SAC’s Mark Elgart is Still a Cry Baby!

SAC’s Mark Elgart is Still a Cry Baby!

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

Note: The article below the following article was written by me seven years ago this month. It is a crying shame what Mark Elgart, the eternal Cry Baby at SACS, and his dubious organization did to the Clayton County Public Schools. Re-visiting what Elgart and his ilk did to the Clayton County Board of Education is very apropos because of the Fulton County’s judge’s sentencing of the administrators and teachers today in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. After reading the following article, please read a re-posting of the original “Cry Baby” article that I wrote on April 9, 2008 about Mark Elgart shenanigans in the Clayton County Board of Education.

Mark Elgart and the Atlanta Public Schools

     I was too busy to watch any of the sentencing of the administrators and the teachers yesterday and today. But, I read about it online. My thoughts about the cheating…

MACE picketed on numerous occasions about “systematic cheating” in the Atlanta Public Schools and the DeKalb County School System. (In fact, MACE has a picket lined up next week in DeKalb about the alleged forcing of a teacher to changes grades. Cheating on grades is just as bad or worse that cheating on the standardized tests.) I remember laughing big time when a few years ago the Georgia Partnership group went on a bus tour to visit schools around the State which supposedly had made so much “progress” and one of these schools was Parks Middle School in Atlanta. I was very familiar with Principal Waller and the school. Everyone (including SAC’s Mark Elgart) wanted to believe in Superintendent Beverly Hall and her snake oil. They wanted to believe that progress was really being significantly made in the Atlanta Public Schools. It was good for the business in Atlanta. It would help corporation to decide to locate their headquarters in Atlanta. It would help Atlanta banks with higher deposits.

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The late Beverly Hall headed up the Atlanta Public Schools which was the scene of the largest school cheating scandal in U. S. History, according to The New York Times.

The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce was a collective cheerleader for Beverly Hall. Mark Elgart, the jackanapes head of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was the Captain of the Beverly Hall Cheerleading Squad. In fact, Elgart had apparently gone to newly-elected Board of Education Chairman Khatim El, pressuring him to step down because he and the new “Gang of Five” began to speak out and to question Beverly Hall about the practices of her administration. Elgart seemed to have had his nose up her proverbial butt, just as the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce had.

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SAC’s Mark Elgart seems to enjoy the media. 

Beverly Hall set up a culture of cheating from her initial arrival in Atlanta from the mess that she had left in Newark, New Jersey in the summer of 1999. If you spoke out, her administration got rid of you. I remember that the media was involved in one of our “cheating” pickets at the old 210 Pryor Street headquarters about 15 years ago…about a year into Hall’s turbulent tenure in Atlanta. One of the signs had this on it: “Test Scores: Miracle Growth?” We have several “cheating” photos from several pickets in our 615 page tome, The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education. We at MACE have known for years about the pressure put on teachers to cheat. Apparently, some teachers unconscionably succumbed to this pressure, being attracted to the allure ingratiating themselves with the administration, having the hope of promotions within the system, and, of course, receiving the monetary bonuses.

Book - JT and NH Mexican Restaurant

Norreese Haynes and Dr. John Trotter are looking over a pre-publication copy of our 615 page tome, The MACE Manifesto:  The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education.

I have represented teachers in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) since 1988. But, when Beverly Hall came down to Atlanta with pomp and circumstance, APS became a school culture replete with cheating, lies, deception, and intimidation. Mark Elgart of SACS aligned himself with the Beverly Hall Administration, the perpetrators of the biggest cheating scandal in the history of American Public Education, according to The New York Times. But, MACE never fell prey to such mess. We never once believed one scintilla of Beverly Hall’s bullshit.

Mark Elgart and the DeKalb County Schools

Three or four years ago, Mark Elgart began flexing his evaluative muscle against the DeKalb County Board of Education. Once again, like in Clayton County, he put this school system on probation because of so-called “governance” issues. He put the chain in motion to have Governor Deal to remove, if I remember correctly, most or all of the elected school board members. I know that this school board initially refused to hire Glenn Brock as its attorney (and you know that Glenn seems to always follow Elgart to these school systems as the “clean up” attorney – but his work is not pro bono). I don’t know if this made Elgart mad or what. But, we know that he is pretty temperamental, according to school board members in Clayton County who say that Glenn Brock told them that they had raised the ire of Mark Elgart because school board member Lois Baines-Hunter told him that he lacked “integrity” in a public meeting of the school board.

Nancy Jester and family

Nancy and Stan Jester serve the Citizens of DeKalb County on both the Commission and Board of Education.

So, the Governor removed even excellent DeKalb County School Board members like Nancy Jester who with her accounting background was asking the right questions. But, you know that I have always called SACS “a union for the superintendents,” as if SACS stood for Still Advocating for Cronies and Superintendents.  Well, what happened to Nancy Jester? Oh, she just ran for the DeKalb County Commission in the Dunwoody and Chamblee areas and got elected…just as did her husband, Stan Jester, to Nancy’s old school board seat. Funny, right? Mark Elgart, the cry baby, was wrong again…and did not get his way. Now we have Jester of the DeKalb County Commission and a Jester on the DeKalb County Board of Education.

