Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The following RFP was posted today by DCSS. Let's hope it's a sign that they mean to really shake things up. I am 'cautiously optimistic'.  The request begins:

The DeKalb County School District (“DCSD”) is seeking professional services from highly qualified and capable offerors having salary, position specification, and organizational restructuring experience with K-12 school districts comparable to “DCSD.” The selected offeror will review and provide an in-depth, detailed recommendation regarding an appropriate organizational structure for “DCSD.” Additionally, the selected offeror must modify, update, and develop position specifications for all positions in the restructured organization compliant with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as policies of the DeKalb County Board of Education (“Board of Education”).

This project will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 will focus on Central Office staff, Principals, Assistant Principals, and Instructional Coaches. Phase 2 will focus on all other DCSD positions.

The selected offeror will:
(1) Review and recommend a DCSD organizational restructure, based on national benchmarks, industry standards, and best practices of other K-12 schools districts comparable to DCSD;
(2) Review, modify, and/or create position specifications based on the recommended restructuring of DCSD; and
(3) Recommend the appropriate salary range for each position title in the restructured organization.
The selected offeror will manage all aspects of the areas listed above, including, but not limited to: job analysis; salary evaluation; position and pay classification; and preparation of requested reports. DCSD, at its sole option, may engage the selected offeror to manage the implementation of accepted findings and recommendations.


Anonymous said...

Great news. The findings should all be made public. Let taxpayers see the titles of the positions and the corresponding functions and the pay grade scale. Then we can compare them with other school systems and with private industry. This is already done with teaching staff which keeps salaries in line and responsibilities with other systems and private schools. It is very easy to compare any of our teacher positions, salaries and responsibilities across districts. This needs to be in place for every employee in the DCSS public school system.

Anonymous said...

To see the entire RFP, go to the website address listed below and scroll down to Salary Position and Organizational Structure:

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I agree Anon! I am planning on asking Dr. Atkinson at the Dunwoody High School Roundtable tomorrow night. The complete report should be made public, not select portions made by the Super and the rest hidden away and buried at some storage facility so no one can find the results, like was done with the E & Y audit.

Dr. Atkinson I trust you plan to make the entire report public once it is complete right?

Anonymous said...

Gee Golly Willickers...we thought this was the job she was hired to do. Now she's going to spend more money on more studies that will drag on and on with little or no signficant changes.

Why are we paying to reinvent the wheel. Just copy the structure of Gwinnett educational infrastructure and "adjust" where necessary?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:05, if we followed the educational infrastructure of Gwinnett, we would consolidate many of the small schools into larger ones. This would eliminate many administrative positions and allow more efficient delivery of services. When this type of change is discussed, you really get to see the best of DeKalb citizens. {sarcasm}

Anonymous said...

When did we change the name of the school system from DeKalb County School System (DCSS) to DeKalb County School District (DCSD)?

Anonymous said...

After watching the school system flounder for many years with poor leadership, I am pleased to see this study happen. However, I would have divided it differently. The first grouping would be any and all positions or departments outside of the school house--which would include the Central Office at Mt. Industrial, the Sam Moss Center, East Campus on Memorial Drive and Bradley Bryant Center. The second grouping would be everyone and everything inside the schools or centers. The majority of the employees in group one are not under contract, so immediate changes could take place. Almost everyone in the schools and/or centers are certified and under contract with the exception of the food service (supervised by central office) and the janitorial staff (supervised by Same Moss Center.) Needless to say, the findings will be interesting. And, I hope that there is not a protection clause for "friends and family" members.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

She needs to do this so there is a new baseline for her career here at DCSS(D?)

Anonymous said...

Isn't the SACS deadline fast approaching? Has anyone heard how that is going?

Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see the analysis results and the courage of the new superintendent when it comes to addressing the over compensation for the position of Director of PDS-TV.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Do you think Dr. Atkinson has met Francis Edwards yet? I'm just sayin......

Anonymous said...

What are the odds of the audit coming out that that there are not enough administrative personnel and those that we have are not paid enough?

Figures don't lie but liars figure.

Cerebration said...

Actually, that's exactly how Crawford Lewis used the last (lost) audit. Even though the party line is that the audit was never completed, there are meeting minutes stating that Lewis used the audit as a reason to give several people raises, including Zepora's daughter.

Crawford Lewis justified a raise for Chanda White, BOE member Zepora Roberts daughter, in 2006 based on the information from Ernst and Young. Did he make up the information. He said he got it from the Compensation and Classification Report. Please See BOE minutes dated January 9,2006 (excerpt below):
"Dr. Lewis recommended a change in salary based on verified years of experience for Chanda White, a relative of a board member, in her current position as a Title I Parent Facilitator.

