Hey Michael Thurmond, You are the Interim Superintendent of the DeKalb County School System. Abide by the Georgia Statutory Law and Quit Acting Like a Thug!

The facile interim superintendent and former State Senator, Michael Thurmond, should try to learn something about the Georgia Statutes when it comes to the due process rights of teachers.  After all, he is an attorney.  Donnether Taylor should be back in the classroom now.  Her rights under OCGA 20-2-940(g) have been egregiously violated even up unto this day.  MACE has been apprising your administration of this flagrant violation.  MACE picketed at Redan Middle School to bring more attention to this flagrant violation of the due process statute.

Mr. Thurmond, get it right or get out!  As I stated on Channel 2 last night, DeKalb County is a “thug” school system.

http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/teacher-remains-out-classroom-despite-being-exoner/nmGzt/

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Cheating is Rampant in our Schools!

Cheating is Rampant in our Schools!

head-up-ass

School administrators have their heads up their asses when it comes to student-initiated cheating.  But, so often these days, the administrators themselves initiate and perpetrate the cheating, as brought out in the AJC article, the link of which is provided below.

     I see that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is highlighting an Atlanta school principal for changing permanent record grades. Really? Well, it happens virtually every day in Georgia! It’s the new normal. And, if a teacher complains, well, then, the teacher is booted out the door. You have to keep those parents happy.   You can’t send the kids home with a “F” on their report cards! Why…what are you thinking?

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/atlanta-school-principal-investigated-for-grade-ch/nmFqc/

I just wrote an article the other day about grade changing. This is epidemic. Not just in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS). Administrators never want the students to get the failing grade that they earn because they refuse to do any academic work. These administrators demand that the teachers just change the grade to a passing grade. This is more egregious than cheating on a standardized test because this is a permanent record grade. This was the issue when we picketed at Druid Hills Middle School the other day. The APS Cheating Scandal was just the tip of the iceberg on cheating, especially in the large urban school systems. Across the board cheating is rampant. MACE has been dead-on on this issue for two decades.

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“Fuck You, Bitch! Get Your Ass Out of My Face, Bitch!” What Kind of Rubric Solves this Daily Misconduct, Especially when the Spineless and Lazy Administrators Do Nothing? I Call this Management by Watermelons (MBW).

“Fuck You, Bitch! Get Your Ass Out of My Face, Bitch!” What Kind of Rubric Solves this Daily Misconduct, Especially when the Spineless and Lazy Administrators Do Nothing? I Call this Management by Watermelons (MBW).

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

MACE - JT meaning business

As we write repeatedly in The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education (Big Daddy Publishers, 2014, 615 pages), our public urban schools are a wasteland. They are war zone schools. Discipline is essentially a foreign concept. Students curse and assault (and occasionally batter) their teachers with virtual impunity. Yet, the educational nitwits and EDAs (Educational Dumb Asses) are acting like the emperor is not naked. They think that this unconscionable condition in these schools can be managed by lofty objectives and crazy-ass rubrics.

Watermelon Lion

Management by Watermelons

I remember taking my first administrative course at the University of Georgia in the spring of 1980. I was still teaching and had accepted an assistantship at the University in the Department of Social Science Education to work on my doctorate. Later that summer I had changed my mind about being a professor of education and knew that I wanted to be a practitioner rather than a theoretician. So, I accepted a better paying graduate assistantship at UGA’s Department of Educational Administration and Field Services. The plan was to become a superintendent of schools one day, and that plan could have easily played out…if I had ever demonstrated that I would kiss ass on a regular basis and eat a little proverbial dodo. I refused, however, to eat it in even capsule form. I digress. Let’s get back to that first course. We used a very thick and erudite-looking textbook in this Introduction to Administration class. The book was assiduously tied to the management theory of the time called “Management by Objectives.” It was bullshit, pure and simple. I knew bullshit when I saw it even back then. This notion of “management by objectives” attempted to treat leadership and teaching as a science. That sounds good, but it just does not smack with reality.

