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
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT
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.]
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.