Education


Feds approve Georgia’s “ESSA” plan for schools

Gov. Nathan Deal wouldn’t sign it, but U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved Georgia’s plan to comply with the new federal education law. The U.S. Department of Education announced the approval of Georgia’s plan and the plans of five other states -- Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Montana and New Hampshire-- in a bulletin released at 7:45 p.m. Georgia’s report...


Whoops! Atlanta reverses decision to open schools Friday

Whoops! Atlanta reverses decision to open schools Friday

Atlanta Public Schools has changed its decision about re-opening Friday, determining that the roads are still too unsafe to travel. On Thursday afternoon, the district had announced that it would re-open after two days of being closed. But after 6:30 p.m., the district released this statement: “Atlanta Public Schools was hopeful that we would reopen and resume our normal schedule on Friday,...
North metro Atlanta school district decides to re-open Friday

North metro Atlanta school district decides to re-open Friday

Forsyth County Schools will re-open Friday after two days of being closed due to treacherous road conditions. Atlanta Public Schools have already announced they’ll open, while Clayton County will remain closed. Other districts, including big ones like Gwinnett and Cobb counties, are still weighing what to do. But the decision announced after 4 p.m. Thursday by Forsyth schools spokeswoman Jennifer...
Clayton County Schools will remain closed Friday

Clayton County Schools will remain closed Friday

Clayton County Schools officials said school will remain closed Friday due to icy conditions. Schools have been closed since Wednesday after snow begin falling late Tuesday night.  “We recognize our school buses mostly travel on secondary and housing development roads and streets,” Superintendent Morcease Beasley said in a statement Thursday. “Those roads continue to be...
How and when should Atlanta schools make up snow days? APS reviews 6 options

How and when should Atlanta schools make up snow days? APS reviews 6 options

Atlanta Public Schools wants parents to help solve a big conundrum: How should the district make up snow days?After two snow days this week, the number of days the school district has lost this school year to inclement weather -- from snow, ice or Tropical Storm Irma -- now adds up to six. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, in a Thursday blog post, said she wants to find a way to make up the equivalent...
Metro Atlanta schools announce Friday plans after snow day closures

Metro Atlanta schools announce Friday plans after snow day closures

After two straight snow days, metro Atlanta schools are announcing plans for Friday, and many have decided to make it three in a row. Cobb, Fulton, Cherokee and Clayton County Public Schools will remain closed. Atlanta Public Schools initially planned to reopen, but decided just after 6 p.m. that it would remain closed, too. DeKalb County Schools will be closed to students, but 12-month...
Schools, parents don’t want learning, or fun, snowed under

Schools, parents don’t want learning, or fun, snowed under

Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley took to social media Wednesday morning with a plan for his students stuck at home as metro Atlanta contended with icy roads and freezing temps: Go play in the snow. “I think it’s important that we let kids be kids,” he said. “When life, through whatever method, gives us a day like today, we need to appreciate it. &ldquo...
Emory, Georgia State, KSU canceling classes Thursday

Emory, Georgia State, KSU canceling classes Thursday

Some metro Atlanta colleges and universities are canceling classes Thursday, due to continued severe weather conditions. Georgia State, Kennesaw State University, Agnes Scott College, Georgia Piedmont Technical College and Georgia Gwinnett College will be closed Thursday. Emory University, including Oxford College, will also be closed, officials announced.   The closing applies only to the...
Marietta superintendent explains what’s going on with weather days

Marietta superintendent explains what’s going on with weather days

Marietta’s superintendent took some time out of this snowy day to address some concerns. Grant Rivera posted a note on Facebook that was a question-and-answer with himself about how students will make up days lost to weather. Hours later, Marietta City Schools announced it would cancel Thursday’s classes. READ | With 1.5 inches of snow in Cobb, crews dump hundreds of tons...
Metro Atlanta schools announce Thursday closures as ice, cold linger

