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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Politics
5:43 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Deal Says HOPE Grant Expansion on Second Term Agenda

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to expand the HOPE Grant to cover film-related fields. He's standing in front of the former state archives, which is being turned into a movie set.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

There are several weeks until the November elections, but Gov. Nathan Deal is already planning for his second term in office. The governor Thursday announced an expansion of the HOPE grant program, set to take effect in 2015.

The HOPE grant is a scholarship awarded to technical college students. It already covers full tuition in some high-demand fields, such as education and healthcare.

Standing in front of the former state archives building, which is being transformed into a movie set, Deal said he wants the grant to cover film-related fields too.

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Politics
5:10 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Reed: Atlanta Will Welcome Immigrants

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced he plans to implement 20 recommendations to help integrate immigrants.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Immigrants are welcome in Atlanta. That’s the message Mayor Kasim Reed sent Wednesday when he announced the recommendations of the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group he appointed in April.

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Sports
8:19 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Reed: Hawks Seek New Owner, Will Stay in City

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (front) announces the Hawks are seeking new ownership. Former Hawks player Dominique Wilkins is behind him.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday the Atlanta Hawks are looking for new ownership. The mayor made the announcement at a press conference, saying he didn't want anyone to be blindsided by the news. 

  The mayor stood with some city council members, community leaders, and former Hawks star Dominique Wilkins. Reed said city and team officials are looking to replace owner Bruce Levenson, who came under fire recently for a racially insensitive email he sent in 2012.  

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Education
8:15 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Candidates Face Off in Education Forum

Gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Jason Carter (left) and incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal shake hands before PAGE's education forum Monday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators held a candidate forum Monday. Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and state schools superintendent talked about education.It wasn’t a debate, but there were some fireworks. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic opponent state Sen. Jason Carter sparred over education spending.

Carter accused Deal of implementing “Draconian” budget cuts. He said that forced some districts to shorten their calendars.

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Education
5:32 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Will Voters Choose Issues Over Party?

State Sen. Jason Carter (L) and Gov. Nathan Deal (R) spoke to educators at the second annual Education Leadership Institute at Atlanta's Marriott Marquis Friday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Nominees in some statewide races have insisted lately their elections are about issues, not politics. Some have made education a focal point. And it seems some voters may be willing to put Party aside when it comes to schools.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and his Democratic opponent state Sen. Jason Carter addressed a group of teachers at the Georgia Education Leadership Institute Friday.

Both struck impassioned tones. Carter spoke first. He claimed Deal hasn’t made education a financial priority and promoted his plan to create a separate education budget.

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Education
8:11 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Superintendent Candidates Address Teachers

State schools superintendent candidates Republican Richard Woods and Democrat Valarie Wilson spoke at the Georgia Education Leadership Institute Thursday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

The nominees for state school superintendent spoke at the second annual Georgia Education Leadership Institute Thursday. The event, held at Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis, offers informational sessions for teachers.

Each candidate addressed the group of educators separately. They didn’t debate each other.

Republican nominee Richard Woods, a former Irwin County educator, spoke first. Woods said his priorities include ensuring a fair teacher evaluation process; addressing math performance; and giving teachers plenty of flexibility.

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Education
8:15 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Jindal Stops in Atlanta to Lend Deal Support

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (L) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal addressed education reform in Atlanta on Wednesday.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal visited Atlanta Wednesday. Jindal came to offer support for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s re-election campaign. Both Republican governors addressed education reform.

Jindal made headlines recently when he sued the Obama administration over the Common Core education standards. Jindal initially supported the standards, which Louisiana, Georgia, and most other states adopted.

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Education
4:28 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

For Some APS Students, First Lady's Advice Affirms Their Plans

First Lady Michelle Obama told Atlanta high school students to plan on college.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi / twinlensatl.com

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School Monday. Mrs. Obama told students to plan on going to college. But some students have already jump-started the process.

The First Lady didn’t hold back. She told students earning a high school diploma isn’t enough if they want to compete in a global workforce.

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Education
8:15 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Duncan Talks Race to the Top, Georgia Milestones

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped by Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School Monday. The Education Department kicked off its annual Back to School Bus Tour. After talking to students about planning for college, Duncan spoke about some other issues Georgia schools are facing.

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Education
5:41 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

First Lady, Education Secretary Visit Atlanta High School Students

First Lady Michelle Obama told students at Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School Monday to start planning for college.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi / twinlensatl.com

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan on a leg of his annual Back to School Bus Tour Monday. This year, the tour started at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta.

The message to students was: Aim for college. Speaking at the first high school in Atlanta that offered secondary education to African-American students, Duncan stressed the importance of higher education.  

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Education
4:33 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Georgia Perimeter Turns 50 Years Old

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Georgia Perimeter College is turning 50. Students, faculty, and staff celebrated Friday during Fall Convocation at the Clarkston Campus.

