DeKalb School Board: Making Progress according to SACS

From the Patch:

A new report from AdvancED finds that the DeKalb County School District has made “recognizable progress” in creating the foundations to address the issues raised by SACS when the district was placed on probation late last year.

At that time, AdvancED noted that there were 11 “required actions” the administration and board must take in order to regain unconditional accreditation. The most recent monitoring report shows the district is making considerable advances in all areas.

Read more >>> DeKalb School Board: Making Progress Since Under Probation

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17 Responses to DeKalb School Board: Making Progress according to SACS

  1. dekalbite2 says:

    DeKalb student achievement is lower than ever as shown by the academic achievement scores in May:
    Academic improvement is what Thurmond and this BOE has not shown ANY interest in:
    From the AJC:
    “In DeKalb, only the reading score showed increases across grades 3, 5 and 8, where students must meet or exceed state standards on the CRCT to be promoted. In math, two of three grade levels improved while in English two of three did worse.”

    Look at DeKalb’s rate of achievement compared to all of the other metro systems (from the AJC):

    Mr. Thurmond has not not presented an academic achievement plan, and in fact he has made the classroom situation worse than ever for teachers and students as he continues to fund non teaching personnel outside the classroom at a greater rate than personnel inside the classroom. He has done absolutely nothing to lower class sizes as he seeks to keep over staffed non teaching departments intact. In addition, he has as his closest advisors the same personnel left over from the Crawford Lewis regime who placed our students in such an academically disadvantaged position while raising property taxes to the highest in the state.

    Over 400 teaching positions (415 that I counted) were listed on PATS – DeKalb’s online employment website, and hundreds more paraprofessional positions were listed as well. How can Mr. Thurmond say DeKalb Schools are making progress when teachers and other employees who work directly in the classrooms are fleeing the system in droves? Never in 40 years have I or any other DeKalb citizens seen anywhere near these numbers of teachers that will be needed for the upcoming school year. Since the extremely high class sizes are being kept in place by Mr. Thurmond, that shows the massive amount of attrition DeKalb is experiencing. In one high school I saw they need 6 math teachers. Looking at their website shows they only have 8 positions so it wold appear they are losing 75% of their math teachers.

    These are the numbers that SACS needs to be concentrating on – the numbers that affect the classroom and student achievement. SACS needs to understand that taxpayers/parents are looking at student achievement and teacher attrition and other indices that are critical to the students in our school system.

  2. Here is a link to the Executive Report:

    Click to access executive-summary-advanced-report.pdf

    And here is a link to the full report:

    Click to access advanced-report-2013.pdf

    Interestingly, Elgart (SACS) points out that although progress has been made, he is concerned that it won’t be sustainable if there is another change in leadership – either on the board or in the superintendent position. (This explains why there’s been no superintendent search, and why Thurmond is confidently implementing change that only a permanent super would do – like rearranging leadership roles, principals and choosing future leaders – ie: the Harvard group.)

    Basically, Elgart has made his check move. He holds the power now – he effectively told the Supreme Court judge that if he upholds Gene Walker’s elected position on the board, that Elgart will pull accreditation. Let’s see if the judge caves…

  3. concernedmom30329 says:

    In articles in the AJC, Constitutional attorneys said it was about 50 50 whether the law would be upheld. I don’t think a Judge will be influenced by accreditation issues (at least the Judge making the decision about Constitutional issues). The Judge making the recommendation about whether board members will be returned to the Board probably may be influenced by such opinions.

    Understand, if the Board is returned, it is only a matter of time before Thurmond makes a decision that Walker doesn’t like, most likely related to personnel and Walker goes off the deep end again. His interest has never been student achievement but has been the role of the school system as an employment agency.

  4. @concerned: Sadly, we agree 100%.

  5. psdad says:

    We pack 30 kids in a 4th grade classroom, found (confiscated) money constitutes a balanced budget, and SACS believes our school system is making significant progress? In all of those past board meetings, not once did Eugene Walker suggest that there was any financial mismanagement by the Atkins administration…yet he suggests otherwise in defending himself to the courts. Where is the discussion of his backroom deals and attempts to influence hiring decisions? Where is the discussion of the KPMG report that Eugene chose to ignore and bury? Never thought I’d say it… I’m done with public school for my children.

  6. midvaledad says:

    I read the report and found it to be a justification of the December report. (Things were bad in Oct., but better now.)

    Funny how student achievement is now what SACS is worried about when it wasn’t mentioned in the December report.

  7. Getting Better says:

    No raise for teachers? In May, Thurmond said the State required one. Any help with getting to the bottom of this?
    Class size should also go down. That is a priority.

  8. TeacherK says:

    The state gave teachers step raises. DeKalb did not approve any raises. Teachers will be making the same as last year, UNLESS they are one of the thousand or so whose salary is at or below the state minimum. Those teachers will get the increase approved by the state, since it is illegal for a district to pay less than the state minimum.

  9. dekalbite2 says:

    Most of our property taxes used to go to paying teachers above the state minimum. That’s how DeKalb attracted and retained the most highly qualified and competent teachers. Now the property axes are the highest in the state and our teachers don’t see a nickel of the money. Mr. Thurmond and the BOE should be funding the classrooms first, and then using what is left over for admin and support. DeKalb spent $1,244,000+ in the 2012 school year. Wouldn’t this be better spent for teachers?

  10. @dekalbite: Make that $1,244,000,000… as in “B”illion.

  11. dekalbite2 says:

    @ DSW

    So sorry. It should read DeKalb spent $1,244,000+ for TRAVEL the 2012 school year. Wouldn’t this be better spent for teachers?

  12. Ahh. Gotcha. Wow. That’s a lot of travel!

  13. Getting Better says:

    That’s what I figured, but I think that the County should have stressed this to teachers — there will be no pay increase unless you fit this select group of teachers who were underpaid as per the state minimum for teacher salaries. There is always next year, right? 🙂

  14. Stan Jester says:

    Teacher’s Earned Income
    One of the furlough days was eliminated, so the annual earned income will go up by one day of pay.

    If DeKalb Schools is going to have the highest millage rate in the state (behind Rockdale) and fudge the budget numbers, it’s immoral to have furlough days and class sizes above the state mandated sizes.

    No More Waivers
    Video clip and CliffsNotes of presentation
    At the last board meeting, Mr. Louis Erste, Director of the Charter Schools Division, State Department of Education, gave a charter schools presentation in which he said waivers were not likely to be granted in FY ’15.

  15. And no word about restoring the annuity. Has Thurmond been completely silent on this? Does anyone know the status of the lawsuit? If Dekalb loses, which in all rights in should, do you think Dekalb has planned for the expense of restoring this annuity? A favorable judgement for teachers would surely have retroactive effect.

  16. concernedmom30329 says:

    He has not been totally silenced. When Orson tried to reduce the budget for legal fees, one of the reasons that Thurmond sited was this lawsuit.
    I have the impression that DCSS will lose and that this will be a huge issue.

  17. Why is Dekalb paying legal fees to fight teachers and other employees from getting what should be rightfully theirs? This has been one of the big nails in the coffin of any mutual good will among the board, high-level administrators, and teachers/school-house employees. Dekalb is placed in the awkward position of being legal adversaries to its own employees.

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