I compare this “management by objectives” to a store manager at a Walmart working diligently to raise his sales at his particular store. He does well, but he still can’t make the sales to jump precipitously because his store is located in a very economically depressed location. He even put some workers out on the street waving signs and offering free coffee inside his Walmart. It worked a bit, but there were no measureable increases in the economic ledger of the store. But, his friend who had been recruited with this manager and had gone through the same training as he had was having an even more difficulties with sales. He did everything that he had been taught at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he earned his MBA, but there were things happening at his store that were frustrating sales on a daily basis. His products kept jumping off the shelves – quite inexplicably and randomly. His “management by objectives” [or TKES training] did not prepare him for this phenomenon. It all started with the bars of soaps just jumping off the shelves into the aisles. Well, this was inconvenient but did not cause too much mess on the floor once one of the workers retrieved the bars of soap and were put back on the shelves. But, later it was a lamp problem. The lamps kept jumping off the shelves and busted on the floors. Glass was strewn everywhere. Then it was the eggs. Nearly every carton of eggs ended up having broken egss in it – and the mess had to be cleaned up and the eggs had to be replaced. On a few occasions, the bicycles which were placed up high on the racks came tumbling down. Several customers were hurt and lawsuits ensued. This poor manager had to deal with insurance companies and had to keep explaining why his sales were stagnant. What I think took the cake was the watermelons, especially those sweet melons that were so popular during the summer months. Those damn melons kept jumping off the shelves in the produce section and burst all over the floors. Customers were slipping down and busted their asses. One older lady landed on her head and the ambulance came and took her to the emergency room.

This incident with the older lady landed on the front page of the local newspaper and was the lead story on two television stations on 11:00 PM news. No one wanted to shop at this store anymore. But, this man’s regional supervisor didn’t want to hear any excuses. His mantra was, “Every store can sell.” He mandate to this young manager was to increase the sales production or admit his failure and resign…or be fired. He didn’t want to hear anything about those bicycles and watermelons jumping off the shelves.

This story may seem silly but this is exactly what is going on in our public schools today. Exactly. The students are allowed to defy the teachers, verbally assault them, cause all kind of disruption in each class, and berate and batter other students and sometimes the teachers. But, the “Regional Managers” (Educational Dumb Asses/Superintendents) don’t want to hear anything about this. If you send the defiant and disruptive student to the office, the student is sent back to the room with no punishment and the teacher is actually written up for reporting it. This is wild, but this is what is happening in our schools. The other day, a teacher from Price Middle School in Atlanta told me that one young lady keep calling her a “bitchh” in the most derogative way on a daily basis in front of the other students. “Fuck you, bitch” is par for the course. Price is the school where you had a shooting not long ago. I was told by a North Clayton Middle School teacher that a fellow teacher (and coach) reported to him that he was trying to get a student to be quiet in class but the student blurted out in front of everyone that he was not going to stop talking, In fact, this teacher reports that the teacher/coach reported to him that the student further told him, “Fuck you! I fucked your mama last night and I ate her pussy. What are you going to do about that?” The teacher/coach apparently sent the student to the assistant principal who apparently sent the student right back to the classroom. When the teacher/coach confronted the assistant principal after class about the situation, we were told that the assistant principal said, “I couldn’t do anything but laugh when I saw that referral” (or words to that effect).

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The Thomson High School students have fought back the kicking to the curb of their teacher, even producing t-shirts to express their displeasure with this inexplicable decision.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2xOb9xCX5o

The above video shows  Mr. Osbon  doing a Canterbury Tales Prologue Rap in his classroom, with one of his students lending a hand with the beat.  Great teachers are very creative with their students.

