Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students.
~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
On the subject of the condition of schools and the classroom - I recommend revisiting this old posting - Has teaching become a factory job?It quotes John Taylor Gatto's essay to the Wall St Journal as to why he gave up teaching. Insightful!
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-to-hold-school-1301910.htmlParents seeking alternatives to their nearby public school in DeKalb County can attend an information fair about transferring to a different school.The system will hold its fifth annual "School Choice Expo" Jan. 21. Parents will be able to browse displays and ask teachers and administrators about the alternatives. Options include charter schools, magnet programs and transfers from failing schools as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.The expo is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mall at Stonecrest, 2929 Turner Hill Rd., Lithonia.
Gotta love school choice in DeKalb, a few goodies for a few children while the rest do without.
I've never seen a "School Choice Expo" in north DeKalb.
North Dekalb donot need a school choice expo. Parents on the south end of the county should visit some of the classroom on this end. Teachers are placed in classroom with little to no support from principals, or Assistant Principals. Year after year, some of these principals shift or rotate teachers around who can manage their classrooms. The ones cannot manage their classes do attend any classroom management training classes to get help.Johnny is passed from grade to grade each year. Yes, parents are rightfully responsible to teach these children. But, in 99% of the cases on the south end, some donot and the teachers donot either. These same teachers bully other teachers in the system for not teaching their kids, then they do the same with other folks kids. A lot of these teachers enter the professional not because of their love for children, but for the holidays and etc... When you love children, you donot sit in the lounge and laugh and talk about these kids, your honor the code of teacher committment and teach them.Some teachers complain about how bad these children are, often forgetting the problems that their kids give other teachers within the county.Now, this should give you a picture of the southside of Dekalb and you will understand why we have the School Choice Expo.
So much for a happy "What teachers Make" comment section.
Accountability.That is the key word.Accountability.First of all, DeKalb County School has NO promotion policy presently.What that means is that a child who has NOT learned the curriculum for 8th or 5th grade can be promoted it the next grade WITHOUT the academic skill set to succeed in the next grade.Children have the ability to FAIL their grade and still be promoted to the next grade.Does this create a problem?Is this fair to the child or the teachers at the receiving school?No.It is not fair to either.It places the child behind their peer group.Teachers can only teach to their lowest educated child.The solution is to bring in additional teachers to help with the remediation of the underperforming children.Give the teachers support in the classroom is my recommendation.S7The solution is to have accountability within the school system.The solution is to have accountability from children being promoted from a lower school (ES) to a higher school (MS) that does not have the skill set to perform in the higher education.There is no accountability for advancing kids who have not passed the tests or do not know the content.We have children who are promoted to 6th or 9th grade who do NOT belong in those grades.It is ALL about accountability!How can we make any of our schools accountable for promoting children if they are not prepared for the next grade of their education?We need to start to hold our schools accountable for the education of our children.Can we all agree that this is a COUNTY WIDE position?Can we get agreement from all parts of the county for this accountability?I would like to hear from the East, West, North and South side of DeKalb County regarding this very pertinent issue.
Reading is a major issue. When a child doesn't learn to read in 1st grade and we send that child to second grade the problem gets worse. These children are older than they were 30 years ago because of the September birthday cutoff. In theory, this should have helped. You can't be successful in school, if you can't read.
@ 6:43 This happens in Central DeKalb and North DeKalb as well. I am chuckling after reading your post, as I taught in South DeKalb, and live in the Druid Hills High district, and wouldn't send my kids to our neighborhood schools, which are considered "good." The problem with DeKalb, is that everyone thinks they have it worse than someone else. This is not the case, and there are just as many bad teachers and principals up here as there are throughout the county. Shoot, I know kids here that couldn't read in first grade that were passed on and given no help, got tested for special ed, and they just weren't taught, but the teacher wrote the kid off as being stupid, when she was the dumb one.Until the county residents can get together and stop one upping each other and thinking that they have it so much worse than anywhere else, and that everywhere else is so good, change won't be able to occur.I want my child to be educated and my "good" schools aren't an option for my children. Not because I think I'm better than anyone, I do not, but because I have witnessed too many kids being pushed aside and not helped from the district.I have seen just as many parents bad mouth teachers as I have teachers bad mouth parents and children, and neither is acceptable in my opinion. All DeKalb residents deserve to have school choice expos, or there should be no school choice expo. Everyone (rich, poor, white, black, Hispanic, English speaking, or foreign speaking) should be treated the same. This is the problem that I see in DCSS and it will not change until people stop worrying about what they THINK others have, and worry about themselves and how they can make work to make things better in general. The greed with parents in the system is outrageous, and the sad part is that even the "good" (a term I very loosely use)education people think their children are receiving, is hardly as "good" as think!!!!
