APS school chief: Can’t change schools without changing culture

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is meeting with Jackson cluster parents about proposed school closings and consolidations.

UPDATED Friday:

Leaving downtown to come to The Atlanta Journal Constitution Thursday to meet with editors and reporters, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen ran into an APS student on the street who called out to her. “You’re my superintendent.”

Why wasn’t the teenager in class? He told Carstarphen he was en route to a pre-trial hearing for fighting at school.

In her second year of running what she calls the most challenging district of her career, Carstarphen has concluded she cannot improve Atlanta’s lowest performing schools without addressing the intergenerational poverty that provides children with few of the life skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex world.

At a recent community meeting in one of Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods, Carstarphen spoke with a bewildered mother who told her, “I don’t understand what you all are talking about. I came to meetings, watched those presentations. I can’t understand the papers you gave me. I do not understand what is going to happen to my child.”

Carstarphen said, “There are generations of adults who have children in our schools, and they don’t know what we are doing. They try to show up. They raise their hands. The fact is people can’t communicate; they do not have the physical words in their mouths because the brain can’t create them. Generations of families don’t even have the vocabulary to explain what they are concerned about, much less read my overly wordy PowerPoint slides.”

She and the school board are about to attempt a goal that evaded Jimmy Carter’s ambitious 1992 Atlanta Project — breathing new life and hope not only into the schools in areas of extreme poverty  but in the parents and the community.

“If Atlanta wants a quality public school system, Carstarphen said, “Everybody is going to have to bend, not for me and not for the board. You have to bend for these kids and fix the things that are wrong in their lives.”

The list is long, from broken sidewalks to broken homes, from poor nutrition to poor healthcare.

Spearheading such a renewal campaign seems a daunting task for a school district that can’t get its buses to run. The “bum engines” in a third of the APS bus fleet are one of the many dysfunctions Carstarphen found when she arrived in town from Austin in 2014. “Transportation may be the death of me,” said Carstarphen during her two hour session with the AJC.

The buses can be fixed and SPLOST will help. What cannot be solved as easily is the culture of the school system. Changing the culture will determine whether APS succeeds, according to the school chief.

Within the district, it’s imperative employees move from adult agendas to child-centered decisions, she told the AJC. That’s why both Carstarphen and school board Chair Courtney English advocated coming down hard on staff at Thomasville Heights Elementary School after a large number missed a day of work.

More than half of the teachers at Thomasville — where only four fourth graders out of 58 were on grade-level in reading  — were absent the day after Carstarphen announced plans to bring in a charter school group to operate Thomasville  next school year.

Handing the lagging Thomasville Heights Elementary to a charter operator is part of Atlanta’s plan to avert state takeover, if voters pass the Opportunity School District in November.

Although 19 people at the school called in sick that Friday, Carstarphen said APS could only show four or so lacked any legitimate reason. One of them has resigned. Others are going through the process of responding to the district’s allegations of wrongdoing.

“I think the message is clear. Any kind of behavior that says we are putting these other adult needs in front of covering a kindergarten or a first grade classroom is not appropriate,” she said.

Under Carstarphen’s turnaround plan, Thomasville is one of five Atlanta schools that will be managed by charter school groups; three others will close. Based on state rankings, 60 percent of APS schools would be eligible for absorption into the Opportunity School District. Most are elementary schools, which surprised Carstarphen, given Georgia’s strong pre-k program.

“That impact is not playing out in the way it should be,” she said. “Our elementary schools by and large are the lowest performing schools in the system and in the state. For what middle and high schools are receiving in terms of children being prepared, they are working miracles. We have kids coming all the way through the system, and they are still reading at a 4th grade level and they are in the 11th grade.”

Carstarphen emphasized the impetus to bring in charter companies was not only the prospect of losing schools to state control. “I was hired to do turnaround,” she said. “APS has a beleaguered past history that we must overcome.”

Most importantly, Carstarphen is focusing on the developing leaders with the depth and talent to guide the most troubled schools. “These leaders have to be the best and APS has to support them,” she said. “If you are going to have people in these positions, they have to be great or you have to make them great.”

Where Carstarphen sees movement thus far:

•Principals did not work together in the clusters. Schools were not working closely with central administration. That is changing.

•The overwhelming behavioral and cultural problems – kids who have no capacity to talk things out so they lash out  physically like the boy she encountered in downtown Atlanta – convinced her APS has to offer social and emotional learning. The district is using restorative justice as an alternative to kicking kids out of class. In restorative justice, students have a chance to talk about what happened with the affected parties and make amends. Districts that practice it see dramatic declines in suspensions, although there are complaints that the process can eat into instructional time.