Metro Atlanta schools announce Thursday closures as ice, cold linger

Atlanta Public Schools, Gwinnett County, Fulton County, DeKalb County, Cobb County, Clayton County, Marietta City Schools and Henry County Schools are among the area districts to announce they will be closed Thursday because of concerns that ice and cold temperatures will persist. Also closed Thursday are City Schools of Decatur, Fayette County Public Schools, Paulding County Schools, Cherokee County...
Agnes Scott College president to lead Rhodes Trust

Agnes Scott College president to lead Rhodes Trust

Elizabeth Kiss, who’s ending her 12-year tenure as Agnes Scott College’s president in June, will become the next leader of one of the world’s most prestigious scholarship programs. Kiss will be the warden and chief executive officer of the Rhodes Trust, according to an announcement made Wednesday. Kiss is the first woman hired to lead the trust, based in Oxford in the United Kingdom...
Schools closed today, what about Thursday?

Schools closed today, what about Thursday?

The dusting of snow, but particularly the glaze of ice under that pretty frosting, caused superintendents across Georgia to call off school Wednesday. Now the question is, what about Thursday? Will schools be open? Melting snow and ice and refreezing water on the roads could make for treacherous conditions with the low temperatures forecast for Thursday morning. That decision has not been made yet...
Metro Atlanta schools cancel classes Wednesday

Metro Atlanta schools cancel classes Wednesday

With snow accumulation of at least one inch in metro Atlanta, schools cancelled classes late Tuesday night. It’s the third time in just more than a month that metro Atlanta schools have closed due to weather. DeKalb and Fulton County Schools said in emails that students and staff should stay home ahead of forecasts for frigid temperatures and icy road conditions. Gwinnett County Schools said...
Metro school districts calling it quits for Wednesday

Metro school districts calling it quits for Wednesday

School districts across metro Atlanta will be closed Wednesday due to biting temperatures and fears of icy roads. The DeKalb County School District announced first about 9:15 p.m., saying it will close Wednesday “due to frigid temperatures, snow and icy road conditions.” Shortly after, Marietta City, Fulton County, Atlanta and Gwinnett schools called for closings due to the icy conditions...
Budget proposes more for colleges; lawmakers discuss aid to students

Budget proposes more for colleges; lawmakers discuss aid to students

State lawmakers discussed during budget hearings Tuesday how they can help more Georgia students enroll in college, stay there and take the classes they need. Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed budget increases general spending for the University System of Georgia by nearly $117 million, to about $2.4 billion and the Technical College System of Georgia by $5.7 million to a total of nearly $367 million...
Mayor moves to hand school deeds back to APS

Mayor moves to hand school deeds back to APS

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms moved Tuesday to fulfill a campaign promise to transfer disputed deeds to Atlanta Public Schools, a step the superintendent said will enable the school district to control, sell and swap its properties. The mayor and APS announced an agreement to give the school system deeds to 50 school properties “without restriction or condition,” according to a news release...
Update: Metro Atlanta’s largest colleges closed Wednesday

Update: Metro Atlanta’s largest colleges closed Wednesday

Some of Metro Atlanta and North Georgia largest college campuses announced online overnight that are cancelling classes Wednesday and other activities as snow covers the region. The campuses that have announced closures include: The University of Georgia Georgia State University Georgia Tech Emory University Kennesaw State University Clark Atlanta University Morehouse College Spelman College Mercer...
Atlanta mayor announces plan to resolve APS deed dispute

Atlanta mayor announces plan to resolve APS deed dispute

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she would submit an ordinance Tuesday to the city council to give Atlanta Public Schools deeds to properties the school district has sought for years.  The mayor’s office announced Tuesday that Bottoms had reached an agreement to transfer deeds for 50 properties to APS “without restriction or condition,” according to a news release...
Georgia school budgets affected by stagnating population growth

Georgia school budgets affected by stagnating population growth

Schools are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, which was followed by a dip in childbirths. Georgia bases its education funding for school districts on their enrollment, and that has basically been static, said Ted Beck, chief financial officer for the Georgia Department of Education. It’s up several thousand students this school year, a blip when compared with the overall enrollment...
Metro Atlanta districts adjust, cancel after-school activities because of weather

