Elected AG Sam Olens Looks at UNelected Elgart and AdvancED/SACS

At last!  Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens talks on WSB-TV Action News at 5:00 PM, Monday, August 5 about AdvancED/SACS … its ability to negatively affect students’ college prospects and its refusal to document its accusations or follow Georgia’s Open Records Act. Hmmm … !

AdvancED/SACS has incredible power because we give it to them.  Mark Elgart is NOT elected — he doesn’t even live in DeKalb County.  Elgart sent his daughter to private school (not an option for the many working poor who live in DeKalb County).  Elgart can prevent deserving students from getting a HOPE scholarship.  Elgart’s refusal to document and prove his claims against DeKalb County Schools holds taxpayers and their home values hostage — values drop, fewer people and businesses relocate to DeKalb County, and that means less property tax funding for public schools.  Further, Unelected Elgart has single-handedly disenfranchised all voters who live in DeKalb Public Schools Districts 1,3,5,7 and 9.  Is that you?

We can take back the power from Unelected Elgart if the Georgia General Assembly simply does the right thing: change the law and require the GaDOE to be responsible and accountable for education excellence in Georgia.  

Here’s what Virginia does:  http://www.doe.virginia.gov/statistics_reports/accreditation_ federal_reports/accreditation/index.shtml  

Virginia accredits their own schools by objective, measurable criteria.  WHY doesn’t Georgia do the same?  WHY does Georgia link HOPE (which is merit-based)  to accreditation from AdvancED/SACS (which has nothing to do with student achievement)?  It’s an easy fix.

Did you know that AdvancED/SACS’ accreditation of public schools is NOT required by a growing number of colleges and universities for student admission?  The federal government DOES, however, require colleges and universities to be accredited by a regional accrediting agency such as, but not limited to, AdvancED/SACS for institutional and program participation in federal initiatives such as dispensing federal funds for student aid.  That’s all.

We are glad to see Georgia’s Attorney General paying attention to AdvancED/SACS and all of their craziness.  Elgart and AdvancED/SACS have all the power of a public agency without any accountability.

Watch WSB-TV Action News (Comcast Channel 3) tomorrow (Monday, August 5, 2013) at 5 PM.  The story could be interesting!

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11 Responses to Elected AG Sam Olens Looks at UNelected Elgart and AdvancED/SACS

  1. H.A. Hurley says:

    SACS has been doing their oversight in GA for a long time. Most systems take it seriously and spring into action to correct things, but not DCS. It seems, that no matter what organization, government, business and residents try to do, DCS acts like a conduct disordered sociopathic teen. We as residents have had enough! But, our new super assures us not to worry….SACS will be taken care of. Huge consequences for everyone. Thurmond is so nonchalant about this because he just doesn’t get it or he knows of a back-alley deal!???
    The school system is opening the new school year and all school websites are out of date, were out of date all last year, DCS Twitter sends out ABSOLUTELY NO INFO, and residents are waiting to hear something. It feels like a 3rd world country. Business as usual! Throw the bandits out of their fat-paycheck CO jobs NOW! I did not think it could get any worse, but we are about to experience it.

  2. C Petersen says:

    Wow, can’t we focus on how there aren’t ANY checks and balances to the almost $1B budget run by DCSD? SACS should only be blamed for not stepping in sooner to hold the Board and the system accountable. Let’s not forget that the DCSD budget goes to the State and they still can’t figure it out – hence, Turk’s debacle of a budget that got approved year after year. DCSD continues to run rough shod over the voters and posts like this do not help get down to the bottom of the problem. Any other credible accreditation agency (which SACS is btw) would reprimand DCSD the same way.

    Our Board was ousted because it was completely and utterly incapable of working together. It was ousted because it did not represent the interests of the children for the county as a whole. Our Board was ousted because the members could not uphold their oath because as a BOARD they were completely dysfunctional.

    Let us vote for board members at large since each vote impacts all schools, not just those of the member’s district.

    Let’s identify what we need from any accreditation agency to ensure that the majority of our tax dollars are going to the children and not lawyers and crazy lawsuits.

    Wow, I can’t believe that the Blogger said “SACS and craziness” in the same sentence. Is Dr. Walker writing for DSW? Sure sounds like him. What happened to writing about the craziness in DCSD, the missing $20+ Million then the found $20 Million – now, that is CRAZINESS.

  3. dekalbite2 says:

    @ C Peterson

    I agree. SACS should have stepped in years before. The only problem I see with SACS is that they didn’t step in sooner.

  4. @C Petersen – Dr Walker may very well be commenting here, but we doubt it. We have no idea who people are when they use monikers. That said, we have come to believe that SACS is not the ‘answer’ to our woes. SACS does not judge schools by student achievement – SACS only cares that governance gets along. We like governance to get along too – and if you read back in this blog, you will find we harshly criticized Gene Walker as well as his roadblock of board supporters. BUT – we would like to move forward with an accrediting agency that cares about and consistently monitors STUDENT outcomes – and ensures that unsuccessful leadership (either on the board or in the administration) is held accountable for student success.

    FWIW, we have repeatedly harped on the budgetary issues you mentioned. Here and at the old DSW. Use the search bar to find the discussions you are looking for. In our opinion, if there is budgetary ‘noodling’ or bad dealings, it’s the DA’s job to investigate. Two Grand Juries asked for an investigation. Our DA publicly stated that our board could ‘police itself’ (with Gene Walker standing right behind him as he spoke).


  5. concerned citizen says:

    OK, so can add James to the list of conspirators against the school system! Well, well, well, the connections never stop. Now, I understand why he has not prosecuted Lewis and Pop.