In discussion that followed, Dr. Lewis stated that Ms. White is one of nine people in this category requiring a salary adjustment based on verified years of experience as identified in the Compensation Classification Study.

Ms. Grant made a motion to approve the recommendation, and Ms. Andrews seconded. The motion passed by a vote of 8/0/1, with Ms. Anderson-Littlejohn, Ms. Andrews, Ms. Copelin-Wood, Mrs. Edwards, Mr. Franzoni, Ms. Grant, Ms. Joyner, and Ms. Manning-Moon voting affirmatively, and Ms. Roberts abstaining."

So the records comparing employees salaries were around in 2006. Else how did Chanda White get her raise?

DCSS Stonewalls on Open Records Request -- Let Your Legislators Know!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:15 a.m.:

According to the DCSS website, here's what's happening with SACS in the September - December 2011 time frame:
■Designated Steering Committee members conduct meetings with the local school "Internal Facilitators" to provide schools with information and instructions relative to the District Accreditation process.
■SACS CASI assigns chairperson for DeKalb visitation team and chairperson begins to work with designated Steering Committee members.
■Final edits/updates made to District Self-Study/Self-Study to print.
■Requested data sets/information provided to SACS CASI chairperson.
■Final details for lodging, meeting space, technology needs, meals, and transportation of visiting team completed.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Anonymous October 26, 6:23pm but upon our re-read of our post and your on-point response, we realized we misspoke and left out a important word at a critical juncture.

It should have read "Just copy the structure of Gwinnett educational ADMINISTRATIVE infrastructure and "adjust" where necessary?

While overhauling the entire infrastructure from brick and mortar to the halls of the palace might be what is ultimately called for, we are more concerned with the malfunctioning of the leadership corp!

Your comments however were noted and appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, did Sandy, Jim Walls, or anyone that checked with Ernst & Young ever ask if a final report was delivered to DCSS? That is an easy Yes or No question that could put all of this to rest. Perhaps laws would allow them to destroy audit results after a period of time but they should always have records of what was delivered along with when and to who.

Anonymous said...

AMG @ 10:54am

Do you remember that Dr. Atkinson asked ALL of the current Board members to invite current stakeholders to have a meeting with her?
Each Board member was asked to invite a few (4-8) people who are instrumental in their area in helping, working with the school system. Their thoughts and opinions were to be discussed with Dr. Atkinson and Ramona while the board member stayed silent during the meeting and took notes.

FYI, Dr. Eugene Walker invited none other than, former school board member and the winner of the "I've got more relatives working for DCSS than anyone else!" award, Ms. Francis Edwards.

Imagine that.

I can't hear what Walker is saying because his actions speak LOUDER than his racial words!

So sad! Status quo!

David Montané said...

This is just another hint of a possible future reform of a system that has failed for several generations, when what we need is revolution! And by that I do not mean revolt. We need a free-market school structure where numerous private schools compete for parents business.

I have calculated that in Georgia, about $4,000 per household per year is spent on public education alone, probably more here in DeKalb County. Competition between private schools, with no government-monopoly or school/tuition subsidy interference, would easily reduce private-school tuition to an average of $4,000 per student, some more, some less. This would free up households (and businesses) with no school-age children to contribute to schools and/or children they deem worthy. Let the best schools thrive and the poor ones perish!

If the slogan for sinking more money into failing public schools were "Too Bad to Fail", our mindset needs to change to "Too Bad to Bail".

Atlanta Media Guy said...


Dr. Atkinson, slickly written press releases do not create results. Actions create results. I understand you've been there about a month, however some actions regarding the Clew Crew would go a long way with the majority of taxpayers, who are fed up with the status quo.

You think they would let people camp out on the asphalt outside the palace? I think I know the answer to that one.

Anonymous said...

I believe this article from the AJC talks about this same topic:

I wonder if the Bobs are available?

hhtp:// said...

Been out of the country for a while, only to arrive back with a great deal of "hope" for the advancement of our school system. If we are to move forward in a productive way, I think this blog shuld be limited to folk who will identify themselves one way or another but definately not hiding behind the "anom " stuff.
I think Dr. atkinson is off to a great start, gathering information via various imput sources.I hope we don't expect too much too soon. We did not get here over night. It started with Halford, was heldback and restructured by Dr. Brown and the "Hail Mary to Hell" was thrown by Lewis (administratively) and Gloria Tally ( instructively). Truth to knowledge, they both screwed our kids and this system royally.
Dr. Atkinson has a big task ahead of her and I am willing to give her my surpport and hopefully a chance to begin restoring our system to the level of excellence we once held. However,it is going to take time....we did not get here overnight and we can't expect to awaken in the morning to a perfert day but we do expect a better way.

