Martha Dalton

Reporter, Fill-in Host

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 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 and American Public Media's Marketplace Morning Report

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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Local
4:42 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Emory Doctor To Study Peachtree Road Race Runners' Hearts

Dr. Jonathan Kim holds up the t-shirt his study participants will wear during the Peachtree Road Race.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

More than 60,000 athletes will lace up their shoes to run the Peachtree Road Race Saturday. This year, a select group of runners also will be part of a medical study.

Cardiologist Jonathan Kim, who teaches at the Emory University School of Medicine, wants to see how well runners’ hearts work before and after running a 10-kilometer race. That's why he will be testing his subjects at the race expo before they run.

Kim calls his study Promoting Endurance Exercise in Atlanta for Cardiac Health, or PEACH.

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Education
10:36 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Stephen Green To Become DeKalb Schools Superintendent Wednesday

Stephen Green, from Kansas City Schools, will be sworn in Wednesday as DeKalb's new schools superintendent.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

DeKalb County will swear in a new schools superintendent Wednesday. Some community members hope Stephen Green’s tenure will be the start of a new chapter for the district.

DeKalb has been trying to earn back full accreditation since it was placed on probation more than two years ago. The district’s accrediting agency said poor leadership led to financial problems and mismanagement.

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Education
12:26 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

APS Officials Determined To Prevent Another Cheating Scandal

Officials with the Atlanta Public Schools say they've launched a grade-changing investigation and will take swift action if necessary.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

It’s been two months since 11 former Atlanta Public Schools educators were convicted of conspiring to cheat on state tests. Now, the district has launched an investigation into grade-changing. But officials say they are determined not to let history repeat itself.

When the state investigated allegations of test cheating in APS in 2010, some employees said a culture of fear and intimidation kept them from reporting any wrongdoing. New APS chief accountability officer Bill Caritj said that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

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Education
8:53 am
Mon June 22, 2015

Henry County PTO Dissolved After ‘Mother Funders’ Appearance

A parent teacher organization in Henry County is the subject of a new reality show on the cable network Bravo. The school district isn’t pleased with the content of the show, called “Mother Funders.”

A show trailer features parents arguing, children crying when parents leave for meetings, and power struggles between PTO members at Bethlehem Elementary School. In one scene, PTO President Carla Stephens explains the group’s purpose.

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Education
11:56 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Testing Company To Compensate Georgia For Computer Glitch

Schools across Georgia reported that some computer screens froze while students were trying to take the new Milestones test this spring.
Credit Evan Changhwan Jang / WABE

Georgia is taking a company to task over a computer glitch that slowed down its brand-new testing system this spring. CTB/McGraw-Hill will give the state $4.5 million in services to compensate for the problems.

Some students who took the new Georgia Milestones test on computers waited a long time to for the pages to load. To make up for that, CTB/McGraw Hill has agreed to pay for an analysis of what went wrong.

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Local
10:57 am
Thu June 18, 2015

Incidents, Campaign Remind Adults Not To Leave Kids In Hot Cars

A Fulton County judge ruled Wednesday a day care center in Southwest Atlanta will have to temporarily shut down after a child was left unattended on a van for two hours. The incident illustrates why state officials have launched a campaign against leaving kids in hot cars.

In Georgia, licensed day care centers undergo transportation training each year. That includes checking vehicles twice when kids are transported to make sure no one’s left behind. But recently, centers in Austell and Southwest Atlanta left toddlers on hot vans for hours.

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Local
10:13 am
Thu June 18, 2015

4 Ga. Mayors Sign Supreme Court Brief In Support Of Gay Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on whether states can legally ban gay marriage.
Credit Ted Eytan / flickr.com/taedc

Gay marriage could come to Georgia if the U.S. Supreme Court decides at the end of June that states can’t ban it. Hundreds of mayors, including four in Georgia, have signed and submitted a brief to the High Court in favor of same-sex marriage.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Hinesville Mayor James Thomas, East Point Mayor Jannquell Peters and Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry all pledged their support.

Terry believes it’s an equality issue. But beyond that, he said, Georgia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is bad for business.   

