Floating To The Top

“I pledge my talent, my time and my tenacity,” R. Stephen Green said when named superintendent.

He doesn’t predict that his actions as superintendent will change now that he’s signed a contract. Instead, Green said, the permanency of the position is sure to revitalize his staff.

“We’ll turn up the dial a bit in terms of the energy we bring to the table,”  he said.

“I’m here for the long haul and that’s what I can assure parents,” he said. “This constant rollover, instability, inconsistency, will come to an end.”

The school board chair echoed the need for stability:  “Certainly, it takes a great number of years to regain the trust and support of the community but we’re committed to a long-term superintendent who’s committed to doing that work,” he said.

“Great!” you say. “Looks like we’re in for a dedicated new leader!”

Oh.  Wait.  Those quotes from Dr. Green were actually aired by Kansas City’s Channel 41, KSHB.  In 2012.  KSHB went on to say, “Green is eager to continue his work with KCPS.  Green is the 27th person to take the title of superintendent for KCPS in less than 43 years. He promised to stay with the district for “as long as it takes.”

Or perhaps just until a better offer comes along.

Meanwhile, as Green was selected as Missouri’s superintendent of the year and Missouri granted provisional accreditation to Kansas City Public Schools, Green, in reality, did not even come close to improving the academic performance of Kansas City students. See for yourself.  Take a look in the DSW archives at the Excel workbook regarding KC and its high schools.*

Green had far fewer high schools to improve academically — 7.  Green had far fewer students to improve academically — 14,500 (K-12).  In fact, since 2007, Kansas City has lost about 10,000 students.

Ask your board member WHY Green was the choice.  Do it now!  Send us your board member’s response and we will publish all that we receive.

For the first and probably the only time, for different reasons, we agree with Joyce Morley — except instead of abstaining from a vote we think she should take a stand and vote NO! against Green.  This floating-to-the-top selection process stinks! Things that float to the top are not always what you want for your community.

Although we are happy to see Michael Thurmond go — and not a moment too soon — we are still concerned and will continue watching.

* Please note that this is an Excel Workbook.  The first tab is for Kansas City Schools overall; there are seven more tabs in this workbook — one for each high school.

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33 Responses to Floating To The Top

  1. An excerpt from “Funny People Have More Orgasms, Study Finds”, published on April 15, 2015:

    “Don’t be afraid to let your mate lead,” says Joyce Morley, EdD, a licensed counsellor in Decatur, Ga. “Allow your mate to initiate sexual pleasure on occasions, as well as taking the top position.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/04/15/funny-people-more-sex_n_7071596.html

    ++

    Haha — DSW Note: Now you can see why it’s such a big move for us to agree with her on any issue!

  2. Stan Jester says:

    DSW,
    You provided a good chart on KCPS’s academic achievement, please go into further detail of your analysis. Allow me to provide some context for this data.

    Missouri school districts are assessed on performance in five areas:
    • Academic achievement (MAP)
    • Subgroup achievement
    • College and career or high school readiness
    • Attendance rate
    • Graduation rate

    What is the MAP Test?
    MAP stands for “Missouri Assessment Program.” It is a series of assessments for English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science at grades 3-8; and English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies in high school. These assessments are designed to see if students in Missouri are meeting standards.

    Interpreting MAP results
    MAP is scored according to four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Missouri’s goal is to help students achieve in the top two categories.

    So …. from the data in the spreadsheet …. student achievement on average as a percentage has been going from the bottom two categories to the top two categories.

  3. Marney says:

    OK people, my personal feeling is that we may have gotten better than we deserved with this one.
    Let’s give the man a chance rather than assuming the worst from the get go.

    I went to the “meet and greet” last week. I must admit that I went to see my two kid’s final performance in the DSA show choir that was asked to sing on short notice for something that the district/board threw together in order to make an attempt to let the community see this guy (do they get cut any slack for at least doing that?)

