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Blackmon: Time to rise up against student testing regimen

Yes! Bravo, I agree 100%!! So can we count on you opting your children out this year Bertis? I have one question though, if everything you say here is true....why support the move to a charter system which will create MORE accountability through a bigger emphasis on this inept testing system and reliance on data collection?

posted @ Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 09:26

Blackmon: Don't whitewash American history in schools

Yep, I agree with Myra on this one. There is a war for the minds of our children going on between the elites who want fascism (Glenn Beck and his Black Robe Regiment, CWA, APP and many other conservative groups pretending to fight so hard against CCSS yet pushing the charter/voucher movement) and the elites who want socialism/Communism (Coleman the one trying to rewrite AP history with a "whitewash" against anything positive in American history or Christianity, Gates the eugenicist). And both are being supported by their respective politicians and mega corporations. You'll notice the thing they have in common is that they both discourage civil disobedience. More convinced everyday I did the right thing pulling my daughter to homeschool.

posted @ Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 07:07

Clarke school board adopts resolution critical of teacher evaluation plan

This is a very good step in the right direction and after 2 years of expressing my concerns to the board and Lanoue I am very happy to see this! Now if parents would step up to the plate and refuse the tests for their children as I did we could see a real movement in getting rid of outcome based education and useless high stakes testing. Now, all that being the back door here. Clarke County is going for a "Charter System" (totally different from Charter Schools). A Charter System is a public school taking federal funds but doing its own thing. Sound good? It would be if there goal were really local control. The Clarke County School Board is making decisions based on Board Governance (control) and digital CURRICULUM that makes oversight by parents and concerned citizens difficult if not impossible to stay on top of. They are spending all of our title I funds on one to one technology. If they were truly against this high stakes environment they would not be drawing up a charter petition that will lock us into more state board accountability which relies even heavier on horribly written standardized tests. And what happens if we don't meet the risk in the new HIGHER accountability charter contract held by the state board? That's right, we lose our schools. There is another side to this coin. Be on guard.

posted @ Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 16:47

Georgia system to grade teachers 'paralyzing,' Lanoue says

@bertisdowns: talk is cheap. time to take action. the biggest and quickest weapon we have is for parents to opt their children out and yet Lanoue says we shouldn't do that. He also says he wants less testing mandates and at the same time is pushing us into a higher high stakes testing accountability model through the charter which is it? Either he is for it or against it. Time is running out for our kids and simply "saying" I don't like testing just isn't enough anymore.

posted @ Monday, September 8, 2014 - 20:40

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald: Those measure--graduation rate, literacy, SAT scores--are what must be included in the goals, along with others. I do not believe this is a "new product line," but a new operating system. I do not believe it will go down in flames, not by a long shot. If we don't like the results, we can elect a different school board. That's where the ultimate accountability lies.

If it goes down in flames, and it will because we are being set up to fail, it will be the teachers and students who lose, not the school board or Dr. Lanoue.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:36

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @jimgeiser3: Jim, We start with a fundamental disagreement. I do not believe our system of education is fundamentally broken. I believe it is simply a reflection of the ills of our society. A new system can't fix that.

Unless it is a charter system, right? Again, you contradict yourself. You say you fundamentally disagree with Jim Geiser and yet here you sit, promoting a charter system.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:32

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

[quote][b]myra blackmon[/b] - @The Oracle of the Athens Banner Herald: The district is in the process of writing those goals. When they are done, I hope there will be a public meeting (or several) to discuss them. I shall certainly write about them. They are part of the charter contract and must be approved by the local school board and the State Department of Education.

There better be a public meeting, actually two, or they will be in violation of the law.
"§ 20-2-2063.2. Charter systems
(a) The state board shall be authorized to
enter into a charter with a local board to
establish a local school system as a charter system.
(b) A local board seeking to create a charte
r system must submit a petition to the state
board. Prior to submitting such pe
tition, the local board shall:
(1) Adopt a resolution approving
the proposed charter system petition;
(2) Conduct at least two public hearings a
nd provide notice of the hearings in the same
manner as other legal notices
of the local board; and
(3) Send a notice to each pr
incipal within the local school system of the hearings with
instructions that each school
shall distribute the notice to
faculty and instructional staff
members and to the parent or guardian
of each student enrolled in the school."

