Atlanta Superintendent Says There’s A Lot To Fix

Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a roundtable discussion with reporters today. The APS chief explained how the district plans to address some long-running problems.Broadcast version.

You could call it a “back to basics” approach. Carstarphen said before APS can make academic progress, it has to tackle some systemic issues.

“Simple things that get very simple in our world: master scheduling and scheduling for students, bus routes, things that most districts kind of do like clockwork, but for APS it has been a struggle over the years,” she said.

Carstarphen said that struggle could be the result of high turnover—employees moved through departments so fast, no one established procedures. Some blame that kind of poor oversight for the cheating scandal. Given that, Carstarphen said she was prepared for some degree of mismanagement when she started the job in July.

“I think the story of APS has been shared nationwide, globally, multiple, multiple times,” she said. “So, I wasn’t surprised. I just had no sense of the scope.”

The district has developed a new ‘strategic plan’ and APS will soon become a ‘charter district’. That means schools will have autonomy to make some decisions for themselves. Carstarphen hopes all of that will also help the district get on the right track.

Note of disclosure: WABE’s broadcast license is held by the Atlanta Board of Education.