    My opinion is based on a couple of things. First, in the interviews I watched he speaks well, and to the question he is asked. But I couldn’t understand why the superintendent that was voted “best in Missouri” by his peers..i.e. other superintendents, would want to come here. We wouldn’t have had a prayer of getting someone similarly respected 2 years ago—and whatever else you may say of Michael Thurmond educational background, he put tourniquets on a lot of cuts that we were bleeding out from. It was stated that Dr. Green had children and grandchildren living in the area. That, to me, suggests that his moving here is more about ending his career closer to his family—not job hoping with the next hop necessarily out of town in 2 years the way Atkinson’s resume read her entire career.

    The second reason I am hopeful is that I watched the way he talked to others in the “handshake” line. I didn’t overhear all of it, but I overheard the person ahead of me tell him he was an employee in the curriculum/ assessment area. Dr. Green immediately brightened up and started asking some very specific detailed questions. There was jargon and details i didn’t follow, but it was clear that he knew his stuff and would be able to tell very quickly if the employee knew his.

    I’m not upset that he was signed quickly because I don’t want the guy going to Marietta or Fulton county schools—we likely would be in a bidding war had we waited because, quite frankly, theirs would be the easier landing pad if you want a superintendent job in Atlanta. I’m willing to overlook that he is breaking the Kansas City contract because grandchildren can have that effect. I’m willing to let Michael Thurmond change/fire some folks on the way out.—(do we think he intends to sabotage the new guy when he refused to have his contract extended last year?) I’m willing to hope that he will be here until he retires because at his age I don’t think he would want to move again.

    I have been wrong before, but I wish that several of the regular posters on this blog would withhold judgement for a bit and let the new guy roll up his sleeves before they write him off.

    Marney

  4. Stan,
    What further detail do you want? We simply re-printed information that is made publicly available by the State of Missouri and we highlighted the deficiencies we thought were important to consider.

    Actually, Stan, student achievement on average should be going from the bottom two categories (Below Basic and Basic) to the top two (Proficient and Advanced). It’s not. Just start with the 3rd grade English Language Arts in the overall Kansas City Public Schools spreadsheet (Tab #1). Not good. Not good at all. Certainly not for a highly paid superintendent (with an Ed.D. — every bit as good as the far-more-difficult-and-meaningful Ph.D. Right?) of an unaccredited school system with 14,500 students and shrinking. So your point is?

    Reading well and on grade level by the end of 3rd Grade is critical. Here’s an overview. If Green can’t be successful with fewer than 15,000 students at $20,000 per student spending in the whole K.C. system how do you expect him to do it in the nearly 7 times larger DeKalb County Schools — especially when he will be working in a nest of vipers whose only interest is maintaining status quo, including their salaries. Anyone who thinks DeKalb County Schools is about educating students and academic achievement is sadly and foolishly mistaken.

    Our students can’t wait!

    What is Green’s plan? What significant qualities, experience and accomplishments does he bring to the table? What did he say that convinced you that he was the correct choice for DCS Superintendent? We don’t want to hear about New York, either. Whatever he accomplished in New York he was unable to duplicate in the far, far smaller Kansas City School System. He won’t fare better in DeKalb County Schools.

    Really, Stan. Our students can’t wait!

  5. Moving on …

    NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLED MEETING

    The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 11:00am, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in the J. David Williamson Board Room, in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. The called meeting will adjourn to an executive session in the Cabinet Room for the purpose of discussing a personnel matter.

    We have noticed >> Michael Thurmond, being a career politician, views this job as superintendent as one that is basically political. Therefore, as he exits office, he is doing the ‘chair dance’ — rewarding those who were loyal to him while he was ‘in office’. We are seeing several insiders who were loyal to Thurmond being promoted – while those he didn’t care for have been seriously sidelined. Oh the soap opera of DeKalb — What do you think Michael Thurmond wants all this political goodwill for? What office will he run for next? Where will he take his [very effective personal PR rep and] ‘communications officer’ next?

  6. Stan Jester says:

    DSW,
    Your basing your judgment on 3rd grade English Language Arts alone?

    As you pointed out from 2007 – 2014 3rd grade ELA, the top two categories (Proficient and Advanced) decreased by a combined total of 8.4%. However, from 2007 – 2014 6th grade ELA, the top two categories increased by a combined total of 9.6%. Average all the grades and all the subjects, you’ll see the trend is up into the top two categories.

