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While DCSS struggles to right ship, many in region pulling for it

ALBANY, Ga. -- Earlier this month, when the Dougherty County School Board voted 7-0 to replace half of the district's 24 principals, the move caught the attention of the county's residents. The decision also caught the attention of the county's neighbors.

The district's struggles have been well-documented: from CRCT cheating, free and reduced meal fraud, state Department of Education involvement in questionable Title I expenditures, the ouster of a superintendent, abysmal overall standardized test scores, to low graduation rates.

The School Board's decision to replace principals -- including three at the county's four high schools -- was also noticed elsewhere in Southwest Georgia.

As the region's economic hub, what happens in Albany resonates throughout the region, and what happens within the DCSS has a tremendous effect on what happens in Albany.

Donalsonville News publisher Dan Ponder is aware of this and last week wrote a column about the challenges facing the DCSS.

"The slide of Albany's public education system has been long and painful. You don't change the culture of cronyism and the acceptance of mediocrity overnight. However, you have to start somewhere and that is usually at the top," Ponder wrote. "The massive changes in the administrations of many of the schools in Albany may be painful for some, but they are needed collectively to say that there is a new way of doing things. It says that the board is serious about changing the status quo."

Ponder continued.

"This issue is important to the entire Southwest Georgia region. That is what led a group of business leaders in Donalsonville to discuss it at dinner last week. For this region to be strong and to improve its collective economic well-being, we need for Albany and Dougherty County to become healthy again."

Ponder's column may be read in its entirety on today's editorial page.

State representative Ed Rynders, whose district includes neighboring Lee and Worth counties, agreed with Ponder's assessment.

"When you are the economic engine of a region with the Marine Base, P&G and Miller Brewing, their employees come from a dozen surrounding counties," Rynders said. "When potential employees consider moving to Albany, the first thing people with families do is look at the school system and ask if their children can get a quality education. This affects the entire region.

"Right now the perception of Albany is not good, and it is having a negative impact. Fixing the school system will help improve that perception."

The man given the unenviable task of fixing the DCSS is interim Superintendent Butch Mosely, who was hired in January after former superintendent Joshua Murfree bowed out.

Mosely has a unique perspective because not only is he an experienced school administrator, he is also a member of the Decatur County Commission.

"People in Southwest Georgia are paying attention to what's happening with the Dougherty County School System -- especially the region's chambers of commerce," Mosley, who lives in Climax, said. "Everybody is concerned because Albany is driving the economic train for the region. Right now they generally feel sorry for us, and they are bleeding with us.

"Some people think it (the DCSS) is a lost cause, but I don't agree. But due to the magnitude of the problems we face, it makes the mountain tougher to climb."

So, is the DCSS salvageable?

"Yes, it absolutely is," Mosely said. "It's going to take three to five years of steady progress, and it begins by getting top-notch leaders in all spots downtown. If we put enough good people in the right places, we can fix this thing."

To illustrate the seriousness of the problem, look no further than Deerfield-Windsor School Headmaster Dave Davies.

"I've had people ask me if we were salivating over the problems the Dougherty County School System is facing. My answer is, "No, we are not,'" Davies said. "A struggling DCSS hurts Albany, and that also hurts us."

Ponder, perhaps speaking for the majority of business people and chambers throughout the region, closed his column with these words of encouragement: "So, on behalf of my group of friends, and I hope on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who call Southwest Georgia home, I simply would say to Butch Mosely and to the DCSS Board, 'We are pulling for you.'"

Comments

FryarTuk 11 months ago

" . . . after former superintendent Joshua Murfree bowed out." His contract wasn't going to be renewed so he left 6 months early.

How is it that Ed Rynder's is always coupled with an analogy involving a SHIP. Ole Capn Eddie is still trying to turn that vehicle tax skow around he signed up with in the spring. The he helped turn that Phoebe legislation around over night. I wonder how ole Capn Eddie is doing for the taxpayers.

It is a very good article and thanks for including it. I rather think the estimation of a turn around in 3-5 years is somewhat optimistic on the part of the temper super.

