Atlanta superintendent after Nice: We need national agenda to combat violence, help children thrive

People react as they gather at a makeshift memorial to honor the victims of the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France. A truck mowed through revelers gathered for fireworks, killing 84. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen added her voice to the many speaking out today about Thursday’s Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France.

On her blog tonight, Carstarphen writes:

Dear President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education John King,

It started with the first rally cry:

Je suis Charlie.

And, sadly, then there were more.

Paris. San Bernardino. Brussels. Orlando. Istanbul. Bangladesh. Dallas.

As the United States is still reeling from weeks of tragic events, it came full circle for France last night.

Je suis Nice.

Among the 84 killed, two are Americans (from my beloved Austin, Texas) and 10 children. Ten children! #PrayForNice

My heart and condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this senseless attack on humanity. We should all be outraged at this random and irrational act of violence! I am a teacher at heart, and I believe there is a sober lesson for all of us to learn and internalize as a country: The terrorist in last night’s attack in the South of France was, according to media reports, from within his own community and described as a Frenchman who lived in Nice and was a resident in the city. He was a “depressed” and a “very weird loner” who was only 31 years old with a history of being “regularly in trouble with the law.”

Think about that.

This could be a person anywhere – including here in the United States.

Right now in one of America’s capital cities, Atlanta Public Schools is in the fight of its life, working to end the cycle of poverty, cycle of bigotry, cycle of ignorance and cycle of violence. We have our hands full just trying to fix our local injustices of the past, which were thrust upon unknowing and innocent black children in the aftermath of the nation’s largest cheating scandal in public education.

Our Turnaround Strategy is based on a straight forward child-centered agenda that is about whole child development where Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the district priority. At the same time, we are working tirelessly to provide additional mental health supports through expanded provider partnerships and school based health clinics. And, while I’m proud of what we are doing here in Atlanta – fighting with a team of people who are equally committed to this effort – I know that more needs to be done in order to bring about real lasting change.

Just this week, Mr. Secretary, in your interview with Politco, you asked America a genuine and legitimate question: “I worry each day…are we doing enough to make it better for young people in schools?”

My answer: No, we are not.

We definitely know that we aren’t doing enough for our children especially black, brown and poor children in our urban centers.

At the live nationwide “town hall” meeting broadcast last night, there were many people asking what could be done to combat hatred and senseless violence. Participants, including you, Mr. President, talked about the challenges of moving from words to action: “We expect police to solve a whole range of societal problems that we ourselves have neglected,” you said calling prominent incidents sometimes “the catalyst for all the other stuff that may not even have to do with policing coming out.”

I believe there must be a national agenda led and invested in by leaders of our country. I believe we have to get beyond the talk and get to action. I believe we need a plan to teach these foundational skills for the long-term academic and psycho-social success of all students while at the same time providing adequate mental health intervention for those students who need the additional support. It takes both!

It’s time we start addressing these problems starting at the youngest age both in our communities and in our schools. It’s time we start shifting from reaction to prevention which means a shift in the conversation and the strategy: If we can teach students to persevere, be empathetic, set goals, overcome obstacles and develop healthy relationships, what can our country do to support it? There are many good folks on the frontline who have helped shape my thinking and this proposed solution:

Invest in a national agenda in at least 60 of the largest urban school systems for social emotional learning implementation and funding for early intervention in early childhood education and mental health supports.

Launch and support key states with state policy agendas that support these efforts.

Support more research, instructional framework development and assessment mechanisms so that every school system has a working design to get started in their school communities with quality guidance from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Replicate best practice school resource officer “triad model” for safe and supportive schools through National Institute of Justice.

To ramp this up quickly and with fidelity, I recommend that the U.S. Department of Education consider an SEL zone-type designation similar to a Promise Zone (HUD) or Promise Neighborhood (DOE) that highlights a community for additional direct and indirect benefits. This would be followed by an executive order from the President with a call for emergency federal funding to support the order.

