What has happened to this country?

XA wonderful young American was shot down in cold blood last Thursday. Chamblee High School graduate, talented artist and army reservist, Xavier Arnold was walking the new bike trail built around Atlanta by the mayor, taking photos of graffiti art with his girlfriend and another friend. That friend was also shot, but has survived. Xavier’s girlfriend, we’re told, was a top student at Chamblee High School in 2010 and had to witness this horrific event.

My FOX Atlanta reported, “Xavier Arnold’s father spoke out about the senseless violence that claimed the life of his son at a second vigil in as many days held in the Kirkwood neighborhood.

“He had no money on him. He had a cell phone that was broke,” said Arnold. “It’s time to stop. It’s time to galvanize ourselves. It’s time to ‘X’ out crime. We’ve gotta stop this type of stuff.”

The “X” has been a powerful rallying point since Thursday’s incident. Residents said in a vigil held on Friday that it is not just to honor the fallen soldier, but to serve as a reminder that violent crime will not be tolerated in their community.

“I’m going to get an ‘X’ and put it on my lawn, because I feel like, it’s just the right thing to do,” said Kirkwood resident Lori McDaniel.”

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This story broke my heart. This is not the first violent offense to occur to good, young people in DeKalb. We have so much work to do to address the violence, poverty and horrible home situations for so many young people born into American ghettos. The kid who killed Xavier was 14 years old. Certainly his world is bathed in rap music, drugs, violence and the streets. Rap music glorifies and warns us about all of this violence. But the rappers outrageous lyrics and warnings fall on the deaf ears of society. There is outcry about one person from “Duck Dynasty”s ‘feelings’ about homosexuality, yet there is virtually NO outcry over the misogynistic and violent lyrics in rap music.

Did you know that Kirkwood, the neighborhood in which Xavier was shot is mentioned in a rap song by T.I?

“Ride Wit Me” (excepts)
+++
I done told y’all I’ma O.G., never had cold feet
You end up with no teeth, nigga +U Don’t Know Me+
I’ll knock ya off ya feet, put holes in ya until ya clothes leak
Tossed it in the river like I threw away my old heat
You chose to oppose me? Who the fuck you s’posed to be?
Mechanicsville and Summer Hill, Zone 3 that roll wit’ me
No hoes wit’ me, you know all that blow before they sold me?
I’m everything you s’posed to be, boy ain’t no runnin’ over me
Kick it wit’ the +King+ and lemme show you what I mean man
Most these niggaz rappin’ about a block, ain’t never seen Nan
Real niggaz recognize, real niggaz and you ain’t nan
You don’t know how to stab a nigga dead, keep a clean hand
Sell a block for 24, you got’s to 17 gram
From Eastside niggaz and Kirkwood and Little Vietnam
These 26’s keep the attention of bitches
Come and ride wit’ me pimpin’, lemme show you how we get it

I’m no rap lyric specialist, but the lyrics website ‘rapgenius.com‘ tells us that T.I. claims he is O.G. – ‘Original Gangsta’ – he is very sure of himself and has never been without confidence. He has never had ‘cold feet’ and shows it by saying that he can shoot holes in you and toss your body in the river along with the gun with no fear. He is from West Atlanta and knows his neighborhoods and he knows how to make money there, from the sale of drugs, that he ‘flips’ for a profit after buying bricks of drugs like cocaine from people who live in Eastside communities like Kirkwood or East Lake Meadows (Little Vietnam).  He says to his listener that he is King, and you are a wannabe. What kind of message does this drum into young people’s minds?

Young people with no love in the home and no education cling to this idea of greatness and try to emulate what they hear in these lyrics. They have no hope, no dreams and no skills. They are often drug users and pushers and blame the rest of society for their bad situation. We are all in danger of being shot down by these over-confident, under-educated, armed young city thugs. The problems they are enduring that so often result in criminal behaviors are wide and deep and cannot be solved only by the schools. These children require so much more than just a good teacher in classrooms of 30 or more. We must address the catastrophic problem of poverty and racism in this country or it will certainly lead to the demise of us all.