•There was not a lot of coherence, quality and rigor in academic programs.  Now, Carstarphen says people understand “We are actually an organization that is focused on children and our purpose is pre-k to 12th grade  education.”

At a community level, Carstarphen said Atlanta has to own up to its past, saying, “I am not even sure Atlanta has internalized that it had the largest cheating scandal in public education history.”

 

 

Reader Comments 1

170 comments
Ruthie Brown
Ruthie Brown

But Whose able to RISE UP!!!! and rally for these children in the poorer communities. The Villages need to step in to assist. Don't just blame the Superintendent! She can't go to each home.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Carstarphen is a smart cookie who is on the right track. She has already made some enemies among those APS staffers who were settled in place before she arrived, and that is a good thing. 


The statement about replacing the the APS "adult agendas" with "student agendas" says a lot about what the focus is and will continue to be. Good news for the system, but it will not be an easy task to overcome the entrenched eduacracy now in place and its primarily "adult" agenda and focus on their "professional" careers. 


The cheating scandal will never be fully realized or digested by the APS. Why? Scratch the surface and you will not find a whole lot of eduacracy "professionals" who give a fat rat's booty about that, except that they got caught red handed. 


Why? Because in their defense, they rightly perceive that the problem goes far beyond the power or the ability of the entrenched "professional" eduacracy and the poor teaches who fight in the trenches every day trying to turn things around.


Why? Because teachers and on site administrators now spend so much time on handling "parental" duties and obligations that it is having a huge negative impact on the amount of real teaching and real learning that occurs in the class room. 


Kudos to who ever thought up the terrific euphemism,  "intergernerational poverty" as as substitute for the far more bulky and contentious phrase, "break down and near total collapse of the African American family structure as a result of nearly 60 years of the welfare state."  


As many millions of Americans who grew up poor, or whose parents and grand parents were in poverty, but who are now well entrenched in the middle class and far above that, poverty is not the cause of poverty. The loss of the family structure causes poverty. 


Family structure? One mom, with one dad, with their own children living together as a loving and caring family unit with each member 100% loyal to the family and 100% loyal to each other. 


Yes. Old fashioned to the core.  And oh yeah, totally racist just to get that out of the way. And even more racist to mention it or point it out or suggest that there is any way to fix it other than a bigger and bigger safety net and more government spending, etc. - the same things that created the problem in the first place. 


Generations of families standing on the shoulders of parents, grand parents, and great grand parents in family units who have gone before, laying a solid foundation - even when they were in poverty themselves and doing the things necessary that they had to do for themselves, despite that poverty - is the path out of poverty.  


Sadly, that issue is unlikely to ever be addressed head on. 




Starik
Starik

@Ficklefan What about the culture which evolved from slavery and Jim Crow?  I's say that the family breakdown was there along, not caused by welfare, it was hidden by segregation and controlled to some degree by upper class black people who have now left the ghetto.

Cere
Cere

These large, bureaucratic systems have become jobs programs and not much more. The unwieldy size allows for too many resources being skimmed from the top and too many hidden costs and unnecessary staff pulling salaries, benefits and pensions. The lie continues to be told to the children and their parents that they 'are' getting a good education, but they have no idea that when compared nationally, their preparation for life is abysmal. These shows up as they attempt to enter college and require deep remedial assistance. As with any other large, corrupt system, the people at the bottom are the most vulnerable, in this case and in the case of DeKalb, these people are children. These children are the future of the county and state. This does not paint a bright outlook for the future.


The first step to righting any large, corrupt, ineffective ship is to drop a whole lot of weight overboard and trim the sails. In order to make a measurable change, an enormous percentage of funding needs to go directly to the classroom - as in - a maximum of 12 students per class and a slue of support staff in the school house. This won't happen - there is too much slop in the trough that is too easy to gobble up. All this bureaucratic talk of 'new' programs, salvation in outside support or replacing the holder of the job as teacher will never work - they are just words and formulas - discussions to pass the time until this superintendent can move on and leave an opening for yet another new leader with a whole new ineffective script. 


Sorry - after years of discussing this issue and seeing little to no progress, I have become very cynical.  This is why I quit blogging about it years ago - it started to really hurt from all the head-banging on the brick wall of these insulated billion dollar corrupt bureaucracies we continue to call 'schools'.

