's then husband Tony Pope with racketeering and public corruption associated with school construction contracts.
  • The new "break even sum" is a formula that includes three elements: Recovering the $8.7 million K&S billed and DCSS paid for defending the original $17 million counterclaim, plus more than $11 million K&S contracted for experts and consultants, also already paid by DCSS, and all attorney fees that the firm has incurred since June 1, 2008 through the end of the case.
  • King & Spalding then stands to collect an additional 25% of the first $30 million collection, 20% of the second $30 million and 15% of any amount over $60 million.
  • If the school district decides to settle with Heery/Mitchell for less than the break-even sum, "contrary to K&S's explicit advice," the firm is entitled to collect either 30 percent of the proposed settlement amount or its actual attorney fees at standard hourly rates - whichever is higher.
  • King & Spalding's published "Going Rate" ranges from $460 to $900 an hour.
  • It was four months after signing this agreement, negotiated by Josie Alexander for DCSS, that King & Spalding amended the school district's counterclaim against Heery/Mitchell to include $100 million in damages for alleged racketeering, which also carries with it the possibility, if successful, of treble damages.
  • Heery/Mitchell attorneys claim that K&S's interest in making sure the firm is eventually paid for what could be as much as an additional $10 million or more in unpaid fees gave it "an irresistible economic incentive" to tailor its legal advice to limit the scope of the criminal investigation or, at the very,least, keep it under wraps until after a trial in the civil case, which was originally scheduled to begin in March 2010.
  • Heery/Mitchell attorneys claim that Dr Lewis alerted King & Spalding of a criminal investigation into Pat (Pope) Reid as early as November, 2008, 18 months before the indictments. King & Spalding partner Robert C. Khayat Jr. denies this claim, saying that they were not made aware of the investigation until as late as June, 2009.
  • According to notes from an interview with Lewis by W.C. Nix, deputy investigator for the DA, Lewis stated that on the advice of K&S attorneys,  he placed a call to the county's chief assistant district attorney seeking to "table" the investigation of Reid until the civil case was over. Lewis stated that K&S had made it perfectly clear that Pat (Pope) Reid was their best witness in the civil case and that Lewis and the board have not chosen to take actions against Pope due to the amount of money already invested in the civil case. This action by Lewis is what prompted a grand jury to charge Lewis with hindering the criminal investigation. King & Spalding attorneys Hinchey and Khayat emphatically deny advising Lewis to take any action to "table" the investigation.
More on the subject:

This article in the Reporter comes on the heels of a recent report by Megan Matteucci entitled, "Ruling could cost DeKalb schools millions more in legal fees". In it, we learn that --

"DeKalb County taxpayers likely will have to pay millions of dollars more in legal fees in the school district's civil suit against a construction manager, which could include funding representation for ex-superintendent Crawford Lewis, because of a federal court ruling."

"On Tuesday, a federal judge granted the company’s request to send the case back to DeKalb County Superior Court, where it originated. In November, the school system had the case moved to federal court in an effort to circumvent DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger's decision to enable Heery/Mitchell to sue 17 individuals, in addition to the school system.

As it stands, the district will have to pay for its own legal bills and provide lawyers for those 17 individuals, including Lewis, former chief operating officer Patricia Reid and members of the 2006 school board.

The school system already has spent more than $15.5 million in trial preparation for the suit. The judge's decision could cost several more million dollars, board chairman Tom Bowen said."

What about future SPLOST spending?

Faye Andresen laid out the necessary steps for the board to take in order to avoid future legal pitfalls in their continuation of SPLOST construction. Read her open letter to the board by clicking here.

In conclusion:

Taking all of the above into account, the scene is overwhelming. Will the (partially new) board be able to hold the legal line? Will the school system continue to bleed money into the pockets of lawyers for the forseeable future? Will there ever be a trial? Is there a chance to settle, close this ugly chapter and move on? As taxpayers, we have no idea, yet we are beholden to pay for the process, both in civil and criminal court, both for defense and prosecution. There just doesn't seem to be a resolution in sight. We remain in limbo. Now SACS has expanded the scope of our limbo by deferring any kind of accreditation decision until October, when they will reevaluate. The system's timeline for a new superintendent includes a start date of August.

All of this begs the question: Who in their right mind would apply for the job as superintendent of DeKalb County Schools? Who will come to DeKalb and rescue the children from this tangled web of corruption, deceit and waste?

Hope is dwindling. Help does not appear to be on the horizon. How will we dig out from this deep hole?



Read Sunday's report on this subject in the AJC
Firm’s methods questioned

And a follow-up article in Monday's AJC
DeKalb's lawsuit tab: $15.5 million and climbing

And $100,000 for Pat (Pope) Reid's legal fees
DeKalb schools hire lawyer for ex-COO


Anonymous said...

and where, exactly, are the legal fees coming from in the budget? (I don't think that the state or feds allocate monies for legal fees....). thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb County has become an educational version of the last season of "The Wire".

Anonymous said...

Crawford Lewis and his administration rolled the dice and lost. They all hoped--yes even those that are still there dragging home big fat salaries that the Heery/Mitchell fiasco would be resolved much quicker. And, with a huge settlement check in hand, Crawford Lewis would be the hero. Then the Board of Education and his administration could have quietly worked behind the scenes to dispose of Pat Reid/Pope and her wanna be husband, Tony. But, his gamble didn't work, and the non-payoff continues to be a big pay out. As a tax payer, I am tired of DCSS using classroom dollars to fund all of these lawsuits to defend the incompetent. It has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I am even more tired.

That budget shortfall that has denied me my raises and create furlough days? The money went somewhere, didn't it? The budget line dedicated to instructional salaries should be the last to be cut. Cut the other line items--starting with all of the admin bloat that you folks have done a great job of bringing to light--to allow for these exorbitant legal fees!

And yes, I recognize that in this economy, we all have to share the burden. I do. I can live without my raise, but the reduction and loss of retirement--not so much, when I see this money going into these already full pockets!

Am I way off base here?

Anonymous said...