     The STAR Teacher (who has also been Honor Educator and Teacher of the Year on several occasions) at Thomson High School in McDuffie County apparently raised the ire of the administration in that county when he approached the administration about the terrible disciplinary conditions at the high school. This teacher is enormously popular with the students and the parents in McDuffie County, but this did not stop Superintendent Mychele Rhodes from forcing him out as a teacher. See, these administrators just don’t hear anything about discipline problems. Nothing. This does not fit into their “management by objectives” matrix. They apparently just want the teachers to click their heels like good little Nazis. Recently, we heard that there was a gun discovered at the high school during standardized but there apparently was no lock down at the school. There is talk that they may have been two other guns at Thomson High School as well. The principal’s name is “Mr. Strong” but when it comes to discipline he acts like “Mr. Weak.” I just got through talking with a teacher in Houston County who tells us that a gun was discovered at the new Veterans High School, but they the powers in control have kept this quiet and did not even report it to the District Attorney’s Office. I understand that this story is about to break in the news down in Houston County.

Rhodes - Superintendent

Mychele Rhodes was determined to get rid of one of McDuffie County’s most popular teachers, STAR Teacher Neil Osbon.

     There cannot be a more strange school system in the entire United States than the Murray County School System in Chatsworth, Georgia. What goes on under the watching eye of Fort Mountain is enough to raise the hair on your neck. It is a very nepotistic community with a couple of families to seem to control or have major influence in every fact of the county, including the school system. Superintendent Vickie Reed married into the influential Reed family (though now divorced). There is talk galore about a high school coach verbally assaulting and cursing a very popular teacher in the hallway at the school. This teacher (the victim of this alleged assault) was apparently forced out because of this confrontation. His Quiz Bowl team had finished Second Place in the State. He, like the STAR Teacher in McDuffie County, was suspended by the superintendent and placed in a “penalty box” for an interminable time which is in complete contravention of the State Code (OCGA 20-2-940[b]).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF6rBEeo7m8

Check out the above video of Mr. Justin Frazier doing impressions.  Who would not love to have had a talented teacher like Murray County’s  Frazier?  I would have loved to have had Mr. Frazier and Mr. Osbon as my teachers in high school.  But I have advised very popular teachers through the years, saying this:  “Be careful about being too popular with the students and the parents.  This makes the administration nervous.  They don’t like this.”  It is a shame that good, professional, effective, and popular teachers have to suffer this fate.

I have been contacted by dozens of Citizens from Murray County in the last couple of weeks. This morning I woke up to a private message on my Facebook, inquiring what Citizens of Murray County could do about their dismal situation. I pecked out this response on my cell phone. This advice could be used in any community where the school board members and superintendents seem to be non-responsive to the citizens. He is my response, with minor editing:

Go to the school board meetings. Try to get on the agenda to speak (they will probably fight this too). Show up with florescent-colored signs with bold letters, “Reed Must Go!” It’s hard for the media to ignore this. The younger folks, with their ever-present iPhones and Samsung cell phones, will capture the moment and have it all over social media. Go to the Voter Registration Office (it may be located within the Probate Judge’s Office or another office but it is somewhere in or near the courthouse). Find out which school board seats are open for the next election. Have planning sessions under the name of the “Murray Citizens Movement.” Decide on one candidate to support for each seat to run against the incumbents. At that point, I can help you. Your opponents will fight you tooth and nail. They will tear down your signs every night. Keep putting them back up! Use social media to catch them and to spread the word. The Murray Citizens Movement (MCM) will grow exponentially. You might even see Reed retire. But, you simply have to take back your county at the ballot box. Voter fraud can be a serious federal offense. The oligarchy running Murray County does want not the Feds to come in. But, if voter fraud does take place, this is when you file a complaint with the U. S. Justice Department. It takes courage to step up to the plate to take back your county. It is YOUR county, not their fiefdom. Be bold. Start having organizing meetings…initially in homes. But when you get 50 to 100 committed Citizens who are part of the Murray Citizens Movement (MCM), you might even want to meet at Edna’s Restaurant. LOL! Seriously. And proudly wear t-shirts emblazoned with this message, “Murray is a Republic, not a Kingdom!” — or some other appropriate and catchy slogan. I like this: “Because it’s OUR County.” The young people will really get into this. Personally, I see the school board seats are there for the plucking. But, no one will just give you power; you have to take it…legally and at the ballot box. Take care.

