The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Inside the largest charter school theft in Georgia history
A $12,000 charge at a strip club. Thousands of dollars spent at Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead. ATM withdrawals of hundreds of dollars at a time.

The charges to Atlanta’s Latin Academy Charter School should have raised eyebrows. For the top state education officials and corporate executives on the school’s board, they should have set off earsplitting sirens.
Retaking classes online: ‘Awful if someone really wants to learn’
Anthony Sobowale finished his second attempt at a high school chemistry course in just three days.

After he‘d failed the class, Douglas County Schools placed him in an online make-up course. With no science teacher available to help him when he got stuck, he spent three days in a classroom and at home clicking from video to video and through quiz after quiz.

He got an A that even he says he really didn’t earn.

Why a pink T-shirt could have gotten this girl suspended: School uniforms required more often for black students
Cobb County sixth-grader Sydney Testman was yanked out of her accelerated science class the first week of school. Not for bullying students. Or disrupting class. Or interrupting the teacher.

Hundreds of Georgia schools may be vulnerable to disease outbreaks
Children attending more than 200 Georgia schools are in classrooms where vaccination rates fall short of the level needed to protect them from catching and spreading a variety of diseases, according to an analysis of state data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Can charter school operators save sinking Atlanta schools?Denaya Todd’s heart sank when she learned where her son would attend first grade.

“Oh, no,” she thought. “Not Thomasville.”
Will the gamble to improve one of Atlanta’s worst schools pay off?
In a gamble to fix a dysfunctional school ahead of a potential state takeover, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen merged one of the city’s best high schools with one of its worst.

Combining Carver School of Technology, where about half of students graduate, with Carver Early College, where nearly every student goes on to a four-year college, tests the theory that threatening schools with extreme sanctions leads to rapid changes for the better — the theory behind Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan. If voters approve that plan this fall, the state could take control of schools like the School of Technology. If Carstarphen’s gamble pays off, hundreds of students will get better educations. Deal will be proven right. Carver staff will be hailed for beating the odds of urban education.
If it fails, it will cripple a school that has sent hundreds of students — nearly all of them African American, and most of them low-income — to some of the nation’s top colleges.
Taniya’s journey: How one girl overcame abuse, abandonment to graduate with top honors
At school, Taniya Shockley was the smart kid, the one everybody wanted to work with, the girl teachers wanted to take home.

At home, no one wanted her.

The oldest of six children, Taniya was born in Decatur to a mother unable to take care of her. She lived with a series of people — a grandmother, family friends, an aunt — until she ended up in foster care in New Jersey where by her own account she was beaten, punched and berated.

Even your own mother doesn’t want you, her foster mother told her, she said.

Yes, the first day of school really does come earlier every year
If you’re one of those parents who hold Christmas and back to school seasons in identical regard — both inexorable, expensive events that seem to come earlier every year — we have some good news for you: You’re right.


Cheating our children: Teachers on trial

Twelve former Atlanta educators went on trial in 2014 in one of the most notorious examples of high-stakes testing gone wrong. The educators, under intense pressure to meet ever-increasing performance goals, were accused of conspiring to change students’ answers on state tests. The inflated scores gave a false impression of the academic progress of thousands of students. Here are a few stories from the nine-month long trial.


Other publications

Brittany Walker Pettigrew is, by her own description, “liberal AF.” The 45-year old child welfare manager from Oakland, California, grew up in a liberal bubble so impenetrable, she was a college freshman the first time she met a Republican.

Stevie Krupnik calls herself “a pretty conservative conservative.” The 65-year old retired nurse from Hunterdon County, New Jersey, thinks the “Clinton phenomenon” is a sham and admires President Donald Trump’s “shoot-from-the-hip” style.

Yet every morning, Pettigrew and Krupnik share a similar routine: Get up, grab a phone or iPad and open Facebook to check in with women from across the political spectrum as part of a group called “The Many,” a nonpartisan effort to help women talk respectfully about divisive issues.
AARP: Profile of Mike Weaver, Founder, WeCCAAN
“While there is a chance with young people, let’s expose them to things that would benefit them down the road.”
Education Writers Association: What reporters should look for in early learning settings
“There’s a huge range of quality in early learning programs. And also there’s a big gap between what we know is best practice and what is actually happening in classrooms.”