I would hope that any reputable and respected Superintendent candidate would not get their information on a school district from reading a blog. But, rather from the SACS report itself: "Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson declared her determination to "right the ship" on her watch...Evidence shows a start in developing a culture of transparency, the "right way" of doing business, and an urgency to make progress and restore credibility to the district with internal and external stakeholders".

The fact that some of you do not want to accept the fact that Ms. Tyson has turned the ship known as DCSS toward the right direction, well, that's on you. Everything, I mean, everything with you people is negative ALWAYS. That attitude and the crap some of you spew on this board at times is disrespectul to the teachers, administrators, parents and students who actually know there is a difference in DCSS since Ramona Tyson came on board.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 8pm. I feel your distress... I know how it is. Frustration for over five years, as we have fought to keep schools open, diverse and successful. But I have to tell you, knowing some things first hand, Ms. Tyson is part of the problem. Chosen by the now deposed Crawford Lewis, just look at those flow charts from several years ago. Crawford at the top, Tyson, Moseley, Thompson and Pope just below and on down. Tyson knows a lot and we have not seen her play all those cards yet.

The drama is far from over and once the trial starts and a new super is on board the CLew Circle should be broken. This stakeholder hopes for the best!

Anonymous said...

At 8:00Pm--- You are so right!

You think she is great compared to the previous one. That does not make you great....

A 99 Chevy is better than a 89 Chevy, true! But it is not a new car.

We don't have a superintendent. We have someone in superintendent robes doing a better job than the previous perpetrator.

We are still hiring unqualified and untested folks to be Assistant Principals and Principals....And that degrades our schools!

Anonymous said...

If DCSS would actually honor requests for information and even feign to care about children's education, then we would not need a blog! The blatant abuse of our tax dollars is condoned by "our vote" of a group of puppets on the school board. These spineless folks are going to give Tyson 5 votes on her plan Monday night because most of them were there when CLew was running a crime ring through AIS and they are just as guilty as the rest of them. THEY ARE CHICKEN, CHICKEN, CHICKEN and not one MAN in the old traditional sense is going to show that he has what it takes to stand up to the Superintendent and do what is right - delay this plan until they clean house, even if it means their own jobs.

The Heery Mitchell case is not a "slam dunk" for DCSS because these are the people who signed off on the time sheets and other orders that went through the system! On top of that, where was DCSS General Counsel when the King and Spaulding contract was negotiated? How stupid are these terms?

We elected stupid and we got stupid. Ain't nuttin' takin' down DCSS now that SACS has shown its true colors as a worthless educational enforcement body. Taxpayers don't have legal recourse and you better brush up your homeschooling skills because extracting an education out of DCSS is going to be a challenge for a long time to come. Honestly, there are Board Members who hate successful schools if they are not theme schools or some sort of special school that they supported.

Cerebration said...

@ 8:00 PM, I am certain that no superintendent candidate would get their information from a blog, however, the information in this post, as in almost all of our posts, is not our "opinion" or some kind of discussion we are making up. This post is a recap of an actual article written by a highly respected legal news source. This stuff is true! Anyone who would do the least bit of due diligence in a job search would find that they would be agreeing to take the reins of a system currently fighting a $100 million lawsuit, a criminal lawsuit against their predecessor and under "advisement" by their accrediting firm. Plus, if you would do a bit of Googling on the members of the board (ie: your "bosses") you would find some things that could give you pause about going to work for them.

This blog simply brings these issues to the fore and discusses them in a public forum. We aren't here to make up things that would cause any harm to anyone — especially our children's teachers. We want these issues resolved just as much as anyone else so that those teachers can continue to focus on their mission in the classroom, with the full support of the public funds they are entitled to and a dedicated administration in place with one goal: to help them do their job -- educating all of our children.

Cerebration said...

In fact, I would even say that Ramona Tyson of all people, understands this. When she agreed to step in for Dr. Lewis, she was led to believe it would just be for a very short time. In fact, I've heard that a couple of board members believed that Dr. Lewis would return. This is why she never negotiated a raise or a contract in the beginning.

Now that she is swimming in the thick of it she is under an incredible stress and managing it pretty well. And I would say that yes, she has done a remarkable job of plugging the hole in the dyke, but she has stated emphatically that she does not want the job long-term. She does need to stay on and overlap with the new super because this is a special situation with a lot of institutional knowledge that has to be passed on in order to move the ship forward. Whoever that new person is, will have to have a very strong constitution and very thick skin. I think Ramona is staying on for a while in order to help that person navigate the waters.

I do hope they find just the right person for the job. I hope Ms. Tyson continues her path of correction and gets to work "correcting" the administration in order to hand over a lean, well-run team for the new leader to lead. I also hope the new leader brings in his or her own additional team of highly skilled and experienced educators able to jump in and move our system ahead with the clear focus on education and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of suits, I saw on Channel 2 news yesterday where some apartment complex in North Dekalb County has retained the services of a prominent Atlanta lawyer as a result of the proposed redistricting plan. I wonder what this is all about?

Anonymous said...

10:37 You are on definately on point. I agree totally. Thanks for the comment. Josie Alexander needs to go yesterday!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh oh oh. You have to read the sunday paper (hard copy is what I have). Favorite quote on the case comes from Tom Bowen in response to Heeley lawyers' position on fraud that it cannot be as the "school board approved many of the actions for which the district is now suing." Bowen's response:

"School board chairman Tom Bowen said that many times the board didn't know what it was voting on or was told to approve it or risk having buildings not ready in time for the start of school." It gets better....

"'Approval of change orders by nine board members randomly elected by the public with almost no candidacy requirements other than residency cannot reasonably be considered to be any kid of approval of the quality of the construction or the construction program,' Bowen said."

He actually admits they are not competent for the job. Isn't he a lawyer?????

This is from page B6 of the Sunday paper that we picked up today. ENJOY!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typos above...

Anonymous said...

To those who keep singing Tyson's praises, I ask, what has she done? I still don't get it. I'm not seeing much going right? $400,000 to consultants, then you don't listen to their recommendations but instead follow the political winds. Again, more waste. What is she doing that you like so much? I just don't see it. Please, please explain.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that I have really begun to wonder about is what does Ms. Tyson really know?

For example, if Jim Walls had not written the articles about the lack of cooperation in the Open Records case related to the audit, would anyone on staff even told her?

