Requests From The Media For Interviews

We have gotten requests from the media for interviews.  If you are interested in speaking with the media, please contract them directly.   We will add to this post if more interview requests come in.  See below:

Is anyone out there who would talk to me on-camera regarding the SACS letter outlining its concerns with the district?  I am looking to follow up on yesterday’s school board meeting. 

Thanks much for any help you can provide.  I am on deadline and look forward to hearing from you.

Renee Starzyk

Reporter, CBS Atlanta News

Direct: 404-327-3200

Cell: 404-217-9407

Renee.Starzyk@CBSAtlanta.com

=========================================

This is Matt Pearl with 11Alive; we’re following up on the current accreditation issues at DeKalb Schools. We’d love to talk to someone with DSW today to get a parent’s voice; please contact me at 404-545-5129 as soon as possible.

 Thanks so much,

Matt Pearl / WXIA-TV

 Reporter, 11Alive / WXIA-TV

mpearl@wxia.gannett.com

Cell: 404.545.5129

If you choose to talk with the media, please keep in mind that we have been unable to get more than bits and pieces of coverage from the media.  Whatever is hot — a version of “If it bleeds, it leads” — the media will write a story.  Then they drop DCSS, the corruption, the thefts, the friends-and-family hiring policies, the outrageous salaries.

We are not sure what it is going to take for the media to do an in-depth investigation — like they have done, on occasion, for other taxpayer-funded criminal activities.

So, if you talk to someone from the media, please ask them what it is going to take for them to do an in-depth investigation.  DSW has a ton of information that we will gladly share.  Most of it, in fact, is free for the taking from the DSW2 web site and the originak DSW web site.  Plus, we are always collecting information related to in-process investigations we are doing.

But, we are just volunteers — unpaid volunteers — with full-time jobs and families and other obligations.   We would be happy to work with reporters who are serious about truly covering the story that is DCSS:  the corruption, the thefts, the friends-and-family hiring policies, the outrageous salaries.

Ask the media, “Why?”

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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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36 Responses to Requests From The Media For Interviews

  1. SouthDekalbSusan says:

    Personally I think talking to the media would be a massive waste of time. These are the same folks who spent hours outside of the Dekalb County jail waiting for a pic of Andrea Sneiderman. Big deal. The story has been the same for YEARS. The media is just asleep at the wheel. Fraud, nepotism, the shocking drop in test scores at schools that have had a sharp change in demographics, it’s all there. Before long the feds may get involved and then the media will be running around to get a handle on the story.

  2. Terry says:

    I have tried… myself…. to talk to ANYONE in the media…. 2, 5 or 11… even 46. NOT ONE PERSON wanted to listen to what I… or the others in my group… wanted to say about dekalb and how it has been run into the ground. We simply felt that everyone was in each others pockets and didn’t give a damn (like Schutten). WHEN is it going to be ABOUT THE CHILDREN????? WHEN?? No one cares that principals have their “special groups” behind closed and locked media center doors DURING the school day so they can work on their “specialist” degrees together or their “doctorate” ON LINE!! No one cared to hear about family and friends being hired (and still doing it!) into jobs that never existed before “yesterday”. No one wanted to listen to technology “mysteriously” missing from schools. Who cares that employees drive trucks to deliver parts and take HOURS to complete the delivery when the stop was only a few miles away? I’m so done with it. For the last TEN years…. it’s been about how much money they can hoard, what they can get away with, what secrets they can keep from the public. We have TRIED to tell others that the system is top heavy. THE BOARD is NOT giving today’s children a fighting chance in this world and I hope every student in the schools will forever remember this.

  3. Former Dekalb Parent says:

    i agree with Terry. I have reached out many times to various folks in the media to tell them of some of the things going on before Crawford Lewis even, and never got the return phone call…..I’m not sure what it will take to make this the story it needs to be…..all elected officals in all counties need to know they are being watched and watched closely as they are stewards of our limited resources.

  4. The students who have been failed by DCSS won’t remember. Here’s why: they don’t know any different. So, they will, unknowingly, allow the same thing to be done to their children. The students who have gotten a good education in spite of DCSS — because education is valued in their families — will expect the same or better for their children. And, they will become parents who value education and make sure their children get the kind of education they must have to lead successful lives.

