Accreditation agency keeps DeKalb at “warned” level

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Read the original article here.

The DeKalb County School District has made “material progress” addressing the concerns of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but the organization did not restore full accreditation after a recent monitoring visit.

SACS will keep DeKalb’s accreditation at the “warned” level, a couple of notches below full accreditation, says a July 2 report by the organization that DeKalb released Friday.

The district has completed work on nine of 14 “required actions” but faces important changes in leadership. The election this year, culminating with Tuesday’s runoff, will alter the makeup of the school board. Also, the district will need to find a successor to Superintendent Michael Thurmond by June.

“The work to date has managed to stabilize the system and set it on a path to continuous improvement,” the SACS report said. “However, the school system faces several critical challenges that can threaten the sustainability of the progress made.”


This is why the quest for dual accreditation for all DeKalb County high schools led by Terry Nall and others is so critical. Our schools in DeKalb that DO manage to provide a quality education for their students should not have to suffer due to inept leadership and challenges at other schools in the district. We cannot risk all of our accreditation on SACS alone. Our graduating students must graduate from an accredited high school. Dual accreditation (a second accreditation via Georgia Accrediting Commission) provides this safety net. Our school board approved dual accreditation beginning this Fall. I hope all of the school councils keep tabs on the progress at their respective high schools.

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This entry was posted in DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, DeKalb County, Georgia, DeKalb School Board Elections, Education in the South, GA Legislature / Laws / O.C.G.A., Georgia Independent Schools, Michael Thurmond, SACS/Accreditation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Accreditation agency keeps DeKalb at “warned” level

  1. Only teachers and certain other school-house personnel truly know how nothing’s changed. Only they know how horribly Dekalb still treats its teachers and school-house staff. Michael Thurmond doesn’t know and doesn’t choose to know. Mark Elgart doesn’t know. The Board doesn’t know, and, again, doesn’t choose to know. State DOE has no clue. Nathan Deal, who, like Crawford Lewis, is running a criminal enterprise, doesn’t care to know.

    Those of you who have no direct involvement with the schools should realize that what you read on this blog and in the AJC doesn’t come close to describing what it’s like to actually teach in a Dekalb County school. It’s worse than you know, and perhaps worse than you can imagine. Involved parents and community members probably have some idea, but have no knowledge of the experiential dread felt by most good, conscientious teachers in Dekalb, especially while they’re anticipating the upcoming school year.

    Dekalb’s treatment of its teachers and schoolhouse staff directly affects student motivation, instruction, and student learning.

    Don’t even ask about how horribly teachers are treated who try to get out of their contracts and leave Dekalb. Its corrupt tentacles try to reach out and make you miserable while you’re trying to transition into a new job at another school system. I speak from bitter experience about this.

    I managed to escape Michael’s farm, but not unscathed.

    On leaving this education wasteland called Dekalb County School District, I offer my desperate prayers for all the students, the innocent victims of this horror.

  2. We absolutely know what you are talking about, Dissonance Theory. We have seen it up close and personal. We have repeatedly said — and we say it again: We will print anything you tell us, removing all personally identifying information, as long as you provide documentation to confirm what you say. It’s not that we don’t believe you. We do! But, if we were ever challenged, we must have factual documentation to back up what we print. Besides, it is just good journalism.

    Do you have a story to tell? Can you back it up with documentation (not hearsay)? Are you scared to death that you could lose your job or be treated even worse than you are now if you are ever found out? That is one reason why we obtained and pay for a P.O. Box. Information you send to a P. O. Box is virtually untraceable. Send your story and supporting documentation (e-mail from the Palace is good) to DeKalb School Watch, P.O. Box 660221, Atlanta, GA 30341

    We understand that working for DeKalb County Schools is miserable and thankless. Because we don’t see change in DeKalb County Schools happening ever — and by that we mean never — we support charter schools as well as breaking up DeKalb County Schools into much-smaller city-based school systems.

    We do NOT work for DeKalb County Schools, nor do our spouses, siblings, children, aunts & uncles, or cousins. We want to help you, not hurt you. Please — send us your story with supporting documentation. Help us help you.

  3. It's about the kids says:

    Dekalb has been without an ELA coordinator for at least 2 years. I know one qualified applicant was interviewed and told they decided to hire from outside. The job had been advertised for months and is on PATS again. Who are they trying to fool. Obviously no one from the outside is interested and the power players refused to hire someone qualified…why? I have a sadly race/friends/family theory.

