Trust: The missing link in DeKalb County Schools

Below is a guest opinion post sent to us by the blogger formerly known as Cerebration.

stephenMRcovey-DeKalb-School-Watch I just had the good fortune of attending a conference where Stephen M. R. Covey (Stephen R. Covey’s son) was a guest speaker. You all may be familiar with Stephen R. Covey (the father) and his ‘Big Rocks’ and 7 Habits. Those are excellent tools for management. The example goes: If you have a pile of big rocks, stones, pebbles and sand and need to put them all in a jar, they will only fit it you put the big rocks in first, then sprinkle the pebbles over them and pour the sand on top, allowing it to cover and envelope the rocks and pebbles. Figure out what your big rocks are and make them your focus. Everything else is a small stone, a pebble or sand and serves to support and protect the big rocks. It’s a great way to stay focused and as Covey says, put “first things first”.

Add to this the good old 7 Habits of Effective People: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw. Of those, synergize is the one that could have the most impact on our schools. Covey defines synergize as “Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.” We can and should be doing this in our schools. Teachers thrive on this kind of synergy.

According to Wikipedia, “Covey coined the idea of abundance mentality or abundance mindset, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation (see zero-sum game). Individuals with an abundance mentality reject the notion of zero-sum games and are able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.”

We have always maintained that DeKalb schools operate on a scarcity mentality. This is a really, really big problem at its core.

Now comes Stephen M.R. Covey and his 13 behaviors of high trust from leaders. Low trust is a very expensive endeavor. High trust organizations are much more effective and actually make (or save) money. DeKalb schools is paying an enormous price for its low trust management style. This video gives the details on the costs of low trust in business (which is completely relevant to school systems):


 

How do good managers establish trust? How do the best leaders build trust?

The 13 Behaviors of High-Trust Leaders

*Talk Straight

*Demonstrate Respect

*Create Transparency

*Right Wrongs

*Show Loyalty

*Deliver Results

*Get Better

*Confront Reality

*Clarify Expectations

*Practice Accountability

*Listen First

*Keep Commitments

*Extend Trust

Trust is an amazingly powerful management tool. Fortune 100 companies are taking this very seriously. Trust is at the core of effective production. It is measurable. It makes an organization lean. Trust breeds results. Employees thrive on trust and they rise to the challenge. Trust allows for speed of action, speed of response time and speed of results. When employees are given all the necessary tools and training and are then empowered with trust to make good decisions, things start to happen. Gears move. Time is saved. Money is saved.

Randall Stephenson, Chairman of AT&T said, “Trust helps you move more quickly. It increases your speed. When it’s absent, you can see it… more checks, controls and processes. That’s bureaucracy!”

The first job of any leader is to inspire trust. Covey says, “Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Both dimensions are vital.”

How did DeKalb schools get to this low level of trust? First and foremost, the issues begin in human resources. There is a very low level of trust up and down this chain. Everyone – and I mean everyone – knows that DeKalb is a Friends and Family operation in which many of the upper levels in the chain of command are hired due to who they know – and therefore who they will protect. It is an insulating management style and occurs when those at the top are not competent at their job – often not nearly as qualified as some who may have applied, yet were never even granted an interview. Or worse, could not apply because the job was not officially posted – the way in which our former board hired Mr. Thurmond himself.

Mr. Thurmond is a politician. He is engaging, personable and at times downright funny as he was at a recent speech on “school board governance,” given at the University of Georgia. He is a great storyteller and a wonderful spokesperson. But he is not a competent educational leader who breeds institutional trust up and down the chain and can build back the trust of the community. That kind of leader has to understand the challenges of those in the trenches — and competently lead them.

Although Mr. Thurmond publicly states that he is working hard to “restore trust”, he is not taking the required actions to build back that trust – beginning with the first action, which is to extend trust, mainly to principals, teachers, staff and parents who have been working hard in this system for a very long time.

However, as Covey states, one does not extend trust to those who are not competent and who lack character. Therefore, the first order of business is to conduct true searches for the best and brightest to lead the areas of HR, Finance, and Curriculum. Thurmond did replace the finance chief, however, he threw the former CFO under the bus in the process – and the public is keenly aware of it. That does not breed trust – with the super or the new CFO. A full forensic audit is the only action that would build back public trust in the area of finance.

