Paise for The MACE Manifesto!

 

Praise for

The MACE Manifesto

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are true friends of public school teachers, and I know that when they write or speak on public education, everyone needs to take note.  Every educator, young and old, and all politicians – legislators, school board members, and even superintendents – need to read The MACE Manifesto!” – The Honorable Darryl W. Jordan, Georgia State Representative

“A gripping, riveting read.” – Attorney Preston Haliburton

“John and Norreese are politically incorrect but are absolutely correct on public education!” – The Honorable Sandra G. Scott, Georgia State Representative

“As a former PTA President at a public elementary school, a public middle school, and a public high school, I appreciate the fact that The MACE Manifesto addresses the need for discipline in our public schools.” – Michael Robinson

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are dealing with the unpleasant realities of today’s public schools – and, as a teacher, I can vouch for this!” – Dr. Jose Helena

“As a classroom educator, my life was changed by Dr. Trotter and MACE – and now we have The MACE Manifesto, the tour-de-force on public education!” – James (Gunny) Yawn

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes have been fighting for teachers for years, and as a son of two Georgia school teachers and as a Vice Chairman of a Georgia public school board, I know the importance of the message of The MACE Manifesto!” – Attorney J. Anderson Ramay

“The MACE Manifesto is the inconvenient truth about what goes on in our public schools – and especially in our urban schools.  I know.  I spent my whole career as a teacher in the Birmingham and Atlanta schools.” – Charles Melton

“From my educator’s perspective, The MACE Manifesto is the Bible on public education!” – Bo T. Oates

“As a former teacher and a former school board member, I am excited that a book finally tells it like it is on public education.” – Linda Crummy

“This ain’t chicken soup!” – J. B. Stanley

“Each page is RADIOACTIVE!” – Benjamin Barnes

“The unvarnished and sad truth about public education today.” – R. L. Moore

“I spent my career as a teacher and an administrator in two urban schools systems, and Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are right on target in The MACE Manifesto.” – Mark Harris

“As a former teacher and a current administrator, I know the importance of good teaching conditions, and this is what The MACE Manifesto is all about.” – Lee Carter

“Yes, we are going to endorse our own book.  It is an impressive manifesto.  We’re not falsely modest.  In this educational treatise, you will gain many insights about how American Public Education operates.  You will learn about how newly appointed superintendents come to town with ropes around their necks, barely escaping the last school system alive but the search firm pimps put cheap perfume on them, recycle them, and sell these educational sluts to other unsuspecting school boards.

“You will learn how the publishing and software industries (most notably Pearson out of London, England and Bill Gates of Microsoft) are driving the American Public Education agenda with an indoctrinating, watered-down, dim-witted, drivel-type, homogenized, and nationalized curriculum called Common Core which is aligned with the values of UNESCO and not necessarily with the values of the local community.

“We show you how the standardized tests have become the false gods of American Public Education and how three essential elements for learning are completely ignored by the ‘school deformers’ – discipline, aptitude, and motivation.

“We deal with subjects that others either don’t know shit about or have parakeet balls and are afraid to broach.

“You will understand that trying to find a school administrator who supports teachers to the hilt and demands that students behave in the classroom is like trying to capture dinosaur farts and bottling them for the Smithsonian.  They are just that rare!

“You get it all here…with panache and street cred.  Forget hollow platitudes.  We give it to you straight…right in the gut!” – Dr. John Trotter and Norreese Haynes

 

http://www.themacemanifesto.com

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MACE Took Care of Business Recently in Elbert County!

Recently a MACE Squad showed at the Elbert County Board of Education meeting.  The squad displayed picket signs in the meeting room (without obstructing anyone’s vision).  When the meeting adjourned, Chairman Ben Baker inquired of the group, wanting to know what was going on.  This was all the invitation that Dr. John Trotter needed!  He proceeded to lecture Chairman Ben Baker and the Elbert County Board of Education about the board’s rogue practices.  Two law enforcement officers looked on as well as a reporter from The Elberton Star, who also wrote an article in the newspaper that week about this eventful evening at the Elbert County Board of Education after-meeting.  After the excitement at school board meeting room, the MACE Squad enjoyed the evening at a local Mexican restaurant where they were joined by former Elbert County teacher, Mr. Jeremy Partain.  Some of the  patrons at the restaurant seemed to want to chatter about what had happened earlier in the evening at the school board meeting room.

Elbert County 2 

Elbert County 1

 

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Robert Avossa and David Lewis Have Been Added to Superintendent Clowns of America! Congratulations!

