by John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Why is Mark Elgart afraid to engage in an open debate with me about the capricious and arbitrary application of SACS’s so-called Standards. I say that they are bull shit, especially when they are not equitably applied. It seems that ole Markie wants to ignore all of the fuss and in-fighting going on in education attorney Glenn Brock’s home with the Cobb County Board of Education. They are fighting the War of the Roses over little stuff like school calendars. This school board even admitted to conducting 57 illegal school board meetings. What does Mark Elgart and SACS do? Ban them from eating lunch at the Big Chicken? But woe to the predominantly black school boards…whether in Birmingham, Alabama or DeKalb County, Georgia or Clayton County, Georgia. (I’ll leave the Atlanta School Board off this list because it still has about three white members and apparently too many Big Mules in the Atlanta business community to allow Mark Elgart to veer too far off the plantation. Hey, don’t forget that Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola, Delta Airline, and Home Depot. We can’t let Chicklen Little Mark Elgart scare off too many new businesses from the City Too Busy To Hate. So, let’s just ignore the nation’s largest cheating scandal. Mark was right to encourage the anti-Beverly Hall school board members to shut up. Not. But, we have to treat Atlanta differently from Clayton and DeKalb, you heah? Ha!)
I noticed in yesterday’s Clayton News-Daily that Mark Elgart actually had the nerve to say this:
“These board members are not, first off, hiring experts. They’re not professionals. They’re lay people and you need an expert to lead you through that process.”
What an arrogant, elitist boob this Mark Elgart is! So, he thinks that the Clayton County Board of Education is not smart enough to do the very thing that the law calls for them to do, viz., hire a superintendent. He said that they were not “professionals.” Wow. Such wannabe pseudo-elitism is one of the glaring things wrong with SACS. I have said it over and over…SACS stands for Still Advocating for Cronies (or “the Connected”) and Superintendents. SACS is not about the children. SACS is about the money – our money, the taxpayers’ money. SACS contributes not one penny to the Gross National Product. It is a leach of all leaches. It leaches off the public trough.
Jessie Goree with former North Clayton High football player Kyle Love who now plays for the New Egland Patriots. Ms. Goree is always active in the Clayton County Community and perhaps this is why she is unopposed for election this year. Apparently, the people like Jesse! Ha! But, methinks that Queen Pammie, Dictator Heatley, Chicken Little Elgart, and Glenn Brock would just as soon see her off the school board. Too bad, Gents and Queen. The people keep electing Jessie Goree! [photo by Clayton News-Daily]
Now bear with me as I fulminate more against SACS, Pam Adamson, Edmond Heatley, et al., OK? After this, I am heading to the beach!
I see from reading the latest diatribe by Pam Adamson of the Clayton County Board of Education that makes me think that she may be the political reincarnation of Ericka Davis. Both apparently were/are control freaks who if they can’t get their way, they go running to little Markie Elgart of SACS, the same man whom I have challenged on dozens of occasions to meet me in a public debate. The proposition: SACS arbitrarily and capriciously applies its so-called Standards. I will gladly take the Affirmative and Mark can take the Negative. He is, in my opinion, the greatest educational hypocrite in Georgia.
Norreese Haynes (L) and Dr. John Trotter (R) were the first to vocally point out the phoniness of SACS…way back in 2008. On February 15, 2008, the day that the weakly-written and weak-on-any-evidence SACS Report came out on Clayton County, Norreese Haynes called this flimsy and pitiful report “a sham and a farce.” Not many school board members in the entire nation would have had the courage that Mr. Haynes displayed that day. He called it what it was…”a sham and a farce.”
Queen Pammie cries: “Help me, SACS, help me! I’m trying to cut off debate, discussion, and dissent, but folks like Jessie Goree on the school board keep asking questions! Who do they think that they are, elected officials?!” Markie replies: “You’re right, Queen Puppet, and we will send a letter and work everyone up into a frenzy – while we let Atlanta get away with murder! You are right indeed! Who does the school board members think they are by trying to actually hire a superintendent on their own?! How is Glenn Brock’s august search firm going to make money if the actual elected officials do what they are charged by the Georgia law to do?!”