In truth, in order for this system to function at an optimum level and speed of trust, the main necessary action involves a search for a highly-qualified and skilled superintendent, a search that was promised to us by Michael Thurmond in his first days on the job — and a promise that has since been broken. This broken trust continues on down the chain, instilling fear upon fear – especially at the principal level – the most important job in the system.

In fact, Dr. Morcease Beasely, our newest director of curriculum (his latest of many titles since being hired by his relative, our former superintendent, Johnny Brown) – actually called out principals at a recent south DeKalb community meeting and essentially publicly placed the blame on them for poor student results. This is breaking the cardinal rule of trust: Always discuss the need for personal improvement in private. Only offer praise in public.

That’s enough of a rant for me for today. I just felt inspired by Stephen M.R. Covey and had to share what I had learned, as I found it incredibly relevant to DeKalb County Schools. I don’t think DeKalb County Schools can fully heal unless and until there is trust throughout the system. I am hopeful that you will all take time in the comments to bring your trust issues to the table. The blog moderators will package them and send them to Michael Thurmond and the board. We hope you trust us enough to write with complete candor, comfortable in the knowledge that your anonymity will be protected as always.

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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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24 Responses to Trust: The missing link in DeKalb County Schools

  1. Cerebration says:

    Of course, the post above is simply my own opinion and it’s the only one I will express going forward. I have no plans to return to blogging about DeKalb. I just found Covey’s Trust theory so enlightening. There are many who think Michael Thurmond is the best choice for superintendent, including the current board. I just disagree. I think there is no way to fix what ails this system when the current leadership is in place. There are very few people at the highest levels with much competence. And Thurmond has no plans for change.

    I am also quite appalled that the Governor dismissed the good members of the old board along with the bad. Nancy Jester was the only board member who ever hammered the superintendent about legal fees, a topic I often wrote about on the old blog. Yet she was fired – for a job she was elected to by the people in her district. She raised money, argued in debates, traveled the district talking with constituents, put up yard signs, paid for advertising and finally won a seat on the board. She then did her job. Same for Pam Speaks, and Donna Edler. And they were swept away with the rest of the board, their pictures all over the news as if they did something wrong. They did not, in my opinion. The Governor’s action made me lose trust in the American system of elected representation.

    Even so, it’s interesting to me that it was this old board – the dismissed board who hired Thurmond. If he was such a fantastic choice, how can anyone say the old board was so terrible? The newly elected board members who were not dismissed were actually named in the SACS report, not Nancy, Pam or Donna. But these recently-elected three were allowed to stay. None of it makes any sense and none of it inspires a bit of trust. Further, the new board and new leadership communicate and respond to the public far, far less than the old board. The whole situation is incredibly sad for so many students and their teachers.

    Covey said that leadership trust effects energy and joy. That is so true. We need joyful teachers and principals, who feel trusted by their leaders. We cannot move forward with the lack of trust currently in the system.

    +++

  2. Cerebration says:

    Also, the leadership still lacks a vision and a mission. Short, separate statements that should both fit on a slide together. They are two different things. Click here for some corporate examples.

  3. This is what is stated on the Communications Department’s webpage: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/communications

    Goals

    Support individual schools, the Board of Education, Superintendent and other executive staff in actively communicating Board of Education actions and new education policies and procedures
    Provide timely and accurate responses to requests for information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Georgia Open Records Act
    Build and foster support for DeKalb County Schools among teachers, employees, students, parents, business and faith leaders, community groups and citizens

    Let’s see.
    –We’re not sure if they have supported individual schools but we do know of one situation where they interfered in an outside vendor’s presentation and then demanded a parent take down a tweet on the subject.
    –We have not seen much in the way of communicating Board actions and new policies and procedures
    –We certainly do not get timely responses to FOI requests and in fact, currently have well over 30 requests that have been ignored. Others were responded with requests for thousands of dollars before commencing the ‘research’ (this includes our request for the budget spending on sports programs; a figure we assumed was tracked and could be accessed by a click of a button.
    –We know nothing of their work to foster support among ‘teachers, employees, students, parents, business and faith leaders, community groups and citizens” Perhaps someone can enlighten us?

    25551

  4. Retired DeKalb teacher says:

    Well said…..we need more citizens like you and Nancy! Until then our system will continue to fail our students and teachers. I was there in the ’70s and remember how proud to be part of something so special. When you were SELECTED by the county to be a teacher in this fine system, you were excited for you felt you could made a difference in a child’s life. You either had a Master’s or signed a pledge to complete it within xx time. Things were certainly different then….teaching was exciting! You didn’t teach for a TEST!