We have all speculated that there are probably employees that want to see Tyson fail.

I think this ties into what she knows and what she doesn't.

Anonymous said...

After the Egyptian got rid of Hosni Mubarak,they also got rid of the successor he appointed.

Are we wiser than the Egyptians?

Anonymous said...

There is also an article in today's AJC about the really questionable land deals that the Gwinnett County School System has completed.
This issue in Gwinnett has been fought for years by a small group of parents and taxpayers with little to no success.

It seems as though citizens really have no recourse when governmental agencies and boards misbehave or are criminal.

Anonymous said...

We really have to treat Ms. Tyson as if she’s some moral/intellectual/educational

In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Cere.
For Mrs. Tyson and the board to have NOT foreseen that Lewis would not be returning shows how poorly equipped they are for their roles. Many in the community - former board members among them - predicted the indictments would be handed down as they were. Now there is a force at work in SACS (another former DCSS BOE member/state board member perhaps?) that has managed to convince SACS it's going well enough in DeKalb. It's not. At this point, I see few sane and rational voices - and none of those have any power to effect change. Nancy Jester was a breath of fresh air - but they will out-maneuver her to ensure the financial transparency she seeks won't happen. Other board members are incredibly rude to her - where was that in the SACS report? Don't shoot me - but this kind of nonsense - which puts kids' futures as risk - would not be tolerated in other parts of the country.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of you who are commenting without ANY knowledge of this lawsuit, might I suggest you read this article in the AJC. Oh and yes, the usual suspects will point to everything that makes DCSS look bad. It seems Heery was taking a page right out of Pat Pope's playbook.

"The AJC, working jointly with Channel 2 Action News, spent weeks digging through the school system’s massive case file and discovered business records reflecting several practices by Heery that were questioned by experts in the industry. These include instructing workers to file blank time sheets that the company filled in later, and crossing out employees’ time by hand to move billable hours to projects with more time available."

Anonymous said...

In the AJC article today on the Heery case Tom Bowen said “Approval of change orders by nine board members randomly elected by the public with almost no candidacy requirements other than residency cannot reasonably be considered to be any kind of approval of the quality of the construction or the construction program,”. So is Tom Bowen saying the board are incompetent fools by their very nature? The chairman saying this could be offered as proof that public education as we know it does not work. A sorry situation for Dekalb and the nation.

Cerebration said...

I'm only saying that this was the thinking at the time. Ramona was really only supposed to keep the seat warm for a little while. She certainly did not foresee actually serving as superintendent over such a troubled mess as DCSS for over a year or maybe as long as two years. She's risen to the challenge to the best of her ability.

We really do need to transition into a new superintendent and Ramona needs to bring that person up to speed. My point is, knowing all the legal and other issues in DCSS, who would apply for this job? This system is in several very complex situations that really have nothing to do with the classroom. Hopefully, the new super (if anyone decent applies) can get some of these things resolved or at least sidelined enough so that the focus will be on the best practices needed to educate children.

Amazing that we've strayed so far from that. Amazing that SACS doesn't seem to really be very interested in how our students are doing. Amazing they didn't peek into some over-crowded classrooms (like the biology class at Lakeside with 35 students in a trailer)...

BTW - the deadline has passed for applications for superintendent and is Bowen commenting on that at all? No. Why? Because as usual, he's too distracted by legal issues.


Cerebration said...

Tom's comment below is absolutely true -

"School board chairman Tom Bowen said that many times the board didn't know what it was voting on or was told to approve it or risk having buildings not ready in time for the start of school." It gets better....

This was very frustrating to watch. This is how Dr. Lewis got EVERYTHING done - by presenting it as an "emergency"... this is even how he got the board to agree to hire Pat Pope. The board at the time never questioned anything Lewis put before them. I mean, if someone would have asked, "Is it really prudent to spend $3.6 million for a study to determine how to respond to a $1.5 million lawsuit ending over $600 million construction?" - would that have been refreshing? A question - just ask a question??? When Cassandra would ask questions, people mocked her and shut her down. Lewis had total power over the board at the time. They may as well have never met.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cere,

As the moon is my witness, you are bending over backwards to be fair to Ms. Tyson. That very Biblical or Koranic impulse is noble.

You can't be complimentary of a force and critical of its consequence in one breath.

1. Ms. Tyson could have settled the suit by taking it to the court of public opinion.

2. She could have obviated the 35-student science lab class in the trailers by not allowing transfers to a school in construction.

3. She could have vetoed the hiring of "connected" principals and assistant principals in the last year.

4. She could have split her pay raise in solidarity with the school house joes and janes.

5. etc....

6. etc...

Cerebration said...

I'd like to know where we stand on part 3 of the "break-even' number -

The new "break even sum" is a formula that includes three elements: Recovering the $8.7 million K&S billed and DCSS paid for defending the original $17 million counterclaim, plus more than $11 million K&S contracted for experts and consultants, also already paid by DCSS, and all attorney fees that the firm has incurred since June 1, 2008 through the end of the case.

That's almost three years worth of legal fees - and still no court date. How much is the bill to date? The other two components have been paid - totaling about $20 million. How much more do we have to pay for the past 3 years up until the case is closed? Then, we lay on top of that, the percentage of any reward DCSS is given... if any.

Seems we're spending and spending on attorneys, but it doesn't show in any budget that I can find. Which budget is paying for this? I don't think legally, we can use SPLOST to pay the lawyers. I don't think legally that we can use state or federal money (not sure about state) - so that just leaves local property taxes - money intended for the classrooms. Anyone know for sure?

Anonymous said...

8:00 PM

Tyson has done nothing but act like CL. 44% raise. Ignore requests for documents. Wow. She's doing a bang up job!

Anonymous said...

Do we know if Heery "recommended" Pat Pope to Lewis?

Anonymous said...

When you make comments such as Tyson is acting just like Lewis, then not only is your ignorance showing but your comments cannot really be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

The only one who cannot be taken seriously is the one who praises someone else for raping teachers and kids of their education.

Anonymous said...

At 11:13,

Can you offer 5 major policies in which Ms. Tyson defers from Dr. Lewis?

