Martha Dalton

Reporter

Martha Dalton is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She came to WABE in May 2010 after working at CNN Radio. 

Martha covers education and immigration issues in the metro Atlanta area and statewide. She also reports on how federal education policy is enacted at the local level. She has covered the DeKalb County school district extensively, including governor’s recent decision to replace six board members. She also reported on the indictment of 35 former educators in the Atlanta Public Schools.  Martha has worked in partnership with NPR and its StateImpact project on reporting key educational issues, such as the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. She is also a contributor to the NPR show LatinoUSA

Martha has worked for radio stations in Atlanta, Savannah, and Charleston, S.C.  In her former life, she worked for ten years as a teacher and reading specialist for students in grades K-12. She has a bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a master’s degree from Georgia State. 

You can follow Martha on Tumblr and Twitter

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Education
6:00 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Emory Students Push For Financial Aid For Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented students can attend Emory. But they can’t apply for any financial help. Tuition costs $44,000 a year.
Credit Laura Emiko Soltis / Freedom At Emory University

Some Emory students will meet this week with the university’s president to talk about financial aid policies for undocumented students.

Undocumented students can attend Emory, but they can’t apply for any financial help. Tuition costs $44,000 a year.

Senior Andy Kim co-founded the group Freedom at Emory University. He says the school should set an example and help undocumented students, who are currently barred from attending the state’s top five public colleges.

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Education
6:00 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Should Georgia Change How The State Schools Superintendent Is Chosen?

Voter Larry Levatte, left, walks away from a voting booth after casting his ballot inside the old Hoggards Mill Courthouse. Some lawmakers want to change the way the state schools superintendent is chosen.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Every four years, Georgia voters elect a state schools superintendent to run the Department of Education. Some lawmakers want to change that.

Thirty-eight states appoint their superintendents instead of electing them. State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, wants Georgia to join them.

“Generally, you don’t elect people to be administrators; you elect policy people,” Dudgeon said at a recent symposium. "So, I believe that the governor should be able to appoint the person to run the Department of Education, just like he appoints the Department of Revenue.”

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Education
6:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Some Gwinnett Residents Say AP US History Exam Is Anti-American

Residents, such as Dahlys Hamilton, had three minutes to address the school board.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Some Gwinnett County residents tried to convince the school board at a meeting Thursday night that textbooks they use for Advanced Placement U.S. history are anti-American.

About 10 residents lined up and had three minutes each to tell the board their concerns over the AP history text.

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Education
4:48 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Would Obama's Child Care Plan Benefit Georgia Families?

Obama's State of the Union proposed ''a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child per year.''
Credit Eric Gay / Associated Press

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said he wants to make child care more affordable. But does his plan go far enough?

The president said child care is something families need to have, not something they just want.

“My plan will make quality child care more available and more affordable for every middle class and low-income family with young children in America by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child per year,” Obama said.

That’s triple the current tax credit. But would it really help families?

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Education
6:00 am
Wed January 21, 2015

State Budget Cuts Benefits For Some School Workers

In a Sept. 4, 2007, file photo Trevor Nouvel and Ali Parker go through the serving line in the cafeteria at Sharon Elementary School in Suwanee, Ga.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to spend a lot more on education in his next budget. But he wants to cut benefits for some school workers. That’s not sitting well with some.

During his State of the State address, Gov. Deal said he proposed the largest yearly increase in K-12 spending in seven years.

“It is an addition of $547 million,” he said. “That’s an increase of over one half of a billion dollars in one year alone for our local school systems.”

Districts can use the money to eliminate furloughs and give raises, Deal said. But there are cuts to education too.

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Education
6:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

New AP History Exam Stirs Controversy Among Conservative Groups

The College Board, which develops AP courses, says the revised history exam will require students to interpret documents, rather than memorize a multitude of facts.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

High school students studying Advanced Placement U.S. History will take a new exam this spring. But some Georgia parents consider the new material anti-American.