Cere
Cere

Just an example of the lack of action in her plans >> "Now, Carstarphen says people understand “We are actually an organization that is focused on children and our purpose is pre-k to 12th grade  education.” 


How Does She Know This? And what makes her think no one understood that their purpose was pre-k to 12th grade education before she arrived?  This is a statement with nothing to back it up. It's just an empty declaration - unverified words to make you think things have changed, nothing more.

ZoeyDale
ZoeyDale

Now is time for Atlanta to become the country's first child-friendly city by following the Conventions on the Rights of the Child. 

NOW is time for every individual, corporation, non-profit organization and governmental agency to make ending the self-seeding ravages of poverty a priority. 

For every ticket sold at the new Falcon's stadium, a percentage should go to the cause. The city's most highly impoverished areas in the shadows of the stadium should be made lush with safe, community centered parks filled with creative play spaces and staffed with play workers who have learned about child development, play and the importance of child-led play. 

This cycle MUST be broken here and now. Let Atlanta be a light so bright that intolerance, selfishness and greed can find no dark, damp places to breed. 

It sounds like we have a Superintendent who "gets it". Let's start with something simple - extended recess time in the schools guided by trained play workers. 

We must act now.

Cynthia Gentry

Founding Director

Play Atlanta

Cere
Cere

@ZoeyDale Great post. Love the term 'self-seeding' - I think I'll borrow that if you don't mind. I appreciate your hope for a superintendent who you say, 'gets it', but so far, as with those in whose footsteps she follows, all we have are words, ideas, and rhetoric. I don't see action and I certainly don't see  or hear a clear vision.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@ZoeyDale “Now is time for Atlanta to become the country's first child-friendly city by following the Conventions on the Rights of the Child.”

My speaking to the board and Carstarphen during their 2 February 2016 community meeting included wanting them to adopt, by resolution, 1) the Charter for Compassion, and 2) the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

If you think Carstarphen “gets it,” please do press her and the board to adopt these thing by formal resolution, not by lip service. 

Starik
Starik

I grew up in Florida, and had no TV - there was no station until I was 8, and then it was 100 miles away and snowy,  By the mid-60s we had the 3 networks, and I went to Atlanta for college... same 3 networks.  No video games until the theater at Lenox Square got a Pong machine.  Kids, at last thinking ones, read books and magazines, played some board games, or were bored after sundown.  Technology has changed that situation. There is more.


If we're honest, there was also the forced racial integration of the public schools.  Kids started attending schools where many kids were of another color and another culture.  Those kids, the descendants of America's only involuntary immigrants and the slave culture forced on them did change the schools the culture of the schools and our culture generally.  Many kids left the public schools, removing a lot of talented, well-prepared kids including the best-prepared of the black kids, DuBois' "talented tenth."

In some neighborhoods slave culture rules.  You don't have to work to get money.  You join gangs to attain something like a family. Doing well in classes means you're "acting white" and ostracized, or worse, by your classmates.  Mama sure can't help much with homework, if there is any. 


Thomasville Heights is a school built like a fortress very close to the Federal Pen.  It will be difficult to bring the neighborhood and the schools around but it may be an opportunity to expend resources and discover what works or doesn't work.  By their response - the "sick out" - many of the teachers have earned whatever happens to the staff.  A new system can remove them and make them reapply for their jobs without going through the process of firing them.


Good move, Superintendent. Go for it.

Marilyn Bussey
Marilyn Bussey

Fit special needs all i want come ask why i want i fit now today

redweather
redweather

“I am not even sure Atlanta has internalized that it had the largest cheating scandal in public education history.”


I'm not sure the average American understands what has happened to the public education system, and not just in Atlanta. People like me, who teach students who have graduated from high school, are well aware that something has been very wrong for a while now. And that problem seems to be accelerating. Many college students who have graduated from schools in neighborhoods that are not characterized by generational poverty, read at the middle school level at best.  


redweather
redweather

@MaryElizabethSings @redweather Many of the students in my classes struggle with reading assignments of more than 3,000 words.  Just think about that for a minute. Three thousand words. Courier 12 point font will give you almost exactly 250 words per page, so a 3,000 word article is only 12 pages long. 

My copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace has 1,215 pages, and I estimate that each page has about 750 words. I've read that book three times, and I will probably read it again at least one more time. How many of my students could even get through the first chapter?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@redweather @MaryElizabethSings


That is so true.  And, it is worrisome because we may be creating generations who lack the depth of understanding the complexity within every human being, as "War and Peace," "The Brothers' Karamasov," "Les Miserables" bring to our consciousness.  If future generations start to see others only as stereotypes or  as cliches, they will make poor decisions for humanity's future, imho.