1. He has...... She has not.....

Anonymous said...

Who could possibly lose accreditation? DCSS. Under whose watch? Tyson's.

Anonymous said...

At 11:13,

Can you offer 5 major policies in which Ms. Tyson DIFFERS from Dr. Lewis?

1. He has...... She has not.....

Anonymous said...

You have some serious issues. I pray that you are not a teacher.

Anonymous said...

11:17 - anything MIS

Anonymous said...

I guess you'll never know, will you? So you can't find and fire some poor underpaid teacher just to take more money.

Anonymous said...

That attitude and the crap some of you spew on this board at times is disrespectul to the teachers, administrators, parents and students who actually know there is a difference in DCSS since Ramona Tyson came on board.

Are you drunk? The upper administration is the one being disrespectful to teachers, parents, and students. Not people on here. And I'm beginning to wonder which of these people who think Tyson is doing a good job has been brainwashed or threatened.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the teachers in Wisconsin and Providence, Rhode Island would like to have a conversation with you as "disrespect".

Anonymous said...

The possibility of losing accreditation is not just Tyson's problem, but what happened under Lewis as well. Tyson got the mess when Lewis was forced to resign.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for the improvements in the management of the Dekalb County Schools. We all should be extremely thankful for palpable changes in substance and appearance.

In the educational famine in which we seek survival for our students, I am happy to report that instead of having 1 potato as our total daily ration, we now have 2!

This is cause for delirious celebrations. At this pace of progress, we shall have 1 oz of meat in 5 to 10 years added to our 2 potatos!

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna see how long you keep this up. Disrespect is taking that big of an increase in your own salary while not doing anything for the children or teachers. THAT is disrespect in its purest form. Lewis screwed things up. Tyson had a chance to correct it. She didn't. She is still hiding things. Your attempt at positive PR spin for her is just sad, and sometimes funny. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, thinks she is making a real positive difference. She's taking what she can for herself, just like her predecessor.

Anonymous said...

Who hired Beasley?

The Clarkston and Columbia principals?

Don't they have retired superintendents who could have called to steer the ship for a flat fee?

Anonymous said...

What is she hiding?

Anonymous said...

Dekalb citizens,
It's not going to get better. Ever. Things will get worse. The corruption in Dekalb County is endemic, and not just in the school system. I feel your pain, but reading this blog from a distance has given me some insight into human nature.
You DO have recourse. You DO NOT have to live or have property in Dekalb county. You can whine and moan and complain, but it's not EVER going to change there. Now's the time for you to vote with your feet.
You can sell your house, and if you need to stay close by because of your job, rent a house where you want your kids to go to school, and I suppose do a little commute. You have got to decide your priorities. You can't expect Utopia.
You will not be paying exorbitant property taxes (and no, renters do not pay taxes even indirectly...the owners pay the property taxes whether the house is vacant or occupied).
And YES, you can sell your house. I just sold two (one in Dekalb Co. and one in another state), so it can be done. And I came out in the black.
As long as you continue to pay into the system, continue to expect things to change, and refuse to do what you need to do, as a competent human being, to get out of a bad situation, YOU are the ones at fault.
YOU need to take control of your lives, and not let corrupt government control you and especially your children.
Vote with your feet.
Life is difficult.
If you're in a bad place, get out.

Anonymous said...

I noted Bowen's comment in the AJC as did several others.

I hope the opposing candidates remember this. Bowen outright says that all 9 board members were incompetent.

Doesn't he understand that means he should resign?

And a competent board would just say no to the superintendent. Emergency items are a classic way for people to commit fraud and circumvent procedures. Obviously Lewis knew the board had no backbone and wouldn't fire him for being unable to get things done in a timely manner.

Hard to believe K&S had the equivalent of 10 lawyers full time for a year on this case ($10*2000*750/hr) even before changing the billing rate. They must have had lawyers doing things that could have been done cheaper (and better) by someone else.

Anonymous said...

@12:38 PM There are companies that will audit attorneys bills. Attorneys can pad charges such as by sending 6 people to a motion in court when one or two would do.

I told DCSS BOE about this over two years ago. I never received a response. DCSS never had a desire to control expenses.

I have always wondered who is the
K & S "billing partner" (the one who gets the credit for bringing in the business and a share of the booty). What is his/her connection to DCSS or any BOE member?

As to the articles singing Ramona's praises, maybe Jeff is the author?

Anonymous said...

@ Cere 10:35

If you read the BOE meetings during those years, you will be amazed at how many new hires and promotions Lewis introduced who were relatives of the BOE members and/or Cabinet members. So maybe that was a reason to like Lewis so much. It's certainly worked out well for those BOE members and their family members.

Anonymous said...


King & Spalding is perhaps the best known and most highly regarded law firm in town (at the very least one of the top firms-and one of the most expensive). They have connections everywhere.

Its not a case of hiring someone's incompetent brother-in-law. Coca-Cola, for one, uses K&S.

Anonymous said...

King and Spalding is known as the most expensive law firm in town. Any of the top 10-15 firms in Atlanta could have done this case well and for less.

Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for, especially with legal services. I would think the taxpayers of DeKalb would like to see the school district prevail over Heery & Mitchell as that was taxpayer money that was allegedly misused during the SPLOST program.

Anonymous said...


I'd love to win my paternity suit but
since I have sleeping around and the baby is now 23, I don't think I will prevail in court. So I am taking a settlement that breaks even.

Without a paternity test for SPLOST, DCSS had better do the same because we are in the same boat.

Ella Smith said...

The money spent on this lawsuit along is a great deal of money and if the school system loses then there will even be more money to pay. Going into court is not always the best way to handle a situation and in this situation the school system is apparently gambling a great deal of money intending to win. However,there star witness is in some trouble and may not be their star witness when they finally need her. The whole situation is sad and someone should have been watching the chicken house to start with and not let the chickens do whatever they wanted. The farmer (schoolboard/and administration) appear as guilty as the chickens for not watching over the chicken house or pen.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher (not a PR consultant), I think Tyson is doing a fair job. She has done more in six months than CLEW did in all of his.
1) policy reviews-long overdue
2) talking to the DOE about missed construction funds from them
3) Playing hardball around redistricting --yes the southside is taking the most hits but that is where the enrollment has declined AND decisions are being made to leave options open for the future (ie not decommissioning schools)
4) doing an ok job about transparency--is it what we want? Not quite, but its way better than CLEW.

