Atlanta’s Beverly Hall Finally Admits That Cheating Scandal Will Be “Alarming.” Duh.
It’s Been A Rainy Night In Georgia For Edmond Heatley…Far From The California Sun!
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
I know that “hate” is a very harsh term, very harsh. I thought about “more hotly despised” instead. I settled on “scorn,” a tenuous compromise. We are told by the Good Master not to “hate” anyone. I can say that I don’t hate any of the “educrats” about whom I write. I could probably sit down and have a meal at Piccadilly with Beverly Hall, Edmond Heatley, Mark Elgart, Crawford Lewis, and Glenn Brock. I find people to be fascinated and their lives interested, despite the fact that I think that they are dead wrong on a particular position or by the entire course of their professional lives. Yes, I can still hold civil and interesting conversations with these people. Others have observed this about me and have thought it to be quite quirky. I remember one well-known Clayco politico asking me how I could stand in the same room and laugh and joke with a group of people who deep down seem to despise me and were determined to try to bring me down. I responded to words of this effect: “Sometime we white people are strange. We can sit down and have tea and crumpets with you in the afternoon and later that evening, we can be clinically planning to rip out your proverbial and political heart.” Some people call this culture. Ha! Some call it diplomacy. Ha! Some people call it crazy. Ha! I don’t know what to call it. I do know that I have come from a long line of duelists. When they got mad at each other over even the smallest of public slights, they simply issued detailed formal invitations to meet each other under The Oaks at 6:00 A.M. for a duel…many times the terms of the duel would say “until one man dies.” It was sort of like the cruelty of human cock fighting and the formality and vanity of a debutante ball combined into one huge and gruesome social occasion. One of my distant relatives, John Lyde Wilson, wrote Code Duello, an instruction manual for dueling in the South. Because of “the Code,” the City of Charleston did not have an official murder for many decades.
Emotions. Yes, goodness, emotions are running high in both the Atlanta and Clayton school systems. It appears that the superintendents of these systems are almost universally detested and despised by the rank and file employees. Atlanta‘s Beverly Hall‘s luck seemed to run out when the major media (especially The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) began to take a serious look at the gathering anecdotal evidence of “systematic cheating” (a phrase that we at MACE began champion a while back — look at our website to see the veracity of this allegation). At MACE, we knew that Beverly Hall’s House was like a deck of cards. While she was bringing in accolades like “National Superintendent of the Year,” we didn’t flinch one bit. We knew that it was all phony and fake…this hype about the wonderful turn-around in the Atlanta Public Schools. Now we see where Beverly Hall, despite years of protestations to the contrary, has recently admitted that the State‘s investigation will be “alarming.” We at MACE knew all along that the situation in Atlanta was “alarming.”
Now on to Clayton County and Edmond Heatley. This situation also appears to be alarming. We at MACE have been getting calls and emails galore. We have been for the last several weeks sounding the alarm. Before this, we simply but rather dramatically let this Clayton County Board of Education know with a very public picket (covered by the print and electronic media) that it was making a huge mistake hiring Edmond Heatley. He was apparently disastrous in Chino Valley, California. Why must this board take on Chino Valley‘s problem? Hey Glenn Brock, can you answer this very simple question? By the way, what has been the position of both GAE and PAGE on Edmond Heatley?
The air is replete with various Heatley rumors. Too many for me to detail. The very gory rumor (some insist that it is true) about the drama which allegedly took place at the Central Office two or three weeks ago seemed to have blown the cap off of two years of suffering and righteous indignation among the Clayton County employees. While Edmond Heatley is trying to take away more money from the Clayton County employees (yet to be determined by a Federal Judge), he apparently was enjoying a $30,000.00 bonus. I am reading an text message to me now from a State Representative about Heatley having gotten an “Armored Car” in February to the tune of “$104,391.76.” Is this true? I don’t know. I hear other stories. The situation that Glenn Brock apparently brought to Clayton County seems to be reaching a boiling point.
This Memorial Day Weekend, we received a detailed and rather lengthy letter from a Clayton County PTA leader about Heatley. The parents seem to be begging for help. But, if I personally get involved, the media will immediately make me the issue. I don’t want to deflect or highjack the people’s work. I can serve as someone who might give counsel to organizing, although I don’t claim or necessarily want to be seen as a modern day Sol Alinski. I’d rather walk within the large, large shadow of my late friend, Hosea Williams. Ha! These parents want to meet with me. I cannot do their work. Then, it would become my work. At MACE, we protect and empower teachers…one member at a time. But, if the people want Edmond Heatley gone from their school system, then the people need to take charge. They need to persuade The Gang of Five (Pam Adamson, Alieka Anderson, Wanda Smith, Mark Baker, and Ophelia Burroughs) on the current school board that Heatley‘s days in Clayton County must be numbered. We don’t wish any harm at all to Edmond Heatley or to his family. I wish them well, but Heatley has long since completely outworn his welcome in Clayton County. We don’t need to hate; we need to engage is direct, lawful action. Cogitate; don’t hate. Think what you are doing. Go about it legally. Take back your county, parents and teachers. Heatley Must Go!
Here is only a brief part of a recent email from a PTA leader in Clayton County…verbatim and without editing or corrections for typos…
“We, too believe that Heatley thinks that we are a bunch of backwater bumpkins, that know absolutely nothing. Of course we are thoroughly pissed off with him and his five supporters that rubber stamp any stupid request that he brings to them. Here’s the problem we keep getting stone-walled.
“So far we believe that we have uncovered breaches and violations of board polices, ethic standards and state laws. We have taken efforts to rally at the the board meeting on May 31, 2011. Some of our high school parents went to the central office and the receptionist told them the meeting was closed to the public. We have requested media coverage to emphaisis our seriousness.”
A school meeting closed to the public? Hmm. There are only very limited reasons for a meeting to be closed. I hope that this meeting meets these specific exceptions to the Open Meeting Law. Glenn Brock is the attorney, right? Apparently, Mr. Brock has a record of advising school boards which have problems adhering to the Open Meetings Law.