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erock 11 months ago

Whatever it takes to get the temp sup to become the permanent sup, I say go for it. Then head on down to Baker county and pay attention to how they are doing things. Sure some folks are going to get mad and scream foul but Rome wasn't built in a day.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

YES a BIG Thank you goes to Butch Mosely. No matter what the race baiters have been saving he is leading the way forward. For too long the good teachers of DCSS have been smeared by the low quality teachers. Thank You Butch

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chinaberry25 11 months ago

Rynders is just stating something I said a year ago. If the MCSS leaves it will be on the backs of DCSS. Their men and women living on base are subjected to DHS and former Do. Middle and I would not put anyone there who wants to really achieve. The teachers try, but when the kids rule, it is useless. Gang fights in the bathroom, lesbians walking down the halls all draped over each other. Kids outside making out, on and on. So how do you expect them to learn. They go there for one thing, a welfare check (have to be in school to be covered) and free meal and a way to meet a potential sexual encounter. If you really tested them you would find that very few will pass a third grade test. It is sad we spend all of this money and it is what it is, do not sugar coat it. When East Albany changed its name to Eastside, you should have seen what was coming..

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

This newspaper played a heavy role to destroying the perception of the DCSS as well. Yes they had their problems, but this paper sensationalized them to make them seem worse than what they really were.

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VSU 11 months ago

Oh shut up blubbasmith, you're always blaming the newspapers. If the school system hadn't of done so wrong their would have been nothing to report. The Herald didn't make up the stories, just reported it.

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

the truth hurts doesn't it VSU.....(dont cry).....But the smart people out here know its true......maybe you cant figure it out yet because you are still on the short-bus......but us NORMAL people know its true......

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

"....the smart people out here....."

That's quite an ill-informed ASSUME, bsrn and we all know what ASSUME does, now don't we?

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

We just know you are the first three letters of the word ASSUME......

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Sally_O 11 months ago

You're an idiot! You want truth, you got it.

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VSU 11 months ago

But smarter than you.....

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VSU 11 months ago

That's right blubbersmith yoiu are correct. The truth is the DCSS screwed up and all the herald did was report the news. So you are right the truth does hurt. The only normal thing about you is your normal BS that you spew on here. The problem is blubbersmith is you can't handle the truth, that is why you are upset with the herald. As far as crying, you are the one that is always crying "Oh that bad Albany Herald has done it again" "The herald is trying to destroy these teachers" Yeah, keep crying blubbasmith, big fat ugly blubbersmith the crybaby. Wah Wah Wah, That big bad Albany herald. Cry yourself a river blubbersmith and jump in and don't come back up. You could drown in your own tears. LOL!

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MRKIA 11 months ago

BOY O BOY. YOU ARE GIVING THEM HELL TODAY!!!

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

That was one of the weakest responses ever. You sound like a retarded kid with red hair, freckles, and bad teeth who didn't get picked to play kickball.....

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VSU 11 months ago

The only weak thing around here is your mind, the strongest thing around here is your breath, when's the last time you brushed your teeth? Providing you have any teeth. You're just a fat, greasy, slimy, smelly balding man that keeps talking with his mouth full (of BS). Your mama didn't teach you it was impolite to talk with your mouth full? Also you have green slimy crap running out the side of your mouth. Disgusting!

BTW I see they are having a eat like a pig contest, you should sign up, you could win easily. you would feel right at home in that contest.

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erock 11 months ago

they did a great job of doing that all by themselves. All the newspaper did was bring it to the light you ignorant SOB.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

........and clueless clowns died

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Sally_O 11 months ago

You just described yourself bubbasmithredneck. You're the biggest A on here and that is no assumption.

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VSU 11 months ago

At least she is human and not a chicken sh*t like you.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

Just like in the movie Blazing Saddles "The sheriff is near.......!"

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

Where was BVR's outrage when he heard the Children were being short changed? Why does he defend the worst teachers yet criticize the Herald for publishing the story? Defending the worst because of Race yet not demanding the Best opportunities for the children is so short sited and shows the only motivation for BVR is RACE and not the Future of the Children.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

bubba funny how you see it as racist to want the best for the children's future. Hope you don't make medical decisions based on that same kind of reasoning instead of what is the best money can buy.