Two young upstart superintendents in Georgia, Robert Avossa of Fulton County, and David Lewis of Muscogee County, have been added to this illustrious group of clowns, the Superintendent Clowns of America.  Both of these young bucks, who had not yet earned their doctorates (but were both working on them from small colleges), were hired upon the recommendation of school board attorney Glenn Brock who holds himself out as a “search firm,” though he only gives the school boards one finalist.  These two men apparently came from the Eli Broad Superintendents Academy (or “Superintendents Brothel,” as Dr. John Trotter calls it!).  They, though their lack of depth and experience, are hired upon the recommendation of Glenn Brock (who also seems to land a job and keep a job as school board attorney among the respective school boards).  Avossa pushed for the Fulton School System to be a system-wide charter system.  Lewis has done the same thing in the Muscogee County School District.  The teachers were already being treated like dog shit in these school systems; now, they were be treated even worse, especially without the regular due process rights under the Georgia Law being jettisoned.

Avossa and Lewis, no doubt, know that they are blessing those who blessed them.  Eli Broad (and Bill Gates) are pushing very hard for the entire country to have school systems which are system-wide charter and for teachers to be evaluated based on the scores of their students on some damnable standardized test (old fashioned “merit pay” or “value-added” evaluations).  Yes, Avossa and Lewis seem to be dutiful acolytes to Eli and Edyth Broad and to Bill and Melinda Gates.  Now you know the rest of the story!

http://www.superintendentclownsofamerica.wordpress.com

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Why You Came to MACE!

By Dr. John R. Alston Trotter and Norreese L. Haynes

You didn’t come to MACE because we give you a tote bag or do spelling bees for the children or sell you auto insurance at an alleged discount. We don’t give out tote bags. We have never put on a spelling bee contest for kids. We don’t sell auto insurance. Heck, we don’t even endorse any political candidates. You vote like you want to vote. We don’t care. We don’t even agree in the MACE Office about political candidates or parties! But, we do agree about this: Teachers should be respected, esteemed, and supported by the administrators to do their jobs in the classroom. We know that you cannot have good learning conditions until your first have good teaching conditions. This is an inexorable law. It can no more be set aside or ignored than the Law of Gravity.

You came to MACE because you are frustrated with how public school teachers are now blamed for all the ills in public education. Students aren’t motivated to learn. You are blamed. Students are defiant and disruptive in the classroom. You are blamed. Parents are irate and irresponsible and frustrated with their own children’s lack of effort. You are blamed. In fact, you came to MACE because you are tired of being blamed by the angry and abusive administrators for the failure of the students who refuse to learn and who refuse to behave. You are tired of being badgered and harassed by these angry, insecure, petty, ignorant, and abusive administrators. We don’t blame you. You came to the right organization. You came to MACE.

MACE simply exists to protect and empower classroom educators…one member at a time. You came to MACE because you have heard of the reputation of MACE. You have heard that MACE doesn’t play, that MACE kicks metaphorical ass, and that MACE tightens up the mean-ass and petty administrators. You have heard correctly. You came to MACE because you know that better than any other organization in the State of Georgia, MACE is able to tighten up your angry and abusive administrator. You know that there is not another union, organization, or association (or whatever you want to call it) for teachers in Georgia which is as effective as MACE in legally scaring the heck out of administrators who are already terrorizing you. This is why you came to MACE. You came to MACE because you are tired of being tired and tired of being afraid and tired of being frustrated. You came to MACE because you want MACE to protect you, to empower you, and to scare the dog shit out of your abusive administrators. Welcome to MACE! © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.

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MACE on Spring Picketing Offensive!

MACE has been on a Spring Picketing Offensive!  Exposing situations is often the most effective disinfectant.  LOL!  And, believe me, the teachers love it!  I might not be able to recall off the top of my head now (and I am in a hurry because MACE has another picket today!) but I can remember yesterday’s at Oakview Elementary School, Indian Creek Elementary School, Chapel Hill Middle School’ and Lithonia Middle School in DeKalb County, Hope-Hill Elementary School and Harper-Archer Middle School in Atlanta, Central High School in Bibb,  and Banneker High School in Fulton County.  The Hew Haw school board in Henry County got a wake-up call today!

Matthew to picket

Matthew Trotter getting  ready for the Indian Creek Elementary (DeKalb) picket.

Indian Creek Picket

A very lively MACE picket in front of Indian Creek Elementary School in DeKalb.

 

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Georgia Martyr, Robert A. Alston, Was Buried 135 Years Ago Today, March 13.

     By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

On March 11, 1879, my great, great grandfather, Robert A. Alston, was murdered down in the Georgia Capitol.  He was DeKalb’s only State Representative at the time and had, by all accounts, a promising political career ahead of him, a career that some pundits at the time were speculating might lead him to be, along with Alexander Hamilton Stephens, one of the leading voices in the Georgia Democratic Party after the Civil War.  But, in the good ole Alston fashion, he stepped on toes, but this time, it was the toes of the most politically connected (the Georgia Triumvirate, Gov.-U. S. Senator Joseph Brown, Gen.-Gov.-U. S. Senator John Gordon, and Gov. Alfred Colquitt) and the wealthiest (the Grant family was Atlanta’s richest family).

