DeKalb: An educational failure that harms low-income, minority children the most

Watch this 15 minute interview with Charlotte Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, whistleblower and author of “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”.  Click here to download a free pdf copy of her e-Book.

Are our schools purposely trying to dumb down Americans? Labeling schools as “failures”, mis-educating children and dividing communities is a good way to begin a road to destruction. Click here to view the rest of the interview with Charlotte Iserbyt if you find it interesting. She’s a bit radical in thought at times, but I find her long life interesting and her knowledge of the destruction of education to have a loud ring of truth.

No Child Left Behind. “NCLB”. It’s a bill of goods.  I’ve heard it referred to as No Child Left Alone. President Obama has returned to referring to it by its proper name, “ESEA”, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. What does that mean? ESEA/NCLB is wreaking havoc on our schools–labeling them ‘failing’ and doling out harsh consequences for ‘failure’ to make ‘Annual Yearly Progress’.  Administrators, teachers, parents and students are scattering to the high ground of ‘passing’ schools in an effort to ‘escape’ the failure at their home schools, resulting in destruction of communities, vacant schools in the middle of neighborhoods and a panicked, competitive scramble of ‘each student for him/herself’.  Could it be that the federal department of education is actually trying to create an “emergency” or at least a unnavigable state of confusion in order to take over our schools? Our children? Our free-thinking? Our future?

Of all children harmed in this national brainwashing effort described by Iserbyt, the first to go down (the guinea pigs if you will) are the poor, the minorities, the Title 1 students whose poor, under-educated, often single parents believe the Educrats in charge when they promise they are doing all they can to provide a quality education. But the opposite is happening.  As the administration bloats with overpaid staff who do not have direct contact with students, class sizes explode while teachers and their classroom support staff are cut. Test scores drop and behavior problems are not addressed as students languish in an environment not conducive to teaching and learning. To appease those who complain, our school system has set up several small, ’boutique’, specialty, charter, magnet or theme schools as escape hatches out of the over-crowded neighborhood schools. In response, schools in these poor areas are losing their best students, losing enrollment, losing funding, losing access to quality instruction and losing ground, while leaving a vast underclass of poor children ‘behind’.  Mis-education is very dangerous to individuals as well as society as a whole. As Herman Cain recently pointed out on his radio show, back in the days of slavery, it was against the law to teach a slave to read, as reading was a pathway to free thinking and slave owners would have none of that!

Are things vastly different for an underclass of poor black children in DeKalb county today? What are most of our ordinary students really getting from their DeKalb county public school education?  Rote memorization for test results. Dumbing down of critical thinking abilities. Incomplete mathematical knowledge and decreased writing and comprehension abilities. Shallow learning via “word walls”, “group projects” “games” and “benchmark testing”.  Students believe the promise that they have been “adequately” educated, and sent on their way only to find that many do not have the tools to rise out of the lower class. Eventually, these students will find that they have only been programmed to serve as workers in a Gulag economy or ghetto children freely flowing through the pipeline to prison.

And we are surely feeding a steady stream into that prison pipeline. Check out the daily admissions to the DeKalb county jail.  It’s Jobs Program Part 2.  We send a larger and larger group of undereducated, ill-parented feral former students from many of our ineffective public schools directly into the state’s penal system – one of the state’s largest employers.

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other place on earth — and Georgia incarcerates far more people per capita than almost all other states.

“One in 13 Georgians is behind bars, on probation or on parole, according to the Pew Center on the States. That’s the highest rate of correctional control in the nation and more than the double the national average: 1 in 31.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

It is one more cog in the inescapable machine of poverty ensuring that some stay forever under the thumb of others. But that is a topic for someone else’s doctoral thesis.  Takers?

Harsh? True? Do you really want to take a chance that it’s not?

No Child Left Behind / The Elementary and Secondary Education Act / “Race to the Top” are collectively the biggest boondoggle of the last century.  The federal government should not be meddling in the state’s business of education. This is not a political issue nor a race issue — it is a class issue, an issue of one group holding complete power over another.

