Are we about to be fooled again?

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
No, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

– The Who


The ‘new’ DeKalb county school board had a ‘retreat’ yesterday. Thankfully, Stan Jester, candidate for the district 1 seat attended and reported on a live blog. Read his report here >> 02/08/2014 DeKalb Schools Board Retreat

We were shocked and confused as to the content of the very first THREE hours of the retreat. Were they arguing the Common Core? Teacher merit pay? Budget cuts? Curricula? Why no… They argued over the bloody district lines for their board seats!!!

And they are acting as if we are at square one. Obviously, this board was not paying attention during all of the contentious debate on this very subject over the last few years. Obviously, they are totally unfamiliar with the fact that the public has tired of the subject and we were all under the impression that the laws had already been changed and maps had already been approved.

Obviously, they did not read our post, So, what about the next school board election? as to the history of the laws on the subject and the urgency to simply approve the maps on the table at the legislature ASAP. Qualifying ends MARCH 7. If we don’t have approved maps, the office of DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections cannot qualify candidates and we cannot even hold an election at all in May (as required by law for all non-partisan elections, which DeKalb school board is supposed to be.)

Apparently, we were wrong. All of the former debates, legislation, maps and arguments mean nothing and we will now be subjected to yet another lengthy, egocentric debate about the school board district voting lines. [Insert moan here.]

In fact, they are so clueless, that they actually are in the process of pushing the legislature to return to the full NINE board seats – and ‘tweak’ the district lines – going so far as to name names as Jim McMahan did when he insisted Don McChesney’s home be moved into District 4 (his own district!)

Sound familiar?

It is once again, Groundhog Day in DeKalb.

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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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63 Responses to Are we about to be fooled again?

  1. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @GETtheCELLoutATL , good point about the math that one poster is using. It also seems as though they believe that on the day Board members meet is the only day they work throughout the month. I believe it shows a lack of understanding of the duties and expectations of today’s school Board members.

    Ditto on many of your other comments at 5:01am.

  2. Stan Jester says:

    County Wide School Board Elections
    I don’t believe any of the county school districts have all board members elected county wide. DeKalb’s CEO is elected county wide. Our last two elected CEOs where Burrell Ellis and Vernon Jones.

    Concerned DeKalb Mom,
    Correct. These are all just recommendations from the board to the DeKalb Delegation. The DeKalb Delegation can do whatever they want. The state legislature must subsequently agree and pass it.

    Concerned Citizen
    It was just me and Viola Davis there. Quinn Hudson, Director of Communications, was there for the first half as was a reporter from CrossRoadsNews. You’re funny … Viola and I had to fend for ourselves for lunch. Even though I’m not popular up there, everybody (except one person) personally came up to me before and after the meeting.

  3. @Cell: ??? I’m not sure what you think we edited but we only edited out the part critical of a particular community member by name. We’re actually protecting you – from slander. We are not technically responsible for the content of comments – the individuals who post them are. If someone demands that we turn over your IP address or ask Google to submit your identity, we must comply. Please don’t discuss opinions of ordinary people in the comments of this blog. (It’s the way you state things – rather than posting accusations that certain people may be sabotaging your efforts, simply mention that the person heavily involved in Tucker cityhood is interestingly now Jim McMahan’s campaign finance manager. Readers can form their own opinions – it doesn’t mean she is against the City of Tucker…) That’s all – the rest of your comment was posted – but moved to the thread about cities where it is much more relevant.

    I have no idea what you mean about not being in Dunwoody (???) Personally, I think that if you are successful in creating a city of Tucker, you could essentially follow in Dunwoody’s footsteps. We simply don’t believe in holding communities hostage to a mammoth school district if in fact, they can do a better job if given the power. That is true for charter schools as well as city districts.

  4. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DSW, well said at 9:32am. That was the point I was attempting to make in commenting about the blog in general, the possibility of being sued for slander. I believe the site is protected however the poster is not. While many of the inflammatory comments have ceased, there are still a few angry posters to make questionable comments.

    I would suggest a link to the online defamation law as a reminder to some posters about things that can and cannot say.

