Breaking News

Lewis-Polite wins DCSS Teacher of the Year April 17, 2014

0

ACCA meeting gets heated

Dougherty County School Board member Carol Tharin asks a question during a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed Albany College and Career Academy charter school petition application. The school board will vote on the matter next week.

Dougherty County School Board member Carol Tharin asks a question during a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed Albany College and Career Academy charter school petition application. The school board will vote on the matter next week.

ALBANY — With an approval vote on a proposed Albany College and Career Academy just one week away, Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua Murfree held an open meeting Tuesday to allow School Board members who had reviewed the charter petition application to ask questions.

“This college and career academy fits in perfectly with (State School Superintendent) John Barge’s ‘Career Pathways’ plan,” Murfree said. “It will improve our dropout and graduation rates and better prepare our children for careers. We never know who is watching and who is listening to what we are doing ... but people are watching and looking now.”

The charter proposal calls for a gradual “repurposing” over the next five years of Albany High School as the home of the ACCA, whose mission is “to produce college and career-ready graduates with relevant skills and education and with exceptional work ethic who can compete and succeed in our global economy.”

Former DCSS Board Chairman Commodore Conyers, a member of the ACCA’s Executive Steering Committee, urged the community to support, and the board to vote for, approval of the charter.

“This is a most important decision we are about to make,” said Conyers. “This committee has been working for more than a year to put together a package that will benefit the boys and girls of Dougherty County. The College and Career Academy will bring stability back to this school system.

“All of us are working together for the betterment of our children, and all of us need to do what has to be done.”

Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Daniel Simmons, however, said he was “violently opposed” to the proposed charter school.

“The origin of this plan raises a red flag for many in the community,” Simmons said. “They are telling the board and the superintendent that ‘you are ignorant and incompetent.’ If you approve this plan, it will take us back to the days of Jim Crow.”

ACCA would be run by an autonomous policymaking board of nine voting members, called directors, and a chief executive office who would be appointed by and answer to the directors.

The directors would be chosen from the community and would comprise:

  • One member nominated by the superintendent and the local board to represent secondary education.
  • Three members to represent post-secondary education nominated by the presidents of Albany Technical College, Albany State University and Darton State College.
  • One high school parent member (who is not an employee of the local board or any participating college) jointly selected by the school system’s high school principals.
  • Two business members nominated by the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Two business members nominated by the Board of Directors of the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission.

“We intend to turn out a product that the business community will want and will keep our young people in Albany, Georgia,” Committee Chair Bobby McKinney said. “While we want to keep these people in Albany, we also want to make sure that they can earn a living no matter where they are.”

According to educational consultant Russ Moore, who has been working with the board and committee since the project’s inception in May of last year, the ACCA’s vision is sixfold:

  • Create a seamless blend of high school, college and jobs.
  • Earn academic credit for CTAE (Career, Technology and Agricultural Education) electives.
  • Create hybrid classes.
  • Provide a laptop with Internet access for each student.
  • Create a school run like a business.
  • Create a culture of relevance that will dramatically increase graduation rates.

Those goals were still not enough to convince community activist Bishop John Burr.

“There is no question that we need to repair our high schools,” Burr said. “But I worry about the Board of Education not being in charge of this charter school. I am 100 percent behind charter schools, but now is not the time here. We need to take that money and fix what we have in place.”

The board is expected to vote on the charter application at its June 27 meeting. If approved, the system has until Aug. 1 to submit the charter petition to the state for approval. If approved by the state, the new charter school would begin operation in August of the 2013-14 school year.

