Less than six months after taking office, Dallemand created a position called “Diversity Recruitment and Retention Coordinator”, which he filled with a former associate from his previous position in Hartford, Connecticut, LaToiya Glass. Although it is unclear who eventually eliminated this position, Ms. Glass, who’s previous qualifications only include being a minority recruiter, was moved into the position of Human Resource Director, when the aforementioned “Diversity Coordinator” position was cut. Ms. Glass was also given a pay raise for this, although she is apparently unqualified to be an HR Director as the school system has had to hire outside counsel on several occasions and spend several thousands of dollars to negotiate contracts between the school system and the Rochester Education Association, better known as the union. According to the REA website, they are without a contract and have been for over 444 days.
As a precursor of what is to become a prevalent theme throughout Dallemend’s tenure in Rochester, at his six-month review, it is reported that he has poor communication with staff members. (To be fair to Dallemand, he was given high marks for building quick relations within the community, data analysis, and focusing on closing the “achievement gap” between the best students and the poorest students.)
Along the same time, even though the Rochester School District was having financial difficulties, Dallemand purchased a desk that cost almost $5000. Apparently, when the taxpaying public found out about the desk, Dallemand hid the desk off of school property. Cheryl Coryea, then the director of business services for the school district, informed Dallemand that this was not legal or ethical, a warning that fell upon deaf ears. In her complaint against the school district, filed in the Olmsted County District Court, Coryea states further that “Dallemand was directing school district employees to take hiring actions that she believed violated state and federal law. Specifically, Dallemand allegedly had instructed employees to delay hiring a wellness coordinator from a pool of qualified non minority candidates in order to find and hire a minority candidate. Coryea brought that issue to the attention of the school district’s attorney.”
According to the lawsuit, Dallemand wrote Coryea a “memorandum criticizing her performance.” Coryea responded to Dallemand questioning if her reporting his hiring practices is what triggered the bad memo. A few weeks later, on January 3, 2008, Dallemand again wrote to Coryea, “criticizing (her) for raising ‘information that does not respond to his points’ and then scheduled a face to face meeting with her. Later that day, Coryea reported “Dallemand’s offsite storage of the glass desk to the school board chairperson. She also reported that Dallemand’s failure to document significant charges for meals at meetings would be considered illegal by the state auditor.” The meeting that Dallemand called with Coryea never happened. He fired her the next day, effective January 31st. (In correspondence with Coryea, Dallemand also “acknowledged that her termination was based in part on her reporting of the desk.”) In September of 2010, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling that had previously dismissed Ms. Coryea’s whistleblower allegations. The court found in its decision that the “allegations support Coryea’s whistleblower claim.” (Remember this story…It will be more relevant by the end of my article.)
A little over a month later, in March, 2008, Dallemand announced that he would be adopting a model for closing the “achievement gap” from the Efficacy Institute of Waltham, Massachusetts; a system that rewards students for effort rather than ability. The idea drew sharp criticism, although there was some support for it as well. In other words, young Johnny has tried so hard, we’re going to give him the same marks as young Suzie who scored higher on her test. Some things have to be faced. There is a difference in students’ abilities to learn, no matter how much effort is put behind it.
We now fast-forward to February, 2009 as the Rochester school board cuts $9.3 million from the 2010 budget. In a hint of C. Jack Ellis, Dallemand’s recommendations included a budget of $150K in travel expenses, only a $60K cut in administrative salaries and only a $188K cut in principals and assistant salaries. No where in his recommendations are there any cuts called for in the Superintendent’s pay…Interesting. Bibb County teachers had better read this…(Again, in fairness to Dr. Dallemand, he did waive a $8250 bonus in March of 2009 and agreed to a pay freeze for 2010 in June of 2009.)
Later in the month of June, several students and parents of the Rochester school district gather in the rain at Rochester’s Central Park to rally in opposition of Dr. Dallemand and his contract renewal the following September. According to NBC affiliate KTTC, “One concerned parent told the crowd, ‘We have many friends who are teachers in this school district and they are so intimidated, they cannot speak out, they cannot say anything at meetings.” Others held signs that read “I represent a scared staff member.” All present stated that they were “no longer confident in the direction he (Dallemand) has taken the district in.” They had so little confidence, as a matter of fact, that they started a website called “Campaign of No Confidence.” Even in Sharon Patterson’s worst days, I don’t recall a specific website popping up. Despite the website and the protestors efforts, the school board decided to renew Dallemand’s contract three years in a 4-3 vote. (Sound familiar? A one vote margin…The same margin Dallemand was approved by on the Bibb County vote..)