  5. Be careful! I was involved with several who spoke with the media in 2006, when CLEWs first attempt at redistricting was going on. No DCSS employee knew how to work the GIS software, who can forget the 6 figure, cut and paste demographers report, no one at DCSS was talking with DeKalb planning and Sembler was a catalyst for CLEW to move things forward quickly and with no regard to what he was doing. We also gave the TV investigators documentation to prove our claims. Two TV reporters told us the story was too difficult to tell, however they were calling us once Clew and crew were indicted.

    Mark Elghart at SACS was the other organization that simply ignored us. Call after call, email after email and letter after letter with no answer, that certainly spoke volumes when SACS looked the other way.

    The other writer was the former DCSS beat writer for the AJC, Kristina Torres. Ms. Torres turned around and gave CLEW all of the groups names as well as all the documents we had uncovered. So be careful! This group was severely marginalized, and once Debbie Loeb resigned, the Clew crew wreaked havoc for 5 to 6+ more years.

    I still want to know why most of the CLEW crew, work in other areas at DCSS. These folks should have been shown the door first! Instead. I bet they are still trying to wreak havoc inside the palace gates. One day a whistleblower will save our system, but most likely not until Ron Ramsey is no longer working for DCSS.

    Better days are ahead, but we must endure the trials of Clew and Crew first. One thing we have learned and I think finally Elghart and SACS has too, is that DCSS is incapable of policing themselves.

  6. dekalbmom says:

    I disagree and think it could be fruitful for a few well-prepared parents to respond. I once agreed to be interviewed about the change in the high school math program and was fine with the result. Carefully write out your thoughts in advance so you don’t ramble. If they don’t ask the question you want, then interject “the most important issue that you have not asked me about is xyz and I believe that xxxxx.” Be brief and concise because that is how it is reported.

  7. Dekalbite2 says:

    That’s true. Most of them are still there. They might have been moved toother positions, but they are still there.

  8. SRO says:

    Man oh man…the fraternity and sorority mafia chickens are finally coming home to roost….I hope the news gets this story as I also can confirm I have seen several people locked away in different parts of the school working on the cheap, fake online degrees…DeKalb is going straight to hell..

  9. another comment says:

    When is someone or a group of white employees going to file a reverse discrimination suit against dekalb, since they are hiring and promoting all of these lesser qualified faternity and sorority mafia chickens. You must be black to join these fraternities and sororiy’s that seem to be the path to promotion in Dekalb.

    It apears in Cobb that Hinjosia has put a stop to the the Pink and Green Sister’s being promoted and then filling all the AP principals with their Sister’s. Their were enough complaints from both Black, Hispanic and White parents about one Principal and her whistle blowing sister, last year at one high school. Either Hinjoisa, go rid of the AP, or made it clear to the principal it was one or the other. It was one step, although we think it still needed to be both.

  10. Ijustworkhere says:

    @another comment….point taken and many, even us african americans, feel that the hiring of SORORITY sisters is so unfair….but there is no need to call anyone “mafia chickens”. That was totally out of line. Its not just the pink and greens its just blatant hiring of FRIENDS & FAMILY….unqualified hot messes getting jobs and then they just dont hide in a corner and be unseen they let you know that they are here and better than you because of who they know or are related to. Someone needs to inform these people that just because they put on a suit it doesnt make them any more qualified or anyone’s boss…..its hilarious to see someone in a suit with no education but they think they can give others their “marching orders” O…when this house of &^%* crumbles the stinch will smell for miles….

  11. Another Dekalb Teacher says:

    Speaking of pink and green. Our AP can’t even speak grammatically correct. She went to a training this week and we are fearing the redelivery.

