Teacher Contracts – Part II

Important Information & Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Teachers’ 2014-2015 Employment Contract Inspector-Word

Ward-Smith claims:
“Improving student achievement is the number one priority of the DeKalb County School District.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
Just saying something doesn’t make it so. If DeKalb County Schools, including its present school board and senior administrators, was serious about improving student achievement, then it would put its money where its mouth is:
• teachers would be paid commensurate with their experience and earned (not mail order) degrees;
• teachers would be paid all back raises and step increases;
• teachers would be teaching smaller classes in well-equipped classrooms;
• teachers would have all TSA contributions restored, including interest lost; and
• Title I funds would be used to teach disadvantaged children in small groups by highly qualified teachers instead of being a pig trough to fund jobs programs for greedy adults.

Ward-Smith claims:
“Historically, student performance in our District has been negatively impacted by educators who sign legally binding contracts, then abruptly announce just prior to the beginning of the new school year that they do not plan to fulfill their contractual obligation with the District.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
Show us the names of those who left, when they left and the total number. Show us the documentation. How many teachers really broke their contracts and abruptly left just prior to the first day of a new school year? Once again, DeKalb County Schools blames teachers. Historically, the reality is that student performance has been negatively impacted by the bloated Palace gobbling up most money for the Friends-and-Family Jobs Program, not for educating our children. 

Ward-Smith claims:
“When this” [teachers abruptly breaking their contracts and leaving just prior to the start of school] “occurs, the District’s ability to provide each student with a highly qualified teacher on day one is compromised …”

DeKalb School Watch says:
Show us the names of those who left, when they left and the total number. Show us the documentation. How many teachers really broke their contracts and abruptly left just prior to the first day of a new school year? DeKalb County Schools (DCS) is unable to recruit teachers at any point in the school year because of the incredibly bad reputation of DCS – including:
• First, the costly and sorry senior administrators in the Palace;
• Second, money poured into the bloated, inept Palace staff composed of overpaid, under-talented friends-and-family;
• Third, money poured into not one, not two, but three (3) legal firms; and
• Last-but-not-least, teachers (our most important employees because they work directly with DCS’ clients — students) being treated so badly, it is hard to imagine worse. Although, every time we say that, DCSS manages to outdo themselves in petty behavior and meanness.

Ward-Smith claims:
“As a result, the District included a liquidated damages clause in the FY2015 contract. This clause is supported by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s Code of Ethics for Educators, Standard 8 …”

DeKalb School Watch says:
The $750 is a mean-spirited fine, a petty punishment, a rap across your knuckles with a wooden ruler. Take a look at GaPSC FAQ #4.

Ward-Smith claims:
“…the [Georgia] Professional Standards Commission does not uphold June 1 as the date for which any educator may request a release from contract … This has been a myth among educators for some time.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
Take a look at GaPSC FAQ #4. The GaPSC will NOT sanction an educator for abandonment of contract if:
• The Educator submits a letter of resignation prior to June 1st for the upcoming school year.
OR
• The Educator submits a letter of resignation with at least a two week notice after June 1st for [one of] the following reasons:
(1) A documented personal health problem or family medical problem that requires the Educator’s full-time care and attention.
(2) A documented spousal transfer and relocation out of a reasonable commuting distance of the contracted position.
(3) A documented promotion within the field of education.
[If you can’t come up with one of these reasons, you are just not trying.]

Ward-Smith claims:
“Employees may call the eContract hotline at 678-676-0014. Employees may also email the Division of Human Resources at HR-Compensation@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us for questions related to contracts.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
Seriously? Would you seriously consider calling and/or e-mailing DeKalb County Schools HR to get correct information?  Uh, no.

Ward-Smith claims:
“The deadline to sign the contract for 2014-2015 is Thursday, April 3, 2014.  On Monday, May 5, 2014 the superintendent is scheduled to approve teacher contracts. Then the contractual agreement [signed by teachers] will be binding. Educators may request a release from contract prior to that time without having a $750 liquidated damages charge assessed.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
So what is the real deadline by which you must sign the contract and at which time the contract becomes binding? Our best guess (based on O.C.G.A. 20-2-211 (3) (b) shown below is, “Never.” Does “Never” work for you?