  5. You Are Superman says:

    Hello DSW,
    Celebration remains part of the choir as with all who follow and comment on this blog. The truth is that Walker hand-picked Thurman. M. Johnson’s life dream has been manifested in no completion for Board Chair. The new players have no real vested interest in DCSS other than showboating. I personally don’t understand how any of these “leaders” look at themselves in the mirror.
    Most of you will disagree but I don’t see any difference in the “leaderships” of the Republican Tea Party “leadership” agenda at the state and federal levels. Where is the humanity in caring for and supporting those less able? Surely, cutting education budgets, food subsidies for hungry school children and not accepting funding to provide healthcare, demonstrates the challenge of trust within the fiber of this nation as a whole. The country as a whole is being exposed worldwide for its hatred, bigotry, and falsehood in leadership as a “world-power broker”, simply because the country chose a man of multiple colors to lead this nation for eight years. Where is the democracy and why is it only applied to those few with massive wealth. Don’t you realize that if the nation fails we all fail? Don’t you realize that speaking the truth on this blog garners little? Segregation is happening right now but it localized to the very, very rich and everybody else which includes the members and participants of this blog!
    The solution is to stand for righteousness and justice in all things and matters. Fight the good fight which supports inclusion and fairness for all and then we will see progress.
    You are superman!

  6. Cerebration says:

    Having trouble following you Superman. But if you are inferring that I am somehow against democracy and fairness and am for segregation, you are sorely mistaken. Although I’m not from southern sharecroppers, I am from a small farming town in Ohio and waited tables all through college and beyond in order to pay my own college tuition (our family could not afford it). Although, yes, I am white, I never experienced or even saw segregation in my life – we did not have separate water fountains or bathrooms or such. Of course, we had relatively few African-Americans in rural Ohio, but we did have many Hispanic migrant workers and their children were all treated with complete fairness all throughout school. They were also my friends. They all graduated, due to the support of their teachers even though they spent months working in Texas. Today, many of the Hispanic students I went to high school with are very successful business people. I have seen what fairness and inclusion – and a bit of extra support can do and I firmly believe in it.

    I do stand for righteousness and fairness for all and in all things. And I’m not afraid to call out any and all leaders who I don’t feel are doing the same – regardless of their color. But it’s funny that when I call out African-American leaders, I find a big backlash and I’m said to be prejudiced or segregationist. I am neither – I just deal with people as individuals – one at a time. I look for character and integrity and that’s pretty much it.

    This country is not as bigoted and hateful as you propose. There are so many good-hearted, kind, generous and fair Americans – many of whom chat on this blog – and many of whom teach our children. I’m sorry that you seem to have not experienced their friendship. You seem to only see the bad in people. I’m sorry that you have obviously been hurt and have little trust or regard for the people of this country.

    And yes, I completely agree that speaking the truth on a blog garners little. It’s why I gave it up. It was too damaging to my spirit and too time-consuming for naught.

  7. Tweetie says:

    You can feed some people the truth and they’ll still exhale lies because it’s in their blood. What is of God and who loves God craves truth.

  8. howdy1942 says:

    @Cerebration – Thank you for this post! During my 40 years in business, Stephen Covey was, without question, my favorite author. His 7 Habits is simply a must-read – it changed my management style and so positively influenced my work, my performance, my jjob satisfaction and, most importantly, the effectiveness of those I managed.

    All of us need to look carefully at the 13 Behaviors of High-Trust Leaders. I don’t think that there is a single one that has not been violated big-time by those who lead and govern the Dekalb County School System. Just look at some examples – how Dr. Atkinson was hired and subsequently “fired”, how Michael Thurmond was appointed as “interim”, how many “executive sessions” were called by Eugene Walker, the “sham” of an election (4 minutes in duration) that resulted in Melvin Johnson becoming Chair just before the old board was dismissed, the way in which the old board broke its word with our teachers and the new board continues that legacy by fighting the teachers in court, spending SPLOST IV funds for purposes never intended by the taxpayer and then trying to tell taxpayers that their “approval” was implicit within SPLOST, using taxpayer resources to defend an indicted Crawford Lewis for his personal mistakes – the list is really endless! This trust issue is why we need a new school board and new leadership throughout the administration. And this trust issue will remain until the present governance and leadership will confront reality. I can forgive incompetence and mistakes, but this incompetence and these mistakes should remove themselves and allows others to take lead and govern – for the sake of our kids and our people. Until that happens, I will continue to favor alternate solutions, like the Druid Hills Charter Petition, like the proposed efforts of Dunwoody and Brookhaven to have their own schools, and the efforts of Tucker, Lakeside, and Briarcliff to form their own cities and subsequently their own school systems.