Murder in the State Capitol

All of these wealthy and politically-connected Georgians were knee-deep in the heinous and pernicious convict lease system which essentially operated on the basis of judges handing out harsh sentences (usually to the former slaves but now   freedmen) for petty or trumped-up crimes, and then these aforementioned men would lease these “convicts” from the State for a few dollars a year.  These judges were appointed or financed to be elected by the machine Democrats which were controlled by the Georgia Triumvirate.  The railroad industry of Georgia, which was essentially the most lucrative industry at the time, was highly dependent on these convict lessees laying the track and doing all of the heavy labor.  These lessees were used to work the farms, to build walls around a plantation (as in John Gordon’s case), and to work the Joe Brown’s Dade County coal mines.  They were essentially free labor, minus any food and shelter which were marginal at best and deplorable at worst.

Alston exposed the enormous evil of this system, with the attrition rate in some of the camps reaching as high as 25%, men and women being chained together and bastard babies being born in the camps, the squalid condition of the camps themselves, etc.  The northern media picked up on the scandalous report that Representative Alston, as Chairman of the House Penitentiary Committee and someone who had personally visited all of the penitentiary camps, had presented to the Georgia House of Representatives.

To make a longer story more pithy, Alston was murdered (yes, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled it a murder) after being tracked down by a neighbor of his and Sen. John Gordon’s in DeKalb.  Gov. Colquitt apparently told Alston that he would intervene and keep Ed Cox from killing him, but very little was done.  In fact, the author of a book written on Alston’s life and published this past spring by the Mercer University Press, Pamela Hain, wrote that she believed that both Gordon (who was the Grand Wizard of the Klan in Georgia but also Georgia’s most popular post-Civil War politician) and Colquitt (the governor who was at Alston’s side when he was dying with the bullet lodged in his temple) were both at least complicit in the murder of Alston.  Indeed, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Henry Grady, the editor of The Atlanta Daily Constitution, wrote after Alston died that he had never so mourned another’s death as Alston’s.  Alston was responsible for bringing Grady to Atlanta from Rome, Georgia where they became partners in The Atlanta Daily Herald.  Alston was the publisher and Grady was the editor, and this newspaper was considered the “most sprightly” newspaper in the South, almost running The Constitution out of business.  But, after only about six or seven years in existence, it folded for lack of finances.  Its under-capitalization, however, didn’t keep this The Herald, from spending money lavishly and even sending a locomotive to Macon, Georgia each day to deliver the newspaper.  Grady also said that he had never met a more generous man than Alston.  Alston was known for knowing people not just all over Georgia but all over the Union, and his obituary was carried in newspapers, large and small, all over the country, including The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.  In fact, even The New York Times carried an article on Alston’s wife’s death about five years later.

Alston hailed from the Halifax Alstons, also known as the Dueling Alstons, of North Carolina.  They were enormously wealthy, and as Grady noted, they were an “impervious” family which “brooked no contention.”  Alston always wished that, unlike his ancestors, he would not die with his boots on but would die a natural death, after taking care of his wife and four children.  In fact, at his death bed, one sensitive onlooker recalling how Alston had a longing to die without his boots on, leaned over to take off Alston’s boots before he breathed his last breath.

The trial of Ed Cox, the murderer of Alston, was spoken of in the media of the day as “the trial.”  The courtroom was packed and the throngs filled the street, talking incessantly about the Alston murder.  One of the prosecutors was Benjamin Harvey Hill, Jr. whose father served in the U. S. Senate for years, and the lead defense attorney was Congressman Milton Candler, brother to the Coca-Cola magnate (Asa Candler), to a Georgia Supreme Court Justice (John Candler), and to a Methodist Bishop (Warren Candler).  Both side had the most illustrious attorneys working for their respective team.  Cox was found guilty of murder.

For a few years after Alston’s death, the black people of DeKalb County had memorial services commemorating his life and death at his grave site each year.  This was stopped when the Bourbon Democrats got back in full control after Reconstruction and the Black Codes and later Jim Crow laws were passed and the Negro vote in Georgia was disenfranchised.  The memory of Alston was not something that the Bourbon Democrats wanted.

Alston’s funeral on this day, March 13, 135 years ago, was the largest funeral at the time in Decatur, Georgia.  Trains came in from Atlanta and all over the State, bring mourners into Decatur.  The Georgia Speaker of the House, Gus Bacon who was related to Alston and who also went on to become a U. S. Senator from Georgia, spoke at Alston’s Masonic funeral.  He was buried in the Old Decatur Cemetery.  The ante-bellum home that he started building for his wife, Mary Charlotte Magill Alston who hailed from Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina, in 1856 is considered the second oldest house in Atlanta.  The name of the old plantation is Meadownook, and it is in the National Historic Registry.  It is located on Alston Drive in East Lake across from the East Lake Country which was part of the Alston plantation and is Atlanta’s first country club and now part of the PGA Tour.

