Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Open Letter to the Dekalb County School System

Disclaimer: I believe I have the facts correct here, but any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Dear Sirs and Madams,

I hate be the one to bring bad news to you all, but I feel that you need to know that someone in your organization, maybe more than one someone, is…well, how to say this in a respectful way? Someone (or more than one someone) is not the brightest bulb in the box.

If you recall (I’m sure you don’t, actually - I'm guessing no one in the school system was actually listening), last May, the parents of chorus students at Chamblee Charter High School were outraged that you chose to not renew the contract of our beloved chorus teacher, Greg Smith. You were inundated with emails and petitions begging you to renew his contract. I suggested via several emails and in my blog ( that this was a colossal mistake on your part for several reasons. Not only were you NOT acting in the best interest of the talented students at Chamblee, you    acted with complete disregard for several  teachers' livelihoods. Teachers who had done exactly what you had asked of them.

Let me remind you of the circumstances:

  1. You chose (wisely) to promote Dr. Robert Glor to the position of Coordinator of K-12 Choral Music. Unfortunately, you chose to do this after the 2011-2012 school year began so you needed to find a new chorus teacher for the school in September.
  2. You chose (wisely) to hire Greg Smith away from Gwinnett County to be the chorus teacher at Chamblee. He was amazing, by the way. Great work County!
  3. You had all sorts of budget issues that stemmed, in my humble opinion, from complete mismanagement of the entire school system.
  4. You did not renew Mr. Smith’s contract – so you took him from a good, stable job in another county, had the benefit of his outstanding work for 8 months and then kicked him to the curb.
  5. Oh – and you let Dr. Glor go as well.
  6. You reassigned a teacher from the Dekalb School for the Arts to Chamblee to teach chorus. Great idea, except for the fact that while apparently he has a beautiful voice, he’s a BAND teacher. And he really loved being at DSA.
  7. It takes a couple of months, but the new chorus teacher and the kids start to bond – he’s getting better at chorusing and the kids are liking him.
  8. You REASSIGN the new chorus teacher to a new school. My understanding (which might not be completely accurate due to the 2nd hand nature of the information) is that he was told on a Thursday and needed to report to the new school on Tuesday.
  9. You rehire Dr. Glor to teach chorus at Chamblee. Apparently he starts on Monday, and everyone is thrilled.

I know this sounds like a story with a happy ending. And it is in a way. But my goodness, you people over at the Big School House really threw a bunch of lives into turmoil before you made it right. And that’s what makes me mad.

If you had paid attention to the budget all those years, you might not have promoted Dr. Glor – then you wouldn’t have had to take steps 2-9.

If you had listened to the parents and administration at Chamblee High School, you would have renewed Mr. Smith’s contract. Then you wouldn’t have had to take steps 6-9.

If you hadn’t reassigned a teacher that didn’t have the knowledge and training necessary, you could have just taken step number 9 at the beginning of the year.

Any one of these options would have been better than what you chose to do. You messed with people’s lives. You did NOT do what was best for the students (until now).

I have lost all respect for the people who are running our schools in Dekalb County. Not that they care, by the way. I don’t think anyone in the Big School House cares a whit for the students or the parents. They care about their own cushy jobs and those who have been hired for cushy jobs through the “friends and family” plan that seems to be pervasive in the system.

I respectfully ask that you please get your stuff together. 

Thank you,
Maryann Lozano