    Don’t forget that academic achievement is only 1 of 5 performance areas districts are graded on in their APR (Annual Performance Report). Kansas City Public Schools was graded on a scale of 140 points where KCPS earned 92.5 points in 2014. That was 8.5 points more than the what the school district earned in 2013, and a 54.5-point leap from the 2012 results. In light of that achievement, Dr. Green was awarded Missouri’s Superintendent of the Year.

    Dr. Green has a Masters in English Literature from Ball State University and an Ed.D. from Indiana University. IU is hardly an online doctorate factory. The teachers who work long and hard hours to improve themselves, provide a better education for our children, and earn an Ed.D from a respectable institution don’t deserve to be belittled here.

  7. ??? Who belittled anyone? In reality, if you are honest, there is a difference between ‘doctoral’ degrees – Ed.D’s are known to be easier to attain than Ph.D’s. Medical degrees are something exponentially more difficult, so the term ‘doctor’ has a wide swath of difficulty to achieve. And there are many, many, many good teachers who do not have an Ed.D. – in fact most don’t. Most people who go to the trouble of getting one have the goal of becoming a highly compensated education administrator, not a teacher.

    FWIW, degrees aside, we are only looking at Dr. Green’s ability to move teaching and learning forward. We didn’t see much progress for children in the numbers we found and reviewed.

    And what are the other four performance areas other than academic achievement that account for the high rating?

    As with any data, it can be viewed from many different angles. If you want it to make someone’s achievements look good, it will. Magical thinking helps too. Michael Thurmond is an expert at that. We will give the board credit for at least removing him from the picture.

    At any rate, Stan, we can tell you are a fan of the new super. Time will tell if you made a good choice for DeKalb. Hopefully the board will make goals for him to attain – and then evaluate him on his performance data. Hopefully, the board won’t simply take the super at his word, as boards in the past have done – for fear of being called out for meddling by SACS.

  8. Stan Jester says:

    Missouri school districts are assessed on performance in five areas:
    • Academic achievement (MAP)
    • Subgroup achievement
    • College and career or high school readiness
    • Attendance rate
    • Graduation rate

    I retain a healthy amount of skepticism. I’ll be a fan of Dr. Green’s when he improves academic achievement for our students.

  9. kirklunde says:

    I am a fan of Dr. Green right now.

    He hasn’t cozied up to the friends and family network yet.

  10. Here’s the report from On Common Ground News, on Dr. Green’s visit…

    Green said he was excited about being in DeKalb and looking forward to taking the reins. He said he plans to inventory staff, administration and other resources to determine the district’s assets and what the district needs to build upon. Educating students and bringing up all schools to where they need to be will be his top priority, he pledged.

    “We will begin to identify where the resources are to support the classrooms and make sure they have what they need to succeed,” Green said.

    Green said he plans to include all stakeholders in putting and keeping the district on tract. He said he held twice-a-month parent symposiums, “On the Scene with Green,” in Kansas City and he plans to do the same in DeKalb.

    “Community engagement, parent engagement is an important part of what I believe is important for us to be successful and you will see that in the action plan coming forth from me right off the bat,” said Green. “… I like collaboration. I like teamwork. We cannot do it alone. We need community partners,” said Green, who is expected to take the reigns on July 1.

    During his visit, Green met with several parent organizations and spent some of his time meeting with District Principals and Teachers of the Year. Green spent his last day in DeKalb meeting with faith-based and civic organizations, professional organizations and made a brief appearance at the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce’s Apex Awards.

    Before meeting elected officials and other members of the community, Green checked in with SACS representatives.

    Dr. Melvin Johnson, who chairs the School Board, said he is looking forward to working with Green.

    “He’s very well respected. It’s been a positive collaboration and I believe the board and Dr. Green will work well together,” Johnson said.
    – See more at: http://www.oncommongroundnews.com/local-news/item/528-dekalb-schools-welcome-dr-green.html#sthash.WXNWUsHb.dpuf

  11. Those meetings were not open to the public. Green was meeting with selected groups of parents, teachers, principals, SACS and religious leaders. (We hope it was anyone other than Eddie Long!)

