Dr. John Trotter, MACE's Chairman, is considered Georgia's
premier teacher advocate. He was a teacher and an administrator in several Georgia school systems. As an administrator,
he gave maximum support to classroom educators, believing this to be the only way to run an effective school.
He has published a number of articles on education in general and teaching in particular, including one about peer pressure
perceptions in The Journal of Negro Education as well as an extensive study entitled What Teachers
Like and Dislike About Teaching. Dr. Trotter earned a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum
laude, in History from Columbus State University; a Master of Arts in Social Science Education from
The University of Georgia; and two doctoral degrees -- one from The University of Georgia
in Educational Administration and the other from Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law.
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
What’s really wrong with American Public Education
today is the ravenous greed of vulture capitalists like Bill Gates who are interloping in an area about which they know nothing.
They are denizens in a foreign land, pushing their agenda in this more than one-half trillion dollar industry which they just
discovered. I have been saying for years that this cataclysmic disruption that these billionaires have caused in American
Public Education has resulted in much more harm than good. These billionaire school “reformers” are in actually
school deformers. They have wreaked havoc on the landscape of American schools on the scale of Hurricanes Hugo
The educational kibitzing
that these billionaires have engaged in has undermined public education here in the United States, and we believe that it
is the desire of many of them to totally destroy public education as we have known it here in the United States. They
have donated millions upon millions of dollars to charter school organizations as well as to organizations which seek to tie
evaluating a teacher’s performance to the test scores of the students. The latter may sound good on paper but
it is wholly unrealistic. I am thinking about the poor teachers at schools like Sylvan Middle School in Atlanta.
I remember a few years back when I at Sylvan Middle School and talking to the principal of this school in his office.
He called me to his desk and pulled out a side drawer showing me several weapons that he had confiscated that year from the
students. This principal looked at me and stated, “John, this is a shitty school.” Those were his
Yes, in the United States (especially
in the urban areas), we have some “shitty schools,” and they are not “shitty” because of the teachers.
The teachers are working under the most horrendous conditions, but it is educational interlopers like Bill Gates (who obviously
is a marketing genius relative to computer software) who want to blame the “shitty schools” on the teachers.
No, ole Bill, it’s the students and their parents who are the problem. The problem is poverty and crime-ridden
neighborhoods. In this same “shitty school” in Atlanta, a teacher told me a few years later (under another
principal) that he went into the boys’restroom, and some kid had scrawled all over the mirror, “8-12 run this
shit.” Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Dell, and the Waltons don’t know jackshit about how to deal with “8-12”
kids and “shitty schools.” Instead of blaming the teachers in these “shitty” schools, these
billionaire interlopers ought take a number, get in line, and kiss the teachers’ asses for teaching in these “shitty”
I suspect that Bill Gates, with
his billions of dollars (estimated to be over 72 billion) might have gotten a tad bored as the inordinately wealthy tend to
get, and he and Melinda decided at breakfast one morning that they would take over the American schools and make them work.
(His welcome is apparently wearing out on the Microsoft Board of Directors; I saw in the media recently
that some of the key shareholders want him off of the Microsoft board. This is not so unrealistic.
Remember what happened to Steve Jobs with the Apple board.) So, Bill and Melinda take on American
Public Education as their new little project. But, perhaps it’s not so altruistic as this. Perhaps Billy
Gates sees huge profit potential in this more than one-half trillion dollar industry called “public education,”
if he could just harness a “common curriculum” which would use his software applications which would be piously
called “digital learning” applications. You know…the same ones that Microsoft
is already in the process of developing for Pearson, the largest educational publisher in the world, today. Ah…money,
it all gets back to money. Well, that’s what it’s all about, folks. It’s all about the cheddar,
not the children.
Recently, I heard an interview
in which Bill Gates made some rather revealing comments. He stated: “[I]dentifying common standards
is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to these standards.”
Gates also talked about “creat[ing] just these kinds of tests—next-generation assessments aligned to
the common core” and “[w]hen the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and
that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching” [emphasis added].
Finally, Gates observed in this same interview, “For the first time, there will be a large uniform
base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better”
[emphasis added]. I presume that Billy Gates just couldn’t contain his excitement. For him, the largess
of public education is like a little kid in a candy shop.
Bill and Melinda Gates sent their children to matriculate at the elite Lakeside School in Seattle, the same school where Bill
and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Allen attended. Melinda Gates is on record of wanting many,
many more standardized tests than the ones which already shackle our school systems today. And, ole Bill has pushed
Arne Duncan, the U. S. Secretary of Education who doesn’t know his ass from deep centerfield, to tie the receiving of
Federal Race to the Top funds to (1) the states having to implement teacher evaluations tied to student test scores and (2)
the states not having any limits on charter schools. But, would Bill and Melinda like for the Lakeside School’s
teachers to be treated so brusquely and for the students to be fed low-grade testing husks for their curriculum needs?
