Another Tough Year!

By the time you read this article, most of you would have already started back at school. It promises to be another tough year, especially with all the reports in the news media about the various schools and school systems which are falling in the "Needs Improvement" categories. As you well know, the administrators are now feeling the heat, and they are going to pass this heat on to the teachers. They want to show that they’re trying to improve their "almighty test scores" by firing certain teachers! The whole process is dysfunctional and sick. Many of the parents need a "Needs Improvement" rating!

This past school year was busier than ever. We represented perhaps more teachers in grievances and hearings than in any other year in MACE’s history. Since August of 2003, we engaged in twenty-one (21) public pickets. These pickets included eight (8) in the Atlanta Public Schools (Mays High School, Brown Middle School, Oglethorpe Elementary School, Connelly Elementary School, and four [4] at the Central Office against Beverly Hall and her sycophants downtown); five (5) in DeKalb County (King High School, McNair High School, McNair Middle School, Peachcrest Elementary School, and one against Johnny Brown at the Central Office); four (4) in Fulton County (Holmes Elementary School, McNair Middle School, Banneker High School, and Hapeville Elementary School); three (3) in Clayton County (Lovejoy Middle School and two against the School Board at school board meetings); and one (1) in Bibb County (Westside High School). With the school year starting back, we have some sites already in focus. Call us if you think that your administrator(s) needs a good picket. Sometimes, public exposure is the only thing that will bring relief to a unconscionable situation!

Congratulations to MACE member Yolanda Everett for being elected to the Clayton County Board of Education. MACE Field Director Norreese Haynes lost by just one vote from making a runoff in his quest for a seat on the Clayton County Board of Education. Every vote does count! Another MACE member, Janice Scott, ran a very impressive race against a man who worked in the Clayton County School System for over 40 years (and is considered almost a "legend"). She almost pulled the shocker of the evening! Tony Guisasola, a MACE member who lives in Gilmer County and teaches in Dawson County (and MACE’s longtime North Georgia "Field Marshal"), came in first in a three-person race for a seat on the Gilmer County Board of Education. He garnered 40% of the vote, and he’s in a runoff with the incumbent who received only 31% of the vote. The superintendent and a couple of board members are doing what they can to try to keep Tony off the school board. They know that Tony will not be a "yes man."

Congratulations to Dr. Mike Rhett, a MACE member who teaches in Cobb County, for successfully defending his dissertation at the University of Georgia! Dr. Rhett is one of MACE’s charter members. Another charter member, Representative Darryl Jordan, runs for re-election this year -- with no opposition! Representative Jordan teaches in Henry County but represents parts of Jonesboro, Riverdale, and Fayetteville in the State House. He’s always been the teachers’ "Best Friend" in the General Assembly. He earns MACE’s "Best Friend Award." (He’s won other awards like "The Teacher’s Advocate!" award.)

As some of you may know, MACE enters its tenth (10th) year on September 1, 2004. (At the Back-To-School BASH on September 18, 2004, we’ll be celebrating MACE’s Ninth Birthday as well as celebrating [with cash!] the Membership Campaign!) Our membership now spreads from Gilmer County in the north to Valdosta City in the south. We spread from Muscogee County in the west to Richmond County in the east. We also have members in small systems throughout Georgia, and, of course, we’re all over the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. As more teachers learn about us through TheTeachersAdvocate.Com, and as more members move throughout Georgia, the MACE Diaspora keeps happening. I think that by now the administrators and "powers that be" have given up on MACE going away. MACE is like a slow heartburn or a bad case of poison ivy to these people -- the more they "scratch" it, the more it spreads! It might sound trite but it is true: When you say "MACE," the administrators listen! We don’t exist to please the administrators. We exist to protect our members. When an administrator starts messing with one of our members, we make the administrator an offer that he/she cannot refuse: Leave our member alone or else...

If you have changed your address, phone number, school, or school system, please notify us so that we can update our files. The MACE Team -- Jeff, Bill, Norreese, Pam, Tunde, Edward, Dennis, and I -- sends its greetings, and the MACE Team wishes you a pleasant and successful school year.

As many know by now, I graduated from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law on May 8, 2004 -- the same day that our Vice Chairman, Dennis Yarbrough, got married to Nanette Azatto. (That was one of the busiest days of my life. I had to graduate with a tuxedo under my robe, and then take off immediately to be in Dennis and Nanette’s wedding in the Cartersville area -- and then go back to a couple of functions in Macon on the same day!) I thank you for your prayers and encouragement while I was in law school!

                                                                       August 6, 2004

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