O.C.G.A. §20-2-211 (3) (b) says:
“When notice of intended termination [by the school system] has not been given [to the educator by the school system] by May 15 [April 15 for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 ONLY], the employment of such teacher or other certificated professional employee shall be continued for the ensuing school year unless the teacher or certificated professional employee elects not to accept such employment by notifying the local governing board or executive officer in writing not later than June 1 [May 1 for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 ONLY].”

Of course, we are not attorneys and, as always, DeKalb School Watch encourages you to seek competent legal advice before signing – or not signing — this or any other contract. If you can see an attorney through your professional educators’ organization or through legal benefits paid for by payroll deduction or any other payment plan, by all means do so now.

Ward-Smith claims:
“The number to contact the GaPSC is 404-232-2500.”

DeKalb School Watch says:
This is the automated main number for the GaPSC. It is definitely not the Ethics Division at GaPSC as shown on the GaPSC website. Good luck pushing the right buttons to find the person who can answer your questions. Another half-truth from HR.

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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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40 Responses to Teacher Contracts – Part II

  1. Nikole says:

    I was very disappointed with the tone of this email. Dekalb should have sent an explanation of the contract prior to sending contracts, and then acting surprised when teachers feel disrespected about the fine being added in. Additionally, if they would pay teachers well and improve teaching and learning conditions, they wouldn’t have a problem with teachers leaving.

  2. concerned citizen says:

    A fine piece of writing, DSW. Great research, interesting and skillful presentation, and full of regard for the children of DeKalb Schools and its wonderful teachers (past, past, past, and present but not for long). Thank you for your amazing presentation of a very mottled situation, the school system and all of the Palace minions. I’m surprised that Smith had the nerve to respond since she’s such a coward and always seeks to hide the truth. She’s as bad as it gets! How in this world did she get her job? Does anyone know her background?

  3. concerned citizen says:

    I know three first-rate teachers who have the courage not to sign their contracts and are waiting to hear from other systems. And it does take courage not to feel secure about your career in teaching; however, these three will be a piece of those hundreds who leave this year. Also, I’d like to add that at least several principals I know are supportive of those teachers’ not signing their contracts and have shown real empathy, up to saying that they, too, are waiting for a phone call.

  4. Teachers Matter says:

    DSW, I don’t say this lightly; you are my hero! I am so far down in spirit right now that I don’t know if even Spring Break will help lift me up. Then, I read this new post, and I realize that someone truly gets it and cares. I will keep reading and spreading the word in the hopes change will come. Thank you from the bottom of my tired teacher’s heart.

  5. thedeal2 says:

    Slimy. Simply slimy. I can’t believe our tax dollars pay them.

  6. Weary Worker says:

    HR has been sending near threatening and vindictive emails to teachers almost every day since the contracts came out. Is this the best way to hold quality staff and to attract new quality staff? The organization reminds me of some poorly run retail operation that has become vindictive towards customers who fail to make large purchases. HR is creating an adversarial situation with the employees whose work pay their salaries. No matter how you look at it what they are doing is poor policy. The fault is in HR , they are to blame for this. The inmates are running the asylum. I’ll be out of here in three years it will be fun to watch the entire enterprise collapse.

  7. Dekalb is bullying its teachers. The contract is the last insult for me. The District is on the defensive, taking everything out on the teachers. I can’t imagine that there’s a worse District in Georgia. For sure, not one is large enough to generate such a pervasive, million-dollar culture of incompentence, ignorance, and corruption.

  8. H.A. Hurley says:

    Dekalb School Watch ~
    Your writings have been hard to read, full of disappointment, anger and sadness. I feel a once great school system taking its last breaths and marginal human beings in HR wasting breaths on threatening the teachers who took a big chance of hoping for new life, new hope, new ideas, new BOE, new Superintendent and the pressure of getting SACS off our backs. They stayed and hoped.
    Well, continued incompetence, passivity, silence, apathy, withholding information, threatening, unprofessionalism and continued FF practice continue along with un-reachable Board members. No compassion, no passion, no urgency, no investment in children, teachers and parents never happened. It feels like a death.
    Yes, teachers have little options. One cannot make sense out of this. We must accept it. It makes me very sad because our children will be impacted so terribly. Even more than before.
    The new blood and skills needed to keep from hitting the Titanic iceberg are nowhere to be seen on the horizon. Nothing seems to be moving or changing. Thick Mud!