Now on to Clayton County…

Mark Elgart and the Clayton County Schools

Mark Elgart and SACS wreaked its worst havoc on the defenseless Clayton County Schools. I say “defenseless” because at one time Clayton County had probably the most powerful or one of the most powerful legislative delegations in the State, with Bill Lee heading up the all-powerful Rules Committee in the State House and Terrell Starr heading up the powerful Appropriation Committee in the State Senate. Tom Murphy, of course, was the longest tenured state Speaker of the House in the country, and Bill Lee was his very close friend. What SACS did to the Clayton County Schools would have never happened with these powerful white leaders still in the county. But, alas, they had moved on, and most of Clayton County’s white population had migrated out of the County as well. So, Clayton County became more densely populated by African Americans than any other county in Georgia. Much white resentment prevailed at the new black leadership on the school board, the commission, and the legislative delegation.

So in marched Mark Elgart with his biased mission. We are not talking about him being racially biased. We are talking about his game-plan being predetermined. He was obviously prejudiced against certain school board members from the beginning, and one of his target was apparently Norreese Haynes because Norreese Haynes was uncovering much corruption within the school board itself as well within the school board. The article below this article will go into detail concerning this matter. One of the things that Norreese Haynes railed against on a regular basis was “removing the thugs from the school system.” He was not timid. He did not vacillate. He did not equivocate. Mr. Haynes had been a member of a well-known national gang since he was seven years old and had reached Viceroy status when he was very young. (He no longer is active; in fact, he is a minister of the Gospel now.) Mr. Haynes knows gang life. He knows thug life. And he knew then and he knows now that you cannot allow the thugs to rule the roost in the school system. As the article below will point out, some political hacks who were apparently afraid of Mr. Haynes’s rising ascendency jackhammered him off of the school board in contravention of the clear instructions in the Georgia Code Section.

Guess what is going on in the Clayton County School System today? The thugs are in control. We hear that there is even a website site called “Clayco Fights” or words to this effect because the students want to keep up with all of the fights in the Clayton County School System. Had the administration heeding the warning of Norreese Haynes, the school system probably would not be in the same dire conditions that it is in today. But, Mr. Markie Elgart and his so-called “investigative” committee were extremely biased about what was going on in Clayton County. Norreese Haynes was the best thing going on for the Clayton County School Systems at the time. He proposed and got unanimously passed The Teacher Bill of Rights. But, now we are thinking that this bill of rights for teachers may have mysteriously and surreptitiously disappeared. We intend to find out.

Mr. Cry Baby Mark Elgart apparently did not like that Mr. Haynes was associated with MACE and me personally, although he never deigned to mention MACE by name. (In fact, several board members, Ericka Davis, Rod Johnson, Eddie White, and perhaps one or two others were GAE/NEA members.) But, it was no secret that Elgart was angling at Mr. Haynes. But, we don’t remember a peep coming out of Mark Elgart or SACS when Kay Pippins, part of the upper management with the Georgia Association of Educators, was a member of the Butts County Board of Education for years.

Oh, by the way, after Norreese Haynes was illegally jackhammered off the Clayton County Board of Education, the remainder school board members, beginning with Ericka Davis, Eddie White, and Rod Johnson either resigned under apparent duress or were removed from the school board by Governor Sonny Perdue…all of this coming from the mess that Mark Elgart stirred up in Clayton County. But, guess what again? The very next election, the voters of Clayton County elected removed school board member Sandra Givens Scott to the General Assembly. The Honorable Sandra G. Scott has been elected three straight times to the Georgia House of Representatives. Apparently, her constituents love her. She ran unopposed in the last election. Again, like in the case of the two Jesters, Mr. Elgart is wrong. The voters know who they want to represent them.

Sandra Scott

The Honorable Sandra G. Scott is serving the Citizens of Georgia in the House of Representatives.

Mark Elgart, the cry baby who always seems to want his way, has been wrong in Atlanta, DeKalb, and Clayton. He needs to pipe down and quit pontificating toward the elected school boards. The People know who they want in office.

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Norreese Haynes is still around, advocating and fighting for teachers.

Oh, and by the way, even before Mr. Haynes was illegally jackhammered off of the Clayton County Board of Education (with three or four armed police officers surrounding him as his very professionally exited the dais where the school board members were seated, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, the office charged by law to determine if someone was qualified to hold, had conducted two investigations of Mr. Haynes legal domicile and filed two reports which stated evidence that Mr. Haynes resided outside his school board district. This did not matter to the adult hoods and thugs in political office in Clayton County, they just want to subservience, silence, and absence from Mr. Haynes. They just wanted him gone. But, he is still around. © GTSO, 2015.

April 14, 2015

Mark Elgart of SACS = Cry Baby!

Note: This is the original “cry baby” article which was written seven years ago this month, with a few minor changes editing changes.