    Now, here’s another article or two on the subject of our incoming/out-going superintendents >>

    DeKalb’s Outgoing School Superintendent Prepares Hand-Off

    When asked about future plans to run for office, Michael Thurmond admits to WABE that “there’s only one cure for political ambition: Formaldehyde.”

    Green: ‘We know the things we need to do’ for success in DeKalb schools

  12. Seems as though the AJC article misrepresents the hiring process: “It’s been a busy two months for Green. The current Kansas City Public Schools chief said he applied for the DeKalb job in late March. He was declared a semifinalist after 120 candidates were whittled down to eight by the district’s board of education and a Community Liaison Committee, a group of parents and county residents.”

    Who was this Community Liaison Committee? And does anyone know who the eight finalists were. We knew all about the three finalists when Atkinson was hired.

    This seems just all too good to be true.

    And regarding another comment, just what does the District have for Green to build upon? Seems like he needs to gut the place and start all over.

  13. Guess you missed it dissonancetheory: Here’s our post about the liaison search committee >>

    School board nominates superintendent search committee

    Each board member nominated two people.

    Mr. Stan Jester District 1 Rick Callihan Al Tiede
    Mr. Marshall Orson District 2 Carolyn Finnerty Betty Willis
    Dr. Michael Erwin District 3 Urcel Ray Fields Katherine Kelbaugh
    Mr. James McMahan District 4 Michelle Penkava Al Edwards
    Mrs. Vickie Turner District 5 William Boone Eliezer Velez
    Dr. Melvin Johnson District 6 Lance L. Hammonds John Evans
    Dr. Joyce Morley District 7 Gwen Johnson Kerwin Lee, Senior Pastor

    Also serving (elected at-large) are: Rhina Fernandes Williams, Asst. Professor of Multicultural Education, GA State and Barbara Lee, citizen Read the rest of the story here >> School board nominates superintendent search committee.

  14. Thanks! But are their deliberations confidential? I’d like to know who the other finalists were. And I think the timing of the Board’s firing of ProAct and the announcement of the hiring of Green is more than coincidence. Just way too sceptical about this District and its ability to conduct business ethically and with transparence.

  15. dekalbteacher says:

    Stan,

    Lets be honest here. No matter how much of a curriculum guru Dr. Green might be and no matter how much he may have improved achievement in Kansas City (despite all dubious testing measurements), he isn’t a miracle worker and he can’t be in every school.

    Until the board stops allowing classes of 34 and a leadership-first mentality (why all these last minute switches/promotions?), how much can you really expect?

    I’d like to hear less about Dr. Green’s resume and more about the board’s rationale in allowing so many under-qualified and under-performing higher level employees to keep collecting generous paychecks.

  16. Stan Jester says:

    DissonanceTheory,
    Some states like Florida require all superintendent deliberations be public. One of the drawbacks of public deliberations is that the superintendent candidate’s employer finds out they are looking for another job.

    Georgia allows for superintendent deliberations in executive session. The superintendent candidates applied with the expectation of confidentiality.

    I posted regular updates on the superintendent search along with updates from the public liaison committee representatives. The relationship with ProAct was terminated when some abhorrently racist comments came to light. You can read more about that here – http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2015/05/4221/

  17. Stan Jester says:

    DekalbTeacher,
    I agree. Dr. Green isn’t “Superman” so to speak.

    Money in the classroom is my number one priority. DeKalb Schools has balanced the budget on the backs of teachers for many years. Class size is a tax on teachers. I write about it on my blog and regularly make motions at board meetings to require the administration to put more money in the classrooms. Alas, I am but one vote – http://factchecker.stanjester.com/board-meetings/2015-2/00022015-work-session/02022015-mid-year-budget-adjustment/

    Nancy Jester wrote about the Myth of Local Control. She discusses many of the leadership and HR questions you have – http://whatsupwiththat.nancyjester.com/2012/09/26/136/

  18. One of the significant character flaws demonstrated by Green are the “promises” he made to the people in Kansas City who were counting on him. (Read “Floating To The Top” again. Those quotes from Green are word-for-word what he told the stakeholders in KC — the promises he made which were published.) Green wasn’t found by Proact. He deliberately applied for the job of DCS superintendent without a second thought to the Kansas City stakeholders and students. Worse, with a school system 1/7th the size of DeKalb County Schools — and without, we assume, the bed of vipers he will find at the Palace — he was unable to even begin to turn around the failing KC school system. In fact, the trend for KC is downward.

