Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Charter Systems Are A Total Joke And Will Be Used To Quiet the Mommie Brigades of Dekalb

The Druid Hills High School area voted to seek to become an independent school cluster yesterday, with 92% saying 'Yes' to a charter.  The fine people of the Druid Hills area want a cluster to control the finances and hiring/firing of school personnel.  This is the same thing we need in Dunwoody.  Actually, Dunwoody needs an independent school district, as does Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Chattahoochee Hills, and Milton.

Now the issue moves to the DeKalb School Board.  Will they vote with 92% or will they side with 8%?  This will be the first big test since they voted to approve buying 15 new cars.  During the crucial car vote-buying meeting earlier this year 48% of DeKalb parents wanted a gray colored interior and 50% wanted a beige colored interior.  2% said they don't see things in color and had no opinion.  It was a huge decision for the Board and now this Cluster vote is equally as important for Board members.

This is scary stuff for the central office and the superintendent.  No way should PTA mommies have any say in what happens in a DeKalb school!  We need experienced educators running the show (oh wait, no one on the Board or the Superintendent has ever written a lesson plan, taken roll, entered grades, instructed 35 kids in a janitor's closet, or taught a group of kids in a trailer learning cottage).

So how will the wheelin' and dealin' DeKalb Machine handle this situation?  Look for Superintendent Thurmond to announce a transition for the DeKalb County School District to become the DeKalb County Charter School System, thus one-upping the Mommy brigade at Druid Hills.  In other words, Thurmond will break protocol and pull out the "I triple dog dare you" card.

And just exactly what does a School System Cluster mean?   To the children it means absolutely nothing!  Will it increase student achievement?  No.  Will it increase parental involvement?  No.  Will it take power away from the central office and take control away from the $1 Billion monster? No.  Will it stop the crazy hiring practices known as the Land of Misfit Toys Teachers?  No.  Will it guarantee power to stay in the same hands?  Yes.  In summary, a Charter School System is a smoke and mirrors scheme.  

What people in many areas of DeKalb want is to be able to hire/fire teachers and admin at the local level and controlling their own money by spending it where it is needed.  Superintendent Thurmond is standing in the way of this dream, and he has political supporters that will defend him all the way to the bank.  Will the students of DeKalb have the support of a majority on the school board or not?

The Charter School System is a total joke and a waste of time and money.  Look for a few influential people to use this Charter System as a replacement for the independent school district.  Why?  Not because they actually care about local control and improving student achievement and raising teacher pay, but because they benefit in some way or another from squashing the rebellion of the mommie brigades.


Anonymous said...

The Mommie Brigade will not be silenced.

Robert Wittenstein said...

I think you are wrong about the Druid Hills effort—or at least there is the potential for you to be wrong. If the Druid Hills charter cluster can get through the central office vetting process and the Board of Ed with their proposed charter intact it will be more than a paper tiger, it will mean real change and the chance for real improvement.

If the cluster can hire the teaching staff they have the opportunity to set higher standards for student performance, they will have the chance to set higher standards for teacher performance, they will be able to free teachers from central office bureaucracy, and most important, end the Pass-The-Trash culture that moves bad teachers from one school to another.

Would it be better to have our own school system? Yes, probably. As you point out, that would allow us to spend quite a bit more per student and allow reduced class sizes and more enrichment. That said, if the county will fund a non-profit which will deliver educational services independently, that represents a real opportunity to wrest true control from a dysfunctional organization.

One final note…The mommies won’t be in charge in the Druid Hills model. Policy will be set by a Board of Trustees and a professional administrator will run the day to day operations. This has the chance to be a real game changer (or not). Time will tell.

DunwoodyTalk said...


I agree with you, perhaps I missed making my point. I don't think the central office and board will approve their plan.

If they do approve it then that is great and Dunwody and other clusters can follow.

Anonymous said...

I hope you've gone back and read the post again. DunwoodyTalk is not against a charter cluster - just against the charter SYSTEM idea. The systems don't offer schools real autonomy. They just use the name charter so it's sort of a scam.
I also hope you were not being condescending to mommies. Have you taken a look the way that PTAs are run in Dunwoody? I'd take that over the board any day. I hope the DH charter cluster is approved but I am skeptical of the appointed boards.
City school districts are the only real way to go.

Anonymous said...

When Milton county passes in the legislature, Sandy Springs, John's Creek and Milton will have a new county school system. Can't the boundaries of that county be extended to 285 and encompass the City of Dunwoody?