On September 10, 2010 Rochester school board member and Vice-chairwoman Cris Fischer submitted her resignation from the board, stating that “the present direction from leadership is lacking long-range planning, organizational management, and open and honest communication.” Fisher had voted against Dallemand’s contract renewal the previous year, citing that she perceived a “culture of fear” in the district and declining teacher morale” She also stated that she had been among one of three board members who failed to attend a meeting in “apparent protest over a district hiring decision.”
Dr. Dallemand took over the Bibb County School System in February, 2011. On his first day on the job an Appling Middle School student was arrested for carrying a gun and possessing marijuana. Dallemand is quoted by the Macon Telegraph saying, “I’m very concerned about the safety of the students. Schools have to be conducive for students to learn and staff members to teach.” If there is so much concern, why isn't this addressed in "The Macon Miracle"?
Since his take over, Dallemand apparently has mistaken himself for Donald Trump. According to another Telegraph article, $68,000 was spent for furniture last year. He also had a board room soundproofed at a cost of $4500. (Rumor has it that he gets so loud during meetings that he wants the yelling contained.) A new coat of paint in the central office cost almost $20,000. All this and the students have to share books and beg for paper. Maybe Donald Trump wasn’t a good comparison. Ferdinand Marcos may be a better one. (I would say Saddam Hussein, but I don’t want to be insensitive.)
Now comes “The Macon Miracle” that should be called the Macon Albatross for the millions of dollars that this is going to hang around the necks of the taxpayers of Bibb County for decades to come should it pass. Longer school days, year-round school, 12 schools closing in an already crowded system and mandatory Mandarin Chinese spoke by all are just part of the folly. Not to mention that Dallemand wants to break elementary school down to K to 3, middle school 4 to 8 and high school 8-12. (Do you really want your innocent 4th grader associating with 8th graders?) Add to this that Dallemand won’t put a price tag on the whole debacle…and that it is estimated that it will cost the system about $7 million dollars just to start it….Well….you catch my drift. Oh yeah, and Dr. Dallemand put out a bid for a marketing firm to “effectively communicate the message of “‘The Macon Miracle” through print and video mediums
and Increase public recognition and support for “The Macon Miracle”. I wonder how much this is going to cost? (Dallemand has already rented out the Centreplex to roll out “The Miracle” complete with Chinese acrobats, exploding confetti cannons and all the bells and whistles…AT YOUR EXPENSE!!!...and yes….I’m serious.)
The Macon Miracle states that Glenn Singleton's Pacific Educational Group will be involved as consultants...In an email from Singleton’s assistant Carrie Streeter, Singleton denies that is ‘any work scheduled for the Bibb County Board of Education.” I have followed up questioning if there have been talks between Singleton and Dallemand but have not received an answer as of press time, but I did get an email from a spokesman from the Bibb County School System who states that ‘I asked about your request and was told the District does not have any contract or affiliation with Pacific Educational Group’. I did some research on Singleton…One website, www.openmarket.org, speaks VERY ‘highly’ of him and his techniques, saying that Singleton has “become a rich man by preaching racism, hate, and scapegoating. School systems hire him for hundreds of thousands of dollars to insult and scapegoat teachers and students based on their race under the guise of “diversity training.” That embarrasses the school systems that hire him in high-profile legal cases. Yet foolish school superintendents continue to hire him at exorbitant rates.” In a San Francisco Chronicle article written on November 12, 2007 states that ‘”contrary to widely held views that parents play a strong role in whether their children do well academically, Singleton believes the schools, not parents, are the biggest influence.” Oh it gets better… "If we were to say that black or brown kids don't perform as well because of their parents, we're saying black and brown parents aren't as effective as white parents," Singleton told The Chronicle. "That's pretty much a racist statement."
At schools with large numbers of black and Latino students, white teachers are not only culturally unfamiliar with their students, they are often the "least seasoned and skilled" at teaching, he said.
Singleton has been highly controversial for years. He consulted with the Chapel-Hill Carrboro City School System in North Carolina where he had them implement a system of humiliation that have even been rejected in Communist China.
