DeKalb joins growing list of Opportunity School District opponents as battle heats up

The battle against the governor’s Opportunity School District went into high gear this week with the rollout of another TV ad this morning and a spurt in school boards opposing the controversial constitutional amendment that grants the state sweeping new powers to take control of local schools.

The state PTA has a press conference today at noon explaining its opposition to Gov. Nathan Dean’s proposal to take charge of failing local schools, and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators makes its case in DeKalb at 6 tonight to the public at the Community Achievement Center on Flat Shoals Parkway. Schools are deemed failing by low state College and Career Ready Performance Index scores.

Proponents are also pushing their cause with more vigor, although they have an ace in the hole — the ballot language is so benign that many voters will reflexively vote “yes.” It states: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?”

The OSD, which will appear as Amendment One on the November ballot, is being opposed by a growing list of school boards. Last night, the DeKalb County board approved a statement urging county residents to vote “no” on Deal’s plan.

“We believe it is not only wrong, but risky to give up local control to a new state bureaucracy,” said board chair Melvin Johnson, adding the board “strongly believes the answer to improved academic outcomes and achievement is in the classroom and schoolhouse.”

As of now, 31 Georgia school boards have spoken out against Deal’s plan to put chronically failing schools and the local funding to those schools under the control of an appointed superintendent in the model of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, which has had disappointing results thus far. Once in state control, the schools can be reconstituted, turned over to charter management or closed.

(You can track the school board count at the Facebook page of Public Educations Matters Georgia.)

In a speech earlier this month, Deal characterized opposition as coming from districts at risk of losing schools to the OSD.  Indeed, DeKalb, one of the state’s largest districts, has more failing schools on the list than any other system. But on Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution opposing the OSD despite having some of the state’s highest-performing schools.

Here is the new ad that began airing this morning by the Committee to Keep Georgia Schools Local, whose members include Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Federation of Teachers, Georgia AFL-CIO, PAGE, Georgia Stand-Up, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Public Education Matters, Southern Education Foundation, Working America, Pro Georgia, Better Georgia and Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta.

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
HokeSmyth
HokeSmyth

Our schools are terrible.  Let's try something new and different.  

dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

Speaking of Dekalb, I was recently told that during Dr. Green's first year, his school system LOST OVER THREE MILLION DOLLARS on paychecks sent out to people who were not school system employees.

I cannot comprehend how that could happen, but here is what I was told:  when Dr. Green demoted the former director of human resources (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-reorganization-means-demotions-new-/nphGy/), the school system stopped following internal controls that former HR Director had in place.  

Supposedly, one of the former HR Director's controls actually checked to make sure someone was a school system employee before allowing the school system to issue that person a paycheck.  Supposedly, the replacement HR Director stopped performing that check and then the Dekalb School System ended up paying out over $3 Million to people who were not --or were no longer-- employees before the current HR department realized there was a problem.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@dsw2contributor Do you have proof? You posted this before so you obviously cut and pasted it again. Is this here say or did it happen? If it happened, it should be investigated immediately. 

Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation @dsw2contributor


Sneak requires "proof" for every thing that makes the status quo look bad,yet makes up "facts" and other nonsense out of thin air about anyone outside the eduacracy. DCCS hasn't denied it yet,so I assume that what you wrote is correct. After all, isn't that the standard of proof here in Medialand?

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@Astropig @sneakpeakintoeducation @dsw2contributor 

What is there to deny if you haven't been accused?  Those from the old DSW site continued to spread misinformation until the media researched their allegations and found that many of them were out of context or untrue.  Always consider the source of the allegation.


Give that kind of scrutiny to any organization and you will find things that are strange.  Only focus on one group and you'll will have many believing they are the only ones that are making mistakes.

kaelyn
kaelyn

If DeKalb voters say no to the OSD, they need to get off their behinds and DO SOMETHING to make their local schools better. I'm no proponent of OSD, but the answer isn't to vote it down and then settle into complacency with more of the same mess. It's not about politics, it's about the kids.

dg417s
dg417s

@kaelyn I agree - OSD is not the answer, but are we, as a state, willing to invest in what works rather than take the easy way out? We need to answer yes. We need to build up and implement  the idea of community schools.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Kudos, DeKalb county school board and superintendent!  Kudos!

