We all know that the DeKalb County Board of Education is meddlesome in the affairs of the administration at the local schools and at the central office level. We all know that the school system is essentially dysfunctional and “gangsta,” as we MACE picketers pointed out with our signs on the picket lines in front of the central office on many occasions. We all know that systematic cheating was taking place, very raw and very egregiously. Again, it was only MACE which pointed this out with picket signs, in letters, and on our website, as we did with the “gangsta” nature of the school system.
The DeKalb School System’s Office of Internal Resolution (OIR) tried to routinely dismiss teacher grievances when the evidence was too daunting against the administration and the system. The difference with MACE than other Georgia teachers unions is that MACE would not lie down and let this happen uneventfully. We would raise hell about it. In fact, when the now-disgraced and indicted Crawford Lewis apparently had his attorney, Josie Alexander, send me a letter telling me that I was “banned” from the school system, we scoffed at their amateurish notion of the First Amendment and kept kicking DeKalb’s ass. (Oh, by the way, I am officially “unbanned” now. Ha!) We knew what was going on, but other institutions (like this newspaper) didn’t give much attention to the abject condition of the school system. We kept pouring it on, just like we did in Atlanta when all others, as Beverly Fraud points out, were singing Beverly Hall’s praises.
I am glad that others are now seeing the mess in the DeKalb School System. Do I think that a lot will come about as a result of SACS’s Report on the DeKalb School Board and School System (and I haven’t read it yet)? No. Just window washing. The school board will probably have to pay much more money to education attorney Glenn Brock and his firm of Brock and Clay of Marietta to probably recycle the pitifully written policy manual that he wrote for the Clayton County Board and give it to the DeKalb County Board. Glenn, who apparently has a professionally cozy relationship with Mark Elgart of SACS, will give his “sage” advice about how to get back into the good graces of Mark, and, of course, this will cost the DeKalb taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars. The law firm of Brock and Clay will make out like legal bandits, metaphorically speaking. I think that I will do an open records request for the detailed hourly billing of the Brock and Clay Law Firm with the school systems of Clayton County, Atlanta City, and DeKalb County relative to their “troubles” with SACS. Now since Glenn Brock’s firm receives state monies, I can also do Open Records requests upon the firm itself. Ha! This ought to be fun. Do you reckon that the firm will follow the law? I hope so.
Folks, this accreditation game is just that…a game. The State of Georgia, under the elected State Superintendent John Barge, could set up a Georgia School Accrediting Agency (GSAA) which would be far more fair-minded and even-keel than the hypocritical SACS. SACS does not apply its so-called Standards evenly; they are applied capriciously and arbitrarily. I have written dozens of articles on the foolishness of SACS. Why wasn’t the Cobb County Board put on probation when it even admitted to 57 illegal board meetings? This same law firm of Brock and Clay was the legal advisors for this school system. Why do people consider this firm an expert on school law? Was it that far off the mark in Cobb County or did it just go along with the school board’s apparent desire to conduct secret and illegal meetings? What about the Gwinnett County School System when its current superintendent, Alvin Wilbanks, apparently admitted to failing to report over 40,000 (I believe that this was the number) serious disciplinary offences, as required by law? He basically received a metaphorical slap on the wrist by the Professional Standards Commission, I believe, but I don’t think that Mark Elgart and SACS did a thing to the Gwinnett County School System.
Didn’t Dr. King state that an unjust law is not really a law, or words to this effect? What about unfair and unevenly applied standards? Are they really “standards” if they are only applied to a select number of school systems…the ones without sufficient political clout? I think that you understand where I am coming from. Fifty-seven (57) illegal school board meetings in Cobb County but the Governor removes a school board, Miller County, in South Georgia because they don’t get along? Good grief? Do Republicans and Democrats ever get along in the U. S. Congress? Do some Justices on the U. S. Supreme Court ever get along?
What is this get-along stuff? Is this an attempt by the unelected and unaccounted-for connected scions of Georgia to control certain school boards and their money purses via an unelected, unaccounted-for, and private, money-grabbing organization called the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)? The Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) has been around much longer than SACS and also accredits schools in Georgia. I think that GAC has been around since 1905 or earlier, and I certainly trust the fair and even-handedness of its Executive Director, Dr. Carvin L. Brown, more than I do Mark Elgart’s. I don’t think that Dr. Brown is making over $400,000.00 in salary and benefits like Mr. Elgart apparently is…and off of taxpayers’ monies.
Why are school boards and school systems worshipping at the altar of SACS? Heck, jettison SACS…like the good people of North Carolina are talking about doing. Mark Elgart is like the Wizard of Oz. Mark Elgart is just hiding behind this SACS machine, rather professionally heartless and soulless, in mind. What he did to Clayton County is unconscionable, pure and simple. His “cure” is very much worse than any ailment. He and SACS destroyed a community, and I suppose that he and SACS expect a thank you, heh? “Oh, thanks, Mr. Elgart! Our properties have plummeted in value. Businesses have shut their doors and others refuse to venture in. People hold their heads down when they have to tell someone where they reside. The folks in Alpharetta where you live, Mr. Elgart, can’t even utter the name of our county without spitting and choking. Our model students with their families have fled our community, and the academics and comportment within the school system has plunged even to lower depths than Clayton County has even seen or experienced, but, I suppose that we are to thank you for this, Mr. Elgart. So, thank you for destroying our community. Have fun chit-chatting in Public Deli section with your fellow Alpharetta parents who thankfully gloat about living in such pristine and pure communities like North Fulton.”
Yes, the DeKalb County Board of Education and School System have many problems, but they haven’t seen anything yet. Mark Elgart’s “cure” is bad, very bad. You can probably kill cancer cells by drinking a gallon of Clorox, but I pity the person after imbibing in the “cure.” SACS is a cruel joke. © GTSO, December 17, 2012.