  5. @ Fred
    “I would suggest a link to the online defamation law as a reminder to some posters about things that can and cannot say.”

    Please provide us with this link to an online defamation law.

  6. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DSW, I offer this link not as an endorsement for this site but for general information. Anyone can look up online defamation in the browser of their choice for other information.

  7. Sorry. We should have been clearer. Current Georgia law and federal law on defamation.

  8. dekalbite2 says:

    “good point about the math that one poster is using. It also seems as though they believe that on the day Board members meet is the only day they work throughout the month. I believe it shows a lack of understanding of the duties and expectations of today’s school Board members.”

    Yes. That is a good point about the math. Using your logic, teachers should be paid for the hours after school and on weekends that they grade papers and lesson plan and call parents, etc. Do you think teachers only work the hours they are in the classroom? I believe your comment “shows a lack of understanding of the duties and expectations of today’s” Teachers.

    Are you aware that certified personnel (i.e. personnel certified as teachers but not teaching) in DeKalb OUTSIDE the schoolhouse are given assigned hours and told NOT to work outside those hours? Why is it that certified personnel inside the schoolhouse teaching are asked to work hours after their school day for no recompense while certified personnel OUTSIDE the schoolhouse are asked NOT to work past their 8 hour day?

    Being a BOE member should be a voluntary position or at least have very little pay involved. Money should never be an incentive for such a civic duty as this.

  9. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @DSW, perhaps this is what you were referring to,

  10. Another comment says:

    @get the cell out my math is not incorrect. perhaps in just did not write down all the steps of my calculation. The board members are being paid more than $23,000 per year. They rushed to lump all their public meetings to one day. So therefore just fore a rough talking point lets say they are getting paid $2,000 per day. For this part-time position. if one could theoretically pick up enough other similar gigs at the same daily rates, to occupy the other 20 work days on average a business month in the private sector has. 2,000 x20 =40,000 per month. I then said $460,000 per year in salary. because one always in the private sector uses a 50 week billable year vs a 52 week year when calculating maximum billable hours.

    Okay, I hear the whine about prep time. but you ask any law firm associate, any architecture firm associate, any consulting firm associate who wants to ever be considered for the partnership principal track! how many billable hours are you sill expected to have? Oh at least 40. how many Hours do you work between home, office, marketing, work lunches, dinners, ( my oldest child has told me repeatedly that I was always either the latest or the second from the latest parent picking their child up from ASP, I tell her I am sorry but Senator Bryd or Rep. X did not care when they wanted an answer to a question by 8:00 am that I did not get until 3 or 4:00 in the afternoon.) You worked another 80-100 hrs to get that mandatory 40 billable. A light year was 60 hrs. Jobs exempt from overtime which are now salaried jobs with very low pay because a certain business oriented party has made sure that the $ amount of the exemption has not kept up with inflation since the Regan years, just like the minimum wage laws.

    By the way yesterday day the Obama administration ruled in regard to the ACA that Adjunct professor hours count 2 hrs and 15 min. For ever hr. Taught in the class room. That is the amount of prep time considered necessary. So adjunct professor who teaches 15 credit hrs in the class room a semester is considered full time for the ACA. That is 33.75 hrs. for 15 hrs of class time as a adjunct. remember adjuncts don’t do research or publish. But for 12 hrs they are only part- time, 27. So basically, no adjunct will teach more than 12 hrs a semester. most are starved at 3-8 hrs anyways. then they have to work for 8.25- 9.25 in the national coffee shop chain with my 19 year old.

    This is where teachers loose credence saying they are professionals and whine about additional hours. don’t get me wrong, I think you are under paid. In order to be respected as professionals you have to stop the whining, stop the collectivism, realize that every teacher and every discipline within teaching does not deserve the same pay. Also, the profession must get rid of Edukrates and the you must have an education major to do that. There are certain areas that a subject matter expert in the subject is who should be teaching the subject. That subject matter expert, might even earn more than the Principal, because the overall market says that person can go work of Pharma, or Google and make much more. Education needs to get the best. A high school writing teacher certainly has much more work to grade outside of work than a kindergarten teacher! and should be paid at a much higher scale. I believe that Public schools need to create Prefirst like private schools. These pre-first classes should be staffed with reading specialists, so no child leaves without being able to read. They should be compensated. Second – fourth grade math teachers should ensure that no child leaves there class without being on grade math wise they should be compensated based on children being on level. Every third grade teacher should have every child leave her class on grade level, same with second and first. That is why we need Pre- first.

    back to my first point what happened to being when being on the school board was civic duty and community service.