Anonymous said...

I hope people are aware that there are many certified school house employees that are receiving a "supplement" to their salaries because a "recent audit" by the state found that they are not being paid the state minimum for qualifications and years of experience! The state is funding these positions to a certain level and the money appears to be going somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:11-
at the high school level, teachers who coach sports teams receive supplements.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe anon 7:11 is referring to coaching supplements, but to the fact that many teachers in DCSS were not paid up to the minimum salary required by the state, not to mention absolutely not receiving the extra money that almost all but the poorest districts pay (these are called county supplements.)

DCSS or D (at least its better than Premier Dekalb) has been ripping teachers off by not paying them up to the state minimum, thereby using state funds and/or county taxpayers' money that should have been used to pay teachers, for something else, maybe for gas and travel and legal fees!

Now that Dekalb has to give many teachers a sometimes significant raise to get the teachers up to "minimum wage", they've probably had to add the furlough days this year, further screwing the teachers -- the true workhorses, the true value of a school system.

And I'm sure they've found some creative ways to use teacher salary or instructional money to help pay K&S's hourlies.

Disclaimer: This is all purely speculation and it's not based on rumor but the few publicly known facts. Without any transparency re: where the money goes, who can help but speculate, short of a FOI request to whom but Ronald Ramsey? And citizens of Dekalb should not have to resort to that to see how our public monies are spent.

Cynical in Chamblee said...

re: melaniestef.livejournal at 1:56 am

I find it interesting that you continue to weave Gloria Tally into the conversation. Most people don't realize that she really wasn't running the Department of Instruction. She was brought in from the outside, and was always treated like and remained an outsider. Crawford and his "colleague" Dr. Audria Berry, Director of the Department of School Improvement (which is an oxymoron in DeKalb) were running instruction. Title I money was driving instruction--into the ditch I might add. Once Gloria Tally figured out what was going on and what wasn't going to change, she began to look for another position--outside previously premier DeKalb. For almost the last 18 months she was in DeKalb, she was treated like a leper and was routinely "left out" or "purposely uninvited" to instructional meetings. Even if you don't think she was effective or right for the job, she had the integrity to not get caught up in the mess, and move on. Almost everybody else that was in Crawford's cabinet as protectors are still in place, and will be named and called as witnesses in upcoming lawsuits. I can only assume that Ms. Tally was more than happy to move on and get out of this "hot mess" that continues to smolder and burn in DeKalb.

Fred said...

Cynical in Chamblee, do you blame Dr. Freeman or Dr. Hallford for the size of the central office? It was under their administrations when many of the administrative teams were created. When Dr. Brown saw that and began sending many people back to the schools, a coup led by employees and citizens that talked change yet did not want change led to his demise.

Like atl, why do so many people want to hang on to a lie? Dr. Berry, the compliance officer for Title 1 which brought it $42 million dollars this past school year, was responsible for instruction for the entire district? You need to take a deep breath and let it go. Being a Federal progam, Title 1 has been audited more than any other program in the school district yet you and atl can't admit that you are wrong in suggesting those funds are being misused.

NOT Waiting for Superman said...

Debbie Loeb was the other person (besides Gloria Talley) who knew exactly what was going on with Crawford Lewis and his corrupt cronies.

I knew Debbie personally and do not believe she knowingly took part in any corruption. (Unlike Tyson who is up to her very substantial a$$ in DCSS corruption. Remember -- Tyson was one of only 4 direct reports to Lewis and Marcus Turk reported to her. Both Tyson and Turk had to have known about Lewis's RICO crimes. Tyson had to have approved payments that enabled Lewis's financial fraud.)

As soon as red flags began to be raised (McKibben faux demographic study, Fernbank Science Center "study" committee, and others) and the ongoing theft, friends-and-family mismanagement and overall corruption became obvious, Debbie Loeb quickly retired and moved out-of-state.

I hope Debbie Loeb will be called back to testify against Crawford in the upcoming trial -- if it ever happens. Marilyn Steel knows how to get in touch with Debbie Loeb.

Anonymous said...

@ Fred

I really know squat, nada, nothing about Drs. Berry and Talley. I just want to see some educational bang for my DK County $4,000+ school taxes, the part of my State income taxes that filter into DCSS, and my Federal income tax dollars and borrowed Federal money (that my children will have to pay for) that find its way to DCSS from Title I to Title Infinity programs and all stops in between.

To paraphrase Jerry McGuire "Show me some good results for my
money !!!"

Never saw a place with so many Drs. Atkinson, Lewis, Tyson, Berry etc. etc. etc Maybe that is why DCSS is so sick. Is there a place in one of the DCSS rest rooms having a roll on which the Dr degree is printed?