  12. Teachingmom says:

    I think our AP must know someone. She makes more than the principal and just runs around the building policing the teachers, it is seriously like a police state. The principal seems intimidated by her. Her main gig appears to be to build and enforce a very elaborate duty roster (as in hall duty, bus duty, lunch duty), and then she marches around the building to see if everyone is in place. She also dresses impeccably. She has spies and favored people. She sometimes hides in her office with the door closed and only lets them in. I heard she used to be a principal somewhere but they demoted her (without the pay cut). I have never seen her assist with any instructional issues (or even show an interest). I think she may be connected to NB, she brings her bible and reads it in her office in the morning, right before she belittles and intimidates everyone… I hope she goes and is replaced by a real professional, it just burns me that she makes over 100k; she would not survive a week in the corporate world. I bet there are dozens like her in the county who were hired under the friends and family plan, then promoted and promoted and promoted.

  13. SRO says:

    It’s so ironic that most of the coaches left the county when they found out they were being placed back in classrooms. More importantly DeKalb allowed them to break their contracts when they did not allow teachers to do so. These people were supposed to be experts and they are scared to teach? They sit and do nothing, in their offices all day, you ask them a question and they get an attitude. If we had all that time to prepare and complete Beasley’s busy work, we could do some dynamic lessons!!!!

  14. SRO says:

    I think the sorority and fraternity mafia comments on this blog and others may have caused some of their members to take notice. You don’t see them wearing their jackets or see them stepping in the halls at work anymore!!!!!

  15. teachermom says:

    @SRO I have to laugh in remembering when my then 3rd grader came home one day telling me that pink and green are her new favorite colors because her teacher liked them and that she wore lots of socks, shirts, etc. with those colors on them…

  16. justwatch says:

    SRO Where did you hear that teachers weren’t allowed to break their contracts? I know many that did just that with no issues.

  17. Yes, Ijustworkhere is correct. We really don’t need the name-calling here. The AJC Get Schooled blog tolerates it if you’d like to add your comments there. Play nice everyone. We have no problem with showing your anger over issues, but blatant group name-calling isn’t going to be tolerated. Usually, we delete those, but this one slipped by. If you see questionable comments, please email us to let us know.

  18. weneedfairness says:

    As “Ijustworkhere says”it just blatant hiring of friends and family” which is true. They just rif’d people,but at the same time they are hiring new people. Employees and some of the rif’d people applied for jobs on PATS, they do not even get an interview and the next thing you know they are getting an email that the job is filled. When these new people are employed, they have to be trained by current employees which takes time.

  19. If that’s true, that jobs of rif’d people have opened up literally a few weeks after the layoffs, then lawsuits will follow. We just don’t need more lawsuits.

  20. no name says:

    DSW, for an example of jobs that opened up literally a few weeks after layoffs, look at the PreK positions. There are 44 openings for “Teacher, Lottery Fun PreK NC” (not certified) and “Teacher, Lottery Fund PreK/Cer” (certified teachers) in the PATS system right now. These 44 PreK openings were posted on September 6.

    Months ago, DSW2 posters were predicting crap like this was going to happen with PreK. For example, here’s a comment from back on June 20:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/board-scheduled-for-fy2013-budget-wednesday-afternoon/#comment-4907

    If blog commenters could see there was a problem with PreK, why couldn’t the Superintendent?

  21. Sad for Dekalb says:

    I would love to know why the Office of Student assignment denied ALL teachers’ requests to allow their own children to attend a school in the same feeder pattern. Having the opportunity to send your child to the school in which you teach (or follow the same feeder pattern) was really the ONLY perk we had as Dekalb educators. Then about three summers ago, when no one had a chance to voice their opinion or discuss it, the Board snuck in the decision to reverse this privilege. NO one has ever been able to tell me why this was on the chopping block. Most of these students who apply for this don’t utilize buses and are brought to school with their teaching Moms and Dads.
    What infuriates me is the county still gives the bus drivers’ children that opportunity and I know of many “special permission” children who are attending schools outside their home school. No wonder teachers are leaving as fast as they can- what perks do we have left? We don’t feel appreciated or supported by the Board or Admin at all. We are on the low end of the totem pole and sinking deeper every day. I wish the press or someone could find out why this happened.

  22. Whoshelpingthekids says:

    @ sad for DeKalb: you are right. Special permission was granted for some and they allowed to be in overcrowded schools which violates Board policy yet teacher requests for their feeder pattern were denied.

