Russ Gibb at Random

DPS Board President Jim Schoolmaster writes

January 5, 2007


When it became apparent that a change in leadership was needed at Fordson, we conducted an extensive search within as well as outside of our system. Mr Fadlallah finally agreed to take Fordson although he was very successful at Stout. From first hand experience I know he is a learner and his family are learners. He cares about education and wants the best for each child at Fordson . He refuses to suffer fools gladly and is a disciplinarian.

I think it is important for each of us to decide what would be a failure at Fordson. If it is a failure for a sub-group of special education children who are unable to make adequate yearly progress ? If so, then failures exist in Bloomfield and Troy. What is the incompetence that is or was occurring ?

One thing that Russ Gibb has always done is question and teach others to question. I would like your writer to please set forth his basis for claiming the educational opportunities at Fordson are sub-standard and that Fordson is failing, . Further I would like supporting evidence that the school board tolerates failure.

Please note that administrative changes have occurred frequently since I have been on the Board when it appears that our educational mission is being jeopardized.

Jim Schoolmaster

President, Dearborn Board of Education

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32 Comment(s)

Nonsense. The educational mission of this district has been off course for a number of years. When the Board had the opportunity to make the most significant "Administrative Change" ie the Superintendents position, Schoolmaster and the Board renewed his contract!This failure leads to other failures, like Fordson.

--by CoreValues on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Years ago I was told that politics was the second oldest profession, After reading Mr Schoolmasters, politically correct pimping defense of the Dearborn school system, I now realize it is closer to the number one profession.

--by Parent on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

What a laugh. When Schoolmaster and Blackwell had a chance to do something to enhance the educational mission of the DPS, What did they do? They renewed failing Superintendent John Artists contract. LOL

--by teacher on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

With all due respect Mr. Schoolmaster:

You sat on your hands when administrators were breaking the rules at FHS and flagrantly abusing district resources. You do nothing to stem the tide of students flooding into Dearborn Schools from other communities but offer lip service. No solutions!
You routinely turn the other cheek when, not just administrators, but teachers, abuse their authority.

Your post deserves about as much regard and weight as your track record and this is why you nearly lost your job! Almost half of the voters in Dearborn can’t be wrong. When almost half of the voting public votes to have you removed, your viability is in question and rightfully so! You won the election, but you are not listening to what the voters are telling you. Your support is wavering for the same reason your posting is meaningless. You have lost touch with the community and what the community holds valuable. The quality of our kid’s education is not your #1 priority, political BS and putting out fires is. Your credibility is in question and you do nothing to address the real problems in our district. You play the PC game and I have seen you personally bully and intimidate board members for making valid points in an open forum.

Long story short Mr. Schoolmaster. You’re a Buffoon!

--by VOA on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

So, Mr Jim Schoolmaster claims Mr Fadlallah does not"suffer fools gladly" well, nor do I,as a voter and taxpayer suffer politically correct school board members fools, gladly. And particularly a school board president named Jim Schoolmaster.

--by taxpayer on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Dear Mr Gibb, I know Mr Schoolmaster and he is a very decent person. But,you a while back called the Dearborn male board members the "Balless Boys" Your comment was right on. Keep up the good work, your site is one of the few media outlets in Dearborn that lets the ordinary person have a say.

--by Say it like it is. on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Jim Schoolmaster said "[he] does not suffer fools gladly." I'm a fool? Goes to show you the respect we receive daily.

--by Fordson Teacher on 1/5/07   Lives: USA  

Fadlallah a disciplinarian ? More like a tribal chieftain. You can take a person out of the Middle East tribal society, but you can't take the Middle East tribal society mentality out of the person. At Fordson It's spelled F A D L A L L A H. a family affair.

--by Retired Fordson Teacher on 1/5/07   Lives: Michigan  

Let's face it, Jim Schoolmaster and Aimee Blackburn both are nothing but PC stooges for the .. BIG .. PC mistake called Dr. John Burl Artist. The sad truth that they won't face is that the Dearborn Public Schools are falling and failing. And all of Humpty Dumpty Artis's PC administative minions will not be able to put the DPS back together again.