The thing is, you have to look past what ‘is’ to ‘why’ it is. This is not a post about rap lyrics – it’s a post about the very difficult lives so many children live and the terrible price some of the rest of us end up paying. The lyrics tell the story of another world, if you listen. A world without love or hope. A world where young people grow into scary, fearless, unfeeling murderers. Just complaining about the situation and expecting those who are down to lift themselves up on their own with the most meager of means and support, won’t make it happen. The situation won’t improve if it goes ignored or if we continue to just be reactive rather than proactive. Really, rap lyrics are simply a societal statement – a cry of outrage – a revolt of the status quo. We simply must become the kind of society that has no room for guns and violence, and room for everyone to be literate, educated, employed, loved and happy. Otherwise, these kinds of crimes will continue to increase – and I don’t know about you, but I like to have freedom to move about – I do not want to live in a fortress in order to feel safe.

Xavier’s father is calling to an end to violence. He wants to “X” it out in honor of Xavier’s memory. An “X” is a good start. Make a statement that you want this violence to end. Place a big “X” somewhere in your environment in honor of Xavier. Then continue to carry on with a commitment to seeking answers to poverty, violence and family distress. This problem is enormous. We simply can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer.

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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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34 Responses to What has happened to this country?

  1. I hope all readers will take this post to heart. That such heartless, cold-blooded individuals are living among us is frightening but a reality. I will be putting up my “X” in my yard this week. I am praying for Xavier’s family.

  2. TracyW says:

    Just stellar lyrics. Poetic, magical, awe inspiring! /sarcasm font
    Let a white person utter one line of this… How long has “black culture” glorified the saggy pantsed drug dealing smart asses? There is obviously no shame in promoting this lifestyle to young blacks, and there should be. TI should wake up and smell the stench that his lyrics promote and put his wealth and fame into promoting self improvement.

  3. The Governor has signed a Juvenile Justice reform bill:
    http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/docs/jjienews5313.pdf

    Eric Holder proposed drug sentencing reforms:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/12/eric-holder-drug-sentences_n_3744717.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    Remember, the U.S. has the most incarcerated people per capita of any country in the world.
    http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2012/us-incarceration.aspx
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/13/incarceration-rate-per-capita_n_3745291.html

    And of all the states, Georgia ranks 8th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_incarceration_rate

    In the South, where incarceration rates have been historically high, the rate is almost double the rate in the Northeast (see Table 1). Recent “tough-on-crime” policies are largely responsible for sending growing numbers of people to prison in the South and keeping them there longer.

    From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate
    While the United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.[3][4] Imprisonment of America’s 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 per inmate per year, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60.3 billion in budget expenditures.

    +++

    The “War on Drugs” is not working. Drugs are doing far more damage to our country than terrorists could ever dream of doing. All the drug lords have to do is send in drugs and we will destroy ourselves with them thank you very much.

  4. dsw2contributor says:

    Where is the father of the 14 year-old suspect?

  5. Concerned for our YOUTH says:

    It is interesting that all the problems in our country are held on the hook of rap music. I agree with the fact that rap lyrics can be degrading to women, sexist, racist, and promote deviant behaviors, but when are we going to look inside our homes and understand that adults need to be present and raise their children and even others in the “Village” by being the example and monitoring what children are listening to and watching on the Internet. The majority of rap music consumed is not by those in poverty but by those in suburban households who want to “be down” because they are searching for “family” to take the place of all the “stuff” their parents provide, iPhones, iPads, Beats headphones… My point… Poverty and “ghetto”, rap music and sagging pants does not equate to crime, lawlessness, and uneducated deviants. T. I. Did not commit the crime..a disconnected 14 year old who was not connected with adults did. God bless the family of the Soldier. It is a shame that our soldiers fight for us and defend our freedoms and find themselves defenseless on the very soil they help protect. Connect with a youth today … It may save lives!

  6. Very true, Concerned for our YOUTH. I may not have been clear – I shared the rap lyrics to exemplify what I hear as outrage from the rappers over their own living conditions. It is a hell many of these youth have to live in. Yes, middle-class young people also listen to the lyrics – but the actual lyrics reflect the conditions so many youth in America actually deal with day to day. Different people ‘hear’ the lyrics differently. Disconnection from a loving family is one very large key. And that occurs in families of all types. However, the random street violence is occurring in inner cities. And drugs are destroying everyone.

    It is heart-breaking that an exemplary young man like Xavier was senselessly gunned down by essentially a directionless child. It is heart-breaking that his friend was also shot in the leg. And it is heart-breaking that Xavier’s girlfriend will have to endure the pain of this event for a very, very long time.