Thanks for sharing the poem! Great teachers do make a difference regardless of their location or their bosses. Poor educators in classrooms and administrative offices need to go regardless of their location.
@ Sagamore 7:You will absolutely hear from all sides of the county on this one. You're right -- this should be at the top of the list, or at least among the top two: Accountability and Veteran Teacher Engagement. Count this as one of your feedback sources from S. DeKalb. I realize that reaching the accountability level we seek won't be easy -- for anyone. A friend just last week was in the parking lot of her local high school preparing to leave when the afternoon bell rang. No fewer than four teachers were bolting for their cars BEFORE students were even dismissed to board their buses. Last week. On one afternoon at my own local school last semester, I had the opportunity to wait in the front office just after the afternoon bell rang, only to see our heroic and professional school receptionist deluged with students calling their moms to protest the confiscation of their electronic devices. We have a ways to go. Entitlement and non-accountability are everywhere.
New teachers or teachers transferring within the system are not given any assistance on the south end of the county. A lot of administrators place teachers in the classroom without providing any support instructionally or suggesting taking classes to improve their teaching skills. Then these same administrators often want to make visits and place teachers on a PDP (Professional Development Plan)The question is; who has placed the principal or assistant principal on a professional development plan? Most principals and many many assistant principals are not qualified on the south end of the county to manage these schools. They enjoy letting teachers whom they cannot control or make them feel important that transfer papers are in. Not thinking to themselves, maybe they are the ones (principals and assistant principals) are the REAL culprits that should be filling out the transfer papers not the teachers.Taxpayers, if you ever find the time to visit on the south end of the county, you would just be shocked to even think that this was or is a school. Keep in mind now, 98% of these principals on the south end of DCSS were hired by their connections to their New Birth connections, sorority/frat/ cousins, friends in the palace (HR)and BOE officials.What angers teachers is how these administrators protect their friends, sorors/frats, Bishop friends, BOE officials (children) and the list goes on.Then they (administrators) start in January calling teachers in bullying them about what their kids are doing on benchmark test.All first semester on the south end, most of these teachers didnot even know the name of their principals or assistant principal. These administrators are now visible now because it is almost CRCT Show Time. Or, some have had their one on one meeting with Dr. Atkinson and praying that they had some GREEK symbol on their clothing , colors, or bag to let Dr. Atkinson know that, we are sorority sisters even if my school does not make AYP. So keep my spot for me. Taxpayers, a change gotta come for the leadership on the south end of the county for better administrators outside of the Friends and Family, Greek connections, church, cousins, husband /wife team and the beat goes on.Dr. Adkinson, should review the notes presented during the Fireside Chat about the comments that teachers shared about their schools and make decisions to move these administrators or make them take classes to improve their leadership ability by placing these bullies on a PDP.(administrators) Stop blaming the teachers, parents, and children, and stop PLACING administrators in positions without training these people. South end of the county, it is SAD and the test scores can prove this. Most principals on the south end are not visible from August- Dec.Or, even mention looking at test scores or how students students are progressing until January or February, then administrators want to hold teachers accountable, when they have had no support all first semester.
Parents attending the School Choice Expo should look carefully at the test scores of any given school. Then visit the school for one entire week unannounced and this will give you a clear picture. Administrators will not have a chance to steer to you to their favorite teachers classrooms because some of these administrators are not very truthful.
@ 1:29Again, this is NOT just a South side issue, but happens throughout the county. I know of no new teachers who get assistance and help. New teachers are left to fend for them selves, whether they are in a South side school, in a mid-county school or are up in Dunwoody. This just doesn't happen. Too many young teachers fail and are blamed for their unruly classrooms and are ridiculed when they ask for help. Test scores are dropping throughout the county. The statistic that I'd love to see is the number of kids required to take remedial courses when they go off to college from each high school. That would be a true eye opener. We are graduating too many kids who don't have basic skills, which began in elementary school and kept piling up.This is not a South side problem, but an entire problem within the county.I would never go to a school to see it and call beforehand. Going unannounced allows you to see what is really going on, and I believe that many parents would be shocked if they just stopped by their children's schools and took a look.