Cerebration said...

FWIW, yes, Sandy and Jim and I as well as others asked just about anyone involved in the 2004 audit for information or a final report. No one, not a soul could produce a document or outrageously, could even remember what happened.

To her credit Mrs Tyson (anon, she is not a Dr.) produced 7 boxes of documents that we picked up and culled through. Our research produced the list of staff deemed as paid well over the top of their salary range by Ernst & Young.

To read the list, click here:

Back to the topic of the Ernst & Young 2004 audit

In addition, the study found that exactly ZERO teachers were overpaid and in fact, many were found to have been underpaid. So the recent budget cuts to their pensions along with an increase in their work loads has sent our best and brightest off to other systems where they are treated respectfully.

Cerebration said...

Fred, yes, as I understand it, Dr. Berry is very much responsible for the results of the schools using Title 1 funds. That includes a majority of schools. I find it very interesting now that the pressure is on her, she has resorted to changing the name of her department from "Office of School Improvement" to "Compliance".

Talk about Hail Marys!

I am beyond certain that we can find someone who will be able to better utilize the millions upon millions of Title 1 funds to actually improve student learning. She has had her chance and she has failed. In fact, I would go so far as to state that out of sheer accountability and integrity, she should step down and allow someone else to work for the children. We are talking about tens of thousands of futures here.

Cynical in Chamblee said...

re: Fred

You are correct, as the pot of money grew in the '80s, the Freeman and Hallford administrations added heavily to the administrative level/s of DCSS. And, I think that they were overloaded--with the help of critical votes by the Board of Education. As an example, if our principals were better trained and could manage their own schools, we would not need any of the Area Assistant Superintendent's, their assistants or their secretaries. As for the Title 1 funds, I think that they could have been spent more wisely to the benefit of the students--even though they have been audited. As an example, with the Parent Resource Centers, you have three people managing or supervising roughly 22 people. Each supervisor manages three or four centers. In the real world, one competent supervisor with email and a cell phone should be able to physically visit each center weekly and provide sufficient supervision. (Provided the people in the centers are responsible and doing their jobs correctly.) After 5 or 6 years, can the millions of dollars that have been spent on the Parent Resources Centers be justified or has it become just another jobs program in DCSS?

Cerebration said...

I'm not sure I get your point, Fred. Does it matter who is responsible for the administrative bloat? (That would be 'everyone' in administration, IMO.) The fact remains, we are spending way too much of the money from the bucket that has the student's name on it - on lawyers, administrators and other non-essential positions in education.

I liked what Dr. Atkinson said. To paraphrase - if you can't show how it will help educate students, then it won't happen. I hope she really uses this basis to qualify every decision.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Awesome reading folks! When the Where's Waldo, Jamal Edwards controversy started, I was in the room when Debbie Loeb called Ms. Tyson on the phone. You should have heard Tyson umming and awwing as she was trying to come up with an answer as to why Jamal Edwards, after receiving a $15k raise and a new job, spent 6 months hiding out at a school? She did not have an answer except, I was unaware. The parents in the room were angry and Clew had to demote the principle, that let Waldo hide out, go. The parents promised not to go to the media with the story, since it was just a week before when Clew was on Action News saying there was no nepotism at "Premier DeKalb" Bwahahahahaha...... How'd that work out for you Clew?

It was just several weeks later that Debbie Loeb retired and left the state. She was the only honest person in the Clew Crew that actually cared for the children.

So you see Melanie Stef, these are things that we here at this blog are still awaiting answers to. Why is Waldo still employed? He would have been fired on the spot at any other public or private business. The DCSS(D?)staff would like to sweep this stuff under the rug, but if you do that the rug will eventually have to be replaced and then all those things that got swept under it will be exposed for the world to see.

If Dr. Atkinson is truly wanting to change the culture of corruption at DCSS(D?) she must begin the spring cleaning at the Palace NOW! The rugs need to be replaced and everything hiding under them discarded in the nearest trash bin. The CLew Crew must be shown the door or the taxpayers perception will be the same.

The people on this blog speak about history because everyone on the payroll at DCSS(D?) is trying to keep their cushy jobs, in their $1,500 chairs at the Palace.

Fred said...

If the sole measure you are using to determine the effectiveness of the outcomes of Title 1 students is AYP status for the school, you are correct in that we are not getting our bang out of our bucks. Thankfully there are educators like myself that understand that student growth cannot be measured on a standardized test and that is what one should look at in conjunction with test scores. The Title 1 dollars (which probably comes to about $600 per student) helps but does not guarantee that a child who could not spell their name or count to 10 in Kindergarten can pass a standardized test by the 3rd grade. They could have improved immensesly over that time but maybe not enough to pass the standardize test. Does that make the teacher, school, central office, superintendent, Board members and community failures because of this? I along with most educators say no. Why do you think there is the nationwide movement to change AYP as the sole measure of student performance?

