Saturday, May 7, 2011

Claudia Keenan - education historian

Do any of you follow the columns in the Patch written by Claudia Keenan? I hope you do. Claudia is one of the most interesting people. She holds a doctorate in the history of American education from New York University and writes very informative stories about DeKalb schools and education in general.

The most recent story is an eye-opening historical perspective on Medlock Elementary School, where as it turns out, Decatur School Board member and former PR and Communications officer for DeKalb Schools Julie Rhame was a student. (Julie was a big loss to DeKalb in the recent round of budget cuts.)

I urge you to read this enlightening perspective highlighting the racial desegregation and its associated pain for young African-American students.

A Story About Medlock Elementary
Medlock Elementary School opened in 1955 and remained all-white for its first 14 years. Two alumni share their memories of integration.


Below are links to a few more of Claudia's columns. Watch for her reports. She brings a very balanced, informed and well-researched perspective to the table.

The World Comes to DeKalb Schools
DeKalb County is the nation’s fourth largest receiver of distressed, foreign refugees. The DeKalb County School System educates 85 percent of those who come to Georgia each year.

International Families Flourish in DeKalb Classrooms
Refugee and immigrant families in DeKalb County receive support from a variety of philanthropic and educational organizations. The public schools provide essential services for children and parents as they experience resettlement. 

Heated School Issues Resonate Across a Century
DeKalb parents might be fired up about potential school closures and redistricting, but educational challenges like these are age-old issues. 

Getting Involved and Improving Your Child's Education
As DeKalb County residents react to possible school closures and reassignments, PTA leaders are in the forefront. They face other, long-term challenges.

Desperately Seeking Superintendents
As local school systems search for new superintendents, will candidates come from within Georgia, from the field of education or elsewhere and with many or few credentials?

The Business of Education
Business leaders, foundation officials and legislators search for superintendents who are great managers, not educators. A century ago, superintendents were educators with brilliant administrative skills.


Passionate... said...

Articles are well written; I especially like The Business in Education article. A school superintendent should have an ironclad reputation as an excellent teacher, excellent teacher-leader, and excellent school-based and district-level administrator. Degrees should included bachelors and masters in education. Certification coursework should include educational leadership from a reputable university, which may or may not include specialist and/or doctorate degree. However, the new DCSS superintendent should also have experience and successfully completed coursework in management, budget accounting, and other business administration courses. Plus the new DCSS superintendent must have a selfless DCSS board to help bring our school district back around. Recent mentors for new principals were highly successful former DCSS principals. However, most of them have been pulled to run schools whose principal was yanked over CRCT erasures or retired mid second semester. Under Johnny Brown, mentors consisted of current principals that neither had the time nor the connection to truly mentor the principals that came on board under school council DCSS panels in 2004-2005. Too bad that so many of those principals are gone ... they were truly experts in their fields with ironclad reputations. They just didn't have enough guidance to "manage" their large schools, to "deal" with challenging people. In Broward County Florida, new principals start off in small schools. When they successfully run those they are moved to larger schools. In Gwinnett County, application process includes a one-hour written essay solving a problem that may occur in a school. Second interviews are not granted if you can't get a high ranking based on application, online questionnaire, panel interview, and written essay. Best thing that DCSS staff members can do right now is their job to the best of their ability, to get along with colleagues, to support their administrative staff. Best thing that DCSS could do right now is get rid of the central office bloat. Set policies in place that does not favor friends, family and church members. We need to get back on the right track! Our students need for us to believe in them! Our parents need for us to calmly speak with them, not at them. We need to build back the trust that we have lost with one another! Only then, will we do right by each other and those we serve.

sharon said...

The articles on the influx of immigration to DeKalb County (85% of all immigrants end up in DeKalb County schools) and to our schools is a fact that SCW dismissed in the last board meeting by saying that every school system had the same problem. How could she be so out of touch with what is really happening. Maybe someone should email her this article.

Cerebration said...

It was mentioned at that recent board meeting that 85% end up in DeKalb *first*, then many of them move to other systems. (The discussion centered around Gene Walker's attempt to blame our AYP problems on immigrants, however, our system fails not only in the ELL category, but in 4 more categories: black, Hispanic, students with disabilities and economically disadvantage.)

Other systems, especially Gwinnett, Hall and Cobb also have many immigrants. Mostly Hispanic. The ones that stay in DeKalb are mostly from Baltic, Middle East or African countries as well as some Latin American.

These international students in DeKalb are mostly found at the International Center, Cross Keys and it's feeders, and Clarkston and it's feeders and scattered throughout central and north DeKalb. You really don't find international students much in south DeKalb, especially in Sarah's and Jay's districts.

The International Center in DCSS does a tremendous job with little support - we also have the International Charter School, which does a great job with even less support. Our board refuses to give them a building of their own! Even as they continue to decommission so many buildings.

Interesting stats from the GA DOE

Gwinnett -

10% Asian
27% Black
25% Hisapnic
33% white
4% multi-racial

50% Free & Reduced Lunch

Number of Students Eligible to Receive Services through the Migrant Education Program 17
FY 2010 Average Monthly Number of Food Stamp Households 31,363
FY 2010 Average Monthly Number of TANF Families 677
2008 Per Capita Income $33,527
2010 Unemployment Rate 8.7%
2000 Census Population 588,448
2009 Census Bureau Population Estimate 808,167


4% Asian
72% Black
11% Hisapnic
10% white
2% multi-racial

69% Free & Reduced Lunch

Number of Students Eligible to Receive Services through the Migrant Education Program 6
FY 2010 Average Monthly Number of Food Stamp Households 49,512
FY 2010 Average Monthly Number of TANF Families 1,601
2008 Per Capita Income $37,957
2010 Unemployment Rate 9.6%
2000 Census Population 665,865
2009 Census Bureau Population Estimate 747,274

themommy said...

The refugee resettlement organizations have been dumping refugees in Clarkston for more than a decade now.

It is easier for the organizations to have them in one place and the rent is dirt cheap. The fact that many of the schools are ill prepared for so many refugees and Clarkston High is downright unsafe, seem not to enter into the thought process at all.