A Sunday morning textbook chat

bookworm2A while back we were having a very important and detailed discussion about missing and mangled textbooks on a post entitled, “The textbook mystery continues… and gets even weirder“. Students seem to be short on them. The “Pilot textbook program” our former superintendent, Dr. Atkinson implemented was halted by the new leadership. (Could this be where Thurmond came up with some of his millions in extra savings?) We never heard any more discussion and our questions were never answered as it got buried in the extraneous turmoil that followed. But we are still very concerned about textbooks, and parents being heard and teachers being supported – especially in light of the fact that teachers are in a legal battle with school leadership and the board over their abruptly halted matching pension contributions. Halting payments and programs seems to be the order of the day in DeKalb schools–at least halting the things sorely needed by teachers and students in order for learning to occur.  The new car purchases for administrators seemed to breeze right through.

At any rate, below is a repeat of our opinion on the issue from the comments of that earlier post:

Apparently there is a really big disconnect (probably caused by very little communication) between what is going on in the classroom according to these latest teacher comments and what parents think is going on in the classroom. What Sarah asked for was completely within reason and represents what many parents would like to know. What in the heck is this Textbook Pilot Progam? It’s reasonable for parents to ask this. It’s too bad these administrators couldn’t make a presentation to enlighten everyone and get everyone on the same page of understanding how and why learning in DeKalb is occurring in the ’21st’ century. If it’s that big of a change, it should have been explained. (Gee, how about a DCSS blog?!!) That said, it is interesting that colleges all still use textbooks. Very expensive ones at that…

On another note, when administrators and teachers ask for parental involvement, how exactly do they see that? I think parents see it as tutoring, teaching and reinforcing the actual lessons being taught, thus the desire for a textbook or some kind of online access to the text. It’s not about baking brownies and making copies anymore. Are teachers thinking of some other kind of ‘partnership’? What do teachers see as parents roles in the children’s education? Are teachers really ok with having to cobble together their own resources or would you really like to have a curriculum and textbook to follow? What’s this about the new way to teach is to teach students how to research? I do applaud that, as research/deduction skills seem to be severely lacking in young people today. However, don’t you also need some kind of knowledge base from which to make informed conclusions? You do need to know what is true when you go out on the internet to do research.

Teachers, weigh in please… and parents too. Let’s try to find a common ground.

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54 Responses to A Sunday morning textbook chat

  1. teachermom says:

    Our textbooks have finally trickled in. We got our math book last week. We do not send them home. We can only use them as “resources” because they were not synced with the common core. There is still no true curriculum, only pacing charts and unit plans and scattered resources. So teachers continue to cobble common core resources together, with the favorite resources being online via Pinterest and TeachersPayTeachers. Planning is a nightmare. Elementary is in the middle of a brutal testing cycle, with test after test being administered. Leaving little time for teaching. I don’t know about a textbook pilot program.

    As for parental involvement; yes. However, Thurmond makes it sound like the school can somehow make the parents of economically disadvantaged students become more involved. This can be done to some extent but I don’t think it should be his major platform. He is barking up the WRONG tree. His focus statement should be something like “I am going to clean up this mess and make good choices for a strong organization that can provide the resources, teachers, and facilities to carry out our only purpose: to educate the children of Dekalb County.” the end.

    What parents really can do to help is support teachers. Your child spends many hours a day in school with her or him. Many good teachers are leaving because of the poor job culture, both monetarily and environmentally, that DCCS is becoming known for. Make administration accountable for the money you give them and speak out by voting and going to board meetings. In other words, keep it up!

  2. H.A. Hurley says:

    Textbook Pilot Program ~ Silence has been deafening in DCSS?
    Nothing has changed and I am assuming the original Tucker HS administrative Blitzkrieg to administer books immediately, then HALT the Books4Home Pilot Program, talk kids out of books pilot program, fizzled a day later. S.I.L.E.N.C.E.
    Yes, books are needed. Computers are either nonexistent or were just activated in my grandchild’s 5th grade class. Just a week ago!
    Speaking of ‘teaching’ kids to do research projects: let me pick myself off the floor….my grand was given a packet with double side pages,10 of them, and parents had to read and sign. Agreeing to DO THE ASSIGNMENT WITH THEIR CHILD AT HOME. Timelines for part of the project were done in class. This project has so much complexity: research, writing a paper, display board, pictures, notecards, bibliography……. 5th Grade? This is the insanity of Bill Gates’ Common Core Standards. Rigor, they call it. I call it: Parents repeating 5th Grade Program.