The College Board, which develops AP courses, says the revised history exam will require students to interpret documents, rather than memorize a multitude of facts. But that’s not how everyone sees it.

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Education
6:00 am
Fri January 16, 2015

State Makes Changes To Math, English Standards

Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The state board of education approved changes to the Common Core education standards Thursday. The standards only include math and English. But officials still aren’t sure about science and Social Studies standards.

Georgia isn’t teaching anything new; it’s just changing what’s taught when.

“We moved some of these standards that were involved in geometry, for example, in the geometry courses, back to an Algebra course content,” said Martha Reichrath, Georgia’s deputy superintendent of curriculum. “The standard itself, however, didn’t change.”

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Local
4:33 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Children Head Back To Court Over Nobel Medal, Traveling Bible

Dexter King was the only sibling at Tuesday's hearing.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

A Fulton County judge heard arguments Tuesday in the ongoing legal battle between the children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The sons of the slain civil rights leader are fighting with their sister over possession of two items: Dr. King’s Nobel medal and his traveling Bible.

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Education
6:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Changing State’s School Funding Formula Could Take A While

Class size determines the number of teachers who are employed at an individual school.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

During this legislative session, Georgia lawmakers hope to redo the way the state funds public schools. But, it may take a while to overhaul the 30-year-old formula.

It’s called the Quality Basic Education formula, or QBE, and it hasn’t changed much since its development in 1985. Claire Suggs is a policy analyst with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. She broke down the QBE into three parts at a recent symposium.

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Education
12:48 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Board Of Regents Approves Merger Between GSU And Georgia Perimeter

The Board of Regents Tuesday approved a merger between Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The Board of Regents today approved a merger between Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College. At 53,000 students, the school will be the state’s largest public university. But why are university system officials combining a two-year college like Georgia Perimeter with a four-year school like Georgia State?

When you hear the words ‘colleges’ and ‘merger’ together, it usually means there are money problems. That is one reason for the merger. Georgia Perimeter’s enrollment fell 11% this year.

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Local
6:00 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Hundreds Celebrate 'Three Kings Day' at the Atlanta History Center

Families took pictures with 'The Three Kings'.
Martha Dalton WABE

Santa may have put away his sleigh for now. But some children here in Atlanta are still excitedly waiting for gifts to be delivered. The Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is Tuesday. Hundreds of people gathered at the Atlanta History Center Sunday to celebrate the holiday.

It’s called El Dia de los Reyes in Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela.

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Education
4:00 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Emory University Updates Sexual Assault Policy

Credit Emory University

Emory University has updated its sexual misconduct policy. Federal officials are reviewing more than 50 colleges, including Emory, to see how they handle sexual assault complaints.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Which Laws Take Effect Jan. 1?

Some new state laws take effect Jan. 1. We’ve summarized a few of the big ones.

If you plan on buying a new car this year, you’ll pay a higher tax. The new vehicle tax goes up to 7% from 6.75%.

If an officer pulls you over for recklessly driving that car, you’ll pay a higher fee for that. Voters recently approved the increase, with the extra money going into a spinal injury trust fund.

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Politics
4:55 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

APS Parents Press City Council, Mayor on BeltLine Money

APS officials say the city owes the district millions of dollars of allocated tax revenue.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

The Atlanta public school system has been pushing city officials to pay up millions of dollars it says it’s owed. Now, some APS parents are getting involved.

Some background: In 2005, APS agreed to give some of its property tax dollars toward the development of the BeltLine. In return, the city said it would make yearly payments to APS. But once the recession hit, the city said it couldn't pay.

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Local
5:16 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Will the Streetcar Route be Safe for Cyclists?

Bike advocates would like to see more signs like this one along the Streetcar route, rather than outdated signs that say 'No Biking'.
Credit Susanna Capelouto

The Atlanta Streetcar debuts Tuesday. The 2.7-mile route loops between the King Center and Centennial Park. Drivers and pedestrians will have to get used to the new transit system. But cyclists may have a tougher time adjusting.