    This is why we need to break up the mega districts.

  11. Lest we forget — HR didn’t include ‘prep time’ in the teachers salaries when they ‘annualized’ them at over $100,000!! LOL. The board didn’t think one thing about it… Turnabout is fair play!

  12. This and That says:

    Another Comment: Really like the idea of Pre-first! I teach Kindergarten Special Education. I see many students (not just special ed. – comments from general ed. teachers) that need a little bit more before 1st grade but not necessarily repeat Kindergarten. After I show my parents what skills are needed (CRCT practice from when 1st grade took it) most agree to have their child repeat kindergarten.

    Pre-first grade! Fantastic idea!

  13. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @This and That, years ago we called what you are describing as pre-first, summer school. This was another of the offerings eliminated as budgets began to tighten.

    I’ve said this before but I would like to see a Montessori approach with some of the lower grades. Children enter schools with varying levels of abilities, usually based upon the enrichment they received from home. A clear standard could be set where children who have solid foundations can move forward to first grade (also if the parents believe their child is socially mature enough) and those that need additional remediation can receive targeted instruction. Standards should be evaluated each year for possible adjustments. This could eliminate the birthday rule that determines when I child can enter first grade. it is interesting that this can vary state to state.

    @DSW, speaking of standards, you could also consider a topic on Common Core. It is interesting to see the strong feelings some have against having a consistent standard.

  14. We can certainly start another thread on the Common Core – we will have to dig up some info first.

    In the meantime, feel free to read our older posts and pages on the topic >>

    The new “Common Core” assessments have been released

    A Sneak Peak at Common Core Test Questions

    Here are some resources for parents and teachers >>

    Literacy and the Common Core: Explore interdisciplinary approaches to literacy, discover how poetry fits within the standards, and find out what the latest research says about building vocabulary.

    Changing State of Assessment: Discover how formative assessments support teaching and learning and see how testing is changing in the common-core era.

    Common Core Curriculum – state & county >>

    Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (Georgia Dept of Education)

    Cobb County’s informational web page on the subject with several good links

  15. anothercomment says:

    @ This and That, Every single Catholic School in town has a Pre-First class between Kindergarten and First Grade. I know for a fact that Westminster, Lovett, Pace, Woodward, Holy Innocents, St. Francis, Whitfield, and just about every other of the most expensive Private Schools which are considered the top tier Private schools have a Pre-First in between Kindergarten and First.

    These schools who boast 100% or 99% of their graduates going on to college. Especially the ones that are K-12. How do you ensure that when you select kids from Kindergarten. Yes, they do take kids from Legacy’s based on Grandma and Grandpa giving a donation. Someone, in admissions at one of the schools told me that you would be surprised that of the schools with $22K plus tuition, the major sources for tuition are either corporations, as part of relocation packages for executives ( foreign nationals and those from States in the top 10 schools not 48th like Georgia) or Grandparents making transfers of tax-free gifts to avoid estate tax to their Grandchild ( the tax free limit is neatly right at between $11-12K per person to each individual, so two grandparents equal one grandchild’s tuition). When my children were in the private school, I can no longer afford, I worked with many of these folks, and I will tell you the Bubba’s and the Bimbo’s don’t necessary breed a genius. My oldest comes home from her wealthy soriety sisters, commenting these girls are so stupid, or now she is on the membership committee, and can not believe they have applicants with under a 2.0 GPA in Liberal Arts majors. What these schools do is they have Pre-First to offer a year of intensive intervention to those, who slip through first the entrance exam, instead of being told on that to wait a year and do another year or Pre-K. ( No Private school or Catholic school is going to take your child unless you have done at least a year of 1/2 day Pre-K, most want to see a year of 1/2 day 3 day a week Pre-3 at a minimum as well. If your child doesn’t do well enough on the entry exam and you happen to be a sibling, alumni, or board member they will tell you your kid needs another year of PreK or Pre-5. This happened to a neighbor of mine who was on the board and an Alumni of the School Blank is funding a big addition. They told them their 2nd child needed another year of Pre-4 also known as Pre-5 ( that school didn’t have it). They put her in Kindergarten at the Public School, then finally got her in K the next year at the Private school on West Paces Ferry, after all that they took a job transfer and now live out of Atlanta ( I hear their kids aren’t in Private school anymore).

