Gov. Deal: Carstarphen plan may shield APS schools from state takeover

Gov. Nathan Deal said today Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen's plan to improve the city's worst schools, which calls for closing some schools and putting others under the management of charter school groups, could help the district avoid potential state takeovers.

“I think efforts like the Atlanta public school system is making will indicate that their schools should be shielded if they are making progress and if they’re trying to make progress,” Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The school board will vote on her plan Monday.

If voters approve Deal's Opportunity School District plan this fall, the state would be able to take over Georgia's lowest performing schools and close them, turn them into charter schools or run them itself. About two dozen Atlanta schools are on the list for potential takeover. Erin Hames, the Deal advisor who helped create the Opportunity School District plan, now consults for Atlanta Public Schools.

Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal and Carstarphen visited Atlanta’s Whitefoord Elementary School Monday, taking selfies together before reading to students.

“We have enough schools who are not making progress that they would be the ones I think that we would concentrate on,” in an Opportunity School District, Deal said. “But those who are making efforts and are showing progress even though it may be gradual progress would be the ones that we would be trying to encourage without having to bring them in under an Opportunity School District.”

The Atlanta Federation of Teachers opposes Carstarphen’s plan.