What Will The New State
Superintendent Do About The "War Zone Schools"?
By Dr. John Trotter
I see that Kathy Cox has stepped down.
She's had enough. I am sure that Kathy is a nice person, but from the beginning she was in way over
her head. She won simply because she had an "R" next to her name. The same
for Linda Schrenko. Both are pleasant enough to be around but entirely clueless when it comes to improving
education in Georgia, particularly in the urban areas like DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Atlanta, Clayton, Fulton, Muscogee, Richmond,
Dougherty, Chatham, Bibb, et al. Some school systems in Georgia are doing just fine, despite the State
cutting large sums of monies from the systems. But, where education is failing is largely in the urban
school settings...where teaching there can be like teaching in a war zone.
In the "War Zone Schools" (perhaps I can coin this phrase like my "educrat" and "snoopervise"
phrases, eh?), there are some salient features which plague them. At MACE, we have been talking about these
"plagues" for years, but this is not popular to talk about and borders on being "politically incorrect,"
which is something with which we don't too much concern ourselves. Here are the "Four Horsemen of
Failing Urban Schools" (ooh, I like this phrase also; I see that I easily impress myself -- ha!): (1)
Defiant & Disruptive Students (Thugs); (2) Irate & Irresponsible Parents; (3) Angry & Abusive Administrators;
and (4) Systematic & Widespread Cheating. There you have it. These are the crucial
issues, and each and every candidate for State Superintendent will blithely ignore all of them and proceed to offer up some
pedagogical pabulum and platitudes which, first of all, will be theoretically and practically unsound, and second of all,
will not make a scintilla of difference in these "War Zone Schools."
Why does MACE thrive? Because we tell the truth about these "War Zone Schools," and we
do not candy-coat the problems. We address the problems head-on. This is what GAE and
PAGE refuse to do -- in fact, CANNOT do because they cater to the whims of administrators who are also their members.
No matter who gets elected as State Superintendent of Georgia -- John Barge, Roger Hines, Richard Woods, Beth Farokhi,
Sandra Cannon Scott, Brian Westlake, Joe, or Kira Willis -- he or she will not do one thing to improve
these "War Zone Schools." Oh, Harris County will be O. K. Fannin
County will be O. K. Bremen City will be O. K. But, what about Sylvan Middle School
in Atlanta? What about Fain Elementary School in Atlanta? What about Indian Creek Elementary
School in DeKalb? What about Tara Elementary School in Clayton? What about Lindley Middle
School in Cobb? What about Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett? What about Columbia Middle
School in DeKalb? What about Mays High School (yes, the once storied Mays which is now floundering) in
Atlanta? What about Clarkston High School in DeKalb? What about Randolph Elementary
School in Fulton? What about these schools? What will the new superintendent do about
these schools? Nothing. (c) MACE, April 18, 2010.