    The DeKalb County School Board had an opportunity to to turn around this flailing, failing system and they blew it! They were so determined to get rid of Michael Thurmond, whose fatal mistake was to find a champion in Joyce Morley while alienating the other board members. But the board still had to fill the superintendent’s chair with another African American to protect the friends-and-family jobs program. According to the American Association of School Administrators, only about 6%-7% of the school superintendents in the US are minority — and some of those are Hispanic which DCS would never consider. That’s a pretty shallow pool to choose from.

  19. Green is no curriculum guru. Apparently he knows how to chatter the latest eduspeak jargon. But, that doesn’t make him a guru or expert, despite the fact that he could sling the eduspeak jargon when he ran into a curriculum person from the Palace. (And what is that all about, anyhow? Strange that Green ran into a person whose job is curriculum at one of the closed-to-the-public private meetings he held during his first few days in DeKalb. Michael Thurmond claims that DeKalb County Schools has not had a curriculum for years. Shouldn’t that have been the first thing Thurmond worked on?)

    You are right, though — Green isn’t a miracle worker. Take a look at the Excel workbook in the DSW archives that shows Green’s inability to do what he promised he would do in Kansas City. We have highlighted the areas of concern that we thought were important. There is a downward trend in academic achievement in KC. Green was unable turn around that trend with a school district 1/7th the size of DCS.

  20. howdy1942 says:

    I hope that Dr. Green knocks it out of the park and restores greatness to the Dekalb County School System. I am happy to see Michael Thurmond moving on. Some think that he did a lot of good. Maybe, but he also did a lot of damage and alienated a lot of our residents. He did very little to establish any sort of “harmony” in the County and, far too often, he tooted is own horn or had his PR guy do the tooting.

    I don’t have an issue with maintaining confidentiality regarding the candidates. Stan, I will agree with you on the importance of maintaining confidentiality. Few people seeking another job are “bold enough” to tell their current employer. We had at least two better qualified candidates the last time around until some member of the school board (we still don’t know who) broke that confidentiality and really put the candidate involved in a very difficult situation.

    My issue is with the process by which Dr. Green was selected – not with Dr. Green. We had a failed, badly botched bid process to find a selection firm. We changed the bid so that it resulted in just one firm and that firm obviously was suspect from the outset. That was well-documented in the AJC that pointed out so very clearly that this firm had been rejected by the Atlanta Public School System. That was a serious lapse in judgement and someone in the administration ought to be held accountable. I don’t know who the candidates this firm identified before it was fired, but I don’t think that we used good judgment or that this process was free from prejudice. Every single one of the finalists should have come from accredited school systems. Every one of them should have a clear, measurable track record of results that are documented and not subjective. Every one should have experience leading a major organization. I don’t often agree with Senator Fran Millar, but I do agree with his remark at the Dunwoody meeting held by the search firm wherein he stated that we needed a good leader, not necessarily one with a doctorate in Education. Not saying that we should not consider those with doctorates in education, just a strong leader, such as a retired military officer or retired industry leader perhaps in their 50s. The big problems at the Dekalb County School System is its failure to understand what is important, to understand how to get the focus on where it ought to be, and to build the organization to get the job done. Regarding the latter, we desperately need someone to clean house and rid it of incompetence, to establish personal accountability, to build trust, to efficiently allocate the very adequate resources provided by the taxpayers, to be honest and responsive, and to establish credibility. Maybe Dr. Green can do that. He has a tough road ahead of him with virtually half of those who live in Dekalb County wanting out.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  21. Marney says:

    DSW

    The meeting I saw Dr. Green at was this one: which was sent out by the DSA PTSA to everyone…

    Dekalb County School Community Reception for Dr. R. Stephen Green

    The Deal County School District Board of Education would like to invite you to attend a Community Reception with Dr. R. Stephen Green, the sole superintendent finalist. The meet and greet will take place on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 6:30-8:00PM.
    DeKalb County School District
    Administrative and Instructional Complex
    1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd
    Stone Mountain GA 30083
    Room: Board Room

    The meeting will be a casual and informal social setting allowing you the opportunity to meet Dr. Green. We would love to have you in attendance and hope you will be able to make it.

