Breaking News!

We got an e-mail from one of our readers …

Two top DeKalb prosecutors have resigned effective the end of the month, headed to Cobb County: Don Geary who has been working on the Sneiderman case and John Melvin who has been in charge of the Lewis case. That case may never come to trial – always something else…next it will be a request to change venues the week before the new trial date (which will now change with the loss of the prosecutor). So disappointing. Makes one wonder who got to them.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/2-top-dekalb-prosecutors-resign/nTTbt/

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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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37 Responses to Breaking News!

  1. decaturparent says:

    Not posting my comment, but white employees of DeKalb are not being made to feel welcome right about now….Or employees that speak their mind or use initiative….

    Sent from my iPad

  2. educator90 says:

    Employees who speak their mind have never been made to feel welcome. I remember questioning the no zero policy and the having to give a 70 policy and the comments made to me by then area superintendent Simpson were appalling. The fact that other teachers felt that way and were silent angered me more. I was told another time by my principal that my questioning made me a trouble maker, and that is the day I decided teaching in DeKalb wasn’t for me and that my son needed me more.

    This is not new, maybe worse, but not new, and the reason why parents and tax payers need to support GOOD TEACHERS!!!

  3. Refugee from DCSS says:

    re: white employees not feeling welcome. Here’s a nugget from the On Common Ground news – the paper that covers every aspect of the African American community except for education. Zepora Roberts and Sarah copelin-wood are about to be installed as members at large of the Board of the deKalb NAACP. Coincidence? What do you think?

    http://www.ocgnews.com/index.php/component/content/article/1616-dekalb-naacp-to-swear-in-officers-on-saturday

  4. concernedmom30329 says:

    I think the prosecutor of record in this case is actually Robert James, so I am not sure a Judge would grant a delay because an assistant left. The problem is that this is going to be a very complicated case. I hope the team working on it was large.

  5. Concernedmom30329 says:

    SCW and ZR have been at large members of NAACP forever. I doubt that SCW attributes much and even attends meetings. Her health is clearly fading if you have watched her for the last decade or so.
    The DeKalb NAACP fails future generations by not making education its top and only issue. Though John Evans is occasionally around and tries to hold the system accountable, what is needed is an all out effort. Talk about an appropriate time for marching in the street, but it won’t happen because they won’t go up against folks like Cunningham and Walker.

  6. Not sure where to post, but to some it may be breaking news: Another Dekalb county-wide testing fiasco looms!

    And just wait to see what’s loaded on the pads or notebooks or whatever cheap product they buy for “online textbooks.” We’ll be the technology dupes then…the laughing stock in the metro area….but we’re already that.

  7. And remember the picture of Robert James in the paper when he announced that he would not investigate the Board because the Board could police itself? When he made that announcement, towering over his shoulder was none other than Eugene Walker, chairman of that Board, and potential subject of the DA’s investigation.

    I think the two seasoned prosecutors were sick of the political bullshit going down at the DA’s office. I bet they were chomping at the bit to go to trial, but their boss had other ideas.

  8. Can you send us an e-mail (dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com) with more specifics, please?

  9. DeKalb Observer says:

    I think dissonancetheory has it right. The lack of ethical standards in DeKalb is not confined to the school district leadership – it extends into every corner of county government. And no lines around any school attendance zone can keep that kind of cultural poison from invading every school, North or South, rich or poor.

  10. DeKalb Observer says:

    Ok. I get it now. Watching 11Alive News. Top story: Frank Ski’s departure from V103. Brenda does a loooong Q and A with Frank, including archival footage of his first day in Atlanta 13 years ago. Clearly, many resources have been devoted to sharing this shocking story. Next story: DA in Sneiderman case leaving DeKalb. Includes footage and soundbites of Andrea on the stand, as well as an interview with another member of the DeKalb DA’s office. NOT A MENTION OF THE LEWIS RICO CASE. NONE. Not even a mention of the case. Clearly, the fix is in. The media knows not to go near DeKalb schools stories. Because after all, a radio DJ’s change of career impacts our lives far more and is so deeply significant when compared to damage done by public school corruption which has imperiled children’s futures – not to mention property values.

  11. educator90 says:

    Just wondering where the money for the notebooks is coming from, and what the children will owe if they break their notebook because of careless use/abuse. Having watched the middle schoolers walk home from my neighborhood (2 blocks from a middle school), those waiting on the corners to be picked up, and those kids cussing at the bus drivers parked in front of my home on their way back to the school, this is a huge possibility.and the children need to have consequences for abusing this equipment, as tax payers shouldn’t have to foot the bill to replace the broken computers.

    I don’t think that DCSS needs to have their text books on a computer, with everything else the district needs, but what do I know? I’d rather see smaller class sizes, but what do I know? Those who put forth effort to get a grant to cover this and who voted that this was an okay way to spend, seriously need to understand the needs of teachers and children in the district. Fancy notebook computers instead of text books, are nice, but when students have nothing invested in the computers, it is more wasted money waiting to happen.