We need an America and a world where people don’t have to live in fear that our public celebrations might turn into bloody massacres.

We need all citizens, especially our children, live with the aspiration of random acts of kindness instead of the fear of random violence.

We need the leaders of our country immediately accept this proposal as a significant part of the solution for our nation’s youth.

#StopTheViolence

#SELMatters

#SupportOurSchools

We need action and investment now for the hope of a kinder, braver, safer future for our children. Our country must do its part to make this world a better place for the generations to come.

Along with Carstarphen’s essay, I also want to share the response of a teacher who taught the 11-year-old student from Texas killed in Nice.

Sean Copeland, 51, of Austin and his son Brodie were among the victims. Here is what Brodie’s fifth grader teacher, Coleen Serfoss, said today about the him:

 

Reader Comments 0

64 comments
Roxanne Dimacale
Roxanne Dimacale

Timely article ! I learned a lot from the details ! Does someone know where my business could possibly get ahold of a blank a form example to use ?

redweather
redweather

Did this blog post ever bring out the nutcases! 

trifecta_
trifecta_

"A weapons cache including guns and grenades was found in the back of his rented truck ..."

 -- news reports

This wasn't the work of a lone individual who suddenly snapped. The attack was obviously planned and coordinated with a group having access to military weaponry.

HotDawg
HotDawg

If you're a felon and non-citizen, you are kicked out of country forever. If your family here wants you, they can follow you out of the country.

If you're here illegally and get caught, you're gone. Why? You broke the law entering our country ILLEGALY.

If you're a violent felon or habitual felon U.S. citizen, you get prison forever. No parole. Bye, bye.

Never to commit another crime in society.

Clean the neighborhoods that way.

No regrets. The scum gets weeded out and the streets are safe for your kids, families, and future generations.

But too many pusswads to do what it takes to become safe.

So quit b'chin' about the crime and crap in your ghetto neighborhoods and elsewhere. You won't do what it takes to actually solve the problem.

Too PC, today.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

So, this woman thinks the solution to our world's problems is spending more money on "educators" who never interact with children?


Yeah, let's keep hiring more and more central office "educators" and keep overworking and overburdening our classroom teachers and principals.  That sounds great.


Hey, I wonder if maybe, just MAYBE, this woman will be willing to spearhead this national initiative she is insisting upon implementing.  A nice cushy job rubbing shoulders with top politicians, even further removed from working with actual children...yeah, this sounds like a wonderful plan.

Astropig
Astropig

@RambleOn84


"Hey, I wonder if maybe, just MAYBE, this woman will be willing to spearhead this national initiative she is insisting upon implementing.  A nice cushy job rubbing shoulders with top politicians, even further removed from working with actual children...yeah, this sounds like a wonderful plan."


Even though you're being sarcastic (I hope), you've stumbled upon the real aim of these itinerant policy "experts". Sad to say,the media that agrees with them gives them unfettered,unquestioned access to a wide audience to peddle their "solutions". 

Derrick Davis
Derrick Davis

Isnt it strange how last week so many white folks were talking about mowing down BLM protestors with their trucks now they are "praying for france."

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

You mean the rioters who were standing in the middle of the interstate and businesses obstructing traffic and harassing and bullying innocent people ?

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

and obstructing traffic and shutting down roads is rioting…duh

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

I guess you missed the videos of the rioters cussing out cops and throwing rocks and bottles at them

Johnny Knight
Johnny Knight

Big difference. The terrorists were blocking traffic in the US and in France the terrorists were driving the truck.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Todays Democrats are a bunch of Chamberlain's....Republicans want a Churchill.

America needs a Churchill.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

It is time the US voters vote to throw out the globalists and appeasers in our Federal Government and elect a wartime President, for we are in a war whether the President wants to admit it or not. The British voters did that exact thing in May 1940 when they forced Parliament to dump Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and replace him with Winston Churchill to win the war.




EdJohnson
EdJohnson

An excerpt…

=======================================

December 14, 2012

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President: ….