  23. GTCO-ATL says:

    DSW – if the media wants to interview someone about the SACS issues, they could have easily interviewed anyone who was at the meeting, right?? Or, are they looking for people to interview because no one was able to attend the meeting? If that is the case, then how can we give feedback about a meeting that we (the public) were not informed about in time to get there for it and we couldn’t watch it online as they did not stream it? What is the story they are trying to cover here? Is it just a basic reaction to the news about the SACS letter? If so, then they can grab anyone off the street for that. Why would they come to DSW specifically? They must be digging for something more… probably wanting to know what the “issues” were that SACS claims the 50 or so complaints were about. Are they trying to get a splattering of complaints? If so, then we would only be helping the school system figure out what the complaints are so they can respond appropriately in time for their SACS feedback letter. No thank you. I think we will sit this one out.

    SACS knows the issues. The school board knows the issues. The media has plenty of people to interview. We don’t need to start “outing” ourselves for a free sound byte at the possible expense of school board retaliation. Not worth it.

    We don’t know which members of the media are “in the pocket” of the board members, but we know these stories are never balanced completely… they lean far too frequently to the side of the school board. So, without more information about what they want, just agreeing to talk to them doesn’t sound like a wise idea right now.

    We know that CLEW and others have wanted to know for a long time who is behind this blog and who are the people involved. Let’s not hand them our heads on silver platters unless we really, really think that this time would be any different from all the other stories we have helped them with.

  24. concernedmom30329 says:

    Really, they lean to far too frequently in the direction of the school board? Almost never. The original story in the AJC had errors that made the system look work than they actually were on this issue. The challenge is the issues that many of us believe are out there, aren’t made for a 30 minute broadcast on TV. I believe that the current reporter for the AJC is doing a good job, there is just so much to write about, it can’t be all covered.

    DCSS is a hot, hot mess and the vast majority of the media gets it. Back in the day, Dr. Lewis used someone with pull to get the AJC to back down on some things, but that was many years ago. In the meantime, both Clayon and Atlanta school systems have essentially collapsed and the AJC has really taken on the issue of corruption. (Look at today’s article about Gwinnett county government.)

    Hear me now — what DeKalb doesn’t have that Atlanta and Clayton both had were whiistleblowers and they used the media very effectively to get the stories out when no one else would listen. It was teachers and administrators who originally reported the bad behavior of the Board members in Clayton and it was teachers who alerted the state and the media about the cheating. We don’t seem to have that person within DeKalb. I don’t know if it is because the employees are more fearful about losing their jobs than those in Clayton or Atlanta or if it is because there isn’t one person who really knows what we think they know, except for those who might be culpable and directly involved. For the record, there are state and federal whistleblower laws that protect employees, These laws are always enforced and the employee comes out on top. There also can be a monetary reward if the whistle blower has information about government misspending. This applies to the DeKalb school system as well.

  25. John Hope says:

    @Sad for Dekalb, my recollection is that the denying teachers the ability to have their children in the feeder pattern in which they teach was driven by the community and this blog. It was around the same time that those some were questioning employees living out of the district bring their children to DCSD, not realizing state law permits this. It is unfortunate that you were not able to take advantage of this for your children as it probably will impact how much time you spend with after school activities where you work.

  26. True That, Cell. But the media requests had been piling up for quite a while. The frustration to the media is that no one will sit down publicly and lay out the issues. There is a lot of grumbling going on but they can’t get people to go on the record with their complaints.

    Also, the meeting last Friday was publicized as usual. The agenda item for the letter said only something like, “acknowledge receipt of the letter from SACS”. There was no plan to discuss a response that was changed or deleted. The last response created by Tyson and crew, ended up at almost 3,000 pages. (You can download the 80 mb file here: https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/dcss-files/sacs/ )

    Ironically, we were more interested in the agenda item at that meeting where Dr. Atkinson asked for a new car.

    But your point of feeding the info is well-taken. Let’s change the plan to sending our letter directly to Mark Elgart at SACS.

  27. This blog did NOT oppose teachers having their children in the same feeder pattern in which they taught — regardless of whether the teachers lived inside or outside of DeKalb County. In fact, this blog supported that option for all personnel working in the schoolhouse. It was not just a “perk.” Teachers often work long hours and it is beneficial for their children to be nearby. In fact — and this is just one of many similar stories — we remember one teacher whose child would sit in that teacher’s classroom, doing homework. That enabled the teacher to meet with parents, to work with students after school and to coach a JV soccer team.