Diane Ravitch, in one of her insightful tomes on public education, wrote: “He [Gates] fondly recalled his teachers
at Lakeside, the private school he attended in Seattle, who ‘fueled my interests and encouraged me to read and learn
as much as I could” (The Death and Life of the Great American School System:
How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, p. 212). I suppose that what is good for his and Melinda’s
children and what is good for their children’s teachers is not good for the rest of us. Bill Gates is a Gnostic
interloper in the field of public education and, quite frankly, it’s the likes of him and Melinda who are ruining public
education. They just need to enjoy the facile petina of their private schools and get the hell out of public education.
They are in over their heads. But, I am reminded of what St. Paul wrote: “The love of money is the root
of all evil.”
It’s the billionaires
(especially the Gateses) who are pushing those damnable standardized tests. They essentially look at two skills:
Mathematical and Verbal-linguistic. Damn the idea that there are several types of intelligence which are not even tested.
(Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education has identified nine or ten or more different types of intelligence
which essentially go unnoticed or ignored because of the very narrow and shallow tests which are whipping up our public schools
into a testing mania.) Damn the idea that our children still need a rich curriculum that includes a wide variety of
subjects which are not currently tested (history, science, art, physical education, music, civics, government, literature,
etc.). Damn the idea that creativity and ideas should be nourished among the students or that our teachers should be
freed up to be creative with their children and to stray off the path of those damnable prescriptive curriculum packages or
to stray one scintilla from the cookie-cutter teaching methods which are mandated. Yes, damn any type of teaching and
learning that takes place at the Lakeside School in Seattle. This is just for the children of the so-called elite and
effete, for those children who are already determined to be the Gnostic leaders of the craftsmen and tillers of the soil.
Yes, apparently the billionaires want the children of America’s public schools to keep their heads down and learn the
essential math and verbal-linguistic skills…so that they can work efficiently in this new global economy that people
like Bill Gates are trying to usher in. So, yes, damn the enrichment! Standardized testing full speed
ahead! Before I leave this subject of these dastardly tests, let me share a worthy quote from Einstein,
who by the way, was not considered so smart while he was in school. This quote is attributed to Einstein: “Everyone
is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to a climb tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
These standardized tests, the same tests which would not be tolerated at the Gateses’ tony Lakeside School
in Seattle, are destroying our children and making them think that they are stupid and worthy of only disengaging from their
school work and eventually dropping out. So many of these children are now standing on the street corners, selling dope,
and waiting to be sentenced to the state prison, thanks, in part, to these damnable standardized tests!
Are there any problems in our public schools today? Sure.
There are problems in any profession or industry. There are corrupt and unethical physicians and lawyers. They
are some cheating and incompetent accountants. There are elected officials who aren’t worth a plugged nickel.
We see evidence of incompetence, unethical behavior, and bad practices in every profession. But, do we turn upside down
a profession just because a few members of that profession need to be weeded out. Do we throw out the entire barrel
of good apples because of one or two rotten apples? Of course not. We don’t impose a tight net on
an entire profession just because of few bad apples. We don’t suffocate the entire profession and put all of the
members of that profession on training wheels because of one or two incompetent members. We use a loose net to catch
these people. This reminds me of a true story that a retired principal told me recently at my niece’s wedding.
My brother serves on the school board where this incident occurred, and he asked this retired principal to tell me the story.
The retired principal leaned over and started whispering what had happened when he was telling an incompetent teacher who
had totally lost control of her classroom and was crying in front of the students that he was going to have to let her go
at the December break. He stated: “I gently told her that I was going to try to work with her but
that I was getting lots of complaints from the parents, the administration, and even from the superintendent about the conditions
in her classroom. So, this was on October 31st when she had just gotten paid, and I told her that we would
wait until the December break and then she would have to go but it would be a smooth transition. I asked her if she
understood the game plan? She slammed her keys on the desk and blurted out: ‘I resign.
Trick or Treat, muthafucker!’” So, yes, this teacher probably didn’t need to be teaching,
and the principal was letting her go in as a humane manner as possible. But, he certainly didn’t expect the sudden
resignation and the Halloween greeting!
school educators can take care of their own problems just as can attorneys, physicians, or accountants. Quit insulting
them and treating them like tall children. Treat them like the professionals that they have been educated to be.
Anything short of this is disastrous. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.
Principals without Principles: The New Generation
of School Administration are Bent on Evaluation and Intimidation and are Really Full of Defecation!
Note: This is Chapter 32 in the upcoming book, The MACE Manifesto.
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Yes, full of shit. If you are teaching in an American public school these days, more than likely
you are working in a school with a principal who is full of shit. If you are not working for a principal
who is full of shit, then you are one of the fortunate ones. So, consider yourself quite lucky and stay
put at that school. But, when a new principal comes along at your school, he or she likely will be a full-of-shit
principal who is high on himself or herself and thinks that you need to be treated like a hired hand. This
new principal will not be bent on treated you as a colleague and a professional, but as someone who has to be managed in a
top-down, heavy-handed manner. These principals operate under what I call the MITE Theory, a theory that
is faulty, rotten to the core, and based on a bad premise. The “M” in MITE stands for “Micromanaging.”
These principals feel that it is their job to micromanage and snoopervise you, calling into question each discretionary
decision that you make. They don’t trust your professional judgment based on your professional knowledge
and wisdom. In fact, they get quite perturbed if you deign to make a decision or a move in your own classroom
without first asking deferentially for their permission.