Metro Atlanta districts adjust, cancel after-school activities because of weather

Atlanta, Fulton and Marietta schools announced they will cancel extracurricular and after-school activities Tuesday because of anticipated bad weather, while other districts announced modifications to their schedules. Gwinnett County Public Schools will finish Tuesday evening events by 8 p.m. The district said schools and coaches will communicate any changes to scheduled events. Clayton County...
Erwin voted chairman of DeKalb County Board of Education

Erwin voted chairman of DeKalb County Board of Education

The DeKalb County Board of Education voted board member Michael Erwin its chair at a meeting held Saturday. The board also voted member Marshall Orson as vice chairman.  Erwin said during the meeting, which was rescheduled from Jan. 8 due to weather, that he was grateful for the board’s confidence, after a unanimous vote. “It will be important that we work together and collaboratively...
APS construction jobs include updating King’s childhood school

APS construction jobs include updating King’s childhood school

The big brick David T. Howard Building stands forlorn and fenced off in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. There are a few holes in the windows and cracks on the sidewalk in front of the historic school, which closed in 1976. But by late spring or early summer, the 7.5-acre site on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue NE will come alive when construction begins to renovate the old school and build a new addition...
Morehouse’s new president in his own words

Morehouse’s new president in his own words

David A. Thomas met the press for the first time Friday as Morehouse College’s new president. Here are his responses on some matters. The comments about Trump were made during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the news conference. On how he and Morehouse staff can improve student performance: “Putting a more invasive or more intervention-oriented advising system...
Morehouse’s new president discusses long to-do list

Morehouse’s new president discusses long to-do list

Morehouse College’s new president laid out his goals Friday for the campus, which include boosting four-year graduation rates, doubling its endowment and working with neighboring schools in the Atlanta University Center to stop sexual misconduct. David A. Thomas, who took office New Year’s Day, told reporters in his first news conference, that student, faculty and administrative leaders...
N. Fulton in the NBA: Kobi Simmons may have role with Memphis

N. Fulton in the NBA: Kobi Simmons may have role with Memphis

Kobi Simmons was sent back down to the G-League on Thursday after spending a month with the Memphis Grizzlies, but the rookie from Alpharetta may have a role with them going forward. Simmons, a 2016 graduate of St. Francis, played well over the span of 10 games with the team while starting point guard Mike Conley and other key players nursed injuries. One fan blog declared “It’s Kobi time...
Georgia governor’s budget proposal offers some higher education increases

Georgia governor’s budget proposal offers some higher education increases

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday released his final proposed budget as the state’s chief executive. Here’s how it could impact public higher education in Georgia: a 3 percent increase in HOPE scholarships and grants, totaling about $68.1 million. $65 million in additional capital funds for major repairs and rehabilitation of some University System of Georgia facilities. The system...
UGA alumni start new effort to support African-American students

UGA alumni start new effort to support African-American students

University of Georgia graduates have started a new campaign to provide needs-based scholarships for African-American students. The university’s alumni association has created The 1961 Club to also better engage its estimated 14,000 living African-American alumni. The effort was launched during an alumni event Tuesday in Atlanta. The name comes from the year Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne...
Challengers for Georgia superintendent boast high-profile endorsements

Challengers for Georgia superintendent boast high-profile endorsements

Georgia’s elections are nearly a year away but several hopefuls are already lining up to challenge school Superintendent Richard Woods. Though qualifying for candidacy isn’t until March, some are already touting big-name endorsements for the down-ballot race. Otha Thornton, a former National PTA president, is backed by Arne Duncan, who was education secretary under President Barack Obama...
Agnes Scott names next president, who champions women’s colleges

Agnes Scott names next president, who champions women’s colleges

Agnes Scott College named its ninth president Tuesday, choosing a leader who champions global education and predicts a resurgence of women’s colleges. Leocadia “Lee” Zak, 60, greeted several hundred students, alumnae, faculty and staff — many of whom wore purple, the school color, as they crowded into the dining hall on the Decatur campus for the presidential announcement....
Ranking names Kennesaw State online MBA program as the best in Georgia