--by Edsel Parent on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Too bad you are vastly outnumbered EDSEL PARENT. It seems that the voters disagree with you on Blackburn.

--by Drop In a Bucket on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

I think, despite Schoolmaster's claim, there's a lot going on at Fordson that isn't academic and has nothing to do with test scores or learning that is the major concern. I went to HFCC for a period of time and I heard more and more from new students and dual-enrollment students about Mr. Fudlallah's wonderful ethics.

First of all, there's a very low-brow racial problem there. Fordson is made up mostly of Middle Eastern, European and African descent students, and the administrative staff can often favor or look aside towards certain groups.

I'm not sure about this year, but during the previous years Fordson was not drug testing their sports teams. Some of the coaches would even respond to the idea of steroids with "Whatever you have to do..." It wasn't until one of the members of the team got caught red-handed and they drug tested them did they really know what was going on. Even then, many students overheard the Principle deciding not to act on the results because one of the prominent athletes said "But what about the families? Do we really want to look bad for this?"

There's still some great teachers and folk at Fordson, but when a Principle holds school-wide hearings and mentions "We need to bring more of our Islamic principles into school here." or disapproves funding for the Theater program over a teacher/administrator dispute, I lose faith.

I can't claim to have seen this myself, but after I graduated from Dearborn High and went on to HFCC, the stories are so consistent from so many students that it's frightening. I didn't believe it at first out of hope, but when you hear it enough times it sets in that "Dear god, it could be true."

No school board decision can fix Fordson at this point. This has to be a ground-up change in the school there, starting with every administrator who acts unethically and down to teachers who supported them or aided them during all this. But, knowing John Artis, we'll be lucky to hear a mention of it. I think he's become so paranoid of bad publicity that he has forgotten about his duties and responsibilities as the keystone of our district.

--by Brian on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Amiee Blackburn used her anglo saxon name to fool the voter that she really is a spoksperson for AAPAC the Arab American political Action Committee. . Voters are now aware of her agenda. Don't be so sure that she will be elected again. Her cover has been blown.

--by Edsel Parent on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Thank you President Schoolmaster for telling the truth. VOA sais that President Schoolmaster doesn't address the real problems in our district, when in reality VOA you and the rest of the stooges on this blog are the problem. An Edsel Parent thinks that Schoolmaster and Blackburn are stooges. I remember Blackburn demolishing her opponents in the last election when 6 people tried to unseat her and Schoolmaster won the last election, which was a very good thing. The alternative would have been a disaster. The schoolboard knows the truth about Fordson and that's what counts. All of you gutless bloggers don't count.

--by Blue and Gold on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Mr. Schoolmaster,

I am a Dearborn citizen with school-aged children. I vote, pay taxes, and expect elected officials to treat constituents with respect. I am making every effort to excuse the pedantic piece of claptrap you bestowed upon us.

Do you think you can piss in our ears and tell us it is raining? You will be more clear about the answer to this question after the next election.

Perhaps, like Mr. Fadlallah and his family, you too are just a learner. You and the Fadlallah’s are being paid to lead the learners and well, the general public and I were expecting you to be learn-ed.

The onus for deciding failure is not for each of us to decide. The benchmark for failure has been determined.
Fordson High School has failed. Here are the numbers.

English Language Arts 50 59 F

Mathematics 61.1 65.2 D

Science 50 58.1 F

Social Studies 72 71.7 C

Achievement Subtotal 58.3 63.5 D

These grades don't come from Troy, or Bloomfield Hills, or Dearborn High School. They do not represent a special education population. They represent the students of FORDSON HIGH SCHOOL

I suggest you reread the concerns posted on this blog and compose another letter that fully recognizes them. Don’t forget you work for us and we expect respect. You very nearly lost your position in the previous election. Your arrogance has allowed you to underestimate the public. We won’t let you do it again.
Try responding with the other side of your mouth and see if it is any more capable of telling the truth.