A video on the Streetcar website outlines some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ for drivers on the route. 

Do not park on the tracks,” is part of the ‘Don’t’ list. “Streetcars cannot go around vehicles because they’re on tracks. Duh.”

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Health & Science
8:29 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

How Can You Shed That Holiday Bloat?

Credit WABE

So you’ve had a few too many holiday cookies, pieces of cake, or glasses of eggnog. Now you’re wondering how you’re going to get it all off, and get rid of that bloated feeling. It won’t happen in one day, but there are some strategies you can use to shed those Christmas calories. Andrew Hemming owns Jeanne’s Body Tech in Buckhead. He says one way to burn off holiday food is through a high-intensity interval workout.

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Local
5:53 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

What Are Your Holiday Traditions?

Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife, Sandra, speak at the Christmas Tree lighting at the state Capitol.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

We wanted to know about some of your holiday traditions: those rituals you and your family carry on from year to year. We start with Gov. Nathan Deal, who we caught up with at the tree lighting at the state Capitol. 

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Local
6:00 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Neighbors Thank Day Laborers With Gift Cards

An anonymous group of volunteers gave away $20,000 in Publix gift cards to day laborers at this Sandy Springs shopping center.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Volunteers in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody spread some Christmas cheer Tuesday.

The Copeland Village shopping center is a small strip mall on Northwood Drive in Sandy Springs. It’s is off Roswell Road, where day laborers often look for work. It’s also where a group of anonymous neighbors decided to hand out $50 gift cards as a way of saying, “Thank you.”

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Education
6:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

African-American Girls Disciplined At A Disproportionate Rate In Schools

Credit Matt Rourke / Associated Press

When it comes to school discipline, boys get about two-thirds of all suspensions. But among female students, African-American girls are disciplined at a disproportionately high rate.

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Education
6:06 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Officials Hand Out Report Cards to Georgia Schools

Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The Georgia Department of Education issued report cards this week, but the recipients were schools, not students. Schools were graded on students’ tests scores and whether those improved. Overall, report card scores dropped this year, but Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education, isn’t too worried.

“It’s something that you want to look at,” Cardoza says. “You don’t get cause for concern necessarily on one year’s worth of data, but if it’s a longer-term trend, then it’s something that’s a little more cause for concern.”

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Politics
7:29 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Kennesaw City Council Reverses Mosque Vote

The Kennesaw City Council listens to Carlene Fregeolle, who opposes the mosque.
Katie King for WABE

Exactly two weeks after the Kennesaw City Council voted down a proposed mosque, to be located in a strip mall, it changed its mind Monday night.

The council unanimously approved the mosque this time. Four ‘no’ votes changed to ‘yes’.

“They have substituted the vote they had two weeks ago for the vote they had tonight, which is for approval, unconditional,” said Doug Dillard, the mosque’s attorney.

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Politics
2:29 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Kennesaw City Council Expected to Reverse Mosque Decision

The Kennesaw City Council voted 4-1 against a proposed mosque on Dec. 1.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The Kennesaw City Council will vote again Monday night on a proposed mosque to be housed at a strip mall on Jiles Road.  On Dec. 1, the council voted 4-1 against the plan. The Suffah Dawaad congregation had 30 days to file a lawsuit challenging the decision. Their attorney, Doug Dillard, says they plan to sue even if the council reverses itself.

“If they change their vote, anyone who wants to challenge that has 30 days in which to do that,” Dillard says. “So, if somebody challenges what they did, and we haven’t been in court protecting ourselves, then we’re done.”

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Local
9:21 am
Fri December 12, 2014

How Are Police Trained In Georgia?

Police guard an entrance to Emory University Hospital.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Police training has come under scrutiny after two high-profile cases of alleged use of excessive force by police in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City. Demonstrators are still protesting across the country after grand juries failed to indict the officers involved. In order to better understand how Georgia's officers learn to react to situations on their beats, WABE's Martha Dalton took a look at police training in Georgia.

