Praise for Dr. Phyllis Edwards

Scott points out this letter to the editor in today’s AJC.  Neither of us can recall the original article that prompted it, but we’re definitely happy to see the Superintendent getting some well-deserved praise…even when it comes from OTP!  😉

Superintendent deserves praise

It really bothers me when I read about CEOs of large corporations getting millions of dollars in separation bonuses. In many cases, the company is failing, the shareholders are losing money and hundreds of employees are being laid off. In spite of this, the head man or woman makes out like a bandit.

So when I read about Superintendent of Decatur City Schools Phyllis Edwards turning down her deserved bonus of $14,640 because of the worsening economy and state cuts, it was like a breath of fresh air.

True leadership is when the person at the top is willing to put the organization’s best interest ahead of his or her own.

I’m not surprised that an educator did it. Business can learn a lot about commitment, loyalty and leadership from educators such as Phyllis Edwards.

JERRY SCHWARTZ, Alpharetta

73 thoughts on “Praise for Dr. Phyllis Edwards”


  1. Hey, emilyk. In all seriousness, can you elaborate on this a bit? I ask because I’m a fairly long-time Decatur resident whose child went through Oakhurst and is now at Glennwood, and I can say without even a hint of contrived boosterism that we’ve never been anything less than thrilled with the quality of education or the experience.

    I know there was a lot of contention re: the reconfiguration and acknowledge that not everyone is going to have the same experience we have. Is that the root of your take?

  2. It’s the short-sightedness of the Board and Superintendent that flabbergasts me. Closing schools despite continued construction and growth in the city? Additional reconstruction on Winnona Park within a couple years of completing construction on that school? Have you seen how many trailers are at Glennwood? Have you read the enrollment report published earlier this year? I fear for the future of our school system.

    Granted, my kids are getting a very good education. I do not disagree on that point. And yes, I am still bitter about losing my “neighborhood school” (Glennwood)–we chose that school and bought our house in the Decatur Heights neighborhood specifically so we could walk our 4 (count ’em, 4) children to school everyday. Now, because we have 4 kids who are all roughly 3 years apart, for the 23 years of schooling we’ll do in CSD, we will actually have THREE years in which we’ll have more than one kid at a school (as compared to ELEVEN years if the schools were on a traditional PK-5 configuration). For the other 20 years, we’ll have 4 kids in 4 different schools.

    Yes, everyone’s having a different experience. The above-mentioned scenario is really more about the parents’ inconvenience (and voiding the childhood ritual of walking your little sister down the hall, hand-in-hand, to her classroom) than the impact on our children’s education. And luckily for my children, they’re having a great time and learning a ton (I am surprised everyday by what they learn in their classrooms!). We are very lucky to live in this school district. But it is not what we bought into.

    And I fear for the future. Especially with the possible annexation, our schools are in for major overhaul (again). How many school switcheroos must our children endure before they finally graduate?

    The re-configuration from years ago felt shortsighted at the time, and it has proven to be. I don’t expect any better from upcoming decisions about configuring the schools again.

  3. The original article was one of those tiny blurbs on the new Community News page of the Metro section. I think it was under the DeKalb County heading.

    emilyk – Reagrdless of what you think about Dr Edwards’ management of the school system, you’ve got to give her some credit for leaving a bonus on the table. She put her money where wher mouth is as far as budget cuts.

    I agree with Mr Schwartz – more leaders on Wall Street and Washington should behave this way…..

  4. CSD is a victim of its own success. The school reorg improved the overall school system to such a degree that it spurred unforeseen demand, as more and more families moved into the southern side of town. We now have to look at reopening one of the shuttered elementary schools and reshuffling the 4-5 Academy idea.

    These are good problems to have, IMO. No one likes disruption, but if it is the result of success, then its a price worth paying.

  5. And mad props to Dr. Edwards! You rock! People can argue about aspects of the CSD decisions and strategies, but you cannot question the dedication.

  6. E–do you have documentation or anything you could point me to that says the reorg caused a influx of ppl to move to Decatur? Because my first instinct is to disagree with that. I think the influx was already happening and would have happened anyway. These were issues we were discussing back when we were opposing the reorg.

  7. Aww, poor Emilyk. She has *four* kids who are getting a taxpayer-funded education here in the City. But it’s an inconvenience to have them at different schools at different times, and, even though she says she is “lucky to live in this school district” and that her children are “having a great time and learning a ton”, she is still bent about something that happened more than four years ago. Bless her heart!