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Mr. Neil Osbon, the STAR Teacher at Thomson High School, may just run for the school board himself in McDuffie County.  We believe that he would win in a landslide victory!

     By the way, Mr. Justin Frazier (the talented teacher in the second YouTube video above) is not a member of MACE but he roundly endorses MACE.  He only found out about MACE after so much damage was done to him professionally.  I talked to Mr. Frazier the night before he resigned contingent upon a settlement agreement, but now it appears that the Murray County School System is intending  not live up to this agreement, claiming that Mr. Frazier has breached the agreement but the school system apparently provides no specificity.  Well Mr. Frazier can sue the Murray County Board of Education for breaching the agreement.  I always say, “Let the depositions be forthcoming!’  LOL!  Legally, this process is called “discovery.”

Attention Administrators:

If you want to dispute anything that I write here on my personal blog, just contact me. This forum is wide open to you. I will publish anything that you write (please limit it to 1,000 words) and submit to me for publication, as long as it is not libelous or totally tasteless. If you disagree with any of the content that I have written, you have the forum right here on Georgia Teachers Speak Out! I want to be eminently fair to everyone. © GTSO, 2015.

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Administrators Hate MACE!

Administrators Hate MACE!

“School Administrators for the most part hate MACE. It’s a big step for teachers to join MACE. It takes courage. But, MACE is the only union for teachers that administrators fear. MACE keeps your membership confidential until you want your administrators to know that you are an Associate of MACE. MACE protects and empowers Classroom Educators…one member at a time.

John Trotter with full beard

Dr. John Trotter, MACE Chairman/CEO

“GAE and PAGE recruit student-teachers while they are still in college. MACE does not. School administrators do not mind teachers joining GAE and PAGE. In fact, they encourage teachers to join GAE and PAGE. After all, administrators also join GAE and PAGE. They cannot join MACE. MACE knows that for GAE and PAGE to have administrators as members creates real conflicts-of-interest. From the Jump Street, MACE knows for whom it is fighting and does not vacillate or equivocate one scintilla. If your administrator does not fear your association/union, then you are in the wrong one. They fear MACE” – John Trotter, EdD, JD, MACE Chairman of the Board.

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Teaching in Hell: Georgia’s Top Ten Axes of School System Evil…Fulton, Atlanta City, DeKalb, Clayton, Murray, McDuffie, Bibb, Elbert, Hart, & Gwinnett.

Teaching in Hell: Georgia’s Top Ten Axes of School System Evil…Fulton, Atlanta City, DeKalb, Clayton, Murray, McDuffie, Bibb, Elbert, Hart, & Gwinnett.

Editor’s Note:  As we write about each of these school systems, the newest material will be stacked on top of the old parts of this article.  For example, as we write about Clayton County in Part I, it will be on the top of the page.  (We still have much more to write on Clayco.  We’re just getting started.  These parts may take more than one day.)  We might hit upon Atlanta City or Hart County next, and this will appear at the top.  We have written the Introduction — and now we have ten school systems to focus on.  Heck, we may stretch it to the Top 15…or theTop 25!  These school systems are getting more and more evil as the days go by, and each day we hear several more war stories.  Last night at the MACE Office, we were meeting with an Atlanta City teacher and two more from Clayton County and Gainesville City.  In the old days, MACE focused on the tough urban areas because, quite frankly, we knew 20 years ago that these were the toughest teaching situation, but now we have EDAs (Educational Dumb Asses) spreading havoc and terror all over the State all under the guise of educating our children.  It is a travesty what has happened to public schooling in Georgia and throughout the nation.  You have so many ignorant, incompetent, and/or mean-spirited administrators acting like obedient acolytes to billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, turning learning environments into test centers and gobbling up the ridiculous propaganda of a Common Core (aka Common Crap) curriculum.  As Mr. Haynes and I stated clearly in The MACE Manifesto (a 615 page tome about what is wrong with American Public Education, Big Daddy Publishers, 2014), “The Gates of Hall Have Prevailed Against the Local Control of Public Education!”  Citizens, parents, and teachers need to take back control of public education.  Mindless morons are running our public schools today!

