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
4:46 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Judge Won't Intervene in Voter Registration Lawsuit

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

A Fulton County Superior Court judge Tuesday refused to get involved in a legal battle over Georgia’s voter registration process. Judge Christopher Brasher dismissed a lawsuit filed by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

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Education
8:11 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Emory Group Goes to Bat for Undocumented Students

U.S. Congressman John Lewis spoke at Emory's 2014 graduation ceremony.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

During the Freedom Summer of 1964, hundreds of college students flocked to Mississippi to help register African-American voters.  Fifty years later, that event is still inspiring other social movements, some of which also use the name ‘Freedom’. One such group at Emory University is sticking up for undocumented students.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis helped organize the Freedom Summer. He also delivered Emory’s commencement address last spring, where he urged students to support immigration reform.

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Politics
8:50 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Candidate Interview: Valarie Wilson

Credit John Bazemore / AP Photo

Tuesday, Nov. 4 is Election Day. This week, WABE will air interviews with some candidates in statewide races. Monday we focused on who might succeed John Barge as State Schools Superintendent. Democratic Candidate Valarie Wilson spoke with WABE’s Martha Dalton. Wilson served on the Decatur school board and the state School Boards Association. But some might wonder why a candidate for superintendent has never been a teacher. The interview starts with Wilson’s answer.

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Education
3:52 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Thurmond: DeKalb Schools' Ebola Policy Errs on Side of Caution

The word "Welcome" is displayed in 11 languages in the entrance of the DeKalb Schools central office.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Several metro Atlanta school systems have updated their health policies to include Ebola guidelines. The DeKalb County school district was one of the first to do so after delaying enrollment for two students who came from a country affected by the virus. Now, the students need to have their medical documents approved by the district superintendent before they can attend class.

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Politics
12:43 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Barge Endorses Wilson in State Schools Superintendent Race

Republican State Schools Superintendent John Barge (far left) endorsed Democrat Valarie Wilson to take his place.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Republican State Schools Superintendent John Barge Thursday endorsed Democratic candidate Valarie Wilson. Barge decided against a second term as superintendent to challenge Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican gubernatorial primary last spring. Deal won by a wide margin.

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Education
9:42 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Brazil Emerges as New Market for International College Students

A few years ago George State University decided to focus on countries with emerging markets, like Brazil.
Credit Silver Starre / flickr.com/starre/

More international students are coming to U.S. colleges. About half of them are from China, India, and South Korea. But, American colleges are also becoming popular with Brazilian students. Through a new program, about 125 Brazilian students are attending Georgia colleges.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Voter Registration Group Questions Kemp on Transparency

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said she was confused by Secretary of State Brian Kemp's recent comments. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is to her right.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Leaders of a voter registration group said Monday they’re confused by recent comments made by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  The group, called the New Georgia Project, sued Kemp’s office and five counties over thousands of voter registration forms they say are missing. 

Kemp denied that last week, saying officials have added 40,000 new voters to the rolls.

Group founder and Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams Monday asked Kemp for clarity.

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Education
6:46 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

School Districts Update Policies to Include Ebola Response

Credit Dan Raby / WABE

Some metro Atlanta school districts are updating their health policies to include guidelines for the Ebola virus. Some districts, like DeKalb and Cobb, announced this week students from Ebola-affected countries won’t be able to enroll until the superintendent approves their medical documents. Cobb schools spokesperson Kyler Post says it’s a proactive move.

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Politics
8:11 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Do Political Endorsements Help Candidates?

Experts say endorsements can say a lot about a race, even if they don't produce votes.
Credit WABE

With elections coming up next month, some Georgia candidates are racking up endorsements. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was in town this week to support Republican Senate candidate David Perdue. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in Atlanta Thursday stumping for Gov. Nathan Deal. But do endorsements really give candidates an edge?

It may be nice for a nominee to get a pat on the back from a big-name politician or even a celebrity. But does it matter to voters?

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Politics
2:37 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Kemp Fires Back at Critics: Eligible Voters Have Been Processed

Brian Kemp denied that more than 50,000 voter registration applications have not been processed.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp Thursday shot back at critics who accused his office of failing to register thousands of voters. Last week, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights sued Kemp's office and five Georgia counties over 55,000 'missing' voter registration forms. Kemp called the lawsuit frivolous.

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Politics
9:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Are Atlanta Voters Ready for Next Month's Election?

Credit Chris Ferguson / WABE

It’s less than a month until November's General Election. But are Atlanta voters tuned into the races? WABE asked some registered voters if they’re ready to cast a ballot.

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Business
8:15 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Who Loses When Gas Prices Plummet?

Credit WABE News

Gas prices are dropping in Atlanta and across the country. But, there are some drawbacks to the price plunge.

As prices fall toward the $3/gallon mark, that’s a big win for you, the consumer. But as Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with gasbuddy.com, says there will inevitably be some losers.

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Education
4:59 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

'Test Optional' Colleges Consider Alternatives to SAT

Agnes Scott College, in Decatur, is one of a handful of Georgia schools that don't require students to submit SAT or ACT scores.
Credit Uncommon Fritillary / flickr.com/30473186@N05/

SAT results came out this week. Georgia’s average scores fell slightly. But some colleges don't require the test anymore. They're part of a growing number of schools that have gone "test-optional". 

