Atlanta school chief: APS has to spend money to make up for deep mistakes of past

APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks to parents last month in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

I sat down with Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen for a long video interview on the challenges her district faces. AJC multimedia journalist Erica Hernandez broke the interview into nine short segments. (Two to three minutes.)

This is one of the final segments. It’s among the most compelling and far-reaching.

Carstarphen talks about the importance of quality early childhood learning, which she says could be a “game changer” for Atlanta. She discusses the mistakes Atlanta made in its reading programs and how those failures, compounded with the school readiness problem, have created a crisis.

“Kids aren’t coming in ready and we can’t get them ready,” she says in the interview below. “And, by the time they get to third grade in some of our clusters, more than half, 90 percent of children in grades 3, 4 and 5, aren’t reading at a proficient level. When you look across the entire system…it’s 9,000 elementary kids,” she said.

Carstarphen addresses the contention that shoring up high-poverty schools in Atlanta comes at the expense of middle-class students and schools, saying the city has more resources than any place she’s ever worked.

But the superintendent returns to a theme that runs through her entire interview: Does the community have the will to invest in its public schools?


Here is a link to the first segment.

Link to the second segment.

Link to the third segment.

Link to the fourth segment.

Link to the fifth segment.

Link to the sixth and seventh segment.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

63 comments
Quinton McGill
Quinton McGill

Make sure all school in Georgia middle school and high school where uniform \U0001f94b

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

What does Carstarphen propose to do about under-educated students still in APS and receiving social promotions each year?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

 This literacy problem, described in this article, ultimately was caused by man's inhumanity to man when slavery and Jim Crow were acceptable in this nation legally.  This is the root cause of lack of literacy more than its being the result of a lack of personal responsibility or intelligence.


Because this lack of literacy has historical roots, we would be wise, as a community, to recognize that this societal problem must be tackled and corrected, together, by rolling up our  collective sleeves and helping other human beings trapped in poverty to improve the quality of their lives as rapidly as possible, and by sharing knowledge, specifically, of HOW to accomplish this task to balance the scales of historical and racial injustice.  Blaming is counterproductive and useless.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued 154 years ago and the Civil War ended 152 years ago.

LBJ's Civil Rights Act was passed 53 years and trillions of dollars ago.

Black society continues to erode.

It's high time you look for other reasons.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I was impressed with the instructional knowledge of Superintendent Carstarphen regarding the building of literacy and instructional effectiveness across the APS, especially in impoverished areas of Atlanta (and, by implication, impoverished areas throughout Georgia).


I have advocated for over 20 years for there being a strong literacy connection between school personnel and pediatricians, from the moment of a child's birth onward, to insure the development of literacy to its optimum degree when students begin kindergarten.


In that way, students would not be in third grade not being able to know the sounds of the letters of the alphabet so that they would have phonetic skills as a resource, and not having more advanced vocabulary development through knowledge of sight words and knowledge of how to use context clues effectively.  Thus, if pediatric/teacher connections happened at birth, more students would be on grade level proficiency instead of behind in that expectation.


In addition, reading programs never should have been removed for the APS as Carstarphen expressed.  I agreed with her in every instructional point she made in this segment. 

Frank Mutz
Frank Mutz

Dr. Meria Joel Carstarphen is the best Superintendant of APS ever.

casper09
casper09

the super is missing a very important point these kids parents are not getting these kids prepared as a  taxpayer iam tired of paying the amount of taxes we all pay and be told to solve every problem they need more monie i don't think so get rid of some the positions that we pay folks that have nothing to do with educating our kids i think this the super is way over paid these folks are not educators they are more like politicians

PrettDee
PrettDee

After third grade is when students typically begin to fail in school.  Until  parents are required to attend school conferences and maintain  more vital and consistent participation in their child's learning throughout the elementary grades, student test  performances  won't rise. And sadly, here lately......it's all about the test scores.

godoggo
godoggo

@PrettDee /    Here here....i'd support that.  Hail, i'd Volunteer.  I was in my Son's class once or twice volunteering a week and Working full time.  His Mom worked also, but was gone Most of the time with her Corporate job.  I also Coached baseball, basketball and soccer for 6 years....it was hard, but we made it work.  

The Super has got to start somewhere....bring in Teachers from Private and Successful public schools and get input (not just Atlanta)....then implement.  

But the parents CANNOT expect the 'Pilot Program' do it on there own.  Instill projects that the parents can do with their kids.  Kids just want to know you Care!!!

You can tell, this is a Sensitive subject for me : )


E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is trying to

do the right thing, and find a way to get  more

students to be successful. I think Superintendent

Carstarphen will probably have to start a limited

pilot program to show its effectiveness before 

getting support from tax payers (I'm not sure if

the public will is there for a property tax increase.)