Georgia Perimeter opened as DeKalb College in 1964, and is the state’s oldest two-year college. But the venerable institution hit a roadblock in 2012. That’s when the school’s accreditor sanctioned it for running a $25 million deficit.

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American Graduate
4:48 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

College Officials Rethink Approach to Remediation

University officials are hoping a new approach to remediation will help more students graduate.
Credit margaz via stock xchng

Educators, business leaders, and lawmakers say students should leave high school “college and career ready”. But in 2011, 20% of Georgia’s college freshmen were not ready. They had to take remedial classes or Learning Support. Officials are now trying to reduce the need for Learning Support and help those students catch up faster.

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Education
8:15 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Freedom House Launches Dream Schools Initiative

Freedom House announces the Dream Schools program, which will assist undocumented students with their college searches.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

A new nonprofit organization called Freedom House has launched a program aimed at helping undocumented students earn college degrees.

The initiative is called Dream Schools. Freedom House co-founder Eduardo Sanmaniego is undocumented. He says when he asked his high school advisers about going to college, they assumed he had a social security number.

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Politics
4:37 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Push to Register Korean-American Voters as Deadline Nears

AALAC staffers showcase new logo and campaign swag as part of an effort to register more Korean-American voters.
Credit Evan Changhwan Jang

With just over a month left to register to vote in November’s General Election, a local advocacy group is making a final push to help Korean-Americans sign up.

The Asian American Legal Advocacy Center wants to help 10,000 Korean-Americans register to vote in Gwinnett County. AALAC executive director Helen Kim Ho says the group has helped 2,000 voters sign up since launching the campaign last month.

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Politics
4:45 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Carter Nabs Big Education Endorsement

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Jason Carter snagged an endorsement from the Georgia Association of Educators Wednesday. GAE president Sid Chapman is behind Carter. Democratic state school superintendent candidate Valarie Wilson is to his left.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter nabbed a key endorsement Wednesday. The Georgia Association of Educators announced they’re backing the state senator.

GAE president Sid Chapman said Carter has the right vision for education. Carter said his plan, which is focused on funding, is simple.

“The first thing we must do is have a separate education budget, which will force the politicians in Atlanta to be politically accountable for the way that they do their job on education funding,” he said.  

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Politics
4:04 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Gov. Deal Defends Board Appointees

Gov. Nathan Deal
Credit Governor's Office

Gov. Nathan Deal this week dismissed recent criticism from Democratic opponent Jason Carter. Carter took issue with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that showed members of three state boards contributed to the governor’s re-election campaign.

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Education
5:26 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Gov. Deal Unveils New Plan for High School Computer Classes

Gov. Nathan Deal Monday said he wants high school students to be able to take more computer programming classes as part of their core requirements.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are still taught in schools these days. But if Gov. Nathan Deal has his way, Georgia schools could change the way they approach arithmetic.

Speaking at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center Monday, Gov. Deal said Georgia has jobs to fill.

“We must continue to meet the workforce needs if we want to further attract businesses and to maintain jobs we currently have,” he said.

The governor said businesses need computer programmers and software developers, and they’re not finding qualified candidates in Georgia. So, he wants schools to help.

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Local
5:34 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

BeltLine Eastside Trail Gateway is Officially Open

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (center) and other officials cut the ribbon for the BeltLine's Eastside Trail Gateway ceremony.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

A new part of the Atlanta BeltLine opened Friday. Mayor Kasim Reed cut the ribbon for the Eastside Trail Gateway path.

The path connects the 2-mile East Side Trail to the Historic Old Fourth Ward Park. Reed said the ‘gateway’ may be small, but it will make a big difference.

“It will bring together Atlantans who already use the Eastside Trail in new ways,” he said. “And it will give the 21,000 weekly visitors direct access to one of Atlanta’s most stunning green spaces.”

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Education
8:15 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Grant Will Cover New Assessment for Kindergarten Students

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Early education officials are expanding some programs and services thanks to a $51 million federal grant. Part of the money will be used to develop an assessment to see if kids are ready for Kindergarten.

Parents, you can relax. Your five-year-old won’t have to take a standardized test. Melissa Fincher is the deputy superintendent for assessment and accountability for the Georgia Department of Education. She says the Kindergarten assessment will be informal.

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Education
4:14 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Georgia Students Scoring Higher on College Entrance Exams

Credit Evan Changhwan Jang

Georgia students are making gains on college entrance exams. Georgia’s class of 2014 scored higher than many others in the South on the ACT.

Georgia’s composite ACT score is 20.8. That’s slightly lower than the national average of 21, out of a possible 36. Officials would like Georgia’s number to be higher, but Department of Education spokesperson Matt Cardoza says it’s progress.