    What we did oppose — and continue to oppose — was allowing Palace employees to handpick where their children went to school, regardless of the proximity to the Palace. In the case of Palace employees, we thought they should send their children to their attendance area schools based on where they live, inside or outside DeKalb County.

  28. John Hope says:

    DSW, you are correct, this was actually discussed several times on the previous version of this blog. Several of those that commented supported this not necessarily Cerebration as she offered it as a discussion topic. Two of the links to those discussions appear below:

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/its-baaaack-descriptor-code-jbcc.html

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/02/transfer-policy-is-it-clear-yet.html

  29. We are not suggesting that anyone “out” themselves to the media. We are well aware of the AJC reporters who sold out the people who would talk with them. We are well aware of broadcast media who inexplicably — even with documentation in hand — suddenly backed off of doing stories about the corruption in DCSS. It seems obvious that the aging Richard Belcher, once a respected reporter, is just a hack for DCSS.

    However, when we get requests from the media, we simply make them available in case anyone is interested. Just so you know, we will not publish media requests for interviews from any member of the media who has previously sold out or otherwise double-crossed stakeholders willing to talk. Nor will we publish requests for information and interviews from “reporters” who inexplicably dropped documented stories about DCSS corruption or who are known mouthpieces for DCSS. Those folks are on their own.

    As always, we are willing to take documented information (must include names, dates, other specifics plus the whistleblower’s real name and contact information in case we have questions) about corruption, bullying, etc in DCSS and pursue an investigation. If you provide such information, we WILL keep your identity confidential. We know how to prepare Open Records Requests so they never point to a whistleblower.

    Speaking of Open Records Requests: If you click on the “DCSS FILES” tab just under the DeKalb School Watch masthead, you will see “Open Records Requests” in the drop-down menu. Currently shown are the most recent requests. We will be adding responses from DCSS as we get them.

  30. John Hope says:

    DSW, on 9.4.2012 you requested information about the Ford Explorer used by the superintendent. You also asked for the license plate number. Are there any concerns on your part by possibly compromising the safety of Dr. Atkinson by requesting this information? I read somewhere else that her security detail is due to the death threats she has gotten. While the other information makes sense, is requesting something that identifies her vehicle to the general public necessary?

  31. No. No concerns whatsoever. First, we requested both the license plate number and the VIN to be sure that the information we receive — if any — is for the correct car. Trust but verify. Second, requesting the information is not the same as receiving it. Third, simply receiving the information does not mean it is going to be published.

  32. concernforthekids says:

    DSW2,

    Has DCSD responded to any of your ORR?
    It has been greater than 3 business days for all of your requests.
    If DCSD has not responded, what does DSW2 do next?
    Who holds DCSD accountable for not responding in the allotted time frame?

    CFTK

  33. We’ve got it handled. Thanks!

  34. whoshelpingthekids says:

    @CFTK: notify the state attorney general if you don’t receive a response in 3 business days.

  35. @Hope: Read those posts you referenced. Here’s a quote from the comments. I don’t see where much of anyone pushed against teachers bringing their children to the school at which they teach. It was the administrators that everyone had a problem with —


    Cerebration said…

    Teacher, no one is saying to take this away from teachers. In fact, we ENDORSE allowing teachers to bring their children to the school where they teach. Some of us disagree as to whether that applies to the feeders, I happen to say – yes – let teachers keep their children in the feeders. This is one perk we can use to attract the best and brightest teachers to DeKalb.

    It’s not necessary for administrators – as those jobs are no different from regular 9-5 corporate jobs that the rest of us deal with.
    January 14, 2011 1:41 PM

    Cerebration said…

    Again, I don’t know how you can read this blog and not figure out that 99% of us here SUPPORT teachers bringing their children to the schools where they teach (and for me, the feeders too)… But that’s it – no admin, no other staff… just teachers.
    January 14, 2011 5:25 PM

  36. TIME2REPORT says:

    Complain…www.congress.org….out of Georgia & to the feds

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