Do you understand your school system?

Most residents who have an interest in their child’s education do not understand the inner workings of their local school system. The state of Georgia mandates a state school curriculum; The Georgia Performance Standards; goals for each grade level. Each teacher is required to use and implement the GPS. Every subject and grade level from kindergarten to 12th grade is addressed in the GPS; Language Arts, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, Health, Technology, etc…. There are lesson plans and assessment suggestions for each grade level and for each strand of the standards. These standards can be found on the internet at:
The Fayette County Board of Education employs a large staff of administrative positions that were put in place to support curriculum and instruction. (The support has been in the form of required testing and reporting of scores.) Fayette County maintains nine curriculum directors and professionals. (See
Many successful Georgia counties employ one director of curriculum for each level, elementary, middle, and high school, not each subject and level. Along with these nine curriculum and professional development administrators our system employs several Instructional Support Teachers. Their duties and responsibilities consist of visiting schools and actually assisting teachers with the implementation of the GPS curriculum.
To date, excepting retirement, no administrative Fayette County office positions have been cut due to budget woes.
Unfortunately, teaching positions have been cut to the point of requiring permission from the state to allow for more students per classroom. For example; funding for elementary classrooms (grades 1-3) was based on 17 students with a maximum of 21, but, now with a waiver from the state, Fayette County elementary classrooms generally contain 23-24 students and can go as high as 30 students. (See for information on rules and regulations regarding public education in Georgia.)
Within each school building there are principals and assistant principles whose duties and responsibilities include checking lesson plans, observing instruction, planning ongoing professional learning (classes for improved teacher techniques), and ensuring that the Georgia Performance Standards set forth by the state are being adhered to and taught effectively.
Fayette County continues to struggle financially; cutting benefits, salaries, and even removing teacher work days (normally reserved for conferencing, planning, or professional learning, and the time normally spent packing up the classroom for the summer) in order to trim their budget. These are not the ways to continue to have a successful school system. This past February teacher contracts were due to be signed but were withheld until the lawyers could rework the phrasing. The new contracts included the caveat; at any time, for any reason, The Fayette County Board of Education could make changes to the benefits or salaries of its employees. The cover letter of each contract contained a statement to the effect: Sign the contract or send your letter of resignation to the county office immediately.
Residents of Fayette County need to begin to understand what is occurring within the confines of their trusted school system.
When times are difficult for businesses or families the first things to go are the extravagances, not the necessities. Good teachers with a strong active support team are necessary to maintain a successful school system. Small class size is a necessity for student success in school. A standard for learning (the GPS) is a necessity. The time has come to take a good hard look at what “extravagances” we need to remove from our local school system.
If you are still unsure about how “extravagant” Fayette County Board of Education has been with your money, you can simply turn to the local cable networks Fayette County Schools and watch our school employed newscaster for yourself.

purpletulips's blog | login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 11:22am.

but somebody, voted these people back in. Since there are a huge number of voters who are employed by the school system, I can't help but think that tipped the elections in their favor. I know it did the SPLOST vote.

Now we are stuck with them and the people who supported Houston and Nicole File are disgusted. You guys will have to do something this time if you want it done.

If someone wants to get a recall going, there seems to be plenty of things out there to do it with and I'm sure everyone, myself included will sign. But the ones that tried so hard to get them out and were not supported, are not going to come forward and lead the charge.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Sun, 10/04/2009 - 7:02pm.

I grew up in Ohio in a public school system that scored well within the state. I advanced in that school from 1st through 12th grade (1976-1988). There was never a time that our classromm size was under 26 students and several years we had 32 in my classroom. It did not seem to affect the quality of instruction and my final graduating class was 110 seniors. Approximately 65% percent went to college and 2 were selected for West Point. This was a farming community with a population of 2200 people. Anecdotally, I did not see any issues with a classroom size of 30. Is it proven that smaller classroom sizes definitely increase scholastic achievement and a good predictor of future success? Is this a definite thing or is it similar to saying that an assembly line of 10 UAW employees will produce a better quality car than a line of 8 UAW employees? I am not trying to disrespect teachers, but I really want to understand the genesis of this and how increasing class sizes will affect the students as a whole

All Smiles's picture
Submitted by All Smiles on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 9:02am.

Maybe classroom size does not affect the learning environment as most of us feel, but the constant cutting of benefits and furloughs WILL take its toll on the learning environment! Already, a teacher employed by the Fayette School System makes less than his/her counterparts in the majority of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Still, our students continue to score very high on state and national tests. Fayette County attracts and keeps outstanding educators. However, if the board of education keeps cutting our ‘front line teachers’ unfortunately, our top quality teachers will have no choice but to look for work elsewhere. THIS WILL HURT THE QUALITY OF OUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION! Not to mention as if the real estate market needs another kick, our top scoring school system has been for many years the driving force behind the higher property values. Should the superiority of the education start to drop, there too goes the value of the homes in an already ailing market.
In this challenging economic time, the board needs to evaluate the consequences of teacher cutbacks to cutbacks of the newscaster/media and the administrative directors. Which of the cutbacks will still help our children achieve superior scores in our high ranking school system? The main object should be our children and their education.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Mon, 10/05/2009 - 10:32am.

Let's get down to the brass tacks of the matter. Can the county and its taxpayers pay more for the Board of Education to spend? If that answer is "no" and the state continues to reduce funding, then we have to make some hard choices. I am not an expert in education nor the funding of our BOE. I am not sure if they are experts either for that matter. In any case, my question still stands-- what is the QUANTIFIABLE impact of class room sizes? Is it proven or is it just one of a myriad of factors for scholastic achievement? Factors such as parents, living arrangements, genetics, extracurricular activities, culture, etc. And what would the impact of doing something like increasing class sizes and taking the resultant payroll savings and put it into remaining teacher salaries? Suddenly the school system would boast a higher than average salary for teachers. Of course, what about administrators etc, can cuts be made there? But my point is valid. Is there a statistically proven student teacher ratio in public schools that is modeled? Or are the student-teacher state-directed guidelines a result of the teacher's Union Lobby (AFT/NEA)? It is silly to argue that I do not want the highest quality of public education that is economically feasible. I do and have children currently in the FCBOE public schools. The answer cannot continue to be to shovel money at the schools with questionable accounting and turmoil in priorities.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.