The Bridge Initiative…

Click here to watch the video of Mr. Thurmond talking about Bridging Gaps in DeKalb.

A recap: How do we build bridges that young people can cross?
Recites a poem about an old man who crossed the chasm deep and wide into the twilight dim… and stopped to build a bridge that he would never cross again. When asked why, the builder said, in the path I came, there are others that will follow.

We’ve spent decades trying to separate and build walls. We now want to use those bricks and mortar to build a bridge.

Problem – students don’t achieve for various reasons. Conclusion: DeKalb school district’s failure to implement a comprehensive strategy designed to bridge growth and achievement gaps that negatively impact the college and career readiness of students from low income families.

It’s not them, it’s us.

Working with Stacy Stepney and Morcease Beasley to formulate a plan.  (Oddly, he refers to them as Dr. Beasley and Miss Stacy.)

Stacy Stepney shows state data – red, yellow and green flags. Data shows that we have many red flags. Most students took the tests but economically disadvantage did not make state minimum requirements.

Common thread: Disproportionate number of economically disadvantaged are  not making state minimums.

Thurmond: It’s not race. It’s economics. White economically disadvantaged struggle too.

Stepney: What is the vision?  To help students, parents and families bridge the gap.

Action 1:  Evaluate data and do a root cause analysis

Action 2: Realign resources to improve academic achievement and career readiness.

Action 3: Revise and redeploy Title 1 and Title 2, Race to the Top and other grant program dollars to improve academic achievement and career readiness. Invest in parent, adult guardian and mentor involvement.

Goal 1: Indentify, support and recognize high-achieving, marginal and under-performing students

Goal 2: Enhance the effectiveness of district-level and school-level leaders and teachers to inspire, teach and train

Goal 3: Build capacities of parents, adult guardians, and mentors to support and improve student performance and academic success

Other points:

* New pre-K standards
* iPads for pre-K teachers
* Dual language immersion for pre-K (3 schools)
* Literacy approach
* Quality after-school programs
* AP and IB offerings
* Middle and high school graduation coaches
* Jobs for Georgia graduates (school to work)
* CTAE (Career tech — 80% graduate HS)
* Career academies
* Strengthen ROTC programs
* Wrap around support for ELL students
* Work on leader/teacher effectiveness (RTTT demand)
* Professional development for teachers

[The video is 45 minutes long and goes into much more detail.]

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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71 Responses to The Bridge Initiative…

  1. Stan Jester says:

    Walker Vs Cunningham
    The board districts were just redrawn. Here’s the DeKalb delegation final map which was passed. The little red dots represent where the board members lived at the time. Pam Speaks and Gene Walker were voted into Super District seats. Dr. Speaks lives in District #4 with Carter, Orson and McChesney. Dr. Walker lives in District #5 with Jay Cunningham.

    Dr. Walker is generally popular, but Jay Cunningham is beloved in his community. Jay requested an administrative hearing to get his seat back. He gave his platform speech at public comments last week. I believe Jay would beat Dr. Walker if they both ran.

    Smaller School Districts
    Kenwoody, you’re funny.

    Local control – Smaller school districts means decisions are made closer to the school house. The Druid Hills Charter Cluster, for example, wants to make their own decisions for their own cluster. They will be much more responsive to the needs of their community and can do it with no increase in budget.

    Risk – Currently the risk of bad or corrupt administrations is concentrated into one DeKalb Schools administration. By having many smaller districts, you disperse that risk among the districts.

    Perfect Size – What’s the perfect sized district? Nancy is the expert, so we would need to consult her on what research and data tells us about the perfect sized district. My understanding is that 5,000 students is the optimal size. Any smaller than that and the spending per student on administration goes up. Any larger than that and the leviathan administration grows faster than the student population as well.

