A rebuttal

Let’s take Gene Walker’s editorial in today’s Patch point by point:

The Governor is wrong in his decision to suspend members of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

 [Your opinion, Gene. Many of us disagree and in fact, think the Gov should have removed all 9 board members.]

The DeKalb School District has been placed on probation by a private accrediting institution called SACS which holds considerable sway in the education community. SACS has made a multitude of allegations, some of which I agree with, but all of them were developed unilaterally in a shrouded process.

[SACS has given the DeKalb School Board PLENTY of warning. So much so that the public was crying ‘Uncle!’ We’re not sure where you were during all of these warnings, but refresh your memory and read our posts on the subject dating back to August, 2010:]
The August 6 Called Meeting Re: SACS
Oh boy, this could get ugly
Board holds a retreat at SACS headquarters
SACS’ visit begins today
SACS Update
The district’s response to the AdvancED SACS letter
The letter war continues: SACS responds, and they’re coming in!
DeKalb Schools put on probation

The leadership of SACS is not elected by the public, do not have to conform to open meetings and open records laws, and are not subject to constitutional due process as they sit in judgment of public institutions and elected officials.

[And you never had one iota of concern about SACS in all the years you were on the Board – until now.]

The DeKalb Board of Education, like all school boards, is a public institution. We have open meetings, open records, due process, and we are accountable to the people who elect us into office. If there is cause to remove a member, such as an indictment or if a member resigns or passes away in office, the voters return to the ballot box to name the successor.

[FALSE. The School Board is SUPPOSED to be open to the public, but our Board calls so many “Executive Sessions” one has to wonder if they view themselves as actual CEOs! The public has NO IDEA what is discussed in all of these closed door ‘Sessions’, however we DO know that they always seem to cost us a lot of money – mostly for attorneys!]

It is the democratic process: the electorate chooses their representative leadership. My constituents elected me, my colleagues’ constituents elected them and Governor Deal’s elected him. It’s the model our founding fathers took great pains to create. It’s the way it should be.

[Yes. Until a group actually starts to inflict harm on the communities they serve.]

What we have here is the State of Georgia once again meddling in local affairs. Rather than funding local school systems properly, the General Assembly chose to write Senate Bill 84, a popular but undemocratic law to impose state will on local politics.

[What would more money do for your performance Gene? A Billion + dollars is plenty – for people who know how to run a school system.]

The Governor has been hamstrung by an onerous law which gives an inordinate amount of power to a private company, SACS, and an appointed state board. One member of this board was appointed only last week and home schooled her children to boot.

[So? How is homeschooling relevant?]

This law, which requires the State Board to recommend the removal of all or none of the school board members, if it was constitutional to begin with, replaces the legitimate will of the voters with that of an appointed group. This process is a clear attempt to circumvent or get around the democratic process – citizens electing and holding accountable their elected officials.

[We actually agree – all 9 members should have been removed and Thurmond should be given a small Board of Trustees to work with.]

We have had problems on the DeKalb Board of Education. The DeKalb Board of Education is composed of democrats, republicans, black, white, men, women, liberal, conservatives and tea partiers. By virtue of the electoral process, all are represented and have a seat at the table.

[Tea Partiers? Really? So, now it’s revealed that it is Gene Walker who has been saying that Nancy Jester is a ‘Tea Partier’ behind her back. That was so dirty.]

The wisdom of the voters created the diversity, which is good and healthy for a representative democracy. These problems of communication and respect for each other have been brought to our attention, and we are working on them. We have hired a new interim superintendant, we have passed a responsible budget, we have identified resolutions to many of the issues raised by the mighty SACS and I have resigned my chairmanship to effectuate the additional changes that are needed as we move forward.

[A responsible budget — are you kidding? We are broke! And you guys continue to spend on everything BUT the classroom.]

It is against this backdrop that I take a stand to fight for and preserve the democratic process and remain hopeful that those who believe in and support the U.S. and State Constitution will join in.

[This law is part of the Georgia Constitution. Once again, you never took issue with it until it affected you personally. You are grandstanding about yourself, while you leave 100,000 children, their teachers, parents and the taxpayers of DeKalb out of the equation.]

I will not quit or step aside. Governor Deal is wrong to thumb his nose at the U.S. and State constitutions, and he knows he is wrong. I place my faith in God and the voters of DeKalb County, not elitists under the gold dome who never set foot east of Moreland Avenue.

[How do you know that? And what does it matter? Children are at stake here and we appreciate that the Governor chose to protect them – using the laws available to him on the current Georgia books.]

Eugene Walker
DeKalb Board of Education District 9

Basically, Gene, you are tilting at windmills. This is not about you. This is about childrens’ rights to a quality education paid for with the money collected from taxpayers and entrusted to the Board of Education to spend wisely and in good stewardship. You have failed. It is time to go now.

About dekalbschoolwatch

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This entry was posted in GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Gene Walker, Georgia Education, Georgia State Board of Education, SACS/Accreditation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A rebuttal

  1. Barbara says:

    Well said…only wish you could have said it to his face. He doesn’t want to hear the truth so he will never read what we have to say! It is time for him to go along with the other three and Thurmond.