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:30

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

@dahreese: I don't think you truly understand cut scores. The new cut score this past year for the CRCT was 48%. If you don't know what that means, Peg does a great job explaining it in this video starting about 22 minutes in: is the spread sheet for the cut scores since 2010: This is the largest decrease yet.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:23

Blackmon: Stop talking, start acting on making education a priority in Georgia

Myra, what you say you "want" for our children and what you support continue to contradict each other. You can not say you are for a charter system but against current reforms when a charter system simply drills those bad reforms much much deeper. I am growing weary of your input with no real research to back it up. You sound just like the rest of the reformers...from both parties. And same goes for you Bertis, talk is cheap but when will you stand up for your LOCAL teachers and voice your concerns on a LOCAL level? When will you hold the LOCAL board and Lanoue to the same standards you hold other politicians and public servants? When will you come out of hiding and take a stand LOCALLY by opting out your own child from the tests your claim to be so harmful? Don't act like you care about our neighborhood schools and kids if you aren't willing to actually do something about it. It is highly offensive and I am tired of it.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 21:05

Blackmon: Community is key for charter school system

This article is most certainly more of the same "feel good" rhetoric spewed by school reformers. We already have all the community partnerships (ie, WIT, PTA/PTO for each school, Communities in Schools, federation of neighborhoods, tutoring programs, PAB for each school, ELECTED school councils for EACH school, UGA, Athens Tech, and ELECTED school board, just to name a few) we can handle and none of them require us going to a "charter system" to make them work. We do NOT need ANOTHER governing board for each school. What Ms. Blackmon and Dr. Lanuoe fail to mention here is the the "risk" involved is offering up our school district to an UNELECTED form of local governing in exchange for higher accountability in standardized test scores. Who holds the charter? The state of GA. Who appoints the governing council for the charter? The state school board. Who APPOINTS the state school board? The Governor. The new "local" governing boards for each school will only have so called "input", they will not have any authority over the rules of the Charter agreement. Then, what happens if we don't meet the "risks" involved in signing a charter with new higher accountability rules based on student scores on horribly written tests that are based on horribly written standards (which we already KNOW is a joke because the way data is conveniently played around with using things like cut scores and bonus points)? We lose the charter and all the state/federal funding that is being dangled in our faces (not even a promise of more funding btw, just a possibility of maybe a million dollars) to get us to sign the stupid charter in the first place.What happens when the measly little funding being offered up from the state and federal level isn't enough to sustain this new level of computerized testing, massive SLDS data base, and one to one technology? You guessed it, WE ARE BEING SET UP TO FAIL so we can just sign away more ELECTED power for more federal dollars and more unelected state control and federal control. I'm done having Dr. Lanoue and reformers "experiment" on and take "risks" with MY children. Go experiment on your own children and leave mine out of it. Ms. Blackmon out to be ashamed of herself. For someone who claims to be against the high stakes tests that are harmful and abusive to our children and teachers she sure is quick to support policies and people who do what she claims to be against. Also, still waiting for her to publish the research she claims to have done, in her previous article, which leads her to support of Lanoue in moving us to a charter system. Here is the actual GA law that shows just exactly what moving to a charter system means. Read for yourself.

posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 11:29

Blackmon: Charter system option will foster sense of community

Exactly, what we need is more teachers and paras for smaller class sizes. Plain and simple. We can and do foster community without becoming a charter system. It is the same mentality that says we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on IB to integrate subjects and create socially conscious, well rounded children. We already have elected School Councils, PAB, PTO/PTA, the neighborhood federation, WIT, Communities in Schools, family engagement specialists, mentor programs and on and on....Do we really need another school level council of parents and community members? Do we really need to trade half of our governing authority for stricter testing accountability measures and more state governance with more strings attached funding? The charter system offers very slight changes and those changes are in governance and accountability which are not in our favor. I'm sure Dr. Lanoue really wants to do what is best but he needs to realize by now that jumping through hoops for measly amounts of strings attached funding never actually puts the money where it needs to go. While the elected board "might" have more flexibility with local funding the state board (and now the new school-level...remember school-level does not mean local...governing boards of the charter) will have control over how and where the state and federal grants are spent. Those grants will be used to specifically to target the new more rigorous (don't you love that word?) accountability measures that will be put in place by the charter contract. If we lose the charter, we lose that money...which there isn't even a guarantee of any additional funding (I just love how they throw around words like "might" and "could" to make things sound so nice). So....we may be stuck with more unfunded mandates. And what if we don't measure up to the new accountability standards outlined in the charter? We lose the charter and then what? Too much risk here imo...too much.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 09:44

Barreca: Can education truly be measured?