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

     All the hoopla over the last few months is about one spoiled man who has had his precious and delicate ego bruised.   This cry baby is a man named Mark Elgart, CEO of SACS, from Alpharetta, Georgia.  The former Chair of the Clayton County Board of Education (unless she backs out of her overdue resignation which is supposed to become effective on Friday, April 11, 2008),  Ericka Davis, always knew that her ace in the hole, so to speak, was her close friendship with Mark Elgart of the Southern Accreditation of Schools and Colleges (SACS).  So, as Norreese Haynes and other Clayton County Board of Education members began to vocally question Davis and her sidekick Vice Chair Rod Johnson (who has given what seems now to be the most interminable of resignations – a resignation which has never been effectuated, one with a date unknown, like the one also proffered by Eddie White) about the now notorious and infamous Land Deal and other very questionable practices (like the classic bait-and-switch on the lawyer’s two contracts which constitutes fraud on the factum and fraudulent inducement), Ericka and Rod turned to their educational “Unibomber,” Mark Elgart.  For some inexplicable reason, Georgia law had set up a situation in which one man, in his intemperate nature, could wield tremendous influence over any school system which deigns to question his unethical practices.  This is precisely what happened.

In September of 2007, Ericka Davis, contrary to school board policy and to the so-called SACS Standard, of her sole volition, invited Mark Elgart to visit the Clayton County School Board meeting to engage in a presentation.  Ms. Lois Baines-Hunter rightfully and accurately pointed out to Elgart and to her colleagues that Elgart had “no integrity” for, in essence, allowing himself to be used by Chairwoman Davis in such a manner.  The Board of Education as a whole had not invited Elgart to participate in their meeting.  This was an underhanded move on the part of Davis to presumably intimidate Haynes, Scott, Baines-Hunter, and Strong and to cause them to pipe down their questioning of her and Rod Johnson’s actions.  The word on the street is that Davis and Johnson had met with Elgart, and shortly after the September meeting, Johnson fired off a ridiculous complaint to SACS against Haynes, Scott, and Baines-Hunter.  The complaints were specious and scurrilous.  For example, Johnson made all kinds of false allegations against Haynes.  When the SACS Report was finally published on February 15, 2008, it was as, as Haynes announced in a press release that same day “a sham and a farce.”  Not a single thing that Johnson put in his complaints against Haynes stuck.  In fact, Mr. Haynes had filed a 12 page, single-paged response with 17 exhibits in which he totally obliterated Johnson’s laughable complaints, and Haynes actually turned the tables on Davis and Johnson in his response, pointing out at length and with detailed documentation their micromanaging of the schools and other ethical breaches.  On December 25, 2007, Haynes filed a four page, single-spaced letter to Elgart and SACS which contained his two Official Complaints against Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson.  Even though Elgart could not nail Haynes with a single specious complaint which Johnson lobbed, he chose to totally ignore Haynes’s complaints against Davis and Johnson.  (Elgart’s biggest complaint against Haynes is that he works with MACE.)  His “inquisition team” did not ask a single question about Davis and Johnson in their interrogation sessions (even though Haynes had sent many exhibits to Elgart/SACS and even offered to show his “inquisition team” the documents when they traveled to Clayton for the so-called “interviews”).  Their minds were already made up.  (In fact, at the very end, SACS cancelled their interview me, Darth Vader himself.)  The whole process, including the “Report” itself, was one-sided, biased, skewed, and “fatally flawed.”  It was indeed “a sham and a farce.”  It was shameful for SACS to send forth such a prejudiced report.

Now, Clayton County has become “Elgart’s Iraq.”  He does not know what to do with it.  Unlike other counties when he stirs up mass hysteria with his pronouncements of “I care for thy children but the school board members are so corrupt and stupid that I cannot bless thy children until they leave,” Clayton County people are, to quote Mr. Haynes, a little too jaded to accept his every word as “law and gospel.”  Davis and Eldrin Bell (who cannot run the Clayton County Government but he apparently wants to take care of his darling Ericka Davis, so he meddles in the school board affairs) orchestrated a third-world coup and jack hammered Norreese Haynes off of the school board.  Mr. Haynes has been off the Board for five weeks now and the school board is now teetering on disaster – not because it is incompetent but because Elgart, Brock (the Board’s own attorney who sold them down the river in total contravention of the rules and ethics for lawyers), and the Atlanta media (especially Cox Communications) continue to whip up hysteria to the point of mob action.  If Haynes was the problem (he actually was the whistleblower), to the use Martin Lawrence’s phrase:  “What the problem is?”  Davis, Elgart, Johnson, Bell, et al., could not kill the Message, so they killed the Messenger (Haynes).

Mark Elgart is apparently used to people falling all over themselves when he enters a room.  He apparently has become accustomed to having his political posterior inordinately kissed.  Well, that “ain’t gonna” happen in Clayton County.  He is mad.  He is probably still steaming that the Board fired his buddy Dan Colwell in 2003.  He made stupid and inexplicable and snide comments about MACE in his report (but apparently did not have the guts to mention MACE by name).  His accusations are unfounded and ridiculous.  I take this opportunity now to state to him, to Kathy Cox, to Sonny’s elfs (State School Board members James Bostic and Brad Bryant) whom he appointed to “help” the Clayton County Board of Education, or any other weenie out there that I will be glad to meet them anytime, anyplace, and anywhere to debate the so-called problem of the Clayton County Board of Education and the so-called SACS Standards as they relate to the Clayton County School System.  We can agree to a formal, open, and public debate (with a moderator) addressing written propositions which deal with the situation with the Clayton County Board of Education.

What we have is a cry baby with a bruised ego who is exercising the “bully pulpit” of his private organization (SACS which, by the way, is not the only game in town when it comes to school accreditation) and cares not one iota for the nearly 53,000 children in the Clayton County School System.  He and ilk were even willing to engage in the most unconscionable smearing of a young man and compounded the smearing with unmitigated lies which had not even a scintilla of truth in them.  Shame on you, Mark Elgart.  Shame on you, Cry Baby!

