3:00 pm
Tue August 4, 2015

Ga. Teen Goes From Fleeing Drug Cartels To Passing Class

Esau Gonzalez stands in front of a shelf of multilingual dictionaries at Clarkston High School.

It can be hard moving to the U.S. from another country, especially for a teenager. Imagine taking a high school test on Shakespeare when you barely speak English – while trying to make new friends, graduate, get a good job and help your family get out of poverty. 

About 15 percent of children in Georgia’s immigrant families were born in other countries, according to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Quite a few who came here as teenagers live in DeKalb County and attend Clarkston High School.  

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In Conversation
3:00 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Atlanta's Ron Clark On The Excitement Of Teaching

Founder of the Ron Clark Academy, Ron Clark has had over 3,000 educators a year come to observe some of the most innovative teachers in the world.
Credit Alex Martinez

In this installment of “Valerie Jackson: In Conversation,” WABE talked with “America’s Teacher” Ron Clark, co-founder of the Ron Clark Academy.

Over 3,000 educators a year visit Clark's nonprofit school to observe some of the most innovative teachers in the world. He is the best-selling author of "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck" and has a newly released book "Move Your Bus, An Extraordinary Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life." 

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1:15 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Late Ben Franklin Academy Cofounder Loved Cats, Inspiring Students

Dr. Wood Smethurst, cofounder of the Ben Franklin Academy and one of the most progressive leaders in Atlanta’s education circles, passed away July 14.
Credit Ben Franklin Academy

Dr. Wood Smethurst, cofounder of the Ben Franklin Academy and one of the most progressive leaders in Atlanta's education circles, died July 14.  He left behind a legacy of humanity and hope, something celebrated by those who attended his memorial service last weekend.  

At the end of the service, every one was asked to take a long-stem rose from a floral centerpiece at Glenn Memorial Chapel. It was a way for everyone to leave with something that Doc held close to his heart.

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A Closer Look
3:13 pm
Wed July 8, 2015

Sen. Johnny Isakson: Iran Talks ‘Bad Deal’

Georgia’s Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says the possible agreement with Iran over it’s nuclear program is a “bad deal for America.”
Credit Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

The deadline for negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal is Friday. Other deadlines in negotiations have already come and gone. The United States is among the group known as the P5 + 1 trying to reach a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

Members of Congress have expressed concern over the secretive nature of the negotiations. They are also at odds with President Barack Obama over the talks and issues relating to a possible nuclear agreement.

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6:00 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa Finalist For Florida Job

Robert Avossa, left, talks with Roswell High School Principal Jerome Huff. Avossa is now is at the top of a short list to lead the Palm Beach County, Florida school district.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Fulton County Public Schools superintendent Robert Avossa is at the top of a short list to lead the Palm Beach County, Florida school district. 

More than 70 candidates applied, with Avossa ranking among the top three.  Thursday afternoon, he'll answer questions from the Palm Beach County School Board during a public meeting. 

Palm Beach County is the 11th largest school district in the U.S., and has about twice as many students as Fulton County.

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Higher Education
3:54 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Georgia University System Approves Tuition Hikes

The Board of Regents approved an increase in tuition again for the state’s public colleges and universities. Georgia Southern University, shown here, is one of the system's colleges that will increase tuition by 2.5 percent.
Credit Georgia Southern University, Jeremy Wilburn / Associated Press

Tuition will go up again for Georgia’s public colleges and universities starting this fall.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the increases Tuesday.

Students at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia will pay 9 percent more in tuition, or about $400 per semester.

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Governor Nathan Deal
5:10 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Governor's Office Defends Trip Paid For By Lobbyist

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports the estimated cost of Deal's trip to Louisiana was more than $14,000.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The governor’s office is defending a trip to New Orleans last month that was paid for by a lobbyist.

The two-day visit to schools in Louisiana included other lawmakers and was funded by a group called StudentsFirst.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports the estimated cost of the trip was more than $14,000. The governor’s executive order he signed limits gifts from lobbyists at $25.  

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President Obama
5:14 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Obama Visits Atlanta, Calls For Affordable Higher Education

''Every student should be able to access the resources to pay for college. Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan.''
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

President Barack Obama gave a speech to nearly 10,000 people at Georgia Tech Tuesday afternoon. He said he’s trying to make college more affordable in a time when many Americans are burdened by student debt.

“Here’s the challenge: Higher education has never been more important, but it’s also never been more expensive,” Obama said.

Obama unveiled what he called a “Student Aid Bill of Rights” and urged people to mobilize around the concept to bring change to the student loan system.

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A Closer Look
2:22 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Redesigning The Snow Day At MODA

Kids get creative at MODA on a non-snow, snow day.
Credit Courtesy of Museum of Design Atlanta

What do you do on a snow day when it doesn't snow? Kids are stuck at home, there's no white stuff on the ground to entertain them, and many parents are tearing their hair out.

