CCSD isn’t giving our children what they deserve
by Dr. H.E. “Doc” Holliday
October 16, 2013 12:00 AM | 2066 views | 11 11 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw State University professor Dr. H.E. ‘Doc’ Holliday’s new book, ‘Boys Transitioning from Athletic Aggression to Academic Affirmation’ addresses the declining academic performance of high school boys.
Kennesaw State University professor Dr. H.E. ‘Doc’ Holliday’s new book, ‘Boys Transitioning from Athletic Aggression to Academic Affirmation’ addresses the declining academic performance of high school boys.
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I, like so many other Cobb County citizens have continued to watch very closely what has been taking place in Georgia’s second largest public school system. I will go on record as not being impressed at all with the quality of education being supported by the Cobb County School District central office bureaucrats.

Could this be one of the major reasons for the downward spiral of the academic reputation and student attainment over the past few years? All you have to do is examine test scores (SAT and CRCT) dropout rates, STAR teacher turnover, and capable administrators and professionals abandoning the Cobb County School District. It was not very many years ago that the Cobb County School System was considered the standard of excellence for other Metro Atlanta systems to measure up to.

That is no longer the case!

Sure we have pockets of excellence (far east Cobb) but, there is no question that the overall quality of education a child receives in Cobb County is dependent upon the ZIP code that child lives in. The only ray of hope for those children who happen to live in underperforming Cobb County school attendance zones is the quality of leadership that is in place at that specific school. This has contributed to major consistency problems system wide that greatly reduces the opportunity for all children to receive a world class education in the CCSD regardless of their address.

The biggest issue is the lack of visionary leadership at the central office level, especially in academic areas. When is the last time we have heard of a promising idea from this well-paid crowd who inhabit central office positions? We generally get warmed over, halfhearted efforts like the recommendation to purchase over $7 million of new Common Core textbooks when current research strongly suggest that 21st century students no longer solely rely on this 20th century classroom tool. A better use for that money would be to invest in professional growth for local school teachers and administrators. The day of spending your way out of these very difficult and challenging academic issues is a long gone thing of the past. The CCSD has developed a well-deserved reputation of forcing many of their ill-conceived notions onto the already overburdened local principals, teachers and parents without ever seeking their honest input. The CCSD needs effective leaders who are not one dimensional managers who currently occupy central office positions.

A good leader innovates and focuses on its people and is not preoccupied with controlling everyone and every detail from afar. A good leader inspires trust and has long range vision. A good leader is willing to challenge the status quo and pursues research based ideas that are in the best interest of students, teachers and the at large Cobb community. A good leader leads by example. A good leader is selfless. A good leader is respected for his ability to get things done. A good leader can draw upon their positive professional background to resolve just about any challenge that might surface.

After over 40 years as a successful teacher and administrator in both Ohio and in Georgia, it is my professional opinion that a significant number of the CCSD central office academic department heads lack many of these strong positive leadership characteristics. I base this statement on some very obvious evidence. Many of the key CCSD central office academic department heads have either no local school principalship experience or have failed local school leadership experiences. That right! It appears that many of these positions are currently held by people who could not cut the mustard at the local building school level. Why should we continue to entrust the future of our most valuable resources, our children, to these people? Why does the CCSD continue to place these people in what I consider some of the most sensitive, strategic and vital positions within any public school organization? There are many more capable professionals inside and outside of Cobb County who would be much more proactive and promote a spirit a trust and relevance that would resonate within greater Cobb County. We can no longer keep these people in such important central office academic positions. This same argument should also apply to any CCSD failing school principal (at least 15) and any failing area assistant superintendents (at least two). You are not entitled to these positions unless you consistently produce at a high professional level!

I recommend that the CCSD Board of Education seek blanket central office resignations because many of these people have lost their professional way and are out of touch with the true academic needs of our 21st century children and schools. I am certain that there are some CCSD central office personnel who would consider it their professional duty to stay on until the end of the school year. I disagree with this notion. They are not abandoning ship because whoever could leave the CCSD has already gone by now! We have literally created well-paying jobs for individuals who no longer can provide value or positive leadership at the district level! The CCSD must stop the continuous promotion of ineffective local level principals to lucrative golden parachute jobs in the central office.

In conclusion, I would strongly recommend that the CCSD Board of Education conduct a rigorous outside academic audit and to require that each central office academic department head justify why they should retain their current positions. What evidence can they provide to illustrate that local schools, teachers and parents have benefited directly or indirectly from their individual leadership which has led to sustained academic progress. This is not only an educational issue but one that has a significant economic impact upon property values as well. The bottom line is that our children and community deserve better!

