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Education


Lawmaker: Legislature may pass 3 bills that will hurt higher education

An Atlanta legislator says three pending bills — campus carry, campus rape and no sanctuary campuses — are misguided and damage the universities, students and reputation of higher education in Georgia. Writing in the AJC Get Schooled blog, state Rep. David Dreyer, D-Atlanta, saysthe bills severely undermine higher education. “Instead of harming our colleges, we should focus on supporting...
Piedmont Academy team wins literary competition

Piedmont Academy team wins literary competition

Piedmont Academy’s literary team took home the gold once again in the Class AA Georgia Independent School Association Literary Competition. It was the team’s second straight region win and third straight state championship. Mary Catherine Sikes, head literary coach, said, “We have a highly experienced group of seniors who have been the recipe for our success, and I am so pleased...
Alpharetta FBLA win Sweepstakes Award at state conference

Alpharetta FBLA win Sweepstakes Award at state conference

Alpharetta High School Future Business Leaders of America members won the Sweepstakes Award for the most wins at the State Leadership Conference this month in Athens. First-place winners were: Rohith Sundar, Divyesh Gutta, and Aditya Mhaskar, Banking and Financial Solutions; Pranav Mutyala, Sidd Vemuri, and Divyesh Gutta, Business Financial Plan; Nitish Sood and Rohan Raina, Community Service Project...
Proposed Fulton school budget tops $1 billion

Proposed Fulton school budget tops $1 billion

Fulton County Schools’ operating budget will top $1 billion for the first time in its history. The board met Wednesday for the second meeting in its budgeting process. Deputy CFO Marvin Dereef told the school board March 14 that three factors made the budget grow: an increase in the value of Fulton’s tax base, a decrease in state austerity cuts and an increase in enrollment. Fulton&rsquo...
Mandate for recess in schools gets amended in Senate committee

Mandate for recess in schools gets amended in Senate committee

Children across Georgia scored a legislative victory Wednesday when a Senate committee passed a bill requiring that elementary schools plan for recess. Before kids pop the cork on the sparkling apple juice, though, they should read the fine print.  While House Bill 273 orders elementary schools to “schedule” recess for all students in kindergarten through fifth grades, it also...
DeKalb schools unveil new, district-built curriculum

DeKalb schools unveil new, district-built curriculum

DeKalb County School District officials say a new curriculum will establish an intense instructional road map while setting a pace all children can follow. The plan was presented during the school board’s monthly meeting Monday. Several teachers and administrators who worked on the curriculum commented they felt it would go a long way to serve the needs of all students. “We wanted to ensure...
Study: Marietta schools use technology better than most nationally 

Study: Marietta schools use technology better than most nationally 

Chalk dust and smelly markers are no more for Marietta City Schools. The school system has been rewarded for its tablets and clacking keyboards. The district was ranked as one of the nation’s best when it came to how it used technology for a school system its size, according to results of the Digital School Districts Survey, released Tuesday. Marietta tied for 10th place with Georgia&rsquo...
Power restored to two Gwinnett County schools

Power restored to two Gwinnett County schools

Power has been restored to Gwinnett County’s Simpson Elementary School lost power and one building at South Gwinnett High School, a district spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon. Both schools had the disruptions after high winds and strong thunderstorms caused extensive damage and power outages throughout metro Atlanta Tuesday evening. Officials used emergency generators at the schools...
DeKalb Schools unveils curriculum made from teacher, administrator input

DeKalb Schools unveils curriculum made from teacher, administrator input

DeKalb County School District officials say a new curriculum will establish an intense instructional road map while providing opportunities to adjust during individual units to keep a pace that all children can follow.  The plan was presented during the school board's monthly meeting Monday. Several teachers and administrators who worked on the curriculum commented they felt it would go a long...
Gwinnett high school begins search to replace retiring principal

Gwinnett high school begins search to replace retiring principal

Gwinnett County school officials are seeking the public’s feedback about what they’re looking for in the next principal of Central Gwinnett High School. The current principal, Maryanne Grimes, plans to retire at the end of the school year, district officials said. To participate in the survey, go to http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/pss/CentralGwinnettHS. Central Gwinnett High School, located...
Cobb County voters approve education sales tax

Cobb County voters approve education sales tax

A proposal to continue a 1 percent sales tax to pay for hundreds of new school projects in the Cobb County and Marietta school districts passed by nearly a 3-to-1 ratio Tuesday, unofficial results showed. Officials in the two school districts want to collect about $860 million from the tax during a five-year period that begins in 2019. Cobb, the state’s second-largest public school district...
Gwinnett school bus accident snarls traffic; no kids hurt

