Friday, May 25, 2007

Good News - Education Success in Atlanta

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that over the past 3 years, Atlanta's Carver High School has undergone a complete transformation. Once it was one of the worst high schools in the state (with the lowest average SAT scores), it is now a vibrant model learning environment that will soon be duplicated throughout the city.

The article continues:
But the New Schools at Carver, as the campus is now called, has changed all that. By breaking up the traditional campus into five smaller schools — each with its own student body, curriculum, principal and faculty — education officials say they've finally broken down the stubborn pattern of truancy, disrespect and low aspirations.

Walking around Carver's serene brick campus on a grassy hilltop south of downtown Atlanta feels like visiting a small college. Separate buildings are devoted to different academic pursuits: One for the School of the Arts and the School of Health Sciences & Research, another for the Early College and School of Technology, and a third for the School of Entrepreneurship, also known as the Senior Academy.

Just one year after the conversion, Carver's graduation rate soared from a paltry 36 percent to a not-too-shabby 61 percent. And next Thursday, Crawford hopes nearly all of her seniors will graduate.

By the 2009-10 school year, all of the city's high schools will either be broken up in like fashion or will develop "small learning communities" where teams of teachers are assigned to a set group of students, similar to a strategy commonly used in middle school. Hall's ultimate goal? To lift the system's graduation rate from about 70 percent to 90 percent, and ensure that Atlanta students are well-prepared for their next step in life.

plez sez: i have been engaged in a conversation concerning the plight of education for our Black boys with Eddie Griffin via e-mail and his blog site (baby moses 1, baby moses 2, baby moses 3, baby moses 4, and baby moses 5). he's been kicking around ideas as to how this dilemma can be corrected. i feel that this move by the Atlanta Public Schools is one positive step in the right direction.

i live in DeKalb County, Georgia (Atlanta's neighboring county) and our overcrowded school system which suffers from many of the maladies that have afflicted the Atlanta Public School System (apathy, low expectations, low test scores, truancy, etc.) in the past could be addressed by this "new school" solution.

11 comments:

Christopher Chambers said...

That one school was a more defined experiment. In your county, you're talking about thousands of students. The school hierarchy, the educational consulting industry, the right wingers in the government, the left wing/afrocentric folks in the community,blah blah...they are all nothign compared to the general nihilism of even some middle class black parents who do not value the discipline and education of their children. Having an SUV and a 6K sq ft house (this is identical to the one next door, and on and on in some of these burbs) is more important. Sorry to sound so cynical, but day-um, what else can you do?

CapCity said...

I'm glad to hear some good news on the education "front".
Brother Chambers - I often mumble the line from Desiderata to myself: "in spite of all the sham, drudgery & broken dreams...it is STILL a beautiful world."
Wonderful things are happening amidst the chaos. Stay Strong!
Thanx again for posting the good news, Plez!

CapCity said...

PS - thanks for coming thru my spot. glad u liked the poem:-). Have a wonderful Mem.Wkend!

plez... said...

chris,
you've gotten my county pegged (along with our over 3,000 graduating seniors this weekend)... it is EXACTLY as you've written it: the lack of discipline and the overemphasis of the parents on material possessions over education.

cap,
i always look forward to your presence. thanks for coming by.

Exodus Mentality said...

Plez the first place I ever lived was about 300 yards from Carver High. This was back in 1967 and the neighborhood, which was not nice even then, degenerated into an urban hellhole in less than 20 years. In the late 80's and early 90's Carver Homes was one of the worst areas in the country as far as drugs and violence.

What happened since then? The property values went to the basement. This is an area less than two miles from downtown Atlanta. And then gentrification set in. My grandmother still lives a couple of miles from Carver. I have seen the neighborhood change in demographics and what that change has engendered is a model educational facility like Carver. At first glance, this would not appear to be a bad thing. Except you would have to realize that Carver is no longer serving the same population that it used to serve. The poor Black residents of that area have to a large extent been displaced. So who will ultimately receive the benefits of this "new school solution".

Keith said...

I'm glad to hear about something going well in black education. Maybe I should add Atlanta to my list of possible relocation states for my family.

Mega Rich said...

Just swinging thru. Atlanta is my old stompin grounds. There are times that I miss that city, but the wife doesn't like it there. Sure do hate that.

Glad to see things are looking up in the ATL.

plez... said...

exodus,
Carver High (Carver Homes) like most projects in atlanta, was decimated by the crack epidemic of the 80's & 90's. with the '96 Olympics came a renewed emphasis on inner city neighborhoods and many of the "old projects" were destroyed making way for "mixed use" (i.e. mixed demographics) housing... to be honest, i'm not sure where the residents of the old projects were moved?

keith,
if you haven't been to the ATL in the last 10-20 years, then you are definitely missing something. i have traveled all over this great country and there is no other place where i would want to raise my daughter than here in Atlanta!

rich,
i came down here to go to college in the early 80's and never left! why doesn't your wife like the ATL?!? don't tell me that she's been drinking that Haterade? *smile*

Eddie G. Griffin said...

I give Atlanta an A for effort in innovation. We are finding that one shoe does not fit all in education, that students have individualized needs and attention. This is why I emphasize developing a child's natural (innate) talents and skills of a child. This approach cuts across demographics.

plez... said...

eddie,
it would be a perfect world if we could all develop our innate talents at an early age, but alas that is quite a daunting task. how does one realize a child's natural talents? at what age do we begin to ferret out those who have innate communication skills versus mathematical skills versus musical skills versus athletic skills?

i'd be curious to know if there is any research that supports innate versus learned skills. once again, in a perfect world, Little Johnny would be given piano lessons instead of a football playbook, if those innate skills could be identified.

nikki said...

i'm soooo glad to see this kind of success in the atlanta public school system.

i have a question after reading the most recent comments. is it more important to cultivate natural talents than it is to discover what the child likes to do and cultivate THAT? i mean, there are plenty of folk out there great at math, but that doesn't mean they wanna be mathmeticians.