Our urban schools are being decimated all over the country due to being labeled “failing” by federal standards. How is this accomplished? By using small sub-groups to deem an entire school a “failure” and then offering a transfer (viewed as a golden ticket) to a “passing” school to anyone in the “failing” school, not just members of that failing sub-group, which is often special education or English language learners.

Although it’s a good idea to test and identify sub-groups who are not getting the education they deserve, the decision to offer school-wide transfers is far too punitive a response. Who takes the transfers? The bright students of course!  The students with parents who can navigate the system well enough to fill out the proper forms. The others are left in an inferior educational environment which can attract fewer and fewer prepared teachers and involved parents–thereby unleashing a vortex of destruction.

And the students who transfer do not fare much better. In fact, 300 high school students who elected to transfer to Druid Hills High School last year will never actually set foot in DHHS.  They have been housed in the old section of the recently closed Avondale High School, now labeled the “annex” of DHHS. What kind of “solution” is that?!! That word ‘ghetto’ comes to mind again.

See this for what it is people.  Take back your home schools – do not wait for the administration to right this ship. That is never going to happen from the top.  Insist on returning to the basics with small classes and quality teachers who are valued by administrators. Insist on a deep traditional curriculum, AP and honors level courses and qualified instruction with a small teacher-student ratio (I’m thinking 1:12 or fewer) and the essential tools and materials necessary to do the work. And then insist that the administration get out of the way and let teachers teach!

Who cares if your school “makes AYP” if you know in your heart that your child is learning to think critically in a traditional method led by a highly qualified teacher with proper teaching tools and solid administrative support? We must have citizens capable of thinking for themselves and managing a happy family life by holding down rewarding work and making important contributions in order to retain this great society we all take for granted.

For more interesting videos on the subject, check out some of these dating back to 1992:
Public Education Dumbs Down Kids Part 1
Public Education Dumbs Down Kids Part 2
Public Education Dumbs Down Kids Part 3
Charlotte Iserbyt Speaking At The Zombie Country Conference
Download the free Ebook: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, by Charlotte Iserbyt
Raze Education Ghetto in South DeKalb
North vs Central vs South – what’s the deal?

partially reprinted from the original DSW blog

About dekalbschoolwatch

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"
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93 Responses to DeKalb: An educational failure that harms low-income, minority children the most

  1. Joanne smith says:

    Who cares if your school “makes AYP” if you know in your heart that your child is learning to think critically in a traditional method led by a highly qualified teacher with proper teaching tools and solid administrative support? We must have citizens capable of thinking for themselves and managing a happy family life by holding down rewarding work and making important contributions in order to retain this great society we all take for granted.

    This IS the problem. We know that our children are not being taught to think critically. Too many of these young inspiring minds head off to college with scholarships in tow only to return home discouraged, depressed and humiliated because they were not college prepared. Many people will blame that they “partied too hard and didn’t focus”. While this is true in some cases most entered into classes do more than 60 and these young people, their peers were prepared.

    Believe me when I say we have fought and are fighting. These current programs don’t fix the problem but it does allow some relief for some students who are average or slightly above average to have a fighting chance of not just surviving college but succeeding in college. Telling or encouraging parents to stay is like telling an abused wife to stay, it will get better, believe good thoughts and things will change. And at her funeral, people claim and state how good she was and if only she had gotten out, things might have been different. Oh and yes some who stay do more than just survive.

    The answers are somewhere deep inside our minds and I still don’t know what they are. The family as a whole is diminishing and it’s harder to help. Having a good education is more than just having a new building, or having so much homework you can’t complete or being given multiple chances to complete an assignment or a class being dropped because not enough students enroll or pulling your child out to attend across town……and the list goes on.

    Taking our school back requires dedication from all stakeholders. When a principal that’s a change agent comes in to turn a school around, you can’t remove that person in three years to another school. We have no longevity and can not create any legacy in five years. Isn’t it funny that we expect parents to stay in their home school when teachers move for promotions, principals move for promotions and county administrators move for promotions or better opportunities. Provide a list of teachers or principals that have been in one school for more than 15 or 20 years….yes nearly their entire career and I will show you a school with a proven track record of success.