An SAT or ACT score won’t always predict how a student will perform in college. That is why Agnes Scott College in Decatur decided to let students choose whether to submit their scores.

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Education
8:10 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Loan Changes Squeeze Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Several U.S. colleges have seen declining enrollment since the recession began. But changes to a federal loan program in 2011 have hit some historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, especially hard.

Clark Atlanta sophomore Jasmine Johnson says waiting for a loan to be approved can be stressful.

“My freshman year when I got here, I didn’t have enough money because my Parent PLUS hadn’t been approved yet,” she says.  

The Parent PLUS is a federal student loan.

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Politics
8:41 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Campaign Targets Korean American Voters in Gwinnett

Helen Ding registers to vote at the Super H Mart in Doraville.
Martha Dalton/WABE News

Monday is the last day to register to vote before next month’s election. With some tight races in Georgia this year, voter registration groups have ramped up their efforts. One group tried to sign up thousands of Korean Americans in Gwinnett County.

A Grassroots Campaign

Volunteers stand outside a Korean supermarket in Duluth. They’re trying to catch the attention of potential voters.

“Are you registered to vote?” They ask in Korean and English. “Are you 18 or older?”

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Education
5:03 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Test Expert Takes the Stand in Atlanta Cheating Trial

Gregory Cizek is a psychometrics professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He testified as a testing expert for the state.
Kent Johnson The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A testing expert took the stand Wednesday in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial. Some defense attorneys questioned the state’s investigation. That was triggered after an analysis found an unusual number of erasures on state tests at several APS schools.

Gregory Cizek has written books about preventing and detecting cheating. Defense Attorney Benjamin Davis, who represents a former key administrator, questioned Cizek about the use of data.

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Education
4:42 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Some Seniors Take Advantage of Free College Tuition

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Higher education is free for some Georgia senior citizens. A state policy allows residents ages 62 and up to go back to college for free. 

Judith Carson, 70, is working on her master’s degree in poetry.

“Some of the people call me Aunt Judith now,” she says.

Carson is part of a program at Georgia State University called GSU-62. Students who are at least 62 years old can qualify for free tuition.

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Education
4:37 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Ludacris Accompanies Deal to Middle School in Riverdale

Gov. Nathan Deal (left) and rapper Ludacris spoke to students at Utopian Academy of the Arts in Riverdale Friday.
Credit Dan Raby/WABE News

It’s a pretty good day when the governor comes to your school. But it’s even better when he brings a homegrown celebrity with him. Gov. Nathan Deal and rapper Ludacris visited a school in Clayton County Friday.

At the Utopian Academy for the Arts in Riverdale, Ludacris was not the only entertainer on hand. Students performed an anti-bullying skit and put a new twist on an old R. Kelly song.

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Politics
8:15 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Carter Meets with Jobless Georgians

Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter (far right) meets with Georgia job seekers to hear their stories.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Atlanta’s unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percent in August. The state’s jobless rate also rose about a half a point. Thursday Democratic state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter met with some of the jobless to hear their stories.

At the Silver Skillet in Midtown, Carter spoke with five Georgians who’ve had trouble finding work after losing their jobs. 

Lamont Hawthorne has two associate degrees and a bachelor’s in construction technology. He’s been laid off three times in three years and said he’s worked 15 months out of the last 36.

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Education
6:21 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Georgia Asks Feds to Delay Consequences for Teachers

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

State education officials have asked the U.S. Education Department to delay consequences of new teacher evaluations for one year. The system uses student test scores, or student growth data, to assess educators.

Schools are already using the evaluations. That won’t change. But Georgia is implementing new tests this year and officials want to give teachers and students time to adjust.

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Education
5:00 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Fulton Students Honored as REACH Scholars

Gov. Nathan Deal (far left) and Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa (far right) congratulate Fulton's REACH scholars.
Credit Martha Dalton

Wednesday more than 100 Georgia middle and high school students became REACH scholars. The needs-based program gives each recipient a $10,000 college scholarship. Gov. Nathan Deal came out to congratulate Fulton County’s winners.

Deal reminded Fulton County scholars they have to continue working to keep their scholarships.

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Politics
5:54 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Georgia Coalition Rallies to Register Voters

Deborah Scott, executive director of Georgia STAND-UP, speaks during National Voter Registration Day at the state Capitol.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. And with midterm elections just over a month away, a coalition of groups gathered at the state Capitol to urge Georgians to sign up.

The NAACP, Planned Parenthood, and Georgia Equality were just some of the groups that showed up. Roland Carlisle is with 9 to 5, a group that fights for workplace equality. He invoked the struggle of Civil Rights leaders, such as the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Education
5:06 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Gwinnett School District Nabs Prestigious Award Again

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

The Gwinnett County school district has won a prestigious national award for the second time. But this year Gwinnett will share the prize with another district.

The Broad Prize usually recognizes one large urban school district that shows strong academic performance and improvement while also reducing the achievement gap.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan surprised a New York crowd with this year’s announcement.

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Education
8:15 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Georgia Receives Mixed Results on National Education Report

Credit Dan Raby/WABE News

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released its latest Educational Leaders and Laggards report. The analysis grades each state in several academic areas. The report shows Georgia is leading in some and lagging in others.

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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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