Ranking names Kennesaw State online MBA program as the best in Georgia

If you’re looking to dig into some numbers during your off-time by enrolling in an online MBA program, you can’t do much better than Kennesaw State University. That’s according to U.S. News & World Report, which released its 2018 national ranking of such programs Tuesday. KSU’s Master of Business Administration program ranked No. 19, tied with Lehigh University...
DeKalb Schools schedules make-up school board meeting for Saturday

DeKalb Schools schedules make-up school board meeting for Saturday

The DeKalb County School District has announced its monthly school board meeting — scheduled Monday but canceled due to weather forecasting freezing rain — has been rescheduled for Saturday. The DeKalb Board of Education will begin Saturday with a scheduled executive session at 1 p.m., followed by its board work session at 2 p.m. The public comment session will be held at...
Agnes Scott College names next president

Agnes Scott College names next president

Agnes Scott College named Leocadia I. Zak its ninth president. Zak, 60, served seven years as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to that position and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2010. She will become president of the Decatur college on July 1 by a unanimous vote of the college’s board. A graduate of the all-women&rsquo...
In Athens, cheers, then tears

In Athens, cheers, then tears

The end hurt for University of Georgia students.  At Stegeman Coliseum, where the university held a watch party, many students exited in tears after the game. “It’s so silent in here,” said Emily Austin, 19, a sophomore from Douglasville. One student yelled “Go Dawgs,” drawing a smattering of cheers. Freshman Markell Hardee, 18, couldn’t believe what happened...
Atlanta school board’s new leader calls student equity top priority

Atlanta school board’s new leader calls student equity top priority

The new Atlanta Board of Education chairman named student equity the district’s top priority during his first meeting as leader. Jason Esteves, 34, will serve a two-year term as board chairman after a unanimous vote Monday by the nine-member board. He announced the creation of an equity task force charged with making sure the board has a policy to guarantee equitable treatment of students. The...
Atlanta school board taps Esteves as chairman

Atlanta school board taps Esteves as chairman

The Atlanta Board of Education picked an attorney to lead its nine-member board, whose members also were sworn in Monday. Jason Esteves, 34, will serve a two-year term as board chairman after a unanimous vote.  At his first meeting, he announced the creation of an equity task force charged with making sure the board has an equity policy in place and monitors the policy’s implementation...
After Monday closures, metro Atlanta schools start to announce plans to resume class Tuesday

After Monday closures, metro Atlanta schools start to announce plans to resume class Tuesday

Metro Atlanta school districts are announcing plans to resume school Tuesday after fears of icy roads and bad driving weather cancelled classes Monday. Among the first to announce plans is Clayton County Public Schools. The district sent out a release just after noon Monday saying it will resume a regular schedule Tuesday and that a school board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 9.  In...
How metro Atlanta schools determine when to delay or close because of bad weather

How metro Atlanta schools determine when to delay or close because of bad weather

Students were the winners in metro Atlanta school system bets on whether the icy conditions predicted for Monday morning would materialize. The schools put their money on freezing rain and called off classes. Students collected this morning by staying snuggled in bed as parents readied for work, either at the office or from home as finding childcare on short notice is problematic. And so it goes....
Woodruff Foundation gives record $400 million to Emory University

Woodruff Foundation gives record $400 million to Emory University

The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has pledged $400 million to Emory University for medical research and to develop improved patient care models, the university announced Monday. The gift is the largest ever received by the Atlanta-based university. “This gift will allow us to accelerate the scientific discoveries needed for breakthroughs in patient care and to extend our reach in reducing the...
As weather closes Gwinnett schools Monday, students told to log in, not come in

As weather closes Gwinnett schools Monday, students told to log in, not come in

Monday won’t be a complete day off for Gwinnett students. Gwinnett County Public Schools joined other metro Atlanta school districts on Sunday night by announcing it would close school Monday because of weather forecasts that predict icy roads. But in Gwinnett, the state’s largest school district, leaders added extra instructions for students, who returned last week from their winter break...
Atlanta schools closed Monday, new board to be sworn in but cancels other meetings