Food for thought:
Maybe the salary audit report is on CLEW's computer that was confiscated by DeKalb police.

Maybe she hasn't terminated anybody in the AIC because they have contracts that go through is reasonable that if they are terminated they would not be able to get another administration job at any she is holding out for the summer.

Just maybe the raise is because she knows that its her name that will be the "bad guy" for all that has happened...somebody has to take the heat.

Anonymous said...

Re your number 3 above. Playing hardball on redistricting would have been actually listening to the consultants who received $400,000 of taxpayer money to make unbiased recommendations and not capitulating to the political tides of the communities. It instead would have meant listening to the consultants, not wasting the money you paid them, to make fiscally sound decisions to take us into the future.

In what way has she increase transparency. From what I can see she has removed key information from the website and continues to stall on answering the publics' questions....I for one have asked her in public meetings what decisions and steps she is making to ensure that attention is being paid to curriculum and learning rather than simply buildings. Her response was, essentially, nothing. Her focus is on buildings, not kids. (I agree with the poster who is critical of the Beasley hire - wasn't that her as well?)

Anonymous said...

@5:53, I think your assessment is a bit harsh. I did not like the final redistricting plan but I also understand the superintendent has to present one that can get at least 5 votes. I think we can all agree, there is not a perfect plan that could have been presented. You try to find a plan that can get some consensus of the Board members and move forward with that. You also have to remember this is phase 1. There is no restriction to revisiting some of the other recommendations when the rest of the 20/20 plan is presented.

Our superintendent is the CEO of a billion dollar organization with over 14,000 employees serving 99,000 children while being accountable to 9 direct bosses and over 700,000 citizens. When you think of it that way, you can see this is a pretty big job. Yes the core mission is instruction and the key strategies should focus on improving student performance. Unfortunately there is this thing called state standards that must be followed. Other that ensuring there are qualified teachers in every classroom and hoping parents work with schools to help with the learning process, there is no gimmick that can increase learning. You can also see the district strategy for instruction on the Teaching and Learning webpage.

Cerebration said...

I have a suggestion for a "gimmick" to increase learning: Reduce class size and use Title 1 funds to hire additional support teachers to work directly with students struggling in reading and math in pullout sessions during the work day. Stop hoping that parents will fill in the teaching gaps.

Cerebration said...

ps, if the job is too big for one superintendent - then perhaps it's time we think about splitting the system into smaller systems.

Anonymous said...

"Title 1 funds to hire additional support teachers to work directly with students struggling in reading and math in pullout sessions during the work day."

This is what happens at the Title I school where I work.

Anonymous said...

Yes, creating several smaller school systems in DeKalb would benefit our children. I would vote for that. We just need to convince the people who represent us in the legislature that this is in our best interest.

Cerebration said...

@ 7:24 PM - glad to hear it! (Is it a DeKalb school?) How's it working for you?

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, parents are our the first teachers for our children. The job of any school system is easier when the school and parents are working together.

It would also be easier to have smaller class sizes if there was more money and less government paperwork and mandates. Back in the 50's and 60's they had large class sizes but teachers had less paperwork, much more authority in their classroom and support from their administration and home.

Cerebration said...

Yeah, but we're not in the 50s. This country is very, very different. And it's patently wrong to under-educate some students and then blame their inability to read or perform basic math skills on bad parenting.

Sorry. I just feel strongly about this.

Anonymous said...

The teachers have a ton more paperwork to do as they are forced to use programs which, in the long run, don't produce. They are held accountable by parents and the upper administration, but the upper administration is never held to the same standards. The parents don't seem to fully understand this. I'm hoping they soon will.
Why do we need all these new programs anyways? I never had them and I was doing college level work in middle school.
I'd love to see board members let go if there is too much failure in a district, and if too many board members go, so does the super. Keep this up until someone gets it right.

Anonymous said...

If DCSS had a good in-house legal department we could "head off" litigation and keep fees down. The counsel could mititgate damages, settle what needed to be settled before it got to litigation (think about that $400k that was paid to the Judge to investigate Jaheem's suicide that could have been settled for a fraction of that...), and could review monthly statements/invoices for reasonablenes.. But, gee, we don't have in-house counsel (or is it Ron Ramsey?) and whoever it is would need to be truly independent....

Anonymous said...

@6:33> With the district reporting even more schools falling into needs improvement and fewer schools meeting AYP, with teachers over-burdened with increasing paperwork that has to do with student learning styles (under a method discounted in the scientific community) required by Beasley yet unrelated to state standards, with gifted learning outcomes for students outside the magnet program unsupervised and gifted students essentially disavowed (one of the few central office positions that was eradicated to be merged with magnet programming - e.g., identified by Tyson as completely unimportant outside of the magnets), it is very difficult for me to "buy" that Tyson is even remotely interested in the true core mission of this (or any) school district.

1. She has cut classroom positions and increased class sizes. With incoming standards and testing requiring assessment of science outcomes, this is a huge problem. I have not heard of any movement towards how we are going to meet these needs. I completely doubt this is even on her radar from the decisions she has supported or made.

2. She NEVER has an answer regarding instructional needs and failures. Yes, I can read. Am quite good at it. I cannot see how the teaching and learning webpage acknowledges the decline in educational outcomes in this county and how they are going to be addressed.

3. If you don't believe in gimmicks, then how do you feel about her continued support of canned programming in place of hard core instruction and creative teacher strategies in failing classrooms?