Contrary to popular opinion, the many school shootings have not been random acts of violence; they have been normal acts of violence, built into educational systems that encourage win-lose behavior, especially success at the expense of others.  Neither have the many school shootings been senseless violence; in each case, the shooter acted quite rationally in devising and carrying out a plan to “win.”  Thus it is quite silly to continue blaming parents and teachers and otherwise holding them accountable for the damage being done to children by our educational system itself that reflects adults’ win-lose value system, however benignly or well-intentioned. ….

Sincerely,

Ed Johnson

cc: Open distribution

=======================================

How did the President respond?  The essence….

=======================================

July 24, 2013

Mr. Ed Johnson

Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Ed: ….

My Administration continues to make historic investments to strengthen our public education system, including our Race to the Top program—a competition that spurred states to make comprehensive reforms of their public school systems to prepare all students for college and career.  Race to the Top focuses on what is best for our students by engaging state and local leaders and educators in adopting better standards that prepare students for college and career, turning around our lowest-performing schools, developing and rewarding effective teachers and leaders and implementing meaningful assessments to track the progress of our students. ….

Sincerely,

Barrack Obama

============================================================

Now, Obama expresses not a single hint of interest in “contemplation, debate and discussion of preventive strategies, both for the immediate and the long-term.”  On the contrary, his response is nothing more than a promotion of his already-decided solution to impose a behavioristic kind of ideology that, unarguably, calls for planting many seeds of slow-development violence that will germinate long-term, in too many children’s adult lives, and then only to have the root causes of violence misattributed to poor parenting, bad teachers, failing schools, and such, yet again.  Without question, the Atlanta superintendent has demonstrated many times her ideology is also behavioristic, thus hers aligns will with his.  Therefore, for the Atlanta superintendent to appeal to President Obama to see violence through a Nice lens can only be opportunistic and self-serving, hence utterly disgusting.

HotDawg
HotDawg

The Trojan Horse has entered our country via Mexico along with Obama's incompetence and refugee/open border policies.

All for the purpose of eventually gaining more Democrat Plantation Party voters. They don't care whether or not any of these people attempt to assimilate to America. They expect America to assimilate to them.

And the destruction, crime, and terrorism that follows due to Obama's open borders and Hillary's pending increase in refugees (with zero, legitimate, vetting) will destroy America.

Put a halt to ALL immigraton until we can control our borders and appropriately vet, with real, proper identification who we allow in.

Not perfect, but a common sense start.

We are in a war, whether declared or not, and it's time for America to smarten up.

Protect and Defend America FIRST!!

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

I am a cynic by nature, but am surprised at the venon toward Dr. Carstarphen, who clearly has an agenda as well she should. 

She was hired to establish an agenda for Atlanta schools and see it through. 

I don't think it is too soon for anyone anywhere to discuss how to stop the killings. The disaffected and angry male -- whether he targets Columbine, Virginia Tech, Nice, Paris, Aurora, Charleston or Newtown and whether he is hateful or part of a hate group -- is a reality we have to address. 

Vigils and memorials have their place after tragedies, but so must contemplation, debate and discussion of preventive strategies, both for the immediate and the longterm.

I credit Carstarphen for offering up some. 

HotDawg
HotDawg

"....angry male.....is a reality we have to address". Really, Maureen? Is that our pressing need?

Interesting.

Because most normal people realize Radical Terrorist Muslims, illegal immigration, and allowing people into our country that we have no idea of their true identities or background

ARE REALITIES we have to address.

Without borders or enforcement of laws, there is no country.

And not having the money, yet still going in further debt to pay welfare entitlements (many gained with illegal identification)for all the ILLEGAL immigration, much less our own citizens

Is a reality we have to address.

Anchor babies

Are a reality we have to address.

Coming over pregnant and pumping out kid after kid, every 9 months, and getting every taxpayer to pay for their BS welfare

Is a reality we have to address.