  7. Concerned for our YOUTH says:

    Now that is very true and what others do not want to acknowledge. If we address that root of the problem, we would have to look at our homes, churches, schools, the penal system and …yes government agencies and work together instead of pointing fingers. This problem is on a larger scale and the rap music reflects truths that others want to be hidden.

  8. Now today, we are hearing reports of another senseless shooting: Cops: DeKalb teen shot during dispute with friend dies

    A DeKalb County teen shot in the face last week died over the weekend, police said.

    Jonathan Pearcey, 15, died on Saturday, after being in critical condition from the gunshot wound he suffered early Friday morning, police said.

    Pearcey’s friend, 17-year-old Jacob Christmas, was arrested mid-day Friday and charged with aggravated assault in Pearcey’s shooting, police said.

    Christmas is now charged with murder, DeKalb County Police Capt. Steven Fore told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Fore said there had been an ongoing dispute between the teens that “finally came to a head.” The teens were close friends and it wasn’t uncommon for one to be at the other’s home.

    Police said Christmas had been at Pearcey’s home hours before the shooting. Christmas left, Fore said, and returned around 2:30 a.m., and shot Pearcey.

    Police were called, and Christmas was later arrested at his home where officers found a handgun, Fore said.

    Christmas remains in the DeKalb County Jail.

  9. @Concerned for our YOUTH: Exactly. It’s a big problem to solve, so we’d better get started. We can’t just build more gated communities and more jails.

  10. concerned citizen says:

    Concerned for Our Youth: I hate to say this, but I hear the same old excuses in your remarks. that I’ve been hearing for fifty years. When Black youth decide to think for themselves, the culture of the Atlanta area (and others, of course) will change. Right now, I see grandmothers walking around with young boys with their asses exposed. I see young Black girls having babies at a record rate. I live in a community where Ludicrous’ baby’s momma has lived by herself with her child for twelve years. He himself continues to demean woman, young men, and children. Reality is the behavior of the Blacks in the Atlanta community. Ludicrous and millions of others do not care who gets shot (Bo or someone else) as long as their music sells.

  11. Concerned for our YOUTH says:

    With all due respect Concerned Citizen, if you have been hearing the same remarks, “excuses” for the past fifty years, what then is the real issue? Rap music surfaced in the late 70s and went “mainstream” in the early 80s…less than fifty years ago…..this is an old problem with a different genre to blame. Unfortunately, we maintain a tangled web due to economics. In an ideal world, education and worldly knowledge would prevail. Teachers and those who support teachers wouldn’t lack the resources needed to PROPERLY educate young people. We would fight for better schools and negotiate high priced deals to keep quality educators just like we fight for a new Falcons’ stadium and to keep the Braves in Atlanta. We all have a responsibility in this… It is on a large scale… On a small scale, I am an educator and I have several belts I pass out to young boys daily! “It is what it is…” as they say. Interesting read: It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop-The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation by M.K. Asante, Jr.

  12. @concerned: The thing is, you have to look past what ‘is’ to ‘why’ it is. This is not a post about rap lyrics – it’s a post about the very difficult lives so many children live and the terrible price some of the rest of us end up paying. The lyrics tell the story of another world, if you listen. A world without love or hope. A world where young people grow into scary, fearless, unfeeling thugs. Just complaining about the situation and expecting those who are down to lift themselves up on their own with the most meager of means and support, won’t make it happen. The situation won’t improve if it goes ignored or if we continue to just be reactive rather than proactive. Really, rap lyrics are simply a societal statement – a cry of outrage – a revolt of the status quo. We simply must become the kind of society that has no room for guns and violence, and room for everyone to be literate, educated, employed, loved and happy. Otherwise, these kinds of crimes will continue to increase – and I don’t know about you, but I like to have freedom to move about – I do not want to live in a fortress in order to feel safe.

    That said, we need to exercise some societal ‘tough love’… Why can’t we, as a society, enforce some parenting responsibilities? It’s easy to do genetics tests, so do them and then garnish wages of these men who don’t or won’t pony up. Life skills like parenting, cooking, budgeting, etc, are a complete mystery to many young people. We are into multi-generational life skills that rely only on public assistance. Also, we need to be very open about birth control. I once worked in an inner city planned parenthood center and it was shocking how little these girls (who had already had babies!) knew about their own anatomy. An aside: I was in the post office the other day and had to wait while a girl well over high school age had to be shown where to write an address on an envelope. How can people get this far in life with so little self- and life-knowledge?

