Children Are Not Cookie Dough!

By Dr. John Trotter


I actually applaud Sonny Perdue's Administration for having the integrity and the guts to expose the systematic cheating. Again, this is only the tip of the iceberg, especially in systems like Atlanta and DeKalb. It was in DeKalb last year that I was "banned" because I would not roll over play dead when State Senator Ronald B. Ramsey (in charge of the teacher grievances in the DeKalb School System) unilaterally shut down a grievance before it actually had a chance to get going when he found out that the teacher whom MACE and I was representing was about to testify about systematic cheating at Clarkston High School. This teacher had a list of Clarkston teachers he was asking the school system to "subpoena" (really relieve of duty) to attend the grievance. I was in and out of Ramsey's private office as he was obviously agitated and full of angst about this grievance. I kept going back into the conference room and reporting to Mr. Haynes and the teacher about Ramsey's intense vacillation. Finally, Ramsey just shut the whole process down and did not like the fact that I was quoting the law to him, particularly this section: "...the complainant shall be entitled to an opportunity to be heard, to present relevant evidence, and to examine witnesses at each level" (O.C.G.A. 20-2-989.8[4]). He retorted that he knew the law when I further insisted on reading the law to him from the Code itself. I told him that he was a state senator and sworn to uphold the law and that these were the very laws that he and his colleagues pass but he was egregiously violating. He apparently did not like my lecturing him on the law. A few days later, I was "banned" from the school system. I must say that I wear this "banning" with honor, and I can assuredly let anyone know that I have been truly "banned" from better places than the Cesspool located on North Decatur Road. This "banning" has certainly not stopped MACE from representing teachers in grievance hearings, terminations hearings, writing letters of intervention and rebuttal for teachers, or picketing on behalf of teachers to expose situations which need to be exposed. (In fact, the MACE Picketing Squad was picketing one of the DeKalb high schools yesterday. I wasn't there, but they tell me it was a juicy one!) MACE was on the sidewalks at two or three locations (including the Central Office) picketing against "systematic cheating" in DeKalb last year before any of the cheating scandals hit the press. (By the way, Senator Ramsey was probably under immense pressure not to hold previously-mentioned grievance hearing because the tragic suicide of the fifth grader had not yet hit the media and neither had the cheating scandal at Atherton Elementary not the cheating allegations at King High School.)


While I applaud Governor Perdue's Administration for this exposure of cheating, I must disagree with his concerted effort to bring about merit pay for teachers under the name of All Star Teachers. This will cause further pressure to cheat for same reasons happening now. First of all, I worked as an administrator in the only Georgia school system in modern time to use merit pay. I saw who was getting merit pay. It correlated to b_tt kissing. Pure and simple. The teachers with less integrity will go along to get along and do some major b_tt kissing in order to have their classroom rolls full of the "good" students. The teachers who refuse to grovel and kiss b_tt will suffer for their rectitude. They will get the lion's share of the "behavior problems." Cheating will take place on the tests, especially if the standardized test scores will determine who will get the incentive pay. Teaches will quit sharing resources and teaching techniques. Sorry, Sonny, but this is how it works. You're not randomly sorting out inanimate objects which are floating down a conveyer belt. We are not talking about how many batches of cookie dough each person on the assembly line can mold into a ready-to-be cooked cookie. Children are not cookie dough. (c) MACE, February 12, 2010.

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