  4. Beverly Fraud says:

    Dual accreditation IS vital because SACS has proven itself willing to engage in THE most unethical of actions, has it not?

    How else to explain how (according to the AJC correct me if I’m wrong Maureen Downey) Mark Elgart threatened to revoke APS accreditation if they DIDN’T politically protect Beverly Hall (by having the former APS board chairman resign to be replaced with the woman who ACTIVELY conspired with Beverly Hall to cover up cheating)

    This on top of the complete silence on the actual cheating itself, is a d@mning indictment of SACS being, as they like to say “fatally flawed” is it not?

    This LACK of ethics is fully consistent with how SACS has behaved in DeKalb; claiming this system has “improved.” When you seen the ABYSMAL results of students and the REPREHENSIBLE treatment of teachers, yet SACS shouts “improved” doesn’t that pretty much say it ALL about the motives of SACS and Mark Elgart?

    Don’t know as much about GAC, but I know they haven’t made headlines for questionable actions at best and WHOLLY unethical ones at worst, that are increasingly causing many to question the motives of SACS. GAC-there is no harm in seeking it and a LOT of potential good.

  5. curious says:

    Ex-DeKalb school chief argues today judge must honor plea agreement
    Updated: 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Posted: 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    Email 0Facebook 0Twitter 0ShareThis New
    By Rhonda Cook – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Attorneys for former DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis will argue this afternoon before the Georgia Court of Appeals that a trial judge must honor a plea agreement that he would get probation — not jail time — for pleading guilty to obstructing an investigation into the district’s construction program.
    To counter his lawyer’s arguments, DeKalb County prosecutors will be in the position of defending Judge Cynthia Becker’s refusal to adhere to the agreement between Lewis and the District Attorney’s Office even though the DA agreed in court filings with Lewis’ argument that the judge breached a negotiated plea.

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    Lewis was initially charged in a May 2010 indictment with racketeering. He was facing up to 65 years in prison when he pleaded guilty last fall two weeks before he was to go on trial on a misdemeanor charge that he interfered with the DA’s investigation of himself, the district’s chief operating officer, and her architect ex-husband.

    The plea agreement was that Lewis would testify truthfully against former COO Pat Reid and Tony Pope in exchange for a probation sentence. It was his testimony that contributed to the jury’s decision to convict Reid and Pope of racketeering, Reid, also convicted of theft, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 12 years probation and Pope was sentenced to eight years in prison and 10 years probation.

    Yet, Becker doubted he honored his promise to testify honestly so she sentenced Lewis to serve 12 months in jail, instead of 12 months on probation. Becker said she was disturbed by what he said from the stand.

    “The words I heard out of his (Lewis’) mouth when he testified, and I took notes, are the basis for the court’s sentence,” Becker said on Dec. 9 when she sentenced all three.

    Lewis testified to the problems he saw with the district’s construction projects but did nothing to stop Reid from sending business to her then-husband Pope or to firms affiliated with him.

    Prosecutors insisted at the hearing that Becker had agreed to the plea deal and that Lewis had done what he promised. In a petition filed with the Georgia Court of Appeals the DA’s office again noted that “It appears clear from the record before this court that on Oct. 16, 2013, the trial court bound itself to the plea agreement.”

    When Lewis tried to withdraw his plea on Dec. 9, Becker stressed that he would again be facing a racketeering charge and three counts of theft by taking by a government official. Becker also said Lewis’ testimony against Reid and Pope could be used against him.

    She told him he was again risking 65 years in prison if he were convicted of all the felony charges.

    Becker refused to set bond immediately and Lewis was then handcuffed and taken to jail. The judge scheduled a hearing on his lawyers’ motion to withdraw the plea for more than a week later, after she returned from vacation. The Georgia Court of Appeals said, however, bond is mandatory in misdemeanor cases, and Lewis was released after spending five days in the DeKalb County Jail.

  6. anothercomment says:

    It is disgusting that the prosecutors office is protecting the board members and Crawford Lewis. It was obvious that they did not hit him with hard questions during his testimony. Why wasn’t the question answered as to who the two board members were that would not allow him to fire Pat Reid/Pope.

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