Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Michael Thurmond Talks Charter School System

Below is an interview WSB-TV's Erica Byfield conducted with DeKalb School Superintendent Michael Thurmond in regards to DCSS becoming a Charter School System.  The "interview" appears, at least to me, as nothing more than a PR piece for Thurmond.  In fact, his answers are so rehearsed, I believe he knew the questions beforehand.  Of course, there is the obligatory North vs South question thrown in.

Below is also an excerpt from an article in the AJC regarding DeKalb's Charter status.  The Board of Education appears willing to approve for the entire school district what they denied the Druid Hills Charter Cluster. Make sense? Well, it is DCSS.  Also, a question, if the school district becomes a charter district, what does that mean for the current conversion charters? Will DCSS deem them unnecessary and deny their petitions? 

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The DeKalb County School District may become the next big metro Atlanta system to give more autonomy to principals and parents, if the school board votes as expected next month to pursue charter system status.

Every Georgia district must decide by summer 2015 whether to maintain the status quo or to restructure and push more decisions from the central office to the schoolhouse.

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

Also, if you have not reviewed the Flexibility Advisory Committee Executive Summary, you can view by clicking here.

Click here to view the district's presentation on "Charter System" and "Status Quo" options.


  1. The key comment in the AJC article is this: "Thurmond says he would grant autonomy only to schools that demonstrate the capacity to lead". That's a loophole you can drive a fleet of school buses through.

    What are the criteria for demonstrating that capacity? Who gets to determine whether a school meets those criteria? And so on....

  2. I question if the Charter System is the appropriate choice for DCSS (is there a good choice for a struggling school system?). 1. As pointed out in the Executive Summary, there are many schools that would be unable to possess the Governance abilities required by this option. 2) One of the requirements of a Charter System is that the school system must meet Federal and State accountability measures. The district as a whole rarely, if ever, meets these measures. 3. Will the State BOE approve DCSS Flexibility Option?

  3. Right now in the Dunwoody cluster, there are 3 schools trying to renew the school charters. I went to one information meeting about it, and to hear them tell it, the county has been working - and failing - since 2012-13 to define what kind of autonomy charter schools can have. Now, Kingsley, Chesnut and Peachtree MS are all trying to renew their charters and they can't get the information they need. If the county approves a charter system in May, the next deadline is November to define WHAT this will mean. If these schools have been waiting over a year for the info, how is the county going to all of a sudden be able to define a new structure for the WHOLE system in 5 months? It doesn't actually seem like the county really wants to have any charter schools at all, and using the charter system model is a way to just, once again, keep control at the county level.

  4. Just saw where Nancy Jester has embraced the endorsement of the fanatic ultra-right-wing conservative Erick Erickson. No way will I vote for Jester now! I do not want someone running our schools that will push for outlawing the teaching of evolution and replacing it with bibical creation, and then bring back a subtle form of segregation. Nope, Ma'am, you just lost my vote and those of my sensible friends. You lie down with dogs, you gonna wake up with fleas!

  5. Not to mention pandering to the gun lobbyists. http://whatsupwiththat.nancyjester.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BearArmsShirtFrontLightSteel_Cropped.png

    She had the credentials and integrity to run as an independently-minded moderate and win. So sad.