The “I” in MITE
stands for “Intimidating.” These principals think that part of being a principal in a school
is intimidating the teachers and everyone else on the staff. It is though they get off on scaring the teachers
and other staff members. They had rather be feared than respected and loved. They are
not loved and don’t seem to care. They are angling for another promotion, trying to get to the almighty
central office. Many want to become one of the head honchos in the school system and eventually to be named
an Educational Slut (Superintendent) themselves. They have learned by observing that the way up the corporate
school ladder is to step on subordinates and kiss the asses of their superordinates. The cheese and
grin like shit-eating dogs when their supervisors are around, but when they are dealing with teachers and others on staff,
they come across like a modern-day Attila the Hun.
The “T” in “MITE”
is closely akin to the “I.” It stands for “Threatening.” They
threaten the teachers and others on staff with a loss of their jobs and credentials. Since the evaluation
process is now tied to the State-run credentialing agency (the Professional Standards Commission in Georgia), they know that
an adverse Annual Evaluation can jeopardize a teacher’s pay raise and that Unsatisfactories on two consecutive Annual
Evaluations can keep a teacher being able to have the necessary certification to teach. They know that
they have the teachers’ livelihoods in their hands. They use this power to the maximum.
This encourages the teachers to become sycophants who will do many unethical things which these principals want, even
engaging in systematic cheating on standardized tests, as we have clearly observed recently in school systems like the Atlanta
Public Schools and the Daugherty County School System here in Georgia. Yes, these principals operating
under MITE threaten the teachers’ jobs on a regular basis and sometimes even rudely and brusquely say stuff like the
following in faculty meetings: “You either do what I am telling you or I’ll have your job.”
Many are actually this blunt. And, they seem to enjoy inflicting emotional and mental pain upon
the teachers. Often, this emotional and mental pain results in physical ailments and, in some case, I believe
The “E” in MITE stands for “Evaluating.”
Yes, they seem to think that their entire job is about evaluating the teachers and others on staff. What
about facilitating or supporting the teachers? What?! These are foreign elements in
their mentality. They are, as they have been indoctrinated into thinking, “the instructional leaders”
of the schools. Even though the principal might have been a high school Biology, History, or P. E. teacher,
when this person all of a sudden is named the principal of an elementary school, they suddenly and with heavenly dispensation
become the all-knowing instructional leader of the elementary school, knowing the best way to teach First Graders how to read
or Third Graders how to successfully perform long-division. Why would a former high school Biology teacher
presume to think that she or he knows more about teaching a First Grader how to read than a veteran First Grade professional
educator of 20 or more years? It makes no sense. How would a former Second Grade teacher
who is now an Assistant Principal in a high school know more about teaching high school Chemistry than a 15-year veteran teacher
of high school Chemistry? This pattern could be repeated over and over. It is
senseless. But, this whole evaluation model that principals think is the summum bonum of being
a principal is flawed. You have insensitive non-experts spouting their opinions on evaluation bubble-sheets
about the expertise of a teacher in a classroom when in reality these administrators don’t know their butts from deep
As a whole (mind you that there are exceptions to this
general rule), the principals these days are insecure, petty, mean-spirited, small-minded, silly, stupid, and spineless.
They don’t have enough sense to get out of the rain or to pour piss from a bucket. But, they,
in their Nazi-like mindedness and sycophant posturing, seem to enjoy inflicting pain on their fellow humans (teachers).
They get their jobs in many cases simply because they are senseless and total boobs. They question
nothing and goose-step to each and every whim of their bosses. They have eaten so much shit climbing the
corporate ladder within the school system that they have acquired a taste for bureaucratic feces. We used
to call them brownnosers but they are now called ass-kissers. Today, they just eat shit. And,
that might be harmless enough if their actions or lack of actions didn’t impact on the teachers and students.
But, these administrative dumbasses are not just silly, stupid, and spineless, but they are also extremely petty and
vindictive. Furthermore, all of them want to major in curriculum and instruction and minor in student discipline.
No, let’s correct that. Not “minor” on student discipline; they actually just
“ignore” student discipline. And I often wonder how many of them can actually spell the word
“curriculum.” Heck, it doesn’t matter what the curriculum is if the students are bouncing
off the walls!
Whenever these petty and vindictive principals perceive
that the a teacher deigns to mention that the administration should support the teachers in disciplinary matters or when any
teacher shows in any way that he or she does not have the same willingness to eat administrative shit with what these principals
consider all due alacrity, they get bent out of shape and go on a bureaucratic rampage. It is as if these
little administrative gnomes are thinking and saying: “If I had to eat shit on a regular basis
as I climbed the corporate ladder, then I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let these bitches and muddafuckers get away
with dissing me! I’ll make their lives miserable! Let’s see if they can
pass any of my evaluations or get any merit pay! Hell to the nah! It ain’t happening!”