“In an exercise called "The Color Line," they [teachers] answer 26 questions on a 0 to 5 scale, such as: "When I am told about our national heritage or 'civilization,' I am shown that people of my race made it what it is." Or"I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of race." Teachers who feel situations are "often true" put down fives. Threes are for "sometimes true" and zeroes are for" seldom true." After tallying their scores, teachers write the number down, wear them around their necks and line up from highest to lowest.”**
Further, radio talk show host Neal Boortz wrote in 2007 that “In 2002, Singleton got his hands on Seattle government schools. They hired him to indoctrinate students and staff about racism. So what did he do? He (Singleton) immediately attacked individualism and brands any form of individualism as a form of "cultural racism." He (Singleton) goes on to say that "only whites can be racist." Boortz then states that “Singleton also says that planning ahead is a white characteristic and it is racist to assume that minorities will do the same. This reminds me of the professor from a predominately black college in Atlanta who, many years ago, said that the use of logic in an argument was racist. There seems to be no end to this nonsense.” And now there seems to be no end to the nonsense that Dr. Dallemand is bringing to the Bibb County School System at the taxpayers expense. And though there is a denial from Mr. Singleton, the rumor persists. I have emailed Superintendent Dallemand asking if he has in fact been in talks with Singleton but have not received an answer yet. Regardless if he has or has not been in talks with him now, he has hired Mr. Singleton in the past. This shows an obvious lack of good judgment in dealing with racial harmony and is very bad news for Bibb County citizens. (Goal 3, Strategy 1, Action Step 1 of Focus on Teaching and Learning in The Macon Miracle Plan reads: Provide ongoing training in Courageous Conversations by Pacific Education Group.)
It is also being advertised that the Bibb County School System will start a new program called ‘The Envoy Project’ produced by The Efficacy Institute. (Check it out on their website at http://www.efficacy.org) The Envoy Project itself promises to be”implemented within schools as well as community or after-school programs to dramatically improve culture and climate.” Yep…this is the same company that Dr. Dallemand used while in Rochester. My question is that if he did so great in Rochester, why was there so much controversy about him? Why did websites pop up demanding a ‘Vote of No Confidence’ be given to Dr. Dallemand? Why were there rallies in Rochester held by disgruntled faculty? (One concerned parent at the rally told the crowd, "We have many friends who are teachers in this school district and they are so intimidated, they cannot speak out, they can not say anything at meetings." How many Bibb County teachers could say the same thing right now?)*
Here’s the really bad part of this whole scheme: If anyone disagrees with Dr. Dallemand and the “Macon Miracle” they will be painted as a racist. Que Jack Ellis again who said that “"We (African-Americans) want to make sure that we want to express our support to the Superintendent, to the school system, to the school board members and others who are committed to making sure that this school system is one of the best school systems that every child that can learn in this town will learn." Since when did Ellis become a spokesman for the entire black community?
Yes, we need innovation. Yes, we need bold ideas. But we need to work on the pressing issues that confront the Bibb County Schools:
1. Safety—What a novel concept. Make it where kids and faculty alike actually feel safe in our schools.
2. Overspending on plans, projects (ie. ‘The Envoy Project’) and on the administration itself.—Desks for administrators and soundproof rooms don’t educate our children. This Superintendent is showing a lack of respect for money and wants to throw it away on plans, schemes, pomp and circumstance. Spend the money on teachers and principals who want to work and help children and get rid of the ones are standing in their way.
3. Under spending on the students basic needs.—Well paid teachers who can give their students their own books to study is another novel concept that is apparently foreign to Dr. Dallemand. Mandarin Chinese shouldn’t be taught to a student if they haven’t even grasped being able to spell their own names yet. Further, closing 12 schools and integrating students into other schools that are already overcrowded sure isn’t a way to increase efficiency and cut costs either. (I’m sure he’ll be coming back to taxpayers in a few years begging for new schools to cure the overcrowding that will result.)
4. Improve the graduation rate to an acceptable level.—Face it. Not everyone should go to college. Not everyone wants to go to college. At the same time, our schools should include students who want to learn and not just attend so they can keep in touch with their gang.
I sincerely hope that there is a huge enough outcry should the “Macon Miracle” be voted on by the Bibb County School Board that the Board shows good sense and rejects this boondoggle of millions of dollars of waste. A few weeks ago, Dr. Dallemand was asked to grade himself in his first year. In true humble fashion, he gave himself an A+. I personally would give him an incomplete at best. I also think the easiest thing to do at this point is buy out Dallemand’s contract and send him on his way before it’s too late. It will be a lot cheaper in the long run.
**Source: http://sites.google.com/site/campaignofnoconfidence535/Home This is a website complete designed to have a “No Confidence Vote” for Dr. Dallemand while he served as Superintendent of the Rochester, Minnesota School System.