  9. teachermom says:

    The AJC and WSB are reporting on teachers being mad about being fined for breaking their contracts. This so misses the point and makes us look petty. I have no energy to fight this misconception. As much as we all understand the real situation here on this blog it is unbelievable that our whole plight is reduced to “teachers are mad because they can’t break their contract at the last minute and leave all the kids in the lurch without teachers.” How about someone report on the real story here??? Nice spin for Thurmond et al though.

    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2014/apr/01/dekalb-imposes-penality-teachers-who-quit-last-min/

  10. Yes, we get it! It is hard to understand why any real reporter worth his or her salt doesn’t see what is going on at DeKalb County [GA] Schools. Copy, cut and paste from DeKalb School Watch blog and send it to the publisher of the AJC and to the publishers of weekly local newspapers throughout DeKalb. Don’t agree to be interviewed by reporters who diminish the plight of DeKalb County Schools teachers. Do contact reporters you know to be excellent — Anderson Cooper at CNN, for example — even though they generally handle breaking national and international news. What is happening in DeKalb County will have a major negative effect upon the economy of Georgia. This is national news.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    If ever a book were to be written about how not to manage and lead people, the first chapter of that book should be about the Dekalb County School System. I cannot begin the think what the school board was thinking when they even voiced the idea of penalizing teachers nor can I imagine the mind of any responsible person in Human Resources having such blatant disregard for the most important resource in the DCSS. These are the people who stand in front of our kids every day and have such a crucial role in preparing them for life, for jobs, and for success (or failure).

    I also sense that the administration is on its last legs – almost begging, pleading to be relieved of its responsibilities. It is hard to imagine anyone in the administration looking forward to going to work on Monday morning (I’ve always regarded one’s happiness with his/her job by his/her attitude toward going to work on Monday morning!) It must be very painful to tell someone that you work in the DCSS administration and to know how little respect those you serve have for what you are doing.

  12. firstgradeteacher says:

    @teachermom thanks for the ajc link. Maureen missed the point. We are not upset just about the $750 penalty. We are upset about the uncertainty of the pay, with the expectancy to stay once the decision has been made during the Summer. On top of that having to pay $750 to leave. The question should be “Why are our teachers trying to leave?”

  13. Word Wall says:

    The emails should just say: “sorry, but we have made work conditions and salaries so lousy that teachers are now willing to pay us $750 to leave Dekalb County.”

  14. Word Wall says:

    “A line formed so we had to start charging…..”

  15. Inthetrenches says:

    The only thing that makes ANY sense to me us that the AJC and other media outlets are connected to certain people within the dysfunctional friends and family network of cronies and criminals that is DCSD.

    Three parents I know of have contacted WSBTV and 11 Alive and they have not gotten a response from either. Very suspicious.
    So much for holding the powerful accountable.

  16. H.A. Hurley says:

    No surprise that AJC gets it wrong. I am often amazed how AJC education articles are not news pieces but more representative of editorials. When I read such opinion pieces, I question their credentials. Journalism makes you qualified in education? One of the most corroding issues in current education reform is related to everybody’s uncle or brother-in-law, legislators, millionaires…are all trying to reform and run education. Evidence of that is all across the country. Everybody is bought these days and chimes in on what needs to be done for teachers. Little input if any from teachers who are the experts, but are treated in such unprofessional ways.
    DCS has years of this unprofessionalism from the outside and marginal, unethical, ill qualified conduct and threats from the inside. The wheels are falling off.
    My suggestion to any teacher who most likely wants to work in another system: Do Not sign a contract. Become a free agent and spend all your time in getting the next job. If you are not bound by contract, other systems can almost offer you a contract on the spot. If you are under contract, the county has to release you first, which takes time.

    I just read that APS is hiring to fill 50 Special Ed positions.

    Mr. Thurmond talks about respect and loyalty. Wants teachers to commit to DCS. Loyalty my foot!
    Loyalty is a two way street. Our teachers have been über patient, über committed and über hopeful in DCS. Nothing will improve.
    Hear this: THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS!