    For example, a 2013 study by Georgia College’s Ben Scafidi, Ph.D., showed how the growth in administrators has far outpaced the growth of students. In Georgia, from 1992-2009, we saw a 41% increase in students but a 74% increase in administrators. –Stan

  2. Beasley is a Friends-and-Family recipient. He was fast-tracked starting in Birmingham, AL because he is related to Johnny Brown, then Birmingham’s much-feared superintendent. All of his job moves have been related to his Friends-and-Family connections. He is not and never was certified to teach in Georgia. Yet, at one point he was a DCSS principal. Interestingly, as originally used, “principal” actually meant “principal teacher.” Beasley claims to have an Ed.D. which some think is a lesser degree than the research-based Ph.D. However, Samford University, a Baptist institution in Alabama (not to be confused with top-flight Stanford University) will not confirm that Beasley has an Ed.D. and Beasley will not provide a copy of his “doctoral” dissertation.

    Want to know more about Beasley? Take a look at these URLs:

    We’re not sure where he calls home, but are you willing to pay $300/night to “vacation” at Beasley’s vacation house in Covington, GA? http://www.flipkey.com/frontdesk/view/50638/morcease+beasley/
    In addition to the $300/night charge, other fees include:
    Cleaning fee – $300/stay
    Additional guests – $300/person – applies to parties of more than 6 guests
    Damage deposit – $3,000 – Security Deposit

    http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Improving-Schools-Improvement-ebook/dp/B006KAMW7S

    http://fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us/~Morcease_J_Beasley/?OpenItemURL=S114F6D9C

  3. Kenwoody says:

    @Stan Jester: “Kenwoody, you’re funny.”

    Not really. My mom had me tested. 🙂

    However I am a technologist and consequently am ill-equipped to deal with a circumstance where I perceive we’re charging to a solution without a clear understanding of what problem we’re trying to solve and what assumptions are being made regarding the problem and solution spaces. Such is what I see.

    In reading this blog and its predecessor I’ve noticed some consistent threads. Many see lack of resources (people, money, gadgets) in the classroom as a significant problem and operating on the assumption that this is a zero-sum game seek to move resources from administration (which some seem to see as value-less overhead) to “the classroom”. That seems to align with the “optimal district size” you speak of.

    Money and who controls it is another frequently stated issue with the observation that duly elected officials and the administration they establish and control is ineffective (at best) and this leads to the conclusion that (smaller, closer) >= better. This aligns with the risk containment and “local control” memes and in the absence of a clear and objective definition of “better” I won’t argue. I am concerned that some of the proposals on the table disenfranchise mere taxpayers and while I’ll not argue the social contract I do resist the notion that it squelches my voice leaving me nothing more than a powerless money source. History has proven that will not long endure.

    And as a technologist I’ve seen technology used in two ways. First is to optimize existing operations and second is to fundamentally change what we do as well as how we do it. We seem focussed on the former (eBooks, electronic black boards, web syllabi, etc.) which keep the legacy system in place just that much longer. What I want to know is why every student doesn’t have an “IEP” and an immersive dynamically adaptive learning experience perhaps with an inorganic instructor? The technology is available to do just that. [BTW that was a rhetorical question–I know exactly why we don’t :)]

  4. @Kenwoody: Just so you know, you already are a “powerless money source”…

  5. For example… The latest news is that our fearless leaders have had this epiphany: “Parents are key to success in student achievement!” Cue the cymbals and rays of light!!! So, to respond to all this ‘new’ information about the importance of good parenting, they have reinstated Dr. Lewis’ Parent Resource Centers and Coordinators and placed Ms. Marcia Cowart (former head of DeKalb PTAs and one of the chosen attendees of the Harvard seminar) to lead the team! She will be using her new large salary and position of power to evaluate PTAs and parents all over the county!! This will be so interesting when she speaks to groups like Dunwoody and Lakeside and informs them about all she has learned about parent involvement!

    Sort of reminds me of the day Dr Lewis found out it wouldn’t really harm his car to pump in unleaded gasoline… “Aha!! World – look! I just found out something that virtually everyone else already knows, but I think I’m the only one who knows since I just now figured it out!”

    lol…

  6. Why don’t they just sign everyone up and let Oprah and T.D. Jakes do the training?!!

    September 8, 2013
    1 in 3 Kids Grows Up Without His or Her Father—It’s Time to Talk About It
    Oprah and Bishop T.D. Jakes talk about stopping this epidemic in America and healing those affected.

    http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/First-Look-Oprah-and-Bishop-TD-Jakes-on-Fatherless-America-Video

    One of my favorite Jakes quotes is “Don’t shine when the light’s not on you!”