Alston’s life was cut short.  He died at 46 years of age.  He was a renown lawyer, publisher, and farmer.  He even had a fish farm.  He was making his mark in politics, and there is speculation that he might himself been planning a statewide run for office.  He had been part of the Charleston Light Dragoons and was at the firing on of Fort Sumter in April of 1861.  He resigned this commission to join up as a Private with the illustrious Morgan’s Raiders and quickly became, because of his skills, General John Morgan’s Acting Adjutant General/Chief of State and later led a battalion.  He was in about 100 battles and never was wounded.  He was well-known throughout the war, by the leadership on both sides.  He was personally acquainted with Jefferson Davis.  In fact, after he wore out General Burnside of the Federal Army about his illegal arrest and imprisonment in a Federal War Prison, he was released.  General Burnside explained to Secretary of State Staten that he released or exchanged Alston because he could think of an innumerable ways to die rather than from the pen of Robert Alston.  When the war ended, Alston was just 32 years old, but he retired a colonel.  In Mary Chestnut Boykins’s famous Civil War diary (the one that was edited by C. Vann Woodward won the Pulitzer Prize), she talked quite a bit in this diary about “the famous Bob Alston.”

Alston was noted by many authors, including Boykins, that he was “gallant” and flamboyant.  But, by the time that he was murdered, he was settling down and coming into his own.  It appeared that he was leaning toward the Independent Democrats (as opposed to the Bourbon Democrats).  He was in the home of Congressman William Felton and his intelligent and outspoken wife, Rebecca Latimer Felton who went on to be sworn in later in life into the U. S. Senate where she became the nation’s first U. S. Senator, if only for a day or two.  Mrs. Felton, who was a great writer, wrote very fondly of Col. Robert A. Alston and feared for his life.  In fact, Alston was in the Felton home in Washington, D. C. the week before he was killed in Atlanta.  The Feltons were leading spokespersons for an Independent Democrat movement.  It appears that he was contemplating a more independent movement of his own, though he was Gordon’s lawyer and was on friendly terms with Colquitt too, though there had been chilly feelings between him and Joseph Brown for years, due in part to the estrangement of Brown and Alston’s uncle, State Senator Augustus Holmes Kenan.  (By the way, there were only 18 State Senators back then.)

Alston was an effective lobbyist in the halls of Congress and personally knew President Hayes.  He had been around men of influence his entire life.  In fact, his grandfather `was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson, and the President Jackson earlier in his life had stayed in the Alston home in Hancock County, Georgia where Robert W. Alston was the wealthiest man in this country which was considered one of the most cultured counties of the day, located right next to the Georgia Capitol in Milledgeville.

In Milledgeville where Alston had lived and gone to the famous Midway Academy while growing up, his uncle, Augustus Holmes Kenan, had entered the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay.  Kenan was a Whig and was opposed to secession and threw away the pen with which he finally signed the Secession Ordinance.  Alston’s cousin, the son of Kenan, later became the Mayor of Milledgeville but was gunned down while in office.  Augustus Holmes Kenan was one of the most noted criminal lawyers in Georgia.  He was elected to the Congressional Congress which met in Montgomery, Alabama.  He later defeated Howell Cobb, former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, for a seat in the Confederate Congress which was to meet in Richmond, Virginia, handing Cobb his only political defeat.

Alston’s grandfather on his mother’s side was Rev. John Howard, who became the Presiding Elder in the Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia.  Howard is credited with whipping up the enthusiasm for the Georgia Female Seminary which became Wesleyan College in Macon, the first college in the country to confer degrees to women.  In 1835, the Methodist Conference in Georgia appointed John Howard to raise money for Manual Labor School in Covington, Georgia and was appointed to the Board of Trustees.  The next year the school was named after Bishop Emory and is now Emory University.  The first obelisk erected by the citizens of Macon, Georgia in the historic Rosehill Cemetery was erected to Rev. John Howard.