    This is also where the Sept 1, age date needs to be re-evaluated. I have to different views on it. I have a mid December Birthday. I grew up in NY where the cut off is Dec. 1. Kindergarten was not mandatory when I started school in the 1960’s. I could read the newspaper when I was three. My mother had 3 younger children at home when I was 5. The public school would not take me for Kindergarten, due to the cut off. So my mother went to the Catholic School, that didn’t have Kindergarten. My mother found out that they took out my Aunts neighbor girl who was dying of cancer, with a birthday 2 weeks later, who wanted to go to school. My mother, went to the nuns and said if you took her ( the girl had the same first name as me and has been buried since 1967 in front of my Grandparents grave, eerie) then you need to take my daughter. So they took both of us. My mother said, I had to do very well, since she pressured them to take me, I did all A’s. I ended up the 3rd youngest in the my class in High School graduating at 17, College Degree at 21, and Masters Degree at 22. I can’t imagine my life any different.

    Now My oldest child has a Sept 21 Birthday. She had been in school her whole life. Pre-3, Pre-K. It made me so made when Georgia would not take her in Public or Private a year early. ( NY state has a test since the 1970’s which children born as late as the end of Jan. can take to see if they are ready for Kindergarten. ) No one could take my Sept. Baby early. So she has always been the oldest in her class. Luckily, she is tiny. People still think she is 12. She ended up being almost 19 when she graduated from High School. She will be almost 23 if she only spends 4 years on a college degree. I had worked for a year with a Masters Degree.

    Now my youngest has a Mid March birthday. She started at Catholic School. I was told that she was only being considered because she was a sibling and a girl. With such a late birthday. I was like she has a March Birthday. The Catholic School told me that they don’t take any boys with that late of Birthday. They only had about 5 girls with March or April Birthdays and they were all siblings. Absolutely, no Child was taken with a Birthday past June of the year they turned 5 Girl or Boy, in any of the Catholic Schools or the Private schools I listed above. They will tell you that when you show up for open house, come back next year.

    When my daughter, ended up in Public School, I can see all these children who have late birthdays, after March and during the summer. Even kids with August 30th. Ninety-five percent of them are not mature of them to be in the same class with my March Child. I consider my March Child a big immature baby compared to what her sister was being a Mid September child. ( now all these children today are immature and coddled compared to what I and the kids I grew up with in the 60’s and 70’s, but then the crazy thing is we did not have all the homework, we had recess, we had PE, we had discipline, we did not have behavior problems in schools). It appears so many people never work with their children at home between age 1-5, never bother with free Pre-K and then dump them off on Public Schools as soon as they turn 5 with August Bithday. I had a High school dropout mother, but she read to us every night. We new our colors, numbers, shapes. Of course, she had been a Nanny for a wealthy family in Conn. for 10 years before she married and had us.

    There needs to be testing and if kids are ready to move ahead then they should go straight to first. If they aren’t ready for K, then they should be sent to Pre-K or sent back to the parents for basic child rearing or turned over to DFACS for neglect.

    Then we definitely need Pre-First, and just like in Private school, where at least 1/3 of all Kindergarteners do not go directly to First Grade. They should go to Pre-First, with no more than 15 in a class and two para pros. So you can have 3-small groups of 5. You need a Reading Specialist in each class, along with paras that can help with basic math, shapes, socialization skills. Speech therapists can be brought in. We need to make sure that these early year teachers speak correct English. No “ax” for Ask; no “mash the button” ; Children need to learn that country and ghetto dialects are not proper English that we learn in school.