As to the redistricting, I stand by my position. If she couldn't stomach what the consultants had to say, they shouldn't have been hired and that money should have gone to hiring teachers or paras to serve students. From what I can see, the 20/20 plan is ALL about SPLOST monies....pretty big banking strategy if she's paying any attention at all to the Atlanta mayor's position on the need for transportation. DO they have a backup? AND AGAIN, SPLOST is all about buildings. Honestly, I hate the condition of buildings. More problematic to me, however, is the fact that she doesn't even seem to notice that student learning in the district is declining - that is the point of schools. As far as I can tell, she took the raise (money out of teachers pockets and kids' learning contexts) and panders to the political. I'd like to see her take a stand. I will not hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Texas has smaller districts but they have massive problems with equality. Harris County (Houston) has something like 23 districts. The comparable Atlanta area (Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnet, Clayton) has 8. Imagine if Dunwoody split off and Central Dekalb split off. There would be no property tax base for South Dekalb.

Larger districts are a better solution as long as property taxes are used for a significant portion of school funding. That doesn't mean you couldn't have some creative ways to use something like superclusters to make the district more responsive.

Anonymous said...

"As a teacher, I am even more tired.

That budget shortfall that has denied me my raises and create furlough days? The money went somewhere, didn't it? The budget line dedicated to instructional salaries should be the last to be cut. Cut the other line items--starting with all of the admin bloat that you folks have done a great job of bringing to light--to allow for these exorbitant legal fees!

And yes, I recognize that in this economy, we all have to share the burden. I do. I can live without my raise, but the reduction and loss of retirement--not so much, when I see this money going into these already full pockets!

Am I way off base here?"

I am right with you, however, in my case, I lost my job. Imagine what I'm thinking about these fat cat blood-sucking administrators!

DCSS Teacher said...

Anonymous @9:07. I agree with you, esp about the Learning Styles ridiculousness at the beginning of Fall 2010, when every child had to be tested--with absolutely no followup AND according to a system that is debunked by educational experts. Waste of time...and many of us who are teachers think Ms. Tyson is a nice lady but far from the kind of intellectual heavyweight that a superintendent of a school district should be. Yes, it is a school district, and he/she who runs it, should be at least as smart as the best teachers and should have a degree and credentials to support the job's responsibility and high pay grade.

Beasley is really a joke--who IS he, anyway? His contribution to teaching and learning seems to be a series of Newsflashes about the great Professional Development opportunities that await us, all of which do not help us with overcrowding, lax discipline, and the many, many troubled students we have to somehow drag through classes each day.

Not much sunshine here--and WHY have we not heard any news about prospective superintendents? Like you, I wonder who would want this job. Anyone dedicated enough to DeKalb County would probably already be part of friends and family, and anyone from anywhere else would run screaming in the opposite direction after reading the last few months of the AJC. Yet the kids are still fun to teach--if only the admin would leave us alone!

Kim Gokce said...

Very hard to keep up with the threads these days but here's my superficial attempt to chime in on a few points ...

Anon 12:36 "(and no, renters do not pay taxes even indirectly...the owners pay the property taxes whether the house is vacant or occupied)"

Landlords who don't keep their properties occupied aren't landlords for long. Landlords who don't include the expense of property taxes included in the rental rate don't remain landlords for long.

various posters paraphrased:
"... no one will want the job ..."

There aren't as many $300k jobs out there as you might think - certainly not ones with incredible pensions. And the bad circumstances actually provide an excellent opportunity for anyone who knows what they are doing.

In my own experience, coming into a bad situation is the perfect time to shine if you are dedicated to the effort. Low performing systems like ours provide the best chance of having a quick impact. Systems performing at a high level would be less attractive because there is no where but down.

I think we'll have no shortage of candidates. I'd do it for $150 including nights, weekends, hate mail and all if they'd take me.

"... Heery Mitchell ..."

Even at this late date, I have to believe the money spent to-date is best viewed as a "sunk cost" ... that is money that should not influence the current decision making. The right thing for Dr. Lewis to do would have been to drop it back then and that still seems the best option now. It's become a ridiculous poker game where both sides are trying to out bluff the other.

Kim Gokce said...

"Smaller systems"

I really struggle with this one because I think it is attractive in that is might drive more resources into the schools. However, I think that the divisions would be drawn the same way our attendance areas are drawn and would end up isolating even more the populations that need the most help.

I would rather see the power and the budgets pushed down to the individual schools and have the central operational services have to compete for the schools' contracts for transportation, maintenance, etc. Of course, this would only really work well if we had at least a third fewer schools.

Even in a "small" system, the central administration could hold all the power and remain bloated. The corruption of American public school systems is not limited to the large ones, sadly.

Ella Smith said...

Kim, you said it so true.

There does have to be a certain amount of administration even in a small school system that would appear to be bloat to many but to others it would appear a necessary evil.

I do think the school system could do a great deal to improve the administrative bloat in the system. However, I also do know that a certain amount of administration is very necessary to run any school system. There is a balance that needs to be meet.

The other issue is that Title I funds and some Special Education Funds have to spent in certain ways which leaves the appearance of bloat. However, some of this money is spent the way it was funded to be spent. In some situations this may be sad but true.

Anonymous said...

"Not much sunshine here--and WHY have we not heard any news about prospective superintendents?"

They are actually in the quiet phase now, taking applications and interviewing interested candidates. The application deadline was March 1. Given that some candidates are possibly current superintendents, I'm sure they would not want that in the media.

I expect we will hear something about the final candidates by the end of March.

Anonymous said...

Saw on channel site that it is Vanderlyn parents who plan to sue regarding redistricting...feel Jester is too involved. Weird, in my opinion, not like either school is in NI like Clarkston, is it? Another waste of scarce resources, now prompted by parents, not the administration......

Anonymous said...

I agree 8:34. The Dunwoody elementary clusters need to take a chill pill over the apartments and the diversity their precious ones may end up going to school with. Don't the parents realize that in a blink of the eye they will be in middle school together anyway. Just what we don't need is more lawyer's fees on the already strained budget.

Anonymous said...

A better explanation of the lawsuit and issues.

Anonymous said...

Ella, Ella, Ella....
We all know DCSS has far too many chiefs and certainly not enough teachers. Our office of school improvement COULD be just 6 to 10 people instead of the dozens that work that currently. Have a person assigned to each cluster or district and have them work with the SCHOOL HOUSE to get their grades, evaluations up instead of down. Right now DCSS Office of Improvement is just the opposite. I feel if we had better staffers and leaders at all levels of DCSS we could save millions. As long as the friends in family plan stay intact NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE!

