Marshall Orson for DeKalb Schools - A Better Board.  Better Schools.  DeKalb Deserves It.
Best Practices for Our Schools and Our Classrooms
 
Three Guiding Principles: 
1.     Every child deserves a high quality education.   
2.     We must be accountable for results.   
3.     The school board must be educationally focused, fiscally
        responsible, and committed to every child.
 
Here is what Marshall believes the Board of Education MUST do: 

 1.    Ensure great schools for all students.  This is what our children deserve and is an absolute necessity if DeKalb is to prosper.  We must not fall victim again to the divisive actions which pit one part of DeKalb against another or one group of DeKalb citizens against another, all of which undermine the entire system.  We are making decisions examined through the lens of whether it supports student success. 

 2.    Be fiscally responsible and intelligent.  We must manage the budget smartly, using most of our resources to educate our children.  We must make wise decisions on the budget, which includes understanding not only the costs but the benefits of the programs we fund. We must not waste resources pursuing frivolous lawsuits or paying the criminal legal fees for the now-indicted, former Superintendent.  We must be transparent on how we intend to spend your money. 

 3.    Make smart decisions. Board members must make decisions for the long-term health of the school system, not short-term expediency or perceived easy decisions. 

 4.    Encourage public engagement and participation, and be transparent.  Board members should actively encourage the public’s participation in the education system, and not just during election season.  This participation includes restoring the role of school councils in the selection of principals, a role eliminated by the current Board.  The Board must notify the public of what it intends to do rather than hiding behind multiple called meetings and publishing a bare minimum agenda. 

 5.    Encourage innovation.  One-size-fits-all is a guarantee of failure.  While there should be standards for every school, schools should also innovate and adapt to meet the needs of their communities, reaching beyond those standards to achieve greater success.  Charter schools must be part of this innovation, allowing more freedom in exchange for results. 

6.    Reduce bureaucracy, increase school-based decision-making. The central office should play a role in setting standards and ensuring accountability, but not managing schools.  Shrink the central office and align positions to support the work of our schools. Hire great principals and allow them to run their schools so long as they are successful.  We must change the culture where the central office thinks it runs the schools rather than supporting the schools.  We must change the culture where the Board of Education thinks it is more important than schoolhouse faculty and staff. 

 7.    Be accountable. We must focus on long-term results, not short-term results.  We must be honest about our failures and be ready to try new things.