  8. Dr. Edwards is doing a great job! Remember Dr. Love? This is a wonderful public educational system, but yes issues are there and do get tackled. What school system doesn’t have issues? Even precious private schools have harsh critics. Schools were realigned based on facts given then. An influx of young families into Decatur is causing probable realignment again. This happens in order to keep the system in check and working to its best capacity based on resources available at the time. It isn’t a perfect system, and does cause problems when changes occur. If you don’t like it, there are several private schools that would be glad to take your thousands of dollars. If you can’t afford it, then deal with it or move, and be a part of the solution not the problem by being a constructive volunteer instead of a critical complainer.

  9. LOL … go decatur mom go! When you get down to it it really doesn’t seem like Dr. Edwards “wrecked our school system,” does it EmilyK?

    Now if they would just do SOMETHING with Fifth Avenue instead of letting it sit and rot!

  10. Personally, I think holding onto 5th Ave., instead of caving to the short term financial gains of selling it off, was one of the smartest things the Board could have done. As recent patterns have shown, predicting future enrollment that’s tied more to market choices than to residential construction is tough. Having that facility available if need be takes a lot of the pressure off a place like Decatur, where there’s essentially no available parcels appropriate to additional school construction.

    But I agree, Suzie. There’s got to be some active use that would welcome the building for the time being. I’ll suggest my go-to scenario for such questions: Beer Garden.

  11. Thanks decaturmom, I feel better now. Sarcasm aside, I have to wonder why Dr. Edwards didn’t take the salary increase. Is it because she knows she doesn’t deserve it? Is it because she knows the parents in this system would have a heyday with it? Is it because of the budget shortfall?

    And let’s remember that the reconfiguration of the schools was meant to save money, but it has had the opposite effect. Oh, and transportation costs? Nonexistent before the reconfig. We no longer have a neighborhood school system. It is physically impossible for me to walk my kids home from school, simply because they are all at different locations. Instead of walking or biking home, they get to spend 45 minutes on a bus. Even the Pre-Kers are bussed all the way across the city now. No, it’s not perfect, and it never will be. But I am afraid there was significant short-sightedness that will cripple our school system.

    And I maintain that the “influx of young families into Decatur…causing probable realignment again” is NOT a new problem. This was happening well before they closed the schools.

  12. [Apparently I could go on and on…] Here’s another precious example of her shortsightedness. Love this part of her “gas shortage memo”:

    “If the gas shortage persists, we may be forced to examine the
    possibility of moving to a 4‐day workweek school year schedule. We
    will certainly be moving toward this option during the summer.”

    HUH?? I already posted about this in another thread on this blog, but I did contact her about the above statement and she effectively said she was “just throwing it out there.” I think it’s a little dangerous to be throwing statements like that around.

    It feels like the CSD schools are always trying things to be “new and different,” even if those things don’t really accomplish anything. Like the charter system. We’re not in a position to gain much of anything by being a charter system, as we already are a system in which parents have a great deal of influence and are heavily involved. So why did we spend so much time and energy on it?

  13. We no longer have a neighborhood school system.

    Hmmm …. Emily, even before the re-alignment 4-5 years ago, if you had a kid in elementary school, middle school and high school they would be going to 3 different schools located in 3 different parts of town.

    Decatur is too small to have more than one high school and Jr. High/Middle school don’t you think?

    And I’m sorry, my childless household is not paying extra just so your kids can walk to school. If you really wanted to walk anywhere in Decatur you could do so already.

  14. Well, I’m sorry to belabor the point, but prior to the “break-up”, the schools were PK-5. Now there are three schools that cover that grade span: PK, K-3, and 4-5. So instead of attending 3 schools throughout their school career, the kids attend five. I have so many reason for not liking this system. The multiple transitions at young ages is just one more.

  15. Emily…however if you look at the success of Renfroe now with a thriving principal, and the idea that putting the kids together at a younger age would help them in the future is a resounding succcess. Yes having several children at different schools may be difficult, but one of the reasons parents send their children to CSD is to be able to cope with changes and struggles that real life may bring as an adult. I thought they closed the wrong elementary school, and should make 5th Ave their offices after some redoing. However, until I get my Masters or Doctorate in School Administration, I am unable to cast stones at what is being done. What I will say is that when things change, or wrong decisions were made, that they admit it, and facilitate the change to improve. Perhaps you should run for school board yourself if you don’t like what these dedicated parents and basically volunteers are doing for our community. The facts at the time of the school closures absolutely showed reason to do it, that quickly changed, and now they are attempting to find a solution. I think they are doing way more right than wrong…..the results show in folks wanting to move here and send their children to our successful schools.