  17. DSW2Contributor says:

    CBS-Atlanta: Dekalb County Teachers Contract Has Liquidation Clause (March 31, 2014 9:43 AM) http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/03/31/dekalb-county-teachers-contract-has-liquidation-clause

    Dunwoody Patch: Teachers Unhappy With Contract’s $750 Penalty Clause – Some DeKalb County teachers are reportedly unhappy with a $750 penalty clause in the new contracts for teachers who opt for another job before school starts. (March 31, 2014 at 11:18 AM) http://dunwoody.patch.com/groups/schools/p/teachers-unhappy-with-contracts-750-penalty-clause

    And the AJC’s “The Vent for Wednesday” (Posted: 3:19 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, 2014) printed this comment: “As hard as DeKalb teachers and staff work to keep students safe from bullies, it’s a shame their employer wants to bully them.”

  18. From Ty’s article at the AJC >>

    Superintendent Michael Thurmond inserted a “liquidated damages clause” in contracts that are being issued to teachers now. The new contracts require prospective employees to agree to a $750 fine should they back out after they sign the agreement.

    Interesting that the ‘son of a sharecropper’ is now basically fining his own hard-working but beat down employees and enforcing a situation of indentured servitude. Where is DeKalb’s part of the deal? The way the contract is written, there is only a day rate, with no mention of the number of days — a teacher could only be employed for a week, sent home to wait for another assignment, yet held to the year-long contract. How about making DeKalb a place where all great teachers fight to get and keep a job? What part of his daddy’s life lessons did he not ‘get’? Well, this is what happens when you put a lawyer/politician in charge of a school system. Harsh, one-sided contracts.

  19. As a 15 year DCSD teacher, I personally think the $750 is absurd (more of a childish thing really) that I am certain that Myself and others would gladly pay (after May 5 according to the daily explanation mailers sent by the central staff) if a better opportunity came along. The new pay grade anywhere outside of dekalb would undoubtedly cover that stipend. As for myself, I’ve been at the same school for all my years and absolutely love the kids, families, and community I am privileged to serve. I have seen plenty of leadership changes at the district and school level, yet those I teach stay the same. I am incredibly grateful to those who look out for us and who truly recognize the things that must happen to make the system great (from smaller self governing systems, to “trimming the fat” in the central office, to putting the money where it belongs in the classrooms). For the district to even imply that their instructional woes are due to teachers jumping ship is incredibly backwards and unacceptable. To not recognize how far they’ve fallen behind in teacher compensation is even more ridiculous (just search the pay scales of several Atlanta area school systems and you’ll see). This is the true culprit for mass exodus of teachers.

    Not sure if DSW is aware but the district seems to be putting a lot of extra money out this year in odd ways (where’d it come from? Not sure.). For instance, they decided to pay after school tutors a higher hourly wage retroactively even after months of already tutoring. Also, there have been several Saturday information sessions for teachers which any teacher can attend and get a stipend. It seems this could have been given as a “bonus” to teachers for sticking with dekalb. I’m sure they have their reasons for making teachers lose their weekend for the money they deserve though. It does make the paycheck look better. 🙂

    As always, thanks to all the true supporters of education in dekalb. I’d hate for you to completely give up hope as there are too many lives at stake who may not be able to change their situation for the better. I pray that one day the situation changes for them.

  20. howdy1942 says:

    @firstgradeteacher – you are completely correct! Maureen Downey and the AJC completely missed the point and I posted that in a comment to her article. Yes, $750 is a large amount of money when considered a percentage of what Dekalb pays its teachers, but the elephant in the room is that teachers were not informed as to what their compensation would be for the next school year and were told to sign the contract anyone or they would be fired! In all of my 40 year career in business, I never knew of any job offer, any contract, or any proposal of any sort that did not include compensation or payment for whatever services were to be rendered. Would the United Automobile Workers, the Communications Workers of America, any professional, to include lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects – anyone – agree to perform any service without knowing what they would be paid for their services? Would Mr. Thurmond have agreed to extend his contract without knowing what he would be paid? Would the school board have had the audacity to have offered him a contract without specifying what he would be paid? Would Ward-Smith work another day without knowing what her compensation would be? Would Ramona Tyson? Would Maureen Downey just provide her articles to the AJC without knowing how much she would be paid?