Comments

MRKIA 1 year, 10 months ago

I THOUGHT IT WAS THE MISSION OF THE CURRENT SCHOOLS TO PRODUCE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY GRADUATES WITH REVELANT SKILLS AND EDUCATION? IS THIS AN ACADEMY FOR TRULY GIFTED STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS OR WILL IT BE ANOTHER "PROGRAM" FOR THE "DISADVANTAGED" STUDENTS SHOWING SIGNS OF DROPPING OUT OR FOR SOME REASON CAN'T OR WON'T KEEP UP, PLUS YOUR USUAL ASSORTMENT OF KNUCKLEHEADS. ADD IN THE CARROT ON THE STICK (FREE LAPTOP). THEN YOU HAVE A BOARD OF DIRECTORS ESSENTIALLY DOING MURFREE'S JOB. (SALARIES?) IF THE PLAN IS THAT GOOD FIRE MURFREE AND LET THESE GUYS RUN THE WHOLE SHE-BANG.

1

Moe 1 year, 10 months ago

To "Pastor" Daniel Simmons,

CRTC cheating, budget fiascos, Velvet Riggins, school lunch scandals .... Where have you been?? The board and superintendent ARE "ignorant and incompetent." Look at their record. Are you blind or simply stupid?

Rather than shame yourself by attempting to mimic William Wright's pathetic attempt to excuse the test cheating scandal by using the race card one more time, you should support a plan that is aimed at producing students that actually have a chance at success in the real world, rather than yet another class of illiterate welfare recipients that our school system seems to excel in producing.

6

Citizen1 1 year, 10 months ago

You are so rude and ugly! Pastor Simmons has a right to his opinion without your critical comments. Why do you think you are right? you shame yourself with these comment! Where have you been? Our school system has not exceeded in producing all illiterate welfare recipients. Many graduates are hardworking productive citizens. Open your eyes to the good things.

1

Moe 1 year, 10 months ago

"Why do you think you are right?" Because I can read the litany of well-known disasters and frauds that run through this school system, some of which (school lunch fraud) reach the board members themselves and "Pastor" Simmons apparently can't. Because I don't think it's a racist plot to have an academy to prepare students for college and "Pastor" Simmons thinks it is. Because I don't think that the answer to every problem facing the black community is to cry "racism" and try to blame someone else and "Pastor" Simmons thinks it is. That's why I KNOW I'm right.

3

Citizen1 1 year, 10 months ago

You are not right Moe! Racism in this town has been and is so strong. What are people to think? That door is still open here. Just look at you. Look in the mirror. A high school academy to prepare students for college? You agree? Problems in the lower levels need to be fixed so students are prepared for high school. Let's fix our existing schools and not add to the problem by adding a charter school at the top. Are students prepared for high school?

0

waltspecht 1 year, 10 months ago

This sure is a retro look at education. In the fifties and sixties New York City had the equivilant of Vocational Schools to produce needed workers and specialists. There was Bronx High of Science (Science related course), Brooklyn Technical High School (Engineering), Maritine and Marine (Merchant Marine), Automotive, Aviation, Music and Arts and Harren (essentially a School for dicipline problems) They all produced not only a marketable product, but a sought after product. Why you ask? They had strict requirements, forced a work ethic on the student, and didn't let anyone slide by. Now what assurances does anyone have that this ACCA would even consider standards like these?

0

LuLu 1 year, 10 months ago

The Herald should have done Daniel Simmons a huge favor and NOT printed his quotes. He sounds like a complete and utter fool. And I believe the word he was looking for was "vehemently", not "violently". I hope he doesn't use that kind of language in the pulpit every Sunday. He and others with his attitude are a major part of today's problems.

4

Citizen1 1 year, 10 months ago

You and others like you are the other major part of today's problems!

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 10 months ago

" Create hybrid classes . . ." the majority of classes now in the DCSS are hybrid. The only thing specific about the six goals the charter group sets forth is giving away a laptop with internet access. There is an implication here to teach students how to use a computer but I am not certain. Joshua Murfree's comment " We never know who is watching and who is listening to what we are doing ... but people are watching and looking now.” is strange if not unhinged rationally. Hard to make any sense out of what the DCSS is doing at any level.

0

willie 1 year, 10 months ago

Lets hope someone from the Governors office is watching.

