Archive for the ‘Atlanta Public Schools’ Category

APS parents and watchers: AJC wants to talk to you about CRCT cheating indictments coming this week

As developments unfold in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating investigation, the AJC would like to get reactions from readers who have/had children in APS or have closely followed the story and have some thoughts.

Please contact my colleague Nancy Badertscher if you are willing to be quoted when appropriate to any developments. She wants to compile a list of possible interviews prior to the handing down of the indictments, which the AJC is now reporting may be Friday.

Thanks, Maureen

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If you thought criminal indictments would never come in APS cheating scandal, think again. Indictments coming.

I had my doubts that any APS officials would ever be criminally indicted for the cheating scandal given how long it has taken,  but I may be proven wrong.

According to the AJC:

Fulton County prosecutors are close to seeking indictments in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating scandal, lawyers familiar with the probe said.

Defense attorneys representing some educators are being told criminal charges could be filed soon and that more than two dozen people could be indicted. That would answer questions that have hung over the inquiry since its start: Would the cheating be treated as a crime, and who would be prosecuted?

The Fulton District Attorney’s Office has spent more than 18 months investigating cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

In July 2011, three special investigators found cheating on standardized tests occurred at 44 Atlanta schools and involved 178 educators, including 38 principals. That probe, initiated by Gov. Sonny Perdue, …

Continue reading If you thought criminal indictments would never come in APS cheating scandal, think again. Indictments coming. »

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 …

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

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 …

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The real crime in APS school shootings: No one did anything to stop these kids earlier.

Former civil rights and criminal defense attorney Tom Dunn is a high school teacher in Atlanta and the father of three Atlanta Public School students. He wrote this piece in response to the shootings at Grady High School and Price Middle School. He teaches classes in law and justice.

By Tom Dunn

After the Feb. 27 shooting at Grady High School, my students at another Atlanta high school and I continued our discussion about guns in schools and how to make schools safer.

The students in my Introduction to Law and Justice class agreed that allegedly bringing a gun to school was wrong, no matter what the rationale may have been of accused senior Morgan Tukes. Their proposed solutions were to tighten security and gun control, or enforce the laws we have and lock up the alleged offender for a long time.

My teaching point was that the best solution was social responsibility — what we once called community.

First, someone allegedly gave Ms. Tukes that gun. Allowing a gun to get into …

Continue reading The real crime in APS school shootings: No one did anything to stop these kids earlier. »

DeKalb school board mess: Are we focusing on symptoms rather than real problem?

I am always delighted to receive a submission from Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University. Here is a column he wrote about the DeKalb County school board drama and its larger implications. (You can read his blog on Huffington Post.)

In relation to his comments on the pending lawsuit by the DeKalb board, I want to note that Schall earned doctoral degrees in law and education from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced civil rights law earlier in his career.

By Lawrence M. Schall
We will all soon learn of the decision of the federal district court regarding the constitutionality and/or legality of the governor’s decision to remove six of the nine sitting DeKalb County School Board members.

If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the decision being overturned. While the performance of the school board, and more importantly, the school district have been abysmal for far too long, the process used to throw some of the board members out of office …

Continue reading DeKalb school board mess: Are we focusing on symptoms rather than real problem? »

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 …

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

Grady shooting shows the power of social media

Here is the power and reach of social media. My daughter in New York called to alert me to a shooting at Grady High School in Atlanta as a friend of hers in North Carolina posted a Facebook note about it after getting a text from his sister, a Grady student.

It turned out that a female student accidentally shot herself in the leg in the school parking lot this morning. Police have the gun, and the wounded student is at the hospital. Everyone at the school is safe. Grady is on lockdown, but classes will resume in a few minutes, according to student Facebook postings.

APS has been sending out alerts to worried Grady parents, but it appears that students inside the school were never in danger. (Why a Grady student showed up at school with a gun or why she was handling a gun in the parking lot is not clear.)

If you want to see an amazing photo and read a minute-by-minute accounting of the APS Twitter reports, go to the Southerner, Grady’s award-winning student newspaper. (Evidence …

Continue reading Grady shooting shows the power of social media »

Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher

Congrats to Georgia’s AP Merit Schools, which are high schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least half of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.

Special shoutout to Fulton (9), Gwinnett (9) and Cobb (8) for having so many high schools on the list.

ALAN C. POPE HIGH SCHOOL COBB COUNTY

ALPHARETTA HIGH SCHOOL FULTON COUNTY

BERKMAR HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT COUNTY

BROOKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL BUFORD CITY

CARLTON J. KELL HIGH SCHOOL COBB

CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB COUNTY

CHATTAHOOCHEE HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL MUSCOGEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

DALTON HIGH SCHOOL DALTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DECATUR HIGH SCHOOL CITY SCHOOLS OF DECATUR

DULUTH HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB

FORSYTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS

GREENBRIER HIGH SCHOOL COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM

GWINNETT SCHOOL OF MATH, SCIENCE, & TECHNOLOGY GWINNETT

HARRISON HIGH SCHOOL …

Continue reading Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher »

A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the neck in Atlanta. What is happening and can we stop it?

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

With the terrible news that a Price Middle School student was shot today in Atlanta by a classmate, I thought I would share Chicago Teachers Union President and National Board chemistry teacher Karen GJ Lewis’ statement about a shooting in Chicago Tuesday in which a high school student died.

King College Prep student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. while walking through a Chicago park with a dozen classmates. The teens had been dismissed early from their high school classes after finishing their finals. The group had dashed under a canopy in the park when it began to rain. In an apparent case of mistaken identity, a gunman running through the park opened fire on the high school group, killing Hadiya and injuring two other students

A member of her school’s majorette team, Hadiya had just returned from Washington after performing at an inaugural event.

(The official statement from APS on the shooting here Thursday: …

Continue reading A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the neck in Atlanta. What is happening and can we stop it? »