All the SACS info you ever wanted to know and more, at Nancy Jester’s blog

Have you all been following [District 1 school board rep] Nancy Jester’s blog?  Nancy is telling it like it is in a blog series about SACS and the misinformation we all have as to what SACS accreditation is really all about.  We are impressed with Nancy’s candor, bravery and commitment to the cause of improving DeKalb schools, regardless of her own political fallout. This county and this country need more public servants like Nancy – she is a true American!

A sampling of the postings follows:

No one knows better than I do, that the board as a whole can be very frustrating to watch. As the board member who most often votes “no”, I endure this frustration more than most. I am the board member who identified and publically discussed the financial issues that were cited in this report. For almost two years, I have publically inquired during the presentation of the monthly financial report about the discrepancies that I uncovered. My public statements at board meetings span two administrations. I have written that it appears to me that our budgets for the past six years were, at best, a weak suggestion of how to spend money and, at worst, a document based on deception. I received support for my analysis from only Don McChesney and Pam Speaks. I was publically misled by administration officials who stated at board meetings that our budgeting issues with electricity (one of the many areas I cited as problematic) were due to (1) unseasonably hot/cold summers/winters and (2) increases in electricity rates. These statements were demonstrably false.

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I thought it would be useful to provide some historical context to the whole accreditation issue. Five years ago, if you had asked me what accreditation means, I probably would have told you that it meant something about the quality of the education that kids received; that it judged in some way the results of how well children were educated.

It does not.

Accreditation by SACS/AdvancED is big on “process” and “continuous improvement.” It does not rate how well schools perform their mission to educate children. Given the recent graduation rates that were released nationally one must wonder about the nature and efficacy of accreditation “processes” and to whom the benefits of “continuous improvement” accrue.

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Do you know what the teams of accreditors (all expenses charged to DCSD) missed in the AdvancED report? They missed the “mother of all financial problems.” They said nothing about the accounting methodology used by DCSD. The third largest school system in the state (approximately the 24th largest in the nation), has been reporting to the board of education using a cash basis.

Click over to Nancy’s blog, “What’s Up With That, Nancy?” and read the rest.

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8 Responses to All the SACS info you ever wanted to know and more, at Nancy Jester’s blog

  1. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Nancy’s candidness leads me to believe the board may be displaced soon. She is really a bright gem. I commend her for asking the tough questions.

  2. midvaledad says:

    Embarrassed Employee is probably correct. The board will be removed before July and Nancy is getting some things off her chest.

    I want Nancy to know a lot of Dekalbites support her and understand she has done the right things to help our children. Thank you.

  3. howdy1942 says:

    Thank you Nancy for your candor! Keep up the good work. I’ve observed you at meetings of the school board and can appreciate what you must have gone through. As I’ve pointed out on many previous posts, we voted Womack out. So that problem is gone. He and Walker have always been at each other and the victims have been our children and our people. I hope and pray that the same fate awaits Copelin-Wood, Walker, and Cunningham – the voters need to insure that once they are removed by the Governor that they never return to any function in any capacity at any school or school board.

    I wish you well and appreciate your courage.

  4. no name says:

    midvaledad @ December 31, 2012 at 10:39 PM – “The board will be removed before July”

    The board will be on suspension by the end of February, if not by the end of January: First, on January 17, the DCS Board will appear before the GA State Board to “present evidence” as to why they should not be suspended. Next, the GA State Board will notify the Governor, in writing, within 15 days after the hearing…. so the Governor can be notified any time between January 17 and Friday, February 1.

    The Governor is not a deep thinker, so I expect him to take immediate action. My guess is that if he wants to downplay the suspension and not allow it to be a big news story, he will announce it on a Friday afternoon. If he wants it to big news, he will announce it during the work week.

  5. concerned citizen says:

    Hope his second move is to order a forensic audit.

  6. concerned citizen says:

    Changing the accounting methodology would require millions of dollars in new hardware and software. There is not enough money. That’s why it hasn’t been done.

  7. waitaminit 1 says:

    Comment from Nancy blog:
    Sam says on January 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    Amen Nancy!
    As we discussed in the past, all of the associations, organizations, incorporations, etc. etc. are funded organizations either “for profit” or “non profit” through members dues, fees, revenue, etc. In other words, private organizations are influencing and attempting to act as a government authority. This practice is evident in all aspects of our lives including education, health, public safety, community events, etc. I reference “etc.” as the list would encompass and include too many to cite. What makes one more qualified than the other? Who appointed who? Who certified who? Why is one certifying organization deemed more credible than the other? How can “pseudo” associations funded only by their members representing only a portion of such be seen as a credible authority? As you have mentioned to me time and again Nancy, the “silo” effect where one achieves authority and power influences all decisions. The idea that others may have insight, thought, ideas, resolution recommendations frighten such “created” organizations to the core. Regardless of who creates what be it a Governor, Mayor, President, etc., all are such models to influence and attempt to gain control through an attempt to legitimize such processes. I noticed a wonderful article, recently in the Dunwoody Crier, where a woman wrote that when an association speaks that they represent all when offering opinions and recommendations, such is non-sense unless this association has listened to each person and member offering their input and influence. How can SACS or any other organization be seen as anything other than a group assigned by someone who is funding their activity as a credible source. Nancy, no one wants their crumb of authority to be taken regardless to the benefits of others. I applaud you for recognizing and releasing such information. You are an elected official by the people! No one should have any authority as an “association, organization, etc.” to act as a public governing authority, only to recommend as an outside party. I truly hope all governing public officials begin to realize that private entities have no right to act as a public official nor to influence and act as an agent of such public official. This is occurring everywhere for the benefit of someone. Always follow the money trail. Contact the department of state to view who are the board members, executive directors, licensed corporate officials and you will determine the motive for profit.

  8. concernedmom30329 says:

    Keep in mind that it isn’t SACS that removes or doesn’t remove a board — is its the Governor.
    The flaw is in how GA regulates school systems. At the moment though, for the students of DeKalb, it is important to keep the goal in mind.
    While accredidation is one issue, I really believe that the current board cannot and willnot make the difficult financial decisions necessary to keep the system afloat.
    The best teachers have left or will leave because of working conditions and pay issues. This board doesn’t care.

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