If you want to be a police officer here, you have to pass basic training required by the state.

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Education
5:40 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Spelman Sets Pace In Sciences

White House office of science and technology director John Holdren meets the SpelBots.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The U.S. needs more engineers and scientists, according to the White House. So it sent its director of science and technology to Atlanta’s Spelman College Wednesday to get some ideas.

Programming robots is just part of what the SpelBots do. The Spelman robotics team also conducts research and does community outreach.

“We’ve been using the robots to do things like outreach to children, students at middle schools, just kind of introducing robotics to them, as well as competing,” says senior Daria Jordan.

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Politics
4:06 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Will Kennesaw City Council Revisit Mosque Proposal?

Members of the Suffah Dawaad congregation (right) huddle during last week's Kennesaw City Council meeting. Attorney Doug Dillard is to their left.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The Kennesaw City Council is expected to revisit a proposal to allow an Islamic activity center to rent space in a local strip mall. The council voted 4-1 against the plan last week. Members are scheduled to meet for a work session Wednesday. They will be able to discuss the issue, but won’t be able to vote until its meeting next Monday.

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Education
5:44 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

How Are Georgia Colleges Responding To Sexual Assault Claims?

Two women have sued Georgia Tech’s Phi Kappa Tau fraternity for shrugging off rape allegations. Georgia Tech is not named in the lawsuit and the university expelled the accused offender and shut down the fraternity’s chapter.
Credit Wally Gobetz / flickr.com/wallyg

Disclaimer: The following story may not be suitable for young readers.

Rolling Stone magazine has retracted parts of a recent story on sexual assault at the University of Virginia. The victim’s credibility has been called into question. But, the issue is an important one for Georgia colleges.

Two women have sued Georgia Tech’s Phi Kappa Tau fraternity for shrugging off rape allegations. Their attorney, BJ Bernstein, says the organization encouraged its members to sexually assault women.

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Politics
6:09 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

DeKalb Sheriff Won't Honor ICE Detainers

Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Another metro Atlanta sheriff’s office announced it won’t honor detainer requests by  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey L. Mann joined Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill and Fulton County commissioners in refusing to comply with the requests.

ICE detainers ask jails to hold prisoners 48 hours past their release dates so the agency can check immigration status. Some recent federal court decisions have determined such requests violate the Fourth Amendment.

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Education
4:47 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Atlanta Superintendent Says There's A Lot To Fix

Carstarphen and the district have developed a new strategic plan in hopes of combating mismanagment.
Credit Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a roundtable discussion with reporters today. The APS chief explained how the district plans to address some long-running problems.

You could call it a “back to basics” approach. Carstarphen said before APS can make academic progress, it has to tackle some systemic issues.

“Simple things that get very simple in our world: master scheduling and scheduling for students, bus routes, things that most districts kind of do like clockwork, but for APS it has been a struggle over the years,” she said.

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Politics
10:59 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Interfaith Group Urges Kennesaw City Council To Reverse Mosque Decision

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Matthews (center) had a hard time getting the council to vote on the proposal.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Monday night the Kennesaw City Council rejected plans to house a mosque in a local strip mall.

While some residents applauded the move, others expressed disappointment.

A group made up of people from different faiths drafted a letter to the council (below) criticizing the decision.

An Interfaith Open Letter to the City Council of Kennesaw, Georgia

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Politics
1:36 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Kennesaw City Council Votes Down Proposed Mosque

Protestors oppose plans for an Islamic center at a Kennesaw strip mall.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Monday night the Kennesaw City Council rejected a plan to house an Islamic center in an empty retail space in a strip mall.

The vote came a month after a heated debate at the last city council meeting. Doug Dillard, the attorney for the Suffah Dawaad congregation, says they took painstaking efforts to comply with the community’s demands.

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