    Parents and students want the same thing as other parent and students who happen to work for the system……opportunity, advancement, achievement, and a place they can grow in. Ask those teachers with school aged children where do they kids attend, where do they teach? Ask those you are pushing for people to stay at their home schools where did their children attend? Where do our top administrator kids attend?

    My mom use to say, I am not asking you to do something that I am not willing to do or haven’t done……… Who’s willing to send their child to these schools even if it’s not your home school so you can show us how it’s done. Are you willing to sacrifice your child’s education to help the masses? If you are not, stop asking, requesting, suggesting that I sacrifice mines. I know the system is broken and it’s not an easy fix. School is temporary, in that if you do what needs to be done you have 13 years and then it’s done. And if you don’t have a good foundation to build on, it’s a rarity that you will do anything but survive. None of us can risk that, surviving becomes animalistic and who really wants that.

    NCLB or whatever the current name is today, has provided an opportunity for some to move above the survival line. The specialty programs like magnet, theme and so on has provided yet another opportunity to rise above. While these programs has faults it has changed some things in a positive manner too.

    Dekalb County use to stand great among many and it has fallen and is now considered one of the least. That didn’t happen over night and it won’t get fixed over night. It’s going to take more than a few people in that community, it’s going to take other communities joining together to focus on the one community that needs help. No one group made a difference in history without outside help even if it’s just the other side of town.

    Ok, that’s my rant for the day!

  2. Miss Management says:

    An analogy: There’s a nice chocolate cake sitting on a picnic table at a park. Some people get there first because they know where the table is. They each take a nice big piece of cake, leaving less than half a cake on the table. Then another group comes along and although there are many more of them than the first group (at least 10 times more), they have to scramble to share what is left of the cake, which is by now covered in flies and dried out.

  3. Miss Management says:

    You can escape schools and neighborhoods in an attempt to get what’s best for your child, but in the end, we are all interconnected and unless we ensure that those at the very bottom get a chance at a decent self-supporting life, we will all pay for our ignorance. This group is growing by leaps and bounds and we cannot afford all of the food stamps, WIC, jail sentences and societal harm that comes from running away from our responsibilities as a society. The truth is, that kid that you ignore and turn away from may very well end up being the kid that carjacks your kid. As the undereducated underclass grows, there are fewer and fewer places to escape the repercussions. Run if you will, but insist that those you run from are taken care of to the best of society’s ability. Do not run and take more than your share of the cake for yourself and your child.

  4. dekalbteacher says:

    You ask us to “insist on returning to the basics with small classes and quality teachers who are valued by administrators. Insist on a deep traditional curriculum, AP and honors level courses and qualified instruction with a small teacher-student ratio (I’m thinking 1:12 or fewer) and the essential tools and materials necessary to do the work. And then insist that the administration get out of the way and let teachers teach!”

    Who is supposed to do this insisting? Teachers? I know that those who write this blog, having written and read everything that has been shared through these past few weeks, can’t be serious. Parents/community members? How has that worked lately? I agree completely with the ideas here–but have no idea who has the ability to insist that things change.

  5. You’re right. Let’s just give up.

  6. Miss Management says:

    I completely agee. I give up. This state and this county will never change. There is too much division. Too much in-fighting. Too much competing for too few resources. Too many people taking more than their share of the very small pie. Fend for yourselves. I actually don’t even have a dog in this fight anymore so I have no idea why I continue to care one iota. Good luck! As for me and mine – we are outta here.

  7. Dekalbite2 says:

    Voters must insist. They give the elected officials power to allocate all funding, hire the superintendent and approve or reject every personnel recommendation in the school system.

    Until voters change the members on the BOE, little can change.

