Atlanta: Behind the Iron Curtain!
summer, an Atlanta lawyer whose child attends school in Atlanta wrote a scathing expose of the ridiculous and byzantine interviewing
process of the Atlanta Public Schools
(APS). His lengthy article which detailed the stupid and inexplicable process of interviewing prospective administrators
was first published in the Fulton Daily Report, the legal
organ for the Fulton County courts. Later, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ran an abbreviated version of the author’s article on its op-ed page. For
the uninitiated, reading about the hilarious hoops that the APS administration requires its prospective administrators
to jump through is mindless. For those of us who have experienced this insanity
before, well, it’s just par for the course for APS. He points out
that if a candidate demonstrates any independence or creativity (or veers in any direction away from the prescribed,
canned, standard “answers” which APS has handed down from on high), then the candidate is summarily dismissed
as a viable candidate for the job. The situation results in APS hiring
a bunch of mindless boobs as administrators. But, this revelation of APS’s
hiring procedures is only the tip of the iceberg for the complete assaninity of the practices of the APS administration. For those of us who try to make heads or tails out of what goes on at 210 Pryor
Street (or in the individual schools), we are quickly reminded of the ways of the old Soviet Union. Good is bad and bad is good. Up is down and down is up. Being a conscientious teacher and doing a yeoman’s job in the classroom is not
rewarded. In fact, this could be a liability.
Besides being a member of the right sorority or the right fraternity or a member of the right church, what’s
really important is whether you’re a sycophant and whether you kiss the right rear ends.
The all important questions appear to be: Is this person pliable, moldable? Can this person be controlled? Can we
expect this person to keep his/her mouth shut when all kinds of irregularities and anomalies occur (like during the standardized
testing or in financial accounting)? Being a person of integrity and character
is, we’re afraid, a liability in the Atlanta Public Schools. Oh,
yes, you may slip through and get a principal’s job, even if you’re a person of integrity. But, don’t count on it. And, if you do slip through
the crack, don’t expect to ever be promoted beyond the principalship – especially if you blow the whistle on disdainful
and questionable practices. APS does not like to have its dubious practices
questioned. People have come to expect this of Georgia’s Soviet school
system. Good is bad and bad is good.
Does this mean
that APS has no good administrators? No, we didn’t say this, and
we don’t believe this. But, what we are saying is that it appears that
APS has an inordinate number of scoundrels and a high number of insensitive and uncaring boobs who have made their
way into the APS administrative ranks. (We actually have a good working
relationship with several APS central office administrators like Dr. Thelma Mumford-Glover and Dr. Norma
Thomas.) But, what we’ve observed is what we have observed through
the years. Too many times there seems to be no correlation between a person’s
abilities/passion and his or her chances at promotion. We’re just glad
that others (like the aforementioned attorney who wrote the article) are finally making their voices known. The president of GAE is a former employee of APS who is on a leave-of-absence. Yet, we don’t hear her speak out against APS’s byzantine ways. Perhaps she bites her tongue because when her tenure is through at GAE, she’ll likely return to APS. MACE has
felt like a prophet in the desert while constantly speaking out against the evil doings of APS. For three years in a row, our front-page, headline articles in The Teacher’s Advocate!
was dealing with APS. (See, for example, “APS: Teaching In Hell!”
The Teacher’s Advocate!, 1997.) We feel that we have to keep
on shining the light on APS. And, those who do their dastardly deeds against
teachers like to do these deeds in the cover of darkness. But, the classroom
educators want MACE to keep shining the light until the humane, fair, and equitable treatment of APS teachers
by APS administrators is the norm, not the exception. APS teachers,
we feel your pain. One day, the Iron Curtain of oppression will be lifted.
August 10, 2003