    Remember – plan to vote in July 2014 for a completely new school board!

  9. We found some relevant comments on other posts to repost on this thread:

    First, from dekalbmom:
    I live in the Druid Hills cluster and I was inundated with email messages and flyers about the vote so it was definitely not “secret.” The DHCC organization has recently distributed an email that answers many of the questions that have been raised and resolves the misinformation that is circling about a charter cluster. I wish this had been distributed much earlier (and to our highly misinformed board). I think the DHCC org could have done a better job before the vote explaining the state laws regarding who gets to vote about a charter and the funding of charters. (my children have graduated so I didn’t have a vote.)
    David Schutten is simply pandering to get paid members for his organization and I suspect he is going to run for office. It may be true that not many minority residents within the cluster residency area showed up to vote. But a friend taught for years at McClendon Elementary school and said the parents NEVER showed up for parent teacher conferences, PTA or any school functions. So I think Shutten’s and the NAACP’s objections have a very hollow ring.
    I am disappointed that folks (like Jay Cunningham) who do not live in the cluster will expend substantial time and energy trying to derail a novel and innovative approach to public education for thousands of public school students from a very diverse area of the county. The Board wants to spend my tax dollars on parent centers, graduation coaches and canned programs that have done nothing to improve academic performance. Well I want the BOE to spend MY tax dollars on trying something new.

    34 – 5

  10. And from Marney:

    I would also like to add to the prior post the observation that just as top rank superintendent candidates are not likely to present themselves to a school district with our SACS cloud, Bond Rating and financial position, without even knowing what board will be sitting once the Georgia Supreme court rules or after next July’s election, etc…Mid level educational leaders of quality are not likely to present themselves as candidates to replace the people that many on this blog demand be fired en mass and immediately. At this point if Michael Thurmond is to turn from constant pointless apologizing for the past to culling dead wood, empowering those quality schoolhouse staff that remain, and rebuilding a streamlined and truly supportive administrative staff focused on academic success we are going to have to understand that, like Ramona, he is doomed from the get go if interim remains in his job title. Understand that that does not mean that he should stay beyond a one year extension. But as the Atlanta search won’t produce quality candidates until after their election, any search of ours that is not clearly labeled for “corrective interim” can’t really start until after there is a strategic plan, key mid level staff changes and next July’s election and the actual seating of those candidates the following January.

    What is necessary is that whatever board, community, legislative delegation, chamber of commerce, NAACP, and Mayors and county commission that we have writes his goals in such a way that he is empowered and directed to focus and take actions consistent with what a corrective interim is expected to do..i.e..make difficult and radical changes to move the culture to a different set of values and exceptions.

    18 – 1

  11. And from our live comments on a recent board meeting:

    A lady is complaining about bullying by the Redan principal. Oddly, they are letting her go on. She says the admin is stalling. She is publicly requesting a meeting with Thurmond. Says John Evans [NAACP] has tried to contact Thurmond several times but gets no response.

  12. And this was once posted by Jim McMahan – as a candidate for school board – when he talked the talk…

    After my first Edukalb forum at Westwood college, I met with several teachers who had differing views on the cameras in the classrooms. Some were suspect that they would be used against the teachers. Others approved of them and stated that they have nothing to hide and felt that it would improve classroom behavior because their students would be aware of the cameras. I decided to take it off of my website because of the distraction from the more important issues that need to be addressed. We can address classroom discipline in more detail after the election, OK?
    I was at the NAACP Candidate debate this morning at DeKalb Piedmont Technical College off of Memorial Drive.
    The only incumbent that showed up was Dr. Speaks. Let me say that again.
    The only incumbent that showed up was Dr. Speaks.
    It was a candidate forum that had the BOE candidates, county CEO candidates (Burrell Ellis has not shown up for one public event) and county commissioner candidates.
    I had the benefit of asking our county commissioners, “Are you willing to work with our school system and collaborate on a mentor, tutoring, summer jobs program within the county?”
    They all were in agreement to help the school system find solutions to our challenges.
    One long time incumbent commissioner said they would NOT try and collaborate with the existing board due to the infighting and lack of cooperation between the existing board members.
    I told them that would NOT be the case once I am elected to the board. We spoke about public, private partnerships that would help our students achieve and overcome our challenges that have hindered our educational efforts in the past. I was extremely impressed with the openness of the commissioners to create a collaboration between the public school system and our county government. It boggles my mind that this is just now happening but I am glad to be a part of the solution.
    Listen to school board candidates and vote for one that you feel can create a consensus within the board and bridge the communication gap that currently exists.
    I got a feeling that “One DeKalb” can actually exist and work to a better future for us all.

