Thursday, June 26, 2008

Clayton County Schools deserve to lose accreditation

Like many of you, I have read the recent comments by new Clayton County Schools Superintendent Dr. John Thompson. He believes the school system will keep its accreditation.

While it is nice for Thompson to be so positive, it is indicative of why the county will become only the second school system to ever lose accreditation.

Let's suppose Thompson actually believes what he is saying. That means he is ignoring some startling facts in front of him. First of all, the school board members who have destroyed the system are still serving on the board. Many have stepped down, but the main culprits still remain. Then there is an entire list of things SACS expects to be completed by Sept. 1. So far, the school board has been very stubborn. It has refused to work with two aides sent by Gov. Sonny Perdue. The aides found the board impossible to work with and basically left town.

And the board is actually finding ways to dig itself into a deeper hole. Graduating seniors didn't get their diplomas due to a printing error. Shortly before that, teachers didn't get paid due to a banking error. There is nothing to make anyone think there has been any improvement.

Now let's suppose Thompson doesn't believe what he is saying. Instead, he is telling the public what they want to hear--which is even worse.

When he told an audience last week he believed the county would keep its accreditation, they erupted in applause. He is sugar-coating something. Trying to hold off the lions for a short time. But the SACS report will come out soon causing Thompson to look ridiculous. And the families of Clayton will be in panic mode. Instead of accepting the grim state of the school system and moving, families will have to scramble. Can they move their kids to another area with less than a month before classes begin? Or will they be forced to put their children in a school system that offers nothing?

Thompson is misleading the public. He needs to own up to the horrific status of his school system and let families prepare for the next school year. I would rather see these students move to an area and receive some sort of education than spend another moment under the misguided leadership that is Clayton County.

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