Excellent article. The fact is OBE is meant to make children and teachers conform to the human capital/workforce model or fail. Plain and simple.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 08:50

Blackmon: Charter system option will foster sense of community

The key Myra is, as quoted from your previous piece on the charter issue, "It offers more control over curriculum, spending and approaches to instruction at the school level, it spreads the decision-making among parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders. It shares the current decision-making authority of the superintendent with people at the school level. More local people will be deciding exactly how our tax dollars will be used in our own schools." This is not what you think it is. Just because THEY (the new APPOINTED governing board) will be required to "hear" input does not mean we will have any more "say" in what goes on. This was exactly the issue we had with SB167 and Amendment 1 was it not? That we would be giving up more control for more testing accountability and federal/state strings attached funding? What we will have is and elected board that is just for show and nothing more. There will be a "school-level (which does not mean local btw) governing board" and a " school-level governing council" (which is supposed to be made up of local parents and teachers) in a charter system. I cannot find anywhere where it says this governing council will be elected. The governing board is "responsible for ensuring the contract is implemented and upheld", the council is merely "involved in governance"...and we all know what that means. I would love if you could elaborate on your "deeper research" of other charter systems. If you are going to reference your own studies as a reason in newspaper articles to support charters then I feel like you should be able to supply the research to go with it. Plus Dr. Lanoue will not answer my emails but he seems to have no trouble answer yours even though you are not a parent of children in CCSD. I think it would be wise for him to have a community forum on such a huge change. If he truly cared about community input he would do a better job at having open discussions WITH the community. We have not had a community forum since Amendment 1 (which was not even set up by him or the board, it was put on by the PTA) and there have been equally or even bigger changes since that issue. In fact he is legally bound to have 2 community panel discussions on this BEFORE submitting the petition to become a charter system. § 20-2-2063.2 I know of several Madison county parents who have not seen any positive changes from becoming a charter district. In fact they had a much harder time with the opting out of testing than I did here in Clarke. Also it easy to see how bad the charter systems are working for other states like LA and NY.

posted @ Monday, July 28, 2014 - 08:15

Blackmon: Charter option makes sense for Clarke schools

There is no point in having control over the how if the outcome is predetermined for everyone. Teachers will teach to the test even more and if they don't they will be replaced with technology and TFA...heck they may be replaced anyway cause they cost too much. This is the key "It offers more control over curriculum, spending and approaches to instruction at the school level. It spreads the decision-making among parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders. It shares the current decision-making authority of the superintendent with people at the school level. More local people will be deciding exactly how our tax dollars will be used in our own schools." This is not what you think it is. Just because THEY (the new APPOINTED governing councils) will be required to "hear" input does not mean we will have any more "say" in what goes on. The real question is who appoints the councils and who the appointees will be. What we will have is and elected board that is just for show and nothing more. I don't mean any disrespect but for someone who is so against losing control to legislators you sure are very willing to give control to the Governor and state board (who will be doing the appointing)....who all support the very reforms we are trying to fight. Moving to a charter loosens where we don't need it to and further tightens where it already is strangling us.

posted @ Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 11:50

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

@MyraBlackmon: This charter move is everything you hated and warned about with SB167. It will solidify the bad reforms and unelected governance for good. Please read the stuff I posted here and in the Clarke County facebook group.
- Liza

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:56

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

It is all part of the reform plan.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:37