Gwinnett school bus accident snarls traffic; no kids hurt

No kids were hurt when a school bus got into an accident in Sugar Hill on Tuesday afternoon. The accident occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of Suwanee Dam Road and Cumming Highway. The driver had “visible injuries,” Gwinnett County police said, but Greater Atlanta Christian School, to which the bus belongs, said the driver was uninjured. Police advised drivers to avoid...
Tax breaks for private school scholarships would grow under new legislation

Tax breaks for private school scholarships would grow under new legislation

A program that lets taxpayers erase some of their debt to the state if they earmark the money for private school tuition would grow by $7 million a year under new amendments by Georgia lawmakers. The annual cap on the tax credits for scholarships program is $58 million, but that rises to $65 million under the latest version of House Bill 217. The legislation by Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta...
FINAL ELECTION RESULTS: Stonecrest mayor, South Fulton runoffs, other metro Atlanta votes

FINAL ELECTION RESULTS: Stonecrest mayor, South Fulton runoffs, other metro Atlanta votes

The man who kick-started the city of Stonecrest will be its first mayor, voters decided Tuesday, while South Fulton residents will not know until April who will lead their city. Jason Lary, who led the cityhood effort in Stonecrest, won the three-way race with just more than half the vote. Residents also elected two people to the City Council, while three other seats will be decided in an April...
Cobb County looking to hire teachers at job fair

Cobb County looking to hire teachers at job fair

Cobb County school officials have scheduled two job fairs next week to hire potential teachers to work in Georgia’s second-largest public school district. The first one is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, from 5-9 p.m. at Wheeler High School, 375 Holt Rd NE, Marietta. This job fair is for those interested in becoming elementary school teachers. The second one is scheduled on Thursday, March...
Gwinnett County looking to hire teachers at job fair

Gwinnett County looking to hire teachers at job fair

Gwinnett County school officials have scheduled a job fair this Saturday for those interested in teaching in the state’s largest public school district. The job fair will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Gwinnett Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy in Duluth. To register for the job fair, go to www.gcpsjobs.org. Gwinnett has typically looked for teachers in math, science and special...
Community school model bill advances

Community school model bill advances

The House Education Committee voted 14-2 Monday to approve a bill that creates a plan for how to use grant money in at-risk schools. Senate Bill 30 outlines a pilot program that would bring faith-based groups, businesses and philanthropies together to provide food, tutoring and medical services to improve the educational environments of struggling schools. Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, minority...
Lawmakers to schools: stop suspending students

Lawmakers to schools: stop suspending students

The House Education Committee voted 9-6 Monday to approve a bill to make alternative education Georgia’s preferred school disciplinary policy rather than suspension or expulsion. By stating “it is preferable,” Senate Bill 152 preserves local control over disciplinary decisions, but the bill draws attention to schools that excessively suspend or expel students. “This bill...
School improvement bill clears Senate panel, with modifications

School improvement bill clears Senate panel, with modifications

The legislative proposal to improve Georgia’s lowest-performing schools exited a Senate committee Monday and could soon be on its way to the governor, assuming lawmakers agree to the recent changes. Last year, voters rejected Gov. Nathan Deal’s referendum to give him authority to take control of “chronically failing” schools. Unlike that measure, the new proposal doesn&rsquo...
Bill to expand industry certifications in public schools advances

Bill to expand industry certifications in public schools advances

The House Education Committee unanimously approved a bill that would expand industry credentialing opportunities for public school students. Senate Bill 3, also known as the CONNECT (Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training) Act, would add to the number of career oriented experiences available to students through internships, apprenticeships and skills training....
Bill advances to eliminate redundant tests

Bill advances to eliminate redundant tests

The House Education Committee unanimously approved today a bill that strives to replace standardized state tests with national tests like the SAT and ACT.  Senate Bill 211 attempts to eliminate redundancies between national tests and Georgia’s End of Course Test, allowing students to take fewer tests. “The concept behind all this is trying to build in efficiencies in our testing...
Emory historian Carol Anderson wins National Book Critics Circle Award

Emory historian Carol Anderson wins National Book Critics Circle Award

Carol Anderson, an Emory historian, has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for her book, “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide,”(Bloomsbury, $26).
ESPLOST disparities give advantage to urban schools

ESPLOST disparities give advantage to urban schools

Cobb County voters Tuesday approved a five year extension of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, the penny sales tax it has used to build 28 new schools and more than 2,700 new classrooms since it was first approved in 1998. Cobb benefits from the tax in part because its commercial districts draw shoppers - and their sales taxes - away from its neighbors. Georgia State University...
Georgia lawmakers send school test refusal bill to governor