    Regards,
    DeKalb Board of Education
    Dr. Melvin Johnson, Chair
    Mr. James L. “Jim” McMahan, Vice Chair
    Dr. Michael A. Erwin
    Mr. Stan O. Jester
    Dr. Joyce Morley
    Mr. Marshall D. Orson
    Mrs. Vickie B. Turner

    I would presume all the PTSA’s across the county had the same info and should have propagated it widely. Not secret or private.. just short notice on the last week of school. Anyone could have gone. I would guess there were maybe 20 members of the community there and plenty of time to talk to Dr. Green.

    Again you presume a secretive conspiracy where I see none.

  22. Marney says:

    My recollection is that the was also a short paragraph in the AJC announcing the meeting that day, but it isn’t worth my time to go try to dig it up to post.

    “We don’t see things as they are–we see them as we are.”

  23. We asked Stan Jester, board member for District 1 about these unpublished meet and greets. He told us they were not for the general public, that these were groups the board specifically asked Dr. Green to meet with – see below >>

    Here are the groups the board asked Dr. Green to meet with.

    1. Community Liaison Group

    o 14 members (not to include Board Chair and Vice Chair)

    1. Parents

    o 3 parents per region (5 regions)

    1. Principals

    o 3 principals per region (5 regions)

    1. Teachers

    o 3 teachers per region (5 regions)

    1. Students

    o 3 teachers per region (5 regions)

    1. Elected Officials

    o DeKalb Delegation, DeKalb Commissioners, DeKalb CEO, and DeKalb Mayors.

    1. Philanthropic/Foundational Group

    o Individuals from the focus group lists for these categories that were established at the outset of the search for Community Engagement. Will also include the teacher organizations.

    1. Faith-Based

    ps – who said ANYTHING about a conspiracy? Geesh.

    BTW, if anyone else received info from their PTA, please let us know. We subscribe to several of their email newsletters and received nothing about Dr. Green’s visits. Certainly, Marney, you were invited due to the fact that your children attend DSA and their choir performed for Dr. Green.

  24. @Howdy: We actually have no issue (well, not that much issue) with the confidentiality – if that had been the plan from the start — we have an issue with the way the board said they were going to handle this one way (with ‘up to’ 3 final candidates to present to the public) vs what they actually did in the end >> Presented their one and only choice. It’s a matter of trust and communication. This board still needs to work on those things.

  25. September says:

    @DSW. The distinction between a PhD and an EdD is minimal. Not all PhDs are earned with high quality research. It may have more to do with the quality of the university granting the degree and the individual doing the research than the initials a person puts after their name. I’ve read dissertations written at good brick and mortar universities that contributed significantly to what we know on an area of research. I’ve also read some that were not much more involved than the thesis I wrote for my specialist degree. A fair judgment requires a careful reading of the research completed.

  26. DecaturMax says:

    The deal is done at this point. Not the best process, but it is over. Personally, I think a Superintendent from a smaller district will address more student level changes(class size, teacher recruitment ant retention + maybe MAP testing) and not macro level plans that never touch most students. If you are a big organization person and all you know is bureaucracy(Mr Thurmond), how do you make meaningful changes without adding more managers and sucking more money out of the classroom.

    While I don’t think we found the messiah, I do think we took a step forward. Mr Jester, who is not known for “rubber stamping”, seems to feel good about the decision. That sincerely makes me feel better about the choice. I hope we can talk about some good things in the coming months!

  27. The Wiz says:

    End of school year Competency Test and Exit Exam:

    Multiple choice: Please bubble in one answer–any erasures will invalidate your answer.

    After not much review and short deliberations please indicate your selection for the next superintendent for the DeKalb County School System.