OriginalProf
OriginalProf

Most of the comments below predictably fall into the same irrelevant categories: decline of two-parent families; the poverty of African-American/Hispanic families which doom APS children, so why spend more $$ to help them; the need to prevent poor families from having more children. Absolutely pointless and, in the last case, illegal.

godoggo
godoggo

@OriginalProf /  And yet the left will continue to Deny anything that in ANYWAY Proves the Truth unconditionally....but always looks for a Handout. 

We have caps on Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid....WHY in God's name don't we REEL In and place an Absolute Cap on welfare aid amts.  I mean Reeeeel in!!

If you sent these sots that are habitually attached to the teats of the gubment to Haiti for a year in order to receive any Aid, they'd be BEGGING to come home and apply themselves.

What are they going to do once Mac-Donalds and fastfood become automated??

godoggo
godoggo

@OriginalProf /  And yet the left will continue to Deny anything that in ANYWAY Proves the Truth unconditionally....but always looks for a Handout. 

We have caps on Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid....WHY in God's name don't we REEL In and place an Absolute Cap on welfare aid amts.  I mean Reeeeel in!!

If you sent these sots that are habitually attached to the teats of the gubment to Haiti for a year in order to receive any Aid, they'd be BEGGING to come home and apply themselves.

What are they going to do once Mac-Donalds and fastfood become automated?

PrettDee
PrettDee

@godoggo @OriginalProf Believe it or not, you may one day find yourself residing in Haiti or some other place that you didn't anticipate. Stop being so mean-spirited and offer constructive advice......or none at all.

godoggo
godoggo

@PrettDee  /  Actually Mr. Presumptuous...i've done my 'fair share' of volunteering in the City of Atlanta and in 3rd World environments....and i Realize the most precious item i have is my Passort to come home.  

Mean spirited, Nahh....I am an Eternal optimist, but a Realist.  Obviously the same ole, same ole ain't working....but most individuals are afraid to face the truth.  

And i did offer ideas up above, and would gladly volunteer....

Cheryl Pharr
Cheryl Pharr

glad to see that she is in favor of reparations.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

"“Kids aren’t coming in ready and we can’t get them ready,” she says in the interview below. “And, by the time they get to third grade in some of our clusters, more than half, 90 percent of children in grades 3, 4 and 5, aren’t reading at a proficient level."


As others have pointed out, the kids coming into school below level is a society problem, one which the politically correct leftists cannot seem to comprehend (i.e., quit paying dullards to procreate).  The other issue - kids at grades 3 &4 who are below proficient - the answer is very simple -- DON"t  PROMOTE KIDS TO THE NEXT GRADE IF THEY CANNOT DO THE WORK IN THEIR CURRENT GRADE.


But no, the politically correct, equal outcomes bunch will once again strap on their blinders and proclaim that we must spend tens of millions of dollars on some newfangled program so just give us 4-5 years and you will see the results -- honest.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

And when I say "Paying dullards to procreate", let's look at the numbers:

Total state and federal expenditures for "needs based" welfare programs is about $1.2 TRILLION per year.  Blacks and hispanics are fairly equal with about 54% of blacks and 54% of hispanics with their snouts in the public welfare trough.  For households with children, those numbers escalate to 81% and 76% respectively.


Mandatory birth control for welfare recipients would do more to break this cycle of dependency than anything else.  But, since it would disproportionately impact black and hispanic households, the politically correct pathogens would fight it tooth and nail.

godoggo
godoggo

@OriginalProf @Lee_CPA2 Than you can pay More than your fair share Prof.  Ever read 'the Bellcurve'....im sure that was all nonsense also ?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Lee_CPA2 

Ever hear of Nazi Germany and its eugenics program to produce more Aryans?

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@OriginalProf @Lee_CPA2

No.  Sounds like a wonderful program.  Tell me more!   LOL


"Ever hear of Nazi, blah, blah, blah?"   Typical response.  Either call someone a "racist" or a "Nazi" or a "fascist" in the hopes that they will not have to explain why the government should take food off my family's table in order to facilitate irresponsible behavior by the welfare parasites?



godoggo
godoggo

@PrettDee

Bigot: bi'get, noun. def, a person Winning an argument with a Liberal.

 * Whatever Dee....how often do you pull your head out of the sand to breathe?

Beach Bound2020
Beach Bound2020

The comments posted reflect an archaic mindset and one that despite good intentions will not get us any improvement in homes and student achievement for students in disparate situations.  No amount of rhetoric will change the structure of not just the African-American family structure, but the American family structure. The ship has sailed. As a society we no longer see it essential to have a two parent family and for that to be the crux of your solution is not only unrealistic, but unlikely to solve the issues at hand.