And our schools continue to suffer under these pissified, myopic, and feckless leaders, but, hey, the appointed
superintendents are able to survive for almost three years with gargantuan salaries and benefits and the ultimate buy-out
packages. This is how the school game is played these days. And these so-called school
leaders keep pontificating about doing “what’s best for the children,” but they aren’t doing jack-shit
for the children; it’s all about their fat wallets. The emperor is naked as a jay bird and no one,
besides the crazy folks MACE, seem to have the nerve to state the obvious.
This new generation of school administration couldn’t tote the water buckets (or jock straps,
as we might say in the less gender-sensitive days) of the administrators of yesteryear. These administrators
of yesteryear made no pretense of being “the instructional leaders of the schools.” Rather,
they made sure that the students behaved, and they did what they needed to do to insure that this happened. I
remember a math teacher telling me at Washington County High School (where I was a 27 year-old Assistant Principal):
“When Bobby [made-up name] started his foolishness in class today, all I had to do was mention that I was about
to send him up to see you and he straightened up immediately.” This is what the teachers need.
This is what they crave. They can perform near miracles in the classroom when they know that their
administrators support them. I remember one of the things that my father did when he was the only Assistant
Principal at one the largest high schools in Georgia back in the 1950s and 1960s. He said that he knew
that Coach Armstrong [again, made-up name] was not very academically-inclined but a heck-of-a-coach. He
also knew that the very petite Chemistry teacher was not that good at controlling her class but knew her subject well and
could teach effectively if she were supported in the area of discipline. So, he called in Coach Armstrong
and said, “Coach, I want you to help Miss Clinkscale [another made-up name] while she is teaching her Chemistry class.
You sit to the side of the gym [yes, it was a large class in the gymnasium] and if any students gets out of line, you
call them out and paddle them [the girls weren’t paddled back then].” The coach did as he was
asked. The students behaved, and Miss Clinkscale did a marvelous job teaching the Chemistry class.
This was “Team Teaching” at its best.
Yes, these principals made sure
that the students behaved. This was number one in priority. Because student discipline
in not the top priority today, the public schools are spinning out of control and consequently academic achievement is not
taking place either. These principals made sure that the halls were quiet and clean…and that students
were not just wandering around the halls like they do today. And, the students had better get to class
on time…before the bell rang. I asked the teachers at the schools where I was an administrator to
simply close the doors of their classroom and not allow the students to come in until they had note signed by me.
Usually, we simply gave the students a “tune-up” (translation: a paddling). Yes, this
took care of the late-to-class phenomenon. The students got to class on time, and you could almost hear
a pin drop in the halls.
These principals in yesteryear
made sure that the grounds were well-groomed. The grass was cut and trash was picked up. The
grounds were safe and secure. It saddens me to see on the news in recent days that mildew seemed to have
taken over parts of the beautiful Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta. This is Dr. Martin Luther
King’s alma mater. Washington High’s storied structure is still, in my opinion, the most beautiful
high school in Georgia. Architecturally, it is a masterpiece. But, this summer the halls
(or at least one main area) were flooded, and the news reports stated that he band uniforms had been infested with mildew.
So sad. I don’t believe one of the old-style principals would have stood for this.
I believe that an old-style principal would have worked night and day (even if he had to do it himself) to get rid
of the water in the halls. These older principals took pride in how their school buildings looked.
These principals of yesteryear
got out of their offices and walked the halls. The principals of this new generation sit in their offices
and write memos or letters of direction to teachers. They need to get up and down the halls to make
sure that the students know them and also know that they are there to support the teachers. Only by supporting
the teachers can the students have a decent environment in which to learn. They walked the halls to friendly
greet the students and teachers. The older principals knew that they needed to maintain a high-profile
in the school building. They asked the teachers and coaches and band directors what they needed to get
their jobs done. They did the same thing with the custodial or lunchroom staff. They
made sure that the air condition and heating units were working properly. And, last but not least, they
made sure that the lunches (and in some schools, breakfasts as well) were served hot. What they didn’t
do is snoopervise and intimidate and threaten the teachers and staff. It never dawned on them to do this.
This was unthinkable…until the devastating “accountability movement” started traversing this county
from California in the mid-1970s. This movement which ostensibly was going to improve our public schools
has just about ruined them beyond repair. This is the classic example of The Law of Unintended Consequences.
This movement gave birth to this new generation of administration which is characterized by dumbass, heartless, spineless,
and stupid principals with no principles. © Big Daddy Publishers, 2013.
MACE Knows The Issues!
What's wrong with public education in Georgia?
It's not the teachers...
The politicians, the educrats (i.e.,
those so-called educators who have been out of the classroom so long -- if they ever were in the classroom -- that they have
no conception of the reality of today's classroom), and the policy-makers never cease to amaze me about their
abject ignorance and/or apathy concerning what is really wrong with public education. All of these numbskulls want to treat
the lack of learning in public education as a technical breakdown. It must be that the teachers are just not teaching hard
enough, they think. It makes you want to vomit, right? So, they think that the teachers need more training, more staff development,
more education. Yes, eureka! We have the answer, they think. The teachers need to be more "highly qualified." No,
no one wants to state the brutal but obvious fact: The students need to apply themselves. The students need to study.