Illegal immigrants that have felonies and are still here. Some protected by sanctuary Democrat Plantation Party cities

Is a reality we have to address.

Shall I go on, Maureen?

HotDawg
HotDawg

Boston Marathon, Ft.Hood, Chattanooga, Orlando, the CA massacre, and so on....what is the common denominator?

You know. Come on, say it.

And BTW, there were Radical Terrorist Muslim WOMEN involved directly and/or indirectly in many of these terrorist incidents.

So do you want to address the angry women, also Maureen.

Or would that not neatly fit your narrative?

Starik
Starik

@HotDawg I take it you think you are a normal person?  Hopefully not. Polls indicate, if I recall correctly, that most people want most "illegal" immigrants legalized, and reform for our stupid immigration laws.  We need the immigrants.  We need their labor, and we need their kids to pay the taxes as our native-born population ages.

Starik
Starik

@Point @MaureenDowney Old school didn't work in the old days, and doesn't work now.  Most of Carstarphen's critics seem to be people whose ox is gored, who have an interest in keeping their good jobs in the system as it exists.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@HotDawg Doesn't fit because it doesn't fit. Not sure why you would ignore the shootings that were not linked to any religious agenda but to anger. Why is Newtown any less heinous than Fort Hood? Why is Virginia Tech not as concerning as Chattanooga? 

And why play down the fact that every one of these was a disaffected male? You can't fix a problem if you refuse to see it.

bu22
bu22

@POV1948 @MaureenDowney She is suggesting "best practices" be determined by DC and dictated.  That is a recipe for spreading failure everywhere.

bu22
bu22

@Point @MaureenDowney When you actually read the AJC report, nobody was anywhere near as bad as Atlanta.  You couldn't tell that from their misleading headlines.  But the truth was in the numbers.  The AJC cheating scandal was part of her "reign of terror."

bu22
bu22

@Starik @Point @MaureenDowney No Child left Behind was created because lots of children were being left behind.  Schools can't ignore those sub-groups (poor black, poor Hispanic, special needs) anymore.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Don't assume I don't see heinous acts of those lunatics, you brought up.

But we have lived the last 8 years with a PRESIDENT that refuses to acknowledge Radical Terrorist, Muslims.

As you say...."you can't fix a problem if you refuse to see it".

Also, as you stated you're typically a cynic. I am a cynic of of democrats. Especially the head democrat that refuses to acknowledge the obvious. And all his Plantation Party minions follow suit.

HotDawg
HotDawg

I appreciate the debate, Maureen.

Apparently we will agree to disagree.

Don't take it personally.

Also, you bring up isolated, lunatic incidents in our countries history. Not to minimize

What is happening more often, are not isolated incidents of Radical Terrorist Muslims within our country.

This is a pressing topic to address.

POV1948
POV1948

@MaureenDowney No doubt she believes what she says, and who can argue about the desirability of less violence in society?  Beyond such generalities, she just offers up more government alphabet programs. Vigils and memorials are probably as effective.

Point
Point

@MaureenDowney My main issue with Carstarphen is her negativity with the system.  Every interview or statement from her brings up "the worst testing scandal in history."  She never mentions B. Hall's reign of terror (or that she previously considered Hall a mentor).  The AJC reported they found the same issues in metro areas across the country, but those systems did nothing with this investigative report.  My point is, yes the cheating scandal was a very low point in APS history, but to present it like it only happened here is wrong.  Also, those teachers involved have been let go, new teachers hired in their place.  Does the cheating scandal have to define APS forever?

Consultants are not necessary to correct the problems.  Before we add 6 more layers of mandates and new curriculums, we should give old school a try.  Give teachers pre-NCLB autonomy in the classroom with a manageable class size where they can focus on the whole child instead of a standardized test.  Socialization is a major part of childhood development and why i disagree with K-12 online schools and some homeschool programs that are not involved with a larger group.  

My other issue with Carstarphen is her limited classroom experience.  You absolutely should have to walk in educators' shoes before you attempt to lead them.  