    Why on earth would anyone in their right mind expect our teachers to commit to provide their services for another year without knowing how much they would be paid? That is the point that the AJC missed!! And I’m at a loss to even begin to understand how any rational person connected to even a small piece of reality could ever be so insensitive, so remote to reality, and have such a blatant disrespect for anyone – how could they have even thought doing so let alone putting it down in writing. I’m shocked that the school board has not demanded answers from the administration, because I think that the school board owes the public some kind of explanation. I’ll assure you that were I on that board, I would be having public meetings wherein Thurmond, Ward-Smith, and others would be asked to provide answers. This is just no way to treat anyone in today’s world.

  21. howdy1942 @April 3, 2014 at 12:38 AM — “the AJC completely missed the point”

    Howdy,

    I understand what you are saying, but I think you missed the point of Ty’s and Maureen’s reporting. Ward-Smith went on the public record and stated that 50 professional, licensed teachers abandoned their DCS jobs without providing any notice whatsoever to DCS. Her on-the-record statement is actual new; the story that 50 teachers didn’t show had had never been reported here on DSW2 or by any professional journalist.

    Assume Ward-Smith is telling the truth– the implications are damning for her and DCS. The only explanation for such unprofessional behavior is that there is a SYSTEMATIC problem with DCS. DCS is recruiting a lot of crappy, unprofessional employees (at least 50 of them last school year) and/or DCS is such an undesirable workplace that 50 licensed professionals did not even bother to call to say they weren’t coming.

    Now, I don’t believe Ward-Smith’s statement was true. I posted this in Maureen’s comments:

    Last summer, Ward-Smith’s HR department was working incredibly long hours, attempting to fill all the vacancies in time for the first day of school. At the end of the summer, her subordinates were working seven days a week, often late as 9 PM.

    While they were working incredibly hard, the HR department simply could not keep up. It was often impossible to reach HR. The department’s phones were not being answered and its voicemail system was frequently full & not accepting new messages. Many, many emails sent to them were not answered.

    Given how hard it was to reach HR last summer, I simply do not believe Ward-Smith’s statement that “50 of those teachers did not show up for the first day of school”. I suspect that those 50 teachers did give (or attempted to give) notice but the HR department ignored it.

  22. Prediction: soon there will be three HR directors on the DCS Payroll: (1) Mr. J. Wilson, (2) Ms. Ward-Smith and (3) Ward-Smith’s replacement.

  23. H.A. Hurley says:

    As disorganized as HR was and is, teachers took notice!
    If I experienced such problems with HR, I would think looooong and hard about working for that system. Can’t get your big toe in the door without such mess. Speaks volumes!
    There are some Metro systems who understand the importance of making a 1st Impression. Teachers notice that they are welcomed, guided through the application process, follow-up and actual HR contacts that answer phones, emails and return calls. Imagine that!?
    Poor DCS, they just can’t get it done!
    Lack of civility, skills, expertise, and the rest is….just don’t give a d—!
    Simple way to check on those disgusted teachers who, supposedly, did not show up on the 1st day: listen to HR voice mail, read old emails, rifle through mountains of old mail and pick up registered mail at the post office. It’s in there! That’s if this story is true.
    A system as p— poor as DCS, holding teachers hostage, under the worst conditions, is sending an even stronger message.
    Not a sign of ANY, any >>>AHAH MOMENTS!
    Poor DCS! Nothing to work with.
    Our Superintendent, our Savior, his BOE, FF, and CO staff…..Heaven help us.
    There is truly No One to talk to.

  24. Word Wall says:

    The contract fails on so many levels. Most important: there is no firm number of days, no commitment on the County’s part. 186 days seems to be a goal, but its vague & the State calls for 190. ( so there’s about $1000 short right there!)… Then there is the elimination of ANY salary (professional) down to a day rate (sharecropper). Then there is the fine print — reductions possible if the board decides to cut pay? (sharecropper). The lack of a raise, a step, a furlough reduction, a bonus or any incentive? (sharecropper). The threats that you will owe us $750 if sign under pressure NOW –and find salaried work elsewhere in MAY? (sharecropper) …then dead silence from the Superintendent, Board meeting and professional organizations like PAGE…..pathetic, unprofessional and counterproductive? Its all just standard operating procedure — (for sharecroppers)

  25. Teachermom says:

    Is the county required to pay state minimum next year or are we on a waiver? Or is it just a guideline?