Atlanta schools closed Monday, new board to be sworn in but cancels other meetings

Atlanta Public Schools will be closed Monday, but the nine-member school board will still be sworn in. The Atlanta Board of Education did cancel later meetings it had planned to hold on Monday, including a 3 p.m. work session to review presentations and a 6 p.m. community meeting to be followed by legislative action on various matters. The school board, however, still will meet at 2:30 p.m. Monday...
DeKalb Schools cancels classes, board meeting with freezing rain forecast

DeKalb Schools cancels classes, board meeting with freezing rain forecast

DeKalb County School District officials said late Sunday they were canceling classes Monday due to inclement weather, as forecasters expect freezing rain to greet morning commuters. A wintry mix of freezing rain or other ice could hit early, but the weather is expected to rise to about 41 degrees into the afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News weather. The district also canceled its monthly...
Metro Atlanta colleges, universities announce closures, delays Monday

Metro Atlanta colleges, universities announce closures, delays Monday

Most colleges and universities in north Georgia are closed today, but the University of Georgia students won’t be getting much of a break. In Athens, classes will be delayed only. The school whose football is playing for the national championship today will delay its opening until 10 a.m. Officials will continue to monitor conditions throughout the morning, so please watch for potential updates...
Ice: Decatur schools to close Monday

Ice: Decatur schools to close Monday

City Schools of Decatur will be closed Monday due to the forecast of freezing rain. The district notified parents Sunday evening that the closure was “out of an abundance of caution.” Other districts across metro Atlanta were simultaneously making the same announcement. Go to myAJC.com/education, the subscriber website of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for in-depth reporting...
Every Student Succeeds Act: Betsy DeVos approves Georgia’s blueprint for school improvement

Every Student Succeeds Act: Betsy DeVos approves Georgia’s blueprint for school improvement

Based on Betsy DeVos’ repeated comments that the federal government ought to let states set their own course, I did not expect her U.S. Department of Education to veto Georgia’s education blueprint for raising achievement and improving schools, as required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. And it did not. The federal stamp of approval came today even...
About these snow days: Should districts make them up and when?

About these snow days: Should districts make them up and when?

In a note to parents today, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen summarizes the challenges facing districts trying to decide whether to make up days lost to bad weather, including two this week. Under new flexibility contracts with the state, most Georgia districts aren’t obligated to recover the days. However, that missing learning time can undercut...
A University of Alabama student from New Jersey posts racist rant and is sent packing

A University of Alabama student from New Jersey posts racist rant and is sent packing

The University of Alabama is reeling from a viral racist rant this week by a 19-year-old student from New Jersey who defended her repeated use of the N-word by saying, “I’m in the South now.” That didn’t prevent Harley Barber from immediately being kicked out of her sorority Alpha Phi, which she had proudly cited during her rant, and expelled...
Let the snow come: these districts don’t miss days

Let the snow come: these districts don’t miss days

Wednesday was a snow day, but still a school day, for many metro Atlanta students. Some school districts, such as Gwinnett and Forsyth, use online lesson plans and assignments for students to avoid missing a snow day, a practice they’ve used for a few years, to the disappointment of some students. In Gwinnett, the state’s largest school district, the threat of ice and frigid temperatures...
Whether and when to close schools is tough call even for experienced districts

Whether and when to close schools is tough call even for experienced districts

There’s always griping about how the south overreacts to snow, while districts farther north soldier through bad weather. But deciding whether and when to close schools is an imprecise science even in areas accustomed to wintry weather, as shown today in Montgomery County in Maryland. Parents there were not happy when a two-hour delay turned into a closure....
Snow day question: Should students be on computers or on sleds?

Snow day question: Should students be on computers or on sleds?