    DCSS is using Common Core because all they saw were $$$$$ for RTTT. However, the strings attached to CCSS are creating such insanity. Wait until the teacher evaluation components kick in. We will lose more wonderful teachers. All about the $$$. Test scores are already in the toilet. According to RTTT, the teachers will be faulted for that. No discussion! It’s a MESS!

    DCSS chose to limit text books, limited access to any supplemental materials, access to technology and Internet, provide no skilled instructional support, …well, you know the rest. Since our county is around 70% F/R Lunch, the teachers in low scoring schools will be targeted first with evaluations and possible firings. Read the National literature related to RTTT.

    Back to the books and instruction. This grandmother is going to TEACH our grand how to research and produce a paper, requirements equivalent to a 9th grade paper. Rigor, my a**! Parent involvement? I spent 40 years in education and I resent the demands placed on parents and grandparents. We should assist not be asked to teach all skills, which are not age or grade appropriate. What are we doing, people. Breathe! This is the RTTT insanity everywhere. Don’t get me started on the massive amount of testing. Losing valuable instructional days & days. That’s why we have to teach at home. Now, back to the Textbook Pilot Program….there are no texts!!!

    What about our kids who live in POVERTY (70%) and ELL and SWD (Students w/Disability)? What are their options with RTTT? Oh, wait….it’s their teachers’ fault.
    DCSS is p***ing away $M of dollars and very little $ funnels to the kids and their teachers.
    The deck is stacked against them, and the SuperThurmond and BOE are falling asleep at the switch. Time is ticking!
    Happy Sunday! My blood is boiling without my morning cup of coffee.

  3. TracyW says:

    No one is talking about the county not contributing to the teacher retirement. Why the silence? If I understand this correctly, it is as if your private employer stopped sending their 1/2 of your Social Security into the SSA. Is this not what has happened?

  4. acheolus says:

    In my classroom, we have dealt with limited rescources by using as much instructional technology as possible. I apply for grants to outfit my room with the necessary equipment, research new websites and teaching tools, and communicate our lesson plans, progress, and materials through a weekly parent newsletter. We have an online classroom which we use for supplementary projects (and I have alternatives for those without home internet access), and things are progressing nicely. We have no textbook in the traditional sense, as none accurately contains the information we need for SLO testing. Instead, I use a combination of lecture, handouts, and instructional technology to get things done. I’ve tried sharing our websites and materials with others with limited success.

    Ultimately, it comes down to what a teacher expects in their classroom. If their idea of a job is going to a place each day and working for a set amount of time before going home, then it doesn’t matter how much money or books you throw at them. As parents, you should be privided with enough information to be aware of the product you are purchasing with your property taxes. You should know what is going on in your child’s classroom (the teacher’s philosophy of education, their goals and objectives, and the roadmap they will use to get your child to succeed). That information should be sent to you frequently enough that you are able to be a part of the process by interacting with your child at home and hold them accountable for their study.

    I see teachers and parents as partners in education in the sense that the teacher is providing a means for your child to find their way to a happy and productive life while at school, and the parent as doing the same at home. Each helps the other with behavioral traits, study habits, skill building, exposure to new ways of thinking, and access to information.

  5. Still Waters says:

    The truth needs to be told. For all intensive purposes DCSS has no functional curriculum. We have been given “resources”, as guides in which we are to use to plan for instruction. These resources are limited in scope and detail. Basically, each teacher has been given a new title of curriculum developer. When teachers point out these limits we are reminded that this a new era in education and we need to address these changes in our instruction and planning. Many teacher spend hours just trying to find resources in which to teach the newly created unit plans. These unit plans are not aligned to any current text books.
    They often talk about the need to integrate technology into our instruction, yet student computers are scarce in many schools. Millions of dollars have been spent in order for schools to become wireless, yet they” forgot” to purchase the technology to use this function.
    Many of us have held in there despite the blatant disregard for our current financial situations, as well as our future financial situations. Enough is enough; you can only kick a dog so many times before she fights back. Many have fought back; some have left and others are planning to leave. I belong to the group that is planning to leave. I will make this move in order to save my spirit, my sanity, and my love and joy for teaching children.

  6. Dekalb’s tenth grade literature textbooks are not world literature textbooks. Tenth grade English content focuses on world literature. Many teachers have to supplement the textbooks with readings from world literature.

