Michael Thurmond met with the Chamblee Dunwoody Parents Council and according to the Dunwoody Reporter, had the following to say >>
Interim DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond told north DeKalb parents the troubled district is dealing with its problems.
“Today we are in a much stronger position than we have been in a very, very long time,” Thurmond said.
He said district finances have improved significantly since last year.
“I am happy to report today that we have eliminated the $14.7 million deficit we brought forward from 2012,” he told members of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Coalition during a morning meeting at Dunwoody High School on Sept. 11.
“We just closed out [Fiscal Year] 13 with a $9.5 million fund balance. When I arrived in the district, the district was operating with less than $100,000 [in fund balance].”
He summed up his findings on the division in DeKalb schools as >>
“We are all in this together…,” he said. “A school district divided against itself will not be successful. I need your help to build this opportunity. Build the bridge and we will all benefit from it as a community.”
He said differences in student achievement did not reflect racial differences, but economic ones. White students from rich families perform better than poor white students, he said, just as black students from rich families perform better than poor black students. “It’s not about race,” he said. “If you look at the differential…, the differential is almost the same.
“The great question is not how well my children or your children will do, but how well children from economically disadvantaged families will do,” he said. “And all economically-disadvantaged children are not low achievers.”
But if some schools are perceived as offering better educations than others, parents will find ways to enroll their children in those schools, he said.
“Our parents love their children,” Thurmond said. “Their capacities in terms of engagement and involvement [with the schools] may not be the same, but the love is the same.”
Interesting comments. Thurmond must have read through the old DSW blog. These are exactly the kinds of comments the original blogger Cerebration made. And the kinds of comments we continue to make here at DSW2. We also believe all children can succeed but that our school system skims far too many resources for administrators and then for expensive specialty programs for administrators and other well-connected DeKalb parents, leaving far too little to educate the remaining masses. We had hope when Dr. Atkinson promised ‘bottom up’ funding. We were excited to hear her promises of funding ‘equitable’ (which does not always mean ‘equal’) classrooms first and foremost. However, all of those promises went out the window when she jumped ship, leaving us with another 18 months of stalled or backward progress. This was on top of the serious backward slide under Ramona Tyson’s interim leadership.
It greatly concerns us that Interim Thurmond, with no experience in education, thinks he can make improvements using the same staff that brought us so far down in the first place. They are all placing blame on Atkinson, however, great harm came to the system under Tyson, and Lewis before her. Atkinson had the same spoken plans and goals as Thurmond, however, was incapable of delivering. Yes, six former Board members have been dismissed, but we believe our failures are due to an overpaid, inexperienced top-heavy administrative staff that watches out for their own well-being, first and foremost. There are no experienced, highly-qualified, professional, successful education leaders on our staff anywhere. And Thurmond wouldn’t know how to evaluate a qualified education leader. Time will tell, but we are not optimistic that Thurmond’s statements are true today or will show to be true for the future. He is only here for a short while, with his stated goal being to ‘save’ accreditation. Then he will leave, but our students will still not be better off.
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Thurmond argues DeKalb district is getting better