Archive for the ‘Atlanta Public Schools’ Category

Your morning jolt: An ‘intrigued’ Ralph Reed says he has encouraged Donald Trump

His close friend Karl Rove thinks Donald Trump’s presidential ambition is one big joke, but Ralph Reed isn’t so sure.

Earlier this week, Reed’s name surfaced as someone Trump had sounded out to run his campaign – an idea that the former head of the Christian Coalition slapped down.

Ralph Reed, founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition, at a 2010 rall in Atlanta. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Ralph Reed, founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition, at a 2010 rall in Atlanta. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

But in an NPR interview with Neal Conan and Ken Rudin on Wednesday, posted here, Reed declared himself “intrigued” by a Trump candidacy, and said he has encouraged The Donald to take a close look at the race.

The former chairman of the state GOP was first asked if the “birther” phenomenon was the fuel behind Trump’s sudden performance in national polls:

Reed: “I don’t know that I would reduce his poll performance to just one issue. After all, Donald Trump is somebody who’s been kind of a larger-than-life figure on the American stage for more than a quarter …

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Nathan Deal signs bill that allows replacement of Atlanta school board

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed SB 79, which gives the governor the power to replace the Atlanta Board of Education, if the public school system loses its accreditation this summer.

But in a formal statement, Deal said removal of elected officials would be a “last resort:”

“It is my hope that the district will take the appropriate steps to move forward in order to avoid a sad and embarrassing situation. We all benefit if this is resolved locally by elected officials in Atlanta.

“But we have seen the horrific consequences of schools that lose their accreditation. I believe in the sanctity of the ballot and in the power of the people to elect their leaders. For me, removing elected officials would be a last resort. But with the future of Atlanta’s students hanging in the balance, I believe it is better to be prepared with more options on the table than with less.

“Signing this bill into law is not a time for celebrating; it is a time for Atlantans to come together to …

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Your morning jolt: Patient in Shepherd stem cell experiment is an Alabama nursing student

Six months ago, scientists announced that a partially paralyzed patient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta had become the first to be infused with a drug made from human embryonic stem cells.

The Washington Post this morning identifies the patient:

Recently, rumors began circulating in Internet chat rooms that details about the closely guarded experiment were finally about to be revealed.

Now, a 21-year-old Alabama nursing student who was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash in September has come forward to identify himself as the volunteer.

“I was the first patient,” Timothy J. Atchison of Chatom, Ala., said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday evening. “I’m doing well.”

Atchison, known as T.J. to his family and friends, was a student at the University of South Alabama College of Nursing when his car crashed on Sept. 25, which, Atchison noted, was the birthday of Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a devastating spinal cord …

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Your morning jolt: Metro Atlanta voters support school takeovers

A majority of voters in metro Atlanta would approve of giving mayors or county commissions the power to take control of dysfunctional school systems, according to poll results posted at Blogging While Blue, the new Democratic blog started by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.

Fifty-four percent of voters in the 10-county area would support the measure, while 30 percent would oppose it.

In Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta and a school system that has been placed on probation by its accrediting agency, the margin for approval of school system takeovers rises to 60 percent.

While just posted, the survey is nearly two months old – conducted Feb. 2-4 by 20/20 Insight. That’s before Mayor Kasim Reed publicly raised the topic of a City Hall takeover, should the school system lose its accreditation this summer – and before legislation began moving that would extend such power to the governor.

But it was conducted after the Southern Association of Colleges and …

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Move afoot to let Nathan Deal to replace Atlanta school board

The Legislature may be on the verge of giving Gov. Nathan Deal the power to remove members of the Atlanta Board of Education should the school system lose its accreditation this summer.

Not exactly what Mayor Kasim Reed was looking for – but something like it.

A bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Majority Whip Ed Lindsey and Democrat Kathy Ashe, both of Atlanta, was attached Tuesday to SB 79 by the House Education Committee.

Early this year, when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the Atlanta school system on probation because of a CRCT cheating scandal and board infighting, Deal discovered that current board members – in the Atlanta system and elsewhere – had been grandfathered in by 2010 legislation allowing the governor to take over local school systems.

