Hey Nancy,

What's Up With That

If you have a question and would like to ask Nancy "What's up with that?", please email Nancy@NancyJester.com.

A Hearing or Not a Hearing?

I’ve received many questions about the January 17, 2013 proceeding with the State Board of Education (SBOE).  As you know, the outcome was to postpone and then reconvene the hearing on February 21, 2013.  Most of the questions I’ve received assumed the proceeding on the 17th was a hearing.  I am of the opinion the proceeding did not meet the definition of a hearing in both construction and adherence to procedural requirements.  Why do I hold this opinion?

  1. The SBOE must conduct a hearing pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73.
  2. The hearing must be conducted subject to SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.36.
  3. The “Notice and Order” sent by the SBOE required both parties (SBOE and DBOE) to file witness and document lists by 1/11/13.  It is my understanding that it was acknowledged that neither party had adequate time to prepare complete lists as necessary to conduct a formal hearing.  Furthermore, former board members who had received the Notice were instructed that their presence would not be required on the 17th.
  4. If a formal hearing was anticipated, given that the 3 former board members would have pertinent testimony, they would not have been released from attending the proceeding.
  5. Furthermore, there are many documents to admit into evidence and witnesses to testify to various matters discussed in the AdvancED/SACS Special Review Report on behalf of both parties.  Neither party had produced a comprehensive list of witnesses or documents.  Certainly, staff members from DCSD and AdvancED would need to be present, along with documents, to discuss the issues in the report.  Staff members and documents were conspicuously absent.
  6. The statute provides that the hearing must be held no later than 30 days after receipt of the report from AdvancED.  Given the prerequisites for a hearing were not met, why wasn’t the proceeding officially begun and immediately set to reconvene at the next available date?  Knowing in advance that the requirements to hold the hearing were not met, why was the public not informed that the hearing would be adjourned to reconvene in February?

 

I know many of you took time away from family responsibilities and work to attend the proceeding.  Many of you obtained childcare so you could be present.  As no action could be taken on the 17th given the procedural constraints, I wish the SBOE had notified you in advance that the proceeding could only culminate in a hearing at a later date.

It was interesting to note several SBOE members testified that the DeKalb BOE should be more “aggressive” in getting information from the DCSD administration about various issues, including financial data.  This seems at odds with statements in the AdvancED/SACS report.  I’m in agreement with the SBOE.  Board members must have a full and unobstructed view of the facts.  Well paid administrators shouldn’t be prickly or sensitive about questions from the board.  If board members had been more aggressive over the past decade, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in this mess.  Sometimes the “governance team” paradigm that is held up as a model of unity makes me wonder what “team” everyone is playing for.  What if the “governance team” sells mediocrity as success and avoidable financial disasters as simple errors?  Today’s citizens are savvy enough to see through that type of spin and rightly demand much more.  Food for thought.

School Choice Week – Empowering Parents in DeKalb

This week is National School Choice Week.  School Choice is about parent empowerment.  If we return the power to parents to govern schools alongside principals and teachers, the cause of education will be well-served.  It also turns schools into innovation laboratories.  It dislodges the bureaucratic hold on budgets and policy.  It allows teachers to teach unencumbered by one-size-fits-all programs, paperwork and creativity-killing dictates.  It allows principals to develop policies that are right for their school.  It minimizes the footprint and potential entanglements of district-wide financial problems.  I’m an advocate for implementing this type of real local control in DeKalb.  It would be a reforming and sustainable model for successful outcomes for kids.   This model is called the Portfolio Strategy.  It empowers parents and gives them choices.

If you support empowering parents, communities and teachers, please join me at the School Choice Rally at the Capitol on Thursday at 10am.  For more details, go to this website:  http://www.schoolchoicerally.com/ .  You can also show your support for reforming our district by reading my Declaration of Parent Empowerment and sharing it with other parents and leaders.

(55) comments
  1. Nancy, I am not to concern about the concern parents making sure there child get the best education possible, but what about kids that does not have that parent that values a good quality education, will those kids be left behind because they do not have anyone to speak for them. The way I see it the school choice program is where it takes money from many to help only a few. I think that is easy way to solve problems with education. My believe is real, simple we have to expect more from the teachers, parents, administrators, the students and the elected officials. Therefore until altitudes changes, the problem is going to move from corrupt elected officials and administrators to corrupt parents.

  2. Thank you for explaining this. There has been a lot of confusion about why no action was taken.

    It appears AdvanceEd played it well in issuing their Special Report just before the holidays so the State BOE could not hold a proper hearing within 30 days. Any action taken by the State BOE can now be challenged by the lawyers for the Dekalb BOE. More legal fees! Woo Hoo!

  3. Richard,
    I’ve talked to many people trying to understand the portfolio strategy. I had the exact same concerns as you.

    KIPP Academy and Ivy Prep have charter schools located in the areas of DeKalb that we are concerned about. Each charter school has a board made up of members from the community. After researching the portfolio strategy I have concluded that these schools are set up similarly to the Portfolio Strategy and are doing very well.

    How does school choice take money from many to help a few? If anything, school choice pushes money down to the school buildings. The portfolio strategy requires the money to follow the child. We are currently not that fortunate.

