The Measure of the Man

Thurmond-and-Puppetmasters-crop

Taken from the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.),Thurmond Pursues Job
listed below are a “baker’s dozen” — requirements that directly
apply to DCSS Superintendent
Michael Thurmond.
How many boxes does he tick off as superintendent?    Ignore, if you can, Thurmond’s statement, “I’m a great believer in the power of public education,” — this from a man who sent his own child to private school.   Public education is okay for everyone else.

O.C.G.A. §20-2-108

Each local school superintendent:

CheckboxUncheckedshall be certified and classified by the Professional Standards Commission as teachers are now classified and certified under Code Section 20-2-200.

O.C.G.A. §20-2-109

The local school superintendent:

CheckboxUncheckedshall constitute the medium of communication between the State School Superintendent and subordinate local school officers.

The local school superintendent:

CheckboxUncheckedshall be the executive officer of the local board of education;

CheckboxUncheckedshall be the agent of the local board in procuring such school equipment and materials as it may order;

CheckboxUncheckedshall ensure that the prescribed textbooks are used by students;

CheckboxUncheckedshall verify all accounts before an application is made to the local board for an order for payment; and

CheckboxUncheckedshall keep a record of all official acts, which, together with all the books, papers, and property appertaining to the office, shall be turned over to the successor.

It shall be the local school superintendent’s duty to:

CheckboxUncheckedenforce all regulations and rules of the State School Superintendent and of the local board according to the laws of the state and the rules and regulations made by the local board that are not in conflict with state laws; and

CheckboxUncheckedto visit every school within the local school system to become familiar with the studies taught in the schools,

CheckboxUncheckedobserve what advancement is being made by the students,

CheckboxUncheckedcounsel with the faculty, and

CheckboxUncheckedotherwise aid and assist in the advancement of public education.

O.C.G.A. 20-2-110

CheckboxUncheckedThe county authorities of each county shall furnish the county school superintendent thereof an office in the courthouse, provided there is sufficient room in the courthouse after furnishing the county officers with offices as provided by law.

We believe this last one is especially applicable.  If he continues as superintendent, Thurmond must be removed from the poisonous atmosphere in The Palace.  Putting Thurmond’s office in the DeKalb County Courthouse will enable him to begin cutting the bloat, deadwood and friends-and-family hangers-on in The Palace.  Absolutely necessary positions can be moved back to Buildings A & B on North Decatur Road.  There should be plenty of space in Buildings A & B if only absolutely necessary positions are retained.  Meanwhile, The Palace can be sold or leased with those recovered monies returned to SPLOST funds, where they belong.

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29 Responses to The Measure of the Man

  1. Thanks for that information. I’d hope, though, that beyond all of these administrative and PR requirements, there is a requirement that the superintendent have a track record showing that s/he knows something about education–either because the person has published articles or research that other educators value, or because the person has a history of success as an administrator of a district comparable to the one that s/he’s now heading. That was just a selected list of requirements, right?

  2. It just looks like nothing more than another million dollar picture to us… More than a million most likely. Yet the teachers have to glue their books together and buy their own copy paper. Sigh!

  3. thedeal2 says:

    Such a nasty, tangled web of lies, favors, greed, power, pride, incompetence…

  4. Julie says:

    My students’ education is impeded by a lack of funds for light bulbs for our Promethean Board projectors. I need a light bulb! Though costly, was not foreseen to stock by the county that put technology in the classrooms. Due to mismanagement of funds, our principal has to use vending machine funds to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies for our janitors! Really?! As an educator of your students, for which you pay your due in taxes, all I am asking for is a light bulb and a light bulb for all the teachers’ of your students.

    I love teaching your children and mine, but when we cannot get basic supplies your child’s education is at risk.

    I was told, “the county doesn’t have any bulbs to replace the ones that burn out.”

    But they have the time and monies to get educated on how to do their jobs?! I teach your kids! I value your child’s time in my classroom! I want to bring them the best education! But I need a light bulb to deliver the lesson plans that I made, to provide my students (your children) with pertinent and relevant material. Teachers teach because we love to teach your children, watch them grow, and mature and then become successful adults. Please help us!

    Ramble, but sincere.