  7. All literature textbook editions are also more than ten years old. I assume the texbook warehouse has unused extra textbooks that were bought when these books were adopted, or they just shuffled them around among the schools, or the publisher may still sell 10-year-old un-used editions to the District for full price 😉 Some textbooks are in terrible shape, with long lists of students’ names on the inside covers, while some are new and have never been issued.

    Good teachers, though, never seem to depend on or be bound by the organization and content of textbooks. A textbook is only one of many tools that a good teacher uses.

  8. Correct that: The textbooks are eight years old.

  9. Teachingmom says:

    @acheolus
    Well good for you. I don’t know any teachers who are just showing up and expecting things to be handed to them on a silver platter. I am a professional and will only work so many hours a week for free. It is not my job to create curriculum (enhance, supplement and differentiate it, yes) and it takes away from the energy I need to actually plan for and deliver instruction to my students. Also, if everyone is creating their own, it kind of takes the COMMON out of common core.

  10. H.A. Hurley says:

    Teachingmom~ fully agree!
    All I hear in DCSS is that textbooks are only used as a supplement to the teaching process. If there is limited access to technology, printing, CCSS info, along with lack of supplies….how is this different than many 3rd world countries. When CCSS is part of the requirements to RTTT $$$ and little is synchronized and coordinated, then every teacher has to literally invent every lesson. Teachermom stated it correctly and the county needs to listen. Kids are being tested over CCSS related skills, and teacher are evaluated on increased achievement test scores. Right now, there is little difference between receiving a Mish-Mash of grade level materials and donated books.
    We cannot expect teachers to spend extra hours to reinvent the content. Why? County spends $M on cars, attorneys, publicists, PR folks, communications specialists, GoldenParachute$ for Shyster Supers.
    We need to stand up and stand behind the teachers who are doing their best as the administrators are putting lipstick on a pig. SuperThurmond, you are not fooling anyone!

  11. Thank You Still Waters. We had this suspicion. In fact, I have suspected this for years. We’ve never really been able to access a DeKalb curriculum. Other school systems post their curriculum online and you can review it. But whenever we asked for DeKalb’s we were simply referred to the state’s website. I think they think that their methodology is either ‘normal’ or ‘technologically advanced’…. it is neither. Please – leaders of DeKalb – visit other states – successful ones – take a look at their very structured, logical, flowing curricula. Then just ask if you can buy one to use. Please stop trying to do this yourselves.

  12. H.A. Hurley says:

    Still Waters~
    Any educator who has worked in systems where teachers, administrators, along with the BOE have knowledge of what needs to be accomplished, hire excellent educators and let them do their job, understands that the top administrators need to listen to everyone and read the research in order to provide everything necessary to get the job done.
    Parents, realtors, businesses – all settle in school systems that accomplish all of this. DCSS is so far off track, keeps surrounding itself with some of the most incompetent people and still brag that they know what they are doing.
    I have interviewed hundreds of educators, hired many, throughout my long career – never in a million years would I have hired the people who bring our system down.

    Give us another couple of years and the wheels will come off. The teachers who comment on this blog will be gone. Inventing absolutely everything from scratch without the tools is INSANE, and the dumbest way to teach. Yet, we hope that we are educating our children and retaining our teachers.
    Stupid is as stupid does!
    There is no one in the Palace to talk to who has any sense or authority to influence changes.

  13. Concerned Dekalb teacher says:

    Once again the administrators are giving the kids and teachers the shaft. What else is new? Dekalb isn’t the only one though. My kid is in Gwinnett and they don’t even issue books in certain classes unless you tell them you don’t have the internet. I still like a good textbook!

  14. howdy1942 says:

    @Concerned Dekalb Teacher – I am with you! I cannot imagine a class without either a textbook or online equivalent. There must be some standard. Following 30 years in business, I spent 12 years teaching in a private college with multiple locations. Each course had written Learning Objectives, a syllabus with assignments synchronized to learning objectives, a selected textbook (or online equivalent) along with student resources, outlines of each chapter, and a number of recommended quizzes and tests for each chapter. Yes, this was college and students typically purchased their resources including textbooks. To this day, I continue to refer to selected texts for answer questions that arise today, especially those regarding the current economic issues. Standard resources for the basis for structured learning.