Dr. H.E. “Doc” Holliday is a former principal at Wheeler and Campbell high schools in Cobb County and a current associate professor of education at Kennesaw State University.
Comments
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HFH
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October 17, 2013
I'd like to just second everything Education Advocate said, but add, and mention, re the zip code canard, something about IQ. It's big; really, really, big! It isn't PC, of course, and peoples' feelings could possibly get hurt, but the IQs of different churches, subdivisions, ZIP codes, salaries, etc.; in short, just about everything in life, is hugely determined by IQ. If you have a decent one, and give the subject just 20 minute's thought, you must agree. Nurture and drive certainly play important parts, but you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear IQ. We should be tracking people the way successful countries have been doing it for eons; to wit, the way WE used to do it until the freedom-stifling PC was installed in the stinking Hollywood/Academia "culture."

The "gap" can never be closed. It's written and inscribed in stone. Unless, that is, you dumb down one or another group so that the lower groups can catch up. Not tenable.
Take Heed
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October 17, 2013
The wisdom of a fool. Only a fool discredits the message based on the messenger. There's a wise old story about the dangers of failing to recognize truth because of the source. Numbers 22:21-39.
retiredCCSDteacher
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October 16, 2013
Amen! I cannot agree more with Dr. Holliday's article. It is very factual and very well written. thanks for taking the time to write your article.
Amen!
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October 16, 2013
Dr. Holliday you speak the truth. They are masters of smoke and mirrors. Their Kool-Aid is about to run its course. Stay Tuned!
Pot meet kettle
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October 16, 2013
Speaking of failed former administrators, interesting that Doc Holliday neglects to mention himself. He is the perfect example of a principal so incompetent he had to be moved to an out-of-sight central office job. They didn't fire him because they thought he would sue, and then he sued anyway! Why does the MDJ continue to print the drivel from this disgruntled blowhard?
100 % correct
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October 16, 2013
There is always one or two of your kind of people tat cannot face the truth, especially when it's printed in black and white.

Pot meet kettle: I bet you like to be on the side of the bad guys, like Gaddis and C. Stowers, but there time is coming.

Holliday is right on target. Maybe the MDJ will start an investigation within the walls of the CCSD.
Cobb School Advocate
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October 16, 2013
Is this the same Holiday who failed to lead, for the central office, the school improvement mission and then served as deputy to Atlanta's Beverly Hall ? Wow
CCSD Supporter
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October 29, 2013
I'm glad so many of you know the truth about Doc. He left a mess at Wheeler, refused to do his job at the central office, then went on to greener pastures in Atlanta shouting racism in Cobb. Atlanta fired him after one year (racism again?). He came crawling back to Cobb and was re-hired. Cobb saved his career by re-hiring him and this is how they get paid back. He left Campbell MS under a cloud of suspicious financial dealings with school money going into his pocket. MDJ why do you allow this discredited man to shout nonsense from your paper?
@ Doc
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October 16, 2013
You brought up some good points. You also offered a good suggestion regarding $7 million dollars which was budgeted through SPLOST to pay for text books.

However, as a former principal though, you should also be keenly aware that SPLOST funds cannot be used as you described; "A BETTER use for that money would be to invest in professional growth for local school teachers and administrators."

Ill conceived notions such as Common Core are forced on teachers by the State Board of Education. It's not a local decision.

If you want the Cobb district to look like DeKalb, by all means have the board meddle in personnel matters which by law it's precluded from doing.

That right! --- Really Professor?
Education Advocate
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October 16, 2013
Wow, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed before you wrote this diatribe? As is typical of most cloistered liberal academics, you select only the facts that suit your argument. If you were a true and skilled researcher you would have also determined that these “zip codes” as you referred to them have a substantial number of critical social ills that dramatically affect educational outcomes. It is easy for the lazy academic, with a chip on his shoulder, to try to “Monday morning quarterback” and play the blame game rather than to do the in-depth analysis necessary to justify the blanket and unsubstantiated accusations contained in your article. It is something else to offer meaningful solutions that would have a real impact on improving education in those areas as opposed to just "fire the front office".

How about looking at the level of parent involvement, the dysfunctional and single parent families and transient populations just to list a few. These are much more prevalent in those “zip codes” and are major contributing factors to low educational achievement. These social and cultural circumstances have been proven detriments to learning not only in Cobb County but throughout this nation. Do you also think that maybe the loss of close to 1400 teaching positions due mounting deficits over the last four years and increases in class size might also play into lower SAT scores? Some scholarly research might provide a correlation. But then again that might throw some cold water on your unjustified debasement of Central Office Staff. Get a life, get off this mean spirited personal blame game kick and step up to reality.

Cobb School Advocate
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October 16, 2013
Considering the source of a "failed" Glover Street administrator - but agree with his points of promoting "building" failures to Glover Street Headquarters - Maybe the filming of Dunb and Dumber could move a few blocks to CCSD HQ on Glover Street ? Fitting ?
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