    Every person who is interested in the school system must make a commitment to talk to other members of their community and ask them:
    1. To vote (the vast majority of voters do not bother to go to the polls for a school board election)
    2. Vote for a fiscally responsible candidate who puts students first (this is where you share your ideas with them and ultimately they make the decision in the voting booth)

    This is grass roots at its most basic level.

  8. Joanne smith says:

    Please don’t confused my choice to a different educational experience with escaping my community. I live here and deal with my community regularly. I know my neighbors and know that some will end up in jail or killed. I experience grocery stores that have less than fresh items and I know the same store across town has the same produce and it’s in a better state. Some people travel to teach in my community and I travel to learn out of mines. Ignore……never! Run….not at all. I have and will continue to share, encourage, engage and tell my friends, family and community about the possibilities that lie beyond our streets. I will continue to share with the youth and engage with their parents. What I won’t do is settle for less for my own kids just because those who do not live here think I am running or ignoring a problem so huge you would have to be blind not to see it.

    I don’t know how to fix this. I know as a parent I tried to stay but it got too bad. To dekalbteach I have no ideal who will insist. Teachers and parents that do seem to result in nothing. Maybe we need leverage and who ever has some please step up because my influence, my presence only rendered heartache for my kids.

    No one admittedly chooses to go outside their school zone just to receive an education. We would all prefer to stay on “our” side of town. I know I would!

  9. Dekalbite2 says:

    @ Miss Management and dekalbschoolwatch

    That’s what the school system counts on – wearing you down by a lack of transparency and outright obfuscation.

    This mess was twenty years in the making so it will not change overnight, and over time billions of public dollars are at stake.

    Public information and data are the most fearsome aspect of this blog. Opinions can be discounted. Data cannot. Bringing the data and information into the light of public scrutiny is critical for the students of DeKalb.

  10. justwatch says:

    I think it starts at the voting booth and unfortunately, with the exception of Womack, who is just plain nuts, the most problematic board members aren’t up for election this year. Dr. Walker is the worst of the group I think, because he is smart enough to know better and yet demands nothing and does nothing. In fact, I believe that he spent the Fall telling Atkinson that the county would be in better fiscal shape this year.
    Our DeKalb delegation, most of them anyway, clearly believe that it is ok for the system to be a jobs program and not actually educate children.
    Only two of the dozen plus members of the DeKalb delegations (on the Democrat side, and none on the Republican side) have drawn opponents in the primary. Sad really. I was going to encourage everyone to vote against their incumbent state representative/senator, but that can’t happen. They don’t have opponents.

  11. Actually, my comment was tongue in cheek. Really, how does one respond to a comment like that of dekalbteacher?

  12. AnonMom says:

    (1) demand that SACS and the governor get a forensic audit and find out what has happened to the money–millions have disappeared and are being wasted; (2) participate, actively, in the election; (3) insist that the DA get the criminal trial of Dr. Lewis underway and that it doesn’t just disappear….; (4) recognize that NCLB also has a “financial component” and that with each additional layer of reporting and “compliance” that the states have to comply with, there is an additional layer of staff that is needed for said compliance (same with RT3) — we fund this all with taxpayer money– this money could really be better spent in the classroom — instead of taking a “gut” – this party believes things this way approach to things, really and truly look and listen at what is happening and who is trying to keep who down… there is class warfare going on and if you look at it critically it isn’t being done in the way it is being reported… the criminal justice system is very full of uneducated minorities that landed there by virtue of those of their own race not educating them. Vote wisely at all levels in the next few months — your vote counts and our future as a society depends upon it. The kids deserve a future.

  13. Weary worker says:

    There are layers upon layers that make public education what it is today. It is not education that is the problem it is it’s governance. The leading issue is the struggle between the right and the left. Conservatives are seeking to deconstruct public education by withering it down with vouchers, choice programs and micro management (for example the moment of silence or the curriculum changes in Texas). The left is seeking to control public education by making the states and local districts fully under the control of the federal government. This in it’s self is not terrible but they are seeking to do out without taking full responsibility. This system makes the governing far more complicated than it needs to be. Title I funds one of the largest Federal grants to school might be used one way in DeKalb and a very different way in Portland. Finally the lack of local concern regarding schools is an issue as we have seen with the DeKalb BOE. BOE members are up there with judges and court clerks in the minds of rank and file voters who have no idea who they or or what they do. Yet they are handed control over vast millions of dollars. The office seekers are often the worst level of of political hacks riding into office on the support of one church or a name people like. At least the judges need to have a JD there is no standard for BOE members. We are spending too much money to hire fools off the street to do this job. Democracy does not work here.