This month, Reed said he had approached members of the Legislature about giving the mayor of Atlanta the power to replace school board members – but Republicans balked, saying such a move would …

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Your morning jolt: The return of video poker — or something like it

Georgia prosecutors are giving a suspicious eye to a bill that’s already half-way to becoming law, on the grounds that it might ease the way for the return of video poker to the state – or something like it.

But the author of the House bill, state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, said his intentions are just the opposite – he wants to “eviscerate” a new form of gambling that has snuck into the state under the cover of “Internet cafes.”

He said he’s ready to discuss any problems with the measure, which is now in the Senate.

HB 164 passed on Crossover Day with a lopsided vote of 166 to 2. But the legislation moved through the House Ways and Means Committee rather than one of the two judiciary committees that prosecutors watch closely — one possible reason for the surprise it has prompted.

The bill allows the state revenue commissioner to levy a $75 licensing fee on coin-operated machines. But it also allows winners of amusement machine games to receive gift …

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Your morning jolt: Kasim Reed’s talk of intervention in Atlanta schools is too early. Or too late.

Mayor Kasim Reed says he may seek the power to add more members to the Atlanta school board. Brent Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Mayor Kasim Reed says he may seek the power to add more members to the Atlanta school board. Brent Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

You know that Mayor Kasim Reed has raised the possibility that he might seek the power to appoint members to the Atlanta school board, in order to create a cooperative, working majority – and avoid the loss of accreditation for the city’s high schools.

Reed admitted to my AJC colleague Ernie Suggs that he hasn’t yet sold Atlanta lawmakers on the necessity of the move:

“It would be a misrepresentation to say they are on board,” Reed said, “but they do agree that the problem is great and requires decisive action.”

The immediate word from the state Capitol, from which this new authority would flow, is that Reed’s talk of intervention is too early. Or too late. One or the other.

Shortly after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed APS on probation, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta as …

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Joe Lowery held secret meetings over APS fight

Scott Henry over at Creative Loafing has this intriguing nugget in a piece on the leadership struggle within the Atlanta Public School system:

In an effort to bring a measure of civility to a tense situation, civil rights veteran Joseph Lowery convened a series of highly hush-hush meetings on successive Saturdays last month in the basement of a prominent southside church to bring the warring factions together.

According to participants at the first meeting, Mayor Kasim Reed advocated a return to the previous board leadership, a theme echoed over the two subsequent meetings by Chamber supporters. But with [Khaatim Sherrer] El holding firm to the chairman’s seat and no further progress apparent, the closed-door meetings were abandoned after three sessions.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Cut Paul Broun some slack, says Athens newspaper

The Athens Banner-Herald and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from the same city, might often be mistaken for blood enemies.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

More often than not, one can often be seen or heard hyperventilating about the other. But not this weekend.

The Banner-Herald editoriaialists decided that Broun ought to be cut some slack over his handling of a town hall meeting last week, when an elderly constituent opened proceedings by asking “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

Broun issued a strong rebuke of the question three days letter. At the meeting, the congressman said he was stunned by the comment and simply moved on as quickly as possible.

From the newspaper:

… Broun came in for his share of criticism on this newspaper’s website and elsewhere from people who suggested he should have forcefully rejected the man’s question as inappropriate. But, inappropriate as it was, the question did not come out of Broun’s mouth, and it seems …

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Atlanta’s schools and a disturbing outbreak of common sense

Question your dog closely today. There’s every chance that he has declared a truce with the neighborhood cat.

Should you have a tattooed teenager in the house, check the trash. If the garbage can has made it to the street without your usual pleading, nagging or threats, do not summon police.

Whether the result of sunspots or a virus, strange experiences are being reported all over the state. Unfathomable marvels, in fact. This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta even documented a case in which fully grown adults on the public payroll were caught doing the right thing — possibly for the right reason.

Again, there is no reason to panic. We have drugs for everything now, and surely this, too, will pass.

The most recent outbreak of good judgment occurred in and around the state Capitol. The event quickly caught the eye of epidemiologists, like a green blade of grass springing up in the Gobi desert.

By way of background: On Tuesday, the outfit in charge of …

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