Dr. Carstarphen is on point with getting these parents and children at birth. Schools cannot wait 3-4 years to see a student and work miracles. Resources must be front-ended to assure proper intellectual development. Her vision of community schools ready to provide resources to families from the time a child is born is already showing success in other urban areas.


Don't want to front end the expenses? Okay, keep on complaining and we can just wait and pay for continued teenage pregnancies, mass incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and every other documented outcome of low education in all of America.This is not just an African-American problem - see almost all of the rust belt and other rural areas to understand that poor learning impacts every race and ethnicity. We tend to think this is just a black issue in Atlanta because we are a predominately black city, but that is so near sighted.


This approach takes so much faith. Money spent birth-5 cannot be tested or measured for positive impact.  However, there are now enough areas with this approach to begin to show progress.  I hope tax payers in Atlanta will take time to consider her ideas as at least they are realistic and aligned to what is currently showing success for students of poverty.

godoggo
godoggo

@Lee_CPA2 @Beach Bound2020 EggXactly Lee.....She/He is basically saying we should create a National Daycare for underprivleiged parents who made POOR decisions and Want to 'Stick It' to the Citizens that made well thought out and logical decisions.   

She said, "  No amount of rhetoric will change the structure of not just the African-American family structure, but the American family structure"   Then that's Sad, because it has been show to show it is a swirl of Failure and will continue to be, ie AA kids in ChiRaque facebooking a Rape on facebook....the New Normal !!

But, what about my Son's AA friends in private schools that have Flourished ??  And are going on to do great things....I pity and your kind, and will possible toss you a prayer.  

E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum

@Lee_CPA2 @Beach Bound2020

What is the difference between a subsidy

and welfare in your eyes? For example,did Cobb County give the Atlanta Braves a

subsidy, or welfare to help the Braves 

build their new stadium ? 


PrettDee
PrettDee

@E Pluribus Unum @Lee_CPA2 @Beach Bound2020 Let's not forget the government subsidies paid to those workers who continue  to build  airplanes and ammo that the US will never use......or those politicians who remain in office for 40 or 50 years with terrific health insurance.

godoggo
godoggo

@PrettDee /  FINALLY....something we can Agree on.  Term limits.....and the airplanes and Alot of the ammo is purchased by foreign nations along with the airplanes.  

Can't stand career politicians, especially ones that are lawyers : /

godoggo
godoggo

@E Pluribus Unum   Im with ya....as long as it is sensible and well thought.....and also goes to woman for start-ups : )

godoggo
godoggo

I Don't get it...but i do.  We literally have created and lived in INSANITY in Atlanta with APS for Most of the past 20 years.  

Im not laying this on either political party because there is plenty of blame to toss...but a Majority has to sit on the lap of the Left and Dems in this City for the habitual and daily Malfeasance of elected and appointed officials.  

I know it 'can' take a village....but im Over the PC rhetoric.  When in Gods name will these parents of single children Realize it is Not the duty of every other person in Atlanta to rear your kids??  Im tired of paying 'hush hush' cost in the millions of dollars of my taxes for after school 'day care' for parents who couldn't keep their legs closed and made instant gratification decisions that have LIFELONG effects, ie Children??  And Now we have 'school daycare' for students that couldn't keep their legs closed.  *Who is/are Rearing these kids??  

We need solid, bonafied, vetted Teaching and Behavioral mechanisms for these kids.  Solid.  And APS needs to pull their heads out of the Sand and life of Denial.  When you go into a primarily minority student public school in the City of Atlanta, the behavior is a 179 degree  of that than a public School in Buckhead.   The students are Overwhelmingly loud, and i mean LOUD.  Misbehavior is expected.  Risqué behavior is expected.  Fighting is a daily, and expected occurance for being 'disrespected'.  Did i say Loud?  Classroom participation is usually looked at as trying to be like 'whitey'....Anyone that tries to apply diligence to their classwork is usually discounted by their peers.  There is no sense of 'Normal and Socially' acceptable public behavior.  Did i say Loud?  And the T E S T schools show that.  This is a Direct correlation in their behavior, attitude, and lawlessness and disrespect for the Teacher and Administrators.  But, the Left, parents and administrators keep their heads in the sand....and want to keep their constituents on the 'plantation mindset' and just throw dollars at habitual failure.

And don't even get me started on Buckheads private schools.....any occurance of any of that behavior and you are GONE.  Since they work, Why cannot those rules apply to public schools ??  Because it's not PC, even though some of those kids graduate and go onto Ivy League Schools, Stanford, GT, University of Chicago, etc.....