April 9, 2008

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MACE’s Teacher Bill of Rights is Needed Throughout the State, Especially in Places Like Elbert County, McDuffie County, Murray County, Hart County, Fulton County, Clayton County (We Hear You, Lovejoy!), Atlanta City, DeKalb County, and Many Other Locations!

 

John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

Note: When serving on the Clayton County (Georgia) Board of Education, Norreese Haynes proposed and secured a unanimous vote for this Teacher Bill of Rights. But, today, the current superintendent and school board just ignore this policy which garnered much media attention when it was initially passed. (Has this Teacher Bill of Rights been mysteriously set aside?) Each school board in non-collective bargaining states should pass such a policy and actually abide by it.  Elbert County (with Chairman Ben Baker), McDuffie County (with Superintendent Mychele Rhodes), Hart County (with Superintendent Jerry Bell), Murray County (with Superintendent Vickie Reed), Muscogee County (with Superintendent David Lewis), Fulton County (with Superintendent Robert Avossa), Lovejoy High School (Clayton County), and many other locations in Georgia could use a good dose of this Teacher Bill of Rights. Representative Darryl Jordan in two different years dropped a bill for this Teacher Bill of Rights in the hopper in the Georgia General Assembly. (Representative Jordan was a MACE Member from MACE’s first week of inception in 1995 and remained a loyal MACE Member until his recent retirement as a school teacher. MACE has two other MACE Members in the General Assembly, one still active as a teacher who serves in the State House, the Honorable Sandra Givens Scott, and the other is a retired teacher in the State Senator, the Honorable Michael Rhett.) Here is a copy of MACE’s Teacher Bill of Rights.

Dallemand Must Go!

Where not inconsistent with Georgia law, federal laws and regulations (including IDEA 2004 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act), or State Board Rules, the Board endorses the following rights for each full-time teacher serving in Clayton County Public Schools.

(1) Each teacher shall have the right to associate with an educational organization, association, or union. This freedom of association shall not be abridged and a teacher shall not suffer reprisal for exercising this right;

Elbert County 1

(2) Teachers shall have the right to express constructive criticism in an appropriate and professional manner and, where not in conflict with the adopted curriculum and/or board/school policies and procedures, school board members and administrators shall respect the right of teachers to exercise professional judgment and independent thought in the improvement of the educational system;

Avossa and board

(3) A teacher shall not be coerced, threatened, or intimidated to change a student’s grade if the teacher can demonstrate that the student earned the grade in accordance with the school’s grading procedures;

(4) If a teacher, in her/his professional judgment, states that a student needs to be removed from that regular classroom environment for a period of time or the remainder of the school day, as the case may be, because the student’s misconduct is materially and substantially disrupting the learning processes of other students, the administrator shall respect the teacher’s professional judgment. At a minimum, the administrator shall not return the student to that classroom on that day unless the teacher has otherwise indicated. The administrator shall not unnecessarily undermine the teacher’s disciplinary authority in the classroom. Notwithstanding anything else in this policy, an administrator, after investigation, may take appropriate action against a teacher who may abuse the right to remove a student from the classroom;

(5) No administrator shall write a negative job rating on a teacher based on hearsay evidence from a statement(s) by students, parents, or fellow teachers or administrators, et al., without first giving the teacher the opportunity to state her/his side of the story;

(6) Each teacher shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in an annual evaluation of each administrator at his or her school. These evaluations shall be conducted in a way that assures each teacher confidentiality and anonymity. A summary (e.g., the average score for items on a Likert-type instrument) of these evaluations shall be forwarded to the superintendent who in turn shall send copies to each school board member;

(7) No teacher shall be discriminated against on the basis of the teacher’s race, sex, age, religion, nationality, disability, or exercise of the freedom of association;

group-photo-in-gwinnett.jpg

(8) No teacher shall be the object of administrative favoritism nor shall the teacher be treated capriciously or arbitrarily. No teacher shall be exposed to unwarranted embarrassment.

(9) Each teacher shall be afforded access to an equitable transfer policy; and

(10) The teacher of the year at each school shall be nominated and selected solely by the anonymous votes of the teachers at the school.

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More to Come on the Growing Fiasco of the Mychele Rhodes Administration in McDuffie County!

     We do not generally publish anonymous comments (you know the ones with made-up names and made-up email addresses) but the one written, I believe, by an “Elvis in Kalamazoo” is so outlandish and scatological in its defense of the Mychele Rhodes Administration that it is quite humorous…and even informative about how these self-inflated educrats think.  I am still smiling.  I don’t know who wrote it.  Perhaps a sycophant at the Central Office…someone angling for another promotion.  Or, perhaps a relative wrote it.  Isn’t there another Dr. Rhodes working in the school system?  Yes, I think her husband — an erstwhile principal at Lakeside High School in Columbia County who apparently returned after a short stint there to become an assistant principal in McDuffie County — is under his wife’s direct employ.  So much for nepotism or something surely similar to it!  LOL!  No, this is not 2015.  This is still 1955.  Anyway, we plan to dissect this impertinent commentary to this humble blog sentence by sentence and shed the calcium light of truth upon it.  This ought to be a doozy!  Stay tuned!  This episodic adventure may prove to be more interesting and captivating than Peyton Place (for us old timers) or Dallas (for those a bit younger).

