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state & regional education

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Whoops! Atlanta reverses decision to open schools Friday

Atlanta Public Schools has changed its decision about re-opening Friday, determining that the roads are still too unsafe to travel.

On Thursday afternoon, the district had announced that it would re-open after two days of being closed.

But after 6:30 p.m., the district released this statement:

“Atlanta Public Schools was hopeful that we would reopen and resume our normal schedule on Friday, January 19. However, due to the continuing unfavorable road conditions in some neighborhoods in the metro Atlanta area which may result in staffing challenges, APS schools and the district administrative offices will remain closed on Friday.”

Back to school Atlanta: when each district reopens for the new year

Enjoy the commute Tuesday.

Metro Atlanta’s more than 800,000 students begin returning to school the next day, and traffic will begin returning to normal as their parents get back to work.

It’ll start first in the outer suburbs. Nearly 90,000 students go back Wednesday, all of them in school districts outside the Interstate 285 “Perimeter” loop.

Then, Thursday, more more than 400,000 additional students return -- nearly 180,000 of them in Georgia’s biggest school district, Gwinnett County Public Schools, and another 112,000 in the Cobb County School District, the next largest.

Both are just outside the Perimeter, but also returning Thursday is the DeKalb County School District, the state’s third largest with 100,000 students. It straddles the eastern half of the Perimeter, where “Spaghetti Junction” at I-85 to and from Gwinnett is a typical source of slow-downs.

Friday will be more of the same. Then, on Monday, Atlanta will be back in full force to defend its reputation as one of the worst U.S. regions for traffic. The rest of the metro core -- Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Public Schools and Fulton County Schools, all at least partly within the Perimeter -- will add another 200,000 students.

Finally, Henry County southeast of the Perimeter comes back the next day, Jan. 9, adding its 42,000 students.


Go to, the subscriber website of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for in-depth reporting on education...

...Related: by the district -- when schools reopen after the New Year:

Atlanta City: Jan. 8

Buford City: Jan. 3

Cherokee County:Jan. 8

Clayton County: Jan. 8

Cobb County: Jan. 4

Coweta County: Jan. 4

Decatur City: Jan. 4

DeKalb County: Jan. 4

Douglas County: Jan. 3

Fayette County: Jan. 3

Forsyth County: Jan. 8

Fulton County: Jan. 8

Gwinnett County: Jan. 4

Henry County: Jan. 9

Marietta City: Jan. 4

Newton County: Jan. 3

Rockdale County: Jan. 3

...The AJC's Ty Tagami keeps you updated on the latest in Georgia education. Follow real journalism with real local impact by subscribing to

The end of summer break: here’s when metro schools re-open

For working parents and just about any commuter, summer can be a lovely thing.

A break from the rigid schedule of pickups and dropoffs at school. A break for family vacations. A (slight) break from gridlock on metro Atlanta’s notorious thoroughfares.

Well, that break is about to end.

Most metro districts return to school by early August, starting with Cobb County on July 31. 

Major road arteries should return to rush hour red on Internet maps by Aug. 7, when some of the biggest districts, including Gwinnett County, re-open their doors.

MORE: Yes, the first day of school really does come earlier every year

By then, school buses and the parents of well over 700,000 students will have resumed their normal driving routines.

As you savor these last weeks of summer bliss (air conditioning assumed), here’s a convenient list of the back-to-school dates for 17 metro districts.

(Click the links to see more 2017-18 calendar details for each school district.)

Atlanta: Aug. 1

Buford: Aug. 3

Clayton County: Aug. 7

Cobb County: July 31

Cherokee County: Aug. 1

Coweta County: Aug. 4

Decatur: Aug. 1

DeKalb County: Aug. 7

Douglas County: Aug. 7

Fayette County: Aug. 7

Forsyth County: Aug. 3

Fulton County: Aug. 7

Gwinnett County: Aug. 7

Henry County: July 31

Marietta: Aug. 3

Newton County: July 28

Rockdale County: July 31

California lawmaker proposes parents get paid time off for kids' school activities

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Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Los Angeles, proposed a bill last week that would give parents paid time off from work to attend school activities for their children, according to KTLA.

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The bill, AB 2405, would allow parents three paid days off a year, or 24 hours.

“Being involved in your child’s education shouldn’t be limited by your family’s income, and it shouldn’t come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills," Gatto said in a news release Thursday.

"You shouldn’t have to be a cast member of the ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ to be involved in your child’s education," he said.