Another grandson of Rev. John Howard was William Schley Howard, who was elected several times to the U. S. Congress from Decatur.  Congressman Howard was one of Georgia’s best criminal attorneys and was also the grandfather to Pierre Howard who was elected twice as Georgia Lieutenant Governor.  Congressman Howard was cousin to both U. S. Senator Gus Bacon and to Col. Robert A. Alston.  Unbeknownst to most Georgians is the fact that one of Georgia’s wealthiest blacks and one of the leading black citizens in Georgia was David Tobias Howard, the half brother to Congressman Howard and the first cousin to Col. Robert Alston.  David T. Howard was leader in the movement to build the first black high school in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington High School, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King.  King attended David T. Howard Elementary School.  Atlanta’s second black high school was named David Tobias Howard High School.  Many luminaries attended this high school, including Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor and one of the namesakes of the Atlanta airport, Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton’s close advisor and lawyer, Eldrin Bell, Atlanta’s first African American Police Chief and later Commission Chairman of Clayton County, and NBA All Star, Walt (The Clyde) Frazier.  By the way, Congressman Howard and Governor Slaton spoke at the funeral of David T. Howard who was a close associate of W. E. B. DuBois.

Possibly at Robert A. Alston’s funeral was both the young William Schley Howard whose father was Alston’s uncle, Thomas Coke Howard, a man whom Alston was very close to.  Howard had been publisher of the pre-Civil War newspaper, The Intelligencer. He ran many statewide campaigns and held many jobs with the State of Georgia.  He was a neighbor of Govenors Alfred Colquitt and Governor and U. S. Senator John Gordon in the Kirkwood area of Dekalb.  Also possibly attending his cousin’s funeral was the very successful black man, David T. Howard who was 30 at the time.

The former Director of the DeKalb Historical Society told me that he interviewed the very well-known black preacher in the Atlanta area who worked for Alston (along with his family) when he was a youth.  According to what was told to me, Rev. W. Frank Paschal said that as a youth he attended Robert Alston’s funeral on March 13, 1879 and that he also attended the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.  This gentleman lived to be about 112 years of age and credited Alston’s influence over him in going into the ministry.  He attended Central City College in Macon, a seminary for black men.  It was also reported to me by this Director of the DeKalb Historical Society that he baptized Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., in Stockbridge, Georgia and that Daddy King attributed the influence of Rev. Paschal for him going into the ministry.  Paschal’s picture is on the wall, along with the other former pastors of the church, in the building of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta where Dr. King’s close associate, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Jr., was a pastor for many years.

One of Alston’s grand nephews became a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Wallace A. Alston.  Dr. Alston also was President of Agnes Scott College in Decatur for 22 years.  He is buried right next to Col. Alston in the Old Decatur Cemetery.

Two of Alston’s nephews, Robert Cotton Alston and Philip Henry Alston Sr., began a law firm in 1893 which, after some mergers, has become Alston & Bird, one of the largest law firms in the country, with offices all over the world, including London and Hong Kong.  Robert C. Alston also was President of the Georgia Bar Association.  He married Caro duBignon whose family were French Huguenots who fled France because of persecution but did well in this country, eventually owning Jekyll Island.  Robert C. Alston led the efforts for the Atlanta Diocesse of the Episcopal Church to be formed.  He was the chancellor of St. Philip’s Cathedral, the largest Episcopal congregation in America.  The Alston’s house was designed by the famous architect, John Neil Reed, and is on historic tours of Atlanta.  The Corporate Law Chair at the University of Georgia’s Law School is the Robert C. Alston Chair.

One of Philip H. Alston, Sr.’s sons, Philip H. Alston, Jr., was quite an attorney also.  But, he made quite a mark in politics as well.  A little known peanut farmer came to his office one day asking for help in raising money to run for governor.  Alston took him under his wings, raised him lots of money and chaired his campaigns, both for Governor and President.  President Jimmy Carter appointed Philip H. Alston, Jr., to be the United States Ambassador to Australia.  There is a Philip H. Alston, Jr., Chair in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, the alma mater of Philip Alston, Jr.  The first occupant of this chair was former Governor and former U. S. Senator Zell Miller.

Nephew Robert C. Alston and Eugene Black, son-in-law of Henry Grady amd member of the Federal Reserve Board, led the efforts to have the Georgia Senate honor Rep. Robert A. Alston over 40 years after he was gunned down in the Georgia Capitol.  The Georgia Senate passed a resolution honoring “the martyr,” as Georgia’s first State Historian, Lucius Lamar Knight, called Alston in about a 25 page essay written in his honor.  The Georgia Senate asked that a portrait of Alston be given to the State, which was done.  The portrait hung for years in the Stare’s library in the rotunda of the Capitol and was moved with the library in its move to Washington Street.  Reportedly Governor Sonny Perdue asked for a portrait in the Governor’s Mansion’s parlor of a Georgian who stood up for right against wrong.  The Alston portrait was moved to the Governor’s Mansion’s parlor to fill this request.

When the National Cathedral was completed in Washington, D. C. in the early 1930s, a flag was donated by each State in honor of a citizen who made significant contributions to that State and was hung in the Cathedral.  Georgia’s flag was dedicated in honor of Robert A. Alston.

