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Education

Supporters at the Trump Victory Rally in Atlanta
Al Such / WABE

A college professor in Georgia might make summer school great again.

Starting next week, professor Robert Smith is teaching a college class devoted almost entirely to the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Students at Savannah State University will earn three credit hours for taking "The Trump Factor in American Politics." Smith says they will study Trump's biography, read excerpts from the billionaire's best-seller "The Art of the Deal" and examine how Trump became the presumed Republican presidential nominee with no political experience.

NASA / Wikimedia

Break out the fancy pens and copies of "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" It's graduation season. Here's who's speaking where at the ceremonies in Atlanta.

The Georgia Department of Education has released its College and Career Ready Performance Index scores, which are score cards for Georgia schools.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said she's smiling since the scores were released. Of the 27 low performing APS schools, seven have improved enough to be removed from Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed Opportunity School District list. Schools on the list could be at risk of a state takeover after November.

APS headquarters
Nick Nesmith / WABE

 The Atlanta Public School system's turnaround strategy is underway, and it involves job cuts.

On Monday night, the Atlanta Board of Education unanimously approved a plan that calls for cutting nearly 500 positions.

"We're continuing our goal to right-size the central office by spending less money on central administration and pushing those funds out to the schools," said Pamela Hall, who is head of human resources for the school system.

Teachers have opposed the plan since it was announced.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

President Barack Obama's daughter Malia will take a year off after graduating high school in June before attending Harvard University in 2017, the president and his wife said Sunday in a long-awaited announcement.

Harvard encourages admitted students to defer for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work or spend time in another meaningful way. The student must not enroll in a program at another college that would grant that student a degree.

A report issued by a Georgia Legislative Study Committee on Mental Health shows one in five children have a diagnosable mental health problem. The study shows few of those kids receive appropriate treatment.

In addition, a recent "Kids Count" report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Georgia 37th among states when it comes to child wellness.

Now, state officials and child advocates are trying to figure out how to address the problem.

Elly Yu / WABE

A group of students who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children is suing each member of Georgia's Board of Regents. The group is fighting to pay in-state college tuition rates. The students say they have a "legal presence" in the U.S. through a federal program that temporarily shields them from deportation.

In February, the state Supreme Court rejected a similar case filed by the same students against the board as a whole. The Court said the board had "sovereign immunity" and couldn't be sued.

In this Nov. 20, 2014 photo, eight grader Aklya Thomas and teacher Faren Fransworth use a digital textbook to during a math class at Burney Harris Lyons Middle School in Athens, Ga.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Georgia could do a better job preparing its teachers, according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. 

The council grades states on the quality of their teacher training programs. When it comes to producing and retaining effective teachers, Georgia earned a C-plus.

Council President Kate Walsh says Georgia could improve its "student-teaching" programs, where college students teach in K-12 classrooms to gain experience.

Dboybaker / www.flickr.com/demietrich

Feeling safe in school may seem like a basic civil right. But plenty of students ─ especially those of certain faiths and cultures ─ are often harassed and bullied in American schools. There are no federal laws to protect them, and state laws vary.

Often, the attacks don’t stop at the end of the school day.

The Internet has made it easier for "cyberbullies" to work around the clock. Cyberbullying is defined as using electronic communication to bully someone, often by sending intimidating or threatening messages. 

The City of Atlanta is handing over 10 out of 44 property deeds to Atlanta Public Schools.
Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

Part of the Atlanta Public Schools' new turnaround plan involves closing some schools and merging others. The school board approved the plan in anticipation of a November ballot measure that would let the state intervene in under-performing schools. But under APS' plan, the newly-merged schools need new names.

That might sound like a simple process, but the school board has naming policies in place.  

Ga. State Representative Sues US Department Of Education

Apr 22, 2016
Alison Guillory / WABE

A Georgia state representative is suing the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for using what he calls unconstitutional policies in handling sexual misconduct cases on college campuses.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, filed the suit Thursday, citing lack of due process for those accused of sexual assault or harassment.

Acting Education Secretary Dr. John King, Jr., testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, during his confirmation hearing as the Education Secretary.
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

It's time for a return to a more well-rounded education for schoolchildren — one that spotlights the importance of science, social studies and the arts, Education Secretary John B. King Jr. says.

In remarks prepared for delivery Thursday in Las Vegas, King says some schools have focused too intensely on reading and math and testing in those subjects under the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. It was a complaint King heard before coming to Washington, when he was New York's education commissioner and oversaw the state's elementary and secondary schools.

John Amis, UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences / flickr.com/ugacommunications

The cost of an education at Georgia's 29 public colleges won't be going up this fall for the first time in more than a decade.

The Board of Regents formally voted Wednesday not to increase tuition for the 2016-17 school year.

Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, has said the decision shows the board is "listening to students, their families and legislators" who have voiced concerns about year-over-year tuition hikes in Georgia.

APS headquarters
Nick Nesmith / WABE

 

In November, voters will decide whether the state should be able to take over underperforming schools. However, officials with the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) aren’t waiting for the vote.

The board of education approved a "school turnaround" plan last month, but some parents at a school board meeting Monday night said the district has ignored their concerns.  

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal waits to deliver his State of the State address on the House floor at the Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia's education system could see some dramatic changes in the next two years, as Gov. Nathan Deal shifts his first-term focus on prisons and courts to education.