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Education
11:08 am
Fri June 12, 2015

APS: Communication, Training Key To Preventing Further Cheating

Atlanta Public Schools has restructured the office that handles complaints.
Credit Judy Baxter / flickr.com/judybaxter

More cheating allegations are popping up in the Atlanta Public Schools, just months after almost a dozen former APS educators were convicted in court for conspiring to cheat.

The district is looking into allegations that students in an online learning program at Crim High School used the Internet to find test answers. Additionally, the principal at the South Atlanta School of Law and Social Justice reportedly changed students’ failing grades to passing ones. She no longer works for APS.  

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Education
7:39 am
Fri June 12, 2015

Georgia Schools Superintendent: Kids Take Too Many Tests

Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia got a new schools superintendent this year. Richard Woods was elected in November 2014 after former schools chief John Barge stepped down to run — unsuccessfully — for governor.

Woods took office in January.

Recently, WABE talked with him about a range of topics from testing to summer learning.

The conversation begins with Woods describing the duties of the state’s new fine arts director, Jessica Booth. 

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Education
7:30 am
Thu June 11, 2015

DeKalb School Board Member: Accreditation Fears Led To Hasty Leadership Search

DeKalb school board member Joyce Morley says the district's superintendent search was rushed.
Credit Nick Nesmith/WABE News

The DeKalb County Board of Education has named a new superintendent ─ a task it needs to complete to regain full accreditation. But one school board member says the candidate pool was “tainted,” raising questions about board unity.

The DeKalb school board voted 6-1 to offer Kansas City Superintendent Stephen Green a superintendent contract in May. Joyce Morley was the only board member who voted “no.” She explained why at a recent board meeting.

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Education
4:56 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Graduation Coaches Keep Ga. Students From Sliding Through The Cracks

Korey Thomas credits his graduation coach, David Harvey, with helping him earn his diploma from Henry County High School.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Korey Thomas is a friendly, polite, 18-year-old who recently graduated from Henry County High School with the help of his coach. But three years ago, he wasn’t passing his classes.

“When I got all the speeches about paying attention in ninth grade and all that, I did not pay attention to that,” he says. “I was just goofing off and I messed up in a couple subjects.”

There were distractions—skateboarding, girls, music. He also has diabetes, which caused him to miss class sometimes.

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Education
4:33 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

Superintendent Carstarphen: APS Is Not Getting Rid Of Arts

Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says the district is not scrapping its fine arts program.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

The Atlanta Public Schools will cut 18 band and orchestra positions next year. But, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says APS is still committed to the arts.

“It’s true that we’ve had a rough budget year,” she says. “It’s true that we’ve had to rethink our model.”

Carstarphen says the cuts were mostly in elementary schools and for programs that had low enrollment. Even though one-third of all music positions were cut, Carstarphen says APS is not ditching the fine arts.

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Education
8:56 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Metro Atlanta School Districts Vary in Search for Leadership

DeKalb County School Board Chair Melvin Johnson announces DeKalb's superintendent finalist Stephen Green at a press conference last month.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Several metro Atlanta school districts have looked for new leadership lately. But DeKalb, Cobb and Fulton counties have all approached the superintendent search process differently.

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Fulton and Cobb have looked within their ranks to fill the top job. For example, when former Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa left last year, the school board tapped administrator Chris Ragsdale as interim.

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Education
6:30 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Ranked As Top HBCU, Spelman Sets High Bar For Students, Alums

Spelman College's class of 2015 celebrates receiving degrees at its May 17 graduation ceremony.
Credit Spelman College

Behind the Ranking

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Education
7:42 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

DeKalb Board Member Says Superintendent Search Wasn't Transparent

Just one DeKalb school board member voted not to offer Stephen Green a contract as the district's new superintendent.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

The DeKalb school board voted Thursday to offer Stephen Green, of the Kansas City Schools, a three-year contract as its new superintendent. But one board member is not happy with the decision.

Board member Joyce Morley was the lone dissenting vote.

“There was a major conflict of interest that has taken place throughout this process,” she said.

The board hired firm PROACT to lead the search. It later fired the company because its CEO was embroiled in controversy. Morley implied several candidates, including Green, had ties to the CEO. Green denied that last week.

