When she arrived from Austin last year, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen inherited a system reeling from a scandal of historic proportions. With the cheating trial finally over, she’s begun the slow process of raising graduation rates from 58.6 percent (now 59.1 percent) in a 50,000- student school system rife with economic inequality.
Superintendent Maria Carstarphen and APS staff face two challenges: implementing real improvements in an underperforming system and finding ways to help students harmed by systematic cheating of years past
A decade ago, stellar turnarounds earned APS national praise. But now—in the wake of a cheating scandal that resulted in a trial, convictions, and TV footage of former educators handcuffed and headed for jail—gains at APS seem to come with an asterisk: Are they too good to be true?
Plus, misappropriated street art, a foul-ball suit against the Braves, and the mayor’s Twitter blocks.
Hall belonged to a movement of reformers who believed that the values of the marketplace could resuscitate public education. She approached the job like a business executive: she courted philanthropists, set accountability measures, and created performance objectives that were more rigorous than those required by No Child Left Behind, which became law in 2002. When a school met its targets, all employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria staff, received up to two thousand dollars. She linked teacher evaluations to test scores and warned principals that they’d be fired if they didn’t meet targets within three years. Eventually, ninety per cent were replaced. She repeated the mantra “No exceptions and no excuses.”