Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Jester’

DeKalb voters want to keep dysfunctional board

November 2, 2010 2 comments

Looks like the final numbers are in for the school board, and the incumbents are going to stay for the most part. see the results here. Good night

It is now 1130 and the numbers look a wee bit better. In the 7th, Donna Edler has closed the gap with Zepora Roberts. It is now 35 to 32 in favor of Roberts. In the 3rd Corey Wilson has closed the gap but still trails by double digits. If these numbers hold, it will speak volumes to what DeKalb residents really want to see in their school board. I am going to bed. I hope that when I wake in the a.m. better news will greet me.

Now at 1055, Nancy Jester has taken the lead over Redovian, 49 to 42 percent. It is odd that the one district that has high performing schools has decided that it is best to replace their board member, but the rest are solidly behind the people who put us in this mess in the first place. This is too crazy. I am going to drink a couple of beers and hope for better results when I come back

As of 1045 pm, only one DeKalb school board member is in trouble. District 1 is trying to give Nancy Jester a shot at fixing the school board. The rest are so solidly behind the incumbent that it will take a miracle to catch up. here are the numbers so far

District 1 – 45-45 tie, Redovian, Jester
District 3 – Copelin-wood 51%, Wilson 29%
District 5 – Cunningham 66%, Hall 25%, Nooks 5%
District 7 – Roberts 46%, Mosley 28%, Gathany 14%, Edler 12%
District 9 – Walker 55%, Smith 45%

This is crazy. Not one member will lose their seat with all that is going on in the system. Believe this folks, if the board does not change hands, accreditation is in serious trouble

Board candidates will challenge traditional thinking

October 1, 2010 4 comments

I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Nooks following the candidate forum in Dunwoody on Tuesday evening which was poorly attended again. Dr. Nooks is attempting to replace Jay Cunningham to represent district 5 on the board. I believe that many of the problems that face the DeKalb school system are rooted in poverty and ignorance. A good predictor of a school systems performance is to look at the number of families in poverty or whose citizens have a minimal education. That is not to say that children from economically distressed situations do not exceed, it just that it is much harder to escape that black hole of poverty. Many struggling schools have students that come from homes that do not put a high priority on education. The parents who struggled in high school, or who did not complete high school find it hard to impart the urgency of a quality education to their children. So why do schools like Stephenson and MLK not meet the bar. According to county statistics, MLK has not made AYP since 2005. Stephenson has fallen short the last two years on AYP. Both Schools are below the state and national average on SAT scores. This is Ironic, since the zip codes surrounding both of these schools have adults whose educational attainment meets or exceeds the state average at all degree levels including Doctorate. In other words these are middle class people who have gone to college graduated and created a comfortable living standard for themselves and their families. These are schools that are not wracked with poverty. Why do write this? Well, because in my talk with Dr. Nooks, and later with Nancy Jester, I raised the issue of poverty, social ills and the environments at Stephenson and MLK that, from the outside, seem to be a recipe for success. My query to him was how can the board battle a social ill like poverty that has beaten every program, every idea, and every attempt to fix it for as long as time itself. Dr. Nooks admitted that poverty and the problems that children in similar situations bring with them to school cannot be ignored. It is fundamental for the board and the system to take into account the whole child when dealing with the various issues that the system is failing in. He also acknowledged the challenges facing a district that has seen its number of economically disadvantage citizen’s rise in the last 10 years. One idea Nooks thought was interesting was a system that is similar to our University system. Competitive institutions that would be attractive to students and parents and would give all students the opportunity to succeed in a fashion that is desirable to the parent and the student. Dr. Nooks acknowledged that reforming the system is easy to discuss but much harder to actually implement. I for one would like to see schools allow a certain number of seats, say 50 for example, for students outside the attendance zone. These fifty seats would be open to those who apply and are accepted based on a number of criteria. Each school could have a unique mission that provided students with a well-rounded education, but also have a concentration or specific area of expertise, and if a student wants to be a part of that school they could apply for one of the open seats. This allows a family to have a choice in what would be the start of a lifelong pursuit of education, and the costs would probably be minimal. I think the thing that impressed me the most about Dr. Nooks, and Nancy Jester was that they were not afraid to discuss solutions that challenge traditional thinking. This is what is needed not just on the school board, but throughout our society in general. The standard model of public schools needs to be reevaluated and updated so we can compete in today’s world and tomorrow’s world. A business model is updated in order to reflect the changes that have taken place or that is anticipated to happen. Public schools should not be an exception to that.

Candidate forum was informative

September 24, 2010 6 comments

Eddie Long has been a hot topic this week, but the world will continue to spin and there are issues that affect us now and into the future. I had the opportunity to attend a forum for candidates running for open board of education seats. The first of three forums was held at the Delta Sigma Theta/Kappa Alpha Psi Community Action Center in South DeKalb, and sponsored by EduKALB. Here are some things I took away from the get together. First, only one incumbent showed up; Jay Cunningham from district 5. I was surprised because my expectation was that no incumbent would show. Cunningham was the classic incumbent. He played on his experience, and made it known that now was not the time to change the board since newer members would have to play catch up. When asked his top priority for fixing the system, his reply was to work with the present members to fix the system then find a new superintendent. His opponents, Dr. Kirk Nooks and Jaques Hall did well though Hall’s inexperience showed. Hall made one comment that struck me as odd considering he is running for the school board. In his intro he commented that he was thankful he did not have any kids in the school system. Not a great thing to say when you are talking to people who have kids in the system. How can I trust you to do what’s right for the system if you would not send your own kids there? All of the other candidates were impressive. Corey Wilson running in district 3 seemed passionate about being on the school board, and has young children attending DeKalb schools in his district. He did refer to himself in the third person a lot, which for me is a bit humorous. The two most impressive candidates were Nancy Jester and Donna Edler. Both were passionate and very well informed. Edler wants to see more in depth reviews of policies such as ethics and nepotism. Jester wants to see the board and the system justify dollars spent every few years in an attempt to maintain better control of the systems budget. I had an opportunity to speak with jester afterwards, and she is full of Ideas, some of which should be put in place whether she wins or not. We talked about involvement by parents, and she stated that the board meets at a time and place that is not as convenient as it could she would like to see meetings held late, like 7pm and a possible return to moving meetings to various places throughout the district. We talked about poverty’s effect on the system, charter schools and the mission of public education in general. She calls public schools a social gift and sees it as the one tool that can arrest the transmission of poverty. I do not know Jim Redovian, but if Jester gets enough exposure and her message reaches enough people she could make some noise. Over all it was a cordial event with few direct shots taken at the incumbents, with the exception of Dr. Nooks who opened up with a few barbs at Jay Cunningham. In the end I was most disappointed at the turnout. If you subtract the candidates, the sponsor groups and the families of the candidates, there may have been at most a dozen citizens. I think that was due in part because of the lack of advertising. I doubt many know that these forums are being held. Heck out doubt if many even care. There are two more of these forums in the next few weeks. One is at Dunwoody city hall and the other is at DeKalb Medical’s auditorium on North Decatur Road.