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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.

Dboybaker /

Students from MIT and Britain's University of Cambridge will spend the weekend hacking one another's computers, with the blessing of their national leaders.

The two schools are competing in a hacking contest that U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced last year among other joint cybersecurity projects between the two nations. The White House billed it as a showdown between the two prestigious schools, both known as heavyweights in the world of computer science.

before the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt / Associated Press

Ryan Lysek rose to become vice president of his fifth-grade class at Lorraine Academy in Buffalo, New York, after the sitting veep got bounced for saying things that went against the school's anti-bullying rules. So the 10-year-old is a little puzzled that candidates running to lead the entire country can get away with name-calling and foul language.

Shannan Muskopf (cropped) /

This weekend, high school students in Georgia — and across the country — will sharpen their No. 2 pencils to take a new version of the SAT. The new test will focus more on evidence-based reading, according to the College Board, which administers and scores the exam.

Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen in the WABE studios.
Jason Parker / WABE

In November, Georgia voters will be asked whether the state should be authorized to take over schools it deems "chronically failing."

If the measure passes, 26 Atlanta public schools could qualify for a takeover. APS’ plan to save those schools looks outside the district.

The Atlanta Public School system is implementing a strategy to increase student achievement dramatically and to transform its lowest-performing schools.

Shannan Muskopf (cropped) /

Georgia Democrats and Republicans have agreed on at least one piece of legislation this session.

Senate Bill 364 would reduce the impact of student test scores on teachers’ evaluations. It passed the state Senate unanimously Friday.

"All employees need an annual evaluation, but we also want to make a statement that moves to make teacher evaluations more of a tool to be used for continuous improvement, than a punitive measure,” said Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, the bill’s sponsor.

Who's Regulating For-Profit Schools? Execs From For-Profit Colleges

Feb 26, 2016

College accreditors have come under scrutiny recently for allowing for-profit schools to collect billions in federal aid despite low graduation and high default rates.

Accreditors are supposed to be watchdogs for college quality. They are not government agencies but colleges need an accreditor's seal of approval so students can qualify for federal loans.

Students at Georgia’s public colleges and universities are better-prepared than they were a few years ago. But there's still work to do, state education officials said during a Senate Higher Education Committee meeting Wednesday.

The Georgia Department of Education said over a three year period, the rate of college students taking remedial math classes has dropped by about 7 percent. It’s fallen about six percent for English/Language Arts.

“We’ve seen decreases over time and this is at the same time that the standards themselves have gotten more challenging,” Dooley said.

The Georgia Senate’s Higher Education Committee unanimously agreed Wednesday to study whether the state should offer in-state college tuition rates to some students with temporary resident status.

Current state policy requires students to have a "lawful presence" in the U.S. in order to qualify for in-state rates.

The students have qualified for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides temporary relief from deportation. They sued the Georgia Board of Regents, saying that status gives them a legal presence.

Courtesy of Clarke County School District

Dr. Philip Lanoue, the Fulton County Schools' sole candidate for superintendent, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Lanoue currently heads the Clarke County School District in Athens.

That school system has recently come under fire following reports that three Clarke County students accused of raping a 15-year-old girl were allowed to stay in school while police investigated. It reportedly took school officials weeks to notify parents, students, and teachers of the assault.

A Wall-E toy reading an e-book
Courtesy of Brian Matis /

For a robot waiting in line to pay for its owner's medication, the fastest and most efficient method of getting the medication might be to steal the pills and leave the store without paying.

But as humans, Mark Riedl says, we've decided that's not the right way. Riedl is an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing and director of the Entertainment Intelligence Lab.

He's developed a new system to teach robots how to play nice.

In clashes over which restrooms and locker rooms transgender students should use, the U.S. Department of Education has warned public schools that a 1970s sex discrimination law makes it illegal to deny them access to the facilities of their choice.

Schools around the country, some fearing federal investigations that could cost them millions in funding, generally have yielded to the guidance. Now, a backlash is brewing.

Georgia State University researchers have published a study that finds children are being used more frequently as soldiers in the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.  

The study, funded by the Department of Defense, looked at the period between January 2015 and 2016 and found that the number of children who died in suicide operations doubled last month compared to the same time last year.

They are basic yes-no questions that ask whether a college applicant ever got into trouble in high school. Yet they're anything but simple, say some who want run-ins at school or with the law taken out of the college admissions equation.

Advocates, school districts and even some colleges share concerns about youthful mistakes haunting students into adulthood, especially minority students, who federal statistics show are suspended and arrested at disproportionately higher rates than their white peers.

Courtesy of Kennesaw State University

The cost of an education at Georgia's 29 public colleges won't be going up this fall.

The Board of Regents announced this week that it has decided not to increase tuition for the 2016-17 school year.

Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, 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.

Until this year, the Board of Regents had approved some form of tuition increase every year since at least 2002.

Brenna Beech / WABE

A Georgia lawmaker wants to slow tuition increases drastically at Georgia's public colleges and universities.

Legislation from state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R–Peachtree City, would keep four-year schools from increasing tuition beyond the rate of inflation. 

He said rates are going up too fast.

“It's just impossible when you're planning what it's going to cost you to go to college to account for the dramatic increases that are outpacing your ability to plan for and pay for it,” Ramsey said.

Karen Apricot /

Two competing bills in the Georgia Senate attempt to tackle what education officials call the state's teacher dropout crisis. Each bill proposes reducing the percentage of a teacher's evaluation that's based on "student growth," which includes test scores.

Gary Lieberman / WABE

Stephanie Johnson, principal of Maynard Jackson High School, has been named the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals (GAASP) "Principal of the Year." 

Johnson has been principal of Maynard Jackson for four years and is the first Atlanta Public Schools principal to win the award. In September, she will represent Georgia for the National School Principal of the Year award.

The Board of Education of the City Schools of Decatur building is located next to the Beacon Municipal Center.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Taxes are getting ready to go up in Decatur, but residents over the age of 65 could get a temporary break from school taxes. 

City of Decatur school board members will discuss the draft resolution at its meeting Tuesday evening.

Last fall, Decatur voters approved a $75 million bond for school construction. This will mean higher property taxes, except for Decatur homeowners over the age of 80 who don't have to pay property taxes.

A Five Year Sunset

Courtesy of Clarke County School District

The Fulton County School System announced Friday it has chosen Dr. Philip D. Lanoue as its only finalist for superintendent.   

Lanoue is currently the superintendent for the Clarke County School District in Athens, Ga. In 2015, he was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. He would succeed Dr. Robert Avossa, who left the district last June to lead the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida. 

John Amis / Associated Press

New scoring rules for the GED high school equivalency test will help hundreds of Georgia adults -- who thought they failed -- earn diplomas.

GED testing officials decided to lower the exam's passing score from 150 to 145 points, effective in March.

"This affects adult education students who have taken the GED test, retroactive a couple of years, so almost 1,900 [Georgia] test-takers,” said Alison Tyrer, a spokesperson for the Technical College System of Georgia, which oversees the state’s GED program.  “It means they can move on to their next goal in life."

David Goldman / AP Photo

Last year, state lawmakers approved Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to let the state take over some schools the state deemed "chronically failing." Voters will need to approve the measure before it becomes law. They’ll have the chance to do that in November, when the question appears on the ballot.

Some Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would change the way the question is worded. It currently reads: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?"

The Georgia House has approved a bill giving HOPE Scholarship recipients more credit for science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, courses.

Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) says the change will encourage students to take such classes and pursue jobs in fields that need skilled employees. HOPE Scholarship recipients must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 to keep receiving help for college tuition.

Jones said the GPA requirements may have led some students to avoided the courses due to fear of losing their scholarship eligibility.

The DeKalb County School System has regained full accreditation. The district was slapped with a probationary sanction in 2012 after a scathing report from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS.

Mark Elgart, the CEO of AdvancEd, SACS' parent company, said the school board worked to achieve its new status by establishing policies, improving operations and stabilizing the district’s leadership.

Emiko Soltis, Freedom University

Georgia's university system got a win from the state Supreme Court Monday, when justices decided the Board of Regents can't be sued by a group of students. The high court ruled the Board of Regents is immune from lawsuits.  

But the students vowed to continue to fight. They're a group of students who have graduated from Georgia high schools and have temporary protection from deportation, also known as "DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students."

Some of them even say a Regents' policy that bans them from the state's top colleges is a subtle form of racism.

You may have heard of "ban the box." It's a measure aimed at stopping employers from asking about applicants' criminal histories. Now a legal advocacy group is looking into this issue at colleges in the South.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law is looking at 17 Southern schools, including Clark Atlanta University and the University of Georgia.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee, said some schools' applications don't just ask about convictions.

Elly Yu / WABE

This story has been updated at 1:15 p.m. to reflect new information. 

The state Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a group of immigrant students who were seeking in-state tuition at Georgia’s public colleges and universities. The students are young people who were brought to the country illegally as children.

The court rejected the students’ appeal, ruling that the university system’s Board of Regents is immune from the lawsuit under what’s known as “sovereign immunity,” a legal doctrine that protects state agencies from being sued.

Shannan Muskopf /

Georgia has earned an 'A' for the rigor of its education standards from a new report from the journal Education Next. The same publication gave Georgia’s standards an ‘F’ in 2013.  

Georgia hasn't changed its standards since 2013. But the state did change the test it uses to see how well students learned those standards. The report examined the strength of state tests.