The comical ones in this Clayco dramatic scene are actually Pam Adamson and Mark Elgart (and Glenn Brock, as I am confident that he is lurking in the background). Goof balls. Political goof balls. They are to be pitied. This is like members of the Soviet Politburo getting mad that political prisoners (like the Clayton County Board of Education is to SACS) are actually complaining about their treatment in the Gulag.
It’s not the school boards which are out of control; it’s SACS that is totally out of control. School boards are simply part of the messy process called democracy. The voters can clean up any mess, if the voters so desire. Look at the “mess” in Congress. Are we to jettison the United States Congress because we don’t like the “mess”? Until Mark Elgart started acting like he was Zeus sitting atop Mount Alpharetta, things were rocking along fairly smoothly. The culprit is SACS, not the school boards.
By the way, I was attending school board meetings in Clayton County all through the 1980s and 1990s when there were almost knock-down-drag-outs between school board members…between Democrats and Republicans and even between factions on the school board. The new interim superintendent, Luvenia Jackson, used to attend these meetings, some of which lasted way after midnight. There was constant acrimony in the air. But, guess what? SACS never got involved, and the teachers kept teaching and the students kept learning. It wasn’t until, I hate to say, that African Americans took over some of these school boards that SACS all of a sudden wanted to get involved. White folks, I don’t care if you get mad that I say this; this is just a fact. The Clayton County Board of Education members today act like shrinking violets compared to the Clayton County Boards of Education under the leadership of the following Chairs: Margaret Haynie, Lindy Krebs, Andrea Calloway, Judy Taylor, Dr. Abner Moore, Linda Barrett, Mike Barnes, and Mark Armstrong. I am not putting down these eight Chairs any more than I would put down the partisan leaders in the U. S. Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. This is just how politics works. And Mark Elgart said in the same Clayton News-Daily yesterday that he wants politics removed from the school board in Clayton County. That like saying that you want passion removed from sex. What planet did this man get off from? Ha! Hey Markie, you may not have noticed but the Georgia Constitution require that the people get elected to the school board.
Only when Clayton and DeKalb Counties had African American majorities on their respective school boards did SACS get so holy and concerned. I have said over and over that SACS stands for Still Advocating for Cronies and Superintendents (SACS). It is a phony, money-grabbing private company (with no accountability to the voters of Georgia) which makes its money by scaring the daylights out of local school boards – and then the local school boards still have to pay SACS all kinds of money. This private company gets it feed from the country trough. It is a union for the superintendents and an enforcer for groups like ALEC which want to exert influence in public education without undergoing the elective process. I am wont to say that SACS is the agency of those who feast on seared Salmon and asparagus and imbibe on fine Merlot at the Piedmont Driving Club but who would never deign to get the dirt of local politics under their pampered and manicured finger nails.
The Georgia General Assembly should cut the cords between the school systems and SACS. The elected State Superintendent should administer an agency set up by enabling legislation in the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. The agency would simply be called the Georgia Schools Accrediting Agency (GCSS). It would ultimately be accountable to the people. The State Superintendent could appoint the members or they could be appointed by the Governor based on Congressional Districts like the appointed Georgia Board of Education. But, SACS (and especially Mark Elgart) has out-lived any usefulness that it may have had at one time in Georgia. SACS now causes much more harm than any good that it may do.
People are concluding that school boards are a “mess” simply because Mark Elgart and SACS have declared that they are a “mess.” But, who died and made Elgart the Zeus of Public Education? School board members, like other elected officials on City Councils, State Legislatures, the U. S. Congress, etc., will argue over policies and practices, and this is actually good. Robust discussion and debate is great.
Mark Elgart and his so-called SACS Standards are bull shit, if you will. Total bull shit. Elgart wants school boards to sit around holding hands and quietly intoning banal niceties to each other as the “professional” attorneys and the gypsey superintendents make all the decisions with input, of course, from key and connected business “leaders” in the community. This is Mark Elgart’s ideal school board, a school board which gets elected by the people and then sits on its collective rump and says nothing and does nothing.
Oh, by the way, did I say that I thought that SACS’s so-called Standards are bull-shit? Well, if I didn’t, I do. © GTSO, September 28, 2012.