Wednesday, February 6, 2013

State School Superintendent John Barge a Bust in Dunwoody

 UPDATE
The AJC has a piece today on Barge's illegal  mileage claims.  Barge has been receiving $7000 annually for a car allowance.  This perk disappeared from the State in 2006 according to the AJC.  Barge's response? 

“I think our staff got some mixed signals,” he said.

Now he sounds like a DeKalb Superintendent or Board member with those words.  Yes, John Barge, you and staff got mixed signals.  And all that fraud and waste in DeKalb?  Don't worry about it; it's simply mixed signals. ----------------

Original Post Starts Here:

State School Superintendent John Barge brought his "Georgia Education is Great" dog and pony show to Peachtree Conversion Charter Middle School today.  Barge was the guest speaker at the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents' Council (DCPC).  The DCPC is a group of responsible parents dedicated to the local public schools.  Their hearts are in the right place.  They have bark, but no bite.  My mixing with the DCPC goes back to the fun days of redistricting.  I saw lots of familiar faces today.  Love Ya! It's been months since I attended a DCPC meeting.  The last one was probably April 2012 when SuperOUTendent  Cheryl Atkinson was the speaker.

Back to the Barge.  Barge had a  PowerPoint display with him. It's nice that he apparently uses middle school student talent to produce his slide shows.  He made some good points on the progress of education in Georgia.  He also discussed how media do not dig deep enough to see the improvements made in Georgia education.

Being a former teacher like Barge, I know it is important to know your audience and  be prepared to 'teach' what the class needs.  Today's class  (the audience at Peachtree Conversion Charter Middle School) could care less what is happening in Mitchell County, Georgia, home of the Eagles! His class today did not care that we have switched to a new Georgia Performance Standards and not interested in hearing about Common Core Standards of 2003 or the QCC's of 1998.

People today wanted to know what is HE and HIS office is doing about the situation in DeKalb.  Apparently John Barge did not do his homework last night.  Barge did do his best to prolong the PowerPoint presentation so that questions to him would be limited.  My old buddy Crawford Lewis was the master of that trick.  But give Barge credit as he did field some questions.

First up Barge called on a DunwoodyTalk staffer seated up front.  We got to PCCMS at 5 AM to get that seat by the way.  The question was VERY simple.  So simple a student from a school not meeting AYP could answer it one way or the other.  It was a 'Yes' or 'No' question.  "Do you support the formation of independent school districts, perhaps a new school district for Dunwoody and/or Chamblee?"  Barge was unable to answer the question.  Perhaps if he had a Scantron it would have helped.  Barge opposed school choice with the Charter Amendment so it is no surprise he refused to give his answer to the question.  The answer is 'No', Barge does not want us to have our own school district.

Quite simply, Georgia School Superintendent Barge is the team captain for the state's school superintendents.

Another question from a concerned parent asked Barge why he approves waivers for counties like DeKalb to add eight (8) more students to a class.  Barge fumbled around a bit then blamed it on the economy. 

Dunwoody Councilman Terry Nall (the best-dressed man in Dunwoody, by the way) then asked an excellent question, and Barge totally showed his complete incompetence and total lack of care for parents in DeKalb.  Councilman Nall asked Barge if he would support the plan for a group/organization in DeKalb to have their local school accredited not by SACS, but by the other legal entity permitted to accredit schools in Georgia.  What a great idea - I wish it was mine.  Barge looked like a deer in headlights, sloooooooooooowly trying to process Nall's question. 

DeKalb County as a whole is in jeopardy of losing accreditation, putting college-bound students at high risk. Instead of waiting around for DeKalb to get its act together, Nall wants to have Dunwoody High School reviewed and then accredited by Georgia Accrediting Commission, the competition of SACS.  Barge's response?  He said he'd have to discuss it with SACS.  That's like a manager at Publix telling the Pepsi sales guy that he can't have more shelf space unless the Coca Cola sales manager says its okay.  Councilman Nall will hopefully continue this project.  He is more patient than me and may seek Barge as an ally on this issue.  But today I saw Barge, and it seemed to me he could care less about students and parents in Dunwoody, Chamblee, Brookhaven, and the rest of DeKalb.  His office has ignored DeKalb School's financial situation.  Barge's office has a manual for how finances in schools are handled.  Mr. Barge, take a look at Chapter 2 of said manual then open an investigation of DeKalb School System..

A note to those of you at Chamblee, Lakeside, Arabia Mountain, SW DeKalb - contact Dunwoody Councilman Terry Nall and the GA Accrediting Commission today and discuss getting your high school accredited.  Do it for the students at your high school. It is NOT the schools that have us on probation, it is the school board and central office staff.  Jay Cunningham, make the call today and save Southwest DeKalb and Arabia Mountain.  Dr. Walker, save Cedar Grove. Mr. Orson, save Druid Hills. 

There were a few more rumblings from the crowd but Barge had another meeting or maybe a lobbyist luncheon on his schedule and had to hit the road.  Plus, PCCMS needed the library media center back for a pep rally for the Dewey Decimal System.

UPDATE
The AJC has a piece today on Barge's illegal  mileage claims.  Barge has been receiving $7000 annually for a car allowance.  This perk disappeared from the State in 2006 according to the AJC.  Barge's response? 

“I think our staff got some mixed signals,” he said.

Now he sounds like a DeKalb Superintendent or Board member with those words.  Yes, John Barge, you and staff got mixed signals.  And all that fraud and waste in DeKalb?  Don't worry about it; it's simply mixed signals.