Sunday, July 10, 2011

Open Letter to Kevin Riley, Editor, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dear Mr. Riley,
I read your editorial in todays Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sunday, July 10, 2011) about the current cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools – and the significant part played by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) in breaking open this scandal – with great interest.
Change the names in the report and you have DeKalb County School System.
That naturally raises the question, “Why is the corruption in DeKalb County School System and the resulting negative impact on our students education – ignored by the AJC and the other media?” In fact, in some cases, media cover-up regarding DeKalb County School System (DCSS) is encouraged and supported by the AJC:
  • AJC reporters assigned to cover DCSS have never pursued any story that would be negative to DCSS, no matter how much documented information regarding corruption and questionable practices was supplied to them.
  • When WSB’s Richard Belcher clearly aided and abetted DCSS to derail – twice! – the search for a new DCSS superintendent, the AJC supported his actions.
Full Disclosure to Other Readers: Cox Media Group owns both the AJC and WSB.
Belcher got the story all wrong. The real story was that 'someone' illegally revealed confidential details of personnel negotiations. Twice! Most recently, in a televised rant, former Board of Education member Zepora Roberts revealed confidential personnel information that she should not have known. That was followed by Tom Bowen doing the same, again, with Richard Belcher.
When I wrote to Maureen Downey and Shawn Mcintosh about the first Belcher story, on April 27, 2011, I got the brush-off from both. I copied you and you opened the e-mail on April 27, as well, but you did not respond. I would be happy to send you the entire e-mail thread so you could see all comments.
It is important for you to know that I am not just a bystander with regard to DCSS:
  • I am a parent whose children began school in kindergarten at Montgomery Elementary School. My children graduated from Chamblee High School.
  • For more than 20 years, I was an active parent volunteer and PTA member.
  • I was president of the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parents Council.
  • I chaired the committee that created Chamblee Middle School, in the face of intense opposition from DCSS.
  • I chaired the committee that converted Chamblee High School to Chamblee Charter High School – again, in the face of intense opposition from DCSS.
  • I wrote Chamblee High School’s successful National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application.
  • Later I was employed by DCSS for several years. As a volunteer and an employee, I saw first hand the disdain that DCSS has for high-performing schools and active parent volunteers.
  • I also am a graduate of Leadership DeKalb. Robert Moseley, Lynn Cherry Grant, Faye Andresen, the late Elizabeth Andrews, and the late Willie Turk (father of Marcus Turk) – among others you might know or recognize – were in my class.
I am not downplaying the role of the AJC in cracking the APS cheating scandal.
However, DeKalb County is a significant portion of Metropolitan Atlanta. Knowledgeable, involved parents and community members – many with far more achievements and experience than mine – have been supplying AJC reporters with documented information for years on the internal corruption in DCSS, to no avail.
Why have you chosen to look the other way? There is a wealth of experience and knowledge that the AJC is simply ignoring. Why?


Anonymous said...

Good letter. Please publish the reply if you get one.

I think that Jeff Dickerson is in pretty tight with Belcher and the AJC. He probably feeds the AJC reporters info with the DCSS spin.
I still think that Jeff was the conduit from one or both of Bowen and Walker that leaked the information to sink the two superintendent deals.

As to AJC disclosing its relationship with WSB, forget it. AJC, or its parent Cox, owns the largest Latino paper in Georgia. I had asked that they disclose this when they publish articles about illegal aliens. No reply. FOX 4 disclosed its relationship with Rupert Murdoch when it was reporting on a story last week about one of Murdoch's newspapers in the UK.

Side Note DeKalb county passed a 4.3 mil tax increase today. No mention of downsizing the 7,300 (+?) employee workforce.

SHS said...

Thanks, Dundevil!

The Open Letter to Kevin Riley, which I also e-mailed to him, has been opened a total of 9 times by 4 readers.

No answer yet ...

Actually, Dale Davis was feeding information to Belcher until Davis was fired. But, I am certain that Jeff Dickerson is feeding Belcher now. I am still appalled that Maureen Downey, who I had previously respected as a journalist, took Belcher's side regarding his participation in "outing" the finalists for superintendent.

Passionate... said...

Excellent letter, will be interested in reply, if any.