This article was typed hastily, trying to beat the clock while it is still March 13.  So, please forgive any typos – and hey, please leave me a comment to point them out.

One bit of trivia:  Robert Augustus Alston was probably the only person who was at the very beginning of the American Civil War at the firing on of Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor and at the last regular meeting of the Confederate government in Washington, Georgia, as the government was on the run.  Alston was Morgan’s adjutant and later Battalion commander and it was Morgan’s Raiders who were assigned to escort the escaping Confederate government through Georgia.  Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, was captured in Ocilla, Georgia.

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Giving the Superintedent the Benefit of the Doubt!

GTSO will give the suspected superintendent the benefit of the doubt.  Someone COULD HAVE co-opted his email address.  We’ll just leave it at that.  If he is indeed the culprit, we think that he has learned his lesson.  At least we certainly hope so.

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A New, Shocking Revelation from the E-mail of a Georgia Superintendent Coming Soon!

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

     I am usually very hard to surprise or shock.  I have, in my 60 years on Earth, witnessed some harrowing events — and I am not talking about events like the Holocaust or the Battle of Gettysburg — but I am talking about events swirling around the hubris of arrogant but weak and insecure human beings.  Even recently, I have witnessed the meltdown of the arrogant Beverly Hall Administration in the Atlanta Public Schools and of the Crawford Lewis Administration in DeKalb County Public Schools.  I have watched and heard of other Georgia school superintendents being indicted and even committing suicide before some apparent impending shame.  I am always reminded of the quote in Holy Writ:  “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls.” 

     There is counsel in the multitude of many.  I would rather consult with one or two of my trusted advisors before I bring to light information which no doubt will prove to be embarrassing to one superintendent and will call for an candid and forthright explanation.  I don’t enter into this revelation lightly and will certainly give ample space in this forum for the superintendent to explain what has happened.  Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth [the keyboard] speaks.

     I have seen the mighty metaphorically fall on a number occasions.  It is not a pretty sight.  Vile words tend to come back to haunt a person.  My wise, wise father (who himself was a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal) often said, in essence, this:  Don’t speak (or write) when you are angry.”  My father was a wise man.

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Forward to The MACE Manifesto.

FORWARD

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

     What’s really wrong with American Public Education today is the ravenous greed of vulture capitalists like Bill Gates who are interloping in an area about which they know nothing.  They are denizens in a foreign land, pushing their agenda in this more than one-half trillion dollar industry which they just discovered.  I have been saying for years that this cataclysmic disruption that these billionaires have caused in American Public Education has resulted in much more harm than good.  These billionaire school “reformers” are in actually school deformers.  They have wreaked havoc on the landscape of American schools on the scale of Hurricanes Hugo and Katrina.

The educational kibitzing that these billionaires have engaged in has undermined public education here in the United States, and we believe that it is the desire of many of them to totally destroy public education as we have known it here in the United States.  They have donated millions upon millions of dollars to charter school organizations as well as to organizations which seek to tie evaluating a teacher’s performance to the test scores of the students.  The latter may sound good on paper but it is wholly unrealistic.  I am thinking about the poor teachers at schools like Sylvan Middle School in Atlanta.  I remember a few years back when I at Sylvan Middle School and talking to the principal of this school in his office.  He called me to his desk and pulled out a side drawer showing me several weapons that he had confiscated that year from the students.  This principal looked at me and stated, “John, this is a shitty school.”  Those were his exact words.

Yes, in the United States (especially in the urban areas), we have some “shitty schools,” and they are not “shitty” because of the teachers.  The teachers are working under the most horrendous conditions, but it is educational interlopers like Bill Gates (who obviously is a marketing genius relative to computer software) who want to blame the “shitty schools” on the teachers.  No, ole Bill, it’s the students and their parents who are the problem.  The problem is poverty and crime-ridden neighborhoods.  In this same “shitty school” in Atlanta, a teacher told me a few years later (under another principal) that he went into the boys’restroom, and some kid had scrawled all over the mirror, “8-12 run this shit.”  Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Dell, and the Waltons don’t know jackshit about how to deal with “8-12” kids and “shitty schools.”  Instead of blaming the teachers in these “shitty” schools, these billionaire interlopers ought take a number, get in line, and kiss the teachers’ asses for teaching in these “shitty” schools.

I suspect that Bill Gates, with his billions of dollars (estimated to be over 72 billion) might have gotten a tad bored as the inordinately wealthy tend to get, and he and Melinda decided at breakfast one morning that they would take over the American schools and make them work.  (His welcome is apparently wearing out on the Microsoft Board of Directors; I saw in the media recently that some of the key shareholders want him off of the Microsoft board.  This is not so unrealistic.  Remember what happened to Steve Jobs with the Apple board.)  So, Bill and Melinda take on American Public Education as their new little project.  But, perhaps it’s not so altruistic as this.  Perhaps Billy Gates sees huge profit potential in this more than one-half trillion dollar industry called “public education,” if he could just harness a “common curriculum” which would use his software applications which would be piously called “digital learning” applications.  You know…the same ones that Microsoft is already in the process of developing for Pearson, the largest educational publisher in the world, today.  Ah…money, it all gets back to money.  Well, that’s what it’s all about, folks.  It’s all about the cheddar, not the children.