  4. Nancy, I was at the GABOE hearing and recently I have read you criticize SACS, the Superintendents and the staff publicly. In this blog in the middle of a full-blown crisis you spent valuable clout to bash the GABOE and then praise School Choice. I am not saying I disagree with the parents right to choose or SACS, superintendents, staff and fellow board members are above criticism, hardly. What I am saying is that we elected you to fix the problems you described as the twin deficits. You have worked incredibly hard for the children of DeaKalb but nothing worked. Nothing is going to get fixed EVER until this board is REPLACED. I am begging you to stay focused on what you can change and spend your energies wisely. Specifically, use your time in front of the GABOE to do something and not be someone. I know it’s hard. I can imagine, as Pam Speaks said, it is “embarrassing” but we all have crosses and these kids are counting on us. Up until recently, I believe you have done an incredible job despite frustrating, dysfunctional and self-centered board members. Please don’t defend or minimize the actions of the DKBOE and become part of the problem. Tell the DKBOE nightmare and let the cards fall where they may.
    If you ran for any other office or after the terms of the replacements expire, you would have my complete support. Right now DeKalb needs you to as my boys say, “Man Up” and perhaps lead the way by resigning from the DKBOE.

  5. Betsy Parks
    Are you on crack?? In one sentence you say how hard she works for the kids and in the next sentence you say she should resign from the board. Nancy, in fact, is the only board member in favor of removing the board …

    From the WABE News:
    DeKalb board member Nancy Jester writes a blog about the district. Jester says if the board can’t agree on a “drastically new approach” to governing, everyone should be removed, including her.

    The way I see it, Nancy is the only one telling us what’s going on.

    Questions for you Betsy Parks
    1. Did you learn anything about the January 17, 2013 proceeding in this post
    2. Do you like being informed?
    3. Did you believe the January 17, 2013 proceeding with Ga BOE was a hearing until you read this post?

  6. I heard Nancy on NPR last week.

    Nancy’s the one that found the problems.
    Nancy’s the ONLY person telling us what is going on.
    Nancy’s the ONLY person coming up with solutions.
    Nancy’s the only one saying the board should be removed.

    Did you say she should resign? I second the motion that you might be on crack.

  7. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is against the constitution for the Governor to remove the board. If the board sues, the state will loose.

  8. No, hahaah we spend 22K a year to go to Saint Pius. No drugs here just used to doing the right thing and leading the way. Its hard but someone has to do it or thousands of children suffer. Not mine, mind you because I protected them from this kind of myopic thinking. I have done my part and feel good about it but I am sure you do to. We shall see.

  9. Saint Pius and no drugs … smart thinking. Sorry, but I can’t let you off that easily. You’re notoriously critical of Dr Jester and I would like to follow up on your remarks made earlier in this post.

    Please answer the questions
    1. Did you learn anything about the January 17, 2013 proceeding in this post
    2. Do you like being informed?
    3. Did you believe the January 17, 2013 proceeding with Ga BOE was a hearing until you read this post?

    More questions
    4. Who else is communicating like Dr Jester?
    5. Who else is coming up with ideas to fix DCSD?
    6. Please explain how Nancy Jester resigning today will improve DCSD.

    Thanks!

  10. I will ignore the Saint Pius comment.

    1. I don’t believe everything I read on the internet. I understand Nancy has been told by the overpaid lawyers that have overcharged ($700/hr a person!) and almost bankrupted DeKalb County that was the case. They have given great legal advice- RIGHT? This is not really relevant in the big picture of the DCSS NIGHTMARE and hence the myopic comment.
    2. Yep and I am BUT, just off the top of my head, I ALWAYS consider the source and hidden agendas and do a gut check.
    3.Not sure she is correct but this myopic line of thinking and frankly these questions I am entertaining are a waste of my time.
    4. Not sure this is the best use of her energies but I applaud her informing SACS and not minimizing and defending the DKBOE as she DID at the GABOE hearing or not hearing, whatever you want to call it. Other highly functioning school board across the United States do. Look it up yourself.
    5. Hopefully there are people who have the sillis and drive to fix this mess. I hope they struggling (as I did before starting the petition to remove the entire DKBOE) with the scary thought of entering our DCSS NIghtmare. I gotta believe. I did it, there has to be more! Check it out, 923 signatures!
    http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-nathan-deal-and-georgia-state-board-of-education-review-sacs-findings-if-accurate-replace-the-dekalb-county-school-board
    6. She will lead the way and encourage others to resign and then #5 has to step up and lead.

  11. Thanks for answering. Here are my responses …

    1. You don’t believe how the Ga BOE conducts itself is relevant? I don’t see how anything from your point of view could be more relevant. You and 923 signatures are placing all your hope on the Ga BOE.

    2. I’m glad you appreciate the communication. Instead of criticizing the effort, perhaps you could say ‘Thank You’ and move along.

    3. Myopic line of thinking … I don’t follow you.

    4. How did Nancy defend DCSD? She was asked about the electricity and she said it was now properly budgeted. She also said Dr Atkinson is moving to a new accounting system. These are just the facts.

    5. Hopefully?? You and 923 other signatures are hanging your hats on hopefully??

    6. If Nancy resigns then hopefully the others will follow? OK, you’re back on the crack pipe again.

  12. BRAVO, Nancy!

    The silence from the other eight (8) DeKalb County Board of Education members is deafening! Anything they have to say now would be too little, too late.

    This can be a new day in DeKalb County Schools! It’s time to dump the crooks, thugs, and petty criminals who have lined their pockets by stealing from our children. It’s time to dump the overpaid incompetents who have stolen time from our children — time that can NEVER be recaptured.

    It is time for local control — school by school.

    SACS/AdvancED, SBOE, DBOE, Eddie Long and all DeKalb Legislative Delegation members (beginning with Ron Ramsey and Howard Mosby) who are tied in with the criminal enterprise that is DeKalb County Schools — get out of our way!

    Principals whose allegiance is with Atkinson, March and Howe and all the rest of the edu’rats in DCSS, instead of with their schools, and the children and teachers in those schools — get out of our way!

  13. DeKalb Inside Out
    I am going to ignore your comments now. Thank You.

  14. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to defend yourself when you sound crazy and facts are not on your side.