Here is the image I had imbedded in one of my blog's entries.  I think you will appreciate the photo as it pertains to the title:


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/danger-zone-stereotypical-thinking/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@redweather


The media and technological age have contributed much to this phenomena.  Children and students are more into video games, I-phones, television, etc. than reading for pleasure which was the norm when I was in school, a half century ago.  A brief twitter or text may communicate a quick message, but they rarely develop in depth comprehension skills.

CSpinks
CSpinks

@MaryElizabethSings @redweather An indictment of the ineffectiveness of our public school system is its failure to produce citizens interested in civic matters and capable of making informed decisions about them.


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@redweather @CSpinks @MaryElizabethSings


Well said on that point, redweather. Again, countering that probability is precisely why Thomas Jefferson advocated for an educated populace through schools paid by public taxes, so that rich and poor alike would have a minimum literacy level.  He believed an educated populace would keep our nation a democratic-republic because the populace would be able to see into those of wealth and status who may try to manipulate the masses for their own selfish ends.

NikoleA
NikoleA

As a teacher, I'd be frustrated that you hired a company to turn around our school, without first attempting a turn around initiated by current leadership and staff. Most teachers in failing schools have a good idea of what needs to change, but are never asked. This charter company will inherit the problems of this public school, but will not have any more resources than the original school had to create change. They too are being set up for failure. For example, kindezi is charged with turning around one of the failing schools. Kindezi has a very specific culture that is not easily replicated. That family style atmosphere comes from willing participants and an extremely low student, teacher ratio. 

CSpinks
CSpinks

@NikoleA Experimentation must play a critical role in our efforts to extract GaPubEd from the morass into which it has driven by a self-serving educracy. Let leaders like Ms. Carstarphen experiment to find "what works" in particular contexts and then replicate them in similar situations. James' Pragmatism has served us Americans well in many other aspects of our lives over the past century and a half. Let's see if it'll so do in public education. I suspect it will- if we have the guts to follow it where it will lead.

gactzn2
gactzn2

While there is generational poverty- it is not new to Atlanta.  Despite the poverty, children once thrived because APS was a very child-centered district many years ago.  It was also local and many children had roots across Atlanta.  If they can get back to what made it successful before the Supt. Hall era and GOP interference- they can thrive again.  APS was a place where growing up in poverty was just another stepping stone.  Students routinely excelled, Douglas and Mays were premier institutions, and students regularly walked away many years ago with collegiate offers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.  People of Atlanta who attended APS schools also had a since of pride in intellectual accomplishments.   Unfortunately, you have a witch's brew of demographic and cultural changes coupled with the selfish agendas of those working for the children.  This is definitely not the APS I remember- and the communities she speaks of are often made up of many transplants with poor life skills and no family support.    I wish Superintendent Carstarphen the best and pray these obstacles can be overcome.

eulb
eulb

Kudos to Meria Carstarphen for telling it like it is.  "You have to bend for these kids and fix the things that are wrong in their lives....  Changing the culture will determine whether APS succeeds.... Within the district, it’s imperative employees move from adult agendas to child-centered decisions...."

Changing the culture of the school system from being adult-focused to child-focused is just the first step, and it's proving very, very hard to achieve.  Changing the wider culture outside school -- in the communities and families where our kids are learning their values -- is supremely daunting.  And let me posit this from the outset:  If APS tries to hire and pay an army of social workers, nurses, mentors, sidewalk repair contractors, etc, it will perpetuate the "adult agendas" that have ruined APS' culture.  This new project will become just another "jobs program", guaranteeing comfy salaries to a large number of adults.  Friends and family will flock to apply.  Children's outcomes will be secondary.

How about recruiting a small army of volunteers instead?  I know there are legal obstacles to using volunteers, but I believe they can be overcome by vetting, training, and supervising them well.  Long-term volunteers can be very valuable, trusted team-members.  (Retirees make fantastic volunteer workers.) Volunteers can provide an ethical, responsible pool of committed workers.  And APS would be able to sustain the program longer by using low-cost volunteers.

When my kids were school-age (not long ago), one attended a private school, the other attended an APS public school.  I volunteered in both places.  

My child's private school welcomed volunteers and used our help in so many ways.  We provided support services throughout the week that freed teachers from extraneous tasks and allowed them to concentrate on doing what only they can do: teach!