Recently, I heard an interview in which Bill Gates made some rather revealing comments.  He stated:  “[I]dentifying common standards is not enough.  We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”  Gates also talked about “creat[ing] just these kinds of tests—next-generation assessments aligned to the common core” and “[w]hen the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching” [emphasis added].  Finally, Gates observed in this same interview, “For the first time, there will be a large uniform base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better” [emphasis added].  I presume that Billy Gates just couldn’t contain his excitement.  For him, the largess of public education is like a little kid in a candy shop.

Bill and Melinda Gates sent their children to matriculate at the elite Lakeside School in Seattle, the same school where Bill and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Allen attended.  Melinda Gates is on record of wanting many, many more standardized tests than the ones which already shackle our school systems today.  And, ole Bill has pushed Arne Duncan, the U. S. Secretary of Education who doesn’t know his ass from deep centerfield, to tie the receiving of Federal Race to the Top funds to (1) the states having to implement teacher evaluations tied to student test scores and (2) the states not having any limits on charter schools.  But, would Bill and Melinda like for the Lakeside School’s teachers to be treated so brusquely and for the students to be fed low-grade testing husks for their curriculum needs?  Diane Ravitch, in one of her insightful tomes on public education, wrote:  “He [Gates] fondly recalled his teachers at Lakeside, the private school he attended in Seattle, who ‘fueled my interests and encouraged me to read and learn as much as I could” (The Death and Life of the Great American School System:  How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, p. 212).  I suppose that what is good for his and Melinda’s children and what is good for their children’s teachers is not good for the rest of us.  Bill Gates is a Gnostic interloper in the field of public education and, quite frankly, it’s the likes of him and Melinda who are ruining public education.  They just need to enjoy the facile petina of their private schools and get the hell out of public education.  They are in over their heads.  But, I am reminded of what St. Paul wrote:  “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

It’s the billionaires (especially the Gateses) who are pushing those damnable standardized tests.  They essentially look at two skills:  Mathematical and Verbal-linguistic.  Damn the idea that there are several types of intelligence which are not even tested.  (Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education has identified nine or ten or more different types of intelligence which essentially go unnoticed or ignored because of the very narrow and shallow tests which are whipping up our public schools into a testing mania.)  Damn the idea that our children still need a rich curriculum that includes a wide variety of subjects which are not currently tested (history, science, art, physical education, music, civics, government, literature, etc.).  Damn the idea that creativity and ideas should be nourished among the students or that our teachers should be freed up to be creative with their children and to stray off the path of those damnable prescriptive curriculum packages or to stray one scintilla from the cookie-cutter teaching methods which are mandated.  Yes, damn any type of teaching and learning that takes place at the Lakeside School in Seattle.  This is just for the children of the so-called elite and effete, for those children who are already determined to be the Gnostic leaders of the craftsmen and tillers of the soil.  Yes, apparently the billionaires want the children of America’s public schools to keep their heads down and learn the essential math and verbal-linguistic skills…so that they can work efficiently in this new global economy that people like Bill Gates are trying to usher in.  So, yes, damn the enrichment!  Standardized testing full speed ahead!  Before I leave this subject of these dastardly tests, let me share a worthy quote from Einstein, who by the way, was not considered so smart while he was in school.  This quote is attributed to Einstein:  “Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to a climb tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  These standardized tests, the same tests which would not be tolerated at the Gateses’ tony Lakeside School in Seattle, are destroying our children and making them think that they are stupid and worthy of only disengaging from their school work and eventually dropping out.  So many of these children are now standing on the street corners, selling dope, and waiting to be sentenced to the state prison, thanks, in part, to these damnable standardized tests!