I challenge anyone to look at the Title 1 presentation given to the Board in September and point out how dollars that were not mandated by law could have been used better. Pages 7 - 10 has that information. It's a shame that employees have to spend more time defending what they do rather than doing their job.

Oh, and the department name change. Office of School Improvement is the name used by the State of Georgia. Look at their website and you will see. Because so many citizens don't take the time to understand the role of the office and simply look at the department name, valuable work time is spent explaining the roles and responsibility. There was someone who did not know about the school improvement teams and that decisions on how to spend the money is made at the school level. Some people want to believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. If the department name has changed, perhaps it is due to the misunderstandings that exist.

Fred said...

Cynical in Chamblee, I'm glad to see you acknowledge the administrative growth under Freeman and Hallford. I made that comment to point out that the central office size did not get to where it is overnight and it may take several years to effectively reduce the size to a manageable yet effective level. It is easy to say certain positions should be eliminated if you don't understand all who could be impacted by the responsibilities of that individual. For example, they eliminated the PR department and paid a price in not managing the communication from the school system. Some positions are mandated for compliance reasons. Let's let the classification study mover forwrd, make it available for citizens to review, then go from their. Let's not make this a witch hunt but a sensible analysis of staffing.

I wince everytime I read Atlanta Media Guy talking about Jamal Edwards. Without question, he should have been fired on the spot. I can understand the frustration Atlanta Media Guy has toward the school system leadership and can't blame him for it. Let's not be naive, it we look around, you will see family names of former superintendents and Board members from the beginning of the district. I won't throw them all under the bus because if they can do the job, it's OK. When they can't do the job and they are protected because of their family tree, we all should be concerned. Not all 'family and friends' are bad employees. Unfortunately, the bad ones are giving the good ones a bad name.

Cerebration said...

From the DCSS website:

School Improvement

Our goal in the Office of School Improvement is to provide a coherent and sustained system of support and a systematic process for continuous improvement. Schools and centers are provided with the tools and resources to facilitate academic progress, including intensive support for schools not making adequate yearly progress (AYP). Listed below are just a few of the support systems utilized to help improve schools and student academic achievement.

Title I
Title I is a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 (formerly the No Child Left Behind [NCLB] Act of 2001). This act provides federal funds through the Georgia Department of Education to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.

These funds may be used for children from preschool to high school. Title I programs must be based on effective means of improving student achievement and include strategies to support parental involvement.

Under Title I, local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to provide services for eligible private school students as well as eligible public school students. These services must be developed in consultation with officials of the private schools. The Title I services provided by the LEA for private school participants are designed to meet their educational needs and supplement the educational services provided by the private school.

The above website also hosts the PPT presentation Fred refers to, which states:

What is Title I?
A federally-funded program designed to ensure
that all children have a fair, equal, and significant
opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and
reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging
state academic achievement standards and state
academic assessments.


91 of our 140 or so schools are labeled "Title 1". We're talking about a lot of children. Small, incremental improvements are not what we should be looking for. Just because they may arrive behind their peers in knowledge does not mean that they can't easily catch up, given a quality education.

Fred said...

"91 of our 140 or so schools are labeled "Title 1". We're talking about a lot of children. Small, incremental improvements are not what we should be looking for. Just because they may arrive behind their peers in knowledge does not mean that they can't easily catch up, given a quality education."

You are far more optimistic than I am Cerebration. Yes, I believe that all children can learn but to expect a Title 1 child that is not prepared for school 'easily catching up' with a child attending Vanderlyn is a stretch. Socioeconomics plays a large part in this. The child attending Vanderlyn more than likely is from a two parent household with college educated parents who expose their children to learning at an early age. Many Title 1 children come from single parent households, usually headed by a mother that probably has a high school diploma and may not have as many resources to help with learning around the house. The child at Vanderlyn will not stop learning so the Title 1 child can catch up. They are still learning at a rate that could widen by the time they reach the 3rd grade.

It would be great if Title 1 could work miracles for all children. It does help children with additional resources and we see measureable academic growth. We can't guarantee children will pass the CRCT. We are failures if that is the only measure.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Thanks Fred! I wince every time I type about it. I wrote today since Debbie Loeb's name was brought back up. She was a wonderful administrator and very honest with the parents at our school. I also think the newcomers to the system/district need to know the proper context of where we have been.