Astropig
Astropig

I think that supporters have another 2 aces in  the hole:


1) An eduacracy that is pretty universally distrusted by the voting public.The voters made that crystal clear in 2012 when they voted overwhelmingly for the charter school amendment.The status quo looked like amateur hour in that one.In fact,the areas that they placed special emphasis on (disadvantaged communities,primarily around Atlanta) voted for the amendment in higher numbers than in other parts of the state that have/had no real school issues.


2) A media that is so out of touch with their few remaining readers that they don't understand that the status quo is (as mentioned above) pretty universally distrusted and ridiculed. The editorial lineup against amendment one has been pretty universally against its passage.(If there has been a "pro" editorial,I haven't seen it).But that's not such a bad thing in 2016.The only entity that stands lower in the public's confidence is the media.They're down there below a lot of politicians and certainly below the education status quo.Their influence is no longer decisive.


This amendment has been out there since March of 2015.It's been analyzed,touted,disparaged,praised and spat upon.If the voters don't know what they're voting on,that's on them,not the governor or the legislature.



Astropig
Astropig

@BleachBit @Astropig


I'd like to see the proponents point out that *unions are bankrolling these ads.



*Note to Pavlov's Doggies-I didn't say that Georgia has teachers unions.I said that unions are the corrupt money behind these ads.They stole it from gullible members,raked some of it off for "expenses" and then spent a little of it with their ad agencies,which they have partial ownership of.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

c@Astropig @BleachBit  Please acknowledge that there is dark money funding the passage of this amendment coming from those who will gain access to tax payers $$$ and will become very rich. People like Glen Delk and his ilk. Are you Glen or just Glen's pal?

Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation @Astropig @BleachBit


Narrator:


"Out of state union bosses want to keep our poorest kids trapped in failing schools...Our kids can't afford to wait for the unions to fix the mess that they created"


(Black and white footage of fat,obviously corrupt union bosses in a smoke filled room with huge cigars-laughing at parents that want a better education,slapping each other on the back as they count money)


Narrator:


"... But Governor Deal won't accept the status quo...His plan would make bad schools accountable,direct energy and resources where they are needed and tell the unions to stop looking out for corrupt school systems and start working for ALL Georgia schoolchildren.Vote YES on Amendment One"


(Background footage-happy students,teachers and parents using firehoses on union leaders,school boards and the media)


Now THAT'S the ad that I would run.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Astropig @sneakpeakintoeducation @BleachBit


Again, you fail to acknowledge the dark money from the charter side. You know, those who are salivating at the access to the tax-payer's money. The one's who fight to keep their accounting in the dark because they aren't considered a public entity. The same industry where the amount of fraud and waste was determined to be $6 billion in one year, and that was low balling it. The same industry whose responsibility is to the shareholders, not the students. Be honest.

Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation @Astropig @BleachBit


Nonsense.There is more waste and fraud in status quo education than you can shake a stick at.The only "dark money" here is the shadowy groups paying for these ad against the OSD.Every one of their dollars was stolen and looted from teachers paychecks.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Astropig You talk like someone who has something to gain if this passes. Your endless touting for this bad and failed policy, while at the same time putting up race baiting and derogatory comments on this about the very people this would affect, shows that you don't care about the students in these schools. It does, however, indicate that you would stand to gain financially if there was a yes vote. 

VOTE NO in NOvember for this failed policy.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

A bad idea and bad policy that will not put the children first but will put tax payers $$$$ in the pockets of the for-profit charter industry. 

BleachBit
BleachBit

Bureaucrats who've repeatedly failed children and their parents can't be expected to support change. Unless they put the public interest before their own.

Which they apparently don't in DeKalb.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@BleachBit "Bureaucrats" starting with the state legislature and other top "leaders?"