You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Veteran Atlanta teachers say “culture change” meant age discrimination


Former Atlanta teachers claim in a federal age discrimination lawsuit that hundreds of older educators were forced out of their jobs in Atlanta Public Schools as a new administration tried to turn around local schools after a cheating scandal.

“After the big cheating scandal they brought in someone and basically her philosophy was, I’m going to change the culture of APS,” said Lori Hamilton, an attorney representing the teachers. “And that meant out with the old.”

The school district has denied it discriminated against older teachers and said in court filings that any adverse employment decisions were “the result of legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.” An Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment this week.

More than 60 percent of Atlanta teachers were over 40 when Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was hired in 2014, a percentage that remained unchanged as of last year, the district said in court filings.

But the teachers who filed the suit claim the district “cultivated an environment that is openly hostile to teachers over the age of 40.”

“APS routinely keeps very close supervision on older teachers in hopes of finding something wrong, gives them worse evaluations than younger and less experienced teachers, reassigns them to schools that are more difficult to work in, tells them that they impact the budget and pension fund too much, and repeatedly makes demeaning and derogatory statements to its older teachers,” the suit claims.

Teachers named in the suit say they weren’t given the chance to apply for open jobs after their positions were eliminated, and they didn’t get access to the same training or equipment as younger teachers.

The teachers want Atlanta Public Schools to stop the alleged discrimination, award back pay and damages and offer them their jobs back.

The teachers’ case recently cleared an initial legal hurdle to being considered a class-action lawsuit, allowing lawyers to send out notices to other teachers potentially affected.

In a separate pending lawsuit, another group of former Atlanta educators is suing the school district in connection with the decision to hire charter school groups to manage several low-performing schools.

Employees at the school currently run by a charter school group lost their jobs — though some were eventually hired back — and dozens more are expected to lose their jobs in the coming years as more schools come under outside management.

In the suit, the former educators say hiring the charter school groups violated their tenure rights as well as state laws governing the creation of charter schools.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Students demand a break — every day
Students demand a break — every day

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and school recess are inalienable rights.  That was essentially the message Lilly Nordby Wills brought to Georgia lawmakers Tuesday, hoping to right what she sees as a grave injustice at her Paulding County school.  "We get 15 minutes of recess, sometimes...
Where is DeKalb County schools’ director of human resources?
Where is DeKalb County schools’ director of human resources?

The DeKalb County School District’s human resources head, who arrived 14 months ago to address why teachers leave and how the district can hire the best candidates for its children, has been inexplicably absent. Leo Brown, the district’s chief human capital management officer, has not been seen in the district’s administrative offices...
After school trip, Betsy DeVos insults teachers for their ‘receive mode’
After school trip, Betsy DeVos insults teachers for their ‘receive mode’

Despite being blocked by protesters when she arrived for her first official school visit as U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos seemed to enjoy her day at Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington earlier this month. DeVos had nothing but good things to say as she left the high-poverty school recognized for its academic progress. She called it...
Gwinnett school board members voice concerns about state takeover plan
Gwinnett school board members voice concerns about state takeover plan

Some Gwinnett County school board members aren’t thrilled with aspects of a revised plan under discussion at the state Capitol to help underperforming public schools. The board members criticized aspects of House Bill 338, filed earlier this month, a new effort to give the state greater power to assist chronically-failing schools. Voters...
Deal rolls out new school takeover plan. Will it help or hurt kids?
Deal rolls out new school takeover plan. Will it help or hurt kids?

Left empty-handed after voters rejected his plan for state takeover of failing schools, Gov. Nathan Deal is back with his promised Plan B. Deal is trying to do with legislation what voters would not allow him to do through a constitutional amendment — put the control of low-performing schools under the control of someone new. House Bill 338 would...
More Stories