  15. Nancy, or others, I have noticed something that is a big concern regarding the law that permits the removal of the board: O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73. Nancy linked to it in her original post above.

    The last line of this law states: (e) This Code section shall apply only to local board of education members elected or appointed on or after July 1, 2010.

    I have also seen it written in another way that states it applies to all members, no matter when they were elected.

    This could be the “loophole” our overpaid lawyers are banking on in order to keep those members who were elected prior to that date (Walker, Coppelin-Wood, Cunningham). The newest members would be most likely to win their re-entry by appealing to the Governor. The only two whom would be thrown out, then, would be: Jester, Edler. Not sure when Speaks was elected.

    If this is the case, I am no longer certain that we are advocating for the state BOE to do the right thing if we are hoping for them to recommend removal. Does anyone know if this issue was raised in any of the other counties where the board was removed by the Governor?

  16. Ms. Jester,

    To my knowledge, we’ve never met and by most accounts that I can find, you seem to have the students’ education as your primary (if not only–and that’s laudable) goal. However, I am curious as to why you are even bringing this up at this point. This seems like buyers remorse. Here’s why:

    1) Your signature appears on the consent order in which any issues of notice, etc. were waived. If you really believe that the 1/17/13 hearing was a sham, why did you sign the document? In fact, you apparently had a private attorney there (again which I believe is a smart move on your part) and he signed it as well.

    2) I’ve reviewed the laws and regs you cite and it appears that a hearing was in fact held as evidence was taken in the form of sworn testimony and recorded via stenographer. Any challenges to the notice sufficiency should have been made prior to the taking of any testimony or are waived (forgetting for the moment that they have now been waived by consent). Moreover, it seems clear that the challenge to the timing of the hearing itself would have been specious since the hearing was held not later than 30 days (yes, I understand that the majority of those were holidays). Additionally, the 30 day max in the statute does not seem to be triggered upon receipt of the report….in fact, it doesn’t seem as there is a trigger at all. Contrast that with the trigger for the 30 days per the reg is 30 days from the date the State Super received notice of change in accreditation status. If he wasn’t going to/didn’t testify as to what date he received it or such a date wasn’t stipulated to by the parties, would the challenge fail for a lack of evidence?

    3) Regarding any evidence, such as testimony from former board members, etc. was there some issue with putting them under subpoena to be there?

    4) Regarding the list of witnesses and documents, I too would have liked to see that and was waiting for the lists to be filed in accordance with the notice. Why wasn’t that issue brought up? “it is my understanding that it was acknowledged that neither party had adequate time” ? What happens if the DOE doesn’t file its witness list? Nothing apparently, but I’m not sure that is a good safeguard against not filing your own. When you are on the chopping block, I’m at a loss as to how a defense of “well, he didn’t do it either” is a really a good one.

    Having written that, however, it is important to remember that, apparently, only the Board members testified. There didn’t appear to be any surprise witnesses that, had the DOE submitted a witness list, you all would have known about ahead of time. Did you have witnesses and documents that you wanted the SBOE to hear from/about? If you found staff members and documents “conspicuously absent” (not that I didn’t either but that isn’t the point as I’m quite sure why they weren’t there), why weren’t they put under subpoena to be there?

    5) Regarding former board members being excused from appearance, that wouldn’t have been an issue had they been under subpoena for testimony. Moreover, having looked at the regulations and the law, I’m not sure that the SBOE could order the ex officio members to be there as they seemingly no longer qualify as “eligible”.

    6) On the public’s right to know, I am all for it. I have stood up and been heard at DBOE meetings. However, I am not clear on what difference (forgetting about what proof you have that the SBOE knew from the jump that they were just going to continue the hearing until 2/21/13…..as it seemed to me that the DOE attorney and the DBOE attorney had a nice little consent order worked out….until the SBOE started taking testimony) it makes if the public knew or not. The public was not allowed to comment on the proceedings nor was the SBOE taking testimony from random passersby. The DBOE was and is on trial for mismanagement, malfeasaance, and potentially worse and I think you know that since you have talked about the issues for some time AND you hired your own attorney (again, kudos). I don’t want to see any concerned citizen’s time wasted but that hardly seems the point at this juncture.

    Again, from everything I’ve read, you seem like someone who is trying to set themselves apart from the pack by your devotion to student education. From the things I’ve read, you nobly volunteered for the position, got elected, and found it was worse than you could have possibly imagined. However, the SBOE has you all rowing in the same boat….no one is on the shore looking at the sinking ship. The SBOE doesn’t have the power to recommend that you stay and the rest go….they only have the power to recommend that you all go or you all stay.

    Forgive me but you seem much too smart to have 20/15 hindsight. This blog smacks of complaining about things that should have been addressed at the time, were they actually thought of then.

    Todd

  17. I was one of those who took off work to attend. But my impression is different than Ms. Jester’s. First, I think the attorney for the State DOE and the attorney for the DeKalb BOE attempted to short-circuit any hearing by presenting a consent order to the State BOE as a fait accompli. The State BOE refused to accept it as is, but instead of issuing any decision, gave the DeKalb BOE a month’s grace to show improvement. Second, it appeared to me that the DeKalb BOE through their lawyer affirmatively waived any procedural defects in the conduct of the hearing.

  18. Well, I should have read Todd’s post above. It more thoroughly and effectively says what I was attempting to say.

  19. Didn’t it look like a Dog & Pony show to you? They pretended to ask a couple of tough questions, but never really got anywhere. Everything was generally cursory. They tried to get tough on Dr Walker at the end, but he spanked the Ga BOE for not knowing the facts.

    Why didn’t they specifically ask anybody from the administration or the old board members to come? Why didn’t the DCSD lawyers get to cross examine?
    Why didn’t they finally any of the questions we have been waiting for somebody to ask them?