I understand the sentiment/idea but actually I would hope an adult would NOT be able to just walk into one of our schools unannounced. That doesn't sound entirely safe to me.
Schools are paid for by the public and as such, anyone in the community should be able to enter a school. A parent, a perspective parent, a tax payer, etc, are able to come to the school. Calling to let them know that you are coming will not enable you to get a real picture of what is happening. For example, a boy that I tutored mom went to a school with an appointment. I went and didn't call before I went and saw something very different and unsavory on my visit. Who got the real picture of what the school was like? It's probably somewhere in the middle, but closer to what I saw. When I was buying my home, I went to the elementary school of each of the homes that I was looking at. One of the principals was very rude and let me know in a rude way that she didn't have time for me. I let her know that given her school's test scores, taking 10 minutes to show a perspective parent around would behoove her and thanked her for helping me narrow my decision down to the other home that I was considering. As a former teacher, I always recommend to parents to never call ahead and just show up, so that they can really see what is going on. This is what the area superintendents as well as Dr. A should be doing to all of our schools, so that they can see what is really happening. If one is doing their job, there is nothing to hide.
Below is a very insightful article highlighting the poverty and social challenges endured by American children and witnessed by teachers.America’s Teachers See Growing Poverty Up Closef You Want to Know the Human Impact of The Current Recession, Ask America’s TeachersOne of the things I’ve discovered in recent years is that when it comes to education policy, the last people asked for input are America’s teachers. We have a President who holds an” education summit” that includes the nation’s top business leaders and foundation heads, but no teachers; we have billionaires lobbying to privatize education and break teachers unions; we have an organization that purports to work for educational equity that encourages its recruits to leave teaching after two years because they can influence policy more by moving into other, more prestigious careers, rather than spending a lifetime as a “mere teacher.”The results are plain to see. After ten years of No Child Left Behind, three years of Race to the Top, and twenty years of Teach for America, we have seen no change in the global standing of America’s schools and no reduction in the test score gap between racially and economically disadvantaged groups and the rest of the population.But we lose something more than an opportunity to improve our schools by excluding teacher’s voice — we lose a chance to understand the human impact of poverty and economic distress, not only those locked in inner generational poverty, but those made newly poor by the economic crisis. Students bring the wounds of poverty into their classrooms every day, in ways that break teachers hearts, keep them up at nights, and make the accountability protocols based on test scores that “education reformers” are now imposing seem totally divorced from reality.Click the link above to read the rest...
I absolutely agree with the post that states that a big problem is everyone thinking that there is something better "out there." This concept is a big part of the problem because part of what makes a great school is the support of the families who send their children there. Every time we allow an AYP student to transfer instead of insisting that the school they currently attend make changes to address the issue, we are reinforcing the concept that a school can be bad, all by itself, and a student can achieve greatness by spending a longer time in a commute that takes him/her away from home longer, and into a new environment where he/she may or may not exactly fit in. And, since the NCLB money does not follow the child, the new school may not even be equipped to provide the extra instruction that child actually needs. And what happens in the "better" schools is exactly the same. We are encouraged to look arond at the charters or magnets or to participate in this or that lottery because we might be a better fit somewhere else. But, if you ever decide to really look at this issue with your own eyes, you will drive around the county (as I did) and look at the differences between the schools. It will hit you, like it hit me, that they are all the same. They all provide the same level of instruction and suffer from the same problems of low morale among teachers, overloaded classroom sizes, leaking roofs and peeling paint (and that includes the newly built schools as much as it does this older ones).It used to be that your school was reflective of your neighborhood and all the families knew one another. Your child would be around kids who were similar to them because everyone fell into the same income bracket, more or less.Now our schools have nothing to do with our neighborhoods and test scores can be fabricated. Bully behavior starts at the top and extends all the way down the chain of command and the squeeky wheel always get the grease. As long as we all keep fighting each other, we will chase every family that can afford the taxes offto another county or school sysem.As for the teacher in the last post... who exactly is excluding your voice? You spend more time each day with my child than I do That is the person who matters most to me. Does my child hear YOUR voice everyday?? Are you getting through?If so, then you have more power than anyone else to have your opinnion heard. If you have the answers, don't wait for someone to ask you what to ddo - we are counting on YOU to be the advocate who knows the most, but sadly you are often the one who will talk the least.
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