Opinion Columns & Blogs

No confidence in Dallemand

On Sunday, The Telegraph ran a story about the number of vacancies within the Bibb County school system. There are two key paragraphs that stand out.

“With roughly 224 open positions -- including seven school principals -- to fill once this school year ended, the school system has a lot of work on its hands,” wrote Phillip Ramati.

The story continued, “One teacher at a Bibb County middle school ... summed up the situation for many. ‘The thing is, there are hundreds of teachers (in the Bibb County school system) who are looking for jobs, but they can’t find something,” he said. “With this economy, there are no openings.’ ”

There is, in fact, an exodus going on within the Bibb County school system. Many of the teachers who have sought to leave have been unable to find new jobs, so their exodus is now mental. They have checked out. If they could get out, they would.

Westside High School has more than 36 openings. Some people quit without even having jobs to go to. The teachers are voting no confidence in Superintendent Romain Dallemand.

In addition to their overall lack of faith in the superintendent’s Macon Miracle plan, the primary concern is discipline. One of the teachers quoted in The Telegraph said, “We’re told not to write children up for offenses.” The irony is the superintendent responding that, “It is one of my top concerns as well. We’re putting things in place that address safety and security. ... We’re putting together three alternative schools, we’re collaborating with the Juvenile Court.”

Why ironic? Based on conversations I have had with numerous teachers, they have been told the superintendent himself caused the problem. Want to improve a school’s standing in the No Child Left Alive, er, Behind rankings? Improve school discipline. What is the easiest way to improve school discipline in a bureaucratic, check-the-box system? Just do not discipline the students.

In other words, according to the teachers I have spoken with, students have figured out they can cuss out teachers, do no work and, as long as they are not physically harming anyone, the school administration will not do much. The inmates are running the asylum, but some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., might just decide the lack of reported incidents means discipline has improved.

The superintendent says he is going to address security because he is “a father with two children in the school system.” Replied one teacher, “Maybe the rest of the kids should get direct access to school system police like his kids do.”

No Confidence in the T-SPLOST

A few weeks ago a “resident of Roswell” Georgia wrote a letter to the editor at The Telegraph calling me dishonest for implying that the Department of Transportation will enrich preferred clients through the T-SPLOST. What the resident of Roswell did not say is that the businesses he represents stands to make millions off the T-SPLOST.

My concern has always been that our transportation bureaucracy is corrupt and filled with waste, fraud and abuse. The mendacity of that response is another example.

Under the T-SPLOST, the DOT will decide if it or private contractors will build projects and, if private contractors, which ones. Is it any wonder a bunch of well-heeled lobbyists with friends in state government support the T-SPLOST?

A vote for the T-SPLOST will create a permanent class of corruption funded off our pennies. We must fix our bureaucracy before we want to seriously fix our infrastructure. Vote no on the T-SPLOST.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.