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Education
6:00 am
Thu May 28, 2015

DeKalb Superintendent Finalist Expected To Get Contract

The DeKalb school board is expected to offer Dr. Stephen Green of Kansas City a contract to serve as the district's superintendent.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

The DeKalb County school system is expected to officially name a new superintendent Thursday. The school board will vote on whether to offer a contract to Stephen Green, who currently leads the Kansas City schools.

It was clear two weeks ago Green would be offered the job. But legally, the board had to wait until Thursday to vote on a contract.

During a visit to DeKalb last week, Green said he’d be a hands-on leader.

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News
4:40 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Children of Rev. MLK, Jr. Head To Mediation Over Bible, Peace Prize

Dexter King appeared in court in January when attorneys were arguing over ownership of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

A legal fight over the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s traveling Bible and Nobel Peace Prize is headed for mediation. Attorneys for Dr. King’s children said in court Wednesday they’re close to an agreement.

Dr. King’s sons, Martin III and Dexter, voted 2-1 against their sister, Bernice, to sell the two items. Bernice King’s attorney, Eric Barnum, said that conflict is just one issue the siblings are at odds over.

“We asked the court to grant the opportunity to mediate what are the remaining issues,” Barnum said.  

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Education
9:29 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Fulton County Plans To Offer Families More School Options

Fulton County's Centennial High School created a ''technology hub'' for students to provide more options.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Parents who have children in the Fulton County schools may soon have more types of schools to choose from.

Fulton will offer more school models, such as Montessori schools, dual language programs and honors academies, for high school students. By giving families more choices, the district hopes to keep them from going to private schools or other districts.

“As we spent the last few months getting information from parents about what their needs are, we tried to match models to address the needs of each community,” says Ken Zeff, the district’s chief strategy officer.

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Education
6:30 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Some Ga. Charter Schools Aren't Outperforming Others

Georgia’s State Charter Schools Commission wanted to evaluate the performance of the 13 schools it has approved.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

State-approved charter schools perform about the same as regular public schools, according to a new report from the State Charter Schools Commission.

The report looked at test scores, school report cards, and other data for charter schools approved by the state. There are a total of 14 state-authorized charters. Officials combined data for two of the schools, focusing on a total of 13 in the report. 

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Local
6:00 am
Tue May 26, 2015

Atlanta Club Offers Friendship, Activity For Latino Seniors

A tender moment between Gloria Patiño, from Ecuador, and Maria Guadalupe Nuñez, from Mexico, as they catch up at the weekly seniors’ group meeting.
Brenna Beech WABE

It’s common for senior citizens to feel lonely and isolated. That’s especially true for seniors who emigrated from other countries. Once they’ve retired and their kids are grown, it can be hard for them to find friends who share their language and culture.

But there's a program in Atlanta that tries to solve that problem for Latino seniors.

This is an hour-long Zumba class. While it may not be moving at a rapid fire pace, it is moving.

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Education
6:00 am
Mon May 25, 2015

State Superintendent: Ga. Won't Require 'Funny Math Methods'

State Superintendent Richard Woods says Georgia doesn't require any particular methods to teach Common Core math standards.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Georgia students could struggle to learn if teachers use "funny math methods." That’s according to State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods, who recently wrote a column about Georgia’s math instruction.

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Education
4:13 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Report: Clayton State, Ga. Southern Prepare Teachers Best

According to the NCTQ, teacher training programs need to raise admissions standards and give students practical experience.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

How do you know if a teacher is well prepared?  According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, it could depend on where they went to college.

The council ranks colleges’ teacher preparation programs. It uses criteria like admissions standards, curriculum, and how much time students actually spend in classrooms teaching.

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Education
11:23 am
Thu May 21, 2015

DeKalb Superintendent Finalist 'Taking Stock' Of District

Stephen Green visited the DeKalb schools for three days this week to meet with school and community leaders.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

DeKalb County's sole finalist for school superintendent wraps up a three-day visit to the district Thursday. Stephen Green currently leads the Kansas City Schools in Missouri.

Green met with school leaders, staff and parents during his trip. He said he’s coming in with an open mind, but he’s also taking inventory.

“I am taking stock, not just in terms of the facility and the resources — financial — but also, human capital,” he said. “I’m assessing: What do we have here? What do we preserve, protect, keep, enhance, and what do we need to change or modify?”