    I think a lot of DCSS administrators need to practice this one tenet.

  7. Stan Jester says:

    Neither Elgart nor Thurmond understand the difference between correlation and causality.

    Freakonomics
    The movie “Freakonomics” did a good job of explaining the difference. For example, parents with parenting books tend to be good parents. They aren’t good parents because they read parenting books, but they are good parents because they are the type of parents that would buy and read parenting books.

    Parent Centers
    Students are successful because they have the type of parents that get involved, not because we gave them parent centers and talked them into going there.

  8. Good point Stan. In fact, we not only talk them into going there, oftentimes, we bribe them – with food and freebies!

    That said, a truly good school system with good teachers, support staff, supplies and low class size can educate students well — regardless of who they were unlucky enough to be assigned as their parents.

  9. dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    I thnk ou mean Marcia Coward, not Cowart.

    Lewis was a master at giving high paying on teaching jobs and promotions to people to gain support and consolidate his power base. Looks like Mr. Thurmond is pretty good at that as well.

  10. dsw2contributor says:

    Stan Jester:

    I disagree with your assertion that smaller school districts are better…. Cheryl Atkinson was as big of a disaster in (small-district) Lorain as she was in (big-district) Dekalb!

    Check out the “Better Lorain Schools blog” article from when Lorain found out Atkinson was leaving them: http://betterlorainschools.wordpress.com/

  11. idabelle25 says:

    Ditto @dekalblite2
    I know of myself and one other teacher who may not be back next year. She is highly respected by parents and that is all I can say about her accolades in respect of her privacy and I have had proven success with All students including ELL , SWDand minority and we can’t afford to be hear and pay full premium insurance and unable to pay back college Loans we invested in our OWN education let alone make ends meet when there are closer counties to our home that respect teachers enough to at least consider reconstituting some increase in pay after years of drought. I don’t care if they did it on merit, progress of students, attendance exp. whatever’ many of us who are leaving or have left can build an impressive portfolio on any of these areas. What has kept us is a great school and great parents but we have families to take care of to and the thing about a good teacher is that he or she will be good regardless of their economic stress but it is abusive and they can’t work at their fullest potential knowing they could be elsewhere using their passion with less stress.

  12. dsw2contributor says:

    DSW2: Michael Thurmond’s appearance at last night’s (Sept 17) meeting of the Emory LaVista Parent’s Council was videotaped or broadcast — I am not sure which. All I know is that there was a camera operator at the back of the room and she swung the camera around to audience members when they asked questions. That video really needs to be posted online.

    When a real company has a service meltdown, a real CEO handles the situation by apologizing to his/her customers and explaining what he/she is doing to ensure that a service meltdown will never ever happen again. Thurmond runs an organization that has provided dreadfully bad service to its customers, but I don’t think he ever apologized for the bad service. Instead, Thurmond chose to talk up the great jobs DCS Palace employees were doing. To me, Thurmond seemed oblivious that the “Parents’ Council” were actually his customers.

    DCS busing was a disaster last year — some schools were having daily no-shows of their assigned school buses. (That may not sound like a big deal, but instruction really gets hurt when buses fail to arrive and depart on time.) Instead of apologizing for having provided dreadfully bad service, Thurmond recognized the Palace employees who have made the buses run better this year. I’m sorry Mr. Thurmond, but I don’t think your employees should be applauded for merely performing adequately for the first four weeks of school…. those employees should be applauded if and when they do an outstanding job for the entire school year.

    Mr. Thurmond also made a point about how he is trying to get every member of the Georgia Legislator to spend a day in a public school, so that the Legislators would appreciate what a hard job public education is (and then those Legislators would give the schools all the money the schools want). Sure, that can’t hurt, but how about having DCS Palace Administrators spend a day in a high performing school in a high performing district so that they know what is possible?

    Thurmond’s remarks repeatedly reminded me of that phrase coined by Michael Gerson, “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.

