Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beware The Swinging Pendulum in Georgia

The State Board of Education has already rendered their decision for the DeKalb School Board meeting that will may take place on Thursday. The appointed State Board folks will vote unanimously to remove the members of the DeKalb School Board.  Governor Nathan Deal will accept their decision and remove the Board.  Nine replacements have already been hand-picked by a DeKalb state senator and a pair of DeKalb state representatives.

I suspect the State will put on a show and try to embarrass Jay and Sara at the hearing on Thursday.  They will surely bring up the personal financial issues of these two board members. Maybe even a crack about not having a college degree.  In short, the State's case will NOT focus on any laws that were broken or rule infractions - it will be an attack on character.  Not good when your Government's main purpose in a hearing is to simply shame its citizens.  If State boards want to embarrass elected officials over personal finances, we could have one hearing a day, every day of the year.

I want to be clear _ I am not even close to satisfied with the performance of the DeKalb School Board.  I know Pam and Nancy have tried their best. They were elected to work for the People.  But it seems difficult for these two Board members to do more than report on the failings and corruption. They are out-voted every time.  Did I want the voters in other districts to elect new Board members when Jay and Sara ran for office?  Yes.  But that did not happen.  As a shareholder here in DeKalb I wish we had a better board. I hope that the replacement Board, hand-picked by a couple of liberal politicians from DeKalb, will do better than the current Board. But do know those removed Board members will be re-elected summer 2014.  And until then, with a new superintendent and nine new Board members, the central office 'workers' will be unstoppable.

But let's look in the Georgia Crystal Ball.  Let's fast-forward 30 years or so.  The demographics are moving away of the Republican end of the spectrum.  Immigrants arriving in large numbers annually and the umm, ummm, birth rates of the urban counties is higher than in the rural areas.  In short, Georgia may not be the Republican strong-hold in 2034.  Don't look for a 2/3 Senate majority past 2020 (Jan, you have two-four years to get your Milton County passed).

So we look ahead to 2034 with a Democrat governor and perhaps a majority for Democrats in the House and Senate.  They may look at a Conservative school board up in Lumpkin, Hall, or White County, a school board allowing children to have a US flag and bibles in the classroom.  What will the good governor of 2034 do to fix this issue?  Throw the Board out of office, using the power of Mark Elgart's SACS as leverage.  Careful Georgia legislators - the pendulum will swing and your school board could be next.  The power of the governor being able to remove elected officials is dangerous.

As we are a day away from the school board hearing, why has no elected official asked the GA Supreme Court for an opinion on the law that allows the Governor to remove elected officials?  With an opinion in hand, this game of chicken could have been avoided.  Does the State of Georgia Constitution have any meaning for elected officials and voters rights?  If When the DeKalb School Board is removed you will see an epic Civil Rights lawsuit begin.  The Civil Rights attorneys will not rest until the people elected to office are reinstated (and probably rewarded huge dollar amounts for personal damages.  Image Jay winning a $5,000,000 lawsuit, payable by the GA taxpayers. That would be hilarious.)

So did these DeKalb board members break any laws?  We have not seen any evidence of that.  Have they had personal issues regarding finances?  Yes, at least two have.  So is that a basis for removal from a school board?  Is incompetence grounds for removal from office?  How many council members, senators and representatives in Georgia have defaulted on bank loans, been arrested for DUI, or are generally incompetent?  I think nearly every person in Georgia can look to their city council, county commission, and/or school board and find at least one incompetent elected official.  Are we enacting new laws or having hearings to evict these elected officials?  No.

"But the DeKalb board members are hurting the kids" you say?  Perhaps that is true. The antics of some Board members hurt teacher morale, suppress funds for text books, and throw a  blanket of negativity up and down the ranks in DeKalb.  But I ask today, what has the State of Georgia done to prevent such things?  Has the Education committees established metrics of achievement to be met by school systems aside from the annual shakedown by SACS?  Has the State set up rules (and enforced these rules) for school systems keeping reserves in the bank?  No.

Last year the focus was putting together an unconstitutional law to remove from office school boards that Mark Elgart and SACS deem incompetent.  Instead of taking away funds or instituting a State intervention program, the decision was made to remove elected officials.  Again, this will do NOTHING to improve education in DeKalb. We need to get away from county-wide accreditation and move to individual schools. That should have been a Bill this session.

DeKalb Senator Fran Millar served as the Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee and served on the House Education Committee.  What did either of these political committees do to improve education in DeKalb or Georgia? What did these groups do to prevent a disaster in DeKalb or other school systems (beware Cobb and Gwinnett and Douglas counties - you are the next DeKalb County). Again, nothing.  Georgia remains near the bottom of education in the USA, regardless of what we hear from John My Other State Subsidized Vehicle is a Barge.

Speaking of DeKalb legislators - thanks to Tom Taylor collecting letters to hand deliver to the governor this week, and promising to submit a House Bill to break apart the DeKalb School System.