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

@Hawaii Five O: Yes, it will strip them of their power, which they didn't have much of anymore anyway. It is happening all over GA.
Moving to a charter district is NOT a good idea. "Teachers, parents, and local school boards work with a local governing board and a strict set of accountability standards from the State Board of Education" The local governing Board will be APPOINTED, NOT ELECTED, by the State Board of Education...whom is NOT ELECTED either but APPOINTED by the Governor. Both choices we have for Governor in November here in GA support Common Core and other current educational reforms such as HST, TFA, Career Clusters,TKES, SLDS and on and on. They are using the word "local" as a distraction here but what they are doing completely eliminates any say the "local" school boards, teachers, and parents have in governance.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 08:35

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

This will lead to TFA and technology teaching our children. This is not a good move but it is the plan for all school districts.

posted @ Friday, June 27, 2014 - 12:54

Mandatory overtime ordered for Georgia child-safety agency

@electroman: As a mother of 3 children in public schools, someone who grew up in foster care, and a daycare provider and tell you with %100 certainty that you are correct. They have been working for years to create a crisis in education and child care by reducing funding and staff so they can swoop in and privatize they plan to do the same with the foster care system. It is disturbing to say the least. Fran Millar has sponsored and passed a bill to privatize foster care. He also supports the RTTT and CCSS efforts. He is secretary to the Health and Human Services Committee and a member of the Education and Youth and Rules committees. People have no idea what they are up to....

posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 13:25

Davis: Clarke school board shortchanged in election coverage

Well, Mr. Davis...there are some parents who DO care and have been VERY vocal to the school board, the PAB, the media, the PTO/PTA, the Superintendent, the principals, and the no avail. You can find us here The real problem is those of us who are paying attention and trying to communicate our concerns are being dismissed, NOT the other way around! Perhaps you will do differently? The current board is not very open to parental input...I have been trying to communicate with them for over a year through emails and letters and even went to speak in front of the board in December with NO response until very recently. But what I got was..."we have to do this and is mandated" and then I got this..."Your incendiary rhetoric is inappropriate over and over and is highly unprofessional" ...and even this "you need to understand that your children are privileged and you should just go join a club and channel your energy into something positive" ...mind you the board member who said that has NO idea what kind of background I come from, which I can assure is anything but privileged. So, Mr. Davis...will YOU listen or be just another cog in the GSBA and RTTT wheel?
As for the technology...yes it is a bad idea! Here is the email sent to parents this past week about the roll-out of 1:1..

"Dear CCSD Parents and Guardians,
As you likely know, we are currently preparing to expand our 1:1 initiative next year in grades 3-9, with the opportunity for students to take devices home. Taking this next step in creating digital learning environments for all students is significant, as access will now be constantly available for our students. I have great confidence in both our rollout in the fall, as well as the opportunities this will provide for our students.

I fully understand that an undertaking of this magnitude generates many questions; therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide more information about the plans that have been developed. I hope this information helps create confidence that our planning has been comprehensive and will allow you to focus on instruction and not devices and procedures.

School Support. Each elementary and middle school will have a part-time tech support position High schools will be staffed with students in a career-based learning program to provide support.

Devices. Currently, the district is invested in netbooks, Chromebooks and laptops. These will remain the primary devices for the 2014-15 school year. Additional devices will be available in all schools to allow for loaners while devices are being repaired.

Parent/Guardian Involvement. Including parents/guardians in the process will be crucial, as they will be required to understand the conditions for taking devices home. In addition, required orientation sessions will be held to familiarize parents with digital ethics and literacy. Parents/guardians may choose not to have their child(ren) take a device home, if they can access their work from home using a personal device.

Policy and Regulations. Expectations for parents/guardians and students are currently being drafted, with an anticipated approval by the Board of Education in June. Following this approval, we will provide you with an update.

Repair Process. We are purchasing carrying cases that have room to store the power cord for every device being issued to our students. We believe that this will reduce damage to devices significantly, as students will be required to keep devices in cases at all times. Parents will be responsible for the cost of repairing devices; however, they will have an option to pay an annual non-refundable $25 fee that will cover the cost of repairs. More details on repairs and insurance will be made available after the Board reviews the 1:1 policy in June.

Security. A system will be implemented that will assist in the recovery of lost and/or stolen devices. In addition, all devices will be easily identifiable as Clarke County School District property.

