Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

Boston tragedy: A picture that says 1,000 words and inspires thousands more tears

This 8-year-old boy is one of the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. His name is Martin William Richard. His mother and sister were also seriously injured. Many people, including the folks at the Georgia Department of Education are posting this touching photo of Martin on Facebook in which he holds a sign that reads: “No more hurting people. Peace.”

His dad Bill Richard released this statement: “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.’’

hero

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A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common?

A reader of the segregated prom blog sent me a note about something that DeKalb school chief Michael Thurmond referenced in a recent speech, racially segregated class reunions.

Thurmond said that his high school graduating class — he attended high school in Athens and was among the first black students to attend high school with white students — holds two reunions divided by race.  “We have come a long way. But we have a long way to go,” he said.

Like racially segregated proms, these reunion events are not officially sponsored or organized by the high schools, so the guest list can be selective if the organizers so desire.

And apparently, sometimes organizers do limit who’s included in the planning and notifications. A friend went to her high school reunion in South Carolina. She, too, graduated in one of the first integrated classes and expected to see both black and white classmates at the reunion.

But only white students were there.  When she asked one of the organizers …

Continue reading A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common? »

Alfie Kohn on APS cheating scandal: ‘What if we gave a test and nobody came?’

testing (Medium)I interviewed education advocate and writer Alfie Kohn a while back. You can read the 2011 interview here.

The APS cheating scandal was in the news at the time, and Kohn told me:

The real cheating scandal that has been going on for years is that kids are being cheated out of meaningful learning by focusing on test scores. Standardized tests like the CRCT measure what matters least. The more you know about education, the less likely you would ever be to measure teachers, schools or kids based on test scores.

I wondered what Kohn, author of “The Case Against Standardized Testing” and other books, thought about the indictments Friday of former APS school chief Beverly Hall and 34 others.

I asked him a few questions for an editorial I am writing for the print AJC.

Here are his answers in full:

Standardized tests are lousy measures of thinking. They assess some combination of (a) family wealth and (b) how much time has been diverted from real learning in order to make kids better …

Continue reading Alfie Kohn on APS cheating scandal: ‘What if we gave a test and nobody came?’ »

Criminal indictment of Beverly Hall: Is it illegal to be an overly demanding boss?

Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall doesn’t dodge the hard stuff. Proving it again today, he dons his legal robes  — he is an attorney –  and discusses the nature of the charges against former APS school chief Beverly Hall.

He is not the only one questioning the breadth of the criminal charges facing Hall and other educators as a result of a cheating scandal first exposed by an AJC investigation of test score disparities.

Former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall was among 35 people indicted today in APS cheating scandal.  (AJC photo)

Former Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall is among the 35 people indicted in APS cheating scandal who must surrender at the Fulton County Jail today. (AJC photo)

The Concerned Black Clergy is holding a 10 a.m. press conference today where local attorneys are scheduled to speak about the overreach of the charges.

The press conference is being held at the Fulton County Jail where the 35 accused APS administrators, educators and others indicted Friday are due to surrender.

A 65-count indictment accuses former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall …

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Nearly one in five high school boys diagnosed with ADHD. Is it big problem or Big Pharm?

grabarart0920Mining CDC data, The New York Times is reporting today nearly one in five high school age boys and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Are we over-diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity, especially in boys, because we have less tolerance of what were once understood and accepted as normal kid behaviors?

Have we become a nation that spots a fidgety 5-year-old and thinks a pill is the answer?

Are these behaviors more troubling in an era where even kindergarten has an academic focus and where children are measured by test scores? Are parents buying the pharmaceutical industry’s promise that it can turn a restless student into a focused scholar?

A child with ADHD is easily distracted, hyperactive and impulsive. More than overactive, these children often can’t sit still long enough to respond to a question or listen to a story. Some can’t slow down between idea and action, leaving them …

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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 …

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

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 …

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Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line?

ART-Bully020207I’ve been watching a subtitled Swedish mystery series, “Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter,” in which the feisty protagonist is a crime reporter for a major newspaper. In the episode I watched last night, Annika is upset because her sweet 8-year-old son is being bullied and the school refuses to act even after the bully pushes her son off the monkey bars and seriously injures him.

So,  Annika strides onto the school playground, confronts the bully as he terrorizes another child and warns him that she will kill him if he touches her son again. The threat sounds even more ominous in Swedish.

I have to admit rooting for Annika, who takes heat for making the threat. But she’s not arrested.

A Clayton woman who did the same thing to protect her child was not so lucky. Marvis Renae Henry was charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting school operations and released today on $5,000 bond.

You cannot help but feel for the 59-year-old Sunday schoolteacher who believed that her …

Continue reading Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line? »

No Child Left Behind neglected gifted students. That is about to change in Georgia.

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber owns and operates GiftedAtlanta.com, a non-commercial online resource for parents of gifted children. She is a parent advocate for gifted education and the mother of two gifted children.

In this piece, she explains why education policy must not just consider under performing students, but those who are high performing, too.

By Dori Kleber

One of the great tragedies of our American public schools in the past decade has been the neglect of our brightest children. While struggling students have made gains, high-achieving students have stagnated.

During the reign of No Child Left Behind, our schools have been so intent on lifting low-performing students to a level of minimum aptitude that they have ignored the needs of those who already exceed basic proficiency and are ready for greater challenges. The result: Top students are languishing.

This imbalance in academic growth was confirmed in a 2008 study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “High-Achieving …

Continue reading No Child Left Behind neglected gifted students. That is about to change in Georgia. »

Parent trigger bill stalls in Senate: The trigger wasn’t pulled but the bill was.

Earlier this session, folks in the Georgia Senate told me that the parent trigger bill was unlikely to win passage. I thought they were wrong when the bill flew through the House but today’s events suggest my sources were right.

House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, withdrew his parent-trigger charter school legislation amid doubts by his GOP Senate colleagues.

Seven states have enacted parent trigger laws; Georgia was among three state considering them. House Bill 123 would have allowed a majority of the parents or a majority of the faculty and instructional staff  to petition for a complete overhaul of the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model.

The Georgia bill had three unique aspects. It gave the final say-so to local boards of education. It permitted teachers in failing schools to also petition for a management overhaul. And it allowed parents in high achieving schools to petition to turn their schools into charter …

Continue reading Parent trigger bill stalls in Senate: The trigger wasn’t pulled but the bill was. »