Seven top Georgia education blogs for 2017: Teachers and tornadoes

The most popular AJC Get Schooled blogs in 2017 discussed teachers under pressure, politics in the classroom and instruction at the crossroads.

Here are seven of the best-read blogs of the year with links to them, in case you want to see what got Georgians reading and commenting.  You can keep up with education news every day on the Get Schooled blog.

1. The AJC Get Schooled blog had the first interview with a Cherokee County high school teacher who asked two boys to turn their “Make America Great Again” T-shirts inside out to conceal the Donald Trump slogan. Despite no history of political advocacy in her classroom and a reputation as a top-notch AP math teacher, the teacher ended up resigning over the incident that sparked protests and death threats. To learn the teacher’s motivation in asking the boys to hide their shirts, go here.

Lyn Orletsky was seen on a viral video telling at least two River Ridge High School students that wearing the slogan made popular by President Donald Trump was like wearing a swastika. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC)

2. Many readers responded to a Kennesaw State University historian who defended the KSU cheerleaders who took a knee at a football came this fall, writing that the young women “were kneeling in the stream of history, a history that we cannot forget.” Many readers disagreed with the historian, calling the students “snowflakes.” Others praised the students for taking a stand. To read the piece, go here

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3. Readers had a range of reactions to a blog post about the debate that erupted at an intown elementary school over whether to continue the traditional daddy-daughter dance and boys-only sports night. Known for its involved and progressive parents, the school put the question up to a PTA vote after some parents complained the gender-bound events were at odds with the community’s commitment to diversity and reinforced stereotypes. To read how the vote went, click here. 

4. Hundreds of readers joined the debate around a middle school student in DeKalb who was asked by a teacher to change out of an anti-CNN T-shirt before a class trip to the Atlanta news network. The student who chose to show up for the field trip in a “FNN-Fake News Network” shirt was the son of former DeKalb school board member Nancy Jester and current board member Stan Jester. While the Jesters defended their son’s shirt, many readers did not, considering it inappropriate to wear to a field trip to CNN. To see what both sides had to say, go here

5. Predictions of tornadoes and violent storms led some Georgia schools to dismiss students early in April. When the storms bypassed communities, parents complained the schools overreacted and should have stayed open. In a powerful piece, a Ware County, Ga., teacher explained to parents why schools did the right thing, saying she did not want to die with their children in a tornado. To read the piece, which went viral, click here.

6. Differentiation – tailoring classroom instruction to a range of abilities – is often touted as the key to successful teaching. But how easy is that to do in classes with vast disparities in student skills? Teachers debated that question on the blog with many noting state tests don’t differentiate; Georgia expects all students to meet specific targets. To see what teachers said, click here. 

7. The AJC Get Schooled blog broke the news about the implosion of the Georgia PTA in January, which turned into a long saga resulting in an August overthrow of the hostile faction. While there were eight blogs about the coup, here is one that gives you a rundown of what occurred and why.

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