    ( ) Dr. R. Stephen Green
    ( ) Dr. R. Stephen Green
    or
    ( ) Dr. R. Stephen Green

    As we come to another closing act of yet another African-American superintendent, DeKalb’s highly touted repeating versions of the “Black Wiz” has failed us again. Marginal student improvement, if at all. Low teacher morale. Experienced teachers leaving for other systems or leaving teaching completely. Over-rated and over-paid administrators. Continued poor budgeting practices. Smoke screens blown in the constituents’ faces to cover the dismal reality of a failing system. Accountability? Uh, no.

    No matter how many levers or buttons or handles are pulled or pushed by this new Wizard (superintendent) behind the magic curtain, if he doesn’t step up immediately and do what is right for the students and the teachers. . . then we are just doing more time in Toto Land. Or should I say Dodo Land.

    But, let’s be fair and give the new guy a chance. With a new superintendent it is time to clean up the debris and a new opportunity to rid ourselves of this ever repeating theme in this DeKalb tragedy. Dr. Green needs to ride into town on a new tornado and pick up all of the strewn pieces, and re-build and re-boot from the bottom up. Yes, and that means start with the student’s interests. And, let’s not worry about friends and family and sorority and fraternity and ethnicity. He needs to build the best educational organization he can build–and do it fast. If not, in the DeKalb educational community, with many years of mis-truths and lack luster performance, his credibility will drop very, very quickly. If he doesn’t hit the ground running, he will just be the next former African-American superintendent in DeKalb in 18-24 months.

    A good start would be for him to rid the system of the other behind-the-scenes players of this made-for-prime-time DeKalb disaster–the DeKalb Wiz!

    Let’s see, the whimsical, never-knowing-what-is-going-on Dorothy, played by Dr. Alice Thompson, needs to retire. Her inability to lead and her desire to delegate her work to others–while pulling a big salary and benefits is an old DeKalb bloated budget business model that has no viability. Everyone getting paid has to be productive and responsible and accountable. Bye, bye Dr. T.

    The straw man, played by Mr. Ronald Ramsey, Esq. has outlived his cycle. Time to light a fire under his buns–and send him off smoking. If he is as good as he says he is, he will thrive in private practice. Unfortunately, he too, has played an integral part in being divisive and strong-armed…while collecting a full-time salary from DeKalb Schools and his full-time salary as a State Senator from South DeKalb. Can you spell “double dipping?” Hard to believe that he continues to “get by” with this scam year after year. Talk about connections! Also, has his family ever cleared up their re-occurring tax delinquency problems? I hope so. The Georgia treasury really needs the money so they can send it back to the good old DeKalb school system! Ramsey, you need to be gone!

    The Tin Man, or in this case, Tin Lady, played by none other than the second latest interim, Ramona Tyson, has been squeaking around behind the scenes for long enough. People still don’t get it that she was not qualified to begin with. She was hand-picked by the disgraced Crawford Lewis as charges of racketeering were being filed against him. Then Tyson was forced onto DeKalb by a Board of Education that supported Crawford Lewis to the nth degree. They probably still have each other on speed dial. Can you say “puppet on a string?”

    Oh, and let’s not forget the smooth talking, ever entertaining, overly dramatic Dr. Morcease “The Lion” Beasley. Too much baggage, too much burden to carry on, and too many connections. Send him off to the big educational jungle outside of DeKalb. Some small system will not do their due diligence and will snap him up a heartbeat. Did I say heartbeat?

    And last but not least, time to spill some water on that Tekeisha Ward-Smith over in the not-so-human resources department. We all know what happens to witches when you spill water on them in Oz, right? Oops!

    Good luck Dr. Green. You don’t have much time to make your mark. A few weeks at the most. Don’t give the cast of characters in the central office an extra two minutes or they will use it to sink you in order to protect their own hides.

  28. It was so clear to me in the WSB pressers today that Dr. Joyce is just a media whore. So sad! It seems that she thought with John Evans as Melvan’s choice the board would select more of a raciest for their side. Is she a little afraid that he may actually do something about the friends and family! That the reign of New Birth may end. Does one of his children have a white spouse? Or do his children live in Dunwoody, Brookhaven or Druid Hills? Or Did his children go to a top notch university, for example : Ivy League, Big Ten, Duke, Vandy, Notre Dame BC, NW, NE, etc ?