  6. Dekalbite2 says:


    “SACS does not judge schools by student achievement – SACS only cares that governance gets along”

    But student achievement does factor into the accreditation at least in DeKalb’s place. The cutting of 200 paraprofessionals (by Ms. Tyson) was directly cited as a misstep in that she cut personnel who directly work with students. SACS noted that she cut the personnel who have a great academic impact in the early childhood years instead of cutting non teaching personnel. They were very specific about Ms. Tyson’s cuts in staff that impact student achievement.

  7. H.A. Hurley says:

    Cutting all those parapro’s and increasing class size was irresponsible, selfish, cold-hearted and absolutely foolish. As Dr. Phil would say…How’s it working for us? Saved the lowest salaries to protect the highest paying CO jobs, and teachers had to manage huge classes in Kindergarten classes.
    Dekalb County Schools where the Selfish Come First!
    New slogan?

  8. @DeKalbite2: They (the state school board and Elgart at the hearing) also all complimented Mrs. Tyson on her hard work… go figure. Our point is — if Tyson cuts are found to be causing harm to children, why is Tyson still employed?

  9. Not Amused says:

    The last thing we need is for GA (which consistantly brings up the rear nationally in education) to be allowed to police themselves in this arena. An independant accrediting agency is exactly what is needed. Its only when participants cant compete do they start complaining about the rules and the referees. This is why some (very loud) GA resident are so dead set against a national standards.
    Also, where Elgart sends his children to school has nothing really to do with the situation as he is not responsible for the quality or day to day operations of any of the public school systems here in GA. He can afford to give his children the best education available. When a food inspector refused to let his kids eat at a certain establishment…. that should tell you something.

  10. H.A. Hurley says:

    Excellent! My sentiments exactly!!
    People are spouting frustration because it does not matter what is brought to the forefront the DCS makes NO CHANGES! Maybe if we all hold our collective breath or go on a hunger strike broadcasted on CNN…but, nothing changes. They don’t listen to anyone! Make no improvement! Our tax dollars are flying out of the door. There is not one person we can communicate with who will get in there, roll up sleeves and communicate: Enough Already!
    School Orientation today and nothing posted on Twitter. School Web sites are out of date……on and on….

  11. If you think Elgart has unchecked power for a non-profit, private partner, check out the power of David Coleman, who took over as the College Board’s president last October.

    Published Online: August 14, 2013
    College Board Enters Expanding Common-Test Market

    …the idea is to create a suite of tests that could serve as indicators of how well students are progressing toward mastering the college-readiness skills outlined in the standards in literacy and mathematics. States could use those tests as part of their accountability systems by 2014-15, Mr. Coleman said.

    He wants the tests to play other roles, too: as an early-warning system, facilitating interventions for students who are behind; and as door-openers, identifying promising but under-recognized students and connecting them with more-challenging coursework and with supports that will aid them in applying for college.

    …And the College Board isn’t the only one working that territory: ACT Inc. announced last year that it would produce a brand-new suite of common-core tests that will span elementary through high school, include not only math and literacy but science, and be ready to use a year earlier than the consortium tests, which are slated for debut in 2015.

    In that system, called Aspire, the ACT college-entrance exam will serve as the capstone, and the new middle and high school tests will replace the current Plan and Explore products, which are being phased out, ACT officials said.

    Each new vendor entry into the marketplace for common-core assessments sparks debate. For some common-core skeptics and those opposed to a heavy emphasis on testing, moves like the College Board’s confirm their suspicions that the new standards will expand the assessment burden on students and serve as a vehicle to enrich assessment companies.

    Proponents of the common standards worry that if private companies carve too many states out of the two consortia, key advantages of the collective work—a high, shared cutoff score and cross-state comparability—could be lost.

    “If we have 10 or 15 different assessments, and states decide they’re going to set their own cut scores, we are going to be right back where we were pre-Arne Duncan,” said Andy Smarick, a consultant at Bellwether Education Partners, a Washington consulting firm. “I think people are underestimating how important common assessments are to common standards.”

    The U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Duncan, has awarded $360 million to the consortia working on common-core-aligned tests.

    …Mr. Coleman of the College Board, in recent public comments, has urged acceptance of multiple players on the common-assessment landscape. At a recent GE Foundation conference in Orlando, Fla., for instance, he encouraged business leaders to embrace the “pluralism” of the evolving marketplace, in which some states will use consortium tests and others will choose different assessments.

    “I think it’s OK that we may see some variety in assessment, as long as they’re coordinated together and put on a common scheme of measurement,” he said.

    Comments like those, combined with moves by the College Board to lure away top talent from ACT, have prompted some in the field to view the organization’s moves as a way to gain ground in the long-standing competition between the two big purveyors of college-entrance exams, while also gaining market share in the common-core world.

    “What you hear a lot is that, like ACT, they are making a play to be the high school common-core test,” said one Washington education activist.

    …Mr. Coleman disputed the view that business interests are driving the College Board’s common-core testing plans. The project, he said, is fueled by the nonprofit’s social-justice mission, something its board of directors made paramount in hiring him.

    “This is about seeing assessment as a starting point for opportunity,” he said. “The measures we are watching are things like can we change the number of low-income students going to college. How many students are taking our exams is much less interesting from a mission perspective. Nothing’s worse than being a nonprofit without a social return, merely selling tests and not changing students’ opportunities.”

    The hiring, in particular, of Ms. Schmeiser, who has a reputation as a passionate advocate of rigorous coursework, has prompted speculation that the College Board might move into offering middle school courses. Mr. Coleman did not rule that out.

    “We need designs for good courses,” he said, guided both by K-12 and college faculty members. “The hope that assessment alone will shape instruction is wrong. As we think about courses, we may think about middle school as well.”

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