We at MACE have written dozens of articles dealing with this issue of blaming the teachers for the laziness
and simple lack of effort on the students' part. Look at TheTeachersAdocate.Com for current
articles and letters -- like the one that I recently sent to a DeKalb County middle school principal -- or look in the back
issues of The Teacher's Advocate! which can be found on our web site. Only MACE
points out with an unapologetic and clarion voice that what is wrong with public schooling in Georgia is not the teachers
(and any lack of effort or training), and it is not a technical breakdown in the teaching-learning process. The problems in
public education are three-fold. Here are the three major problems. Hold on to your seat. GAE and AFT
and PAGE either do not know what the problems are or they are afraid to forthrightly address them. Here they
Defiant and Disruptive Students
Many of today's
students just do not want to learn. In order for a student to learn, the student must want to learn. If a
student does not want to learn, then no amount of parent-calling, mandatory tutorials, progress reports, etc., will do any
good. A teacher can only teach a student. A teacher cannot learn the student. That is not even good English! Those
students who do not want to learn must be removed from the regular school environment. To allow these students to defy
the teacher and to disrupt the learning processes for the students who do want to learn is unconscionable.
When a teacher sends one these defiant and disruptive students to the office, the administrators must deal with this student
swiftly and surely -- with all due alacrity! Otherwise, doing nothing to support the teacher or just putting
a Band Aid on a major problem does nothing but undermine the teacher, thus preventing the other students from learning. This
is the first thing that is wrong with public education. No one wants to talk about the lazy, defiant,
and disruptive "students" (and I put the word in quotes because so many of these young people are
not students in the true sense of the word; they are taking up space and causing disruptions).
Irate and Irresponsible Parents
The second major problem in public education in Georgia is Irate and Irresponsible Parents. The
main reason that the administrators will not support the teachers concerning discipline and the grading process
is their fear of the parents. Many of the parents not only do not support the efforts of their child's teachers, but they
also become irate and irresponsible when they are notified by the teachers of their child's deficiencies -- whether in academe
or in comportment. They do not want to hear anything except that little Johnny is brilliant and such a pleasure
to have in class. If you tell the parents otherwise, then you are the one at fault. These parents raise heck with the principal,
and the principal calls you in and questions how you are teaching little Johnny. The principal
begins to question your ability to teach, your interaction with your students, and your classroom management. All of this
is happening because the principal is afraid of those irate and irresponsible parents.
Angry and Abusive Administrators
last of the silent troika of problems in public education (which everyone except MACE is afraid to address)
is the Angry and Abusive Administrators. I just got a call today from a teacher (who is in the process of sending her MACE
application in the mail) who was at her doctor's office because of the unbearable stress that her principal has her under.
The principal is so typical of administrators these days. She is heartless and insensitive.
She is vindictive, manipulative, and punitive in her interactions with
the teachers on the staff of this middle school. She manages in a top-down, heavy-handed fashion. She questions the teachers
at their every move. She does not trust them. She does not treat them as professionals whose judgment, discretion,
and wisdom should be respected. It is all about test scores. Test scores have to go up -- despite the fact
that all the research shows that test scores correlate positively (almost invariably) with socio-economic status. In fact,
there have been studies which demonstrate that test scores can be tracked almost automatically based on the free and reduced
lunch count. If a school has hardly any students on free and reduced lunch, then that school's test scores will be high --
and vice versa. This is the law of the large numbers. There can be exceptions to this law, but the exceptions
only prove the law. Beating teachers over the head about unrealistic expectations on test scores is ludicrous. Any significant
jump in test scores usually indicates that cheating took place. But we are not supposed to talk about this! Hey, at MACE,
we deal with reality and we are not afraid to speak our minds. So many of today's administrators are just
mean and bitter. They are unhappy within themselves (perhaps because they had to kiss so much butt to finally
get to be an administrator) that they want to share their misery. Misery loves company. They want the teachers to genuflect
before them and do obeisance like the teacher is in a slave-master relationship to them. This is sick, but this is how it
is in so many of the public schools of Georgia.
Dr. Trotter Appears
on CBS's Peachtree TV on Sunday Morning...Talking
Brown Knocked Out In First Round!
C. Brown, A Shill For SACS, Tries To Take On MACE’s Dr. John Trotter!
Editor’s Note: The following is Dr. John Trotter’s response to Dennis C. Brown in
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Get Schooled blog. Dr. Trotter has been stating
boldly for about three or four years now that SACS is a private, phony, money-grabbing organization which makes its money
on creating hysteria among the citizens by threatening to take away its phony accreditation. Dr. Trotter
has been advocating that the General Assembly pass legislation creating the Georgia Schools Accrediting Agency (GSAA)
and that the State should jettison SACS entirely. There is no oversight on SACS. SACS
is not accountable to anyone but itself. This is unconscionable. The People of Georgia
should have say in the matter of accreditation. GSAA would be under the authority of the
Georgia Board of Education and administratively under the State Superintendent who is elected by the people of Georgia.
The members of the State Board of Education are appointed by the Governor who is elected by the People.
Dr. Trotter’s ardent advocacy for change has stirred many reactions, with most of the vocal people on the blogs
supporting a change.