    Is this the type of openess and access to information that you would like from a school board member?

    Jim McMahan
    District 4 DeKalb County School Board Candidate

  13. thedeal2 says:

    Two words: sinking ship. Cerebration, what you wrote is so spot-on, but it is so many light years away from anything the current power set can be. The problem is that they are fully aware that they are fleecing us, but they know the system is set up that they can continue it without repercussions. You have to hand it to them. They found the pot of gold, and they are swimming in it. The rest of us are stuck in houses of depreciating value, no longer due to the national economy but our hyper local economy and as we sit and watch our schools lose the best and brightest teachers to school systems that are a stone’s throw away, pay more, and offer much better leadership and benefits.

    There is no fixing the group we have now. With the county-level corruption and decades and lifetimes of inbreeding in this power set, a new board will not fix what ails this school system. We got a new board, and it didn’t change or help anything. The new board uses proper grammar, stays awake, and knows how to use the microphones, but their actions (and lack of) are just as harmful. Thurmond is a defensive, sneaky politician, and he is laughing all the way to the bank with his quarter of a million dollar salary.

    I’m with Howdy. I will throw all of my support behind DHCC, Tucker, Lakeside City, Dunwoody, and hope that the dismantling of this current system will leave the current pigs at the trough starving.

  14. DeKalbMama says:

    Tweetie, could you please expound upon your comment? Are you implying that the current administrative employees of DCSS are so enmeshed in their lies that they are incapable of speaking or even knowing the truth?

  15. Kim says:

    Cerebration:

    A life-long devotee of the 7 habits, I’m now also a fan of the Leader in Me programs from Covey (http://www.theleaderinme.org/) for our public schools. I’ve been coaxing interest in these leadership principles as a “culture” program overlay for any school as I believe it would improve performance and satisfaction across the board for a school community. Our principal at Woodward has used these principles to drive student, faculty, and parent conduct for the past year with great affect. My own son responded instantly in noticeable ways when leadership concepts were made the core of Woodward culture.

    I completely disagree with you and YouAreSuperman that speaking the truth on this blog is a waste of time. But for this forum in 2009/10, the limited renovations of Cross Keys HS were to be tabled. I know this personally to be true … it … was … not … going … to … happen!

    This fact has already dramatically improved the daily lives of thousands of young people in our community and will continue to do so for thousands more for years to come. “Garners little?”

    While it is more difficult to see in terms of impact on system governance, I have to disagree even at this level. For while you may not have seen the exact changes or the extent of changes you may wish for, this blog has had a major impact on the narrative in DeKalb and how leaders interact with the public. Yes, we can agree that we are far from where we need to go but I, for one, will say this blog and the good people engaged in a fair dialog about public education here are making things change for the better.

    Even if these things weren’t true, we must never tire of speaking the truth or doing the common sense, right things. God bless DCSW and your role in its existence as a force for good!

    “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” -Vaclav Havel

  16. howdy1942 says:

    Another comment regarding the trust issue – when Thurmond was appointed as interim superintendent, it was for one year. I attended at least two of his meetings wherein he stated that his tenure was for one year. Implicit in his appointment was that a search process would be undertaken to find a permanent superintendent at which time Thurmond would step down and, assuming that would be within his year interim, it was expected that his one year contract would be honored – he would be bought out. I accepted that. But that’s not what happened. The current board never searched, never looked for any candidates, conducted no interviews, asked for no comments or suggestions from the public, and ignored the desire of the People for a new superintendent with experience in running a school district. For that, I’m very disappointed in this current school board.