    Dog & Pony Show.

  20. Hear hear Todd. I agree with what he said.

    My gosh, if you had so many issues with the “hearing” bring it up then. Indeed, the best course of action would have been to resign after giving an impassioned speech being watched by many people at once. Yeesh, to come back now and say whoa this thing was a farce. Well then why participate in the first place.

  21. What What ??

    Who’s the only one telling us what is going on?
    Who’s the only watchdog on the inside?

    Exactly how will Nancy resigning help our schools?

    – Please Please

  22. everybody take a step back. ms jester is trying to shed some light on why what happened, happened. why would you say she was complaining? i don’t see that at all. she is simply saying that everybody knew the board couldn’t be removed at that meeting. she just wished someone with the ability to say that had informed the public. i had friends that went down there for the big event. it was a big nothing. see you in february. there’s no disagreement with what happened. the state made no recommendation. the fact that the attorneys knew that it would simply be postponed is evidenced by the fact they had worked out consent agreements. both documents did the same thing. they both kicked the can down the rode to another day. ms jesters looks pretty accurate to me. i think she has pertinent evidence to present and was not allowed to do so at that time. most of what she has to say makes many on the board uncomfortable. check the tape too because at least one state board member even mentioned that he had concerns about due process. also procedure requirements were not all met. the proceeding would have taken the form of a trial and there would be cross examination. that’s in requirement #2. remember, the state board said publicly there were procedural issues regarding due process. they agreed to reconvene the hearing and so #5 isn’t going to get met either. here’s ms. jester doing all the heavy lifting for SACS and she’s more transparent than any other elected official and people are criticizing her transparency? why would anyone want to take that job if they found the problems she’s uncovered and stated it publicly only to get whacked over the head because she dared to tell you what she saw? the facts remain, the state board didn’t remove the board. thank you ms. jester. keep it up.

  23. @friend of the court, let me see if I understand what you are saying….

    “everybody knew the board couldn’t be removed at that meeting”—so the SBOE members participated in a charade? One that the DBOE was complicit in? One that resulted in a consent order being signed by nine DBOE members and two attorneys, wherein facts were agreed to that are now–in this very blog post–are being disputed? one that resulted in sworn testimony being taken from witnesses, subject to both false statement and perjury criminal statutes?

    If you actually believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you….

    “the state made no recommendation. the fact that the attorneys knew that it would simply be postponed is evidenced by the fact they had worked out consent agreements.”—it is unclear as to what “state” refers to but I’m not sure why the SBOE would have made recommendations at that point, since the hearing was continued to 2/21/13. Wouldn’t any recommendations have been premature? Regarding the “fact” that attorneys knew anything requires me to make two points….1) attorneys getting together on a consent order is no guarantee of anything (you can review the tape of the proceedings to see why since the SBOE took that precious 90 day consent order and shredded it) and if they knew….why didn’t the consent order say what the SBOE eventually held–that the hearing was continued 30 and not 90 days?; 2) IF the attorneys ACTUALLY KNEW it was going to be postponed—–then why didn’t the DBOE members notify the public themselves? I hate to take your contentions to their logical conclusions but, to believe otherwise, I’d have to believe that the DBOE attorney AND Ms. Jester’s personal attorney just simply CHOSE not to inform their clients……and I just can’t fathom that with everything that is at stake. Perhaps I am mistaken but we shall see.

    “also procedure requirements were not all met. the proceeding would have taken the form of a trial and there would be cross examination. that’s in requirement #2. remember, the state board said publicly there were procedural issues regarding due process. they agreed to reconvene the hearing and so #5 isn’t going to get met either.” If this contention is true, where was it brought up? Did I miss it? I know what an objection looks like and I didn’t see any. Besides, what occurred was actually a hearing and there WAS cross-examination….by the SBOE. Simply because the DOE lawyer didn’t ask any questions doesn’t mean there was no cross-exam. The fact finder is ALWAYS free to ask questions. And exactly how is #5 not met if a) the State made no recommendation (as you say) and b) the hearing was continued to 2/21/13? Again, I hate to be a parrot, but if #5 had been triggered and not met, why wasn’t it brought up you know…..at the HEARING? or in the CONSENT ORDER?

    Again, I am not taking issue with any of Ms. Jester’s politics. As my original post indicated, you–Ms. Jester–seem quite intelligent and willing to do what it takes to put the kids first. However, my issue was with complaining about things that happened at the hearing as if she wasn’t there and had no attorney. It is the johnny-come-lately attitude that seems to pull her back into the posture of the rest of the board–to complain about things being done to them…..and from what i can tell, being lumped in with the rest of the DBOE is the ONE place she doesn’t want to be.

  24. OK … Let’s straighten out some facts …

    The Consent
    The ONLY thing everybody consented to was that the meeting would be reconvened. Facts were never agreed upon.

    Examination vs Cross-Examination
    I saw weak examination by the Ga BOE, but I didn’t see cross-examination by the SACS or DCSD lawyers.

    Regular Hearings
    No witnesses, no cross examination, weak questions, old board members weren’t there, administration wasn’t there. I’ve never seen a hearing where the defense didn’t bring witnesses or ask questions. This meeting didn’t look or quack like a duck. If you take a look at the other ducks, You’ll see this was no hearing … IMHO

  25. @DeKalb Inside Out…..what consent order are you looking at? The approved consent order on the SBOE website, with original blue ink signatures in the PDF format, clearly and unambiguously sets out that the consent order covers finding of facts listed therein…….and the VERY first paragraph is a finding of fact, specifically about when the DBOE was notified of hearing and how the SBOE notified them properly, that SACS is a qualifying agency, etc.

