Archive for the ‘Discipline’ Category

Beverly Hall worried about asking too little of inner city students. But is there also a danger of asking too much?

downeyart (Medium)Despite all the cheering on the blog that APS administrators are now facing justice for their roles in the CRCT cheating scandal, an unresolved issue remains: Why was there so much cheating in APS?  (And elsewhere in the country, as uncovered by a later AJC investigation?)

The Georgia CRCTs are not difficult tests. Why was it so difficult to get APS students to score in acceptable ranges?

The indictments in the APS cheating scandal bring us back to the national quandary of how to raise the achievement level of students who historically were never expected to do well, were accorded fewer resources with which to do well, had the most inexperienced teachers and came from homes that lacked the social capital to assist them in school.

The cheating at APS occurred in the schools with the least advantaged populations.

When she came to Atlanta, Beverly Hall said she wanted teachers who believed poor children could do well. (Interesting side point here is that Hall wanted to fire many …

Continue reading Beverly Hall worried about asking too little of inner city students. But is there also a danger of asking too much? »

Poison seeds: The bitter harvest of the APS cheating scandal

downeyart0401In 2009, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education featured Atlanta’s Parks Middle School on its annual bus tour of high-achieving schools, and I joined the visit. I arrived early in my own car, beating the bus and getting a chance to chat with students for an hour.

The enthusiastic students expressed pride in their school, which was decorated with banners announcing its awards and distinctions. And there were many.

In 2006, Parks Middle made adequate yearly progress and surpassed Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall’s even more ambitious targets. That same year, the percentage of eighth-graders who passed the math section of the CRCT rose from 24 percent to 86 percent. In 2008, Parks earned national accolades after becoming Atlanta’s only middle school to meet all its academic targets.

Over the weekend, I dug into my old files — a box in my closet — for my notebook from Parks. Among the quick observations I had jotted down: “Kids proud of school.” “Telling me about …

Continue reading Poison seeds: The bitter harvest of the APS cheating scandal »

House leader blames “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, for downing campus carry bill

tb1605A miffed Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, took to the House well with 25 minutes left in the 2013 session Thursday to decry those who blocked the effort to allow guns on college campuses.

He blamed the “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, who, he said, declared the campus carry issue “taboo.”

“The Board of Regents has been opposed to this since day one and, yes, they are the fourth branch of government,” he said. “We were fighting an uphill battle.”

Senate Bill 101 would have expanded where guns are allowed in Georgia, including much of college campuses. It passed the House by a vote of 116-55 but stalled in the Senate over the issue of guns on campuses.

Chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, Powell said House and Senate negotiators had agreed Wednesday to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses with the requirement that permit holders between the ages of 21 and 25 would have to complete an …

Continue reading House leader blames “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, for downing campus carry bill »

DeKalb’s Eugene Walker intends to pass hat to pay for continued legal fight over school board suspension

With the unanimous vote of the newly reconstituted DeKalb school board this week, any suspended board members who want to fight their ouster were set adrift. They now have to front their own legal costs in court.

Former school board chair Eugene Walker intends to do just that.

But he is seeking donations to defray his legal battle. In a post on this blog about the importance of challenging the state law, Walker explained, “If this unconstitutional act is to stand, then what is next? It will only be a matter of time before another constitutional right will be taken away by another wayward and self-perpetuating politico under the guise of the greater good. Minorities should not feel secure if contrived allegations from anonymous sources with hidden agendas can go to private agencies and to have their civil rights stolen away. This cannot and shall not be allowed to stand.”

Ronald Carlson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia law school, told the AJC’s Ty …

Continue reading DeKalb’s Eugene Walker intends to pass hat to pay for continued legal fight over school board suspension »

The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged?

artchangeThe Georgia Senate debated the qualifications to become a Zell Miller scholar this afternoon while discussing House Bill 131, which accords high school students who take dual enrollment college classes the same .5 boost in their final grade that Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students now earn.

Ultimately, the Senate approved the grade boost for dual enrollment, but voted 33-15 against against an amendment  to change how the Zell Miller Scholarship is calculated so that more rural Georgia students would qualify.

Only one group of Georgia college students — those who graduated high school with a 3.7 or higher GPA  and scored at least 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 on the ACT –   now earn full tuition under the changes made to the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship. These students are known as Zell Miller Scholars. Zell Miller is also extended to all high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

State Sen. Jason Carter, …

Continue reading The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged? »

From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates

testing (Medium)Interesting AJC story on an Atlanta high school principal who resigned after accusations he bullied and intimidated teachers into raising failing grades.