  14. Undercover Reformer says:

    Well, DSW, not with a sarcastic (you say tongue in cheek) remark like that. Honestly, small class sizes – when the board just voted to increase them by 2? Deep curriculum – when the Board just approved the purchase and use of Success for All for reading instruction? Teachers are essentially powerless – short of organizing some type of mass walk out or sit down, I don’t know how they can impact the system in any large way. I know that there are daily acts of subversive anarchy in the schoolhouses/classrooms, where teachers work diligently attempting to provide opportunities to students that would move beyond basic skills. But, when it all comes down to the results of the standardized test, how much variation can you safely manage? And many of our teachers are not creative or, frankly, adept enough themselves to deviate far from the scripted path. This situation is, in fact, so complex, so interwoven with many other systems and societal structures, that nothing short of burning it down and rebuilding will actually bring about the necessary changes.

    Where to start? I agree with justwatch in that the voting booth is the first, practical place for citizens to assert themselves. But not just with the school board elections – with every elected official you are given the opportunity to weigh in on.

  15. educator90 says:

    @ dekalbteacher,

    I homeschool, so that I can ensure that my child receives a quality education. I don’t do for religious reasons, but because I taught in DCSS and know that the only way for my child to truly learn and be educated and to know how to think is to teach him myself.

    Educators aren’t willing to fight for their profession, so I will fight for those kids in the public school system and hope that change happens. However, I won’t be holding my breath.

  16. educator90 says:

    Teachers are powerless, because their professional organizations (unions in other areas) aren’t focusing on teachers being able to teach and seem to be satisfied with status quo, as long as teachers are well paid and have benefits.

  17. educator90 says:

    Any teacher, parent, or community member who cares about education, needs to watch all of Charlotte’s videos. They are eye opening. You will understand and learn why Southern schools are inferior to those in the North. You will learn how Northern schools are following Southern schools.

    I’ve Charlotte’s book and many of the supporting documents and it was very eye opening. It made me realize why I wasn’t able to teach when I was a teacher, and that I don’t want my child in the public schools until things change-which won’t happen over night.

  18. You should know says:

    The legal rights of teachers to organize into unions, collective bargain, etc. is not granted to teachers in this state. We don’t have the same rights and protections that you see in union states. Please take a look at Board policy BBI. I don’t know about you, but I have been repeatedly reminded to take my issues and concerns “through channels” and not to contact school board members directly. As bad as this situation is, most of us are going to do what it takes to keep our teaching certificates and stay gainfully employed. There aren’t any other options right now.

  19. Miz Merty says:

    Amen and Bless you, Dekalb teacher. Unless you have teaching experience in a DeKalb school, you can’t even imagine how bad morale is. Teachers are at the bottom of the food chain. If you are not a member of one of the elite groups, you have no voice or status.

  20. Dekalbite2 says:

    IMHO – Joanne has very eloquently expressed how difficult it is to secure an equitable education in DeKalb. DeKalb is truly a “Tale of Two Systems”.

  21. educator90 says:

    SACS doesn’t give a hoot about any demand that we make. They don’t care if one child is educated well in DeKalb or in any other district. It’s accreditation means little to anyone who has watched what they do over the past few years, and seen what they have allowed school board members and superintendents get away with.

    The DA is not going to do any criminal charges on Lewis or any school board member. The evidence could be handed to him on a silver platter, but DeKalb takes care of it’s own. The system is corrupt. The CEO wants his power and doesn’t care how he spends money or what happens to our school system. I’ve learned that DeKalb is a very corrupt place in the 5 years, I’ve lived here-almost as bad as Chicago.