    Soooooo…..facts were definitely agreed to. Read the order. Read where the DBOE agreed to waive any future challenges to notice.

    And I guess you call what you saw a halfhearted effort but it was most definitely a hearing. Witnesses were sworn and testimony was taken. If the DBOE didn’t bring forth other evidence, it is most certainly their prerogative….

  26. @todd
    I don’t think that proper notice is the issue. You are starting to lose your audience here. The facts that a notice was given and that SACS is a qualifying agency have never been in dispute. Please don’t be so argumentative. The report’s facts have not been addressed. There was no agreement about the facts in the report. Both parties couldn’t get that done in time and the fact that they entered into a consent agreement to reconvene is testament to the fact that the state board knows they and DeKalb need more time to pull all of their documents and witnesses together. If this was not the case, they would have certainly removed the board. We didn’t see them recommend removal, did we? We saw them give more time, didn’t we? Ms. Jester’s points are well taken. Whether you want the board removed or not, staff members, SACS people, and more would have to be called. DeKalb didn’t waive that right and neither did the state. A “hearing” of the facts of the report was not accomplished and that’s why they delayed until next month. The state board even said they had concerns about procedure. See you in February.

  27. I think we should all note that we’re able to have a discussion because Nancy has this website. I don’t always agree or understand all the facts. You have to admit that Nancy is the one that brought most of the facts in the report to light. We should hold her up as a model. Who will do this job and give us this level of information/interaction if we pile on Nancy? Don’t we want more like her?

  28. As much as we might feel for Nancy, no one gets a trophy for being a great player on a dysfunctional, self-serving team. Unfortunately, she seems to want to blame the referees, the rules, the game, and the association for DKBOE failure.

    @The Other Friends of DeKalb
    Quite sure Todd can take care of himself and he does not need me defending his position, but please speak for yourself. He might have lost your audience but he his expertise and skill has been greatly appreciated. Thank You Todd! DeKalb Inside and Out and Internet Libertarian said I was smoking crack and insulted Saint Pius X Catholic High School students. Please… THAT is uncalled for personal attack- THAT is really being argumentative. How about a shout out to those to to stop? Soooooo

    One more plug to petition to stop this madness and remove the DKBOE!
    change.org/petitions/governor-nathan-deal-and-georgia-state-board-of-education-review-sacs-findings-if-accurate-replace-the-dekalb-county-school-board

  29. Todd

    <a href='http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Documents/DeKalb%20Co%20consent%20order.pdf – That’s the consent order on the DCSD website.

    Ahhhhh … OK … you were tripped up by the legalese. No problem. You can’t be the only one.

    Consent Says
    the members of the Local Board, and the State Board of Education do agree to and do hereby enter into this Consent Order and Agreement, including any findings of fact and conclusions of law contained herein.

    That means
    Everybody agrees to the findings of fact and conclusions contained herein the consent not the SACS review or any other document. There were no facts or conclusions stated in the consent. If there were, I’m pretty sure Marshal Orson would have never agreed to them.

    Consent Says
    Local Board do hereby waive any claims or rights concerning notice of or attendance at the January 17, 2013…Board do hereby waive any claims or rights that they may have had individually or collectively to have the hearing held or a recommendation made pursuant to a statutory or regulatory timeframe.

    That means
    Local board waives rights regarding people attending the 1/17 meeting. The board waives rights to the timeframe. They did not waive rights to a defense against any charges.

    Please let me know if my translations are inaccurate.

    Given the financial malfeasance perpetrated over the last 10 years, those questions were cursory at best. The most consistent questions regarded training and being nice. Dr Walker spanked the Ga BOE when asked about the textbooks.

  30. Betsy
    You’re just embarrassing yourself now :-(

  31. Your entitled to your opinion and DeKalb inside out…I’m pretty sure that is not what reasonable people are taking from my comments but as I said we shall see. IIn my opinion, you are in way over your head and you should put your shovel down but I bet you don’t! Hehehehehe

  32. @TOFOD….I don’t think that notice is the issue either. I didn’t bring it up. The original post did…..which is the point of all this. I personally don’t care one way or the other but I thought it extremely odd and counterproductive for someone seemingly so intelligent and innovative to now claim notice issues when a consent order was signed two weeks ago eliminating that as an issue.

    And i guess, if challenging an individual’s comments by highlighting the distinction between facts and opinion (weak examination vs. cross-examination) makes me “argumentative”, I will wear the moniker proudly. And my wife will confirm that I need no assistance in defending myself.

    As for audience, I don’t give a rat’s behind about the audience, whether I have it, had it or never had it, or will get it back. If people end up disagreeing with me, well, everyone is entitled to their opinion…as both the original post and the comments show. My point is, was, and remains the original post seems very odd in the face of what happened and seems disingenuous in the timing.

    Imagine if you will that your kid’s teacher sent him and his other classmates a letter that said, on January 17, 2013, the teachers of the 10th grade are having a meeting to determine if your schoolwork warrants recommending that you pass the 10th grade. The letter said bring whatever schoolwork and coaches, other students, parents you want but we will be making a decision on our recommendation that day. And January 17, 2013 came around and your kid left all everything at home……..what would you think if the kid then, on January 30th, posted on Facebook about how the other students didn’t have to go, about how Coach Jones was conspicuously absent and how he just didn’t have time to get together all of the myriad pieces of school work he wanted to show off in support of his case? Wouldn’t you think that a little odd?

    As to why the SBOE agreed to continue the hearing, I’m not sure how you come to the conclusion it is because DeKalb needed more time to bring proof that either the SACS report is inaccurate (see the schoolbook directive to Dr. Walker) or that the problems identified by SACS are either completely ameliorated or well on their way to being so. The things I’ve read indicated that the hearing was continued to allow DBOE to present evidence of improvement.