Grade inflation has been in the national news as schools face increased pressure to improve student achievement, an issue Georgia knows well after the CRCT cheating scandals in Atlanta and Dougherty County schools.

Even Canada, held up as a model of effective education reform, has seen complaints from teachers of mounting pressure to alter grades so fewer students fail under a stricter accountability system.

Closer to home, teachers in a Tennessee for-profit virtual school complained of an email that directed them to drop failing grades. In a recent investigation, Nashville’s WTVF/NewsChannel 5 found that a Tennessee Virtual Academy administrator instructed middle school teachers to delete failing grades.

The case has had reverberations nationwide as the parent company of Tennessee Virtual, K12, the nation’s largest online …

Continue reading From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates »

Cheating or collaboration? Do students really not know the difference?

crcted.0920 (Medium)A reader sent me this note about cheating and asked that I put the issue before the Get Schooled blog readership:

I am wondering if you have done much on student cheating? I have read about teacher cheating but don’t remember anything on the student side of the equation.

Now that my child is in high school, I am amazed at what online resources are available at the click of the button. I am aware of an instance where a teacher used an online study guide as a test….most of the students used it (teacher was unaware it was public domain) and received 100 percent on the test.  Smart on the students’ part, I’d say yes. Lazy on the teacher’s part, I’d say yes.

I’ve had some discussions with parents. Teachers don’t change their test, and the students share what’s on the test with their classmates who have not taken yet taken it.

That is cheating. But the parents I’ve spoken to call it “collaboration” and see nothing wrong with it. Teachers are aware it goes on but say it is …

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Here’s why students need cellphones in school. To call their lawyers.

Sometimes, a news story can be short and still tell you all you need to know.

That is the case with this story from the Athens Banner-Herald: (Some good comments on the newspaper’s website from readers.)

An Oconee County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to Oconee County High School Thursday for a student possessing alcohol, but the officer arrived to find the student already on the phone with his lawyer.

When the student hung up, he told the deputy another student gave him the bottle of Seagram’s gin, then he declined to take a portable breath test and refused to answer any questions without his lawyer present, the deputy said. The student was charged with underage possession of alcohol and was removed from school grounds.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

Continue reading Here’s why students need cellphones in school. To call their lawyers. »

Gun incident at Grady High highlights socio-economic divide. Can students overcome differences?

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, Southerner)

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady on Feb. 27. (Joe Lavine, The Southerner)

One of the strongest images to emerge from the accidental shooting 10 days ago at Grady High School was a photo taken by a student photographer who was in-between classes when a classmate accidentally shot herself in the leg in a school courtyard. Grady senior Joe Lavine is on the staff of  high school’s nationally acclaimed student newspaper, The Southerner.

Lavine has written a guest column about the shooting. (Lavine is interviewing today for a college scholarship. Good luck to him.)

By Joe Lavine

Yes, I took the picture of  the gun a Grady High classmate accidentally discharged  last week in the school courtyard. Yes, I threaded my way through the monkey grass and snapped a photo of that abominable, life-ruining object seconds after the student accidentally shot herself in the leg and rushed off to the school clinic, leaving the gun in …

Continue reading Gun incident at Grady High highlights socio-economic divide. Can students overcome differences? »

Student who took photo of gun at Grady explains how and when. But he says bigger question is ‘why’ behind incident.

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, Southerner)

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun possibly involved in the accidental shooting at Grady High School In Atlanta on Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, The Southerner)

I asked Joe Lavine, the Grady High School student who photographed the gun that may have been used in yesterday’s shooting at the APS school, to tell us how he happened upon it. The photo has appeared in the AJC and on TV.

There was a concern on the blog that a student photographer was “roaming” the Grady campus in the midst of a lockdown after a 17-year-old girl shot herself accidentally in the leg Wednesday morning in a school courtyard.

I had suggestedthat the student photographer may have been crossing the courtyard en route to class.

Morgan Tukes, a 17-year-old senior, left the hospital Wednesday and was taken to the Fulton County jail, where she is charged with a felony — possession of a pistol by a minor — and three misdemeanors: carrying a weapon within a school safety zone, reckless conduct …

Continue reading Student who took photo of gun at Grady explains how and when. But he says bigger question is ‘why’ behind incident. »