    I try to make things as simple as I can for my own benefit, if for no other reason. I cannot imagine a teacher being required to develop his/her own resources, handouts, course materials, etc. More than likely, one teacher’s selections would be very different from another’s. Then my next question is how on earth do we insure common achievements across a wide population?

    If the materials for the Common Core are not ready for prime time and if they cannot be acquired in a competitive market, then let’s try to get there through existing mechanisms. I have no strong opinion regarding the Common Core, but our nation is falling woefully behind in educating our youth. I’m told today the 3 students in 4 enrolling in our colleges and universities must enroll in remedial courses. I’m told by some lawyer friends (yes, I still have some of those) that their firms are paying for new lawyers to take courses to develop their writing skills. Our 12th graders rank in the lowest 10% in math globally, American Colleges and Universities award 70,000 engineering undergraduate degrees each year compared with 600,000 in China and 350,000 in India. These same institutions each year award 25% of PhDs in technology to Chinese and 35% to other foreign nationals. The primary reason for these results is inadequate preparation in secondary schools. I was struck by one comment I recently read in Business Week citing that students graduating from high school today know how to use computers, but they can’t do basic arithmetic problems without resorting to calculators and computers. (I must admit that I haven’t had to manually take a square root lately).

    That’s what I mean when I say that we need to get the focus back on recruiting and retaining motivated teachers in the classroom that would, in turn, set a motivational fire under their students. We must return the focus to providing the resources that our students and teachers need in the classroom. And we should award bonuses to our very best teachers to serve in schools where the greatest learning challenges exist. When I look at the agendas of the School Board and listen to the items presented as well as to the superintendent, I get the sense that our current focus and priority is on everything but the classroom, teachers, and students. We are worried about purchasing cars, about de-motivating our teachers by making them the first place to cut spending, about paying lawyers to provide “governance plans” and resolving disputes that should have been resolved far short of the courtroom, about paying consultants to deliver new strategic plans, about having to continuously prepare responses to accrediting agencies to address shortcomings, to pay for recruiting boondoggles to places such as Chicago and Detroit when candidates are located within our own communities, constantly paying administrators severance packages to leave and paying other administrators extraordinary salaries far above those in our community. I strongly believe that we can return our school system to greatness that so many of us remember, but I am also convinced that we need a new School Board and a new superintendent to do that.

  15. September says:

    @ H A Hurley

    “Speaking of ‘teaching’ kids to do research projects: let me pick myself off the floor….my grand was given a packet with double side pages,10 of them, and parents had to read and sign. Agreeing to DO THE ASSIGNMENT WITH THEIR CHILD AT HOME. Timelines for part of the project were done in class. This project has so much complexity: research, writing a paper, display board, pictures, notecards, bibliography……. 5th Grade? ”

    I agree. This is a demanding assignment. When I assigned projects like this, they were done in small segments over several weeks. I graded each piece of the project, not just the final product. The parts included writing a research question, choosing sources, making note cards, etc. While it seems difficult for a 5th grader, guiding a child through such a project is really a good thing. It will get her a learning experience that will carry her through the rest of her school career.

    Part of the problem is that the school system has severely undermined the strong library media programs that once existed in DeKalb. Research is a process. Google “The Big 6” and you will see what I mean. Our school library media specialists are trained to work with teachers and students on projects like this. Unfortunately, the trained library clerks that were riffed a year and a half ago diminished the effectiveness of our teacher librarians and our media programs. That clerk’s job was to take care of routine library tasks so that the media specialist had time to plan with teachers and work with students. It is the media specialist’s job to be sure that the resources in the collection, print and non-print, are up-to-date and support the curriculum. The media specialist supports classroom instruction. You have to know what is happening in the classroom to do a good job of this.

    DeKalb is moving toward online assessments. The students have taken SLOs and Benchmarks on computers this year. In overcrowded elementary schools with subpar computer technology this necessitates the closing of our media centers so that the students can take the tests on library computers. In some schools the media center is used for testing because the computer lab can’t accommodate all of the classes during the testing window.

    If students can’t get to the school media center to do the required research project, then parents must help their child at home using the family computer or by taking their child to the public library. It is unfortunate that parents have been asked to take on this overwhelming task. This project should be done in partnership with the student, parent, classroom teacher and school library media specialist. I will also tell you that our public libraries are ready and willing to help. Don’t hesitate to ask.