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

Clayton County: Luvenia Jackson’s New Atlanta, the Latest Thug School System!

Part II

     This is just a very small introduction to Part II which is on the Clayton County (or often referred to as “Clayco”) School System. I am sure that when superintendent Luvenia Jackson was teaching at Morrow Elementary School over 30 years ago (and I have known her this long) that she never imagined that she one day would be at the helm of this system and that it would now be compared to the Atlanta Public Schools. Yes, Clayco is the new Atlanta. In the old days, Clayco was considered a “red neck” county – and it pretty much was. But, these so-called “red necks” would at least adhere to the Georgia Statutory Code (OCGA 202-989.5 et seq.) when teachers filed a grievance. The administration would comply with the grievance law. Meetings would be set up, hearings would take place, and dispositions would be written. If the teacher wanted to appeal the decision, then an appeal would be filed, and an appropriate hearing would take place.

Luvenia Jackson, Clayco Superintendent

     Now, in the administration of Luvenia Jackson, when a teacher files a grievance against an administration, the grievance apparently falls into a dark, deep hole never to be heard from again. Of course, MACE does not let this matter die. MACE just hits the streets. MACE has had a clear policy from the beginning: When the administration acts like lawless thugs and essentially gives a finger to the Georgia Statutory Code, MACE just hits the streets, and there’s not a damn legal thing that Luvenia Jackson or the school system’s attorney, Winston Denmark, can do about MACE picketing in a Category One Free Speech Forum like a sidewalk or park. The U. S. Supreme Court has held that these fora have been Category One Free Speech Fora from time immemorial. We’ll see if the grievance filed against the assistant principal of North Clayton Middle School will be heard of if the New Atlanta will continue to act like a thuggish school system.

Eddie White picket - 1

On May 7, 2015, MACE hit the streets of south Clayton County, picketing Eddie White Academy principal, Angel McCord, and assistant principal, Clinton Buddy.

Eddie White picket - 2

In the old days, Clayton County was known for discipline. The teachers were supported, and the children were made to behave. Not anymore. Now “student discipline” is almost an oxymoron. It is out of control. I remember a few years ago, we were meeting with some teachers at the Clayton Alternative School. One teacher told us that a student had recently told her in front of the entire class, “Bitch, turn the fucking lights on and sit down!” Another spoke up, “I had a student to say to me the other day, ‘Woman, I will shit in your mouth.’” And these students said this at the alternative school! In the old days, these students would have been expelled quicker than you could say “New York City.” The discipline really went southward when that clown of a superintendent, Edmond Heatley, was hired from Chino Valley, California. MACE picketed the school board the night that the board was considering hiring him. MACE warned the school board. We were all over television that night. We were very public about opposing this terrible hiring. He was an awful superintendent. Well, the current superintendent is personally nicer, but the practices of the Luvenia Jackson Administration are just as pernicious as those of the old Edmond Heatley Administration.

When school systems become a certain size, they seem to think that they are exempt from the State’s grievance law (OCGA 20-2-989.5 et seq.). I remember speaking at a Clayton County School Board meeting about 11 or 12 years ago. I was addressing the fact that the new superintendent from Minnesota, Barbara Pulliam, apparently did not think that her administration had to follow the state’s grievance law. We had to “baptize” her. The next day, her top assistant, the late Jean Hicks, called me to get the grievance process going. Today’s superintendent, Luvenia Jackson, apparently thinks that she and her administration are also exempted from abiding by this law. The discipline is out of control in Clayton County. I hear that the students ever have a web page somewhere called “Clayco Fights.” Can you imagine?