0

FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

The people who are watching and listening to what this school board is doing are the potential employers who will not come to Albany because the school board is a bunch of buffoons who wouldn't recognize the right thing to do if it bit them in the ass...

2

chinaberry25 1 year, 10 months ago

MCSS is definitely listening. And a laptop for each student is the killer. The main thing they will be doing is looking at clothes, shoes and fight clubs. Do not think that you can block them out for they can proxy around those blockers. If you want this to succeed, then you must make the classes smaller and have very strong willed teachers handling them.

2

rock 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe, just Maybe, this can be a good thing for the students of the DCSS who choose to go and succeed. The DCSS as a whole is in the toilet and the board are the turds, but something has to done or created to give those students who want one, a fighting chance. Not every student can or wants to attend university,and sadly, we are losing skilled tradesman because they have to wait until they get out of HS to start. If a child wishes to attend University, they are at a disadvantage because of the educators in the city of Albany. I am thinking maybe this could be a start to actually improving education for those that want it. I went to a multi-purpose HS in the 60's and I have done very well in my life. I did not have the GPA for college and a trade was in my cards. However after HS I chose a military career path due to some caring educators and family members and have been very well educated since then. I say let's give it a try.

0

FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

This is why I don't understand why ASU paired with Deerfield Windsor. Why didn't ASU pair with a school where the students won't be able to get into college without getting a hand up? Deerfield certainly does not fit into that category...

0

skipper 1 year, 10 months ago

Seniors in DCSS already have the opportunity to take classes at Darton if their GPA allows it and they pay the tutition. They can also use F. Aid. I thought it was great to see that partnership. Those students miss out on a lot for their hardwork..

0

FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

It is also my understanding that the Deerfield students will (1) not have to leave their campus to get the college classes, (2) will not have to pay for the college credit classes and (3) will be taught by their present faculty who will be hired as adjutant professors by ASU. This seems hardly fair to a student who lives below the poverty level, wants to truly go to college, can't go because of cuts in HOPE and can't afford the additional fees of taking college classes while still in high school.

0

Clif 1 year, 10 months ago

Typical Albany!!! What a mess!!! Laughing stock of everybody!!! The people whose names I saw in this article could not organize a two car parade. Run a school district? No wonder the schools are such a mess.

1

jglass 1 year, 10 months ago

Where are the funds coming from? I thought typically this is how a high school should be run. And, yeah, what type of students are they wanting to attract?

1

sober_mom 1 year, 10 months ago

I am so happy that I am no longer in Dougherty County. While I am sure that it is a wonderful idea, you must look at what you are working with. I know there are some good teachers out there and wonderful students as well, but for the rest (The students and teacher that we have seen in the news and on the court dockets) I see a big problem arising if you go through with this plan. More scandals, and with the computers come theft charges and fraud. Good luck with that. I am glad that my tax money isn't being sucked into this.

0

AnotherMom 1 year, 10 months ago

I thought that once this town became predominatly black, we would stop hearing so many cries of racism. Sadly, that is not the case. How can a black pastor accuse a black school superintendent of racism?

2

Duane_Kelley 1 year, 10 months ago

I dont think that is what he was saying at all.....he was referring to (I think) the origin of the plan rather than the supt himself

0

Duane_Kelley 1 year, 10 months ago

It amazes me how many people hide behind a monicker and call other people names...What I think I hear Moe saying is that based on recent events he feels that the school board can not be trusted as is and that this idea may be a way to ensure the students in DCSS who desire to go to college can work in an environment conducive to that at a school that has multiple entities over it so that the goals of the school may have a better chance to be met.....What I think Pastor Simmons is saying is that by using this governing body it may be implying that the board which the people entrusts to make competent decisions is actually incompetent.....but in order to express these differing opinions is really necessary for the name calling? It takes away from a mature debate and gets people off the point of focus which is the children.....Personally I like the concept but I feel that this should be going on at all of the schools rather than focus on one....A child who attends any school in the city if he/she has a desire to obtain a vocational or college preparatory education should be able to do that at his or her own school...selah