  13. Concerned for our YOUTH says:

    Concerned Citizen… Agreed!

  14. Regarding clergy: This is exactly where they should be involved. Also – the Boys & Girls Clubs are life-savers for so many – we need more of them.

    Over the past year, DeKalb clergy have been turning their attention a bit to the problem of crime and youth:


    A DeKalb minister: Clergy have not been silent on school problems

    2:24 am February 8, 2013, by Maureen Downey

    DeKalb ministers tackle troubled teens
    Posted: 5:38 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013

    Curious how this is coming along — Anyone know?

    DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander is recruiting ministers to partner with schools to create an after-school program to help steer troubled teens straight.

    A group of ministers made the announcement Thursday for developing a program in which their congregations will partner with high schools to identify students whose truancy or troubles with the law will likely lead them to prison rather than graduation.

    “The church has basically been silent on crime,” said Bishop Quincy Carswell, senior pastor at Covenant Ministries Cathedral. “We’re doing a lot of funerals.”

    … The ministers were short of specifics, saying they would outline the program in upcoming weeks. In a nutshell, they described an ecumenical effort, with participating churches, synagogues and mosques working with schools in their districts to identify youth to work with after school in what they said would be a secular program.

    “The church has got make a difference,” Carswell said. “If we don’t, I believe the county will go to the dogs.”

    Some of those students may be failing academically, some might be homeless and some may have been arrested, ministers said. State Sen. Ron Ramsey, chief legal officer for DeKalb schools, said principals would cooperate with the effort.

  15. howdy1942 says:

    Some very valid points have been made. I suppose that I am biased more toward the “tough love” approach. How many times have we seen reports on the news of very young children misbehaving in the classroom only to see in the next breath some mother defending the child and trashing the school and/or its teacher? How many times have we seen on the news a child who is caught or charged in vandalism being defended by that same parent even though the child is guilty? How many times have we heard a family member of a child assaulting another person or destroying property attribute that action to some ludicrous excuse? Whether it is a child of wealthy parents in Texas that just ran over and killed four people or one of the examples cited above, crimes against people cannot be allowed, excused, or tolerated. People who demonstrate that they are not worthy of living in a civilized society need to be removed from it. I’m weary of hearing the excuse of poverty. My father, who recently died over the summer, provided me many teachable moments, including some that involved his belt. One that I will never forget is when he took me to the house in which he grew up. No electricity, no running water, no indoor facilities, little insulation in his house of just over 400 square feet. There was little money for anything and virtually all of their food was grown in the back yard. He told me about his mother dying a very painful death from stomach cancer at home because there was little medical care. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade to join the Army (he lied about his age) because it was a cold winter and he had no shoes. But I saw this same man serve in the Army for 28 years and, during that career, earn his GED. On separate and individual occasions, his sister and twin brother described the same situation in the very same terms. He grew up in a single parent home in poverty conditions that rarely exist today.

    True, children of today grow up in a culture of drugs, of alcohol that is too easily obtained, and of a much more tolerate society that too often makes too many excuses. Much of this begins in our schools. I am very supportive of a more disciplined environment in our schools. Every student has the right to a safe environment free of any threats or bullying. Every student has the right to learn and every teacher a right to teach. I have absolutely zero tolerance for anyone interfering with those who want to learn or those who threaten any other person at school. Dress codes need to be established and expected to be followed by everyone. That is part of discipline. There is a lot to be said for a great general who once said that “Discipline is training that makes punishment unnecessary”. Another way of saying the same thing is that “A lack of discipline results in behavior that makes punishment necessary”.

  16. Several comments and their responses have been removed due to racial stereotypes and thoughts that the moderators of this blog don’t tolerate. This is not a discussion about race, it’s a discussion about violence and poverty. FWIW, my own cousin (a white male) grew up in the inner city in another state. He had a very rough life and developed the same over-confident (protective) attitude as the young people today who end up using and selling drugs and sometimes shooting and killing innocents. He didn’t kill anyone [thank God], but he did spend decades in a high security prison – a wasted life.