And what about the DeKalb senator who lives in Dunwoody?  No talk of a new school district Bill from Fran.  How can that be?  He has done NOTHING to work toward breaking apart the DeKalb School system?  It is TRUE.  It is time for people to ask Fran why he is not dropping a bill this week. Please ask Fran Millar why he is not working to do more than temporarily replace a school board. Why is there no Bill being dropped in the Senate? 

Don't accept anything less than a Bill that allows the State of Georgia to vote on a change to the state constitution, allowing for us to vote on adding new school districts.  You think things are going to change in DeKalb because Michael Thurmond is our superintendent?  You think things will improve because bureaucrats are hand-selecting a new Board?  Expect more of the same as long as DeKalb County School System remains a 100,000 student district.

Fran and Tom, we know it is an uphill battle.  But we will never climb that hill unless Tom and Fran take the first step.

This is reaching 'crazy' and 'dangerous' status for students and property owners in DeKalb.  The school system is being held hostage by a Board and by SACS.  I've written before about SACS. SACS can destroy DeKalb County and all homeowners, not due to failing schools, but because SACS does not like the way Board members act.  Many students and schools in DeKalb are doing well - but SACS does not care about the students.  SACS wants to retain power and continue to grow financially - at the expense of people in DeKalb and across Georgia.

The problem of education in Georgia is much deeper than the DeKalb School Board, but our senators and representatives don't want to dig too deep as what they will find is something they themselves have been burying for years.

We welcome all the new visitors.  be sure to see an older post HERE on Michael Thurmond's speech


Anonymous said...


I think you lost your invite to nearly all political events in Dunwoody. How dare you or anyone ever question the power of Fran Millar. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Once again you nailed it! Thank you so much for saying what I have been thinking for years. Nothing will change until a majority of people stand up. And we do need leaders who carry out the will of their constituents (even if it is not cool down under the Gold Dome). I grew up in Sandy Springs and Eva Galambos was trying to make it a city back in the 70's. Yes it took a long time, but hard work and persistence paid off.

Anonymous said...

Fran has done so many great things for Dunwoody. Obviously you or a friend plans to run against him and you are using this biased blog for that purpose. I will support Fran to the end. Against better judgement I read your older posts and disagree with you on the Brook Run. Brook Run needs to stay as a forest preserve. We don't need kids from all over the place coming here to play basketball and soccer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31- Obviously you are an older Dunwoody resident who doesn't care much about the kids who live in Dunwoody. You are a cliche.

Anonymous said...

We can argue about trees, parkways, bonds, chickens, or shirt colors all day long. Disagreement can sometimes yield better solutions, however there is one issue that the entire City needs to get behind:


Without a functioning school system, Dunwoody will no longer attract new residents, property values will decrease, community spirit will evaporate.

Maybe you fall into one of these camps:
1.Kids are grown and left home.
2.Already send kids to private school or home school.
3.My kids too young for school.
4.Kids attend DCSS and can't afford alternatives.

My guess just about everyone of us lies within these categories, if you do, then you need to realize now we need to create our own school district. Yes it may be expensive at first, and yes it will be fraught with infighting between the city and county, and resident to resident, but it must be accomplished. This is the issue of the day.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Talk,
Are you sure it's a done deal that they're removing the entire board? I thought they were voting on this issue tomorrow. I'm confused.

Dave said...

You are right on target. Maybe we are riding the coattails of "Milton County" too much? The state constitution was amended last year (the same section) for charter schools with large support in Dunwoody and by our Senator. It was for local control after all. But now we want to amend it again for the same local control reasons and it has suddenly become difficult? Senator Millar should be calling in some favors for his support in saving all those N Fulton charters. But maybe they don't want to help? If N. Fulton cities could create their own school district(s) that would take away a big selling point for creating a Milton County and take money away from all those for profit charter businesses. Just a hunch but I bet the rest of the N Fulton delegation is probably against anything that would tarnish the Milton County dream. Representing both DeKalb and N Fulton puts Millar in a predicament. As a parent with children in DeKalb schools my advice is to drop a bill, the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

Amen except for the D'woody school system desire. In the long run it only looks like more of the same. Y not have the money follow the child. The money I pay in sch tax follows my child to the sch of my choice.

Anonymous said...

A cliche'?

No, I walk Brook Run weekly, enjoy the idea of children playing in the park, and with 102 Acres there is room for all of it. That's the size of Piedmont Park, BTW.

I am not for public money being used to for private team play, especially when local kids, not on any team, are excluded from field use.

As long as the park is built out thoughtfully, like Piedmont Park, there is ample land for all uses.

Some people in the 'wood love to label others, put them in convenient boxes, to marginalize them.

"Red Shirts, cliches', So-Wo, Save this 'n that" are all recent examples. That behavior is juvenile, and it's aim is to shut people up.

I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

6:20 - it is the "Red Shirts" who have behaved in a juvenile manner, and they have earned the right to be labeled and marginalized.