    My high school drop out mother worked as a nanny for the Conn. moneyed folks, so she knew that speaking proper English was the correct thing to teach us. Her first language was not English, but you would never know it today.

  16. This and That says:

    anothercomment: I agree that we need a Pre-first – not just summer school. Sounds like we grew up around the same era! And since schools are starting closer and closer to Aug.1 rather than Sept.1, the cutoff for grades need to be revisited. I teach Kindergarten Special Education. It seems more and more of my students with Aug. birthdays are repeating their kindergarten year to get better prepared for 1st grade (and this is from my coordinator!)

    Pre-K, Kindergarten, Pre-First, First. . . Sound like a good alternative for some students!

  17. Refugee from DCSS says:

    “@ This and That, Every single Catholic School in town has a Pre-First class between Kindergarten and First Grade. I know for a fact that Westminster, Lovett, Pace, Woodward, Holy Innocents, St. Francis, Whitfield, and just about every other of the most expensive Private Schools which are considered the top tier Private schools have a Pre-First in between Kindergarten and First.”

    TOTALLY UNTRUE!!! is this a lie or are you just assuming you know but don’t?
    St. Jude, Our Lady of the Assumption, St. Peter Claver and other schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta do not have a “pre first” grade. There is kindergarten, then first.

    Most families with kids who have summer birthdays simply wait a year and/or have an additional pre-K year before sending them to kindergarten.

    @DSW – let’s get the facts under control. If this one is slipping through, how many more pieces of misinformation are flying around?

  18. @Refugee: This is a blog – and This and That was making a (mostly true) comment in a blog post. We are not responsible for comments in the blog posts – please do not blame the ‘blog’ for misinformation in the comments. (Do you hold the AJC responsible for all of the comments made on articles at their website?) IF, however, we write something untrue or simply wrong in one of our posts – which we write and we are responsible for – then by all means, let us know. We are not perfect and we are not paid to write this blog – it’s all volunteers. That said, and along with the fact that we are given little access to the administration and our FOI requests go mostly ignored, it is reasonable to assume that we don’t know ‘everything’. But we do try to share the things we do know. In our posts.

  19. @Refugee, most of the people who post here keep each other politely in check rather than call each other liars and other names. As an example of a more civil response, it would have been nice if you has said the following:

    @ This& That: Maybe you aren’t aware, but St. Jude, Our Lady of the Assumption, St. Peter Claver and other schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta do not have a “pre first” grade. There is kindergarten, then first. Most of these families with kids who have summer birthdays simply wait a year and/or have an additional pre-K year before sending them to kindergarten.

    See! How much more civil that is! And it doesn’t make the moderators have to behave as parents (or nuns) breaking up a fight amongst toddlers.

  20. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @Refugee, while you shared factual information based on your experiences with respect to an incorrect posting, I agree with DSW in that it is not the responsibility of the moderators to validate everything. It is the responsibility of poster like yourself to point out the mistakes by sharing the correct information. I can’t say whether that poster knowingly shared false information. I am glad there is someone like yourself to contradict it.,

  21. That’s correct Fred. We count on our regulars to keep information in check as best they can. The only things we delete are comments that could be hurtful to a regular employee personally. (We’ve had over 20,000 comments here on DSW2 – we just can’t police them all. Please feel free to send us an email if you see something objectionable.)

  22. This and That says:

    The comment concerning pre-first in private schools came from the person “anothercomment”. I was simply agreeing with the comment that a pre-first would be a good idea. I have no idea what goes on in the private schools! My experience is with DeKalb County Public Schools.

  23. Apologies This and That!! I should have drilled back and figured that out myself!! Yes – it was ‘anothercomment’ who posted that ‘all’ Catholic schools have pre-first. In fact, only ‘most’ do… and FWIW – we agree that it’s a fantastic idea!! We always push for early understanding. There is no way in the world we should push children until they have mastered the basics.

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