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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 /

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.


U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his speech at the Grand Theater of Havana, Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
Desmond Boyland / Associated Press

President Barack Obama called on the Cuban government to expand Internet access for its citizens in a speech in Havana on Tuesday. In Cuba, less than about 5 percent of the population has open Internet access.

That's slowly changing as the government adds a few Wi-Fi hotspots and foreign companies work to update the digital infrastructure.  

But in the meantime, a Georgia Tech initiative is helping Cubans access information more quickly.

Gov. Nathan Deal signs legislation to create an Opportunity School District in Georgia. The measure would allow the state to step in and help underperforming schools if voters approve it in the fall.
Brenna Beach / WABE

A coalition of groups including the Georgia Federation of Teachers, the League of Women Voters and the AFL-CIO publicly opposed Gov. Nathan Deal’s school takeover plan Tuesday. The Georgia Legislature passed the measure last year. If voters approve it in a November referendum, the state constitution will be amended to include it.

It’s too late to change the legislation, which creates an "Opportunity School District" to manage so-called "chronically failing" schools.

Steven Senne / Associated Press

The visitors walking up her family's driveway mystified Maya Wolf. Four wore blue jackets. One was in a lion mascot costume. Then, as it clicked, she reached to her mouth in surprise.

"Congratulations on your acceptance," said one of the men, who introduced himself as Grant Gosselin, the admissions dean for Wheaton College. He handed Wolf an oversize white envelope. "We've heard great things about you."

Courtesy of Michelle Duren

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

When Tyler Folks started at Cherokee High School, few expected him to finish.

“I didn’t want to be here,” Folks said. "I didn’t like school. I’d get in trouble, get in fights, didn’t care."

He would get mad at teachers. He was older than others because he was held back in middle school. He has a hard time reading.

U.S. Department of Education/flickr / U.S. Department of Education/flickr

It may have been hard to notice Tuesday in the midst of the presidential election buzz, but the country officially got a new education secretary.

John King, the former education commissioner for the state of New York, was sworn in this week.

Fulton County Schools

The Fulton County schools announced Thursday it has tapped Jeff Rose, current superintendent of Beaverton School District in Oregon, as its new finalist for superintendent. He replaces former sole candidate Philip Lanoue of Clarke County, Georgia, who withdrew from consideration.


Susan Walsh / AP Photo

U.S. Education Secretary John King came to Georgia State University Wednesday. King says he was here to gather research on how to increase college graduation rates nationwide.  

GSU boosted its graduation rate 22 percentage points over ten years. Last year the U.S. Education Department gave Georgia State an $8.9 million grant to expand its work. After talking with students, King said the grant seems to be paying off.

Michell Eloy / WABE News

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

About a dozen kids are huddled inside the Brownwood Park Recreation Center in East Atlanta on a rainy afternoon. For about 12 children, ages eight to 11, who are trapped inside after a long day of sitting at school, this would seem like a nightmare scenario.

Martha Dalton / WABE

The Cobb County school board will reconsider a newly-adjusted proposal that incentivizes parents to get involved at Pebblebrook High School.

In January, school board member David Morgan presented a program that would bar kids at Cobb’s Pebblebrook High School from some extracurricular activities if their parents didn’t attend school conferences and meetings.

“Quite frankly, I just got tired of looking at the same realities and really little being done about it,” Morgan said, referring to low parent participation at the school.  

Martha Dalton / WABE

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

Of all the problems facing public schools, one that has stumped educators for years is how to get kids to show up. Truancy, or chronic absenteeism, can be a particular problem in low-income areas. State research shows attendance is tied to achievement. Kids who miss more than six days of school during the year tend to see their academic performance slip.

Kennesaw State students participate in an exchange program with students at Japan's Chukyu University.
Courtesy of Kennesaw State University / Courtesy of Kennesaw State University

Starting this fall, students at Kennesaw State University will be able to major in Asian Studies, as part of the first interdisciplinary Asian Studies bachelor’s degree program in the University System of Georgia.

Communication and Asian Studies Professor Dr. May Gao is coordinator of the new program. She led the campaign to have an Asian Studies major in the summer of 2012.

“We realized that the knowledge of Asia is critical for our students to be competitive in the global marketplace,” Gao said. “This new degree will open a lot of new doors for students.”

David Goldman / Associated Press

The public's chance to comment on proposed changes to Georgia's social studies standards ends today at 5 p.m. What the new standards leave out, however, are leaving some teachers and advocates upset.

In the sixth-grade standards, the changes to the requirements no longer include the Holocaust or slavery's impact on the American continent.

This worries Jane Moore, a sixth-grade teacher at Inman Middle School, because standards determine what shows up on students' tests.

Jessica Johnson leads her pre-k class in a storytelling exercise.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

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

At Dunbar Learning Complex, literacy education begins young.

Take this group of 22 wiggly four-year-olds, bursting with post-naptime energy. Jessica Johnson has wrangled them into a loose version of a circle to tell a story together.

Alan Alfaro (cropped) /

New research from the Foundation for Excellence in Education shows that as the U.S. population ages, the number of retired people could outnumber those in the workforce.  That’s bad news for schools, according to the foundation, because fewer people working means less tax revenue going toward schools.

Courtesy of the DeKalb School of the Arts

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

If the quality of a song or painting is largely subjective, how does one know if a public arts high school is “working?”  WABE’s series on what works in Atlanta-area education turns to the DeKalb School of the Arts to try for an objective assessment.

Arts and Academics

Georgia public school teachers may soon see widespread changes in their classrooms.

A House committee discussed a bill on Wednesday that would introduce sweeping reforms to standardized testing, teacher evaluations and attendance. However, the committee postponed a vote until Friday.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Republican from Marietta. A large number of education organizations from around the state gave their support for the bill, and nearly 30 different speakers signed up to address the committee at Wednesday's hearing.

Martha Dalton / WABE

Georgia’s Board of Regents adopted two policies Wednesday that address how state colleges handle sexual assault allegations.

Last year, a state committee found schools deal with claims of rape and other assaults differently. So the group came up with a statewide set of procedures, including training for staff and access to legal counsel for the accused and alleged victims. 

Naomi Daniel and Tiffany Lavenby examine the root of a plant.
Alison Guillory / WABE

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

Researchers say the United States is short on students who are pursuing science, technology, engineering and math careers – the group of subjects known as STEM.

Courtesy of Emory Photo/Video

For the next two months, more than 500 students, staff and faculty members at Emory University have signed up to sleep, shop and eat a little more chocolate as part of what's called the Happiness Challenge.


In early February, the DeKalb County public school system regained full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS. It had been some three years since SACS put DeKalb on probation, citing board mismanagement and an atmosphere of "conflict and chaos" in the school system.

molly samuel / WABE

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

Every day more than 1,200 students go from their regular high schools to the Carroll County College and Career Academy to learn fields as varied as health care, culinary arts, video production, IT and auto mechanics. The hallways feel like a typical high school’s, but behind one door, there’s an auto shop, behind another, an HVAC lab.

In this photo taken Jan. 17, 2016, a sign is seen at the entrance to a hall for a college test preparation class at Holton Arms School.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Georgia students took a new, more rigorous state test last year. Education officials hope raising the testing bar will eventually ensure kids are better prepared for college and careers.

But according to one national expert, it may be tough for Georgia students to know exactly how they stack up.

Courtesy of DeKalb County Schools

In a new opinion-editorial, DeKalb County Superintendent Stephen Green says the district is reconsidering its discipline policies.

The piece is a response to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which noted two DeKalb high schools had more out-of-school suspensions during the 2014-15 school year than enrolled students.