JT Clayton Board meeting

Dr. Trotter is bringing home the heat at a Clayton County School Board meeting about 11 or 12 years ago.  Perhaps Luvenia Jackson needs to be metaphorically “baptized” by MACE. 

     We had a middle school teacher in Clayton County relate to us recently that his colleague, a teacher and coach who was not a member of MACE, came to him in almost tears. This teacher told us that the coach told him that he was trying to get a defiant and disruptive student to cease his misconduct in class, and this impertinent student told him: “I’m not going to stop talking. And fuck you. Last night I fucked your momma and ate her pussy too. Now what are you going to do about that?” The coach apparently sent the student to the assistant principal’s office, but the assistant principal apparently sent the student right back to the same classroom. When this teacher/coach confronted the assistant principal about this, according to this teacher/coach, the assistant principal stated, “When I read that office referral, I couldn’t do nothing but laugh.” Now this is the level (or, more accurately, the depth) of non-leadership in the Clayton County Public Schools.

We hear from a very reliable source (and actually have seen documents) that a major complaint was filed by one of Clayton County’s principals against one of the top level administrators in the school system. Besides sexual harassment issues in the complaint, there were other issues of magnitude in this scorching and detailed complaint. This complaint is pregnant with implications. Will Superintendent Luvenia Jackson keep hiding behind the Human Resource Director, Douglas (Little Dougie) Hendricks, or behind the school board attorney, Winston Denmark? Or, will she finally show some leadership? Do she not have any mettle when it comes to abiding by the Georgia Statutory Code? The law states that when a teacher files a complaint, “the complainant shall be entitled to be heard, to present relevant evidence, and to examine witnesses at each level” (OCGA 20-2-989.8[4]; emphases added).

Part I

Introduction

     Yesterday while I was eating a late lunch at the Fried Tomato Buffet in Newnan, I posted the above headline on my personal Facebook page and noted that I was in the process of writing “a rather extensive and detailed article.” I told my Facebook Friends that if they wanted to send me a private message about these school systems, to feel free to do so. I was overwhelmed! LOL! I was flooded with Friend Requests and private messages, especially from the good people of Murray County who seem to have a handle on the rather twisted “personality” of their school system but seem to be at odds at how to change it. Murray County’s school system has so many strange things that are apparently going on there that it borders on a “Hazzard County” image. A TV show could be made of this school system but the producers in Hollywood might think that it seems too unbelievable for a TV audience. But, this backwardness of the school system’s administration is not benign. How this system apparently treats its teachers is, in my opinion, unconscionable. These good citizens of Murray County appear to be so distraught and dispirited at how some of their most cherished and respected teachers are being treated. (Sounds a lot like the situation in McDuffie County where Superintendent Mychele Rhodes was forcing out the STAR teacher who was immensely popular there as well.) Vicki Reed is the superintendent in Murray County. She married into the Reed family which, from what I have gathered, is perhaps the wealthiest and most powerful family in Murray County.

Vicki Reed

Vicki Reed is the superintendent of Murray County School System.