  12. hopespringseternal says:

    There are times when I’ve asked teachers if they’re willing to loan me the textbook CD. Sure, they said — just return it after you install the textbook on your computer. Voila. Textbook on the home computer. CD’s (or other mediums more modern) are the way to go — and sure, hold me accountable for the medium if there’s damage to it (which is pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of replacing a textbook). I don’t think anyone will holler if my PC breaks down and I need to reinstall it — I’ll just get it loaned to me again. Am I missing something? Other than the damage to the cottage industries propagated by kids lugging home textbooks? Or selling hardware en masse? OF COURSE everyone doesn’t have access to a computer at home. But for those who do, I’m not sure why this couldn’t work.

  13. curious says:

    Hope, I think the plan is to give each student a notebook computer for use during the school year. Whether they will be responsible enough to take good care of the computers is the question. My kid goes to Paideia, where the school gave his entire grade iPads loaded with their textbooks for use this year. Parents had to sign documents accepting responsiblity for loss and damage: the school provided parents with the opportunity to purchase insurance for $50 to cover damage to the device, but if parents chose not to purchase insurance, then they had to agree to be liable for the replacement cost. I don’t know how this would work in a system as big as DeKalb.

  14. John Dewey III says:

    I noticed the judge set the RICO / Lewis court date for April 15, the Monday after
    spring break — otherwise I would have been in the front row all week. Now lets see if there is another delay !

  15. teacherwantingachange says:

    In her post about the horrific shooting in Connecticut yesterday, Maureen Downey said the ajc was seeking people to talk about safety at their children’s schools for an article about school safety.

  16. Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible event in Connecticut. Certainly our security staff is on alert, however, there is never a complete guarantee of safety. The school in CT had really good security. There is really nothing more the people of that community could have done to prevent this. The teachers and staff who protected their students and shielded their eyes from the carnage are brave, caring souls and did their jobs with courage and focus – just as we’re sure our teachers and staff would do. That said, one thing we could do is ensure that the ratio of adults to students is kept to a certain standard in every building in our county so that in the event of any kind of tragedy, the adults in charge do not have too many students to protect at one time.

  17. Refugee from DCSS says:

    “one thing we could do is ensure that the ratio of adults to students is kept to a certain standard in every building in our county so that in the event of any kind of tragedy, the adults in charge do not have too many students to protect at one time.”

    This. Bravo.

  18. Class size issues need to be elevated to security issues. Dekalb County School District must be forced to address these as a safety issues. Severe potential liability is at stake, yes, but it’s simply doing the right, moral, decent thing for the children for whom we’re all responsible.

  19. Another comment says:

    The school in Conn. had under 20 kids and were small school districts.

  20. No. Sandy Hook School (CT) had 600 students in grades K-4. Twenty students were murdered. We are not sure how many schools serve Newtown, CT or how many students are in those schools. Newtown, CT is more rural than suburban or urban.

  21. momfromhe11 says:

    My rough calculations using numbers from the school’s website show 20-25 children per class.

  22. no name says:

    Newtown is in Fairfax County, Connecticut — imagine Forsyth county (very affluent and very suburban), but a lot bigger.

    We can’t really compare school districts in the northeast to DCS or other school districts in Georgia. In the northeast, most school districts are town-wide, not county-wide.

  23. no name says:

    I had a brain fart – Newtown is in FairFIELD — not Fairfax — County, CT.

  24. And then there is also this: http://www.11alive.com/News/Crime/268270/445/Atlanta-iPhone-thieves-get-more-brazen

    Atlanta iPhone thieves becoming more brazen. Maybe it’s just me, but I do not like the school system setting up children to be victims of snatch and grab crimes, or worse. You don’t hear about kids getting their books stolen while walking home from the bus stop, but an iPad in the hands of a child may be too easy a target for many to resist. Who will be liable then?

  25. momfromhe11 says:

    For the sake of all our children and adults on the autism spectrum, please read these two articles:
    http://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/statement-newtown-connecticut

    Statement on Newtown, Connecticut

    Our hearts go out to the families and town of Newtown, Connecticut in the wake of this heartbreaking event. Several media outlets are reporting that the shooter might have had an autism spectrum disorder. Some have also inaccurately reported that there is a linkage between autism and planned violence. We ask that blame not be placed on people with disabilities or disorders in the midst of these types of tragedies and that everyone keep the families of Newtown in their prayers.