  16. Emily, your comments suggest that, should we have done nothing or even if we’d done something else, there would be no downside. That’s a false argument. Any path taken carries with it certain benefits, as well as certain trade-offs that are less than ideal.

    For example, our previous set up distributed our elementary schools on a per-neighborhood basis. Though such a set up is lauded in many respects, one of the downsides, especially in a southern town with typical southern baggage, is that — before the reconfiguration — our neighborhoods were largely segregated by race. The result was neighborhood schools of similar character.

    Since the reconfiguration, all of our schools now reflect, fairly consistently, the racial make-up of the greater Decatur community. That, at least to me, would be an example of a good thing that came out of the reconfiguration.

    Your perceptions are specific to your experience and as valid as anyone else’s. But in drawing your conclusions, you have to acknowledge that, had we taken some different approach, there’d still be aspects of it worth complaining about.

  17. Actually, I agree, Kenneth, that the Glennwood experience has gone rather well. I’ve had one child go through it and have another there now. I do think in practice the 4-5 academy has proven to work as far as preparing the kids for middle school. I am not disparaging the system here. However, I take issue with the steps taken those few years ago, the promises that were made that rang completely hollow (saving money, for one thing) and the goals originally set that were not realized. And I haven’t heard anyone own up to anything being a mistake.

    I recognize that changes needed to be made. I think the board and superintendent, however, turned a blind eye to the facts and to what MANY Decatur parents wanted in this situation, and what resulted was a bit of a mess.

  18. I think what some vocal parents want and what is best for the entire community may be two different things and issues. Knowing several folks who work at the CSD offices has given me a proper perspective that others may not have. While I don’t know or care to know all the facts, I do know that overall the system seems to be working pretty well. Turnover is down, bad teachers are no longer being re-signed, behavior has improved, equally racially distributed elementary schools was achieved, most scores have improved, the amount of students staying in the system for entire schooling is increasing. Previously many parents opted away from Renfroe. Also I want to say that in my experience the system works better when the community overall is supportive, while still maintaining the ability to be respectfully constructive in ideas for improvement. I find many Decatur parents overreactive, emotional, and uninformed. Many are more than willing to complain, but can’t be bothered when asked to volunteer for a position to make the entire system better as a whole. Or do not care to serve on a board to help facilitate positive change….no instead all they want to do is gripe. I am not suggesting this is you, but I am of the belief that positive support works while keeping things in check works much better than other means. I feel we have an extremely competent board, and administration that I fully support. We all have different agendas to help support our kids. Mine includes other children in this community too, and not just my own.

  19. One of the things I enjoy about living in Decatur is the diversity of voices on issues of concern.

    One ways we have created for our community to find out more about what’s going on in the City Schools of Decatur is Decatur EDtv, on an online video channel. You can find it at http://www.elifemagazine.net/decaturedtv.htm

    In addition to several shorter features, we’re currently running extensive reports on the new Charter System and a series on the principals at each school.

    Information is Power.

  20. Let’s be careful not to jump to conclusions about other people’s character based on a few blog posts, now, Kenneth! Yes, naturally I have my opinions about the school system and I was very active and vocal when the decisions were being made, and still am about the Board and its activities. And while I take issue with their decisions more often than not, I am still here plugging away, working and shopping and walking within the City of Decatur and sending my kids to CSD (and doing an inordinate amt of volunteering for the schools) for exactly the reason you described: so that with hope, I can contribute to its success for all children, not just for my own.

    Giving props to Dr. Edwards, however, hits a sour note with me. ; )

  21. City Schools of Decatur Enrollment (taken off page 11 of the Enrollment report)

    1996: 2,811
    1997: 2,838
    1998: 2,597
    1999: 2,472
    2000: 2,421
    2001: 2,386
    2002: 2,323
    2003: 2,392
    2004: 2,422
    2005: 2,366
    2006: 2,379
    2007: 2,482

    Note the 5 year decline in enrollment prior to the redistricting in 2003. So, with that said, what was the school system supposed to do? Ignore the data and plan for an increase?