     I have been very aware of Murray County for more than 30 years when I had been a school administer up in that part of the State. I even attended a high school football game in Chatsworth and witnessed the Murray County High School Indians beat arch rival (at least back then before North Murray High School was founded) Dalton High School. They Murray County people always seemed to love beating the “rich” Catamounts. Murray County was identified a few years ago by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as the most blue collar county in Georgia, based on some metrics they the AJC devised. I have even eaten at the famous Edna’s Restaurant in downtown Chatsworth which, from appearance, is not too unlike the fictitious downtown Mayberry of TV lore. I remember the days when the facile Dr. Mickey McNeil was the superintendent of schools in Murray County. Dr. McNeil taught and coached in DeKalb County in his earlier career before settling in the mountains and is now the Chairman of the Board of Assessors in Murray County. But, times have changed in public education, not just in Georgia but nationwide. I have been a teacher, coach, and administrator in several school systems in Georgia, starting off at the famed Southwest DeKalb High School, a noted football and track & field powerhouse through the years. Over 61 years ago, I was born into the “school business” in Columbus, Georgia where my father was also a teacher, coach, and administrators for more than 30 years. My father was offered a principal job in 1950 when he returned to Columbus after World War II. He had hurriedly finished up his Bachelor’s degree at Auburn in 1948 and earned his Master’s degree from Peabody/Vanderbilt in 1949. He made good use of the G. I. Bill, finishing Auburn in three years before he, my mother, and my older sister headed to Nashville to use his GI Bill at Peabody/Vanderbilt. After earning his Master’s degree, he taught and coached at a private school, having many illustrious characters on his basketball team, one of whom was Jesse Long, the founding President of the well-respected Greater Atlanta School (GAC). When he returned to his home in Columbus, Dr. William Henry Shaw offered the principal position to my father at Double Churches Road Elementary School. Back in 1950 hardly any teacher in the system had a Master’s degree. But, my father wisely turned this offer down because he still had a lot of teaching and coaching in his blood.

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If MACE is not afraid to go straight at the different governors and other politicians, do you think that MACE is afraid of any school superintendent in Georgia?  LOL!

My mother was a homemaker but when we as kids grew up, she too started working in the Muscogee County School District where she was initially a paraprofessional for my sister who taught First Grade at Waverly Terrace Elementary, located next door to one of Columbus’s oldest – if not the oldest – housing projects, Peabody Apartments. My older brother started off teaching and coaching in DeKalb County a few years before I did. After three years in DeKalb and at the tender age of 25, he became a head basketball coach at Martin College in Pulaski, Tennessee and later at Cleveland State in Cleveland, Tennessee where one of his teams was ranked #1 in the nation in a preseason JUCO basketball poll. He was Coach of the Year in both Tennessee Junior College basketball conferences and has been inducted into both the Martin College Athletic Hall of Fame and the Cleveland State Athletic Hall of Fame. Dan and his family later came back to Georgia where he was named the Georgia PTA’s Elementary Principal of the Year and has been inducted into Columbus State University’s Education Hall of Fame. He is now serving his second term on the Harris County Board of Education.

JT Atlanta Board AJC Photo

Dr. Trotter responding to the audience as it cheers him on as he addresses issues before the Atlanta Board of Education.  Photo by the AJC.

I could go on and on about my family’s involvement in public education in Georgia over the last 65 years. (I actually have scads of relatives on my sides of my sides of my family who were and still are Georgia public school educators, both teachers and administrators. Of course, I have represented teachers all over Georgia since 1988.) I come with a bit of educational experience, from the perspective of a parent, teacher, coach, administrator, teacher advocate, and a keen observer of what has been happening in public education in Georgia for decades. My academic training is in History, Education, and the Law. My colleague, Mr. Norreese Haynes, and I just published a 615 page tome entitled, The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education (Big Daddy Publishers, 2014). I am not just intemperately blowing off some irrational steam about these school systems which I call “axes” (the plural of “axis,” by the way) of school system evil. We think that how shabbily and in many case cases how illegally teachers are treated in these school systems is “evil.” To stress out a teacher so badly for non-meritorious reasons that the teacher has to take tranquilizers or deal with stroke-level blood pressure or deal with a worsening heart condition – and all of this work-related – well, I am sorry, this is just plain “evil.” Plus, it is stupid and counter-productive. You simply cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions, as we always say at MACE.  How can a teacher be a self-actualizing teacher, meeting the needs of his or her students, if a teacher’s personal needs are always being threatened by a petty, insecure, small-minded, mean-spirited, myopic, and abusive administrator? It makes no sense…except considering that these abusive-type administrators want to intimidate subordinates in order to consolidate their power.

haynes-trotter-tv-interview

Norreese Haynes (L) and Dr. John Trotter (R) being interviewed by FOX-5 News about the  Atlanta Cheating Scandal.