@ Dennis C. Brown: I'm not sure that I can decipher the point(s) that you appear to be laboring
to make. Yes, I did indeed serve on several Five Year Studies with SACS about 30 years ago.
They were a song and pony show then, and they are still a song and pony show now. Mark Elgart is
the prime mover at SACS, and you and everyone else know that. His salary with benefits is about $400,000.00.
He is the face of SACS. When one of the Clayton County Central Office administrators called me to
ask if I would be willing to meet with the SACS Investigating Committee, I assured this gentleman that I would be happy to
meet with the committee. Later (I think the day of the interviews), I received a call back from this gentleman
telling me that the SACS Committee did not want to meet with me. I think that the members of the committee
had been given their marching orders and did not want to be confused with the facts of the Clayton County situation.
I had reams of emails demonstrating that School Board Chair
Ericka Davis had been egregiously micro-managing Superintendent Barbara Pulliam as well as other Central Office administrators.
I had evidence that Ericka Davis unilaterally, perhaps along with the school board attorney, changed the attorney's
contract without the consent or approval of the school board acting in concert as a body. I had evidence
that Ericka Davis had signed the infamous Riverdale land deal on her own -- without the superintendent's signature.
I had evidence that Ericka Davis also unilaterally asked Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell to have the
County Police to "investigate" where Mr. Norreese Haynes was living. (The police went to the
wrong house in Morrow. Mr. Haynes was living in Conley. The Secretary State's Office
twice reported -- from its lengthy investigation -- that Mr. Haynes lived in his school board district.) Ericka
Davis, the apparent political darling of Mark Elgart on the Clayton County Board of Education, was guilty as sin on many,
many accounts of violating SACS’ sacred standards. But, evidently, Mr. Elgart did not want to pursue
any of these misdeeds. Mr. Haynes and other school board members stated to me that the evidence that they
were ready to submit was dismissed by the so-called investigation committee. Mark Elgart did not mention
a one of Ericka Davis’s egregious actions in his Report which Mr. Haynes rightfully called "a sham and a farce."
I have challenged Mr. Elgart to meet me on any forum at
any place and at any time to openly debate whether SACS so-called "standards" are evenly applied throughout Georgia.
I am again challenging Mr. Elgart to this debate. The SACS Standards are hypocritically applied
and are employed to get school boards in line. You, Mr. Brown, are "with SACS," heh?
Then you ought to have Mark Elgart's ear. From my understanding, there have been many complaints
from citizens about the members of the Fulton County Board of Education micromanaging the superintendents. Isn't
this why John Haro left in a huff after only about five months on the job as the Fulton County Superintendent?
The complaints apparently fail on Mark Elgar's deaf ears. We heard nothing but thunderous silence
from ole Markie on this matter. But, then again, he lives in Alpharetta and surely would not want to be
confronted by angry parents in the Publix Produce Department. © MACE, February 12, 2011.
What If College Coaches Couldn't Choose Their Players?
Or Had To Tolerate Impudent & Defiant Players?
[I must write about 25 articles and blogs each week. This is just
one of the ones that I wrote back in the Fall of 2010 during the college football season. It sees appropriate
considering how classroom educators are held responsible for the performance of "students" who are both impudent
and defiant. This is so ludicrous. We wouldn't think about holding others to the same
standard. John Trotter.]
Another great day of
College Football. I was thinking...what if Coaches Gene Chizik or Mark Richt or Nick Saban had to jump
through a zillion bureaucratic hurdles just to get rid of a player who refuses to attend practice or, when he did attend practice,
refuses to participate and just disrupts everything? What would we think if he had to keep this kid on
the team? We would think that this was unconscionable. This is exactly what is
happening to our public school teachers. Teachers are forced to keep in the classroom those so-called
"students" who are attending class but are not participating in the learning process; rather, they do nothing but
disrupt the learning process for those students who are indeed motivated to learn.
I am impressed with Florida's Trey Burton (a record six touchdowns last week against Kentucky).
He is called "Tebow Light." Florida versus Alabama ought to be a classic tonight, but
I am getting ready to watch "The U" (aka Miami) take on Clemson in Clemson's homecoming game. This
too will be a war, so to speak. Clemson looked terrific in the first half against Auburn a couple of weeks
ago, but Miami, if it can get by Clemson, has a chance to run the table for the rest of the season and redeem itself for its
loss at The Horseshoe (against Ohio State). [Miami had a disappointed season, and Coach Randy Shannon was
replaced. I like Shannon and thought he was done wrong. Auburn went on to win the National
Championship, and Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.] Although
I am disappointed, I still have to pull for my Dogs. I have a feeling that they are going to put on a show
in Colorado tonight. [Colorado upset the Dogs, and the Bulldog Nation began the great murmuring of 2010.] Yep, we would not even think about allowing unmotivated football players
to waste our time pretending to be players. We allow the coaches to routinely "run them off."
But, the classroom educators have to put up with the impudent and disrespectful "students," and then the
educrats blame the teachers for not working miracles (literally, miracles) with so-called "students" who simply
refuse to learn. These are my thoughts as I am getting juiced up for a great day of college football.