    Why is it that the youth of America seem to think that the answer to their problems is to harm or even shoot and kill another, innocent person? There are few other cultures where this happens. People elsewhere don’t just kill other people for no reason, or to take a phone or a pair of shoes. We have to do something about the violence in America.

  17. idabelle25 says:

    Thank you as the moderator for your last comments. As a resident, I have met many people of all shades, family structures and creeds who want the best communities, schools and moral upbringing and who have open up their hearts, friendship and respect to others who share and are apart of the same creed and conduct. When any of us choose to demonize any entire group of people, we isolate those individuals and lose members of a worthy cause that they would otherwise support and agree. This is a very worthy topic and it is hard to discuss without dealing with harsh realities but remember statements like “all of those people” and other generalizations are the language of the foolish and ignorant. While I share commonalities with others due to region of the country, similar backgrounds and even similar struggles, I am an individual and each of us should be judged on the “content of our character” and tackle these societal issues together with respect.

  18. Lest we forget the complete ‘other’ side of the American equation — Greed. Wall Street. Drugs. Hidden crimes. Those at the top scarfing so much for themselves that they are leaving less and less behind for the rest to ‘share’.

    Hollywood glorifies greed. Sex. Drugs. Violence. Misogyny.

    Read one woman’s essay regarding the truth about her father, a Wall St. millionaire, highlighted in the new movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street” —

    Above the Law
    An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself

    These are the ‘others’ who will bring this good country to its knees. These are the others who cause great harm to the good, honest, hard-working, happy people in this country. They may not be shooting us in the street, but they cause their own form of irreparable damage.

    We can’t criticize one end of the destructive spectrum without criticizing the other.

  19. The Pope is calling for an end to wars and violence — pray that people take his words to heart in 2014:

    Stop the wars, pope says in New Year appeal

    Pope Francis made an impassioned New Year’s peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.

    The pontiff, who took his papal name from St Francis of Assisi, the saint most associated with peace, urged the world to listen to the “cry for peace” from suffering peoples.

    “What on earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” he said to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Peace.

    “It’s time to stop!” he said, departing from his prepared text.

  20. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DSW, thank you for removing the comments that did not add to this conversation. One of the posters has consistently made sweeping generalizations and made racially disparaging remarks on this and the AJC site. it is heartening to know that those types of comments will not be tolerated here. If we can discuss sensitive topics while being respectful of different points of view, it only adds to the quality of the conversations.

    Happy New Year!

  21. Police Arrest Second Suspect in Arnold Shooting Death

    Qutravius Palmer, 22, turned himself in to police on Jan. 1.

  22. And here’s a story from Gwinnett that shows more of the senselessness of these kinds of violent crimes:

    UPDATE: High School Student Reportedly Robbed of Sneakers at Gunpoint

  23. Another comment says:

    I like concerned citizen had one of the Famous Rappers move their Baby Mama’s into my old neighborhood. P Diddy bought one of his Baby Mama’s a $640k house in my former majority white neighborhood to live with one of his now 7 year old daughters. This is one of the 6 kids featured in his Christmas card this year with him. One of the 3 – 7 year old daughters that are 4 months apart by two different Baby Mama’s.

    Ironically, his child isn’t going to live in the hood, or the market he plays to. She is going to grow up in an educated neighborhood, very close to some of the best Private Schools that money can buy in Atlanta. The only other black child in the family, goes to private school, her mother told me they could not do Public.

    P Diddy’s baby mama grew up middle class or above. Her retired mother moved in to help take care of the baby. I met her and talked to her several times about HOA stuff, she was an educated person. She was not to pleased of her daughters tabloid affair with P Diddy.

    So many are fooled that entertainers are just using them to make big bucks.

  24. Formerdekalbteacher says:

    Can we talk about the mother of someone’s child without using ghetto slang? Such language seems to weaken your point, though I am not quite clear what it is. And thinking that those middle class kids in private schools are not part of “the market he plays to” is naive. Yes, those kids may have a balance of better role models to somewhat mitigate the effects of the messages found in rap lyrics. But having taught at one of Dekalb’s best public schools, I can tell you that many of the more privileged kids–black, white, brown or whatever–recite those lyrics with great enthusiasm.

  25. Formerdekalbteacher says:

    Addendum–I do recognize(as has been pointed out) that rap lyrics/performers are not the problem. Just responding to the previous post.