We will continue to live and have this toilet bowl of swirl in our Public Schools until their mindsets change.....and we'll have Another Super in 3 years with the Same Old Problems.  Did i say their classrooms were LOUD?  If i acted like that when i attended my public school in Florida, my arse would have been sore from the Dean, i'd have run 5 miles after my 2.5 hr. football practice then got paddled by my Coach, and i hadn't even of gotten home to face BOTH my parents.  And yet i end up putting myself through College working 2 jobs, working hard, rearing successful kis, and living in the Top 5%, 

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@godoggo “If i acted like that when i attended my public school in Florida, my arse would have been sore from the Dean, i'd have run 5 miles after my 2.5 hr. football practice then got paddled by my Coach, and i hadn't even of gotten home to face BOTH my parents.  And yet i end up putting myself through College working 2 jobs, working hard, rearing successful kis, and living in the Top 5%,” (sic)

Thanks for making clear that violence in your life taught you to believe you now have the right to cast everybody who failed to turn out like you the bane of your ire.

Yup, violence begets violence.  A great exemplar, you are, I’d say.

godoggo
godoggo

@EdJohnson  / Violence No....i knew there were consequences if i misbehaved.  And ironically, i STILL talk on the phone with my 2 of my HS Teachers today we were that close.  It's funny, that kids today, Don't have consequences, and if so, if may be exposing them to limited wifi.  We coddle them too much....

And how does 'violence beget violence in this situation ?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Not to worry about Ms. Carstarphen, she is swimming  against the tide and will bolt to another job where there's hope to really make some headway in changing kids lives.

godoggo
godoggo

@OriginalProf @Infraredguy /  Yeah Prof...it's the 'Tide of Reality' that you and your kind refuse to face.  You can just continue to enjoy living on that plantation mindset of excepted failure....

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Correction:  I agree with the instructional ideas that Dr. Carstarphen expressed in this "segment" of her interview with Maureen Downey, not with everything in her entire "interview," which has been divided into various segments.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

Now Maureen, we've discussed this before.  This is a generational problem and unless and until there is a change in the "One Parent Household", nothing and I mean NOTHING will ever change.  The solution is not spending more money on the APS Schools, that's just throwing money down the toilet.


The best solution and, I think the only solution is to split this dysfunctional school system into two parts.  NAPS and SAPS.  That way, more resources can be spent on the part that is the problem part.  And before someone says, that's not legal, let me say that "anything can be done if there is a will to get it done". Tell me, has anything, anything at all positive come out of the "cheating scandal" that can be carried forward to help achieve a good, positive experience for ALL students in the APS????

Beach Bound2020
Beach Bound2020

@An American Patriot The State Constitution does not allow for the creation of any additional school districts in Georgia.  There would need to be a state constitutional change before your idea could be implemented.  Refer to the recent new city creations and the lack of them being able to create "city" schools.  They can incorporate almost any public service into a new city but schools.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

@Beach Bound2020 @An American Patriot Again, "anything can be done if there is will enough to do it".  And, Lee_CPA2, Fulton County is a perfect example of a county school system "that should be split into two systems.  This is one issue that we should all get around and be stuck together like glue.  This is not a racial issue, this a an issue of preparing our young students and future leaders of our city, county, state and nation to carry on for generations to have a better life for themselves.  Don't we owe that to children we are responsible for bringing into this world.  Let's face it, the APS has failed, is failing now and will in all probability fail in the future if we don't do something radical NOW.  And that's the truth.

Alt AJC
Alt AJC

No amount of public expenditure can make up for not having two parents in the home. Nor should working families be asked to pay higher taxes in forlorn attempts to do so. 

But don't expect bureaucrats or liberal journalists to admit that.

Briet70
Briet70

So what's your solution?

Alt AJC
Alt AJC

@Briet70 

Rather than paying single mothers to have even more children, why not pay them to be sterilized?

A $3,000 gift card for any interested single mother, 20-25 years of age. Money they can spend any way they choose.

Adjust the numbers as necessary.

Alt AJC
Alt AJC

@EdJohnson 

You hate money? Then voluntarily pay more taxes on April 15th,

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Alt AJC @EdJohnson Sorry, deflection doen't work on me.  Still, why would you assume I have not already paid my taxes, voluntarily, and did so in support of public education and other public goods?


How do you think I-85 will get repaired?  My taxes going to benefit your travel.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Alt AJC @EdJohnson Why would I or any sane person want to help you promote the inane thinking of monetizing eugenics?  To get people to choose to sterilize themselves?


For folks like you, the solution always boils down to money.  Why?

Alt AJC
Alt AJC

@PrettDee 

No Occupy Wall Street rally to go to this evening, Snowflake? 

(And could you even find Wall Street on a map?)