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U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan reads to children at Boyd Elementary School Friday, May 31, 2013. Education Secretary Arne Duncan , Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also participated in a panel discussion on education.

US Ed Secretary: 'Testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools'

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined the growing chorus of teachers and parents lamenting the role of testing in American schools, outlining in his blog that he has heard the concerns and has authorized a one-year delay in incorporating student scores in teacher evaluations. (A Georgia Department of Education spokesman ...

Georgia DOE: Student growth model isn’t perfect, but it’s valid, reliable

A few weeks ago, I posted information about the student growth model the state plans to use to assess teachers. The state Department of Education met with the AJC education team to discuss the model, which plots a student's academic growth as measured by test scores relative to his or ...

APS middle school detracks. Parents react.

A parent at Jean Childs Young Middle School sent me an essay about the Atlanta middle school's decision to “detrack” this year. I've been following the detracking fallout on Facebook where at least one Young Middle School parent announced she pulled her child out of the school because of detracking ...

A year ago, almost two-thirds of Americans never heard of Common Core. Now, they have. And they don’t like what they’re hearing.

Earlier in the week, we discussed the Education Next survey on Common Core State Standards that found a spike in opposition to Common Core while seeing continued and stable support for national standards in general. Now, a second public opinion poll released this week underscores how effective opponents of Common ...

A coach's message to a losing team: "You had the whole state jumping.”

With the increasing evidence of lifelong and debilitating injuries, I'm ambivalent about competitive youth sports and even some school-based sports. (You can read the Matt Chaney blog  this week about high school football deaths to see why.) But Atlantan Al Meyers, who writes the ReinventED Solutions blog, alerted me to ...

More Georgia high school students take ACT and do better on it

The 2014 ACT scores were released this week. More Georgia students are now taking the college admissions test: •50,697 of Georgia high school graduates, an estimated 53 percent of the 2014 graduating class, took the ACT. •From 2010–2014, the number of ACT test-taking graduates in Georgia has increased by 28.6%, while ...

Common Core pays price for vagueness: It is getting blamed for all manner of silliness

Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. David J. Rothman is a widely published poet and critic who directs the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Western State Colorado University. He sits on the board ...

COBB TEXTBOOK FLAP--JUNE 27, 2013-MARIETTA: Tea Party members cheer after public comments in favor Cobb County's decision not purchase new math textbooks for all grade levels that were aligned with Common Core during a school board meeting in Marietta on Thursday June 27th, 2013. PHIL SKINNER / PSKINNER@AJC.COM

Most Americans support national standards unless they're called Common Core. Time for rebranding?

A new survey shows 68 percent of Americans support national standards – unless those standards are called Common Core. Even then, 53 percent of Americans like the standards. However, that’s a 12 percent drop from 2013 when 65 percent supported Common Core. A rancorous year of debate around Common Core ...

As he starts his fourth year, Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa says: "We recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always work and that decisions on how schools allocate their time, resources, and money are best made at the school level, not by the central office."

Fulton school chief: Reform is not a dirty word

As he begins his fourth year leading Fulton County Schools, Superintendent Robert Avossa offers an update on the direction of district. By Robert Avossa Education reform might seem like a heavy topic for the start of a new school year, but that’s because we often look at it in the wrong ...

In 2009, I wrote about Terrance Wyatt's efforts to raise tuition money by selling shares in his future on eBay. A donor came through and Wyatt completed his MBA and now works for Coke in Atlanta.

As a struggling grad student, he sold shares of his future on eBay. And he proved a good investment.

Almost five years to the day, I wrote about a Clark Atlanta grad student trying to get help to finance his graduate degree.  Terrance Wyatt came up with a novel solution: Sell shares of his future on eBay. (This was in the ancient past before Kickstarter and GoFundMe existed.) Today, ...

State Schools Superintendent John Barge speaks against Senate Bill 167 during a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday. BRANT SANDERLIN /BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Running for cover on Common Core. Everybody's talking. Anybody actually listening?

There are a lot of issues Georgia ought to address in its quest to improve schools. We should study how to narrow the widening achievement gap between children of wealth and children of poverty and how to improve teacher quality and retention. Instead, two different state bodies are spending the ...

University of Pennsylvania student Clare Lombardo is a guest writer for the AJC Get Schooled blog this summer.

Student writing: A long history of laments

Today, University of Pennsylvania student Clare Lombardo discusses the state of student writing in high school today, inspired by a recent post by local college instructor Rick Diguette. In his column, Diguette wrote: "Every semester many students in my freshman English classes submit work that is inadequate in almost every respect.  ...