  26. formerdekalbteacher says:

    I believe that they still have to pay the state minimum. Last year (my last as a teacher), the furlough days would have put my salary below the state minimum, but I was paid exactly the state mandated amount. I don’t think they can get a waiver for this, but then again–stranger things have happened.

  27. Good point formerteacher — thanks for setting us straight.

  28. On the contrary – my experience – and the experience of many I know – has been that DCSS severely underestimated the number of necessary teachers – even though principals pleaded for more. The school year often starts with outrageously over-crowded classrooms. This goes on for weeks. At Lakeside, there could be up to 40 in a classroom – even in the trailers. And finally, HR would relent and hire the necessary teachers. So, guess what? The entire schedule then needs revamping. Students are issued completely new schedules. And if this is an elementary school, a new teacher is added, and the classrooms are rejuggled, after students finally settle in, make friends, get to know their teacher and get to work. It’s as if they start over at week 3 or 4 or even 5 or 6.

  29. notanativeofdekalb says:

    @dsw2contributor: I am pretty sure your theory is correct. Personally, my own brother applied for a bookkeeping job last summer. He provided the many HR requested items: transcripts, job history, recommendations, etc. Then he just flat out never heard another word. He was never called to interview in person, and he was vastly qualified for the job.

  30. TeacherK says:

    DCSD has not in the past four years requested a waiver for the state salary scale. I’ve made state minimum for those four years. I asked last year and was told there were a significant (around 1000) teachers in the system who were making state minimum. I think (hope, pray) they would be too embarrassed to ask for a waiver of the state minimum salary scale.

  31. September says:

    Problems with HR are not new. It has been that way for years. The office staff was not helpful when I was hired more than a decade ago. My guess is that those 50 teachers verbally accepted a job but had trouble getting a contract to sign. Once DeKalb decides to hire someone they need to get that contract signed right away. I wouldn’t wait for a contract in DeKalb if another system made an offer and had their paperwork ready to go. That promised contract might not materialize.

  32. concerned citizen says:

    Why is it that DeKalb always overcrowds its schools, every single year? This has been going on for the past twenty years! So everything gets changed around and there is so much internal fluttering and grinding of teeth just because HR REFUSES to staff the schools. HR doesn’t listen to the principals, most of whom know exactly how many teachers they need. Of course, with the current situation of teacher flight, it admittedly is harder to figure, You know, HR is not only rude to teachers, but It is also rude to the PRINCIPALS. Ask your principals if HR is cooperative and supporting of their efforts. Ask if HR returns principals’ calls immediately. Ask if HR personnel have a rude, all-knowing, condescending tone? A good principal who is trying to retain his teachers plays hell talking to the Palace’s minions, with snappy answers and crispy tone of voice. This is disgraceful. Of course, most of us who are not principals are too, too used to the annoyed and snippy tone of voice of HR staff. And the HEAD of HR? Oh, she is charming to some of the Palace and the board, but not at all with the teaching staff, which just happens to pay her salary. She must go and quickly, too, before she harms any more teachers’ lives. There is a five-letter word that describes her better than any other word, and most of us know that word.

  33. concerned citizen says:

    I would like to add that there should be no pity for the long hours HR worked this past summer! They were also busy traveling around to recruit some teachers at the taxpayers’ expense, sorority-related as we know! Gag. HR has traditionally done nothing all year but suddenly has a burst of activity just before school opens. Does HR want us to think they are hard-working and caring of students and teachers? Yes, they are still having their little pity party, but I don’t buy it. Never have, never will.

  34. H.A. Hurley says:

    DCS teachers are so beaten down due to years of staying, hoping for changes, or even wondering if they are good enough to change jobs – symptoms of a bullied workforce.
    Too bad they don’t have the strength to boycott the contracts, 100% of teachers and refuse the one sided deal. Sounds like the only specific details listed on the so-called contract are: Dekalb County Schools & $750 Penalty. That’s it!
    Teachers, ALL of them, should have refused to sign anything until HR & sharecropper descendent were called on the carpet. Without this, nothing will change. Only get worse, because school systems which took RTTT$ will have to evaluate their teachers using the VAM formula. This will put the nail in the last remaining teachers’ coffins.