My child's public school allowed parents to help with fundraisers and help chapherone field trips, but that's about all.  The teachers were clearly overwhelmed, stretched too thin, but volunteers were not allowed to provide any meaningful support services. We really weren't even welcome inside the school building.

If APS can change its culture to use volunteers effectively, it can build a large enough group of ethical, committed workers to sustain this ambitious new program long enough to find out if it works.  If APS doesn't do that, this program will become  just another money-wasting jobs program for friends and family members.

Cere
Cere

@eulb At my sister's childrens' public schools in Ohio, the parents were trained by a leader from "Ohio Reads" to work with early learners in the schools, teaching them to read - and read well. They started off by teaching 'popcorn words' and phonics. Then worked their way into helping children better their comprehension. It's very effective and its statewide with the libraries playing a key role as well.  http://ohreadytoread.org/grabandgo.html

Of course, Ohio has a very large and decently-educated middle class. Georgia has quite a different culture - an enormous under-class that has been severely under-educated for generations. And instead of slavery, we now have mass incarceration and a school to prison pipeline. This is in my opinion, barbaric and almost impossible to change.

Roger Rome
Roger Rome

Not sure if we can change the poverty issue. If elementary schools would concentrate on reading and improving reading by remedial reading all the way through elementary school I would bet you would get better prepared students and behavior issues would decrease and poverty levels would improve. The kids could help parents who don't understand and read very well.

eulb
eulb

 "The kids could help parents who don't understand and read very well."

Thank you!  That is an important point!  Many Asian immigrant families do exactly what you have described.  As their children learn basic English literacy, the parents rely on them to fill out forms, handle household mail and bills, etc.  As the children succeed in school and jobs, the parents and whole family rise as a unit.  

That does not seem to be happening within U.S. families suffering multi-generational poverty. Can anyone hjelp U.S. born families function more like their immigrant counterparts? How?  Any success stories?

Tammy Rhino
Tammy Rhino

We concentrate on that all day long!!! The community mindset has to change!!!

Roger Rome
Roger Rome

It's sad because our reading level according to the supt of ATL public schools are 4th grade level for 11th graders we have to do major improvements in order to get the results to prepare them to compete

Jessy Briton Hamilton
Jessy Briton Hamilton

Oh my gosh, someone gets it. She'll be fired. It's the teachers' fault. Always the teachers. Get back to blaming the teachers and stop looking for solutions.

NewName
NewName

This is NOT what I saw in this article. She is the first person in a LOONNNG time to NOT blame the teachers and to have the guts to discuss intergenerational poverty, unsafe homes and neighborhoods, etc.

CSpinks
CSpinks

Who thinks that the APS is the only GA public school system which operates primarily for the benefit of its educratic "adults" and their "friends?"

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I commend Superintendent Carstarphen on the 4 points she outlined  in which she has seen progress in the APS in the past year.  I agree with her that schools must focus on social/emotional development as well as academic development.  The point is to solve academic problems and one cannot divorce the social/emotional from the academic in the student's total development.


In addition, I want to say that I have never read a better understanding of why students in poverty, and their parents, and their parents' parents, have verbal difficulty than Carstarphen's words which I have highlighted, below:


"Carstarphen said, 'There are generations of adults who have children in our schools, and they don’t know what we are doing. They try to show up. They raise their hands. The fact is people can’t communicate; they do not have the physical words in their mouths because the brain can’t create them. Generations of families don’t even have the vocabulary to explain what they are concerned about, much less read my overly wordy PowerPoint slides.' ”


An excellent teacher on this forum had stated that she could not understand how a student could get to 11th grade reading on 4th grade level.  I can fully understand how that can happen, and I will further say that if you do not understand how that can happen at the APS and elsewhere, then you are lacking in vision and in historical understanding that  has made an emotional, not just intellectual impact, upon your sensibilities.


Kelley-Belle
Kelley-Belle

What a challenge Carstarphen faces with culture and history. I applaud the insights she has gained and shared for this interview. I no longer have children in the public school system. I "bailed' after 5 years in public elementary schools, in DeKalb Co. Our experiences were positive academic experiences, until Middle School, in the 2005 era in DeKalb.

I accepted another position at work, which involved travel and a lot more WORK, in order to pay for private school education for two boys. It was a personal decision, and every family has to address this at some point. I've not regretted the decision.

. This article speaks of parents who "don't understand" what words are spoken at community school meetings. In a perfect world, those folks need to learn.

