Atlanta school board OKs Carstarphen’s turnaround plan

Five Atlanta schools will be managed by charter school groups under a plan the Atlanta school board approved Monday.

It's one part of superintendent Meria Carstarphen's plan to turn around some of the city's worst schools.

The vote makes Atlanta Public Schools the first in Georgia to hire charter school groups to run local public schools, charter advocates say.

The plan approved also closes three other schools, including some that are succeeding by Atlanta standards. Students in the closed schools would be moved to two existing schools and a new school.

Few districts nationally have brought in charter operators under similar arrangements. Their results have been, at best, mixed. And the groups Atlanta is hiring have little experience turning around schools as poor and troubled as Atlanta's.

But if the plan works, Atlanta will have transformed high-poverty schools that have struggled for years. And Carstarphen will have delivered on pledges she made when hired nearly two years ago to bring a "sea change" to Atlanta Public Schools, and to transform a district known for a test-cheating scandal into one known for teaching children.

Before the unanimous vote, speakers asked the board to delay a decision, to give people more time to ask questions about the plan.

“We’re saying slow down,” parent Kimberly Brooks said. “We’re saying stop.”