Ms. Tyson no GREAT leader is going to take the new Super's job as long as the bloat and Clew's Circle remains! Do you honestly think a true leader would want to come in and work with these frauds our current DCSS BOE call leaders?

We're in a mess thanks to 30 years of BAD management. From the Caucasians to the Blacks, neither have been effective in their leadership of a billion dollar operation. Maybe we should have an Asian come in and take over. With China at the top of education right now, an Asian leader certainly couldn't hurt. I fear if we hire a Black or White leader, it will be much of the same.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson is guilty of fraud like her predecessor. For 6 months she let a former BOE chairperson's son hide out at an Elementary School. This person was given a $15K, that's a 15 thousand dollar raise and never reported for his new position until parents found him hiding out in a school.. At first, the BOE had not approved his raise, against all ethic rules. but Clew went on TV, said there was NO nepotism and then parents discovered there had been.

Ms. Tyson you headed MIS at the time and you did not know that this person had not reported yet you were approving his salary every two weeks? Ms. Tyson that is dereliction of duty and maybe you should resign? Ha ha ha ha we all know the answer to that one.

Sorry folks as long as Ms. Tyson is not open and transparent, as she promised when she took the reigns from Clew, nothing is going to change. I feel Jeff Dickerson has made it worse too.


Cerebration said...

Cognitive Dissonance: How do you reconcile the fact that DCSS and their attorneys are trying to prove that Heery/Mitchell is guilty of fraud - when the school system's top two administrators — one of them our star witness against Heery — have actually been indicted on fraud and racketeering charges?

I really think this must be carefully considered. After our top people got into hot water, should we have continued down this legal path? When will it ever get resolved? Do you all realize that this legal case is the one big thing draining resources from the classroom - as well as an enormous amount of board and leadership attention? We really can't move on and focus on the business of education until this massive elephant in the room gets resolved. Why still no court date? (In the criminal or the civil cases!) Purgatory. We're there. Thank goodness most of our teachers have been able to hold on and keep things going in the classrooms despite so many forces to the contrary.

DeKalb hopes to be first government to win a fraud case against Atlanta-based Heery. Heery, if found liable for fraud, could be excluded from federal contracts, said Robert C. Khayat Jr., a partner with King & Spalding. Federal regulations bar companies from working on federal projects if they have a history of fraud, theft and other serious violations.

DeKalb's lawsuit tab: $15.5 million and climbing

Anonymous said...

Cere, do you really think it is the govt.'s role to educate our children?

It is not the govt.'s role to feed, house ,clothe or educate us.

It makes me sad to think there are people who think it is the govt's place to educate my children in basic math. Wow!

Cerebration said...

??? Do you homeschool? What do you expect the schools to do for your child, if not teach them math, etc?

Anonymous said...

re: 1:25pm

From the Constitution of the State of Georgia, Article VIII, Section I:

"The provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia. Public education for the citizens prior to the college or postsecondary level shall be free and shall be provided for by taxation."

There are arguments about the best way to do this, but I don't really think there is any doubt about the government's responsibility to educate its citizens.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for being one of the rational posters to the blog. Heery cheated us and Pope cheated us. A grand jury needs to look at Heery and help us out. Both Heery and Pope should pay for what they have done to weakenout school and profit at the taxpayers' expense. Heery wins by put off the suit as long a s possible and capitalizing on Pope and Lewis. Pope and Lewis illustrate the old adage, if you steal steal big-unlike them Heery did and the small timers will get nailed.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about the federal govt's role in our children's education. Our fore fathers never intended for the govt. to be responsible for educating our children.

Our state constitution should be rewritten. How can anyone think it is ok for the state of Ga. to hold me in jail until I give them my hard earned money to send someone else's child to school that does not work and does not pay taxes because they have chose a life of drugs and poverty.

Cere, I pay for private school. There is no way I would let the govt. schools brainwash my kids.

Anonymous said...

Ok Sarah Palin, er, Anon 4:47.

Ella Smith said...

March 7, 2011 9:52 AM

I agree totally that we have too many chiefs and not enough faculty.

However, there does need to be a certain number of chiefs to run an effective school system. DeKalb County has way too many chiefs. There is no doubt about that.

This is a mega school system and because it is there does have to be more chiefs than most of us would like probable but there is no doubt that we are very bloated at the top. An auditor would need to determine the exact number of administrators needed to do the job.

Square Peg said...

@4:47: Our forefathers did indeed intend the government - the US Congress, in fact - to be responsible for public education. The Land Ordinance of 1785, adopted by the United States Congress on May 20, 1785, was notable because it established a mechanism for funding public education. It provided that in the territory northwest of the Ohio River, a section of each township's land was set aside for funding public schools.

Square Peg said...

"Responsible" may not be exactly the right word; I was paraphrasing 4:47. My point still stands that under the Founding Fathers, our national government had a role in public education.

Anonymous said...

4:47 obviously gets most of their information from Faux News. What would you expect their perspective to be given their information source?

Anonymous said...

Oh please with the Faux News mantra. Tell me how presenting the news with a conservative viewpoint is any different than the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN speaking straight from the Democratic Talking points everyday. Anon. 12:52 you obviously have a problem with Freedom of Speech and fit right in with the Obama administration. I'm glad there are a few news sources who are trying to tell the whole story. By the way, I know for a fact that Fox News employs more reporters and commentators that identify themselves as liberal than CNN or MSNBC. Your comment about "Faux News" exposes you and your beliefs and it's obvious you can't stand to hear any other opinion except for yours. Sad....

Anonymous said...

As I thought, no one disagreed with my statement, only thing they could do is make fun of me and call me names...

It is a crime for the govt. to take by force my money because I work for a living and give it to people who refuse to work, who do not care, who cannot even speak English, they speak some type of broken English, and blame it on our school system that they are not educated. Quit blaming someone else and take responsibility for your own children's education. Do not blame it on the govt., Quit drinking the Kool Aid....

Square Peg said...

4:47/10:47: Sorry that some bloggers called you names instead of citing facts, but it is a fact that Congress, at the time the US was founded, got involved in public education. Jefferson chaired the committee which drafted this ordinance.