  35. IntheTrenches says:

    A paycheck that’s looked the same for about a decade, health “benefits” I have to pay 100% of myself that carries co-pays and deductibles so high I pray to God everyday I NEVER have to see a doctor, a BOE that lies and steals (stops paying into TSA by breaking its promise to teachers and stops any contribution to health plan with NO notice in the middle of the contracted time period 2 years ago) is demoralizing and downright soul-crushing, but dealing with the extreme degree of ignorance along with the accompanying disrespect and pure viciousness that permeates the air whenever the topic of teachers comes up is what has done it for me. Goodbye, DeKalb. Didn’t sign that sad excuse of a contract and happily sat and watched the 5 PM deadline come and go this evening. Then I poured myself a glass of wine and spent an hour or so thinking over the 24 years I’ve served the students of DeKalb County. Literally thousands of children. Great memories, overall. Not going to miss interacting with the rude, ignorant and incompetent DCSD but I am going to miss the kids…A LOT! Breaks my heart, actually. This year’s kids are have been especially great! Hard not to be sad…but feel relieved at the same time. Onwards and upwards.

  36. Teachers Matter says:

    IntheTrenches, the emotion in your post comes through loud and clear. The kids you served were lucky to have you, and we certainly understand your decision to leave. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors; you’ve earned it.

  37. We are sorry to see you go, but wish you the best intheTrenches, and thank you for your many years of service to the students of DeKalb.

  38. howdy1942 says:

    Ms. Downey should have checked out the situation in Dekalb before even beginning to write her article. The $750 penalty is an “issue” but, to me, the biggest cause for alarm was the failure of the contract to specify compensation or days worked. It left out a whole range of issues that any reasonable person would expect to be specifically addressed in any employment agreement. I think that H.A. Hurley may that point very well – looks like he has been through this drill many times! I also wish that it were possible for all of the Dekalb teachers to simply ignore this contract. And HR was working seven days a week before that? Maybe, just maybe, if they had been doing their jobs properly in the first place, then they could have avoided their little “crisis” in the first place.

    I also appreciate that reminder about the “Chicago recruiting trip” and wondered at the time – why Chicago? And I also asked myself, “why not Augusta, Savannah, Columbia, Chattanooga, Greenville, Charlotte?”

  39. H.A. Hurley says:

    Howdy 1942~ the Empty DCS Contract is their finest work. Yes, no accident or overlooked details…this contract was drafted and approved all up and down the line. Shysters and charlatans like HR, Super & BOE did not accidentally forget these details. They wrote exactly what they mean. Teachers had a couple of options, sign as is or refuse.

    Thurmond knows very well, especially with his experience of share cropping stories. Poor people were exploited for decades for free labor and debt they could never repay or recover from. Could not feed their families, down beaten, demoralized, lied to, discriminated, no vote, not sitting at anybody’s decision making table, runaways are returned-fined-shamed and thousands are beaten up for their attempt at freedom. Gee, feels familiar? The farmers did not suffer alone, the entire family lost out on their future, education and will to survive.

    Yup, they know exactly what they are doing. No accident here!
    Going to Chicago and recruit teachers was a smart move. Chicago closed 50 schools, overcrowded classes, fired teachers, Mayor Emanuel laughs at the people in poverty, but spends $B on attracting corporations to the city. Watch ‘Chicagoland’ on Thursdays at 10:00 PM on CNN. Thousands of teachers will be looking for jobs. Compared to Chicago, DCS may actually look good. But, don’t count in it.
    Education across America is treating teachers EXACTLY the way DCS is treating theirs. Motive is $$$ and employment for Teach for America. Influx of 22 year olds with 5 weeks of training will save education! Not making this up. Privatization of Education is the goal. Why DCS did not approve the Charter Cluster, given the national trend, I don’t understand. That’s where the HUGE corporate $$$$ is. What to do? What to do?

  40. Word Wall says:

    Remember these people don’t make 30 or 40 percent more than teachers (like private business managers)– they make 300 to 400 percent more! “Overcompensated incompetence” is Dekalb Schools #1 current and chronic problem…they keep shovelling money to people who never step foot in a classroom, $160,000 here, $240,000 there — and the final results are in! SACS probation, an emergency state intervention, criminal charges and the mass exodus of the people who actually deal with students….

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