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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 - 10:44

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 - 09:50

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 - 09:15

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 - 12:50

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 - 09:56

Clarke school district seeks to become charter system

It is all part of the reform plan.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 09:37

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 - 09:35

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 - 13:54

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 - 14:25

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 - 22:27

Life sentence for Athens woman who murdered newborn son

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

posted @ Thursday, May 29, 2014 - 11:47

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 - 10:18

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 @ Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 00:30

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 @ Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 00:24

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 - 22:06

Barge blasts Deal for teacher furloughs

Barge and Carter both support the same government/big corp policies and mandates that are bankrupting school districts by pumping money into unnecessary technology, high stakes testing, and massive data bases like SLDS and the new Red Clay State Test they are working on with SREB (another unelected school board that has no business existing) that Deal does. All three of them are receiving campaign donations from the same education reform groups like GAE, StudentsFirst, and Apollo Group and big business like Walmart and the Gates Foundation. This is not about republican/democrat or even funding schools..this is about local control vs federally controlled and privatized public school for profit. They are only interested in building a workforce for big business. Go to or Georgians against common core on facebook and get educated.

posted @ Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 16:51

Jones: New education group comes to Georgia
Education is under attack now more than ever. Please join these groups and come to this forum and find out how you can help fight the federal and private take over of public education.

posted @ Saturday, January 4, 2014 - 22:01

Downs: Many ways to help Clarke schools

Here is another way you can help. Get informed on what all the reforms mean and what they are doing to our amazing teachers and students.

posted @ Friday, December 27, 2013 - 14:10

Music filling schools with slate of holiday concerts

Also tonight at CCHS, there is a Holiday show by DanceFX. It is free but donations are accepted to benefit CASA.

posted @ Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 10:01

Blackmon: Legislature isn't place for curriculum decisions

and here is what you get when you trust in the non-elected State BOE and not require or allow legislative and community input. Pre-submitted questions only?

posted @ Monday, December 9, 2013 - 14:29

Blackmon: Legislature isn't place for curriculum decisions

The graduation rate was actually steadily increasing, as well as test scores, up until we began implementation of Common Core last year. Unfortunately, it is going to decrease steadily now if we don't get rid of this.

posted @ Monday, December 9, 2013 - 13:15

Blackmon: Legislature isn't place for curriculum decisions

@cornish531: I don't think you have really done ANY research into who is for and who is against Common Core. If you had you would know that there are many on both sides from both the left and the right. The proponents and biggest pushers of Common Core include many republicans like Jeb Bush and our very own Fran Millar, Nathan Deal, and John Barge. In fact, it was Sonny Perdue who signed us onto this nonsense BEFORE the standards themselves were even written in order to get federal dollars. It also includes some big name democrats like Bill Gates and Jason Carter....and yes, the Obama administration is is pushing it also through RttT grants and Arne Duncan. This is not a left/right or repub/dem is a federal/private control vs. local control issue. In response to to Myra's article, she is right about one thing...there ARE many problems with Common Core. She is a very knowledgeable and intelligent woman who admirably gives so much of her time in our public schools and for that I thank her from the bottom of my heart! However, she does not know enough about the pervasive nature of Common Core. 1. We don't need new standards, the GPS were superior to CCSS and many other states as well. True, the CCSS are the same possibly up to about 80% but it is the parts they took out that were better and what they added is NOT developmentally or age appropriate. Also the CCSS is copyrighted which means they cannot be "tweaked" at all. Teachers must use the standards AS IS without changing or deleting anything. They can add up to 15% but anything they add will not be on the high stakes testing, which their jobs will soon be tied to, so why would they bother? This is the first time in history that a set of standards have been copyrighted by a private entity. 2. Pulling us out of PARCC does absolutely nothing. Barge and the SREB are developing another testing consortium called The Red Clay State Test that will include all the southern states that have pulled out of the other consortium and the tests will STILL be 100% aligned to the Common Core and carry the same weight on teachers evals. Not to mention David Coleman, one of the writers of CCSS and the President of the College Board, is currently aligning the SAT, ACT, and the GED to the CCSS as well. 3. As for the executive order Deal signed, that is useless too. If you read the RttT contract, you will see that we HAVE agreed to share our kids' data with the national database. And when the grant runs out we will forever be funding the huge data base SLDS that is rolling out. I have seen first hand what these standards are doing for my children who attend public schools and I will not stand for my kids being guinea pigs while we "field test" these standards for another decade, with or without the high stakes testing. If one wants to see what a few more years of this will do to our kids one only needs to look to states that are much farther along in the implementation process than us such as NY, NC, and IL. I could go on all day but I'll leave it there. If you want to know more come to this meeting next month and hear ACTUAL educators talk about what CCSS is, who is pushing it and why, how it affects your tax dollars, and much more. You can also join one of the many groups that are fighting it. These are for GA and Clarke County.

posted @ Monday, December 9, 2013 - 11:14

Clarke Central student charged for school disturbance

Coming to the Classic Center in January:

posted @ Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 08:31

Clarke Central student charged for school disturbance

@E.J.: Thanks for caring enough to ask Smile

posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 - 17:19

Clarke Central student charged for school disturbance

@E.J.: It really doesn't take as much time as you think. I have three kids of my own and a full time job. I have still managed to mentor 3 kids. Two of which are in college now and one is still in high school. They don't need someone breathing down their necks, just someone to talk to. Someone who will be honest with them but temper it with kindness. Someone to send them a quick message of encouragement every day.
To answer some of your questions:
Would you have known to look toward government or organizations for help? Yes, they usually know where the public organizations are but they won't go to those for many reasons like the ones you mentioned...embarrassment, transportation, time, not being allowed to by their parents, and peer pressure. Which leads to your next question. Why does that peer pressure exist? Kids who have no support at home or live an abusive home rely HEAVILY on the support of their friends. This is one of the reasons gangs are so influential. They desire a place to belong, a place where they know someone has their back. It is very hard to be the kid who goes against the grain and tries to do better and live right without someone supporting you to do it. Another thing with kids is sometimes they just don't know that their way of life is not normal. This was how it was in my case. I grew up thinking that living on welfare and being abused was just how life was. It wasn't until I started dating and the parents of a boy I was dating began to realize how my home life was and then mentored me to believe there was better. If it had not been for them I would probably still be living in that trailer park or the projects I spent my childhood in. If you can't get involved through the school, do you attend church? Many churches have outreach programs. Like Downtown Ministries. Or there is the homeless shelter. Many ways to reach out to a teen. Don't wait...they need people like you who care won't regret it!

posted @ Monday, September 23, 2013 - 12:58

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