    Here is the excerpt from the AJC:
    “At the start of the marathon hearing, lawyers for both the state Department of Education and the DeKalb school board urged the state board to sanction a consent agreement that would have allowed the board three months to initiate reforms recommended by SACS.

    But the state board declined to grant DeKalb three months to right its ship. Instead, the state board approved a consent decree that gives DeKalb 30 days to register some progress rather than the April date sought by the county.

    After approving the consent agreement, the state board immediately told the DeKalb board to return on Feb. 21 to report on its progress at which time the state board could choose to vote on suspension.

    This gives DeKalb only 30 days to register some significant progress.

    “If they’ve done a rock star job, we can give them to June,” said state board member Mike Royal. “Does that mean we have to vote to remove or not to remove in our recommendation to the governor. No, but April kicks this can too far down the road. This is a critical situation that is upon us now. It is not new and there are 98,000 children in DeKalb County depending on us now.”

    I freely admit that there may be some piece of the puzzle I missing. Maybe it is just me but it seems like the DBOE members took an awful lot of flak at the hearing for it all to have been just for show. Maybe the DBOE members are muzzled and are not allowed to say what they really feel, know, and believe. If that is the case, maybe they should start with THAT since, if they are not successful, they won’t have the problem of BEING school board members anymore.

    Lastly, since I’ve said it in every single post from the beginning, I take no issue with Ms. Jester’s politics, ideas, etc…..only this post and the undermining it seems to do to her positions. Heck, I half expected that she would be the one to unload with both barrels and burn the village to save it…..especially since the SBOE is only authorized to recommend remove in toto or not at all.

    And I’m most certainly looking forward to February 21…..I’ve got child care lined up and a leave of absence in already.

  33. @betsy, whether I agree with you or anyone we should all note that Nancy has created this forum. Your views and petitions get exposure here. Someone that creates this type of interactive forum gets my support. Let us not forget that she has blogged about these issues for longer than most people have been paying attention. I don’t see anyone else with that type of commitment.

  34. Todd,
    I think you are onto something when you say “I freely admit that there may be some piece of the puzzle I (am) missing.” I would go with that.

  35. @DeKalb Inside Out….

    I guess we will have to disagree with what the word “fact” means. I took it mean something that everyone agrees is true…..as opposed to someone’s opinion. And since I speak legalese too, the word “fact” in connection with “the findings of” mean someone has made a legal determination of these things we agree on as true (aka “fact”)…..and it has a corollary of a finding of law.

    You will see the words “finding of fact” in your post as well as in the consent order. It would seem odd, would it not, that the order would used those words only for them to have no meaning within the four corners of the document, right? As you will see in paragraph 1, there are some “facts” listed there. Are the “facts” that SACS was wrong and DBOE was right? Certainly not. Are they the “facts” that the textbooks have located and they are at _______________ school on ______________ road in Decatur, GA 30032? Nope. But, I would argue that they are facts…..and since nine Board members signed the document along with three attorneys, I would presume that they believe the things mentioned in paragraph 1 are now “facts.”

    As to what Marshall Orson would or would not have agreed to and why, I can’t comment on that. Consent orders are entered into for a variety of reasons and onlookers like me aren’t always privy to the why’s and the how’s. As I have mentioned, I freely admit that there may be pieces of this that I am missing…..but I have yet to hear any follow up other than this blogpost. In fact the DSW blog opined “There is dead silence from the other 8 members of the Board.” If the DBOE feels like they are getting railroaded say that. If the three new members feel like sacrificial lambs, say that. I would welcome the honesty.

  36. @Steve Miller Band…

    I am curious as to what that would be. Would you stand idly by and have your integrity questioned (under oath mind you) under the guise of some grand and secret plan? I don’t think I would. Moreover, it seems odd that it would be all kept in secret

  37. Ok. Enough is enough! Nancy Jester has her opinion and Besty Parks has a right to feel that Jester should resign. I feel it is okay for Nancy to sum up her feelings about the SBOE/DBOE. However, she should stick to the issues at hand and stop trying to promote the Portfolio Strategy (aka, known at Charter School). We can only deal with one problem at a time. Problem #1: Remove the DBOE.
    Let’s remember that everything on everyone’s agenda will not be promised or compromised. It’s not about your child, my child, but ALL CHILDREN in Dekalb County. Not all parents agree with the idea of Charter Schools.

    This is a public blog. I hope that the SBOE doesn’t read it and sum up that DSCD is full of nothing but a dysfunctional board, an unorganized administration, and petty parents who argue for their offspring and go as far as accusing one of being on crack because of a different opinion.

    The thing that SHOCKS me the most is Dekalb School Watch editors getting “SO FIRED UP” with their comments and seemingly want everyone to always agree with them is hilarious and unbelievable. Did you start the blog to hear what’s going on and get the facts or did you start the blog to push your ideas with N. Jester and the charter school ordeal. You seem to agree with almost everything she says. Please be biased and stop commenting in favor of anyone. Just get the word out and let others speak their minds. If you don’t stop, I’m afraid you are going to lose your accrediation along with DCSD.

  38. Well said Todd. I’m sure we are all curious as to what that would be. I don’t think Nancy stood “idly by” because her statement discussed how she discovered the financial problems. I recall that she went on to discuss other problems she saw. Everyone I spoke with thought it was odd that the state board didn’t ask her too many questions.