Voters will decide in November whether to approve Deal's proposed constitutional amendment to allow the state to take over chronically failing schools. The state's education and teacher organizations oppose the amendment and are gearing up for a fight.

Students and teacher work in the robotics class at Charles R. Drew Charter School Elementary Academy.
Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

Local school districts are looking to hire hundreds of teachers to start work next fall. But state officials say there's a "teacher dropout crisis" in Georgia; almost half of them leave within five years.

WABE's Martha Dalton spoke about the issue with Tyler Gwynn, a recruiter for the Cobb County schools. The conversation starts with the challenge of keeping good teachers once they're hired.

An effort to build a free online database of Holocaust victims and survivors has reached a milestone.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com announced Friday that records of 1 million people persecuted by the Nazis are now available to be searched.

The crowd-sourced database was launched in 2011 and is known as the World Memory Project. Volunteer contributors from around the world have been indexing materials from the museum's archive so people can be added to the database and searched easily by name.

Martha Dalton / WABE

It’s a safe bet that most teachers don’t enter the profession to get wealthy. Still, some school districts have tried to entice teachers to take hard-to-fill jobs by offering financial incentives.  

For example, the Fulton County Schools offered signing bonuses this year to teachers willing to work in "critical needs" areas. Those include math, science, special education and foreign language teaching jobs, as well as positions in schools with low-income populations.

But it’s unclear whether that approach is an effective long-term solution.

The Atlantic Coast Conference may be known for athletics, but a different sort of competition is happening this week in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech is playing host to the ACC InVenture competition, which highlights entrepreneurial ideas and innovations from each of the 15 ACC schools.

The team's pitches will be judged based on entrepreneurship, business model, quality of the idea and the probability of becoming a successful business.

First-place in the contest will win $15,000 and the second place finisher will win $10,000.

Fulton County Schools

The Fulton County School Board Thursday offered Dr. Jeff Rose of the Beaverton, Oregon School District the job of superintendent. The move came after a required two-week public comment period. 

Rose was the first candidate the school board interviewed for the position. Board President Linda McCain said he made a good impression.

“As we interviewed him and got to know him, it became very clear that his leadership style and the way that he could articulate his philosophy and his passion for education would be a great asset to all the students in Fulton County," she said. 

Oliver Quinlan (cropped) creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode / flickr.com/photos/oliverquinlan/

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

Some 2,500 years ago, Plato said that music "is a more potent instrument than any other for education." On "City Lights," two Atlanta educators made a case for music education in 21st century schools.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

The Civil War can be an emotional issue in the South to this day. The massacre last year at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina was a painful and tragic reminder. From Confederate flags, to carvings on Stone Mountain, to statues at the Georgia Capitol, the ideological battle still rages.

Al Such / WABE

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

The ninth graders in Bobetta Bailey’s Wednesday health class are milling around the room reviewing facts they’ve learned about sexually transmitted infections.

One wall of the classroom is decorated with bright, colored diagrams of reproductive systems. The fact that Bailey’s class at Cross Keys High School is about more than just those diagrams is a little out of the ordinary.

Georgia State University
Catherine Mullins / WABE

The SunTrust Foundation has awarded a $2 million grant to Georgia State University to create a first-of-its kind student financial management center.

The idea is to provide guidance for students facing financial problems that could keep them from earning degrees.

Tim Renick, GSU’s Vice Provost and Vice President of enrollment, management and student success, says advisors will help students navigate financial issues — both big or small.

US Department of Education / flickr.com/departmentofed

There could’ve been a lot of steam coming out of the Gold Dome this year if lawmakers had taken up some heated education issues. But legislators managed to sidestep thorny proposals this election year and focused on measures that seemed to please teachers.

In December, before the session started, a commission appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal recommended several changes to the state’s education system. Two proposals were bound to spark debate: overhauling the way the state funds schools and paying teachers based on how “effective” they are.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects by the year 2030, Georgia will have more residents of retirement age than in the workforce. At the same time, some local districts are considering exempting senior citizens from paying the school portion of their property taxes. This could mean less money for schools.

Matthew Ladner, a senior advisor for policy and research at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, says districts that want to ease the tax burden for seniors will likely have to make some tough choices.

Alison Guillory / WABE

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

From his early and iconic role as "The Fonz" on "Happy Days" to his late-career peaks on shows like "Arrested Development" and "Children's Hospital," Henry Winkler has been making people laugh with his quick wit. Growing up, however, Winkler found school anything but funny.

Elly Yu / WABE

This story is part of WABE and American Graduate's Advancing Atlanta: Education series. For more stories, click here.

In teacher Yahaira Rosa-Serrano’s first-grade class at Bethesda Elementary School in Lawrenceville, about 20 students are going over Spanish words.

Repeat after me, Rosa-Serrano says. “La Alfombra,” the students reply. They’re sitting in a room where everything from the art on the walls to the classroom rules are in Spanish.

Acting Education Secretary Dr. John King, Jr., testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, during his confirmation hearing as the Education Secretary.
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Colleges should be doing more to recruit low-income students and to support them as they work to finish their degrees, says a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Education.

The report also shines a light on the successes some colleges have had in promoting greater access to low-income students and increasing graduation rates.

  

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