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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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