  39. @Chamblee Mom
    Totally agree Nancy worked very hard, did the best she could do and created a great blog. Was with her until she started going off on tangents blaming others, wanting to change the game or supporting things the BOE was incapable of delivering to students who desperately needed services. I like her and think she has done a great thing for DeKalb but I disagree strongly with the path she has chosen lately. To be clear, I support School Choice and I feel that if you choose even private schools the money should follow the child but I can say that because I am not an elected BOE member. Imagine ging into Chick-Fil-A and the associate told you how great the new chicken sandwich was at McDonalds. In my opinion, just not a good idea when she is a BOE member. its not personal, its to me about the kids. :)

  40. It would be wise to put a lot of stock in what Nancy is saying. Remember there are many details that she cannot reveal. There was obviously a double cross at the “hearing”. It appears that both attorney’s were somewhat flabbergasted at what transpired. The SBOE attorney got submarined by someone. It had to have been a person of great political power.

    In the process, however, the SBOE made a real mess. They wanted to look “tough”. They only succeeded in scaring the three newest members who are basically only interested in keeping their jobs.
    This was obviously not a hearing. If it was I should have been there along with the two other departing board members. We were specifically told not to come. The SBOE questions showed that they really did not know the specifics of many of the matters. Their questioning was just as flawed as the SACS report.

    Nancy is trying to get many to see what a dysfunctional environment that she has to work in. When
    board members dispute going along with the “professional educators” then they can get reprimanded by SACS. Tough questions have not been asked for a decade and Nancy is asking them. Some time ago Nancy and I were summoned to the SACS office to ask about our questioning style. I was not told to do anything, but I felt leaned on. I made that remark at the meeting. You need people to ask the hard questions and demand answers. Nancy should be applauded for her efforts. She respects the students and the taxpayer.

    The SBOE said that the DeKalb board should be more aggressive. That is in blatant contrast to the SACS report. The SBOE had an advantage. They no longer have that advantage. If the DBOE is removed the outcome will be most unpleasant. First the Governor will lose this case in the state Supreme Court. Lawyers are lining up everywhere to represent them. It is almost a sure thing. Also the lucky DeKalb taxpayer will get to foot the bill.

    The state ought to pull DeKalb funding and give parents vouchers to send their children to whatever their school of choice even if it is back to DeKalb. Think about the portfolio idea. It is still the quickest way to get aid to the students and start fixing what is broken. It will not be easy, but it is a possibility.

    The next question you should ask is why the DeKalb delegation promoted this horrible “law”? They went too far.

    Good job Nancy. You are fighting for the right reasons.

  41. With all due respect, the fact that DeKalb voters did not re-elect Don McChesney is proof that DeKalb voters can learn from their mistakes an move on if the GABOE and Governor Deal decide to give us a chance to fix this mess! Granted we need to work on informing voters in other parts of the county but I think this situation has opened a few eyes! We shall see.

  42. With all due respect, Ms. Parks, you must be quite unaware of Mr. McChesney’s record of service on the board and as a classroom teacher for 34 years. He served the underprivileged children in Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb and Gwinnett. The most recent election was most certainly not a reflection on his character or his record of service. The same is true for my predecessor on the board. Elections turn on many things and sometimes they don’t turn out as we expect, hope or predict. Everyone has certainly experienced that with some election.
    I can recall the first interaction I had with Don. I asked a question about why we were spending Title 1 dollars on “things” rather than on teachers to lower teacher-to-student ratios. He leaned over to me and said that he’d been asking that question for years. He was happy to have someone join him because he saw the student achievement results as plainly as I did. As I discovered the budgeting issues he was very supportive. I witnessed Don question spending decisions, bid sheets, HR reports, contract dates, SPLOST spending and more. He served the children and taxpayers well.
    Don is one of the most professional and diligent public servants that I have met. We need more like him.

  43. Nancy, if you prefer, Ms. Jester, I was aware of his background and I called him several times to ask for help. Help never arrived for my family but I am glad you had quite a different experience. We could not be happier at SPX even though a horrible experience brought us to their school. Our middle son, a football player went to the GA Dome and was the AAA runner up this year. He is confused as to why we have to live through the “Lakeside/DeKalb” drama again. My son who graduated from Lakeside in 2011 never asked why. He knew what is like to suit up each week and face another team the DKBOE had stacked as they ate away at the Lakeside tradition. It was not pretty and to be honest still stings. Was it you or Don’s decision to “approve” transfers because of athletic demands? Probably not. Ms. Jester, no one ever spoke up except SACS, I of course will never know but that would be a pretty hard thing to hide especially to a coach. It is every BOE member’s duty to be his or her brother’s keeper. Basic 101 stuff at Pius. Well, it seems to me there was not a lot of that going on when we were at the mercy of the DKBOE. The very BOE your trusted friend was a member for many years. I believe he knew better and did not stop it. Is this low hanging fruit? Sure. Does SACS site much more important things noted? Yes. But I thought maybe you might be able to understand just my position more clearly.
    The DKBOE is self-serving and dysfunctional. It needs to be replaced. I want to tell my son, it has taken a while but in the end cheaters don’t really win and we need to demand leaders who do not lie, cheat or steal and not tolerate those who do.

  44. Well, my goodness. Betsy and Todd: do you fully appreciate the fact that this blog’s administrators have given you full run to vent, posit, and present your opinions? I do. I think it’s good to read both sides. And I respect the integrity of someone who is open to criticism. However, when a poster comes back over and over again – to get the “last word” in, I have to wonder, do you feel you have to be right?

    I’m not fond of the “crack” remark, either.

    This commentary tirade reminds me of folks who say “you’re not listening to me” when they really mean “why don’t you agree with me?” There is a huge audience reading this blog (as well as Get Schools on AJC and DeKalb School Watch Two) because there are no other venues where sunlight is exposing the inner workings and problems within DeKalb School administration.

    A civil discourse benefits everyone, particularly when multiple sides of an issue are presented.