This is only my opinion and doesn't amount to anything.  I only posted because Mrs. Downey was genuinely surprised at the response from some.  The problem isn't the topic, it is the messenger.

Praying for everyone.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaureenDowney


I'm not the least bit surprised at the response.Not a bit of it. People can see the above for what it really is-the ultimate self serving,self righteous crap that people like Ms. Carstarphen feed to people that they arrogantly think are too stupid to think for themselves.


When she can point to APS and say that its the best system that it can be and we've effected a real turnaround of abysmal results,then I might listen to her opine on all of this other stuff that she 's bloviating about.If she's got time to hang around reading the Politico and write stuff like this on a blog,she's not paying attention to the nuts and bolts of real,sustainable improvement in the schools.


We're all cynics now.Nobody trusts their institutions anymore because people like her think so little of us that they feed us nonsense like the above instead of what we hired them for.I'm glad to see above and below that other people are just as fed up as I am with the phoniness of these so called experts.

General Concern
General Concern

@xxxzzz @POV1948 @MaureenDowney Yes, basically this. What is ignored is that the majority of the country does not have a problem, yet somehow, those closest associated with failure presume they are the ones who know what ails society, and how to cure it. Sorry, pound sand. 


Yes, there was the past, but man arose out of barbarism, and yet most areas of the country do quite well, so there are probably some cultural traits that need to get "appropriated", and then best of luck, wish all the success in the world. 


In other words, the venom is because the last-place team in the league just wrote the NFL demanding a league-wide program, because obviously all teams have got to be as screwed up as the writer's is. And by the way, obviously, the last-place team should have a strong hand in devising this new way of teaching football. What could go wrong? 

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@MaureenDowney  The venom toward Carstarphen is due to two things: (1) the banality of her opinion piece above and (2) your repeated attempts to portray her as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@MaureenDowney the fact that you are surprised at the reactions to this attempt to get more money from taxpayers so as to "not let a tragedy go to waste"  says way more about you than about others.


Might be time to open up your mind to valid concerns and opinions of others who aren't part of your "groupthink".

CSpinks
CSpinks

@MaureenDowney Venom is the reactive product of folks who are overwhelmed by a world with whose rate of change they feel incapable of dealing. Regrettably, our public school systems have graduated and forced-out too many such folks.

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc @MaureenDowney


What does it say that Maureen stated that she frankly doesn't believe that the state can turn around failing schools via the OSD,but itenerant experts (who rarely stay in place more than about 3 or 4 years) can parachute into town,solve poverty,failing schools and maybe even heal the sick and the lame before they scram for a bigger job? At least the governor and the state school superintendent are accountable to the voters.Local "miracle workers" like Carstarphen are basically accountable to a bare majority on the local school board and thus are really not accountable to anyone.I guess that's why she feels at liberty to dispense wisdom on the state of the world and society,but can't make sure that the roofs don't leak or that there's enough copy paper to hand out worksheets.She can solve the problem of world conflict on her blog,but can't make sure that there are enough teachers at Carver High to teach a class.


More evidence that the media and the establishment live on a different planet.

POV1948
POV1948

The most predictable thing in the world is that a government bureaucrat will interpret events to mean that his/her personal bailiwick should be the nation's top priority and get vast new sums of $. 

whatcanIsay
whatcanIsay

As long as our black community let Marxist jews like soros and others fund their BLM movements, we are going to have more death.  Wake up..........research who is funding death. 

HotDawg
HotDawg

Please explain what children run over by a terrorist in A truck in Nice, France had to do with APS?

"Especially.black, brown, and poor children" as she said

Until we declare war on Radical Terrorist Muslims, and quit allowing anyone into Europe and America without properly vetting them, the sheeet storm will continue.

The governments, that let them in, have no clue who 99.9% of these people are that they allow in.

If they show any form of ID, it is most likely fake.

And who are they going to check with for proper vetting?

The third world country governments, where they're coming from?