  22. The boom in new construction and renovations and the gentrification of older neighborhoods might have been a clue.

  23. OK, so can you return the favor and show the data to support that claim?

    Both the boom in new construction and the fact that gentrified neighborhoods automatically equate to a higher percentage of children in the school system. I could easily see the opposite claim being made.

  24. I wonder what you would think about spending if they had kept the schools the same during the downturn and then the upturn didn’t happen? In a small system like this, these issues are impossible to predict. While folks with small children were moving into Decatur, there isn’t a way of predicting whether they will enroll in CSD or not. I agree w/ Decatur Metro, at the time with the information they had, the right thing was done. Now that things have changed quickly, they are considering how to make it work for the best once again. That’s their job, and doing nothing would be negligent. And Emily, I didn’t say you weren’t an involved parent or volunteer. I cast no stones. I am just providing another opinion….one considering the glass half full instead of half empty. I have always found that dealing with the school system in a positive manner gets me better results. I am best at being an involved parent instead of pretending to know how to run a school and educate a community. I hold the same ideals with our city’s managers and employees, and think they are doing a great job instead of constantly berating them with everything I don’t like. And yes, there are some things I don’t love, but life isn’t perfect. And, talking with many, many, many parents from other school districts throughtout the USA, I am totally confident that we here in Decatur have it pretty darn good in comparison to others.

  25. The boom in construction was almost solely downtown and the data has shown that the residents there have contributed darn near zero kids to the system. It’s statistically insignificant to this discussion.

    Gentrification, on the other hand, is a real issue, but it’s a chicken and egg issue. I’d venture that the greatest change was Oakhurst households that have transitioned from singles and DINKs to families with kids. BUT, these floodgates were the RESULT of the reconfiguration, not the cause. Balancing Oakhurst Elem. with our other elementaries was the principal driver of the current baby boom, IMO.

  26. Scott has it right.

    Emily – we have three kids (not four – I’ll grant you that). Yes, two of them ride the bus home in the afternoons. It never occurred to me that they had some sort of claim or right to walking to school with their siblings. It would be quaint and nice in a Norman Rockwell sort of way, but there is only so much money available and I am not willing to pay more in taxes or ask my childless neighbors to pay more for quaintness. It did cost some money to renovate buildings. However, that money was paid for with SPLOST funds. SPLOST is not available for operational or educational expenses. It has freed up a great deal of “regular budget” money that has been used to lower the millage rate and to pay for personnel and services that ensure that my kids and their peers are well educated.

    Our kids were heavily affected by the configuration. It was a non-event for them… though it did make me wring my hands. The education that they are receiving now is worlds better than the very vanilla education they received (at one of the “good” schools) prior to the reconfiguration. I don’t always agree with Dr. E and the board, but so far her decisions have resulted in a better educational experience for my kids… They are better off than they were pre-configuration so I’m happy.

    However, their “walking to school with their sibling” experience has suffered a bit. I’m far more interested in their education than than their walking patterns though.

    Kudos to Dr. Edwards on the bonus issue. EmilyK … ask yourself… would you have turned down the same bonus? I can’t say for sure that I would have. Also, ask yourself what school system would serve you better? If you can name one… move there.

  27. There is plenty of time for children to walk to school as they get older. Trust me, they will get to walk to school. Another issue I think is important to address is the ‘I didn’t buy into this’ way of thinking. I guess I just don’t quite get that. LIfe is gray, and we must prepare for changes. I know there is often disappointment and adjustment to change, but I guess if you don’t like the changes that are being made, hey it’s America and we are free to roam elsewhere. To me, it’s like buying a home with ideal neighbors only to have someone sell to someone who is a nightmare. It sucks, but you either deal with it, try and make it better, or move. There’s no guarantees.

  28. This is a little OT, but I’m a involved parent who received a letter today stating that the sixth grade class isn’t going on the yearly science trip to Jekyll Island. What? We have completely revamped all the elementary schools with top of the line everything, including all the kids in my daughters 5th grade class last year having laptops, classroom with smart boards ect.. the high school just got a new field and stadiums but the middle school seems to be the redheaded stepchild. What gives? I’m a homeowner, tax payer and work in the Decatur area, I just don’t think the money has been spent wisely.

