Just Two Questions In Three Minutes For New Atlanta Schools Chief Erroll Davis…
If Mr. Davis Demurs On These Two Questions, Then His Rhetoric Is Hollow & His Talk Is Pure Blather.
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Question One: Will the Erroll Davis Administration abide by the Georgia State Statute (O.C.G.A. 20-2-989.5 et seq.) which governs complaints (grievances) filed by certificated employees within the school systems? Or, will the Erroll Davis Administration continue the practice of the Beverly Hall Administration and egregiously and flagrantly rape this Georgia Law? I will judge Mr. Davis‘s administration by whether or not it obeys this simple law. Mr. Davis doesn’t need a staff of lawyers to engage in some sordid and sophisticated reasoning about why his administration does not have to follow the Georgia Law or how that his administration does not have time to follow this law. Mr. Davis simply needs to read the law himself. It is not long and detailed. A simple man who wants to understand it can understand it. Others school systems understand it. The Beverly Hall Administration just totally ignored this law. Hence, those employees who were suffering under the slings and arrows of the administrators who were intent on cheating had no one to turn to. Reporting the crimes to the Beverly Hall Administration was like the chickens reporting to the fox. But, if the Erroll Davis Administration actually goes by this law, then the employees with mettle and integrity can have their “day in court,” so to speak. O.C.G.A. 20-2-989.5(4) states that “the complainant shall be entitled to an opportunity to be heard, to present relevant evidence, and to examine witnesses at each level” (emphases added).
If the Erroll Davis Administration will abide by this Georgia Law, then this will be progress. The teachers and staff will have someone to turn to. I think that I know why the Beverly Hall Administration did not want to abide by this law and openly hear complaints. Mr. Davis, I hope that you will not have things to hide. I have read that you are a man of integrity. Your integrity will be tested here in Atlanta. I hope that you pass the test. Your first test will be charging your administration to abide by the law and not to have some cavalier, antinomian disposition relative to the Georgia Law. There are several other Georgia Laws which were routinely and regularly violated by the Beverly Hall Administration (e. g., the Duty Free Lunch law for elementary teacher outlined in O.C.G.A. 20-2-218 and the Sick Leave Law for school personnel outlined in O.C.G.A. 20-2-850 and the Due Process Law outline in O.C.G.A. 20-2-940 through 944).
Question Two: I have been reading about Mr. Davis‘s disposition toward those who have been reported as cheaters. I understand Mr. Davis‘s position here. Reportedly, he does not want them in front of children. I understand this, as long as due process and the Georgia Law is followed. Does this not hold true also for the Lieutenants, Captains, Majors, Colonels, and Generals who carried out this evil and sickening scheme to defraud the children, the parents, the teachers, and the State of Georgia (as well as the Federal Government). I read in the Report that one Executive Director told the teachers at Parks Middle School to stop sending him letters about Principal Waller…that Waller was staying at the school. In fact, the Beverly Hall Administration apparently gave Mr. Waller a $10,000.00 incentive to stay at Parks Middle School. Are these “Officers” in the Beverly Hall Administration going to remain on their watch, so to speak? Are they going to be relieved of their duties or just shipped off to an irrelevant post with the same pay and benefits?
Mr. Davis, are you going to seek to repair the breach in the wall, as Nehemiah of old did? Are you going to be a repairer of the wall, or are you just going to neglect the hundreds and perhaps even thousands whose lives were ruined by the heinous actions of the previous administration? What about those teachers who deigned to demonstration integrity and mettle on the job by demurring against doing wrong and speaking out against injustice and finding themselves banished from the kingdom, corporately decapitated, and professionally ruined for the rest of their lives? Mr. Davis, it may be convenient for you and the school board to benignly say that you are going to simply look to the future and forget about the past. Some type of restitution or reconciliation or reparations are in order. Lives were destroyed…for standing up for what is right.
I am reminded of one such person this year at Washington High School. I recently wrote a letter on his behalf to the Atlanta Board of Education members. He is an excellent, creative, and dedicated teacher, a teacher whom the students respect and to whom the students respond. He came into teaching from the fields of study and/or practice of law and accounting. He finally found his calling in teaching children, especially “at risk” students. In his first year at Washington High, this young teacher scored very high in the evaluation process and was placed in several leadership roles. The very next year, his evaluation scores plummeted, and he was stripped of all leadership roles. He didn’t just fall off of the pedagogical cliff. From all indications, he was brusquely and abruptly shoved off the cliff. What did he do “wrong”? He apparently spoke out against injustices and against how children were being treated. In Atlanta, a teacher does this only at his or her own professional peril. He was simply trying to be a man of integrity and of professionalism. Where did this get him? Unemployment. Mr. Davis, will you right these wrongs?