  16. @September: You couldn’t be more correct. I completely see your point and as a parent, experienced the exact same frustration. Teachers do not have time to teach, as they are beholden to tests and assessments – as well as other nonsense that goes on in the building during the school day. This is why children of highly involved parents do so well – they are lucky enough to have parents who essentially home-school them after a full day at school.

  17. Weary worker says:

    If you thought there was cheating before it’s going to worse when the teacher assessments go into full force. It will not only be on tests but on the paperwork indicating who is actually responsible for failing and lagging students. Uncles and cousins and sorority sisters will come in bend the rules and burn paper trails so no one gets fired and friends and family get the raises they deserve.

  18. sameoldsameold says:

    @ HA Hurley:
    What you are describing is the social science project that has been around for decades. It is state sponsored and starts in fifth grade. When done properly, its an amazing way for kids to learn how to research a topic and report findings. The projects used to be displayed in malls. This has absolutely nothing to do with, common core, although it aligns with the use of informational text and critical thinking skills required by CCGPS.

  19. Participating in Social Security could very well be the best solution for DeKalb.

    Check out the Barnes Law Group website for updates on the case:
    http://www.barneslawgroup.com/DeKalbTeacherTSAPlan.aspx

  20. @sameold: You have a point, but sadly, it’s only an ‘amazing’ learning experience for students with parents willing and able to lead and teach them. Teachers don’t do very much on this. For example, my child did a mandatory science fair project in ninth grade with absolutely no help or input from the teacher. In fact, she directed them to random websites for instructions. All that (PhD level) teacher did was grade what the kids turned in. Needless to say, students with parents who are scientists did very, very well.

  21. H.A. Hurley says:

    Sameoldsameold ~
    It has been around, as the poorest xerox copies ever, indicate. I thought that old worn out Ditto Masters were bad, but these copies are so illegible.
    I am sure that DCSS has had parents teach this for years. Projects assigned and taught at home have been around for years and are such a bad idea, especially, if there are thousands of kids who have no access to Internet, books, school libraries, neighborhood libraries (close @ 5:00 with no research materials) or parents with skills to assist. Displays look great from kids like ours where we have resources, time and skills. Think about it, so little learning occurs during this time for many kids. They lose close to 30,40,50 days to CCSS testing. Lost! No Learning! Can we really afford to waste any more time? Or, shove more activities in the directions of parents? Most are working!!!

    Always thought it would be a needed service for a Project Store where parents drop off their child, teachers run the place, stocked with EVERYTHING needed for the Mother of All Projects, and the kid is taught & assisted to complete the project. Fee is determined by the hours and materials.
    Could save the American Family!? Projects-R-Us? Projects are a way to display and make the system look good. Lots of form and very little substance. Fun? Not really, because it is too much stress after school and on weekends. Plus, tons of homework each day.

    The librarians in schools used to make materials available. Now, the books are so few and OLD and useless. I worked in a system where curriculum tech specialists researched links and proper materials for teachers. Wow, you talk about working Smart! It worked like a charm and teachers did not have to spend hours to reinvent the wheel. But, way too smart for DCSS. Their computers are still not working in the classrooms.

  22. H.A. Hurley says:

    DCSW2~
    Social Security: I found out that I was not eligible, as a retired educator, to receive SS. I had paid in for several years, my husband had paid in for 40 years and is receiving SS, but I was not eligible. True! I ran into a dead end because our positions, under current regs, excludes us from SS Benefits.
    Would love to hear if there are changes. Could use the $.

  23. dekalbteacher says:

    Because I like teaching and learning, I seek out my own professional development adn spend much of my own time generating lessons. That’s ok. What isn’t acceptable is the amount of work Dekalb county has outsourced to us teachers with no monetary compensation and shoddy, unreliable resources.

    How can parents help?
    1. Ask our edu-leaders about the strategic plan for increasing class sizes and work loads while eliminating all work days. How, specifically, have they determined that “planning periods” give teachers enough time to create lessons, copy materials, differentiate instruction, grade and analyze assessments, and communicate with parents? Please realize that benchmarks and SLOs have been used only since our work days were eliminated, and the “hands off approach” of administrators in less egregious (but no less harmful to the educational climate of the classroom) disciplinary matters has also consumed “planning.”

    2. Ask our edu-leaders about Dekalb’s technology capabilities and how these are impacting instruction and Dekalb’s mission. Our school had limited or not network connections last week, so
    many teachers couldn’t access the internet for instruction, couldn’t access first class to communicate with students or colleagues or parents, couldn’t post attendance or grades.