  5. howdy1942 says:

    DSW2 – thanks for this information. It just confirms for me that Michael Thurmond will be a negative when SACS makes its final review to decide our accreditation status. He does not have the experience according to O.C.G.A. That is very clear. For this reason alone, he should resign. Dekalb needs all the positives that it can get before December 13, 2013.

    As troubling to me, however, is his conduct since he has been in office. He has become the attorney and lobbyst for this board. He has done little, if anything, to carry out his job. He was a mistake appointed by a board that has, for the most part, has been removed. Orson defends his recommendation of Thurmond based on his “peacemaking” skills and not his qualifications for the job – note that is one lawyer recommending another lawyer! I don’t think that Thurmond has brought much peace to Dekalb County or to the State.

    As I’ve said on other posts, I once respected Thurmond. I voted for him in 2008. Never again – not for the divisiveness and anger that he has brought to the community in which I live. Michael, don’t even think about it!

    Gene Walker apparently likes to “walk around”. I wish that he would “walk around” his neighborhood or my neighborhood and explain to every child who lives there and their parents how the County’s dollars are better spent on him rather than providing for their classroom needs.

  6. teachermom says:

    An unqualified Superintendent hired by a known and verified incompetent board behind closed doors right before they got the ax….Anyone surprised??? Again, I think some of this would be grounds for his removal, I believe the conflict of interest is great and laws and policies have more than likely been broken. Starting with, he does not qualify for the job. And do not give him any money when he goes…she said wishfully.

  7. teachermom says:

    Or wistfully…

  8. Weary worker says:

    In other news the AJC revealed today that our former super has taken a job ( as many predicted) with Success for All. Does it never end?

  9. Exactly right, Howdy. We don’t need a “Peacemaker” – the people in the schoolhouses and the students get along just fine! We need someone who can clean out the waste and direct resources to the classrooms. Thurmond is a politician. We think he’s proven that and we’re paying a lot of money for his lack of leadership for schools. We need to make sure that whoever chooses our next superintendent is focused only on choosing the best person and is void of outside influences. I suggest we use the example of choosing a new pope:

    How does the Catholic Church even get a new pope?

    Well, the current one either dies or resigns. Then the church holds a papal conclave and cardinals under the age of 80 vote on who they want to lead them. This time around, 115 cardinals will be voting.

    The conclave begins with the cardinals in their red cassocks filing into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, chanting the “Litany of Saints.” Then they place their hand on the Gospel and promise to observe absolute secrecy during and after the conclave.

    They also vow to vote independently — a good way to guard against external interference.

    During the conclave, the cardinals live in a Vatican hotel and have no contact with the outside world: no phones, no newspapers, no tweeting.

    On Day 1, only one round of balloting is held; after that, the cardinals cast two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon until one man has a two-thirds majority.

    The outside world only knows what is going on by seeing smoke from the Sistine Chapel each time the ballots are burned. Black smoke means no decision, white smoke means a pope has been chosen.

    Soon afterward, the thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square will hear two Latin words announced from the balcony: “Habemus Papam! (We have a pope!)”

    Will we ever be able to happily chant, “Habemus Superintentam!”?

    Sigh.

  10. Wow. That is true! Cheryl Atkinson has been hired by Success for All! You just can’t make this stuff up can you?
    – See more at: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/ex-dekalb-chief-hired-by-program-she-promoted/nWcWz/#sthash.VBdp2JpH.dpuf

    “DeKalb interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond said he’s heard half the teachers like the program and the other half don’t. He plans to review the performance before recommending whether to renew the contract.”

    Does he know how to review the performance of an academic program?

