Archive for June, 2010

Congrats to AJC Cup winners. You are part of a long and wonderful line of achievement.

The AJC has a full-page today in the Sunday paper listing all 190 AJC Cup winners from the Class of 2010. One of the longest standing student recognitions in the state, the AJC Cup – formerly known as the Atlanta Journal Cup — acknowledges all around great kids. (See the ad on page 7 in the D section of the Sunday AJC.)

The AJC wishes a bright future to the 2010 AJC Cup winners.

The AJC wishes a bright future to the 2010 AJC Cup winners.

As high school Web sites choose to explain the award: Highest award for a member of the senior class.   The AJC Cup is given to the senior who stands above the rest. This student excels and shows leadership in community activities, arts, athletics and academics. This is the highest award given to a member of the Senior Class.

To understand the cup’s impressive lineage, I am sharing a note sent to me by a Fulton teacher:

“I am from Atlanta (Grady High Class of 1978), and I am surprised at how few kids at the high school where I teach understand the history and importance of what is now known as the AJC …

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State school chiefs: Democrat Beth Farokhi wants to examine growth-model tests

Beth Farokhi: Democratic candidate

Beth Farokhi: Democratic candidate

The AJC asked Beth Farokhi, state school superintendent candidate, her views on four issues. (This is part of a Sunday/Monday package in the print AJC.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

Her responses:

1. Billions of dollars have been cut to the education budget over the last seven years, during both good times and bad. The state leadership has shown a shocking disregard for Georgia’s long term social, economic and public health prospects as determined by strong public education. It is about selecting priorities. My priority, as State School Superintendent will be to educate 1.6 million Georgians. I will be a constant presence with the Governor and the state legislators, pushing at every step for increased funding for schools and teachers.

2. …

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State school chiefs: Democrat Joe Martin says don’t tie teacher pay to test scores

Joe Martin, Democratic candidate

Joe Martin, Democratic candidate

The AJC asked Joe Martin, state school superintendent candidate, his views on four issues. (This is part of a Sunday/Monday package in the print AJC.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

1. Our schools are being crippled by the severe cuts in state support. My first priority will be to improve the financing of our schools, not only in the level of support but also in the most efficient use of the resources that are available. My knowledge of the funding formula and experience in business will be very valuable in eliminating unnecessary expenditures and targeting the funds to the maximum benefit of our students. I will work to reduce class sizes, especially in the early grades, and seek to restore art, music, and other essential programs, including …

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State school chiefs: Democrat Brian Westlake says there’s too much test focus

Brian Westlake: Democratic candidate

Brian Westlake: Democratic candidate

The AJC asked Brian Westlake, state school superintendent candidate, his views on four issues. (This is part of a Sunday/Monday package in the print newspaper.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

His responses:

1. Cutting billions of dollars from Georgia’s public schools over the last eight years is unconscionable, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Our children’s education is the core function of state government, yet our leaders have furloughed teachers while protecting handouts for large corporations. We have closed schools while concealing vouchers in a system of tax credits that reward a small group of economic elite.

Our next Superintendent will need to speak forcefully against irresponsible cuts and work tirelessly to find …

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State school chiefs: Republican John Barge would cut waste in DOE

Candidate John Barge

Republican candidate John Barge

The AJC asked John Barge, state school superintendent candidate, his views on four issues. (This is part of a Sunday/Monday package in the print newspaper.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

His responses:

1. The budget is the primary concern facing the new state school superintendent. We must cut waste at the State Department of Education.

This means getting rid of layers of bureaucratic red tape and consolidating a number of areas. We must return education to the local district as much as possible — this will free up money that is currently being wasted in Atlanta at the DOE while simultaneously enhancing education across the state.

2. If we brought back a common sense approach to testing in Georgia and reduced the amount of testing required by the …

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State school chiefs: Libertarian Kira Willis says too much administrative bloat

Kira Willis: Libertarian candidate

Kira Willis: Libertarian candidate

The AJC asked Kira Willis, state school superintendent candidate, her views on four issues. (Her answers are part of a Sunday/Monday package in the AJC.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

Her responses:

1. Since the inception of No Child Left Behind, administrative positions have grown dramatically in systems across the state, particularly in the larger counties.

These positions, seemingly accountable to no one, have little or no contact with students and usurp funds that should be going directly to the schools. There is too much bloat in county administrative offices.

Let’s eliminate these positions and move to biannual tests for our elementary and middle school students.

We will save ourselves at least 10 percent, money that should go to our …

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State school chiefs: Republican Richard Woods says too many limits on teacher success

Richard Woods: Republican candidate

Richard Woods: Republican candidate

The AJC asked Richard Woods, state school superintendent candidate, his views on four issues. (This is part of a Sunday/Monday package in the print newspaper.)

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?

His responses:

In Georgia, we are facing an enormous academic and financial education crisis. Our school doors will open and we must be ready.

1. There should be a complete audit of the education department and the consolidation of redundant and the elimination of inefficient units. I propose the creation of a statewide/regional purchasing consortium(s) to cut cost. Local school systems must be given financial flexibility and the opportunity to target learning needs. It is critical that we prioritize and focus on a set core of essential components for …

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CRCT probe in APS: It doesn’t look like a whitewash

I don’t think we have to worry that the system-ordered investigation into possible CRCT tampering in city of Atlanta schools is going to be a whitewash.

The AJC is reporting today that as many as 100 employees at 12 schools violated testing protocols. Not all 100 are suspected of outright cheating; some of them may have committed inadvertent testing rule violations.

Here is a quote from the chairman of a special investigative committee assembled to look into aberrant answer sheet patterns identified by a statewide audit in the wake of an AJC investigation into CRCT cheating. His comment should allay fears that APS would somehow avoid admitting to any wrongdoing by its schools.

“I’m outraged, primarily because I think about 50,000 kids in this system. If [students] don’t perform well on these tests, if we’ve been passing people along through the system, that’s the important issue,” said Gary Price, chairman of the independent panel that was formed to investigate …

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I wouldn’t just rehire this Cobb special ed teacher; I would erect a statue in her honor.

This reader response to an AJC article on special education teachers in Cobb ended up on my desk where I read it in amazement. Teacher Shannon Bryant sounds extraordinary.

Read this letter from parent Jason Adams and you will understand why. After reading it, I am even more perplexed why a teacher of Shannon’s caliber was not rehired. I wouldn’t just rehire her after reading this; I would start collecting for a statue in her honor.

With the permission of the author:

I am writing in response to your recent article entitled “Cobb Rehires 130 Special Education Teachers.” My hope is to add to the sentiments expressed regarding special needs teacher Shannon Bryant.  My son, Sully, is a former student of Ms. Shannon.

When Sully was diagnosed with a brain disorder, we searched for the best special needs program in the state.  After speaking with both parents and teachers; and after visiting many schools, we were clear where we should be.  We moved our family to the Nickajack …

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Roy Barnes to talk to teachers via conference call next week

Is anyone participating in the scheduled Roy Barnes conference call with teachers on June 23 at 1:00 p.m.?

The call reflects the continued efforts by the Barnes campaign to reach out to teachers.

To participate, you have to register on the Barnes volunteer page.

I would love to listen in so I will see what the campaign says about non teachers on the call.

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