  13. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – well stated! Thurmond would do well to read your comments and get about eliminating those furlough days and settling the lawsuit with the teachers. Regarding a later comment, Mr. Thurmond refuses to face reality that all is not well at the DCSS. If he has done such a great job of getting our financial house in order, why did Moody’s just lower it rating on our bonds yet again. By the way, have we responded to the SACS report from last December 18, 2012?

    As I read this blog, attend meetings of the school board, attend community meetings, talk with my neighbors and friends in Dekalb County, I would also say that Mr. Thurmond has done little to gain the support of the people. Well, I don’t know about South Dekalb, but I am familiar with the cityhood efforts in Tucker, Lakeside, and Briarcliff and know that each of them has raised the necessary $30,000 in funds to complete the studies required to form a city. For each of these communities to raise that kind of money in these kinds of economy times speaks volumes for them – they are to be commended! If these cities are formed and improvements are not made soon in the DCSS, I would expect a formidable lobbying effort on the part of Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Tucker, Lakeside, and Briarcliff to gain the authority to form their own school system(s). If the Dekalb School Board denies the Druid Hills cluster and if Mr. Thurmond continues to be tone deaf toward the areas in North Dekalb, then I expect that will happen. If the Georgia Supreme Court rules for Walker, I would expect the Georgia Legislature to enact some kind of legislative solution that would provide relief for these communities from the DCSS.

    As for Walker and Cunningham, they may be beloved in their communities but that does not qualify them for the School Board and I just hope that the district in which they now reside would choose not to send either one of them back to the Dekalb School Board. My decision to support the cityhood efforts has been one of a sliding scale. In January, I was encouraged that the Governor removed the school board and I was also encouraged with the appointment of the new school board with their superb credentials (I thought). I had hoped that Walker et al would accept their fates and just fade away. Well, we have Mr. Thurmond. The new school board has been very disappointing. The decisions to buy those cars, to refuse to do anything about the size of the administration, to continue to refrain from doing the right thing in restoring those retirement payments that were abruptly taken away from our teachers, to promise and not deliver, to maintain the status quo with the same tired old administrators who got us into this mess, and to ignore the people again – I’m well along the path of deciding enough is enough and abandoning the DCSS. We do have some chance, however small. Walker could lose his Supreme Court case. We could elect a new and far different school board that is focused on improving the schools, listening to the people, getting on the ball and finding a new, competent, permanent superintendent that would be selected free of the mess that we had last time, and restoring the focus on our students, teachers, and classroom. Otherwise, it is time to find a new solution for our kids and that would not be the DCSS.

  14. murphey says:

    @Howdy – at the Emory LaVista Parent Council meeting Mr. Thurmond was asked about the cars. He said it was part of SPLOST and the voters chose to buy those cars.

  15. hopespringseternal says:

    I just watched the Channel 2 news story about Clayton County’s recent SACS determination of accreditation on advisement, still not the highest level of accreditation. This despite the glowing reports the BOE there has received regarding improved relations and teamwork with their super.

    We can see that it will take years to recover from this probationary status. That completely irresponsible bombs are tossed along the way further hurts us, if these things are true. Declaring that we have $110K in our savings account with no corresponding discussion of where we stand with tax receipts and other things is irresponsible. Telling voters that they wanted the cars because they voted for SPLOST is the height of obtuseness and arrogance. Funding things which don’t go to direct instruction is just being lost in the forest. Keeping our students and teachers in trailers with no communication outlets while lapping up praise from Arne Duncan for a job well done is craven. Coming up with a bridge initiative when everything in it is supposed to be the line function of a school system anyway is revealing. Standing before a group of parents and telling them that the reason kids don’t have textbooks is for better hallway management… I just wonder what was the tipping point. When did we shift from wanting children to learn something vs just managing their day. It’s very sad.

    Now, I’m not given to calling people out of their names and being brittle and mean. But I do think that we’ve been shot the proverbial bird. No matter the outcome with the Walker court case, I don’t see re-election of prior board members. Even the most distant voters now get that they made a mistake and they won’t make it again. But even with a stellar slate of people to vote for, that’s not enough to cure what ails us. Even with higher revenues coming out of the recession, they won’t be spent wisely. Even a new superintendent and upper leadership team won’t fix it in the short term. There’s too much entrenched toxicity. Putting us into some kind of receivership, which means that experts could be brought in, will never happen and has its own pitfalls, but that’s how far I’ve come in my musing. I just want these students to have a shot without it being the luck of the draw.