--by Darby Shaw on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Mr Gibb, I have no ideas as whether or not Mr Fadlallah is a good or bad educator.
But I do know that Mr Schoolmaster has been remiss in his duties as Dearborn School Board President and owes the citizens of Dearborn a full and compleate report on Fadlallahs comments in the media to the effect that he has "lost faith in America" and also whether or not it is true that Fordson High School did not commerate the 3000 people , mostly Americans who lost their life on 9/11.
Fordson High School is an American school, in an American city called Dearborn, Michigan USA

--by R .Brown on 1/5/07   Lives: Detroit area  

Wow you would think reading Blue and Gold that Aimee Blackburn is the second coming of Joan of Ark. Her subservience to certain ethnic political groups is the price she pays for enough support to be reelected to the Board. I can remember however that she wimped out when she had grand dreams of being a State Representative. The price of this subservience is the national joke known as Fordson High School. As for Schoolmaster, if Blackburn is Joan of Ark, then Schoolmaster must be Pee Wee Hermann

--by Charles Martel on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

It's hard to hear claims that Alternative Board members would be "disastrous." Some of the board members that ran against Amy Blackburn I would have much more preferred. Not to mention, they didn't have the large donors courting them to make decisions for them.

Mrs. Zainab would have been a great candidate, in my opinion, because she has a history of not caring about what is or isn't taboo but simply speaking her mind and giving her best opinions on things. Some of the board members call her a nuisance, too, because she's so outspoken of both failures and successes. That's one great reason right there!

Her affiliation with ACCESS has fallen apart because, from what I understood, she just didn't like how they were doing things there any more. She does things by her own determination of right or wrong. However, she isn't an excellent speaker under pressured debate because she grew up in an Arabic Speaking family and her English isn't as articulate because of her bilingual nature. I have seen her speak at Board Meetings, though, and she always makes some very strong points and does this articulately. She also has a lot more of a "grass roots" air about her style, she believes every citizen should have a hand in government, not government having a hand in every citizen.

Even aside from Mrs. Zainab, there were many other good candidates on the ballot. The fact some were willing to "sell out" to local constituency groups for publicity is horrid. And just remember: people give candidates money because they promise they'll act on their agenda. ACCESS has a vested interest in not exposing the major failures at Fordson because, quite frankly, they often use it as the model of a "successful American Arab School". WHAT A BETTER WAY TO HIDE IT THEN GET PEOPLE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD??

--by Brian on 1/5/07   Lives: Dearborn  

WIth all of the scandal at FHS it is funny that Mr. Schoolmaster has the balls to come out here and tell us its all OK. Its NOT OK and something needs to be done!

If we only looked at what we know has been going on (Limobus, AYP, attendance manipulation, out of district students of administrators, mass exodus of students and teachers, theft of money etc etc etc) one has to wonder what planet Mr. Schoolboard President has been residing on.

What is it with people in Michigan? We have a failing econemy and we put Grandholm back on the job, we have a failing city so we put Kwamie back on the job, we have failing schools and district and we put Schoolmaster back on the job.

--by Just a little guy on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Don't worry about these postings, Mr. Schoolmaster. Most of these bloggers would blame anyone who had your position.

--by Blackburn: Smart and Hot on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Has anyone forgotten about Aimee Blackburn running around trying to get endorsements for the felon, Nael Abunab? What about using her president's position to give the felon free campaign time at the microphone during board meetings? What kind of a person would want a felon on a school board?

Why would she associate herself with a group that consists of a felon and Life for Relief and Development people. Let's see, a felon and someone being investigated by the FBI for sending money to questionable charities over seas!

It seems to me that Ms. Blackburn and her AAPAC pals are hanging out with some people of questionable character. Because Of this, one should be leary of the Arab American Political Action Committee and anyone who associates with them. They may be the self proclaimed spokespeople for the Arab community, but any Arab with half a brain would not follow their direction!

--by Alia on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

These Dulmage puppets just keep trying and trying to defame Blackburn. They associate her more with AAPAC then she herself does. She does not work for AAPAC, nor does she deny their endorsement. Unlike Dulmage, Blackburn (and other West End serving schoolboard members) chooses to work with BOTH SIDES of the city. Maybe we could get her to run for mayor. It would be great to have someone like her that tries to work for everyone in the community, instead on trying to divide it like so many of our other politicians.