    Those participating in the election, aren’t able to vote for the school board members who truly need to go, in my humble opinion. We only get to vote for our area. The elections need to be opened up and county wide, so that better representation happens for the children.

    The racist comments and attitudes need to stop. This is the biggest problem that I see. Decisions that are made, aren’t always done because someone is black, white, rich, poor-sometimes decisions need to be made, because they need to be made. I’ve never seen such racism and everyone worried about someone getting more, when the entire system is going down and few kids are truly educated extremely well.

    The problems in education began over a hundred years ago. There is no easy solution, no golden ticket, no magic wand that is going to fix it. Until parents demand that their children are truly education and not indoctrinated, things will not change. The history books that our children use are riddled with errors and false information. Teachers also provide false information to our children-not all but there are a few. Parents need to focus on what is really happening to their children in school and they would have their eyes wide open, often in disgust.

  22. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    True. And any parent with an ounce of sense would do the same. However, truthfully, what happens when a large group of parents make this choice for their children? Schools are left with only children who struggle, have discipline problems and/or uninvolved poor parents. Schools close. Teachers flee. Discipline problems increase. Entire neighborhoods fall into blight. Failing schools begin a vortex of destruction.

    Check out our very first post on this new blog. We spent a lot of time documenting the shuttered schools scattered around the county. We tried to highlight the blight caused by the school system to many of our neighborhoods. This issue remains on the back burner, but addressing the blight is critical to a recovery of DeKalb.

  23. queserasera10 says:

    Sadly I think it is time for teachers to form a union. (A real union, not the DOE.) This may be the only way they can speak up. They must come together as a group to demand they be allowed to teach in a classroom without the discipline problems, without the mountain of paperwork, and with the ability to be creative in their efforts. A single voice will be viewed as a trouble maker when collectively they will be heard.

    All children are not the same. All children are not going to succeed. The teacher should be allowed to use all of their creativity to reach those children who might not succeed and allowed to fail the ones who simply don’t care or does not even come to class.

    A student who is a discipline problem should be dealt with outside the classroom with the parent involved. The teacher should not use valuable time teaching students who are trying to learn to deal with a constant disruption. (I am talking about the student who is a will not behave on a regular basis, not the one who has an isolated bad day.) Take that distraction away and I bet the students who are left will have a higher success rate.

    A student who skips half the class in a semester and is failing (duh) should not reflect badly on the teacher when said student fails. Unfortunately teachers must go out of their way spending valuable time to allow those students the opportunity to make up the work and pass. Parents should be held responsible for discipline and attendance. I realize that not all teachers manage a classroom well but I bet if the student and parent were held more accountable that might change.

    Teachers should not have to spend more time doing paperwork and defending themselves when a student fails than teaching. Teaching is the last priority and that is wrong. Teachers want to teach. Let them.

  24. We have said before and we will say, again, please be sure you know what you are talking about before you publish a comment on DSW:

    First, Georgia teachers are prevented by Georgia law from forming a union and/or doing any kind of collective bargaining. so, there is no point in encouraging teachers to form a union.

    Second, DOE is the Department of Education. In Georgia, it is usually referred to as GaDOE. The federal Department of Education is referred to as ED. (DOE refers to the federal Department of Energy.) GaDOE is definitely not a union or even a teachers’ organization. As we said just yesterday, GaDOE and the State Board of Education have little-to-no effective oversight and supervision of Georgia public schools.

    Third, the very weak teachers organizations that do exist include ODE (Organization of Georgia Educators), basically a sell-out/sycophant to DCSS; PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators); and GAE (Georgia Association of Educators). Then, there is MACE (Metro Association of Classroom Educators).

  25. Pretty soon we will have no choice other than to “take back our neighborhood school” as the NCLB transfers will be ‘called home’ as their reimbursements for transportation will expire. We will have a sudden surge in enrollment in some areas and huge declines in others while Magnets get to keep their transportation.