  29. dekalbteacher says:

    Stan,

    In his WABE interview three days ago, Thurmond acknowledged that “mismanagement and dysfunction”-not corruption-was the “real crime” of Dekalb County Schools. However, most of these dysfunctional “managers” who must be the very directors, supervisors, coordinators, regional superintendents,etc… who stayed on during Thurmond’s house “fire,” as he calls it, have stayed put. It would seem that as long as Thurmond had someone to make the books look good and make him sound good that’s all he needed.

    I know that your vote can’t solve all our problems, but maybe you can put good questions out there that the board and the new superintendent can’t ignore.

    How is the job performance of any higher-ups in curriculum and instruction measured? Why have any of these people been recommended for continued employment? Thurmond acknowledged that our school district hasn’t had a district-wide curriculum plan in fifteen years during this same interview. What were these people doing while Thurmond was putting out the financial fires? Shouldn’t he and they be able to show materials as a vendor would his to get a bid?

    I would also like to know how Thurmond’s and future budgets figure in a cost benefit analysis of paying all these extra degree holders. In my tenure in the school district, I’ve seen a proliferation of these specialist and so-called doctorate degrees so that we have heaps of “doctors” and little expertise. We have fewer substitute teachers when we would assume these education experts would be modelling and working with students. We have scant professional development activities where we actually do things for the classroom (but we have many discussions!). We have virtually no teaching materials despite the fact that most of these degrees require work for classes (although we do get heaps of surveys for yet another research assignment!). Lesser paid instructors at secondary institutions are expected to produce materials. Apparently, we don’t have the same expectations for our “doctors.”

  30. Stan Jester says:

    Mismanagement and Dysfunction – WABE opens that interview talking about SACS accusing the old board of mismanagement. Board mismanagement and dysfunction seem to be the context.

    “Job Performance” – 99% of the teachers are rated proficient and I don’t believe the “higher-ups” are currently being evaluated on performance. I have recommended to HR a wider spread of ratings for teachers. Managing and evaluating administrative staff is up to the superintendent.

    Return on Investment – The state sets the minimum salary schedule for teachers. The ROI of advanced degree holders is an ongoing debate across the country.

  31. dekalbteacher says:

    I listened to the entire interview, as I hope all board members and taxpayers have done or will do. Thurmond was specifically asked about corruption in our school district. This excerpt is posted on WABE’s website.

    We don’t need a wider spread of ratings. That’s like saying we need more Bs and Cs just to have them.

    We need an evaluation process that starts at the top. Take just some of the teacher evaluation standards-instructional planning, assessment use, communication-and apply those to the in-school and district administrators.

    Why can’t the board require the superintendent to submit administrative evaluations, with uploaded documentation like we teachers supply, before approving jobs? And why can’t these things be linked to student performance the way our evaluations are? Then we might find the ability to reduce classes and fund real instructional support.

  32. sawyerbrown68 says:

    Stan,

    No curriculum in 15 years is mismanagement because 90% of the staff has been in the Dekalb Upper Management for the last 10-12 years.

    It’s dysfunctional when Dr. Beasley advocates “triage” one year but not the next.

    It’s dysfunctional when money ( no matter the source) is used to proliferate doctors of this and doctors of that. In a certain case, a beneficiary of a paid by Dekalb doctoral degree was catapulted, from an insignificant assistant principal post, to new principalship while still in the program at Mercer. What, you can earn a doctorate while learning how to run a school?

    Dekalb teacher posits the Board should NOT hire people with “specialist or doctorate” if their work is “master’s degree” grade.

    If incompetence is a de facto requirement to work in the palace, hire incompetent people with a master’s instead of paying more for incompetent people with online specialist and doctorate online degrees. The results would be the same but the saving in salary could be applied to in crease the teachers’ salary a few cents more!

  33. September says:

    We really do need textbooks. The the guy who repairs our copier is there so often he should be on the payroll. Teachers have created the equivalent of textbooks on that copier. When you add up the cost for paper, toner, and teacher time, this is not a cost saving decision.

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