  11. @Julie: I am so sorry for your lightbulb issue! I taught in DCSS when the Promethean Boards were first approved and installed. They were installed in every room in the same place (slightly different place for K-5, 6-8, and HS, reflecting the height of the students ), regardless of whether they could be actually seen in a particular room. For example, in HS lab classes they were almost always partly hidden behind the teacher’s lab desk up front. You could no longer use the desk as a place for students to turn in papers or to set up demonstration, etc. because these items blocked the students’ view of the board. Installers would not modify the position in a given room because of “instructions.” Parents, notice how your child’s room is dominated by the Promethean Board. In many cases, given the requirements to post all the standards and daily information, there is literally no whiteboard space left for teaching. Maybe that’s OK if the boards are working (I myself always needed more space, and having kids write on a whiteboard is much easier than on the Promethean Board), but when the bulb goes out, you’re down to nothing. The teacher’s major teaching tool has crashed. Most of us embraced the Promethean Boards as a great ADDITION to teaching tools, but no one asked to become dependent on it.. And, we always worried about what would happen when the bulbs burned out. We were told that they were “very expensive” and that we had to be sparing of them. Because they were all installed at the same time, you can expect a rash of dead bulbs. If I were cynical, I’d say, here’s the headline:”Burn-out overtakes DCSS.”

  12. dekalbite2 says:

    “February 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM
    Wow. That is true! Cheryl Atkinson has been hired by Success for All! You just can’t make this stuff up can you?”

    Now do you believe the conflict of interest that goes on between the upper level administrators and the educational companies? If you being those millions into a company from your school system, why wouldn’t they hire you? An ex DeKalb highly placed Central Office administrator sold DeKalb Schools America’s Choice which we paid $30,00,000 to $50,000,000 for. DDCSS has easily spent $50,000,000 to $100,000,000 on educational programs (America’s Choice, springboard, Read 180, High Schools that Work, Success for All, etc.) in less than ten years.

    IMO – DeKalb should be able to get out of any contract we have in Success for All. We are in for $5,000,000 courtesy of Atkinson who then gets a job with them plus the Board is paying her salary the rest of the year to the tune of $114,000 adding insult to injury.

  13. bettyandveronica1 says:

    I knew it. When you do your Doctoral Dissertation on an educational product, it’s a sign you want to work for that company. She got them two new contracts in a short amount of time. I’ll bet the side conversation happened at the same time our contract was negotiated. Wink, Wink.
    No more. The best thing we could do with this crap is get rid of it. Lorain is reviewing it too. Their gains were flat, some good, some bad. WE don’t have the time or money for some good, some bad. That’s just status quo around here. We need to use the money to help the teachers teach. Buy some promethium light-bulbs, toilet paper and soap with the money. It would go to better use.

  14. ShooShee says:

    Goes on all the time.

    An earlier comment said: “An ex DeKalb highly placed Central Office administrator sold DeKalb Schools America’s Choice which we paid $30,00,000 to $50,000,000 for. DDCSS has easily spent $50,000,000 to $100,000,000 on educational programs (America’s Choice, springboard, Read 180, High Schools that Work, Success for All, etc.) in less than ten years.”

    Oh – and now we have a new super, hired behind closed doors, who came to us from high levels at the state – in the department of labor, with no background in education – and we are paying him a salary that even the Governor could only dream of! We are the fools here.

    I wish her well. She certainly tried … just look at the wacky bosses she had to try to please. And she is now in Baltimore – where they probably chuckle at our Deep South antics. Nobody up north takes southern public schools seriously. Certainly, she has earned some national street cred for her attempt to jump into the soup. There is no fixing DeKalb. She was wise to slither away…

  15. Well, it seems that we are not unique in our top-heavy school jobs program:

    From the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice:

    New Study Finds 21 States Have More Non-Teaching Staff than Teachers

    INDIANAPOLIS — Twenty-one states employ more bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers, deputy superintendents, accountants, coaches, nurses, assistant principals, and other non-teaching personnel than they do classroom teachers, according to a new analysis of state education employees by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

    The report, a sequel to last fall’s “The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools,” examines states’ hiring patterns between 1992 and 2009. It found that, in 2009, administrators and other non-teaching staff outnumbered teachers in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Louisiana, Wyoming, Vermont, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, New Hampshire, Iowa, and the District of Columbia, which is treated as a state in the report.

    “Taxpayers should be outraged public schools hired so many non-teaching personnel with such little academic improvement among students to show for it,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “This money could have been better invested in areas that have proved to benefit children.”

    Virginia far outpaced other states with the number of excessive personnel outside the classroom with 60,737 more non-teaching staff than teachers, followed by Ohio with 19,040 more non-teaching personnel than teachers.