What say ye? (c) MACE, October 2, 2010.
Mark Elgart, AdvancED,
& SACS Are Doing A “Job”
On The Atlanta Board Of Education!
Another Report That Is “A Sham And A Farce”
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Folks, let’s face the facts...SACS is an anti-democratic,
elitist, phony organization which is concerned about its money and self-perpetuation as an institution. It
does indeed assume that if elected members of a school board are fighting over issues, problems, goals, etc., then this is
dysfunctional. Darn. I'd hate to see Mark Elgart and SACS (AdvancEd or whatever cute
name it goes by) do a report on the U. S. Congress! This is what democracy is all about. I
really believe that Mark Elgart has a problem with the democratic process. I truly believe that, like in
the situation with Clayton County, Mark Elgart was influenced by the Chamber of Commerce, the powers-that-be, and the desire
to please those who enjoy power lunches at the Piedmont Driving Club.
SACS is a money-grabbing organization that feeds at the public trough by simply threatening school systems with the
loss of its almighty accreditation which is full of fluffy, feel-good standards which are unrealistic in Real Politick.
A school board, by design, is a democracy in action. Mark Elgart and SACS are apparently not comfortable
with democracies but prefer oligarchies. For the self-perpetuation of this institution, SACS tends to allow
itself to be used by the powerful elite in this state. Its focus in Atlanta is entirely off the mark.
Entirely. Mark Elgart and SACS, I believe, are willing pawns of the Big Business Mules in Atlanta.
This accreditation stuff is all about power, control, and money. It doesn't have a hill of beans
to do with what actually goes on in the schools. As Mr. Norreese Haynes described a similar SACS Report
in Clayton County in 2008, I too will call this current SACS Report "a sham and a farce." Read
it. It is a joke.
SACS is an unelected body, and the General Assembly should do what it takes to trim its sails. It
has entirely too much power to destroy a school system or a community without any accountability. Take
away the HOPE Scholarship proviso relative to SACS, and you will see SACS fade into the background where it belongs.
The "Report" (what a joke that it was, fraught with errors and false assumptions) done on -- yes, "done
on" -- Clayton County was indeed, as I formerly noted that then Clayton County school board member Norreese Haynes called
it, "a sham and a farce." It sounds like SACS has done the same thing to the Atlanta Public Schools.
Folks, the way America works is that if the voters aren't satisfied with what is going on in APS, then the voters can
address these matters at the next election.
Mark Elgart, go back to your Mt. Olympus in Alpharetta. You seem to think that you are the Educational
Zeus in Georgia. It's called democracy, Mark...something with which you seemed to be uncomfortable.
I am in no way defending the dysfunctionality of the
Atlanta Public Schools in general. I am sure that I am perhaps its worst critic. I criticize the Beverly Hall Administration,
and I am content to allow the voters to do the criticizing or approving of the school board itself at the election box. This
is my beef with Mark Elgart and SACS. They appear to be tools of the elite and the effete who cannot otherwise get their way.
So, they call in Mark Elgart and SACS to do what they cannot get done at the polls.
If Mark Elgart and SACS and
AdvancEd really were concerned about the school children of Atlanta, it should have addressed the corruption of the administration
of the schools and not simply dwelt on disputes and so forth on the school board itself. But, then again, the Beverly Hall
Administration has always been a tool of the rich and famous in Atlanta, heh? Ha!
RTTT? Runts Trying To Teach?
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
the RTTT grant to Georgia will only further destroy the Georgia schools. Twenty-five years
ago, I very publicly opposed the Quality Basic Education Act (QBE) when all the politicians were singing
its praises. I said that QBE was going to stand for "Quit Being an
Educator" or "Quit Brutalizing Educators." We see what
QBE has brought about...a manipulative, punitive, and retributive process of "evaluating" teachers.
At MACE, we deal with this every day. QBE also brought about the
standardized testing mania, which was only compounded more by No Child Left Behind. The
Race To The Top (RTTT) foolishness is pure Federal bribery for more of the clueless Arne Duncan's
and Bill Gates's notions about how to run schools. These guys are clueless; neither have
ever taught a day in public schools. RTTT will reduce teaching to even more of a "cookie-cutter"
approach and will result in more "shutter-upper" effects. In other words, creative
and energetic teaching will be stifled and essentially eliminated.
If a teacher questions any of the top-down curriculum craziness, this teacher will be papered-out
(corporately executed) of the school system. Bill Gates apparently thinks
that teaching students is like mass-producing computer software. What does Arne Duncan
think? Who knows? His only teaching "experience"
to become the United States Secretary of Education was having "helped" one summer
in his mom's after-school program. Now that will really prepare you, heh? As I have
said many times, Arne Duncan is clueless when it comes to public education. Tall, proud,
innovative, and creative teachers will be metaphorically reduced to runts. Runts Trying To Teach
(RTTT). But, marks like Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
will continue to think that RTTT will improve education. (c) MACE, July
Don't Doubt The MACE Strike Force!
Dr. Trotter's Response To Devil's Advocate
(Administrator) in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution!