Ideally a principal at every school could develop a community based volunteer group to provide educational tools for parents. Yes, parents need education in order to best serve their children for a productive academic experience.

Public school systems need leaders: community leaders of every color, race, background to volunteer.

How can technology serve as a bridge to the teacher/ parent relationship?

My parting thought, for Atlanta to be a viable city for corporate entities to consider as a home base, our public education has to improve in measurable terms. Parental involvement is "cheap labor" but of deep impact. Utilization of corporate talent in the city/county school systems, along side an educational plan could be immense, at a secondary school level.

Let''s use our local talent and thrive!

Respectfully submitted, KBP

JEason
JEason

It is tragic that the problem has far deeper roots than Dr. Carstarphen can deal with. 'The "child-centered decisions" that are needed should be the community's decision to change the lifesyle that produces children who grow up without fathers, without the support of the community, and without hope for their future. No amount of effort by the government nor our patronizing media can fill this need. The subculture must pick itself up by its own bootstraps.

Danny McGinnis
Danny McGinnis

First and foremost. Schools are interlocked with the communities economically period. Good schools, property values goes up, bad schools , property value goes down. You don't need a PhD to figure this is out... WOW!!!!

FreeThinker
FreeThinker

Reading at 4th grade level in 11th grade ? This pretty much tells it all. 


And they got there with or without teachers changing grades?


How much does the EITC contribute to the birth rate?


We elected a Congress that created this mess.


A multi-generational group encouraged to reproduce in order to increase their "taxes". While "People of Faith" are worried about birth control and abortion rights. 


Anyone with an IQ of 100 or more should be disgusted.


Darrius Dee
Darrius Dee

She not black what she know about the ghetto lmao

Chimiya Turner-Smith
Chimiya Turner-Smith

She is a person of color, I believe of mixed ethnicities. But you don't have to be black to understand ghetto, especially if you visit the schools and communities in Atlanta.

redweather
redweather

Darrius Dee:  What do you know about anything? You can't even write a sentence.

Cere
Cere

I disagree. There is absolutely no way to understand what it's like to grow up or live in the ghetto.  I understand their words less than the people who come to the schools from the ghetto understand Dr. Carstarphen's Powerpoints.  Take a tour of the urban dictionary online.  I don't understand much of it - and every definition I look up forces me to look up another word as I didn't understand it in the definition. There is a completely different culture in the ghetto that has a language of its own - and it's growing exponentially.

Santeyonne Powell
Santeyonne Powell

Finally, someone gets it! You can't improve a child until you change the family, you can't change the family without improving the community, and you can't save the community unless the people want to change and realize they need to save themselves. Urban education today is so complex it will take a community of dedicated professionals and people dedicated to change to turn it around.

Starik
Starik

Perhaps we could try this... use the school as a focal point for the programs the community needs.  In addition to better teachers, add social workers, nurses, and police officers to extend the influence of the school in the community.  Add enough dedicated staff to find out why each kid is not succeeding.

Nakimma Middlebrooks
Nakimma Middlebrooks

We also need those communities to have Recreaction Centers that hold the same prospect for teaching and leading...That the school offers! After school programs that encourage the student. Enrichment courses or get the help they need these thing are taken out of the community they have no where to go but the streets.YES Atl had the worst school scandal in history have we forgotten! My baby is in Kindergarten growing up in this school system he need the best offered so he can be the Greatest!!!

Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham
Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham

...it all starts at home. Parents are the first line of teachers. They are the first role models and the most important role of leadership in their kids lives. Teachers may be able to teach what has been provided in the curriculum and School's agendas. But courtesy, manners, leadership, behaviors, and etc. starts at home. Just like the students, parents has homework to do as well. Get to it.

Charles Washington Jr
Charles Washington Jr

Yes your statement needs to be magnified and repeated over and over until it catches on with everybody.

Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham
Leroy Rodriguez Cunningham

Mr. Washington, if only all parents would actually live up to their obligations and meaning of being a parent. They can't even dress appropriately for a PTA meeting, none the less, attend one. I can't even fathom how some of these children dresses at school. How did you leave your home this morning, dressing like that? Where are your parents?

Nakimma Middlebrooks
Nakimma Middlebrooks

Some children don't have that. That's why school should be secondary. Some parents are not able bodied to do the proper teaching. As a child growing up, I had many teachers can I say the same for this generation NO. ..

Starik
Starik

"parents has." "how some of these children dresses at school"

Are you a teacher?