Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great "Get Schooled" Blog Discussion on DCSS

This is one of the better conversations on Mo Downey's Get Schooled Blog (Mo lives in the county):
While APS is on road to recovery, DeKalb is stalled in the slow lane

I love how the highly respected Shayna Steinfeld very publicly calls out the BOE Chair for his complete lack of leadership and results, as well as his tolerance of blatant nepotism and cronyism, plus she calls out the rest of the BOE too:

"DCSS Board of Education members are notorious for being “hands on” with daily operations. Many of them also have family members employed by the system, even as other more experienced staff was laid off due to budget cuts. The “friends and family” of present and past BOE members seem to have priority in maintaining their jobs and in promotions, even at the expense of teachers, as furlough days have been approved, salaries were frozen and as students have been packed into classrooms with class sizes increased in some cases to 35 per classroom.

DCSS has really failed on this one: the minority, which was not in favor of the vote for Dr. Cox went to the media to actively leak the specifics of the negotiations with her. This was a tremendous breach of confidentiality, which the Chairman of the BOE did not see fit to investigate. Further, the media did not see fit to investigate the underbelly of the story, which was “why” was the minority actively sabotaging the negotiations. The second hiring round, as the Board “tried again” was no more successful: it also had leaks, leaving the taxpayers wondering if they were “Alice in Wonderland” looking for the adults who would make decisions actually prioritizing the education of the children and wondering why it is, exactly, that DCSS pays SACS $75,000 a year as a fee and then SACS seems to turn a blind-eye as the BOE remains dysfunctional, with almost a billion dollar annual budget, and no one scrutinizes why it is that DCSS appears to have completely failed the children with its core mission: the actual act of educating the children, as the system has plunged to the bottom of the state and the long-term implications this has for the future.

It seems to those of us who are actually paying attention, that the fox is guarding the hen house..."


Cerebration said...

Good job of informing us what the real responsibilities of a school board are, Shayna. I think our board gets so mired in random issues that they forget to pay attention to their true job: Ensuring that 100,000 children get a quality education and that the taxpayers money is well managed. Period. Almost everything else should fall to the superintendent. But the board's job is to hire that superintendent and they have not been able to do so in over 500 days as Dunwoody Mom pointed out. 500 Days! Do you realize that there have been three final space shuttle launches in that time?

February 24, 2011 Discovery Last Discovery flight; STS-133
May 16, 2011 Endeavour Last Endeavour mission; STS-134[63][64]
July 8, 2011 Atlantis Last Atlantis flight and last Space Shuttle flight; STS-135

NASA is faster than the DeKalb Board of Education! (And probably a better fiduciary of public money.)

Sadly, now that the pressure is on and we have watched the board reject or sabotage several good candidates over the last year+, we will see the board vote 5-4 or 6-3 on the next acceptable applicant who walks through the door. They are down to the nitty gritty in the candidate pool. I hope there's still someone in it who can swim.

Anonymous said...

I am prayful that we will soon have a GREAT SUPT. for our District and that we at stakeholders will support him/her and not poision an already sick system. I would hope for a 9-0 vote from this Board but if we don't get it, then we know who to vote out. The school system must come before individual preferences. Compromises must exist. I am thankful that Mrs. Tyson has done an excellent job with the present Board and the authority that an interium has ( totally limited across the South).

It is very disgusting to read some of the comments that everyone on Dr. Lewis" staff knew what was going on in the Construction and sex scandal.
Fulton, Cobb, & Atlanta parents are being supportive of their new leaders. I hope and pray, when we get a new leader we will be "the most supportive" for we have had a long haul and the divorce from Dr. Lewis is well over. I hope this blog will help us to heal and move forward.

Anon said...

What if the person selected is mediocre? Then should all the Board vote for him/her?

This is a system in need of a total do over and house cleaning. What if the person isn't capable?

Then what -- you better pray for the students of DeKalb.

Shoes Keep Dropping said...