    My oldest son is applying for professorships around the country and would like to return to Georgia and specifically DeKalb to live and be closer to his extended family. I had to tell him there’s only one catch with that: if he moves to DeKalb they will have to educate my grandchildren outside of DCSS. I will not tolerate even a conjecture of putting them here.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one having that kind of conversation with friends and family. That’s how I know our goose is cooked.

  16. Stan Jester says:

    dsw2contributor, A 5,000 student district does not guarantee success.

    A 5,000 student district just means
    * They are more likely to spend less money per FTE on general administration.
    * All your eggs are not in one basket.
    The risk of bad a administration is dispersed among more school districts.
    * Decisions are made by people closer to the school house.

    The failures of the Lorain School District, where Dr Atkinson is from, are a function of a bad Superintendent and not the size of the school.

  17. concerned citizen says:

    What in the world is happening, Mr.M Thurmond? The schools are an unholy mess; surely, you know that! Do you sit in the Palace all day and consult with your experts? Why? They don’t know crap! All those PhDs! For what? All those “retired” DOE snopervising schools? I don’t see the point! I know that all retirees are prohibited from working full-time by TRS! Those many, many retirees who are still double-dipping are doing so with the full knowledge of the school system and the state? This is against the regulations of the TRS, FGS!

  18. Word Wall says:

    I am trying to print my diploma for my Ph.D. from Arbogast online university. I took a MOOC-H home study course and my nephew (who is really smart) wrote some of the jargon we pasted into my dissertation. Anyhoo, I am trying to print my diploma for HR so I can my 90. Do I just hit F10 or do I have to use PAYPAL?

  19. howdy1942 says:

    @murphey – Thanks for your comment. Statements such as that by Mr. Thurmond form the basis of why I no longer back or support Mr. Thurmond. Those cars were not included in SPLOST. I voted for SPLOST last time and I read the statement on which we were to vote very carefully – there was absolutely no provision that would support those cars. I will never vote for another SPLOST until major changes are made at the palace, in the School Board, and in the way the DCSS conducts its business. In fact, I will actively use statements such as this one by Mr. Thurmond to convince my neighbors to do likewise.

    @hopespringseternal – I appreciate your comments and honesty – you are so right. The DCSS has a long, long way to go. There are a lot of positives in Dekalb. It is close in. From my perspective, the County provides good services – trash collection, police protection, fire protection. There are excellent medical facilities in Dekalb County. It is a good place to live and work. Sadly, the DCSS is in the ditch – a very deep ditch and, as you point out, it will take us a lot of hard work over an extended period of time to get out. To do that, we must stop digging our hole. We need a new, competent, aggressive school board that will find a competent, committed, no-nonsense superintendent. We need a superintendent who will focus on the basics – the classroom, our kids, and our teachers. We need one that will take dollars out of administration and put them in the classroom. We need one that will set goals and expect results, one that will either develop or terminate those who cannot or will not meet expectations. We need one who will negotiate solutions to problems and not make a courtroom the first stop. We need one that will insure our kids get the books, the technology, and the resources they need to be successful in the classroom. I am so sick of “strategic plans”, courtroom battles, nepotism, friends-and-family, outright deceit as was the case with those so-called “service sedans”, inability to be able to simply count our money and know how much we have and how much we need, school board members who seem to live in the 1960s and see everything through a racial lens and cannot or will not move into this century and millennium, and who can’t seem to get it through their heads that we need to be all about educating all of the 99,000 kids who live all over Dekalb.

    I would hope that we can elect such a Board next July, but given our track record, I am very cautious. I plan to start in what is now District 2 and vote for change.

  20. Thurmond is sooooo wrong. But, remember, he is a politician – and they have a habit of simply saying whatever helps their ‘campaign’ – be it the truth or not the truth. In fact, he probably doesn’t want to actually know the truth, or he would have asked staff to show him the referendum before he publicly pitched such an off-target expenditure. It’s too bad he just just parrots what he’s told by his staff. He never questions them. And he obviously never actually read the SPLOST referendum. We have posted it on this blog several times. We’ve discussed it to death. We’re all so weary of all these shenanigans and lies.