     Life is truly more fascination than fiction.  I couldn’t make this stuff up!  Yes, I know that I should have inserted the “up” between the “make” and the “this.”  But, hey, it sounds better the way that I wrote it.  Let’s just keep it real.  Let’s let it flow.  Let’s tell the truth and expose superficiality and pride and prejudice.  Let’s exclaim “No!” when something is just not right!  It’s just not right to try to get rid of the STAR Teacher.  This just doesn’t have the ring of truth.  It doesn’t pass the smell test.  And, guess what?  I know that it is not right to ignore — rather, to egregiously and flagrantly violate — the Georgia Law in the process (O. C. G. A. 20-2-940[g]).  A superintendent of schools who does not respect the law is a superintendent of schools who should no longer hold this position.  It is just this simple:  Rhodes Must Go!  No, Not Mr. O…but Rhodes Must Go!

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The STAR Teacher at the Elections and Voters Registration Office in McDuffie County.  Maybe he should just run for the McDuffie County Board of Education, if Mychele Rhodes does not want him in the classroom and is apparently holding him out of the classroom indefinitely which the Georgia Statute does not allow (O. C. G. A. 20-2-940[g]).

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These and other comments which had appeared on the school board’s Facebook page were apparently hastily taken down by the Mychele Rhodes Administration.

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TV 6 News of Augusta has been inquiring into the story.  Here the Channel 6 News car is parked in front of Thomson High School.

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Apparently, some of the students have become very creative.  The word on the street is that the students are overwhelmingly supportive of their “Captain.”  Shade of The Dead Poets Society.  Hmm.

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Eleven of 12 Defendants Found Guilty Today in the Atlanta Schools Cheating Scandal

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/01/us/atlanta-schools-cheating-scandal/

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

     MACE shouted from the rooftops about “systematic cheating” going on in the Atlanta and DeKalb school systems…way before the media got involved. We had this phrase on picket signs and talked about the “miracle growth” in test scores. We did this for 15 years. We have the photos to prove it…and even included several photos of such in The MACE Manifesto. God rest her soul but it went straight back to the office of the late Beverly Hall. It was systematic, widespread, and directed.

You can see that MACE was the lone wolf in the wilderness concerning the testing irregularities as well as the “gangsta” nature of the Atlanta and DeKalb school systems.  Yes, MACE called both school systems “gangsta school systems” in writings, on videos, and on picket signs.  But, there are “gangsta school systems” in the rural parts of Georgia too.  MACE does not like what it is hearing coming out of several of these smaller school systems where nepotism seems to be a given and competitive bidding seems to be unheard of.  I received a phone call last night from a former member of the school board in one of these more rural counties.  People are mad.  People (and especially the beleaguered teachers) will only take it so long…and then they will rise up!  Real school reform takes place at the ballot boxes.  These uninformed and rubber-stamping school board members who let these appointed superintendents run roughshod over the professional educators ought to be thrown out on their ears at the next election.  What I would like to see is some of these retired teachers (and teachers who teach in one county but live in another county) run for school board seats.  I’ve been known to help many a teacher to get elected.  This, I think, is why the Atlanta Journal-Constitution essentially called me everything but a “white man” in the old days…before they cleaned up their data base and removed any pejorative term used against me (and even took away some rather flattering ones!).

Book - Systematic Cheating

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DeKalb County in 2009.  A few weeks after these three-day pickets in inclement weather, the cheating scandal at Atherton Elementary broke on the news and the principal and assistant principal lost their jobs at Atherton.  Also, around the same time there were allegations from a teacher at King High School about systematic cheating.  Shortly thereafter, then Superintendent Crawford Lewis was indicted on other matters.

MACE picket Douglass High cheating

This picket in the hot, hot sun was in front of Douglass High School in Atlanta.  Several other times MACE warned the public about systematic cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools — way before the national media scandal broke wide open.  At the time, the “city fathers” apparently wanted to turn a blind eye to what the Beverly Hall Administration was doing.  Some of the administrators who were convicted today were targeted and fought against by MACE leaders.  MACE was picketing against systematic cheating in the public schools of Atlanta was before it was cool to do so…even  when the headquarters was on 210 Pryor Street (about 15 years ago).

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At the old Central Office headquarters on 210 Pryor Street about 15+ years ago.

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Another picket at Atlanta’s Douglass High School dealing with “Testing Irregularities.”

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McDuffie County Superintendent, Mychele Rhodes, Apparently Is Trying to Terminate The County’s STAR Teacher Over Rubrics And Other Such Silliness! I Never Cease To Be Amazed At Today’s Goofball Superintendents! LOL!

 By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

     I never cease to be amazed at today’s goofball superintendents and principals of schools.  I recently saw on Facebook that a senseless principal told a child with Downs Syndrome that he could not wear the letter jacket that his mother had made him for participating on one of the non-varsity teams at the school.  He was so proud of his homemade letter jacket, but this principal, who apparently doesn’t have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot, told him that he could not wear it because he was not a member of a varsity team at the school.  Should this principal be taken out and horse-whipped?  Would that do him any good?