In a new ranking of top college campus dining options and quality, Kennesaw State University ranked 4th. (KSU photo)

If you want to eat well on campus in Georgia, head to Kennesaw State, Emory or UGA

After a three-month review, the Daily Meal released a list of 75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2014.  Three Georgia schools made the list; Kennesaw State University ranked 4th; Emory ranked 11th, and the University of Georgia ranked 17th. “It seems that students across the country are becoming ...

Teachers in Atlanta attend an orientation session to prepare for the start of the school year. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

America's teaching force: Younger, less experience and stability. More diversity and more women.

Here is an interesting snapshot of America’s teaching force from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education: Has the elementary and secondary teaching force changed in recent years? And, if so, how? Have the types and kinds of individuals going into teaching changed? Have the demographic characteristics of those working ...

HELP FOR GEORGIA SCHOOLS?--Former DC chancellor and education reformer Michelle Rhee talks with a legislator after she spoke to the House Education Committee in the Appropriations Committee Room at the Georgia State Capitol Thursday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 10, 2011.

Can StudentsFirst survive without Michelle Rhee at the helm?

Former DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee will reportedly leave the top spot of the education reform advocacy group StudentsFirst, throwing into question the future of the 4-year-old organization she founded to transform American schools. Her departure from the CEO role poses a challenge for StudentsFirst as Rhee was the focal point, ...

The scene inside the courtroom where 12 remaining defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating case go on trial today. KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Atlanta cheating scandal: A tragedy of teaching and learning

At the request of the AJC Sunday Atlanta Forward page, University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky took up the issue of testing as the Atlanta cheating trial gets under way this week in a Fulton County courtroom. By Peter Smagorinsky I started my career as an educator as a hall ...

TEACHER FIRED--Damany Lewis listens as Josie Alexander, a lawyer representing Atlanta Public Schools, delivers her opening statement to a tribunal that will decide whether or not to terminate Lewis' contract Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012 at APS headquarters. Lewis, who taught math at Parks Middle School, is accused of cheating and confessed to state investigators that he used a razor blade to cut into a CRCT test booklet package to remove the booklets and make copies for other teachers.

At long last, APS cheating trial begins

The long-awaited APS cheating trial begins tomorrow. As AJC court reporter Bill Rankin reported in the Sunday MyAJC.com:  The Atlanta Public Schools test cheating case goes to trial on Monday --- an extraordinary prosecution of 12 defendants, ranging from administrators to classroom teachers, all in the same courtroom at the ...

NEA president-elect Lily Eskelsen García

NEA president-elect: Teachers are neither strangers to, nor enemies of, tests.

Here is an essay on testing by National Education Association President-Elect and former (Utah) Teacher of the Year Lily Eskelsen García. A bit about García from her official bio: She began her career in education as a school lunch lady, became a kindergarten aide and was encouraged by the teacher ...

Problem isn't bad teachers or pantless ones. It's the just-OK teachers.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_PCtr0gjKfk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> The women of “The View” went on a tear about tenure this week, irking teachers with their condemnation of unions for failing to vanquish bad teachers from their ranks. “Bad teachers don’t do anybody any good. So the union needs to recognize that parents ...


College graduation rates: More to do with students admitted than the college itself

Interesting new study about college graduation rates and whether the institutions play a role. This study finds high graduation rates have more to do with the quality of students entering than the college itself. Here is the release on the study, which was published today in the American Educational Research ...

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Today on MyAJC.com

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Home Depot breach hit 56 million cards

Two weeks after being notified it had been hacked, Home Depot said Thursday that cybercriminals made off with information from an estimated 56 million “unique” payment cards at its stores.

Judge sides with Fulton in initial property tax ruling

A judge Thursday gave Fulton County a preliminary victory as it defends a 17 percent property tax increase from critics who say the county spends too much.

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Volunteering in Atlanta

Learn how to volunteer in Atlanta and north Georgia, browse volunteer events and search local groups who need volunteers in the arts, community, food programs, housing, animal rescue and more.


Mark Arum Weekend Construction Outlook

Updated every Friday, Mark Arum tells us where we can find construction, events and anything else to slow us down on the roads this weekend.

Today's top news on ajc.com

Savannah shooting sparks outrage, GBI investigation

SAVANNAH — Mothers pushing baby strollers and throngs of young men marched Thursday night to a Savannah police station “demanding justice” for 29-year-old Charles Smith, who was shot and killed Thursday morning by a Savannah police officer while in custody.