  26. We agree with you teacher, and had deleted several similar but worse comments. We left this one, as even though it isn’t written very nicely, it makes the point that many in the black community are earning millions from poor blacks by selling them a ‘ghetto’ image and products. Those wealthy and middle class blacks as well as wealthy and middle class whites listen to the music, but don’t take the lifestyle to heart (well, some rappers do). They just earn $$$ from selling crap to poor people along with a marketing message that this song, shoe, pair of baggy pants, product, etc… will make them look cool. When all the time, they are all holed up in their nice warm homes and choosing to send their own children to private schools. We would go so far as to say the DCSS administration is similar in that they have created a series of ‘theme’ ‘charter’ and ‘magnet’ schools that they send their own children to – while crying out about racism and inequity within the system and continuing to blame whites, which historically was true, but today is not so much the case.

  27. I surely wish this article was not beyond the pay wall —

    A free spirit collides with a killer
    An art piece to honor Xavier Arnold, who was murdered while he and and two friends wanted to shoot photos of some graffiti (background), hangs on the fence near a bicycle path in Kirkwood on Friday, January 3, 2014. Xavier Arnold was a soldier, an art student and a skateboarder, a black kid who didn’t see race and a young man who wanted to make a living drawing cartoons. He was also one of the last people murdered in Atlanta in 2013, getting shot on a bicycle path in Kirkwood. Arnold and two friends wanted to shoot photos of some cool graffiti when they were accosted by a 14-year-old with a gun and another man. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

    The old, graffiti-covered buildings at the Pullman Yard in Kirkwood was the perfect place for X’avier Arnold and two friends to take some artsy photos. The looming sunset cast perfect light and the abandoned buildings evoked a forlorn feel.

  28. howdy1942 says:

    This is just so sad. I’ve watched Mr. Arnold’s family on the news and extend to them my deepest sympathy. He was obviously a very good young man and sought a better life for himself. He served his country and was also obviously loved very deeply by his family. We are all left with the question of why? What kind of a 14 year-old kid could even comprehend doing such a thing? How could any person do this? If these two guys are found guilty, then let’s not hear any excuses about anything. If they are found guilty, then they should face the full measure of justice and society should never, ever have to be put at risk of being harmed by these two again.

  29. Leigh says:

    The obvious link between crimes involving gun violence isn’t rap music, parenting, socioeconomic status, or demographics. The link is the ready availability of guns to everyone across these strata.

  30. Bottom line – people didn’t really start complaining about leadership until test scores and graduation rates started to tank. We can list excuses all day long and compare and contrast leadership regimes — but the only people paying the price are the students. They can never regain the educational opportunity they lose due to attending DeKalb’s inferior schools.

  31. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW

    You are right. Students only get one chance at an education. It is galling to hear our many superintendents ask for time as they recycle the same tired old ideals and demonstrate an utter lack of critical thinking skills when approaching the problems that are impacting our students so negatively. Exactly what qualifies Mr. Thurmond to be the superintendent of DeKalb Schools and why is his top advisor Ms. Tyson (Crawford Lewis’s pick for Interim Superintendent) who produced a budget surplus that was really a budget deficit, eliminated over 300 teaching positions and presided over yet another decline in academic achievement rates for our Title 1 schools?

    Until we eliminate the crowd that Crawford Lewis picked our students will continue to face obstacles to their education (too many students to a classroom, too little teacher time for individualized instruction, too much money spent on technology that they have little a access to, too few highly qualified teachers attracted to and retained by the school system).

    Mr. Thurmond will never eliminate the old Crawford Lewis picks. He was put in place to ensure they stay in power. He owes his job to them. They really think they have the time and money (our taxpayer money) to outlast the parents/taxpayers.

  32. @dekalbite: “They really think they have the time and money (our taxpayer money) to outlast the parents/taxpayers.”

    They do. They are not the least bit bothered by our outcry. We are but a small contingency of interested ‘stakeholders’… a vast majority are fine with the status quo or are too new to realize they are being manipulated or told ‘mis-truths’. There is no outrage coming from most anywhere else. And if there is, they are quietly appeased so as not to make a public stink. The leadership knows this – there is nothing we can say or do that bothers them the least little bit on their way to their various banks. We are essentially ‘talking to the hand’.

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