--by BLACKBURN FOR MAYOR on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Blackburn for mayor ? what a joke. Sounds like Mr Abed Hammood her puppet master is working again.

--by M ike Ustan on 1/6/07   Lives: Michigan  

Oh Jim, I remember when you lived a few blocks from my home and taught in the district. I also remember being impressed by your sincere interest in your job and your students. Unfortunately, educators who move up the administrative side find themselves more involved in the political aspects of the district and lose sight of what education is about. I am totally appalled by the letter by the Fordson junior that follows this post. As an alumnus of Fordson when the school was a treasure, it breaks my heart to hear of all the problems. The system is f**ked up. The situation in Dearborn borders on a breakdown. I have no idea how things could be turned around -- it's probably too far gone!!

--by ALICE on 1/6/07   Lives: Detroit area  

12:00AM on 1/6/07

Hi, Russ,

The Edsel Ford girl's basketball team played the quarterfinals at the new Cass Tech high school in downtown Detroit. I was astounded at what I saw of the facility. The staircases were twenty feet wide and made of marble! The main gym was surrounded by a running track. The seats for watching basketball or volleyball were steep enough so every person had a good view of the court. The gym shared a glass wall with the large and well-appointed natatorium (the pool - I just remember that word) which contained a diving well. It seems to me the school must have cost $100 million. I am told that the new Renaissance high school is similar.

Russ, how did Detroit afford those schools? I thought Detroit schools were broke, yet they have built facilities we can only envy.

--by J Higgins on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Blackburn for mayor? Time to lay off the airplane glue. How about Blackburn for principal at Fordson.That way she can directly serve her constituency and we can see how effective she is.

--by Charles Martel on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

When was the last time you were at Fordson, Mr. Schoolmaster??? I'd love to have you come and sit in my classes for a day . . . But that might be too much to ask. After all, you are only the SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT.

Try stopping by UNANNOUNCED and walking the halls and you will see the problem.

--by FHS Staff on 1/6/07   Lives: Dearborn  

I think an unannounced visit by Board members is an excellent idea. Make sure to stop at purchase a refreshing soda at one of the many vending machines that will greet you at nearly any entrance to the building. (But with half the drinking fountains out of service, can you blame students for being late for class when they have to stop and buy a bottle of Coke between classes? The vending machines used to be on timers and only on during the lunch hours).

Make sure you don't eat before you come to school. The first lunch is at 9:30am - you probably still haven't even had your first cup of coffee at that time. It's every student's dream to have pizza and cheese rolls merely two hours after classes begin at 7:20.

Oh, and make sure you stop in the boy's bathrooms. It takes a special kind of teenage boy to be able to relieve himself on a toilet in a bathroom that has no privacy doors. The boys aren't expected to be naked in front of each other in the locker room, nor are they required to take showers after gym class (too humiliating to modest Muslims), but it's okay to sit on a toilet. Some students have even been known to go home to use their own bathrooms rather than face the humility of performing any of these highly private acts in the open.

Oh, and feel free to chastize any of those many students you will see still in the hallways after the bell has rung, although you may find yourself lonely in that task.

--by Fed Up on 1/7/07   Lives: Detroit area  

Great Slogan! The AAPAC Pygmallion for Mayor! By the way, if Blackburn isn't closely associated with AAPAC, why did her face appear in the picture on the front cover of the November AAPAC paper article which displayed it's Endorsement Committee? Come on Aimee, we are not that stupid.

--by Alia on 1/7/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Mr James Schoolmaster does'nt have a clue. He belives Dr Artis. How sad, how sad.

--by Ex teacher on 1/7/07   Lives: Detroit area  

Regarding Mr. Schoolmaster’s remarks,

I applaud Mr. Schoolmaster for taking the time out of his day to post his insights on Russ’s website. Unfortunately, Mr. Schoolmaster does make some valid points, the problem is they are not entirely true.

To my recollection, Mr. Fadlallah was placed at Fordson as the interim principal. I don’t recall an extensive search for a new principal for Fordson. He was given the job by default.