Are there any problems in our public schools today?  Sure.  There are problems in any profession or industry.  There are corrupt and unethical physicians and lawyers.  They are some cheating and incompetent accountants.  There are elected officials who aren’t worth a plugged nickel.  We see evidence of incompetence, unethical behavior, and bad practices in every profession.  But, do we turn upside down a profession just because a few members of that profession need to be weeded out.  Do we throw out the entire barrel of good apples because of one or two rotten apples?   Of course not.  We don’t impose a tight net on an entire profession just because of few bad apples.  We don’t suffocate the entire profession and put all of the members of that profession on training wheels because of one or two incompetent members.  We use a loose net to catch these people.  This reminds me of a true story that a retired principal told me recently at my niece’s wedding.  My brother serves on the school board where this incident occurred, and he asked this retired principal to tell me the story.  The retired principal leaned over and started whispering what had happened when he was telling an incompetent teacher who had totally lost control of her classroom and was crying in front of the students that he was going to have to let her go at the December break.   He stated:  “I gently told her that I was going to try to work with her but that I was getting lots of complaints from the parents, the administration, and even from the superintendent about the conditions in her classroom.  So, this was on October 31st when she had just gotten paid, and I told her that we would wait until the December break and then she would have to go but it would be a smooth transition.  I asked her if she understood the game plan?  She slammed her keys on the desk and blurted out:  ‘I resign.  Trick or Treat, muthafucker!’”  So, yes, this teacher probably didn’t need to be teaching, and the principal was letting her go in as a humane manner as possible.  But, he certainly didn’t expect the sudden resignation and the Halloween greeting!

Public school educators can take care of their own problems just as can attorneys, physicians, or accountants.  Quit insulting them and treating them like tall children.  Treat them like the professionals that they have been educated to be.  Anything short of this is disastrous.  © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.

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Dr. John Barge is Running for Governor. I am Glad that He is Running!

http://johnbarge.com/my-stance-on-common-core#comment-36

Dr. John Barge, State Superintendent of Schools here in Georgia, has recently announced that he is running for Governor against incumbent governor, Nathan Deal.  (You can go to the link above to read more details about Dr. Barge’s announcement and his views on Common Core which may prove to be a hot topic in the Republican Primary here in Georgia.)  It looks like Dr. Barge is having increasing doubts about Common Core and the danger of federalizing public education.  He says that teachers need time to teach.  Isn’t this what MACE has been saying for years and years now?  We agree with Dr. Barge on this point.  In our opinion, Common Core is more like Common Crap, to put it mildly.  Or, we could be more blunt and say “Same Shit,” but we will do “nice” and say, “Common Crap.”

Barge and Deal

Hey, hey…gonna be a showdown, a showdown!  Governor Nathan Deal (L) versus State Superintendent John Barge (R).  Deal’s been bullying Barge mainly because Dr. Barge does not goose-step to the demands of the U. S. Department of Education.  Now, Dr. Barge is fighting back.  Governor Deal seems to be a lap dog to U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan relative to how teachers ought to be treated in Georgia.  Deal seems to have a tin ear to the concerns of teachers.  He seems more concerned over his “[D]eal-making” with the Feds.  Barge, however, seems willing to charge against the Feds and to call for local control of public education in Georgia as well as for more humane treatment of Georgia’s teachers.  It will be an uphill battle for a challenger to beat an incumbent governor.  But, it has happened before.  Sonny beat ole Roy in 2002.  The lines have been drawn in the political sand here in Georgia.  Therefore, let the battles begin!  Photo by Rome News-Tribune.

The push for Common Core is the adopted child of Bill and Melinda Gates.  These billionaires, along with the Pearson group out of Great Britain, the largest publisher of textbooks, tests, testing materials, etc., in the world, gave millions upon millions to the National Governors Association (NGA) to legally “bribe” these governors to come out for a common core curriculum which could be used in all states in the union.  A few years back, Pearson apparently realized that the American public educational scene  (k-12 and undergraduate and graduate schools) was  close to a trillion dollar industry.  It is my understanding that Microsoft is already working on the apps for Common Core which will be sold to Pearson who in turn will sell them to the states and school systems.  This whole Common Core imbroglio is about money, pure and simple.  Bill Gates dumped about two billion dollars in his crusade for “small schools” (like the schools at Carver High and Therrell High in Atlanta).  This mission has proven to be an academic flop.  Unlike Carnegie and Ford and other philanthropists of the past, today’s Billionaires Club members (the Gateses, the Broads, the Waltons) apparently want to drive the educational agenda and dictate the terms.  They apparently want to be the super superintendents!

There is a deafening silence from the mainstream media concerning these bully billionaires.  These billionaires have thrown around so much money that we only hear a thunderous silence from the media, the universities, and even some unions like AFT.  At MACE, we have been railing against these billionaires’ efforts to hijack public education for years now.  Dr. Barge is right.  Teachers do indeed just want to be left alone and allowed to teach.  We have been saying this for years at MACE.  In fact, we are about to publish a 300 page book concerning these issues.  (You can watch the “sausage” being made at http://www.themacemanifesto.com.)

The MACE mantra has been this since the inception of MACE in 1995:  “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.”  I just got off the phone with my sister, a retired First Grade teacher here in Georgia.  She told me that she had just gotten through talking to a teacher who told her that they just didn’t have time to teach anymore.  I applaud Dr. Barge for standing up for the children by standing up for the teachers!

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