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Education
6:00 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Report: Georgia Deceived Parents With Old Testing System

A national study by Achieve found Georgia's old test, the CRCT, had the lowest passing standards in the country.
Credit Judy Baxter / flickr.com/judybaxter

Georgia deceived parents under the state’s former testing system when it said kids “met standards” in math and reading. That’s according to a new national report that found Georgia had some of the lowest criteria in the country.

The report found Georgia’s old state test, the CRCT, was too simple. In some cases, it was 60 percent easier to pass than national tests, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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Local
4:19 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Sister Of Atlanta Woman Shot By Police Wants Investigation

Alexia Christian's sister, Ramada Christian, said her family is struggling with painful questions surrounding her sister's death.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

On Thursday night, the family of a woman who was shot and killed by police in a patrol car two weeks ago complained to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, the group that investigates allegations of police misconduct in Atlanta.

Alexia Christian was arrested for stealing a truck. Police say she shot at officers and they returned fire. The APD hasn’t released video of the shooting, saying it’s evidence in an investigation. Now Alexia Christian’s sister, Ramada Christian, wants the Atlanta Citizen Review Board to launch its own investigation.

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Local
6:06 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Atlanta Citizen: 'Don't Run' Campaign Should Say 'Don't Shoot'

One of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board’s “Don’t Run” campaign billboards is on McDaniel Street in southwest Atlanta’s historic Pittsburgh neighborhood.
Credit Charles W. Jones / WABE

A meeting of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which looks into allegations of police misconduct in the city, became heated Thursday night over a "Don't Run" billboard campaign that urges people not to flee from police.

In the aftermath of incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, North Charleston, South Carolina, and Baltimore — where police were said to have used excessive force against citizens ─ the board started the “Don’t Run” campaign.

Kalonji Changa was one of several citizens who said it sends the wrong message.

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Education
6:00 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Kansas City Superintendent Chosen To Lead DeKalb Schools

DeKalb School Board chairman Melvin Johnson, center, announces Stephen Green, not shown, of Kansas City will lead the district.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Stephen Green, from the Kansas City Schools, has been chosen for the job of DeKalb County superintendent. The DeKalb County school board made the announcement Wednesday night.

Green has led the Kansas City schools since 2012, after the district lost accreditation. DeKalb County school board chairman Melvin Johnson credited Green with turning things around.

“Dr. Green brought back the Kansas City school district to provisional certification,” Johnson said. “He has demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching and learning and moving student achievement forward.”

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Education
4:28 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

DeKalb County Schools To Announce Superintendent Finalist

The DeKalb County school board is expected to announce Stephen Green, of the Kansas City Schools, as its superintendent finalist.
Credit Elle Moxley / WCUR

    

The DeKalb County School District has picked a superintendent finalist. Sources tell WABE the district has tapped Stephen Green, the head of the Kansas City Schools in Missouri.

Green took over the Kansas City Schools in 2012 after the district lost accreditation. The DeKalb school board is expected to announce his candidacy at a press conference Wednesday night. The board will have to wait 14 days before offering him a contract.

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Education
7:34 am
Mon May 11, 2015

GSU Report: APS Cheating Put Kids Behind In Reading, English

Prosecuting attorneys charged former APS educators with conspiring to cheat on state tests.
Credit Kent Johnson, Pool / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The effects of the Atlanta cheating scandal on students were not huge, but not insignificant either, according to a new report issued by Georgia State University.

Researchers studied about 3,700 students whose answer sheets were manipulated. They found they were behind their classmates in reading and English/language arts for several years.

“We’re looking at one-fourth or one-half of what students would typically learn from one spring to the next,” Tim Sass, the study’s lead researcher, says.

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Education
6:00 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Some Ga. Teachers Frustrated By New Milestones Test

Teachers at Newnan High School spoke with Georgia Schools Superintendent Richard Woods Thursday.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Georgia’s new Milestones test got a critical review from some teachers who met with the state Schools Superintendent Richard Woods. He visited Newnan High School in Coweta County Thursday.

Students just finished taking this test made specifically for Georgia’s public schools. The exams are meant to be rigorous. But math teacher Samantha Allen said test prep takes too much time away from actual teaching.

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