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VSU 11 months ago

It takes one to accuse another of being one.

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

Oh sure, they remove the satirical movie clip which makes fun of racism because it contains a nasty word that isn't supposed to be used by White Folk, and it's thought to be "racist" by those with no sense of humor and no artistic sensibilities. BUT I could post ten million rap songs with the N word in it 20 times each plus disrespecting women, glorifiying drug use etc etc and that would be OK. Just turn on WJIZ and listen for the >bleeps<.

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pettibone 11 months ago

The same system that was put in before Dr. Murfree was ever heard of is being put back in place and you can laugh and think no one sees or hears. Just get ready because it will fall too. When you only treat the symptoms and never get to the cause you are doom to pass it on to the next generation. If you believe I am lying just follow the money.

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Terry.Lewis 11 months ago

Just curious, when do you think the system's problems started?

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

I been following the money all the way to the Mercedes/BMW dealer here in Albany and I'm confused as hell.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

I agree with Mr. Pettibone if you only treat the symptoms and never treat the Cause you will never solve the problem. Lowering standards for students because they are struggling penalizes those students forever. Low or no Family values is passed on generation to generation. Lack of self-worth leads to the development of the anti-social belief of blaming others for your short comings and your inability to do any better in life.

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Parent 11 months ago

Exactly! People need to state the FACTS instead of going back and forth on this blog calling names and the race card. The same people get on here everyday saying the same mess over and over again. Not many talk about the real issues! I agree with your post and Mr. Pettibone.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

Parent thank you...I have been called racist because even before the Herald broke the first story on this mess I have been calling for a cleanup of DCSS. It does not matter the color of a child's skin if you do not teach the child and DEVELOPE the child's ability to think and make informed decisions. What has baffled me when called racist is if I was actually wanting to hurt children of color the best way would be to stand ideally by while they were deprived of a Quality education. Because of the lack of local concern for quality over color I became a big supporter of Georgia's Qualified Education Expense Credit. This program has been providing scholarships to students across Georgia to attend the Private K-12 schools of their PARENT'S choice. This program is open to ANY student who wants a better education regardless of parents income. The state of Georgia spent $52 MILLION for children of all colors and income to attend a private school for 2013 ....If you or anyone here has any questions about this program email me at this name on yahoo...

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Gabrielblows 11 months ago

Thank you Butch Mosely for your leadership. Good article, Terry!

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Amazed2 11 months ago

Too bad Mr Moseley will be leaving soon.!! Job well done!! Just hope DCSS will hire a Leader with similar values and decision making . The previous person stayed mired down so deep as well as the entire DCSS simply because he made few leadership decisions.

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oldster 11 months ago

Terry, to adequately find the root cause of DCSS problems you would have to go back many generations. I think Monroe HS started about 1949 or 1950 and I have been told that it was designated as the "black school", that is a problem. Them in the summer of 1978 Judge Wilbur Owens (Macon) ordered busing to integrate the schools into a racial balance. This probably more than any other thing threw the system into turmoil. It could be argued that this prompted an exodus of sorts for many people "out" of Dougherty county. The system, from what I have seen has struggled since then, it has seen some successes and some failures along the way. But in the past few years the wheels seem to have fallen off the wagon. There are many things I could write about but it would be too lengthy for this forum. To blame it on the superintendents past or present would be the easy way out, I think people need to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and realize that the problem starts with "ME".

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

I think I know why Terry is so ANTI-DCSS........maybe he flunked out and is still trying to get back at that science teacher who gave him a F and later got detention for wearing his Alabama cap backwards in class. Was that it Terry????? Is that why you are still mad????

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

Buhh bye bubba...........I'm not sure who I will be more happy to be rid of but you are certainly at the top of my bottom list.

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bubbasmithredneck 11 months ago

lol.....I will miss you too RUBY!!!

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Amazed2 11 months ago

Oops looks like the ex Captain of the ship hit another Iceberg and did not tell anyone except Ken Dyer. Oh well we can fix it for only $250,000.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

Maybe the city will share some of the MEAG money with DCSS, they are so bent to wasting it before it can be put to good use.

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