At least three local districts, Forsyth, Hall and Gwinnett, treat weather closings, including today, as digital learning days so students don’t lose valuable academic ground. Teachers in those districts explained they send their students home with assignments if bad weather is predicted so even those without online access can keep up. In reviewing how many of its students...
Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.” She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency. DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different...
King’s remaining college classmates remember the young leader

King’s remaining college classmates remember the young leader

The national holiday to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday today is a joyous occasion for most Americans, but the day brings an extra bit of pride for one group of men: his college classmates. This year marks the 70th anniversary of King’s graduation from Morehouse College in Atlanta. Most of his classmates, like King, have died. It’s unclear how many of them are...
Today Georgia Tech announces first round of students admitted

Today Georgia Tech announces first round of students admitted

My son was among the high school seniors sitting at their computers last year waiting to find out if they won early action admission into Georgia Tech. Today, 4,600 students are about to learn they were admitted. Tech will release the news to applicants at noon today. As usual, the early admits boast impressive academic records. Interesting change: 47 percent are non-engineering...
Nearly 50 years ago, they integrated the court. Tonight, they got their trophy.

Nearly 50 years ago, they integrated the court. Tonight, they got their trophy.

As one of the first black students to integrate Decatur High School in the late 60s, Samuel Favers experienced racism that still chafes nearly a half century later. He recalled the administration leaving his mother in tears after calling her in to tell her that he wasn’t able to learn. “The principal regularly called black students into his office and told...
Atlanta weather: not a topic for polite conversation

Atlanta weather: not a topic for polite conversation

It used to be only religion and politics that were off the table at dinner parties, but now Atlantans might want to avoid talk of the weather, too. Last week’s decision to close schools across metro Atlanta provoked both indignation and ardent defense. It was the latest debate about misjudged weather calls since the region was crippled by a dusting of sleet and snow in 2014, and ridiculed mercilessly...
Governor’s final State of the State: Saving HOPE and spreading it, too

Governor’s final State of the State: Saving HOPE and spreading it, too

In this final year in office, Gov. Nathan Deal delivered his last State of the State address today. Education was a big part of it. Here are excerpts in which he spoke about education: We seek to make Georgia a leader in all industries, however, which is why we have invested so much into our K-12 education system, because we know that the students of today are the workforce...
Opinion: Educators must help undocumented students feel safe, supported

Opinion: Educators must help undocumented students feel safe, supported

In this guest column, three researchers talk about the thousands of children and young adults awaiting a decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, which grants protected legal status to young people brought here illegally as children by their parents. DACA was in the news today after Senate negotiators said they expected a compromise on the nearly...

Watch video of teacher arrested for questioning superintendent’s raise

Shocking video of a teacher in Louisiana being handcuffed and removed from a school boarding meeting  Monday after she questioned the superintendent’s raise is prompting outrage nationwide. The new contract approved by the Vermilion Parish School Board enables the school chief to earn a possible $38,000 more a year. (The district is west of New Orleans.) Vermilion...
Why are Georgia’s rural students overlooked?

Why are Georgia’s rural students overlooked?

Georgia has the nation’s third largest rural school population, yet few of the education proposals coming out of Atlanta benefit those nearly 380,000 students. Rural children represent 22 percent of Georgia’s 1,756,553 public school students. Why are their needs overlooked? Because the easy answers favored by legislators — charter schools, tax credits, vouchers...
New president of Agnes Scott is former U.S. Trade and Development Agency director

New president of Agnes Scott is former U.S. Trade and Development Agency director

Agnes Scott College has a new incoming president. Here is the official announcement: The Agnes Scott College Board of Trustees has announced the selection of Leocadia (“Lee”) I. Zak as the college’s ninth president in its 129-year history. Zak will assume the role officially on July 1, 2018. She is succeeding current Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss, who...
University of Georgia returns to normal, somewhat

University of Georgia returns to normal, somewhat

Some University of Georgia students had little time Tuesday to talk about the heartbreaking loss to Alabama hours earlier in the national championship football game. They had to get to class. As students rushed for the bus or walked to get to the Zell B. Miller Learning Center, several said it was hard to believe their beloved Bulldogs lost in overtime. “The boys played hard,” said Nic...
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