  24. Sam says:

    If you are going to hold the district responsible for providing textbooks to every student in a timely manner, you have to also hold the students and ultimately the parents responsible for books and resources that the students damage or loss and do not pay for.

    Trust me, each semester there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in damaged books that can not be reused by other students which effects the needs for the following semester, the next school year and so and so forth. Its an endless cycle.

    If parents paid for half of the damaged/lost books their children are responsible for, you would see a vast improvement in the quantity and quality of materials available.

    In regards to the age of some of the materials, by the time a new textbook adoption rolls around, to adequately provide each student and teacher with the appropriate revised materials, you are looking at budgets for a new adoption in excess of $10 million. You can’t hardly pay the type of overhead DCSD is/was paying ‘upper level’ administrators AND provide textbooks and a sound curriculum.

  25. HA Hurley says:

    Sam ~ AND?
    Schools and school systems have been dealing with this for years. Teaching kids responsibility and holding parents responsible is achieved by GIVING them responsibility.
    I remember one system giving teachers book binding tape at the end of a school year and kids would help take books before they fell apart. Worked quite well. Regular maintenance…it works.
    DCSS solution: keep books and materials away from kids and teachers. How’s it working for us? Look at our achievement scores. I bet if we gave kids dice with A.B.C.D. on them and told them to roll dice for standardized tests, they might actually do better.
    DCSS provides so little, but expects to shine. I’m having what they’re having!?
    Our education is at a huge risk and we are not doing anything different. Can’t expect changes.

  26. Sam says:

    HA Hurley-

    I agree with your comment but its not about keeping materials away from the staff and students, its about accountability across the board.

    For a school system, you would think providing adequate materials is a no brainer, but on top of the money wasted in lawsuits and the considerable amount of salaries that are paid out on a monthly basis, educational materials fall to the bottom of the priority list.

  27. Well, we do have to admit that sometimes, some DeKalb parents are not all that ‘respectable’…

    Read on >>>

    Georgia man sentenced for instigating school fight
    Posted: Oct 14, 2013 6:22 PM EDT Updated: Oct 14, 2013 6:26 PM EDT

    DECATUR, Ga. (AP) – A man who was recorded encouraging his 12-year-old daughter to fight a 14-year-old girl in a video that was uploaded to YouTube has been sentenced to 24 months in jail.

    DeKalb County Solicitor’s spokeswoman Terri Clark says 45-year-old Timothy Taylor pleaded guilty Monday to simple battery, reckless conduct and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    Clark says Taylor is ordered to serve 60 days of his sentence in jail, participate in 200 hours of community service and attend parenting classes.

    Authorities say Taylor drove his daughter to a Clarkston bus stop to have her fight a Tucker Middle School classmate.

    He was recorded encouraging his daughter to fight and telling other students not to intervene. The girl’s mother was also present for the fight, but her charges were dropped.

    http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/23688740/georgia-man-sentenced-for-instigating-school-fight

    +++

    This happened at Tucker MS >> Tucker HS was the place a big fight broke out and Dr. Walker’s son, a resource officer at the school was severely injured when he tried to intervene.

    Tucker schools need to do a sweep of enrollment. We are told that there are many, many students attending these schools who are not even residents of DeKalb – many come from just over the line in Gwinnett. Check residency people. (However, we ‘think’ they don’t because it would effect our FTE count – and thus our budget…)

  28. Insider says:

    One major reason why colleges still use “big, expensive” textbooks is that a great number of them are written by professors who require their use in their classes.

  29. H.A. Hurley says:

    Most Universities require publications and research.Scholarly expectations.
    We are referring to printed textbooks as if they are something as ancient as the Gutenberg Press product. We can’t read everything on a smart phone, iPad or 13″ computer. Books are OK. They are GREAT and important. We are all beginning to drink the cool aid of saving $M on textbooks.
    School systems like DCSS are so far off the mark and out of touch that we should make text available. All we have left, even if ripped and old. We truly have NOTHING ELSE! Think about it.

    My granddaughter has a teacher who dabbles at inventing her own curriculum, with little success. If our little one did not bring the textbook home, with our persistence, we would have NOTHING to work with. Outrageous nonsense and incompetence. Unless you are in the classroom, listening to the lesson, the info coming home does not make sense. How many young children, and older students, can recall all this disconnected info.
    DCSS is more than frustrating and the best example of how not to do!