Yeah, right.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

As long as the root cause of these problems is ignored, all the blah, blah, blah and all the government "programs" in the world will not change a thing. The results of the real cause are freely discussed, but the actual cause is the big elephant sitting on the living room sofa that everyone politely ignores, as it may hurt feelings or cause embarrassment, or God forbid, be politically incorrect. 


The ongoing and unimpeded disintegration of the American black family structure, which began with the creation of the welfare state in the sixties, and which remains unacknowledged by those who could make and who could have made a difference (Mr. President) has brought us to this sad juncture. 


When terms like baby mama, baby daddy, baby aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, etc. have to be coined so that black children can understand their relationships to all of the adults in and passing through and passing by their lives - some supportive and responsible, and others not caring a hoot about them - then you have got one huge and dangerous problem on your hands - and it is been going on for decades mow, and is swept under the rug again and again. 


The easiest culprit to name, the default culprit, always the most guilty looking guy in the line up is white racism. Yes. White racism. Now designated to be a problem that will never end, and for which no real progress can ever be made - and with us forever. Why? It is not the real problem, but it is a ready and very convenient excuse, And also a problem that the Democrats never really want to see solved lest they begin to lose their most reliable and consistent block of voters.


Yes, I know, and white racism leads to poverty, inferior education, and unemployment, etc. blah, blah, blah. But these are the results not the causative factors of what is wrong here. 


Strong families are the first building blocks of civilization and human progress - for nations, races, cultures, individuals and the human race as a whole. Strong family structures raise people up. With one generation fully supported and standing on the shoulders of the of the previous generation, families progress. And they grow stronger and stronger and enable family members to grow, thrive, overcome racism, poverty, lack of quality education, and most any thing else you can name. 


Because of this. Teachers have less and less time to teach. Teachers are now being called upon to be the parents of the children they teach, and as black family disintegration crisis progresses, more and more time for parenting is required. And as the Dallas police chief noted, the police are also being faced, in a far more dangerous manner, by this crisis. 


Just like radical Islamic terrorism - if you cannot bring yourself to identify and name the real problem you face - nothing can or will ever be done to fix it.  

speccie
speccie

@Ficklefan 

In the heyday of newspapers, which was also the heyday of the civil rights movement, white racism was a comfortable and familiar blanket to wrap every story up in.

Now it's a convenient and familiar way to hide the truth.

bu22
bu22

@Ficklefan The issues you discussed are hardly confined to Blacks.

slm4343
slm4343

So do ANY of you have a better plan or even a better thought? ALL of you have criticisms but not one of  you offer another solution of helping a home grown recruit before being lured into an arena they can’t get out of.

“Some of us are busy doing things; some of us are busy complaining.” -Debasish Mridha

whatcanIsay
whatcanIsay

@slm4343  Find the people who fund terror of any kind using tech.  And then jail them for life without parole in the worse prison in the world.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Never waste a chance to demand more taxpayer money to pay for the "same approach that hasn't worked (with new names) - but will if we just spend more!!".  


No acknowledgement that the way urban school systems are trying to educate poor kids is the biggest issue - and they need to be blown up and completely replaced.


Of course not - because the biggest priority to the eduacracy is the adults in the system - especially those in the home office - and that would cause them to lose jobs.


What a completely tone deaf attempt.  Its well past time to stop letting this organization and its educrats damage our kids, and put our teachers who care so much into an environment where they can actually make a positive difference.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

Superintendent Carstarphen's tedious, self-serving (she loves Austin, TX)  prose offers cliche as discovery - there are terrorists in our midst. "Think about that", she says. 


She flatters POTUS, attributing Dallas Police Chief Brown's quote to him, then talks shop for a second with her fellow bureaucrat, John King.


Town hall meetings are the bee's knees and poor and minority students need better education.  Then, hashtags anyone?


This isn't an essay, it's a resume.


speccie
speccie

Or the result of mixing political immaturity with too much wine?