Enter MODA, the Museum of Design Atlanta, with a just-in-time solution. 

Executive Director Laura Flusche visited the "A Closer Look" studios to tell us about an invitation that MODA extended yesterday, inviting families to bring in their kids for free "until the snow arrives."

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A Closer Look
3:34 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Ready To Fix 'Broken' System

Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Dr. Meria Carstarphen blogs, she tweets and she constantly promotes positive news about the Atlanta Public Schools system. She was hired as its superintendent last summer with a unanimous vote by the Atlanta Public Schools board.

When she arrived in Atlanta, APS Board Chairman Courtney English was quoted as saying, "This city could use some unity. She's the right leader at the right time."  

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2:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Senate Approves Education Bill For Dual Enrollment Students

Sen. Lindsey Tippens, R-Marietta, speaks in favor of the bill in the Georgia Senate.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan education bill that would lead to changes in graduation requirements for high school students who also enroll in technical colleges and universities.

Supporters say right now high schools have one set of requirements and colleges have another.

If the bill gains final approval, the Georgia Department of Education would work with technical colleges and universities to merge the two.

Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta,  oversees the Senate Education Committee.

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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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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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Newsroom Roundup
1:02 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Ebola, Housing Among Top Issues To Watch This Year

As 2015 gets going, we’re checking in with WABE reporters on some of the stories and trends they’ll be watching.


The state legislature will have to wrestle with transportation issues this year. Michelle Wirth says a funding problem is looming.

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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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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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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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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 /

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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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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4:32 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Gov. Deal To Focus On Education Funding With New Advisory Board

Gov. Nathan Deal's new education advisory board is made up of superintendents, principals, school board members and other educators.
Credit Branden Camp / Associated Press

Earlier this week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the new members of his education advisory board.

It’s made up of superintendents, principals, school board members and other educators.

In his second term, Gov. Deal wants to look at amending the grade school funding formula.

It’s one of several policy issues Deal hopes to discuss with the education advisory board.

“Reading on grade level will continue to be a focus. We also would like to see the K-12 funding formula amended,” Deal's deputy Chief of Staff Erin Hames said.

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6:00 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Georgia Colleges Try to Help Homeless Students

The CARE center at Kennesaw State University has a food pantry where students in need can receive meals.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

We often think of the homeless during the holiday season. We don’t usually associate the term with college students. But it’s a problem most colleges have to face.

Kennesaw State University is the first Georgia college to develop a program devoted to helping homeless students. The CARE (Campus Awareness Resource & Empowerment) center has a food pantry for students in need and helps homeless students find a place to stay. The center is currently helping about 30 students.

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4:48 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Are Schools Too Test-Focused?

Burgess-Peterson Elementary School principal Robin Robbins meets with students during an after-school study program in Atlanta, in preparation for last year's state standardized testing.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

The federal government requires states to test students in grades 3-12 every year, and several states, including Georgia, are starting to use scores from those tests to evaluate teachers. Some parents and educators, however, worry schools are too focused on ‘the test’.

Every year, you can tell when it’s ‘high stakes test time’. Parents start posting on social media about how stressed their kids are over end-of-the-year tests.

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11:37 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Georgia Pushes To Help Prisoners Complete Education

A prison classroom.
Credit M. Spencer Green / Associated Press

State officials have launched a new program that helps people behind bars get back behind the school desk.  

The Georgia Department of Corrections has joined forces with Mountain Education Charter School.

The goal is to get state prisoners a high school diploma or GED.

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5:21 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Researchers Urge U.S. Lawmakers To Prioritize Early Education

Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

U.S. lawmakers are pretty polarized these days, but they seem to agree investing in early education pays off. Studies show kids who go to school early have a better chance of graduating from high school and are less likely to commit crimes. So hundreds of education researchers wrote an open letter to policymakers urging them to prioritize early education.

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2:00 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Woods Takes State Superintendent's Race

GOP candidate Richard Woods, seen here at a forum in September, beat Democrat Valarie Wilson by a wide margin.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

The Republicans’ election sweep included the race for state schools superintendent. GOP candidate Richard Woods beat Democrat Valarie Wilson by a wide margin.

Early on, Wilson’s supporters were confident.  Noisemakers and confetti sat on tables, ready for a victory celebration. But they remained untouched shortly before midnight when Wilson conceded. She said she was surprised Woods nabbed 60 percent of the vote.

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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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5:50 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Candidate Interview: Richard Woods

Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Tuesday, Nov. 4 is Election Day. Three top races are U.S. Senate, Governor and State Schools Superintendent. WABE has interviewed the candidates in those races.

In the State Schools Superintendent race, Richard Woods is the Republican candidate.

In South Georgia’s Irwin County school system, Woods has been a principal and curriculum director for Kindergarten through fifth grade. But, he spent most of his 22 years there as a high school social studies teacher.

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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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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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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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