    Oh, also remember a couple of years ago when the surplus money had to be spent or given back to the homeowners? We have gone from a surplus to in the hole, not sure if I agree that Dr. Edwards is all that.

  29. I am pretty sure the bond issue includes funds for a renovation of the middle school gym. I am a non CSD parent taxpayer. At the time of the vote on the bond issue, I asked some parents in my neighborhood why we needed new gyms at both the high school and the middle school. I was told it was only fair because the middle school “never gets anything “. What is up with this martyr complex about the middle school ? Presumably these middle school students got already got the benefits of money spent at the elementary level (see above comment about laptops and smart boards ) . In just a few years they will have their chance to use the new fields , stadium,performing arts center and science labs at the high school. I’m sorry but I can’t see the big hardship 6th graders face by learning in the classroom rather than taking a taxpayer funded trip to Jekyll Island. ( I am assuming the trip is CSD funded based on the comment above about money not wisely spent)

    As I said I am a non parent taxpayer … it seems to me that some of the parent views expresed here border on whining. No trip to Jekyll Island, no chance walk hand in hand down the hall with their sibling , no chance to walk each child to and from school every day…… these are the problems you face ? …are you serious ?

  30. No, Fifi, those are not the problems we face as parents in CSD.

    BTW Scott, do you really think that because they rezoned Oakhurst, more ppl started having babies? Really?
    <>

    That sounds absurd.

    The influx of ppl moving into Decatur has nothing to do with the reconfig. Ppl were already moving into Decatur for the schools, which were already great. I guess I’m not expressing myself well here and I’m sorry for my initial outburst. The thought of praising Edwards is laughable to me. But that’s my own opinion and I probably should’ve kept that one to myself. I’ve had kids in the system before AND after the reconfig, so I am very familiar with the politics surrounding the overhaul. I’m getting the feeling that no one else here was around for all the BS! But as I said before, I am still here because I believe in our schools, and I staunchly support public schools in general, and I am working everyday to ensure that the system works for my kids AND everyone else’s kids.

  31. That’s not what I said, Emily, and I can tell from your comments that you don’t make your living from real estate. If you did, you would know that gentrification follows three steps that have been documented ad nauseam.

    First, the Risk Oblivious move in. These are artists and other “outside the mainstream” people drawn to the uniqueness of an undiscovered area. Second, the Risk Aware move in. These are people that understand an area is in transition — largely singles and DINKs focused on potential — who make a conscious decision to take the risk because of potential pay offs (financial, quality of life, etc.).

    Lastly, are the Risk Averse. These are people who avoid risk (typically those with children or the intent to start a family), who do not enter areas until SCHOOLS and safety equal or exceed those in other, more predictable areas.

    Oakhurst has followed this model note for note. It wasn’t until the reconfiguration that Oakhurst Elementary reached a point by which everyday family folk found it “comparable” with the countless “family-friendly” neighborhoods outside Atlanta.

    Yes, this demonstrates that race factors into decisions as they relate to schools, even among people who like to think themselves above such things. But it’s reality. Gentrification rarely moves beyond the second stage until the school situation is addressed.

    It’s not absurd. The numbers you see in enrollment today reflect child-bearing folks who would have moved away, or never would have settled in Oakhurst in the first place, if we hadn’t adjusted the racial makeup of the elementary school.

  32. “Not sure”, the state just reneged on $1 million in school funding…I reported it here. I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say that’s probably why the field trip got canceled…not because people hate the middle school.

  33. Scott, I think you hit the nail on the head. I’m the second generation “risk averse” group, but it really wasn’t until Oakhurst Elemetrary got re-configured that I started seeing baby carriages around the ‘hood, and now a few years later, those “babies” are entering elementary school?

    Has anyone considered that the two year enrollment increase, as demonstrated by Decatur Metro’s post, could just be a temporary increase brought on by a wave of gentrification in the past few years and that in a couple of years as things settle down, we’ll go back to more historical numbers? In other words, aren’t we freaking out about nothing?

  34. Decatur Metro-
    Your right it’s not a matter of hating the middle school. Maybe your stab in the dark is right, maybe the money has allocated all this time and now is catching up to them. Have you been in the elementary schools and the middle and high school? I have to say there is a stark difference in appearance and amenities.

    Before this million dollar cut, the CSD received over $11,000 per child. Do you know what the number is now? Just wondering.