    Moreover, this new board has made one bad decision after another. It elected to continue the court fight against our teachers to pay them what was promised if they dropped out of the Social Security System. Had the teachers not done so, this issue would be moot because the DCSS would have been required by law to make matching Social Security payment – the DCSS would have had no option. This whole matter simply involves keeping your commitment to our teachers and doing the right thing. You could go a long way in building some trust if you stopped this court fight and began making arrangements to pay them what you owe them. Second, this board skirted the intentions of the SPLOST IV when it approved the purchase of those new cars for administrators. Clearly, the People don’t interpret SPLOST IV as giving you that latitude. Again, there was an outcry from the public and you simply ignored them. Third, you’ve terribly mistreated our teachers. You’ve forced them to continue to take furlough days while, at the same time, hiring administrators such as that new public relations spokesman for Thurmond. He seems perfectly capable of speaking for himself.

    All of the above are very big trust issues. If you want to restore trust, then you need to start somewhere, but you first need to stop doing the things that lead people not to trust you.

    While I hope that we can elect a new school board that will begin to build trust with the People, I join thedeal2 to express serious doubts. We need change in our schools at all levels of administration or we need to build new, smaller school systems from the ground up. Increasingly, I think that smaller communities that share common values can best elect competent, responsive school board members and can hold a smaller governance and administration more accountable that is possible with the current structure of the DCSS.

  17. concerned citizen says:

    I agree, DeKalbMama! Tweetie, please explain! WOW

  18. Cerebration says:

    Thanks for the reminder Kim. I tend to get beat down by all of the constant public comments telling me I’m wasting my time. You’re right – where Cross Keys was concerned, the blog was not for naught. It actually really did make a difference! So good to be your friend!

  19. concerned citizen says:

    Thanks, Celebration and Kim. Even one school makes all the difference;what if all of our schools were once again functioning? Howdy, I adore your comments, wit, and brains, BUT the only thing I disagree with you about is that Thurmond (AH) is capable of speaking for himself. He does back-over flips spouting edujargon, then front flips “scaffolding” from lie to lie, then speaks so much poor-pitiful share-cropper me, then sends these dummies out in their luxury limos; I am not deceived about his duplicity. . Thurmond IS… very uncool. oh, the Board… stand up, Gov,, Brad Bryant, Gary McGibboney, we know your names, and the rest of the “committee” and admit you were railroaded. and did the school system you worked for a royal xxxx. May all of you, let me never forget MJ, the worst liar and crook ever to grace this school system (he just kept that low profile, soft-talking insanity) and got away with it, )end up with children who need to be educated and children who thought they wanted to teach. We offer: low salary, few benefits, poor resouces, poor/mediocre administrators, lots of superintendents, lots of lies, poor teaching conditions, poor supervision of administrators, even poorer supervisors of supervisors; in short, we have nothing to offer a teacher except tears and heartache. Get out of DeKalb if you have children; teacher anywhere but DeKalb, where teachers have to buy everything themselves. It’s wrong.

  20. dsw2contributor says:

    In response to the comment from ‘You are Superman’ ( “Most of you will disagree but I don’t see any difference in the “leaderships” of the Republican Tea Party “leadership” agenda at the state and federal levels.”) I offer this:

    A defense contractor, a tea partier, and a teacher sit down to a plate of 10 cookies. The defense contractor takes 9, leans over to the tea partier, and says “psst, the teacher is trying to steal your cookie”

  21. Tweetie says:

    It’s just a retweet I picked up from our new communications expert: @portiabgrlmusic

  22. howdy1942 says:

    @concerned citizen – Ah! Thank you for your comment. Perhaps I should say that Thurmond can “talk” for himself. {:-) My point is that we should not have to pay someone such a high salary to speak for him, to interpret what he says, to run interference for him, or to explain what he said, or to defend him, or to tell us “what he really said was ….”, or to keep him straight (if that is possible!). Thanks for pointing out my misstatement.

  23. concerned citizen says:

    Dear Intelligent, Kind Howdy – I never meant to be in any way critical of you, at all! I was kidding with you but deadly in earnest about Thurmond’s lack of character. I apologize to you personally and professionally; I am a huge fan of yours! With deepest respect –.

  24. concerned citizen says:

    Can we get a board not-from-hell by public election? You know, the more I think about this school system, I think we are cooked. This dreadful supt (AH) and his minions are reeking havoc every minute of every day. I see no solution; maybe three generations from now, things will sort out one way or another or not, then, again, maybe not. Is all this wasting gone to making dust? Hamlet, I believe., at his most disgusted. Are any of you there or is it really just me?

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