0

waltspecht 1 year, 10 months ago

Has anyone bothered to ask some DCSS graduates, those that have achieved some success. what the DCSS could have done to make their transition into the working world a little easier? Now I'm not talking Doctors and Lawyers, I'm talking Miller, P & G, MCLB employees. Those that have achieved a boost up in the financial status of their life? What did they think was right with the schools, and what was wrong. These are the ones that the students should be trying to emulate. No, there may not be an opening at these plants for everyone, but there certainly will be openings. What needs to be done to get local folks hired to fill these openings? From experience I know that Work Ethic is way up there in consideration for jobs. That is your attendance, your attitude and your willingness to go the extra mile for the Companies success. Then there are the job specific technical skills. Plus the willingness to start at the lower levels and work your way up over the years. There are some questions that still need to be asked, such as where are these students going to find good jobs, and what can be done to attract good paying jobs to this area.

0

YDoICare 1 year, 10 months ago

Sir, an excellent observation. You may appreciate a piece that one of my former colleagues, although he taught in a different division, wrote concerning the status of education from a modern historical perspective. Like me, he left Albany for a place where the ability to conduct research and receive grants were not impeded by the insecurity of the old guard who felt threatened if someone outworked their chosen minions. While I may not agree with all of the points made, I do agree with this statement: “Key elements remain dedication, persistence, and hard work. There is no easy route and few immediately quantifiable statistics.” Unless, I am incorrect, your observation points to those same elements being needed in education systems today.

http://lablouisianaboy.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/an-assessment-of-the-problems-facing-education-today-look-to-past-present-and-future-2/

0

Duane_Kelley 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree with you to a degree but should not work ethic be a skill taught beginning with the home?.....

0

YDoICare 1 year, 10 months ago

Sir, I agree with your statement concerning work ethic which I believe is one of the overall points made by my former colleague. Attitudes, ethics, learning, etc., are neither meant to begin nor be emphasized only in a school. If all of these popular reforms addressed ways to instill a strong desire to succeed in children before even reaching school age, many of the problems seen in schools today would be minimized. It took me over 60 years to really understand just how much my parents influenced me in my education by simply reading with me and my Dad by letting me watch him take things apart to repair and then showing me how to make things before I even started school. Both of my parents graduated high school but neither had additional formal education. Over the years many times I became frustrated and wanted to quit school, and my Dad just told me that school was a way to have more choices than he had. Whether I continued or not, any success really depended on how hard I worked and being able to use what I knew to overcome things I had never seen before. I did earn a PhD. However, I will never claim to have even an ounce of intelligence that both of my parents had with their high school degrees and experience. Without emphasizing character and fundamentals at the earliest age when we are still open minded, no amount of technology in the classroom or money will solve the education drain. That’s just my opinion and the interpretation I get from my former colleague's writing of changing the attitude and culture. If you wait too long, children discover what they can’t do as opposed to that belief we all have in our youth of being able to accomplish anything.

0

whodat 1 year, 10 months ago

The truth is, all the high schools in the DCSS already offer, with minor exceptions, the EXACT SAME “sixfold vision” of the ACCA. The two elements that, in my view, are simply ludicrous are (1) Provide a laptop with Internet access for each student, and (2) Create a school run like a business. Students use computers at school more for play (accessing websites for rims, shoes, and torture games) than work. And didn’t we just hear about a 9 million-dollar shortfall for the system? Where’s the money coming from to pay for the laptops? Then, good luck with running a school like a business. What are they going to do with the students who habitually show up late or violate the dress code (sagging pants, exposed bosoms)? Are they going to “fire” them? HA!

0

willie 1 year, 10 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Pastor or the Bishop are tax paying citizens..............

0

Sign in to comment