    By all means, I believe that the school has good teachers and I’m glad my child doesn’t attend dekalb county instead. I just see a lot of excess and waste as a parent and volunteer.

    As far as the people who live here and don’t have children, I agree that I wouldn’t want to pay any more taxes, it’s already a ridiculous rate w/ 60 plus percent going to the schools.

  35. Not sure… I was at the meeting where the 6th grade field trip was discussed at length. Field trip funds at all CSD schools (even ECLC) have been cut because of the million dollar last minute budget cut coming from the state…. AFTER all of the school districts had signed personnel contracts and set their budgets. A small group of parents tried to save the Jekyll field trip but by and large most 6th grade parents weren’t willing to step up to the plate and help with fundraisers or pony up cash, etc. in order to make it happen. I do agree though that Renfroe does seem neglected. I hope the new gym is coming down the pike soon.

    Maybe they will get more attention if they become a 4-8 school b/c of this silly annexation. Then we will be looking at a school with closer to 1200 kids instead of the current 500. It’s hard to ignore 1200 kids. Anyone who was unhappy with the upheaval of the reconfiguration…. if this annexation happens… you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    Emilyk…. I was here for all the BS revolving around the reconfiguration. My kids were redistricted. I wasn’t thrilled, but I didn’t feel the entitlement that many parents felt so we just rolled with it. I agree though that the current administration needs to slow down the change train and let the current changes settle in before adding a bunch of new stuff, particularly if the city moves forward with the annexation.

    I have several friends in Oakhurst who moved their with their babies, pregnant bellies and small kids precisely b/c there was a high performing school, and the homes were more affordable (at the time) than those in other areas of Decatur. They purchased property previously owned by elderly folks or DINKS. I think the baby boom was starting to happen before the reconfiguration; however, the transformation of Oakhurst has definitely accelerated it in the SW quadrant.

  36. At Renfroe the field trips were partly funded by the PTA, and those that could afford to pay the amount not funded supplemented those that couldn’t. It’s a big issue. I was here for all the uphevel of the school system, and dealt with it. Middle schools across America get shafted compared to elementary and high schools, this is nothing new.

  37. But it’s not enough Left Wing. It never is in public education. That’s why Obama will “spread the wealth” just a little bit more. Because surely if we had $15,000 per student they’d all eventually attend Harvard.

  38. Wow – you all just jumped all over Emilyk! How can anyone suggest it is a bad idea for a stakeholder – someone who pays taxes and sends their kids to CSD – to publicly express their feelings about the reconfiguration(s), past and future? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work – the people voice their opinions and their elected representatives on the School Board take that into account? Argue all you want about the merits, but don’t argue that opposing viewpoints shouldn’t be heard because it is “not constructive” or “whining” to question how the Board and the CSD administration is discharging its duties. And as for the suggestion that folks shouldn’t talk until they “get involved” in a “positive way,” I submit that any stakeholder who makes their feelings known is, in fact, “getting involved.” I may be but a simple plumber earning a mere $250,000 per year in taxable income, but it seems to me that public sentiment, regardless of the medium, is an important source of information for the elected officials on the Board as they decide what to do about the looming capacity issues.

  39. I’m not sure I get what point you’re trying to make. Waldorf elementary education runs just over $11K. Waldorf high school is just shy of $16K. Paideia elementary is just shy of $16K; its high school is almost $18K.

    Are you saying that CSD’s not getting value for the money spent or that it’s somehow not competitive with the cost of education elsewhere?

  40. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  41. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  42. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  43. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  44. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  45. Joe, opposing viewpoints should be heard.. and they are being heard. However, it is also not a bad idea for others who also are stakeholders and tax payers and have kids in the school to make their viewpoints known when they think that another stakeholder’s opinion is whiny and not looking at the big picture. Imagine if everyone who whined about any little thing got their way… we’d all be taxed into oblivion.

    And quit telling folks that you are taking over my plumbing businesss…. I’m not dead yet!

  46. Calling someone “whiny” is disrespectful. It implies their concerns are trivial and shouldn’t be voiced at all. Neither you nor I should be making that judgment, nor should we be suggesting that anyone leave Decatur if they don’t like the current situation. This is not “making a viewpoint known,” nor is it any kind of real critical discourse, it is just mudslinging. We all care about the City and CSD, that much is abundantly clear, but let’s not suggest that people should just stop criticizing (or praising for that matter) because the blogosphere thinks their viewpoints aren’t [insert adjective here] enough.