  45. Freudian slip: “Get Schools” on AJC! I meant “Get Schooled.”

  46. @DunwoodyMom please see my @Chamblee Mom comment

    I agree with your comment “A civil discourse benefits everyone, particularly when multiple sides of an issue are presented.’ However I am at a loss to ‘However, when a poster comes back over and over again – to get the “last word” in, I have to wonder, do you feel you have to be right?” Is there some limit to the number of times an engaged person can comment? I am very glad you are not fond of the crack comment and really disliked the attack of the Saint Pius Students myself. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone’s feelings and perhaps you think I am too aggressive or exceeded my proper number or responses. I have heard I was too aggressive in DeKalb before but I am not going to let it deter me from doing my best to encourage the removal of the BOE. What did stop me years ago was the idea that my children would suffer but as I said they are safe at SPX. I am sorry but I am not going away and this is a nightmare. It is difficult to write and read for everyone myself included. It is true this may reach a huge audience but our 98,000 students in DCSS and the community are depending on us to fix it or at least make mistakes as concerned parents. To do nothing at this juncture seems like child abuse to me.
    I don’t believe I “have to be right” but I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. If you think that is having to get the last word to you then you know where I stand. Yep, with the 98,000 kids.

  47. Betsy Parks
    Please quote word for word the alleged attack of the Saint Pius Students. The “Woe is Me” commentary is getting old.

  48. @ DeKalb Inside Out
    Saint Pius and no drugs … smart thinking
    I cut and pasted it. FYI: I will AGAIN ignore and not respond to the rest of your comment(s).

    Going to pick up my husband who has been in AFG in a few minutes. I will be unavailable for a couple of bliss filled days. :)

  49. Wow. Why are you all splitting hairs here and arguing? We’re all on the same side (I think!) – let’s not start a civil war – the other side would enjoy that too much. If we are to advance the cause of replacing this board with a functional board while we find a way to divide the school system into smaller, more manageable and locally-controlled chunks, then we have to show a little more tolerance towards each other.

    I give Nancy BIG kudos for serving on this board and expressing the honesty and transparency we all desire (or say we desire). And BIG kudos to Betsy Parks for setting up a petition and trying her best to be engaged in the public issues at hand. And BIG kudos to Dunwoody Mom for all of her devotion to public service with her blog. The disagreements are petty and small compared to the agreements on the over-arching issues.

    It seems to me that “DeKalb Inside Out” was the person who incited the bad vibes by insinuating that Betsy was on ‘crack’… Nancy would have been within her rights to have deleted that comment.

    Stay together people – righting this ship will take every one of us! Keep up ALL of your good work – and try to not get bogged down arguing the minutiae.

  50. To paraphrase Betsy Parks, “My kids go to Pius and I don’t do drugs”. To paraphrase my response “Your kids go to Pius and you don’t do drugs … good thinking”.

    So, Betsy Parks is driving me crazy with her fake indignation about a made up attack on the Pius students. Furthermore, Betsy Parks’ stupid comment about Nancy should resign her post in hopes that the others will follow is rude, ridiculous and inflammatory.

    Betsy Parks, I hope the moderator keeps it up as a reminder that you will not get away with that behavior while I’m around.

    Thank You ;-)

  51. @dunMoody,

    Yes, I fully appreciate the blog….had there been no blogpost, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I am proud of the moderator for allowing everyone to express their views.

    I agree with you that we should all stay off crack, both in practice and on this blog.

    As for coming back and responding to those who say I am wrong, I certainly don’t have to feel I am right. But, I think it is a bit naive to think that if someone says you are wrong or takes issue with what you have to say, you will just sit there like a bump on a log.

    But, make no mistake about it, I do care about WHAT is right. About government, yes. About kids, yes. About the public’s ability to put faith in and trust their elected official, yep, that too.

    If you think it is a tirade, you are welcome to that opinion. In fact, call it whatever name you want. If it gets us somewhere, I will live with it.

    Take care.

  52. Ms. Jester, i think you should take a moment and learn a thing or two from DSW2. Just saying policing is not something you or the DKBOE do well. I do applaud you for this blog and your hard work on a dysfunctional self-serving board. I encourage you to petition Governor Deal.
    dekalbschoolwatch says:
    February 1, 2013 at 5:36 PM
    HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: Please do not post personal attacks on other bloggers or people. We are not interested in playing host to petty arguments. We have removed a sidebar argument that had been taking place in the comments on this post. That said, it is very difficult to monitor every comment without putting the whole blog on total moderation, which we have done in the past, but try to avoid as it is a lot of work for us to read each and every comment. (Have we ever mentioned that we work full time at ‘jobs’? We are not professional paid bloggers.)

    If you see a comment that you find offensive, please shoot us an email and request that it be removed. We have accommodated people many, many times with these kinds of requests.

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/nancy-jester-speaks-out-again-a-must-read/#comments

  53. Can someone please tell me what time I should plan to arrive at the State BOE Thursday if I want to get a seat? (I cannot stand for a long period of time.) Thank you.

  54. Kathy, I will be there very early and will save you a seat. If you arrived late last time they had a conference room set up with the meeting being “streamed in”. You can leave me a message on http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-nathan-deal-and-georgia-state-board-of-education-review-sacs-findings-if-accurate-replace-the-dekalb-county-school-board
    Pushing 1700 signatures!

  55. @ Nancy Arnold

    This note about tomorrow’s hearing was left on DeKalb School Watch blog today (2/20/2013):

    “If you are planning on attending the hearing tomorrow, please note that it is Disability Day at the Capitol. The events start at 9:00 am with the rally at 11:00. Governor Deal is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. This is typically a well attended event so be prepared for traffic and possible challenges with parking and maybe street closures.”

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