The issue regarding his “Family” is that he is in a direct supervisory position of a family member. This is nepotism and is inappropriate. I think that AAA Michigan has rules in place regarding employment of family members in supervisory positions. So why does Dearborn Public Schools allow this? Mr. Schoolmaster is not allowed to vote on teacher issues due to his wife’s employment as a teacher? If Mr. Schoolmaster is held to this standard so that there is no conflict of interest, then, why is the family relationship between the Principal and Assistant Principal in the same building not a conflict of interest?

Mr. Schoolmaster when was the last time you were in Fordson High School? Can He explain why this school caters more to the Arab American Students then to the rest of the student population? If Dearborn Public Schools is to have well rounded students and graduates, then, why is one segment of the population at Fordson treated differently then the rest?

The argument regarding the special education students doesn’t make sense. Specifically, how large a special education population does Fordson have? If it is the entire school, then your argument holds some weight. This is the same dodge that Dearborn has used in the past to explain away bad test results.

The school board tolerates failure. Look at the 2-3 years of turmoil at Bryant. Instead of taking disciplinary action and removing the principal involved, a fact finder was utilized, the principal was given an opportunity to improve his leadership and personnel skills. In the end, this principal was move to ASC, promoted to a Coordinators position that pays more and put in charge of programs and not people. Is this the same strategy used at AAA for poor performers?

What Administrative Changes? The school board acts on the information that is provided to them by Dr. Artis. They have never gone out and looked at or spoken to the people in the schools. The board has a myopic view.

Remember Mr. Schoolmaster, Leadership is the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization……When have you and your fellow board members done this? That’s right you provide this type of leadership through Dr. Artis……..

--by Disgruntled Employee on 1/7/07   Lives: Michigan  

It’s kind of scary to see how the people of Dearborn feel about their school board while in the last two opportunities to send a message, the community of Dearborn missed the boat.

I really don’t think the people of Dearborn have the political will to change course, I think they just like to complain a lot. Why should the school board give a damn what any of you people think when you continue to put them back on the job?

You can say, well I voted for the other person so it wasn’t my fault, right? How many of you are at school board meetings to voice your concerns, Ask for answers, demand results?

When a teacher insults the Muslim holy book, we get half of the Middle Eastern Community out to be heard, but when their kids are crammed like sardines in a building with an administration that is completely out of touch and a school board that supports blunder and scandal one after the other, where is the outrage in the community directed at the school board than?

You’re all digging your own kid’s graves! Are you going to dig the holes or get off of your butts and start making your voices heard? Or do you think its someone else’s job to do this stuff? The people who are proactive are making the policy and decisions, the people who are sitting at home and crying on the computer are accepting those decisions. Its time to mobilize and do something if you think there is something wrong at FHS or anywhere in the DPS. It’s our city, we pay for it and it belongs to us. We can take it back any time we want to, but we don’t have the will to do it so why should they change anything? You don’t think they know this? They look down their noses at us with contempt and do whatever they want because who is going to stop them? Look at the way Schoolmaster and Artis talk to people who oppose them. They become indignant, abusive and start blustering and turn the camaras off.

Maybe everyone who is commenting on this posting should go take a copy and read it in open forum at a school board meeting? Sure, Schoolmaster will try to bully you off of the podium like he always does when he is getting news he does not like, but that speaks volumes about him too doesn’t it? Who could stop you? Look at what is going on in the audience at a typical school board meeting. Half of them are clock watching and Zigterman is usually asleep.

Before you say it, don’t worry, my voice will be heard, just as it has and shall continue to be. Will yours?

--by Been there, done that! on 1/7/07   Lives: Dearborn  

Edsel Parent,
I did not know that being of Arab descent precluded you from running for public office. So in other words we should never vote for anyone with a non-Anglo Saxon name because that would automatically make them a bad candidate. By the way since when did it become a crime to represent your entire city and not just the non-Arab portion? With all due respect Sir or Madam you are coming of as quite the racist.

--by LIFE LONG DEARBORN CITIZEN on 1/10/07   Lives: Dearborn  

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