Taxes have been around since the days of the founders also. President Washington tried sin taxes (on whiskey). Pennsylvania farmers viewed it as a crime for the government to take by force the money they'd earned by working for a living, but Washington didn't see it that way and suppressed their rebellion. Jefferson shifted to customs revenue. Still a tax.

The founders had to be more pragmatic than ideological in order to govern. They were real people who had to deal with practical challenges.

And a last word about the Land Ordinance of 1785 - No doubt the residents of the Northwest Territory viewed it as a crime when their land was taken by force and redistributed to immigrants who couldn't speak their language, but that's another story. People like to hold up the Founding Fathers' intentions as a model for political decision-making, so for the sake of argument, I'm just trying to focus on the founders' intentions as shown by their actions.

Anonymous said...

Given the depth of their post, I can tell Square Peg researches information on their own and draws reasonable conclusions from the research. Good job!

Anonymous said...

The Daily Report is the best newspaper in the city--no conflicts of interest and dogged reporting.
Robin McDonald left the AJC for more independence (ie less editorial obstruction).
She is a Decatur resident.

Anonymous said...

Square peg, you are correct in your facts, but do you really believe that our forefathers envisioned a multi billion dollar education system.

You are the only person on this blog who picked up on my main point, which is " it is not the govt.'s RESPONSIBILITY" to educate your children. The govt. is providing a place for your children to learn and educate them self.

Most people on this blog do not seem to understand that you are responsible for your self, and you cannot keep blaming the govt. for your own bad decisions.

The govt. wants you and me to rely on them for everything. I say stand up and be your own person.

Cerebration said...

All valid points, I just happen to think that we are also beholden to our fellow citizens and by educating the children of those who cannot or will not manage the task themselves, we, as a society, are doing the right thing for children who have no fault in their situation as well as the right thing for our overall society and quality of life.

Square Peg said...

I don't think there is some shadowy government entity that "wants" us to be dependent. However, a country has a greater competitive advantage in the modern world if its government fosters education and infrastructure.

Some Americans these days paint the ideal as a country with a very weak central government, where the citizens are well-armed to defend themselves, where traditional religious values dominate the culture, and where the strongest, bravest, and fittest survive. Like Somalia.

On the other hand, countries in the Chinese tradition, like China, Singapore, and Taiwan, lean toward excessively strong central governments, but lately they seem to have found a balance that has led to prosperity and business growth.

We Americans been debating the role of government for years. The Whigs, who evolved into Lincoln's and T. Roosevelt's Republican Party, believed in government support to foster a modern economy. They promoted public education and government funded infrastructure such as roads and canals.

Anonymous said...

Look at the countries that do NOT have strong public education systems - they are all Third World countries. Is that what we want in the U.S?

Brains and talent are distributed among all races, gender, cultural groups, and income levels. Excluding any group is not productive to our economy. "The Rise of the Creative Class" and "The World is Flat" are two excellent books that drive these points home regarding the relationship between economic growth and economic and educational opportunity.

Cerebration said...

I also like Daniel H. Pink's books, like "A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future"...

According to Pink, the keys to success are in developing and cultivating six senses: design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Pink compares this upcoming "Conceptual Age" to past periods of intense change, such as the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance, as a way of emphasizing its importance.

So, according to Pink, the test-prep, memorization method isn't effective. (!)

Square Peg said...

Hi 1:25/4:47/10:47/8:34,

On rereading your posts, I see I was responding to your earlier main point, which was that there shouldn't be public schools. (It is not the government's job to teach children math, the state has no business taxing you to fund public education, etc.)

You made a different point at 8:34. "The govt. is providing a place for your children to learn and educate them self."

Maybe we are approaching some agreement. I wholeheartedly believe that it is the government's responsibility to provide a place for children to learn, and that it is the children's job to make the most of it (with a much lower level of responsibility expected from a kindergartener than a high school senior).

If you've been reading this blog a while, you know, for example, that when teachers are pressured to pass students who haven't earned a decent grade, or when administrators fail to discipline students, "most people on this blog" (actually all, I think) side with the teachers who want to hold students responsible for their own actions.

Of course, grade-changing pressure happens in private schools as well as public ones.

Anonymous said...

The winner is not at Dresden. Our new principal walks around in and out of the classrooms critcizing the classrooms but never a postive comment. She rips things off the board outside the classroom that is over two months old and opens the teacher's room and lays them on the counter without a word.
In a faculty meeting if a group of teachers are talking she says, "Oh, where is that talking coming from?" as if we were kids.

Anonymous said...

Dresden teacher, sorry but I have to agree with the principal, maybe not her tactics, but things 2 months old should be down. I learned that student teaching.

Everyone has good and bad points, and sometimes you need to look at the good, as things could always be worse.

Anonymous said...

The BOE is often ignorant of expensive programs that they so easily approve. The America's Choice nonsense is a good example of wasted taxpayer millions. I bet not one BOE member could give even a vague description of this program. Yet they will quickly vote for its adoption regardless of its expense or proven success.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to believe Tyson's rosy budget projections for next year, but it's impossible for me to feel that way. The state will probably cut more and the same finance team handles DCSS money that was in place in the Lewis days. The state is also talking about furlough days and rising health insurance costs.

Not only that, what if the Heery suit implodes and we owe more, much more in potential damages and attorney's fees. No one knows where that money's coming from.

And what about the annuity in lieu of Social Security? Will that be renewed?

Tyson has no more an idea about how much deeper we may be in the hole next year than any of us.

And the the savings in closing schools is still speculative, despite the statistics.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:29, I have a graph on my wall that we did in September. It will remain there all year because it was the students' first experience with graphing and we refer back to it quite frequently. The thematic word walls I used in August, September, and every other month we've been in school are still posted. My students still USE them.

The teacher in question may have a very valid reason for something older than 1 month to be on her wall. That's one of the main problems with DCSS right now. Teachers aren't judged based on their instruction, it's all about some meaningless paperwork or what is posted on the walls.

Ella Smith said...

Legally it is the states responibility to educate the children of the state. This has always been a state responsiblity. However, the federal government and forefathers are sited in several big school court cases.