    Here’s an old comment:
    dekalbschoolwatch says:
    July 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM (Edit)

    The $1.7 million was for a whole host of vehicles — originally under the umbrella of ‘service and maintenance’ vehicles. These 15 sedans were slipped in as a perk for area superintendents and other administrators as a purchase under this same SPLOST IV line item. Our newly appointed, supposedly ‘better’, more ‘fiscally responsible’ board blatantly approved it in a public meeting. Nice statement to the teachers in DeKalb, who still suffer furlough days, no STEP raises, and no retirement match as well as larger classrooms and more work with fewer support staff like paras and library clerks (riffed).

    Below is a link to the text of the actual referendum. The original DSW strongly opposed voting for it, as it was too vast and unspecific … virtually everything but the kitchen sink was promised …

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/10/splost-iv-referendum-just-about-covers.html

    This is the text from the ballot — what the voters actually saw:

    Shall a special one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes continue to be Imposed in DeKalb County for not longer than 20 quarters, beginning July 1, 2012, to raise not more than $645,000,000 in the aggregate for the purpose of (A) developing sites for constructing and equipping new schools, support facilities and athletic facilities; (8) making additions to, acquiring or renovating and equipping existing schools, support facilities and athletic facilities and greenspace associated with such facilities, and demolishing portions of existing structures In connection therewith; (C) making system-wide renovations, additions and improvements to bus and parent pick-up driveways and facility parking lots and purchasing school buses, school-related vehicles and other transportation equipment; (D) making existing lease-purchase payments with respect to the acquisition of new and existing schools and support facilities; and (E) modernizing technology and making system-wide technology improvements, Including the acquisition of computers and similar technology for students and staff; not to exceed $607,384,422 for the DeKalb County School District, $18,115,116 for the City Schools of Decatur and $19,500,462 for the Atlanta Independent School System, all as more fully described in the Notice of Election? If imposition of the tax is approved by a majority of the voters within the DeKalb County School District, such vote shall also constitute approval of the Issuance of general obligation debt of the DeKalb County School District in the principal amount of not to exceed $200,000,000 for the purpose of funding a portion of the above projects of the DeKalb County School District and if the tax is approved by a majority of the voters within the City of Decatur, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the City of Decatur In the principal amount of not to exceed $10,000,000 for the purpose of funding a portion of the above projects of the City Schools of Decatur?”

    YES
    NO

    I can say with a great deal of confidence that the average voter never thought for one second that this text allowed for a fleet of sedans for administrators. It reads as if the focus is on buses, and service and maintenance type vehicles – you know – work horses!

  21. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – thank you, thank you! Why don’t you send a copy of this to Thurmond and ask him where it says anything that could be misinterpreted to allow the purchase of those “service sedans”? You know, I wish that the State Board of Education would make a comprehensive review of the accomplishments of the appointed school board and report to the Governor and to the People. Done right, that would be interesting reading!

  22. Midvale Dad says:

    Feel free to disagree, but the “official line” is that SPLOST dollars are separate from the general fund. Those dollars can not be used to pay teachers or decrease furlough days.

    I get the feeling the Palace employees feel they can do anything they want with SPLOST, RTTT, and Title I dollars.

    Astroturf for all the stadiums? Why not!
    PhDs for a chosen few? Sure!
    If it doesn’t affect the general fund, the sky is the limit!
    (cue the party horns and streamers)

  23. @Midvale: Yes, SPLOST dollars are separate from the general budget (however, ironically, several construction/SPLOST-related salaries are paid from the general budget, as are the millions in SPLOST-related legal fees). But voters originally ‘thought’ that the SPLOST money was going to build new schools and renovate old schools, as well as replace buses and other service/maintenance type vehicles. Now that we’re in SPLOST IV (which will put us over $2 Billion worth of pennies collected!) we seem to have moved past the idea of fixing up schools and into providing cars for administrators and brand new sports stadiums with astroturf. Did we ever really complete that first identified $2 Billion in needs??