I also agree that when there are qualified people in a job and they are doing well, they should be able to keep it.

I hope Dr. Atkinson can correct the ship, I'm sure for her it will be like turning an aircraft carrier around on the Panama Canal.

Did anyone attend the Round Table last night at Dunwoody High? I was planning to, but a family emergency kept me from the event. I look forward to hearing about it.

Anonymous said...

Title I money should be used to fund teachers, not coaches and other administrators. The only thing that helps remediate effectively is teaching in small groups. Too many people who do nothing as far as actually interacting with students is concerned. Too corrupt. Too many cronies. Fire the entire leadership. End of story.

Anonymous said...

This must be by an insider. It's been talked about in my school.

Reforms to Teaching and their Context in DCSS
i. The current system places far too much emphasis on form instead of content. Solid pedagogy starts with the precept that form follows content, not the other way around
ii. The overemphasis on form leads to teaching methods that compound existing problems, which grow out of a woeful lack of exposure to broader cultural norms and expectations. Students have a marked tendency to fixate on "activities" instead of engaging in actual thinking. This trait is widespread in students when they come out of middle school. As a consequence, classes come nowhere close to fulfilling their purported college-preparatory function.
iii. The teaching methods propagated by the central office, in tandem with the grading system (see below), attach inordinate significance to the appearance of teaching and learning, not to the substance of these activities.
iv. Disciplinary procedures must be changed so that teachers may evict disruptive students quickly and efficiently, without encountering bureaucratic obstruction by administrators.
v. At the same time, intensive, small-group instruction must be made available to students who need it. These students are often the most disruptive. To achieve this goal, Title 1 and other monies must be redirected on a large scale into the classroom.
vi. Such shibboleths as "differentiated instruction,” "multiple intelligences," and “collaborative learning” must give way to sustained, cogent teaching punctuated by supporting, illustrative activities (c.f. literature highlighting differentiation's failure to promote college preparation as well as Gardner's criticism of his theory's misapplication).
vii. The grading system must be changed so that it no longer seduces students into thinking that writing something on paper results in a passing grade. Too many grades are required for categories of so-called work that has little substantive meaning.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

The substandard education offered in many DCSS schools aids and abets the ongoing attack on public services and government in general. This nationwide phenomenon has an important racial dimension in the South, where the Democratic Party is becoming a minority, African-American party. The nepotism, cronyism, and manifold failures in the DCSS (and APS) appear to lend credence to the notion that such problems are party and thus race-specific. Growing demands to cut tax-based burden-sharing and to defund the social-safety net, although not framed in overtly racial terms, manifest a distinct racial sub-text. This type of discourse has special relevance for an entity like DeKalb county, where a disproportionate share of the revenues used to fund local services comes from two commission districts, 1 and 2.
DCSS reflects the cultural dynamic that threatens to undo decades of progress in civil rights. White teachers who work in south DeKalb are familiar with the notion that "they" – meaning administrators – want to get rid of "us," because "we" make "them" look so bad. People who have been exposed to educational standards and expectations outside of DeKalb county tend to understand the profound depth of the problems as well as the patent weaknesses that often plague the prescribed solutions.
If far-reaching changes in the public-education system do not occur, the majority population of DeKalb county will continue to slip farther and farther behind. Ample sociological research demonstrates the ongoing and intensifying inter-generational impact of poor schools on the opportunities of groups that remain isolated from mainstream society. This phenomenon is made even more dire by the emergence of a two-tier economy in which effective education and training are indispensable for secure employment. The widespread dysfunction in DCSS has evolved in a symbiotic relationship with the disempowerment and disconnection of substantial segments of the population, thereby weakening external checks-and-balances on a school system that has few, if any credible internal checks-and-balances.
Unlike in the 1960's, when it became politically unpalatable to leave the social crisis of the inner cities unaddressed, it is unlikely that the festering problems of the suburbs and other fringe areas will generate meaningful outside intervention. Indeed, as noted, the problems in places like DeKalb serve the agenda of those who seek to use the economic problems that began 3 years ago with Lehman's collapse to question the legitimacy of government.

Anonymous said...

@ Fred
Audria Berry has been the Executive Director of the the Office of School Improvement for 6 years since 2006 when Crawford Lewis promoted her to this position.

The stated goal of the Office of School Improvement is:
"Our goal in the Office of School Improvement is to provide a coherent and sustained system of support and a systematic process for continuous improvement.....including intensive support for schools not making adequate yearly progress (AYP)."

This blog did not set the primary goal of "intensive support for schools not making adequate yearly progress (AYP)". This goal for Title 1 schools to meet AYP was set by the Office of School Improvement and is published on the DeKalb Schools website:

If a department misses their educational goal for 6 years, then there is a problem with the leadership of that department.