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Education
4:58 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

State Superintendent Candidates Debate Issues

Former Georgia School Boards Association President Valarie Wilson and Irwin County educator Richard Woods debated each other in the race for state schools superintendent.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Georgia students are back in class and whether they know it or not, they’ll have a new leader in January. In November, voters will elect a new state schools superintendent. Tuesday, the two candidates vying for that post debated each other for the first time at a forum hosted by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

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Politics
8:15 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Libertarians Running in Some of Georgia's Big Races

Libertarian candidate Andrew Hunt is challenging Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter in Georgia's gubernatorial race.
Credit Andrew Hunt Campaign

Most Georgia voters know the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate. But both races also have Libertarian candidates. And some poll watchers say those nominees could affect the outcome.  

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger state Sen. Jason Carter have taken swipes at each other. But neither has really acknowledged Georgia’s third gubernatorial candidate: Libertarian Andrew Hunt.

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Education
8:00 am
Sat August 16, 2014

What's the First Day of School Like for a Superintendent?

Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa greets teachers at North Springs Charter School.
Credit Fulton County Schools

The first day of school for students and teachers can be exciting, busy, even nerve-wracking. But what’s it like for a school district leader? WABE’s Martha Dalton accompanied Fulton County Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa during his first day of school to find out.

Starting Out

Avossa visited seven schools on the first day. But it’s clear from the start, this isn’t about him.

How are things running? He asks principals. Where are the gaps? What needs to go more smoothly?

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Education
10:06 am
Thu August 14, 2014

DeKalb Schools Registering Thousands of Immigrant Students

Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE News

Hundreds of immigrant children and their families spent the night outside the DeKalb Schools’ International Welcome Center last week. Parents apparently thought if they didn’t register their children for school last week they wouldn’t be admitted to school this year. But DeKalb Schools Spokesperson Quinn Hudson told WABE the district is accommodating all 21,000 students.

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Education
5:07 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Gov. Deal Talks Education, Tours DeKalb High School

Gov. Nathan Deal greets students as he tours Chamblee Charter High School in DeKalb County.
Credit Evan Changhwan Jang

During their first week of class, some DeKalb high school students received a visit from a high-ranking state official.

    

Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday toured Chamblee Charter High School, which moved into a new building in December. The campus houses cutting edge technology, spacious athletic facilities, and a building for the arts.

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Education
3:20 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Georgia Common Core Review Under Way

About two dozen people attended Georgia school board member Mary Sue Murray's meeting about the Common Core education standards on Tuesday night.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE News

The state board of education is conducting a review of the Common Core education standards at the request of Gov. Deal. As part of that process, board member Mary Sue Murray held a hearing in her district last night.

About two-dozen people attended Tuesday evening’s hearing at Alexander High School in Douglasville. Several attendees spoke. Educators generally expressed support for the standards, like Tara Campbell, Douglas County’s Language Arts content specialist.

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Education
5:22 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Fulton County Students Head Back to Class

Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa (right) talks with a student at Mimosa Elementary School in Roswell on the first day of school.
Martha Dalton/WABE News

Thousands of metro Atlanta students returned to class last week. But Monday was the first day of school for other metro districts, like Fulton County. WABE’s Martha Dalton accompanied Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa as he visited schools Monday morning to see what the first day of school is like for him.

As he walks through the halls of Mimosa Elementary School in Roswell, Dr. Avossa greets teachers, parents, and students and pops into classrooms. He also checks in with new principal Ariane Holcomb, who walks with him.

“Any facilities challenges?” he asks her.

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Education
8:40 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Veteran Educators Dole Out Advice for First-Year Teachers

Veteran teachers at Maynard Jackson High School gear up for a new school year.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Some metro Atlanta students will head back to school this week. Cobb and Gwinnett Counties and the Atlanta Public Schools all resume classes. Teachers, though, have already been working, planning for their students’ arrival. Some of those teachers are new on the job.  

WABE’s Martha Dalton spoke with veteran teachers at Maynard Jackson High School in APS to see what advice they have for first-year teachers. Here’s what they had to say.

    

WABE’s broadcast license is held by the Atlanta Board of Education.

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Education
10:00 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Carter Campaign Responds to Unaccompanied Minor Crisis

The crisis on the U.S./Mexico border has recently caused waves in Georgia. Gov. Nathan Deal has weighed in on the number of unaccompanied minors sent to the state. Now, the campaign of his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Jason Carter, is responding.

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Education
8:54 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Committee to Study Federal Government's Hand in Education

The Federal Government's Role in Education Committee met for the first time Wednesday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

A new statewide committee made up of educators, lawmakers, parents and grandparents met for the first time Wednesday. The group is charged with investigating the federal government’s role in state education.

At issue are the Common Core standards. Developed by states to provide consistent math and English standards, 48 states initially signed on. But critics claim the federal government was really behind it all, trying to exert control.

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