At this time of year, the only candidates available are going to be mediocre at best. If one of that caliber is hired, we are in for more years of chaos and failing our students. The Board's focus now should probably turn to finding an assertive, retired, change agent to serve as an interim and clean house while the BOE sets sights on finding a strong new superintendent that will come in next year and hit the ground running.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried contacting Govevnor Deal about the issues in DCSS? I'm sure yanking school board members is the last thing he wants to do - but sometimes a precedent has to be set to get people to fall in line. I know that his aid in charge of education is Stuart Wilkinson and his number is 404-656-1776. Maybe if they get enough phone calls they will be motivated to make an example of someone and maybe, just maybe, that would start to get DCSS back on track.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Cere, it was a great discussion, with great comments. But why is it that Maureen doesn't answer her own question? She wonders why change doesn't happen given all the high-powered, spread-sheet toting parents. What does she not "get" about the fact that her newspaper has failed to expose the criminal enterprise in DCSS? As posters ask her questions on her GetSchooled blog, she frequently dips in to answer this and that. But when posters ask directly why there has been no investigation of the sabotage of two superintendent candidates, she offers no explanation - not even to defend a lack of a story. With that long criminal indictment against Lewis pointing to corrupt behavior of current Central Office employees - why is the AJC not interested? These aren't rumors: it is alleged in the indictment. Remember when a member of the Regional Transportation Commission became involved romantically with the director of said commission? It was front page news and one of them had to resign. And neither was married, there was no scandal - just that she was a staff person and reported to a board he was a member of. People thought there might be some kind of conflict. And we have a criminally-indicted former superintendent selecting his replacement and only the parents think that's a conflict? And as to those who think the "poison" has come from DeKalb parents: take another look at the achievement data for our schools. The anger you see in this blog grows out of the achievement failure in our schools. And when high school drop outs we failed to educate resort to shooting police officers and robbing banks (lots of recent examples on the news) multiple choruses of "The sun will come out tomorrow" will repair that.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

"It is very disgusting to read some of the comments that everyone on Dr. Lewis" staff knew what was going on in the Construction and sex scandal."

Anon 1:02am....

Okay, we know that CFO Marcus Turk, specifically told Clew, he could NOT use his P-Card for trips to the Bahamas and Reynolds Plantation. We found out later his "alleged mistress" was none other than the very person who still works for DCSS and who directs hundreds of millions of dollars to the Title 1 schools. The money has shown NO return on investment, since the scores for those schools have gone done significantly over the last 3 years.

This is just one case. Ms. Tyson had no idea that a MIS person, who just happened to be a Son of a former BOE chairperson, received a $15K raise and did NOT report to his new job for 6 months. It took parents to blow the whistle, yet this Son still works for the system today!

Clew insisted to WSB-TV on camera that there was no nepotism at DCSS, we really know the truth on that one.

The "sit up here" bunch has shown lack of trust, regurgitate much of the same ideas and worn out plans in sleek new powerpoint presentations year after year.

I gave Tyson some time to make some changes, but she has done NOTHING to change the leadership and receive the trust of the parents that she asked for last spring. Tyson could have been a true hero if she had actually cut down the size of the staff, at the Palace and shown the lacking leadership the door!

This bunch has had their chance to make a difference and create a "Premiere" School System. All they have done is made DCSS a laughing stock and the AJC has helped immensely with their non-reporting on this story that has been festering for years!

Anonymous said...

In the last months of the Perdue administration I had written the State School Superintendent and asked that the State step in and clean up the DCSS BOE and administration. I received an answer that the State could not take any action until SACS had placed the DCSS at one level ((probation or such) below loss of accreditation. It seems clear that SACS will not act against the DCSS. Maybe the $75,000 membership fee is the deciding factor to SACS. Bottom line... SACS is the roadblock to the State stepping in.

Anonymous said...

And SACS is tied closely to Brad Bryant - who may well feel he is protecting DCSS against a Clayton-esque upheaval. But that is what we need. Small, technical change will not rescue the system or our students. We need wholesale change- a complete re-staffing and complete rehab of the system. Again, take a look at APS which has a strong and skilled interim. Chairman El has resigned and there is emerging leadership. They have an actual chance to mend.