    Elizabeth Feld
    President, Autism Speaks

    and this one, which is long to post, but extremely important to understanding the non-linkage of Aspergers and violence:
    http://www.emilywillinghamphd.com/2012/12/autism-empathy-and-violence-one-of.html

  26. Goodteacher says:

    I keep thinking about what a happy place school should be especially for the very small. Then I think about my kids getting tested, over and over. I think about how when I have not had a single break in days I am short with them because we are behind. Always behind, grades and progress reports are due every time we turn around. Committee meetings, grade level meetings with administrators who never ask “what fun things are you guys doing this week?” county mandates, county folks coming in to make sure you are doing the right thing.. Bar graphs comparing your class to another class, the state encourages hands on learning and Dekalb measures it by giving a computer benchmark test. Students that are not making gains need more paperwork. We need to measure their growth weekly not by watching them grow but by giving 1 on 1 tasks and documenting, always documenting. Well I for one am going in on Monday and am going to do my best to turn a deaf ear towards those that do not know best, I have to break free of the stress the County puts on ALL of its teachers and remember to love my kids, and to make sure each day has something that makes us laugh together, to marvel together and to help them learn to find happiness in the little things. Many of our kids come from homes so rough it is unimaginable to those who do not see it daily, our job should be to love them, teach them, guide them and give them hope for a better world.

  27. Thank you for posting this very crucial, important information! we hope all of our readers will take time to read and understand this information. Take time to include this with discussions with your children, as well. Bullying should not be the legacy of the Newtown murders. At least one of our editors has family members with Aspergers (on the autism spectrum) and with high-functioning autism. The reality is there is no noted linkage between autism and planned violence.

  28. Very well stated. Bless you Good Teacher. You are a gem.

  29. momfromhe11 says:

    And yet another aspect to consider. Pray for all the parents…
    http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html

  30. info says:

    SACS’ report tomorrow —
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Judgement day for the DeKalb County School District is Monday, when a regional accrediting agency plans to release the results of its investigation into alleged school board mismanagement.
    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools alerted reporters Sunday night to attend a news conference Monday at the agency headquarters in Alpharetta.
    Mark Elgart, president and chief executive officer of SACS parent company AdvancED, will brief reporters on the agency’s findings “and the implications and next steps for the school system,” according a news release from SACS.
    The agency alerted DeKalb in September that it was sending a team to investigate scores of complaints from the community alleging that the school board had mismanaged finances, a key responsibility, while meddling in personnel decisions, which are the purview of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson.
    The district’s accreditation was already at a sub-par “on advisement” status. SACS could drop it further to “warning” or to “probation,” the latter triggering possible removal of the school board by Gov. Nathan Deal under the provisions of a new state law. SACS could also strip DeKalb’s accreditation altogether, though few expect that immediately.
    The consequences of accreditation loss would be dire. When Clayton County lost accreditation several years ago, thousands fled the district and home values plummeted.

  31. Ken says:

    hopespringseternal and curious:
    Public schools will have a problem (not shared with private schools) when it comes to computers, ebook readers and the like. They are very likely to get sued by the NFB in an ADA case. They are all but certain to lose that case, but no matter the outcome it will be expensive. It may cost more per computer than the computer itself.

    As for making copies of a book on CD, unless that material is licensed for such distribution, and it probably is not, those copies violate a contract agreement and copyright law. Heaven forbid we set a good example for our children.

  32. psdad says:

    Breaking News: The DeKalb County school board has been put on probation

    By Ty Tagami

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    An accrediting agency will put the DeKalb County school board on probation, but the school board chairman said he’s confident the system can ad-dress the complaints and regain full standing.

    “I’m disappointed that they’re going to put us on probation. Nobody wants to be on probation,” school board chairman Eugene Walker said.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke with Walker just before noon, when the Southern Association of Col-leges and Schools was expected to announce its findings.

    Walker said he understands why SACS reached its judg-ment. “I’m also optimistic that we’re going to rise to the occa-sion” and address the concerns, he said.

    Walker said he’s not con-cerned that Gov. Nathan Deal will remove the school board, which is possible under a new state law that covers districts on probation.

    “We’ve not done anything egregious,” Walker said.

  33. dsw2contributor says:

    “We’ve not done anything egregious.” – Gene Walker

    e·gre·gious: /iˈgrējəs/ Adjective (1) Outstandingly bad; shocking. (2) Remarkably good.

    I would agree with Gene 100%, if Gene had only been using definition #2. That is a perfect description of the board’s performance: “We’ve not done anything remarkably good.”

    Of course, he wants us to think he means definition #1.

    Gene and the board approved the use of school taxes to pay for the defense of criminals that stole from the schools. That is just one of the many “outstandingly bad; shocking” actions Gene and company have taken.

  34. psdad says:

    I know that the AJC has a copy of the report that MD is trying to get scanned for distribution. Does anyone here have an inroad with one of the board members that actually supports transparancy and would provide a copy to DSW (Jester comes to mind). I understand that the report is lacking detail, but I sure would like to see a copy.

  35. From the “Victory in Every Classroom” newsletter:

    Today members of the DeKalb County Board of Education, along with the Superintendent and Senior Team, met with AdvancED and Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED. During this meeting, Dr. Elgart reviewed the Special Review Team Report from the October 17-19, 2012 visit. As a result, the District is now being placed on Accredited-Probation until December 31, 2013. The District has received this information and will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions. The District still remains fully accredited and students’ academic status remains unchanged.

  36. What report are you talking about, please?

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