The release cites a 2013 EdSource survey in which 24 percent of parents with incomes of $30,000 or less described themselves as "very involved" in their children's education.

The bill would update California's existing Family-School and Partnership Act.

Passed in 1995, the act currently allows parents, grandparents and guardians to take up to 40 hours of unpaid time off for school activities and related emergencies. The time off is protected.

AB 2405 would require 24 or those hours be paid time off.

"Too many parents are prevented from participating in their children's education due to economic barriers," Gatto said. "Parents shouldn't have to choose between paying the bills and being involved in their child's education."

According to Gatto's spokesman, the legislation should be referred to a committee hearing  next month, followed by a vote on it by the Assembly.

It will go to the state Senate if it passes.

CNN Money reported that, according to the spokesman, small businesses with 25 employees or less would not be required to follow this law, if passed.

School lunches: Here’s what your kids will be eating if this bill passes

A bipartisan Senate agreement expected to be voted on Wednesday will include some changes to the meals your children will be offered at school, and it may be changes that would bring them to the table.

The bill, which is expected to be passed by the full Senate, will offer more flexibility to the nations nearly 100,000 public schools as it eases requirements on the use of whole grains and delays a deadline to cut the level of sodium in school lunches.

The legislation has grown out of complaints by some schools that the requirements for their meals – changed in 2012 with the support of first lady Michelle Obama – are burdensome and that children are not eating the food.

To qualify for federal reimbursements for free and reduced-cost meals, schools are required to meet federal government nutrition guidelines. The guidelines set in 2012 imposed limits on the amount of fats, calories, sugar and sodium that meals could include.

Many schools balked at the standards, saying children would not eat the healthier options. Wednesday’s vote comes after a bill that would have allowed schools to opt out of the program entirely failed in 2014.

Per the bill, the Agriculture Department would be required to revised the whole grain and sodium standards for meals within 90 days of its passage.

Here’s how the legislation would change what school lunchrooms are serving:

Grains: Currently, all grains served in public schools must be whole grains, meaning the food made from grain must have been made using 100 percent of the original grain kernel. The new legislation requires that 80 percent  of the grains used be whole grain or more than half whole grain. (Currently, schools may request waivers from the whole grain requirement.)

Salt: The implementation of stricter standards for the amount of sodium in school meals would be delayed until 2019 under the new legislation. The bill would also fund a study into the benefits of lowering salt levels in school meals.

Waste: The problem of waste is a big one in school lunches. Under the new legislation, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be tasked with coming up with a way to reduce what is not eaten by students – particularly fruits and vegetables. Children are currently required to take the food on the lunch line, but many toss them without touching a bite.

Summer programs: More money would be allocated for summer feeding programs – where school lunchrooms offer meals for children who qualify.

University sends 450 mistaken acceptance brochures

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More than 450 students received acceptance brochures to Texas State University last month only to be told it was a mistake.

University spokesman Jayme Blaschke said that on March 27, an outside vendor accidentally mailed acceptance brochures to hundreds of students with incomplete admissions applications. Some of those students have completed their applications and received formal acceptance letters, but many applications are still incomplete.

The brochure contained orientation and residence hall information.

The university plans on mailing out a letter today to brochure recipients acknowledging the error and clarifying their status.

Blaschke said that a mistake of this nature has not happened before at the university in San Marcos.

“Texas State is reviewing the process to understand how this happened and to ensure it does not happen again,” he said.

In December, John Hopkins University accidentally sent 294 applicants a welcome message even though most of them were denied admission or had been deferred.

In February, Carnegie Mellon University accidentally accepted about 800 applicants into its computer science graduate program. They all had been rejected.

Teacher returns to job after video shows her dragging boy down hallway

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A teacher is back on the job after dragging a 6-year-old boy down a school hallway in Kentucky.

Surveillance video shows teacher Ashley Silas dragging the first grader to the principal’s office. Silas said the boy refused to walk on his own after being disruptive and threatening another student.

Silas was fired after the incident, but she filed an appeal. She told a review board that she wasn’t hurting the boy and that he, “enjoyed” sliding down the hall.

The review board reduced the teacher’s punishment to a suspension.

An attorney for the school said they didn’t want to hire Silas back, but the appeals systems left them no choice. 

APS cheating scandal as the AJC reported it

KISS 104.1 Universoul Circus

KISS 104.1 Pearl Bistro Feb 25

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