    The report also compared the growth rate among administrators and non-teaching staff with student enrollment changes from 1992 to 2009. It found that 48 states could be saving $24 billion annually if the hiring of non-teaching staff had not exceeded the growth of students between 1992 and 2009.

    In Texas, taxpayers would have saved almost $6.4 billion annually if public schools’ non-teaching personnel had not outpaced students. Virginia, Ohio, New York, California, and Pennsylvania each would have annual, recurring savings in the billions. Other states’ savings are in the millions; however, Nevada and Arizona actually saved money, as both its administrative and non-teaching personnel did not outpace student growth. Data were not available for South Carolina.

    “States could do much more constructive things with those kinds of dollars,” Enlow said. “State leaders could be permitting salary increases for great teachers, offering children in failing schools the option of attending a private school, or directing savings toward other worthy purposes. Instead states have allowed these enormous bureaucracies to grow.”

    The report also shows the salary increases states could provide teachers annually if administrators and non-teaching personnel kept pace with the student population from 1992 to 2009. At the top was Virginia, which could provide teachers an annual salary increase of $29,007. Maine was second at $25,505.

    The report was compiled with data from the National Center for Education Statistics and prepared by Ben Scafidi, an economist at Georgia College & State University and a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

    To read the report, visit http://www.edchoice.org/StaffSurge2. That link also provides a map in which readers can download each state’s findings.

    Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, from 1977 to 2006. He was also Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976, and was a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

    Professor Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year. He is widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

  16. Click on that report above. http://www.edchoice.org/StaffSurge2

    Then check out Georgia’s numbers. The study shows that while student population increased 41% since 1992, administrators and non-teaching staff increased by 72%. If the admin and non-teaching numbers had stayed in step with student enrollment, the state could have saved $925,229,674.00. That’s almost a BILLION dollars. Further, teachers could have enjoyed an average pay increase of $7,786.00 if that money had been available to them instead of non-teaching staff. And, the Ratio of Students to Non-Teaching Staff is 13.80 while the Ratio of Students to Teachers is 13.90 – a virtual tie – students today enjoy as many non-teaching staff members as teachers per student.

  17. In addition – check out this article by Bill Moyers:

    What Matters Today
    On Democracy
    The Revolving Door Spins from Sea to Shining Sea
    February 26, 2013
    by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

    To those who would argue that the notion of a perpetual motion machine is impossible, we give you the revolving door — that ever-spinning entrance and exit between public service in government and the hugely profitable private sector. It never stops.

    Yes, we’ve talked about the revolving door until we’re red or blue in the face (the door is bipartisan and spins across party lines) but this mantra bears its own perpetual repetition, a powerful reason for our distrust of the people who make and enforce our laws and regulations.

    Read more>> http://billmoyers.com/2013/02/26/the-revolving-door-spins-from-sea-to-shining-sea/

  18. dsw2contributor says:

    As it considers librarians, coaches and assistant principals to be “non-teaching personnel”, the report is fatally flawed!

  19. Achelous says:

    Librarians, coaches, and assistant principals ARE non-teaching staff. That’s a pretty specific line, and one easily marked by certification, daily routine, and responsibilities.

  20. bjy1946 says:

    lol…Have you ever met a lawyer who was a “Peacemaker”? Generally, when you get the lawyers involved, that’s when the fight starts.

  21. dekalbite2 says:

    @dsw2 contributor
    Archelous is right. Librarians, APs and Coaches are not teachers. In the past we had no APs in DeKalb elementary schools. Then we got Lead Teachers who helped the Principals and teachers and most of them taught some classes. Then they turned the elementary school Lead Teachers into APs and gave them higher salaries. Coaches is a new concept introduced within the last decade. While good in theory, it has morphed into another layer of management in many school systems while sucking dollars out of the classrooms. Librarians are IMO one non teaching group that is necessary but they are becoming less so as technological media takes over our world.

  22. From the AJC blog:

    PSDad

    February 28th, 2013
    12:03 pm

    Here’s the Sniff Test.

    Success For Alll (SFA) claims to be in over 1000 schools throughout the US and reported approximately $22million of revenue on its 2011 financial filing (approximately $22,000 per school). DCSS agreed to pay $4million in fees to SFA for the 2012-2013 school year, which suggests that the DCSS contract represents approximately 18% of SFA’s total revenue. One school out of over 1,000 represents over 18% of revenue .