Device Replacement. Parents and students will sign an agreement up front including their responsibility for the cost if the device needs to be replaced (i.e. loss or theft). Parents will have the option of purchasing additional protection insurance for the device.

Internet Filtering. There will be a solution in place that will extend the current internet filtering off site.

Wireless Status in Schools. We are in the process of upgrading our wireless infrastructure throughout the district. Clarke Middle School and Whit Davis Elementary School will be the first schools to receive the new service, which will improve internet capacity as well as connection speed. A schedule for all schools in the district is in progress.

Home Access for Students Without Internet. There is now an option in the Google platform that gives teachers the ability to create an offline folder. This folder would give students the ability to access resources and assignments from home without an internet connection. We believe this solution will address the concerns regarding students and families who do not have access to the internet.

Hopefully, the list above addresses the majority of questions. If you have further questions or input regarding our 1:1 initiative, please contact Djamal Balbed, Director of Instructional Technology, at or (706) 546-7721, ext. 18338.

Thank you for all your support of our innovative learning environments! I look forward to expanding our digital learning environments this fall.

Philip D. Lanoue, Ph.D.

So....If you have anything you want to say about this to the school is the time to speak up...

You have to realize how much this is going to end up costing our district. Say good bye to more parapros, librarians, field trips, textbooks, counselors, among other things and staff...and don't forget to add in the cost of the new SLDS (the grant from RTTT only covered the set up of this massive database. When the grant runs out we are on the hook for it), the new assessments (they are replacing the CRCT with the GMAP next year which aligns with CCSS and adding new assessments for all other subjects not normally covered by the CRCT), and the new evaluation system TKES (which places 60% of teachers evals solely on student test scores).
They are spending over 400k from Title I funds on just the initial purchase of computers/ipads for only 4 schools in the district. Does not even include the software and programs. Spending 32K a year for the new Foothills Charter High School. I can't even imagine how much the Career Academy is costing. Then they are spending over 200k on IB from Title II funds...every year....for as long as we have the program...these costs never go down....but I bet they will go up!
You can validate all of this information by simply watching the recorded board meetings on their youtube channel.
I look forward to forwarding you all 80 or so emails as soon as I have your CCSD email and I would be happy to sit down with you anytime and discuss my concerns and hear your opinions on current reforms.
Liza Jackson

posted @ Sunday, June 1, 2014 - 21:27

Life sentence for Athens woman who murdered newborn son

@golfdaddy: yes, I was thinking the exact same thing.

posted @ Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 10:47

GOP candidates for Georgia governor debate health care

@As I See It: Actually he does have a plan. What's typical is people (from BOTH parties) not taking the time to research candidates, relying on the media for their biased tidbits of info, and voting on party lines just because they always have. Anyone with common sense would understand that you can't state your entire plan to boost the economy in a 30 or 60 second answer. Instead of automatically discounting what a candidate says in a limited format, you should actually take the time to look deeper. Go to his website and check out his plan. Watch all of his videos on youtube. Look at his record in Dalton. Then.....if you still disagree with his ideas come back and make an educated comment as to why you think his plan won't work.

posted @ Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 09:18

Georgia Senate committee approves anti-Common Core bill

@drdonna: Not much yet, unfortunately. Dr. Lanoue is drinking the Common Core koolaide all day long. But it is a small victory for the opposition. We have much more work to do. Most of the legislators, particularly Millar, are trying to jerk us around. Sen Ligon is currently the only legislator up there who is truly fighting to help us get local control of our schools and get rid of these horrible standards. Join us here to get more info on the fight.

posted @ Friday, February 21, 2014 - 23:30

Georgia Senate committee approves anti-Common Core bill

@marshalld: Actually, the legislature was bypassed as well as the general public with the adoption of Common Core. Two signatures signed us on to Common Core...former Gov. Sonny Purdue and former State Superintendent Kathy Cox. And if you think it is just the Tea Party opposing it...I suggest you dig deeper in your research of the opposition.

posted @ Friday, February 21, 2014 - 23:24

Schools at a breaking point after years of cuts?

This 5 part series sums up perfectly what is happening in public education.

posted @ Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 21:06

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