  26. You still care because it is human nature to want the “good guys” to win in the end.

  27. You can also write the candidate’s name down on something for them to help them remember. You are allowed to bring “cheat sheets” to the voting booth with you… FYI. The people who are mad about their property values and don’t understand how much of that is affected by our schools or don’t pay attention due to not haveing children … these are the best targets. You can explain why they have the “need” for better representation and then how they can vote to help change things! Or, offer to carpool to the voting booth with elderly neighbors who might need a ride!

  28. Teachers, please remember to communicate with parents so they can stick up for you and help you if possible. You know so much more about what goes on there .

  29. Anyone know a good CEO candidate or a good DA? I’m in the market for new ones and can’t really say I know much about the candidates… yet.

  30. Only two? Have you seen the DeKalb School Choice flyer?

    Please read:

    Joanne’s comment about the students who are average or slightly above average getting into these special programs … I’m assuming she means magnets? But, getting into a magnet school is based on your odds of winning a random lottery drawing, right? If you don’t win this year, too bad, try again next year. It has little to do with your abilities. It’s random. And what do you win? The opportunity to travel for an equally crappy education in a building just like the one you left with teachers who are equally as miserable as they were where you just left. But now you don’t have your friends and you are further from home. And when you are new, you are prime new material for being bullied.

    Thinking you can get something better by leaving for a magnet, charter, theme, etc. is just as bad as thinking that the schools are doing something different somewhere else if you drive far north enough to get to them. A corrupt system sucks money, life, passion, purpose out of every person and every program. Some might be easier or more obvious, but they take their fair share from everyone.

    Stay or go… it really isn’t as important as making a decision as early as possible and sticking to it … make it work. Multiple transfers and never feeling like you fit in or you are a part of something does far more damage to our children than keeping them at a mediocre school where they are comfortable and supplementing their education yourself.

    Kids learn from what we say, but more from what we do. If we are not certain about the choices we are making for them, it will show. If we have a negative feeling about the school’s ability to give us the results we want, the child will want to please you by giving you what you want – a failing grade to blame on the system.

    Leave, if you must, but not because someone told you that you should. Leave if your child will truly gain something far better and worthwhile and expect it to take at least a year for him/her to adjust to the change.

    Next to income and class size, research has showed a strong relationship between stability and academic success. And money, by itself, has never solved any educational problems. Too much money even leads to corruption and brings harm. People learn from other people. We are taking the human element out of what is fundamentally human. We were not meant to sit still and listen quietly. We were meant to speak, listen, interact, ask questions, ponder the answers, role play, experiment and wonder. We were not made to watch virtual reality on flat screens and then fill in a bunch of circles on bubble sheets.

    Here are some links on the subject of moving and the negative consequences on young children (moving can mean either moving to a new home or changing to a new school).

    I’m not saying that anyone should feel badly for choices they have made. I elected to switch schools after one year at our neighborhood school, but it was something we felt forced to do, not because we “won” a lottery, so I totally understand what that is like. I’m just pointing out that the research is out there and our board could easily read these same articles, yet they choose to redistrict, close schools, shuffle kids around, push them in one direction, transport them, pay their parents to drive them, etc. and they do the same with the teachers, principals and anyone else who might appear to be forming a “bond” where they are. Because people who spend time together realize they have a lot in common. And they might even learn that they have the same problems with the same issues and they are all getting the same unacceptable answers.

    By staying in one place or gathering together in places like these, we can dispel the gossip and myths about why we all are out to get one another and realize the answers must be inside us somewhere… there are more of “us” than “them” and we have the power to vote.

  31. dazed says:

    “And what do you win? The opportunity to travel for an equally crappy education in a building just like the one you left with teachers who are equally as miserable as they were where you just left.”
    Noooo, it isn’t like that. Magnet selection isn’t perfect, and neither are the magnet programs. But even as the county guts them like a fish, the magnets remain a superior educational opportunity, taught by strong teachers, in diverse classrooms, where higher learning thrives and order rules.