    What do you smell?
    – See more at: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/02/28/cheryl-atkinson-takes-new-post-after-dekalb-success-for-at-least-one/?cp=1#comment-262860

  23. The study is not saying that we should not have administrators or non-teaching staff at all – they are saying that the growth in non-teaching staff has been exponential! If the growth had kept pace with student enrollment, we would probably ONLY have the necessary admin staff such as principals and librarians…

  24. Actually, to correct PSDad, we are one school district, but purchased the package from SFA, with board approval, for 26 low-performing elementary schools with federal grants, according to the AJC article. It also says the funds were $4.6 million plus $100,000 for books for the first year. So, for about 3% of the total schools (26 of 1000) we paid 21% of the 2011 total funds. Or, another way to look at it is, if the average cost per school is correct from PSDad above, and most schools spend $22,000 for the program, our schools are spending approximately $180,000. That’s more than 8 times the amount spent on SFA per school compared to the national average. Yup, she brought it here, but the board approved it. And the voters approved them.

    Bring in the appointees, please! We’ve had enough politics. It’s time to get down to doing the right thing for the children!

  25. Thurmond expected to speak on SUNDAY in DUNWOODY. It should be interesting based on what happens today at the federal hearing. Here is the scoop:
    Public Forum: Improving Public Education in Dunwoody
    Hosted by Dunwoody Parents Concerned about Quality Education, Inc.
    Kingswood United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
    Sunday, March 3, 2013
    4:00 – 5:00 pm

    Dunwoody residents interested in improving the quality of education in Dunwoody schools will share information on accreditation, legislative efforts, alternatives to the current public school district, and potential actions. The presentation will feature representatives from city and state government, local public education advocates, and a discussion session for participants to share their ideas and concerns.
    Announcements and introduction of distinguished visitors
    1. Approval of minutes for February 2013
    2. Presentation and discussion with DCSS Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond (tentative, based on his travel plans. Will re-schedule to April, if necessary)
    3. Presentation from Matt Hagan, Regency Centers
    4. Presentation and discussion with Michael Starling, City of Dunwoody Director of Economic Development
    5. Discussion of DHA Resolution to support Rep. Tom Taylor’s HB486
    6. Discussion of Summer Concert Series
    7. Dunwoody Preservation Trust – Lemonade Days Sponsorship

  26. Interim Superintendent to Host Employee Meet and Greets

    Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond will host a series of meet and greet sessions for employees to hear district updates, take part in in the budget process and ask questions. The sessions are not mandatory, and employees can choose the session that best meets his/her schedule. Separate opportunities for parents and community members will be held.

    The meet and greets will take place on:

    March 12 – 4:15-5:45 – Arabia Mountain High School Auditorium, 6610 Browns Mill Road, Lithonia
    March 13 – 5:30-7 – Dr. Ronald E. McNair High School Auditorium, 1804 Bouldercrest Road SE, Atlanta
    March 18 – 5:15-6:45 – Cross Keys High School Cafeteria, 1626 N. Druid Hills Road, Atlanta
    March 19 – 4:15-5:45 – Tucker High School Auditorium, 5036 Lavista Road, Tucker
    March 20 – 3:30-5 – Stone Mountain High Auditorium, 455 Central Drive, Stone Mountain

  27. At 7:30 Sunday night the DHA will be holding its monthly meeting at the Arts Center on Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. I didn’t see the address but will post it if I find out.

  28. DeKalb Superindendent Set to Speak at Dunwoody Homeowners Association

    Michael Thurmond is tentatively set to speak at the DHA’s board meeting Sunday night.

    Schools will be a major topic for this Sunday night’s board meeting of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association.

    DeKalb Interim School Superintendent Michael Thurmond is tentatively set to address the board during its meeting at 7 pm at the DeKalb Cultural Arts Center.

    Also on the agenda is a discussion of state Rep. Tom Taylor’s bill to allow newly incorporated cities to form their own independent school systems.

    From the Patch>> http://dunwoody.patch.com/articles/dekalb-superindendent-set-to-speak-at-dunwoody-homeowners-association

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