     A few years back, we picketed a principal at A. Phillip Randolph Elementary School in Fulton County because he apparently recommended his Teacher of the Year for the non-renewal of his teaching contract.  People were very upset.  How can a principal be without principles so much that he or she would recommend the non-renewal of the Teacher of the Year?  Did this teacher make the principal nervous?  Was this teacher reluctant to kiss administrative ass?  How can this happen?

    Now the word is in that the Superintendent of Schools in McDuffie County, the home of perhaps Georgia’s most famed racist of the past, U. S. Senator Tom Watson, is in the throes of either recommending to the school board the termination or non-renewal of the contract of the popular STAR Teacher at Thomson High School.  We write about such silliness and pettiness and petulance in our book, The MACE Manifesto:  The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education (Big Daddy Publishers, LLC, 2014, 615 pages).  These kinds of actions take place all over the country these days mainly because non-leaders are put into positions of “leadership.”

Rhodes - Superintendent

Mychele Rhodes, Superintendent Clown of McDuffie County

     Today, the people who are often put into leadership roles are really tight-ass and controlling bureaucrats.  In the old days, many of the coaches were promoted up the leadership/administrative ladder.  And, quite frankly, it most of the times worked out well.  They were firm on student discipline, supported the teachers when it came to discipline, and they didn’t snoopervise the teachers, thinking that they had all of the answers.  They certainly didn’t worry about such non-sense as “teaching rubrics.”  These crazy “rubrics” are insulting.  To put creative teachers on a “rubrics” mandate is like putting them on training wheels.   These older principals certainly didn’t worry about such nonsense as forcing good teachers to act like robots, telling them how to teach and threatening their jobs for simply being creative in teaching their students. Professionals don’t need training wheels.

Teachers need to freed up to be creative.  Freed up to teach.  Stifling and suffocating them in straightjackets is ridiculous.  Making them use cookie-cutter methods is unconscionable.  It’s like a coach who has never played basketball telling a Michael Jordan or a Larry Bird or a Pete Maravich what to do with the round ball each time they get their hands on it.  Teachers are professionals who should be respected and allowed to use their professional knowledge, judgment, and wisdom with the students who are in their care.  They don’t briefcase-toting, tight-ass bureaucrats telling them each move to make.  They need these educrats and snoopervisors to get the heck out of their classrooms and let them teach.

     Now back to the STAR Teacher in McDuffie County:  We hear that he was verbally bullied and berated in a meeting today for about two hours.  Apparently, Superintendent Mychele Rhodes told him that she didn’t think that he should be allowed to teach in McDuffie County anymore.  I am thinking that the situation may go beyond just teaching the “rubrics” and other such silliness.  I think that the administration may be upset that the STAR Teacher is openly and vocally a Christian believer and that he has talked to the administration at Thomson High about the terrible disciplinary conditions which apparently exist at the school.  The administrators these days don’t want to hear about this.  They prefer to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to discipline. Also, it often appears to be “open season” on vocal Christians in public schools these days, both the students who want to bring their Bibles to schools or teachers who want to share their faith outside the classroom. If, however, this teacher were Muslim, perhaps the administration would handle him with kid gloves and make special arrangements for pork not to be served at all in the cafeteria.

     For several years, from what I hear, this school system has been hemorrhaging top teachers, including multiple Teachers of the Year and other STAR Teachers, some of whom are moving to safer or better schools and others of whom are leaving the profession entirely. What is going on in McDuffie County that is causing these successful and award-winning teachers to leave the system?

This superintendent-clown in McDuffie County seems to want to snoopervise the STAR Teacher for no substantive reason. Is this done in other school systems? She is apparently saying that she is concerned about this popular teacher’s “rubrics” and the number of his writing assignments. What?! She needs to worry about abiding by the Georgia Statute (O. C. G. A. 20-2-940[g]) that does not allow a Georgia superintendent to suspend a teacher from the classroom for more than ten days – and certainly not without the teacher being granted all of his substantive due process rights and having any “charge[s]” given to him by the seventh day. This superintendent, who is the Executive Secretary of the elected McDuffie County Board of Education, has left this school board in a breach of the law. This school board, via its appointed superintendent, has egregiously and flagrantly violated this Georgia Statute. No excuse whatsoever. Yes, she needs to worry about abiding by the law, not about pettiness. This STAR Teacher has been left dangling in the wind, with his reputation being besmirched because he first of all was apparently just sent home without any explanation of any “charge[s].” Not until after three weeks was he brought in and told about his “rubrics” and other such silliness. His reputation could not help but be ruined by such sloppy and sinister and nefarious actions of the Superintendent’s Office of McDuffie County. Rhodes Must Go! She either does not know the Georgia Law or does not give a rat’s behind about it. Mr. Norreese Haynes and I went to McDuffie County a couple of weeks ago and informed the administration there about the law. It apparently went over like water off a duck’s back. Next time, we will bring a crew and hit the sidewalks. I wonder if the good People of McDuffie County respect the Supreme Court’s holdings about Category One Free Speech fora? Parks and sidewalks. Ole Tom Watson might not have respected the humanity of all of God’s creation in older times, but I think that a new day has dawned in McDuffie County and the good People of McDuffie County will not put up with shabby treatment when they are informed about it. The way this STAR Teacher has been treated in McDuffie County could make some people draw the conclusion that he had robbed the McDuffie County Regions Bank. He has still to this day been kept in a “Teacher’s Gulag” or a metaphorical “penalty box.” What has been his “crime”? Caring for the kids and teaching creatively? Good grief. Rhodes Must Go!