Georgia lawmakers send school test refusal bill to governor

Students will have a clear right to refuse to take state tests in schools without being punished if Gov. Nathan Deal signs legislation approved by the Georgia Senate Monday. House Bill 425 says schools cannot punish students who refuse to take standardized state tests and encourages state and local school boards to let students take the tests with paper and pencil rather than on a computer...
Cobb pitches school tax extension to skeptical southside residents

Cobb pitches school tax extension to skeptical southside residents

Cobb County voters will head to the polls Tuesday, March 21, to decide whether to continue a penny sales tax that officials hope will pay for hundreds of new classrooms and other projects in the Cobb and Marietta school districts. Cobb school district officials are focusing their pitch to skeptical residents in south Cobb who have been dissatisfied by what they say is the slow pace of ongoing projects...
Cobb education SPLOST by the numbers

Cobb education SPLOST by the numbers

Voters in Cobb County go to the polls Tuesday to vote whether to extend the Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax to build new schools and buy equipment. Here are some interesting numbers surrounding the March 21 voter referendum in Cobb County about plans to pay for school improvements in the Cobb and Marietta school districts by continuing a 1-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax...
Is there any evidence guns will make Georgia college campuses safer?

Is there any evidence guns will make Georgia college campuses safer?

In pushing through another bill to allow guns on Georgia public college campuses, lawmakers argue that college students need a way to defend themselves. A University of North Georgia professor put that contention to the test and found it lacking. Writing in the AJC Get Schooled blog, Matthew Boedy said,”Advocates of campus carry – that policy inscribed in House Bill 280 now before the...
When is spring break for public schools in metro Atlanta?

When is spring break for public schools in metro Atlanta?

Spring Break for Atlanta Public Schools and many other metro Atlanta school districts is April 3-7, 2017. For participants in Atlanta rush-hour traffic, that means a one-week break, followed by potentially bad traffic the following Monday and Tuesday, as drivers get accustomed again to the school-day patterns.  Spring break for many of the colleges happens during March. You can check spring break...
Costly aviation tech program seeks to regain FAA OK — and students

Costly aviation tech program seeks to regain FAA OK — and students

With air travel expected to double in the next 20 years, according to industry experts, the demand for all related occupations will soar. That’s what officials at Atlanta Technical College were banking on when its decades-old aviation maintenance programs were upgraded seven years ago. But in December, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration alleged the...
How President Donald Trump’s budget could affect Georgia students

How President Donald Trump’s budget could affect Georgia students

School lunches, teacher training, college aid for promising scientists. Those are among the federally-funded programs that benefit students and schools in Georgia — programs that are cut or eliminated in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The state gets more than $3 billion in federal subsidies for education, $1.9 billion for K-12 and $1.4 billion for the University System of Georgia...
OPINION: New bill’s a solid step toward improving struggling schools

OPINION: New bill’s a solid step toward improving struggling schools

An effective public education stands as the greatest predictor of economic success and mobility. Yet, for decades, political leaders have traded ideological arguments about why we have failed our most vulnerable children. Disagreements about poor resources versus poor leadership have become paralytic, grounded in conjecture rather than evidence – and ignoring the possibility of both as the cause...
OPINION: Latest school takeover plan should be rejected too

OPINION: Latest school takeover plan should be rejected too

A vote by legislators in the state House of Representatives demonstrated contempt and a lack of regard for the will of Georgia’s citizens. Last November, nearly 60 percent of voters around the state shot down Amendment 1 — a ballot initiative that would have given the governor unprecedented authority to take over local school districts and created the state-run Opportunity School...

New school oversight bill grades as incomplete

House Bill 338 creates a new, high-level education leader — a chief turnaround officer or CTO — tasked with improving Georgia’s lowest performing schools. Unlike Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District, which voters rejected in November as a power grab, the CTO doesn’t kick down the door to school districts to force help and guidance but knocks first. As a result...
Cops: DeKalb coach caught sexually assaulting student in classroom

Cops: DeKalb coach caught sexually assaulting student in classroom

Cedar Grove High Assistant Principal Ferran Johnson called over the radio for coach and paraprofessional Darrell Lake multiple times. With no response, the assistant principal went to the room and found Lake, who was clothed, with a student who had her pants down, according to school police. The alleged incident was revealed in a DeKalb County Schools police report released this week...
What’s on the ballot for Cobb’s special election