    Read more >> http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/06/theres-hole-in-my-bucket-dear-liza.html

  24. Anyone who would like to can copy and paste my comment below and send it to Thurmond. We do not send him emails, as he consistently does not respond to us or even open our mail. We, somehow, have become the bad guys. That usually happens to truth-tellers.

  25. Another aside: Did you all catch this part of the text:

    modernizing technology and making system-wide technology improvements, Including the acquisition of computers and similar technology for students and staff; not to exceed $607,384,422 for the DeKalb County School District,

    $607,384,422 – for DeKalb’s share of the pie. The text also says, to raise not more than $645,000,000 in the aggregate – leaving Decatur and Atlanta with itsy-bitsy little piles of money. So yes, this is a playground full of money.

  26. midvaledad says:

    I don’t know if the administration is “too big,” but it is definitely over-paid and has too many incompetent people.

  27. concerned citizen says:

    If Thurmond and his minions did read this amazing blog, they MIGHT know something. That is not the goal they have in mind. Instead, it’s to lie in order to preserve their jobs and their F&Fs’ jobs. They don’t care; I get it; I see it in every lie they all tell. Disgusting! I thought the free cars would bring Thurmond done but no we are allowing him to lie. I don’t see that he is ever confronted. So, he does anything he wants. He is a crook and a crock.

  28. concerned citizen says:

    I’m finally accepting that Beasley is in the business of renting his “lovely” vacation home. Does anyone think he is sane? He is one of the major farces we must get rid of. Of course, Thurmond, Ramoona, Ramsey, Smith, all the area supts, and everyone making more than any teacher needs to go for obvious reasons. In the real world, that’s what cutting back means. The last thing in this world is cutting back teachers and not paying them properly. DeKalb is just a down and out relic, run by buffons and clowns and jokers, starting and starring Thurmond, the dummy. He probably rents Beastley’s ‘lovely” home every weekend. Charming group.

  29. I want you all to read this post on the ‘last’ big initiative to improve learning —

    Saturday, July 16, 2011
    Triage! That’s what they’re calling the plan to improve test scores.

    Download the ‘old’ plan’s powerpoint here: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/triaging-for-improved-academic-achievement.pdf

    The “Bridge’ is just the same thing but a bit different once again. Recycled tired ideas ‘implemented’ and ‘powerpointed’ by the same, tired, incompetent ‘leaders’…

  30. concerned citizen says:

    Powerpointed to death the same old crap. Same old big salaries top admin.All these terms are too much: The Bridge, Initiative in Chicago/Detroit, Triage, it’s pure bunk. Does anyone like this jargon. What about you, Dr. Mrs. Hurley, Dr. Howdy, Dr. Sarah, Dr. DSW, yacky yack don’t talk back. Dr. Ramsey, Dr. Raooona, wild hogs in Lithonia would do a better job, but I feel sorry for the hogs, not the human beings in charge of your teachers and students.

  31. More movement on cities forming in south DeKalb — three new possibilities – and they’re not small!

    http://www.ocgnews.com/index.php/home/2314-city-of-prosperity-city-of-dekalb-on-table-for-discussion

    The City of Prosperity, the City of DeKalb, and the City of Stonecrest are the only cityhood proposals to date that have included South DeKalb residents. The other four cityhood proposals state lawmakers have filed on behalf of interested residents include those living in Central and North DeKalb.

    No one knows if there would be three new cities or none carved from South DeKalb. However, Jason Lary, who is leading the Stonecrest City Alliance, said that his group is the only one in the county’s South so far that has raised the money to complete the required feasibility study for a new city.

    State lawmakers will determine next year if a referendum will be put forward so that citizens can vote on cityhood.

    Last night, Sen. Ramsey held a Senate hearing at the Stonecrest Library on the proposed City of Stonecrest, which would include about 77,000 residents in a 61-square-mile radius. Ramsey and other lawmakers heard from several residents who expressed their desire and determination to form new cities, citing economic development, jobs, and a building a brand new image as key reasons for wanting to incorporate. DeKalb’s image has suffered in recent months as it grappled with a myriad of problems, including public corruption allegations. The county was forced to put in place an interim school board,interim schools superintendent and interim CEO.

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