This STAR Teacher is not a one-year wonder.  He is no fluke.  He was chosen by the students and parents of McDuffie County as the WalMart Teacher of the Year in both 2006 and 2009.  (This Teacher of the Year program has apparently been discontinued.  Otherwise, he may have won this award several more times.)  This is in a county of perhaps 250 t0 300 teachers.  He has also been named an “Honor Educator” twice in the last five years.  Only students who graduate with distinction are given the opportunity to choose one teacher who has most impacted them.  This year marks the second time this teacher has received this honor.  “STAR Teacher,” “Teacher of the Year,” and “Honor Educator” and yet Mychele Rhodes is apparently trying to can him.  So, does she not want superb teachers positively impacting on the children of McDuffie County?  Or, is this superintendent clown all about control?  What is it?

MACE has gotten in late on this case in McDuffie County but is monitoring it closely.  I think that I will recommend Mychele Rhodes to the august body of the Superintendent Clowns of America.  Yes, this I will do.  And I think that I have some pull with that group. This superintendent clown in McDuffie County appears to be out of control. © GTSO, 2015.

https://superintendentclownsofamerica.wordpress.com/

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MACE Attacks Governor Nathan Deal and His Scatological “Opportunity” Educational Plan!

 

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MACE on the Warpath in Recent Picket Days! MACE Pickets Peggy Goodman (Again) at Gwinnett’s Five Fork Middle School and Betsy Bockman at Atlanta’s Inman Middle School!

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Pickle Deal’s “Education Plan”

Pickle Deal’s “Education Plan”

By John Rhodes Alston Trotter, EdD, JD and Norreese Lamar Haynes, BSBM

     It is painfully obvious that Governor Nathan Deal doesn’t know his ass from deep centerfield when it comes to public education. His so-called “education plan” should be pickled but never used. It is also painfully obvious that a junior staffer must have banged together his so-called “education plan” that is outlined on the Governor’s website. Three of the first five points are the same worn-out global dribble that was spouted by Presidents George H. W. Bush and William Clinton in Goals 2000 before the hellish and ineffective No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top programs were mistakenly ushered in under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. None of the former global goals were realized, and the latter two programs just wreaked havoc among a profession that formerly was collegial and nurturing within its nature and in its scope.

These punitive so-called “education reform” programs which punish the so-call “failing schools” rather than analyzing what is causing this systematic failure of low performance have been dismal flops, and yet Governor Deal is jumping on the band wagon of threatening to engage in educational deconstructionism, not because there is any clear evidence that charter schools drawing from the same student population significantly increases achievement (they don’t) nor because there is any history of such (there is not, not even in Milwaukee or Baltimore which were the early adopters of such). Quite frankly, the so-called “plan” that Governor Deal has on his official website was obviously handed over to a junior staffer to put together, and this junior staffer apparently doesn’t know the difference between pronouns “that” and “who” (“Increase the percentage of teachers and administrators that are considered effective[.]” Emphasis added). The half-baked call for more students to take a “STEM” curriculum is simply another educational fad which will short-change our students in the humanities, history, civics, arts, music, and physical education.

Georgia Schools - Deal

We know that we coined the term “snoopervision” and we are 99% sure that we coined “educrats.” (We never saw it used before we started using it over 20 years ago.) Now we offer you a new one…Governor Nathan ISIS. Governor ISIS is determined to decapitate Georgia’s public schools.

   There is not a scintilla of seminal thought in the Governor’s so-called “education plan.” Just a quick perusal of The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education (Trotter & Haynes, Big Daddy Publishers, 2014, 615 pages) will show just how silly and shallow and wrong the Governor’s so-called “education plan” is. The above book points out that “you cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions,” and yet Governor Deal is using his so-called education plan to issue a not-so-veiled threat to Georgia’s teachers. He starts out with the wrong premise, viz., that students are not learning because teachers are not teaching. As The MACE Manifesto points out, teachers can teach students but teachers cannot “learn” the students just like physician can treat their patients but they cannot “heal” their patients, and the attorneys can defend their clients but their cannot “acquit” them.

The Governor falls into the same trap of trying to treat today’s educational problems as technical breakdowns (the teacher is not effectively teaching mentality) rather than motivational breakdowns. The MACE Manifesto explodes this notion in a rather long and informative chapter, “On Learning and MACE’s DAM Theory of Learning.” This chapter goes into great detail about how three essential elements are required to be in place before effective learning can take place and virtually every so-called “reform” effort ignores these essential elements, including Governor Deal’s: (1) Discipline, (2) Aptitude, and (3) Motivation. Not all students will learn the same amount of information at the same pace because there are varying degrees of discipline, aptitude, and motivation within each student at each school. It is obvious that these concepts are foreign to the junior staffer(s) who apparently pulled together the Governor’s so-called “education plan.” To actually implement any form of pay plan that is tied to the performance of a teacher’s students to a standardized test is educationally stupid and unconscionable. A system of “merit pay” or ‘value-added evaluations” do not work simply because students are not inanimate chunks of cookie dough floating innocently and harmlessly down a conveyor belt. The MACE Manifesto has another an explosive and lengthy chapter on “merit pay” (“Merit Pay for Teachers: More Bullshit from Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and Arne Duncan,” Chapter 35).