What’s on the ballot for Cobb’s special election

Residents of Cobb and Marietta vote today on whether their school systems will enact their fifth Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or E-SPLOST. Cobb is asking for about $797 million and Marietta requests about $62.4 million. The E-SPLOST is a one-cent sales tax that lasts a maximum of five years or until the established cap is reached. And if you live in Marietta, you...
Lawmakers unconvinced by a “drunk” on the school board and a blown budget

Lawmakers unconvinced by a “drunk” on the school board and a blown budget

Someone famously said democracy is the worst form of government -- except for all the rest, and Georgia lawmakers couldn’t find anything better when they looked around on Thursday. Voters across all of Georgia will continue to elect their school board members, after a proposed constitutional amendment to change the way local education leaders are selected was shot down during a legislative...
Gwinnett students will do your taxes for free

Gwinnett students will do your taxes for free

Still haven’t filed your taxes? No worries. Some number-savvy Gwinnett County students will do them for you. The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Club will help anyone with an annual income of $54,000 or less prepare their taxes. The VITA Club will also assist people with disabilities and people who have limited English skills. The club...
Trump slashes school funds, but increases aid for charters, vouchers

Trump slashes school funds, but increases aid for charters, vouchers

Many education groups reacted with dismay to President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash education funding to after-school programs and teacher training, while increasing the federal investment in vouchers and charter schools. Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Education Department’s $68 billion budget by $9 billion. Among the big losers: After-school programs and teacher training...
Gwinnett schools honor Media Specialist of the Year

Gwinnett schools honor Media Specialist of the Year

Karen Garner of Couch Middle School is the 2017 Gwinnett County Public Schools Media Specialist of the Year. The award honors a K-12 library media specialist whose services have resulted in exemplary library media programs. Couch Middle School principal Devon Williams said Garner’s “willingness to connect to teachers to enhance instruction, whether the lesson needs media center support...
Students to show their global knowledge in state geography bee

Students to show their global knowledge in state geography bee

Three metro Atlanta students have qualified as a semifinalists for the National Geographic Bee. Luke Mabry of Freedom Middle School, Woodward Academy North sixth-grader Eesh Trivedi and Woodward Middle School eighth-grader Alex Bates will compete March 31 at the Georgia State Bee, which is the second level of the national competition. Students in the fourth through eighth grades who were school champions...
University of North Georgia wins NCAA Award of Excellence

University of North Georgia wins NCAA Award of Excellence

The University of North Georgia won the 2017 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, an annual accolade recognizing positive campus and community engagement events. UNG was selected as one of 25 national finalists for its Operation Nighthawks of Honor initiative, which the university’s athletics department announced on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. The initiative...
Cherokee High welding students compete, win scholarships

Cherokee High welding students compete, win scholarships

Cherokee High School welding students earned scholarships in the National High School Senior Welding Competition hosted by Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Fla. Grant Blalock, Eric Cochran, Jack Elwell, Ed Herrera, Jacob Little and Damon Sheffield competed against 200 students from across the country. Ed Herrera placed second and won a $9,000 scholarship, along with other prizes. Jacob Little...
Senators consider, amend Georgia House’s school turnaround plan

Senators consider, amend Georgia House’s school turnaround plan

The legislative proposal to improve Georgia’s lowest-performing schools got another hearing and some amendments Wednesday, but did not advance through the Senate. House Bill 338 picks up pieces from Gov. Nathan Deal’s failed Opportunity School District initiative, and builds a new mechanism for state intervention in schools. Last year, voters rejected Deal’s referendum to create...
Middle schools face off in drone competition at Grady High School

Middle schools face off in drone competition at Grady High School

Grady High School in Atlanta will host the third annual Drones for Good competition on March 25. Twenty-seven Atlanta-area middle schools will participate in the event, some sending multiple teams. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the high school’s gymnasium. The event is free and open to the public with free parking available off of 8th Street and 10th Street. The middle school students...
Retired generals urge Georgia to follow military’s lead in child care

Retired generals urge Georgia to follow military’s lead in child care

Two retired generals are taking a stand on an issue not usually linked to military affairs — child care. Writing in the AJC Get Schooled blog, Major General (Ret.) Ronald L. Johnson and Major General (Ret.) Jack C. Wheeler said, “We agree that access to early care is critical for national security, whether a child is from a military or civilian family. These programs play an essential...
ESPLOST helps metro Atlanta schools more than others, study finds

ESPLOST helps metro Atlanta schools more than others, study finds

The special purpose local option sales tax for education (ESPLOST) has paid for school capital projects across the state, but metro Atlanta schools benefit more than rural Georgia districts, a new study shows. Since 1996, school districts have been able to ask voters to approve a 1 cent sales tax to fund costly projects, like constructing new schools and purchasing instructional technology. In...
Getting into Georgia Tech is getting harder