Look at this comparison of DCSS Title 1 Schools with Atlanta metro schools systems with comparable demographics:

"92% of Marietta City Schools Made AYP in 2011. Marietta City Schools has almost EXACTLY the same demographics as DCSS.

55% of Clayton County Schools Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2011.

19% of DeKalb Schools Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2011....

20% of DCSS Title 1 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2011 – down from 74% of DCSS Title 1 schools making Adequate Yearly Progress in 2009. "

Dr. Atkinson needs to be asking Dr. Berry what happened to our student achievement in Title 1 schools from 2009 (before strict test monitoring) to 2011 (after strict test monitoring)."

This precipitous drop did not happen in demographically similar systems.

Here is the DeKalb Schools Title 1 Made AYP Rate Over Time:
Year 2005 - 72%
Year 2006 - 65% (Dr. Berry assumes control)
Year 2007 - 76%
Year 2008 - 62%
Year 2009 - 74% (before strict test monitoring)
Year 2010 - 52% (after strict test monitoring)
Year 2011 - 19% (current percent of Title 1 schools making AYP)

Blaming the students, parents, and teachers for poor performance while procedures, practices, and policy are set by the Office of School Improvement, the department of Teaching and Learning and ultimately the Superintendent and the Board of Education is counterproductive. The buck really does stop at the top. If "Upper Management" cannot move students forward, then they are not needed and much of the unnecessary expense of their jobs needs to be re-employed at the classroom level.

Georgia DOE

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:50 and 6:51 Not sure who wrote that, but they hit the nail on the head, although I am not sure that those with the power to make the necessary changes are smart enough, qualified, or have a clue on what is written in those two postings.

I hope that these two comments get put together as it's own posting, as it really tells the truth about DCSS. The truth that the administration and board of education don't want to get out.

Whom ever wrote this, thank you!!! I pray that it helps to make a difference for the children of DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

My wife attended DCSS schools, and just mentioned when she was in 7th grade at Fernbank in the 80's, once a week her class would take a bus to Peach Crest in South DeKalb to their writing center.

Imagine today, a DCSS writing center?

Would be so easy to focus on academics again if the Central Office did not choose to throw millions of dollars at the Office of School Improvement, America's Choice, the Mountain Industrial Mega-Complex, an army of administrators, etc., etc.

P.S. DCSS used to have K-8 schools, and there's research out there today building the case for its effectiveness over the K-5/Middle School model.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:39--you wrote:
DCSS used to have K-8 schools, and there's research out there today building the case for its effectiveness over the K-5/Middle School model.

I'm interested in learning more about this. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Here are a few articles about k-8 schools being better than middle schools for kids. I'm not the poster who originally wrote that, but as a teacher I agree that a k-8 school is better for a child than a middle school. The middle school years are such important years and spending them together with other children with raging hormones is not the best place for most children.,9171,1088694,00.html

Anonymous said...

K-8 advantages included:

* Role modeling for younger students when all are grouped in the same school

* Perception of greater safety and a more family-oriented atmosphere

* Greater rapport with teachers when students are in the same building for so many years

City schools have taken up the debate and made the switch to K-8s more quickly due to the inner city environment. Their reasoning is that the setting is more nurturing for the younger children and safer all the way around. Philadelphia has been phasing out middle schools entirely in favor of K-8 structuring.

Still others report being just as glad to stay in a K-8, especially when they have younger siblings in the same building where they attend. Some cite less aggression and tension because there are small children around, and the "gentler" atmosphere spreads throughout the building and affects everyone, not just the small children.

Parents in favor of K-8 schools express a certain amount of satisfaction and comfort knowing their children are grouped in the same building. In families where several grades are represented, life is simpler for the entire family.

Anonymous said...

Most everyone has an idea about what the top of a cell tower looks like by now... but have you ever wondered what's at the bottom? If you think it is similar to an electric or telephone pole that just sticks straight into the ground, you would be incorrect. The base of a cell tower may actually be more dangerous than what's at the top!

Although the top emits radiation, at least it is generally 150' above ground or higher. But, since your child may soon be playing on a playground right next to a cell tower base in DeKalb County, you might want to get familiar with the dangers that will exist so you can warn your child not to go near it and never, ever cross the fenced in area or attempt to climb a cell tower! Here's a look at some base stations at ATT and T-mobile towers that are operational in our county today.

1. Towers bring very little money into the school system and even less, if any, will be spent at the school that's assuming this huge 30-year risk. For example, if MLK, Jr. High School in Lithonia, GA, with approximately 1833 students (according to, were to actually be allowed to keep all the money from their tower so it could be spent at their school, it would be the equivelent to less than $5.00 per student per year! Did anyone think to ask the parents if they would like to contribute $20 per year per child so that the school board would NOT place a cell tower nearby?