  30. hopespringseternal says:

    @Hurley, I agree 100%. I can’t say that I understand this jumbled mix of curriculum designing on the fly and in the classroom, but at the very least we have to buttress what is taught in the classroom with something we can do at home to reinforce. I’m shocked each day that I have virtually nothing in my parent toolkit to help with the classroom exposure, yet the student is expected to magically absorb it all. And that’s why the two-fold question was posed in this post — what ABOUT the textbooks and what ABOUT parental involvement and what it looks like?

  31. H.A. Hurley says:

    Teachers designing absolutely EVERYTHING ON THE FLY is another name for DCSS Let’sNotSoend$OnKidsPilotProgram!
    RTTT and CCSS also forced many systems into spending $M on Pearson Testing and Pearson Curriculum materials, if they wanted their kids to yield higher achievement scores. DCSS took the RTTT$, sent principals to PhD school, bought iPads for administrators, and p****d away mor $M. But, left the teachers with nothing and kids with nothing. It does look impressive when one spots a shiny new White DCSS car in the pothole filled school parking lots. I bet that most DCSS administrators who venture into the schools can probably not even access their laptops in most schools, because they are not wireless or only have a couple of hotspots. Pathetic!
    Saving $$ on teaching and children guarantees continued low achievement and exiting teachers and children of families with $ options. Common Core objectives without materials. books and Internet access, printers, copiers and home access for children is …..utter Nonsense!

  32. hopespringseternal says:

    @DSW re: your post above: it comes down to a question of values and morals. I don’t know how our society as a whole went so far off the values and morals track, but we did. And a lack of values and morals generally means a deficit with parental involvement in the education process. Notice I didn’t say parental involvement in the schools. If my son plays football or lacrosse or if he’s on the debate team and I’m front and center at booster club meetings, that alone doesn’t make me an involved parent.

    Do we even have any debate teams in this system? How many high schools have school newspapers?

  33. @Sam: BTW, the staff is supposed to track the textbooks – AND – charge students/parents for damages. If that’s not happening, then that’s just another indication of dysfunction and a lack of discipline. Students need to be held to some kind of level of responsibility and some kind of level of decorum in class should be expected.

  34. Sam says:

    @dekalbschoolwatch

    The tracking of the materials is half of the battle. You can track the books all you want, but when the books are lost or damaged and the county attempts to hold the parents responsible, more often than not, the parents do not have the money to pay for the books.

    At the end of each semester you have a warehouse full of materials that have been damaged beyond repair and there are no funds available to replace them. As a result, every semester there is a scramble to find materials being hoarded by other schools (mostly in North DeKalb) to provide to South DeKalb.

    It is not the teacher’s responsibility to take care of the materials.

  35. concernedmome30329 says:

    Lakeside is short over 100 textbooks as of today. You really think N. DeKalb schools are hoarding materials? Show me the evidence please?
    This kind of language isn’t helpful and given that the growth in DeKalb has primarily been at N. and Central DeKalb schools I doubt there is a surplus of materials at those schools.
    Saying things like that distract from the real issue– the overall mismanagement of a school system. Ugh.

  36. That’s interesting Sam. So, the school system has a warehouse full of damaged textbooks and the rest are being hoarded by North DeKalb…

    Right.

    lol

  37. Kim says:

    I can confirm the textbook problem. We have a cache at Cross Keys HS of thousands of textbooks. They are kept in a secret storage area where we also keep the Ark of the Covenant. When the day comes we shall unleash the Ark and the textbooks but only at the end of the Mayan calendar. Wait, no, that was last year.

  38. PSDad says:

    KIM RE: We have a cache at Cross Keys HS of thousands of textbooks. They are kept in a secret storage area where we also keep the Ark of the Covenant.

    You need to reach out to the Chamblee PTA ASAP. Rumor is they have a seperate cache of textbooks that is kept in a secret storage area where they also keep the the 2 original stone tablets containing the 10 commandments. We should combine caches…imagine the possibilities!

    I’m willing to bet that there is another cache of textbooks stored somewhere in Dunwoody. What do you want to bet they’ve got them hidden along with Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna and the first Torah scroll.

  39. Sir Quagmire says:

    What happened to my post ?

  40. ?? Don’t know Sir Q: Please repost. Nothing ever showed up here from you – and I even checked the spam folder.

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