[Editor's Note: This is a response to a poster
on the AJC's Get Schooled blog -- the link is at the bottom of this page -- who tried to pooh pooh MACE pickets.
There's not a school administrator in the State of Georgia who would welcome The MACE Strike Force in front of
"his" or "her" school. In this short response, Dr. laid out an analysis of the
picket which "Devil's Advocate" pointed out in the blog. It was a picket by The MACE Strike Force
in the rain at Atlanta's Douglass High School.]
Devil's Advocate: No, our standard picket is about "five guys" (like the hamburger place!).
But, sometimes we send eight or nine. When you have guys in suits and ties with florescent color
signs and bold statements on them, you don't need to send in an army. MACE just sends in a strike force...sort
of like the Navy Seals. In fact, we call our picketers "The MACE Strike Force."
The particular link which you put up shows a picket in the
pouring down rain at Atlanta's Douglass High School. This principal also had a Complaint filed against
him by a MACE teacher (assisted by MACE, of course) with the Professional Standards Commission (PSC). This
principal mysteriously resigned in the middle of the school year...after this picket and the PSC Complaint. We
also picketed his replacement, the interim principal, who told the Douglass teachers that they had to teach on Saturday; this
illegal activity was also stopped by the picket. Furthermore, the principal before the one who resigned
abruptly in the middle of the year also announced surprisingly in the Spring that he would not be back at Douglass High --
after MACE had picketed him three times that year and had filed four PSC Complaints against two administrators -- one was
him -- a counselor, and the Registrar. The PSC found against all four of them. I also
sent an 11 page letter to the superintendent, the school board, and throughout the State about one of the counselor's threat
on my life. You can read this letter on our website...it may be in the "Archives" section.
But, Devil's Advocate, thanks for the opportunity for me
to demonstrate to our readers just how the process works. By the way, I also had the principal (who had
the three pickets against him in one year) in a Grievance Hearing downtown at the Taj Mahal Building on Trinity Avenue and...well,
for those teachers who have ever witnessed me engage in my "thorough and sifting" cross examination of an administrator,
you can imagine how this made him feel. Devil's Advocate, I've got a feeling that you have witnessed one
of my cross examinations, eh? LOL. (c) MACE, August 29, 2010.
MACE Team Discusses
Gangsta Systems, Glenn Brock, Grievance
Law, & Edmond Heatley!
By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
It is rather
humbling to have forty-plus-year-olds whom you taught in junior high get on Facebook and say so many nice things about their
experiences in your class. One of my former students even remembers the cheer that I started up when he
came to Home Room (23, by the way) late one morning. Our homeroom always won the contests -- no matter
what the contests were. So, we were in a can food drive, and trying to "whup" (not just beat)
the other homerooms. (I actually instituted a campaign called "Cheatin' for Charity" and would
buy the cans from kids from other homerooms while I was on hall duty in the morning.) We actually
turned our HR into "Big Star." (Y'all do remember Big Star Grocery Store, right?)
Well, this one particular morning, Devin strolled in late (and Devin was and still is a character), and I demanded,
"What did you bring?" He sheepishly pulled out a can of yams! I started, "Bip
Bop Bam! Devin brought some Yams! Bip, Bip, Bam! Devin brought some
Yams!" The whole class in unison was doing this cheer! Today, the numbskull administrators
would probably write me up for this. So stupid these days. But, more than 25 years later,
Devin, who, by the way had a serious stroke last year but is doing much better now, brought this cheer up on FB.
The other day, one of my former junior
high football players, Eric, wrote me a note on FB. I remember in the 7th grade that he did not want to
play football (and kept saying this as he hugged the grass on the ground) but his father (a Delta airline pilot) made him
stay out for football. I nicknamed him "Tiger." Well, Tiger gets bigger and
bigger and by his senior year at Jonesboro Sr. High, he makes First Team All State and signs with Perdue University in the
Big Ten Conference. The other day, he wrote me a message and said that he told all of his Perdue teammates
that he never had a coach (even in college) who could motivate the players and get them fired up like "Coach Trotter,"
his junior high coach. I am a little hard and crusty these days, but this did make me smile.
I saw that another one of my students
had on his school profile as a teacher and coach in North Georgia that I was a great influence in his life as far as becoming
a teacher and a coach. He has great parents, and I see David’s parents occasionally down here on
the Southside. This kid did not have much athletic ability but he had and still has great heart and is
a great coach. This reminds me of Charles (Chuck) Hurston. He played football for my
father at Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus, Georgia in the late 1950s. The Head Coach wanted my
father to take up his uniform because "he'll never be a football player." My father refused.
Chuck began to come around. But, he was still tall and gawky. But, by his senior
year, he signed with Auburn University. After Auburn, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs of the old
American Football League. In 1967, Charles (Chuck) Hurston was a starting defensive end (# 85) in the First
Super Bowl versus the Green Bay Packers. He and my father still see each other from time to time, and although
my father is 85 (and my mom too), Chuck still calls my father "Coach Trotter."
One thing that the educrats forget
is that teaching children is about relationships, not standardized tests. © MACE, July 14, 2010.