    In my perfect world every school is like that. I’d love to see DeKalb increasre staffing at challenged schools rather than add layers of non-teaching bureaucracy, but they won’t, so parents seek out alternatives.

  32. educator90 says:

    Agreed! Wish I knew more about the others running for CEO and DA.

  33. anon says:

    If the teachers really believe that a real union is what is needed and the law prevents it, then maybe they need to lobby for a change to the law. My understanding is that the states that are in the top 5 are all unionize teacher states (and I’m very against the unions — I think they served their purpose and have now outlived their purpose — that being said — Georgia may be so “behind the 8 ball on this issue that a purpose may be “servable” — I’m not passing judgment on that one — I do think that there are many instances where the unions protect teachers who should not be in the classroom so they are not perfect but we’re at the bottom here).

  34. justwatch says:

    DA isn’t up for election this year. I think James has two more years.

    Here is the ballot for this summer’s election.

    Cllick on either democratic or republican as you will have to choose one at precinct. Also, remember that you are only voting in one congressional race, one state senate race, one house race, and then zero, one or two board of ed and county commission races. You need to know your districts, etc. If you don’t know, I believe the state has a tool to find out. Google it.

  35. murphey says:

    @gettthecellout: “And what do you win? The opportunity to travel for an equally crappy education in a building just like the one you left with teachers who are equally as miserable as they were where you just left. But now you don’t have your friends and you are further from home. And when you are new, you are prime new material for being bullied.”

    I take exception to this. I am familiar with the high achiever magnet programs and I think they are much more than “an equally crappy education” with “teachers who are equally as miserable.” And though you don’t directly say that magnet students are bullies it is implied. That description doesn’t fit the magnet students I know. For the record, my kids are not in the magnet program.

    I agree that kids need stability in their education just like they need it in their home life. But kids are amazingly resilient and, at least at the high school level, many of them would agree that “being without their friends and further from home” is a worthwhile trade for the experience of making new friends and having a better academic experience. I wish we could work towards replicating positive things in our schools rather than destroying them. Oh well, now that all of the extra magnet teacher points have been eliminated we’ll just have to see what remains.

  36. FWIW, one of Kittredge’s original missions was to serve as an incubator for teaching techniques to replicate in all schools. Additionally, Kittredge was supposed to train teachers from other schools. Never happened.

  37. queserasera10 says:

    I meant to say ODE it was a typo and just because it is the law does not mean the law cannot be changed. I simply wanted to say that a collective voice is stronger and has more job security than a singular voice. My statement was targeted at the weak options that teachers have to depend on.

  38. queserasera10 says:

    I agree. I am against unions that is why my statement started off “sadly”. It just seems as though that is the only way teachers will be able to speak up and still have job security.

  39. concerned teacher says:

    There is so much time spent on coming up with new curricula, implementing new strategies and purchasing of “new and improved” reading and math books. As a teacher, I know these are all a waste of time. I have been well educated and I often try to implement creative ideas into the curriculum that has been established. If all of the “higher ups” would just leave me alone, I could really do some great things with my students. I do not want or need to learn about CCGPS, RT3, and other programs that will be thrown at me this year. I have been well trained and I know what to do. We need to stop reinventing the wheel and continuing to do things (i.e. benchmarks, purchasing of rewritten textbooks every 4 years with the same content as the old ones) because it has always been done that way. The most important component missing from the low performing schools is parent participation. Until someone finds a way to hold parents responsible for participation in their childrens’ academic endeavors, not much will change. When the majority of parents start showing that they care about their children, our schools will continue to fail.

  40. Dr. DeKalb says:

    Thank you, educator90, for staying involved in these conversations to help the rest of us gain that insight … it helps to try to understand how the changes affect the teachers as well as the students. At teacher meeting, I often felt like the teacher wanted to say more, but somehow couldn’t. There is an underlying feeling of fear in our schools that, as a teacher or parent you will somehow be punished (or your child will) for complaining about “the way things are.”

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