     A few years ago, my aging father, at the urging of his former students and players, was inducted into the Jordan Vocational High School Athletic Hall of Fame. (This was the same night that one of my father’s best friends while growing up, Spec Richardson, was also inducted into the Jordan Athletic Hall of Fame. Spec had been a manager and trainer at the high school. He was a little too small to play sports. He did OK in his career though, becoming the General Manager of the Houston Astros and later the General Manager of the San Francisco Giants.) My late father was enormously respected by his students, teachers, and parents – and the People of Columbus in general – because he knew how to treat people. He was kind and respectful and he knew how not to tear down someone’s dignity. I think that the People of Columbus adored him more and more as he got older. I used to watch 70 year men regale at how they had gotten paddled by “Coach Trotter” or “Mr. Trotter.” They knew that he made them behave for their own good. They cherish the memories of a kind-hearted man who still made them behave. He supported his teachers to the hilt, and they adored him. My father knew what we at MACE adopted as our mantra from our inception in 1995: You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.

An elderly Daniel D. Trotter, Sr. at the MACE Office where the conference room was named in his honor.  DDT was always a teacher’s advocate and treated his teachers with the utmost respect.

     The learning conditions in the Murray County School System seem to be at an all-time low. Teachers are apparently treated arbitrarily, capriciously, and with such contempt and are apparently seen as expendable objects to be discarded brusquely. The Metro Association of Classroom Educators (MACE), of which I am the Chairman/CEO, is the only union in Georgia for teachers teaching in tough situations. MACE does not do the little “cute” things for teachers that other unions/associations do. MACE doesn’t give teachers tote bags, calendars, or coffee mugs. MACE doesn’t put on Spelling Bee contests for students. MACE does one thing and does it better than any union in the country. MACE kicks ass.  MACE protects and empowers Classroom Educators…one member at a time. MACE devours administrators who abuse teachers. Often times, the faint-hearted teachers are afraid to join MACE. But, this is the very reason to join MACE. (By the way, MACE’s membership is completely confidential.)   When administrators hear the name “MACE,” they listen…and they pause. We have seen many administrators “get religion” when they find out that a teacher that they had been abusing was a MACE Member. It is actually funny to watch this phenomenon take place. And if the administrator “learns dumber” (as we call it), then MACE directs its full assault upon this administration. MACE shines the calcium light of truth upon the mess that may be occurring at the time. The eyes of MACE are now upon Murray County. I can assure you this. If you are a teacher and your principal or superintendent does not fear your union, then you are a member of the wrong union. MACE strictly employs legal tactics. MACE is the aggressive representation when you need it most.

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Dr. Trotter being interviewed by Macon’s TV 41 in downtown Macon as MACE pickets the embattled superintendent. 

     Traditionally, the “tough situations” to teach in were in the metro and urban areas – and they still are. In fact, teaching in the urban areas is like teaching in war zones. Other unions simply cannot deal with this. Only MACE can go in there in full force and take on the shit (please pardon my language but this is simply apropos here) and protect and empower its members. Other unions may just throw their hands in the air or simply not return their members’ phone calls. But, in today’s times in public education, it seems that this “tough situation” descriptor has spread to school systems located in small counties like Murray, McDuffie, Elbert, and Hart. Our “Top Ten” is not an exhaustive list. We don’t claim infallibility in this article. We know that it is teaching in hell in systems like Richmond County, Dougherty County, Chatham County, and many other locations in Georgia. But, these ten Georgia school systems that we are going focus on this large article are the ones that popped into our minds based on our experiences with them. We hope that you enjoy the many parts of this article that will be forthcoming. This ends the Introduction. Have a good day! © GTSO, 2015.

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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;

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(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).

Book - Test scores, miracle growth

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

Book - APS testing irregularities 2004

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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