We are excited to share the announcement of a new website that is focused on the facts related to the DeKalb School Board. This site already has posted several videos and transcripts of recent DCSS Board meetings and community meetings with Michael Thurmond. So, not only can you watch the videos, you can now go back and read – verbatim – what was said and by whom. Then, the website moderator checks out those statements and lets us know if what was said is true, false or some kind of stretch. What an exciting new source of information for those of us who are DeKalb Schools junkies!
The first post we’d like to point out is the meeting Mark Elgart had with the Board on April 3, 2013. The FactChecker website gives us summary notes, the full video and a word for word transcript of the event. In it we can see that Mark Elgart has some key areas of concern for this Board to address:
Three Areas of Primary Concern (in priority order)
1. Student achievement
2. Can you get your fiscal house in order
3. Effective governance
First develop a budget and get some training. After the budget, launch into a strategic planning process. We don’t expect to see student achievement for a while. By December we will expect a balanced budget, a strategic plan, the equitable distribution of resources and a framework for improved student achievement.
A few other key statements made by Elgart include:
There’s been no unified leadership and a lot of turnover over the last ten years.
Stability is critical. You need a stable Superintendent, administration and board. I’m concerned with the November 2014 elections.
[DSW NOTE: the School Board elections will actually take place in July, 2014. The entire Board is up for reelection and voting district lines will be redrawn, except the super districts, which will go away. We will then have just seven School Board members. These seven will formally take their seats in January, 2015.]
You have parts of this community who have great capacity and are doing well, but have no incentive. You have other parts of the county where there is little or no capacity, but tremendous incentive to improve. The problem is they don’t have the capacity to do it. The challenge is how to get capacity and incentive to line up. How to get those that have capacity to be able to distribute capacity across this district, and those who have incentive to even distribute incentive. Those who have the incentive to improve and no capacity are fighting tooth and nail every day to get more capacity. Those who have the capacity, but incentive, are fighting tooth and nail every day to protect what they have. That has to stop.
[Elgart further explains that in his description of capacity, he is referring to having the resources – whatever they may be – to get the job done. The required resources will vary from school to school – thus the difference between equity and equal.]
…Use technology to bridge the gap. Technology is one of the greatest strategies to reduce the inequities that our kids come to school with from all different walks of life. Equality will paralyze a system. Equity will allow resources to flow to those that need it and bridge the education gap.
The new FactChecker website was set up and is hosted by Stan Jester (Nancy’s husband). He has made this his commitment as a way to carry the torch for Nancy’s groundwork as a Board member. Go to FactChecker.StanJester.com to read all of the posts. Bookmark Stan’s website and return to find more videos, documents, notes and transcripts as we move forward. We appreciate Stan’s hard work and dedication to getting out the facts!