Getting into Georgia Tech is getting harder

Hundreds of Georgia high school seniors found out this weekend if they will be Yellow Jackets in the fall. Georgia Tech released its regular decision admits Saturday Between the early action students who found out in January and today’s regular decision admissions, 7,297 students were offered a slot at Georgia Tech this year. Georgia Tech saw a 3 percent increase in applications, for a total...
Lawmakers consider alternatives to standardized tests

Lawmakers consider alternatives to standardized tests

Legislation that could enable students to take fewer, more useful tests moved out of a Georgia House of Representatives subcommittee Tuesday. Senate Bill 211 requires state education officials to determine whether nationally-recognized tests such as the ACT could be substituted for state standardized tests in high school. Currently, students who take the ACT and other private tests also have to take...
Top high school honors for students who never step on campus

Top high school honors for students who never step on campus

High school students who never set foot on campus cannot become the valedictorian or salutatorian in some school districts, but a proposed Georgia law could change that. House Bill 114 mandates that students who graduate after taking all their classes at college in the state’s “move on when ready” program are entitled to the distinctions. The bill, by Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella...
Which students are winning top science prizes? Children of immigrants.

Which students are winning top science prizes? Children of immigrants.

Much of the debate around immigration and education focuses on what immigrants take from the school districts in terms of cost. A new report looks at what they bring to U.S. schools — a strong performance in science. A new report from the National Foundation for American Policy notes 33 of 40 finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search were the children of immigrants. Considered the most...
Arne Duncan: Georgia students need federal civil rights protections

Arne Duncan: Georgia students need federal civil rights protections

Arne Duncan, former education secretary under President Obama, warns that a rollback of civil rights protections for students by the U.S. Department of Education could hurt Georgia kids. Under his leadership, the ED’s Office of Civil Rights investigated several cases in Georgia, including discrimination in the recruitment and hiring of black teachers in one district and the harassment of a student...
Georgia Legislature: Should school recess be mandatory or optional?

Georgia Legislature: Should school recess be mandatory or optional?

Legislation that mandates recess in Georgia elementary schools could instead become just a recommendation.  When House Bill 273 passed the House of Representatives 147-17 on March 3, it required an average of 30 minutes per day of recess in kindergarten through fifth grade, except on days with physical education or other “structured activity.” At a hearing in the Senate...

A 'Bad and Boujee' Civil War lesson? One metro Atlanta teacher says yes

Eat your heart out, Migos!  A teacher at Edwards Middle School in Conyers took the Atlanta rap group’s hit single “Bad and Boujee” and fashioned it for a Civil War lesson for his students.  A snippet of “Mad and Losing” has been liked thousands of times on Twitter. In a full video posted on his YouTube page, Government and History teacher David Yancey spits...
DeKalb school teachers: Black History event was more religious presentation

DeKalb school teachers: Black History event was more religious presentation

Teachers at DeKalb County’s Cross Keys High School said a Black History Month program put on by the school last month felt more like a sermon on religion than a history lesson. The teachers, who declined to be named fearing retaliation, said the presentation included a teacher dressed as Jesus and presentations on several biblical stories. Schools are not supposed to promote specific religious...

Bill seeks escape hatch from state tests; using it wouldn’t ruin kids

Increasingly, parents in Georgia and elsewhere are considering pulling their children out of standardized state exams because of stress and doubts about appropriateness. A bill in the Legislature will make that choice a little easier. Is this opt-out movement turning children into fragile snowflakes, as critics insist? No, says Stephanie O’Leary, a New York clinical psychologist and author of...
Clark Atlanta University to hold annual scholarship fundraising gala

Clark Atlanta University to hold annual scholarship fundraising gala

Clark Atlanta University and its alumni association are celebrating the achievements of several graduates and others next week as part of its annual gala to raise money for its scholarship fund. The gala is scheduled to take place at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at the CNN Center on Sat., March 18, starting at 6 p.m. with a reception. The honorees are: Kenya Barris, producer, writer and creator of...
Rift opens between governor, superintendent over Georgia schools plan

Rift opens between governor, superintendent over Georgia schools plan

A testy exchange between Gov. Nathan Deal and state Superintendent Richard Woods reveals a rift between them in Georgia’s debate about failing schools. The dispute between the two Republicans is about who should command a school turnaround initiative working its way through the General Assembly. Woods’ duty as an elected official is to oversee the Department of Education and its K-12 mission...
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