Georgia Schools - Privatization

We were way ahead of the curve in The MACE Manifesto in understanding the motivation of mandating the implementation of norm-referenced tests all over the country. By definition, on normed tests, one-half the students score “below the national average.” The motivation of the proponents of Common Core is the privatization of public schools. These folks don’t give a rat’s ass about the kids. It’s all about the money, and we have been boldly saying this for years at MACE. Governor Nathan ISIS is determined to decapitate public education in Georgia…starting with private businesses taking over the so-called “failing schools.”

     The Governor’s stated plan to turn over “failing schools” to outside groups which will come in with their hyped-up charter school “opportunities” looks more like a plan to give financial “opportunities” to his supporters to feed on the public trough. This stated desire to turn over our schools to these businesses reminds me much of another chapter in The MACE Manifesto: “The Gates of Hell have Prevailed against the Local Control of Public Education! Rants and Fulminations against Bill Gates, an Anti-christ of American Public Education!” This unfettered rush to undermine and destroy the local control of public education is unconscionable and reprehensible. Doesn’t it seem likely that if nearly all so-called “failing schools” come from schools with students from the same socio-economic-cultural milieu that the problem does not reside with ineffective teaching but with endemic problems beyond a sophomoric attempt to blame the problem on teachers? Why not, as The MACE Manifesto calls for, free up the teachers from ridiculous and rigid mandates so that they can be creative with these unmotivated students, hopefully inspiring these unmotivated students to become learners? After all, if the Governor turns over these schools to private businesses, he is not going to strap these new “educators” in straightjackets of the likes of the draconian and counter-productive TKES. If these new schools of “choice” or “charter” or whatever you want to call them are so wonderful without the rigid, inflexible, and suffocating mandates and rules, then why not free up all of the public schools in Georgia with a fresh wind of freedom and creativity? What is good for the goose is certainly good for the gander.

Governor Nathan Deal is not a friend of public education in Georgia. He wants to privatize education in Georgia. Nathan Deal is dangerous. Governor ISIS wants to decapitate public education in Georgia. © JRAT, 2015.

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The MACE Manifesto. Part III.

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The MACE Manifesto: A Summary.

The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What’s Wrong with American Public Education is a gonzoistic examination of what is wrong with the institution known as American Public Education. In this Gonzo style of writing, Dr. John Trotter and Mr. Norreese Haynes make no high-minded pretenses of being objective but give colorful and compelling explanations of what are the real problems of public education, not what the so-called “school reformers” think are the problems. Trotter and Haynes bewail the teaching conditions in America’s public schools and especially in the urban schools. They often cite the MACE Mantra: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.”

Trotter and Haynes contend that the so-call school reform efforts are misplaced, misguided, and cause much more harm than good. These efforts start, according to Trotter and Haynes, from a false premise, viz., that the teaching corps is the problem with our public schools. They, however, write that the number one problem in the public schools today is that power has been taken away from the teachers. They contend that teachers have been denuded of power and influence over student discipline and the curriculum that they teach in their classrooms. Trotter and Haynes state that teachers need to be put back on their thrones in their classrooms and that school administrators should get the heck out of the classrooms and quit “snoopervising” the teachers. Instead of micromanaging teachers, good teachers should simply be hired and allowed to have the freedom in the classroom to be creative, and the administrators should back the teachers to the hilt when it comes dealing with rude, defiant, and disruptive students. The authors contend that a loose net will catch any weak or incompetent teacher but a tight net will suffocate creative teachers and drive them out of the profession.

Besides defiant and disruptive students, Trotter and Haynes state that the other major problems in public education are the irate and irresponsible parents; angry, petty, and abusive administrators; systematic cheating on standardized tests as well as on regular tests and assignments; and the treating of most lack of learning as technical breakdowns instead of motivational breakdowns. They rant against the standardized tests which they say have become the curricula as well as “the false gods of public education.” They also bewail the inordinate, onerous, and inane paperwork and meetings that encumber the teachers on a daily basis.

Trotter and Haynes explain that when it comes to mega changes like the pushing of Common Core Standards throughout the nation’s schools (which through the backdoor becomes the national curriculum), it really is “all about the money.” They see the push for Common Core by Bill and Melinda Gates and Pearson Education as the attempt to take over the American schools by nationalizing and homogenizing the curriculum. But, Trotter and Haynes contend that “local control” of the curriculum is very important because each community is different with different needs. Trotter and Haynes see U. S. Secretary Arne Duncan and the controversial Michelle Rhee as the “acolytes” doing much of the work for billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, the latter two of whom they call “denizens” in public education.

The MACE Manifesto is organized in six major parts, though there are many sections that stand alone. The major parts of this book are (1) Expounding Theories (19 chapters); (2) Explaining Race (five chapters); Exhaling Rants (21 chapters); (4) Exposing Myths (five chapters and 25 myths); (5) Eviscerating Accreditation; and (6) Exhibiting Appendices (26 appendices).

This book had been described by attorney Preston Haliburton as “a gripping and riveting read” and by educator James Yawn as “the tour-de-force on public education.” © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.

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