  2. Terry says:

    Now, now. We have to let him have his 15 minutes of fame (SNORE) so he can prove how wise and caring he is for the people of DeKalb county (SNORE). It is, after all, (SNORE) the right of each person to have a voice (ZZZzzzz) in the welfare of each and every child and to make sure (SNORE) that each and every child is provided with a good and proper education (ZZZzzz). Oh dang, I was talking. Did he fall asleep again?

  3. howdy1942 says:

    DSW – Outstanding! Very well said. I have attended two board meetings over the past two weeks. The first started 15 minutes late and lasted a total of 4 minutes. There was no input from the public and the meeting adjourned to “executive session”. The second meeting was yesterday. It started more than 10 minutes late and the Chairman made excuses for Sarah Copelin-Wood who arrived more than 20 minutes after the meeting had been called to order. There was no input from the public. The meeting was adjourned to “executive session”. This board is completely at a disconnect with the public.

    The Chairperson of the State Board got it so right when she expressed her shock at SCW telling her (SCW) that “you have clarified the fact for me that you are unable to separate your responsibilities”. SCW ought to be able to read – her responsibilities are laid down very plainly in writing. Besides, SACS has reminded her over and over. No amount of training or any amount of money can fix that problem.

    The same thing could be said for Dr. Walker. Our budget is not responsible – it is in deficit! There are no reserves! That is against State Law. I suppose that Dr. Walker was just trying to “help out” when he recommended the brother of another school board member to the superintendent – your own policy says you can’t do that. The law says that “executive sessions” are permitted only when legal or personnel issues are to be discussed. The selection of a firm to provide “governance training” is neither and hence is not permitted. We could go on. Dr. Walker seems to have a very basic problem with understanding what is right and what is wrong. That is probably at the very root of our problems in Dekalb County.

    I do agree with DSW and with Dr. Walker – Governor Deal should have removed the entire board. The first two months of this year have been sad – there are a lot of questions about what this board has done and how they have gone about doing it during this short period of time.

  4. What is this “east of Moreland Avenue” business? It’s only called Moreland Avenue when it runs south of Ponce: northwards, that street is called Briarcliff. Walker’s comment is meant to appeal to a constituency whose world, he thinks, is bounded by Moreland Avenue…another example of how he “sees color” everywhere. But it wouldn’t sound the same to describe a politician as never having set foot “east of Briarcliff”, because then you’d be wanting the politician to have been in Dunwoody, Atherton, Druid Hills…all those fancy places. Talk about stereotyped thinking…

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    It is truly dismaying that this board is so behind the times; their grammar and diction are poor. Their thinking(?) is flawed. This is no way to show off our county. Soon, people will quit trying to upgrade anything that has to do with DeKalb – homeowners, schools, government, business, religious community. BTW, where is the religious community? I have heard nothing from them, but I suspect they are afraid to take a position and support their position. Must all of us be the cowards that Eugene Walker so easily portrays? Governor Deal, ALL the board must go by law!!!! Please, do your job correctly. The new board members have been rolling in the dirt with the other six. What will it take to get anyone’s attention that our system is GONE???!!! Now, what do we do? Don’t tell me Melvin Johnson has the answer.

  6. True exactly wiser — plus, Walker actually represents part of Briarcliff and the north end – as he is the rep for a super district!

  7. All true Howdy. And the saddest part is – this court action will virtually ensure that the district will lose accreditation. Little do Gene, Jay, Sarah, Donna, Melvin, Marshall and Jim care what happens to our juniors in high school as they voted to pay bags of money for attorneys to represent the ousted board members knowing that legal fees and deficit spending are two of SACS’ biggest issues and are largely responsible for our probation status – along with bad behavior.

  8. Ella says:

    Go to court. You have that right Dr. Walker. However, please do not use DeKalb County School funds to do so. This is not you money. The money belongs to the state taxpayers and DeKalb County kids.
    You are the one whose behavior has been questioned. You have to be responsible for your actions and if you decide to fight then use your own money.

    Most of us in DeKalb County wants all the big lawyer bills to be cut down.

  9. bettyandveronica1 says:

    The religious leaders? Oh I am sure they will have a lot to say in the big church on the south side this coming Sunday,

  10. Here’s a link to a pretty good explanation of exactly where we are today: Virtually at gridlock thanks to this wonderful ‘leader’ and his cohorts.

    Attorney: If replacements not found soon, DeKalb schools will face problems

  11. dekalbite2 says:

    “I suppose that Dr. Walker was just trying to “help out” when he recommended the brother of another school board member to the superintendent”

    In Maureen Downey’s column Walker said he said “a member of our board” was a reference to a Board secretary, a low level employee with no power, not a Board member’s brother. Of course, he neglected to say that his daughter in law is the Board secretary ($69,000 in salary and benefits) so that would make the person he was lobbying for his relative by marriage. Unless of course he meant the other Board secretary (paid even more) which would be the brother of his daughter in law’s colleague.

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