2. The cell tower funds the school receives are not appropriated by county and are separate from the general fund. It ends up being essentially nothing more than a slush fund that can be utilized, and not be penalized, as the school board wishes.

4. The schools with the towers believed they would get 25K per PTA. They have since learned the money all goes to the general fund and they will then be able to "direct" the spending of $25,000 in the first year. After that, all money goes straight to the general fund. Why are all schools able to benefit from a huge health and safety issue being forced upon only a few?

5. T-mobile wants to add up to three additional devices per tower, once they are operational. This increases the radiation exposure and nothing in the contract states what would be in it for the schools with the towers.

6. T-mobile and frequently visits the cell tower site and as it has happened at other schools, they do not check in or check out.

7. The DCSS did not include anything in the T-mobile contract that would require the employees or subcontractors of T-mobile to have background checks. If you have a child in a trailor or at recess when these people are inspecting the towers, this is a major concern.

8. The driveway and eavesments have been known to create an eyesore for the school and the community.

We as parents and tax payers need to demand that the money being brought into our school is used appropriately. If you are a member of the PTA at your school, it is recommended that your PTA take a vote about whether or not to allow the extra devices to be co-located on your tower and whether or not the school should enforce the check-in policy that exists for volunteers or anyone else coming onto school property. You can then deliver that message to your principal and school council member and ask that it be brought to the attention of your board member.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon for the K-8 info!

Anonymous said...

Anon part 1 & 2 has it covered. I would like to add that by allowing school systems to become dysfunctional the real powers that be in this nation have more reason to boast that the public school system as it stands needs to be deconstructed.
As for the Department of School Improvement each year schools have to spend a huge amount of time constructing the require School Improvement Plan, CSIP. I have spent considerable time working on this for several years. Oddly all that is needed is for the document be written to certain cryptic specifics and certain language and terms to be used. But the goals that are address by the schools as methods of improvement never seem to be followed up the following year. Nor are the proposed activities in the CSIP practiced by the school. I think the whole thing is just got keep some people in that department looking like they have something to do. It's all a big facade.

JustStand said...

At what point will our Area Superintendent get the memo that if her school has had four (4) principals in 6 years, registrar and other secretarial duties are not clear and enforced, several staff members seem to have many of the TRIVIAL complaints that cross her desk, a number of the inefficient educators in the building were SHIFTED from school to school or directly to campus (instead of being redirected and provided with a corrective action plan),...that IT IS NOT JUST THE ADMINISTRATOR. It seems the prisoners are running the prison!
In addition to the deficient educators, you send us your deficient students (overage, credit deficient, frequently disciplined, parolees, living out of zone, blatantly disrespectful students).

Are you serious? Do you expect success, failure or a flat out miracle? Rehab perhaps?

Even God helps those who help themselves.

JustStand said...

Where can a teacher accuse peers of all sorts of outlandish stunts, claim racism and discrimination, allow students not on his class role to "hang out" in his class without permission from teacher of record, infuse innocent children, and not so innocent children, with energies of his disgruntled days with DCSS, while being shifted to at least five (5) different schools in the county-and who seems to hold the puppet strings of certain area superintendents and the Office of Internal Affairs?
Dekalb County School System

Anonymous said...

Can't compare to Atlanta Public school data-their data is bad because of the widespread cheating.
20% is certainly not correct. Either you do not know how to find the correct data or you are mis- stating it. AYP means nothing since the number of students passinging in every group has to increase 5% a year until the number passing reaches 100% that includes students with disbilities and limited English profficiency. Most school don't make AYP because one of their subgroups fails to meet the ever increasing passing rate. 19% would mean that only 18 if the Title I schools made AYP and that isn't so.

Anonymous said...

@ resident 2012

"As for the Department of School Improvement each year schools have to spend a huge amount of time constructing the require School Improvement Plan, CSIP."

The Office of School Improvement which oversees Title 1 schools has overseen an unprecedented decline in student achievement in Title 1 schools.

"20% of DCSS Title 1 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2011 – down from 74% of DCSS Title 1 schools making Adequate Yearly Progress in 2009. What happened to our Title 1 schools in two years time? "

Close to $500,000,000 (yes - that's half a billion - as much as the total SPLOST IV 5 year projection) has flowed into DeKalb from federal funding, mainly for Title 1 low income schools in the last 6 years. See below for links to Georgia Department of Education figures on federal dollars flowing into DCSS for low income students):

When is the Office of School Improvement going to to be held accountable for the - well - improvement or our Title 1 schools?