    And don’t worry, I can’t take over the business anyhow if the socialists crush my American dream with higher taxes. Pity.

  47. I can add some anecdotal evidence to this discussion. We bought our Oakhurst home in 2004 as DINKs, right after the school reconfiguration. We couldn’t afford the more “desirable” Decatur (or Atlanta) neighborhoods at the time. We bought the house fully intending to move to a better school district before we had school-aged children.

    Over the last 4 years, my perception of Oakhurst Elementary has improved significantly, and we have completely fallen in love with the neighborhood! We now plan to stay put in the ‘hood for many years to come.

    I guess you can argue whether my perception of Oakhurst Elementary improving is a result of the reconfiguration. Obviously, I wasn’t involved in that process, and I’m new to CSD politics.

    Either way, I am sure the Oakhust baby boom will continue for many years to come, and the school board needs to plan accordingly.

  48. Be careful boys and girls…some of you are toeing the “no personal attacks/insults” line. Every one of your points can easily be made without being disrespectful.

    And just another fact check: Without annexation, the school system is currently projecting that it will grow another 500 students in the next 10 years. So it seems like they’re already planning accordingly.

  49. Do we really NOT think that the administrators take everyone’s thoughts and all the pros and cons and financial figures into account before making a decision? They want to keep their jobs, and do a good job, and obviously will tick some folks off. No one likes change, or wants it to happen to them. But, at the time, for the betterment of the community as a whole the changes were made, and it was fiscally responsible.

  50. Calling someone “whiny” is disrespectful. It implies their concerns are trivial and shouldn’t be voiced at all. Neither you nor I should be making that judgment, nor should we be suggesting that anyone leave Decatur if they don’t like the current situation. This is not “making a viewpoint known,” nor is it any kind of real critical discourse, it is just mudslinging.

    Excuse me, but need I remind you that EmilyK began this “discussion” by saying that Dr. Edwards has “wrecked our school system. Whatever.” It is pretty disingenuous for someone to call for respect of an opinion without mudslinging when their “concerns” start out in a disrespectful and mudslinging manner.

    [edited – no name calling]

    Dr. Edwards is doing a fantastic job. She, and the Board who approved her recommendations, made decisions in the best interests of the community, the taxpayers, and the students. And the students are getting a far better education as a whole in 2008 than they were in 2003. That is the simple fact that no one can deny. And it happend on Dr. Edwardses watch.

    If you don’t like it, run for office.

  51. Last warning…this conversation is on the verge of jumping-the-shark.

    Turn it around or this post will be closed and you’ll be forced to settle your Sarah Palin dispute like they did back in the day (knife fight in the street).

  52. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  53. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  54. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  55. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  56. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  57. Joe, sorry, the bank just foreclosed on your boss’s business. Good luck in the future.

    Sincerely,

    The bank VP who makes $250K a year.

  58. Scott said
    “Are you saying that CSD’s not getting value for the money spent or that it’s somehow not competitive with the cost of education elsewhere?”

    That sure sums up how I feel.

    Mr. Purdue said that Georgia wasn’t interested in the voucher system, and I believe that if WE got to choose where our children and money went then the competition would raise the level and choices of education. The public school is a one size fits all place. I know that this is a different conversation though.

  59. As someone who made the decision in 1990 that the City of Decatur school system was the best public school option Atlanta had to offer – I must admit that I find this whole discussion confusing as hell.

    I have not seen the “huge improvements” some people are talking about here. The current SAT scores (for example) are from children would would have started in this system long before Westchester closed or the Academy opened.

    My youngest child is currently a junior at DHS and the Decatur School system seems much the same to me as it did when I made the decision to move here in 1985 – Great Elementary Schools, Good High School and a middle school that I frankly just wish they would do away with and start high school in 8th grade. Middle school seems to encompass the age range when kids are simply at their worst socially. All that said, I do think we could do more to support our staff at Renfore – they may have the toughest job in our fair city.

  60. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  61. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  62. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  63. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  64. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  65. I think that most of the improvements … at least curriculum-wise… have been at the elementary level. My understanding is that all of this is supposed to “trickle up” to the middle school and high school over the next few year as IB and IB-like pedagogy move upward.

  66. The other part of the story is that Phyllis Edwards received an 8% base salary increase as well as an increase in her car allowance at the same meeting.

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