In a summary of the nearly 1,400-page report, Superintendent Erroll Davis pointed out some key findings in it.
According to the report, “While numerous sources of data on personnel, students, and facilities are housed within APS, there are no systemic mechanisms for the compilation of these disparate data sources into information tools to guide decision-making within the district.
“There exist substantial variations across schools in the APS system in all of the areas where equity was examined. These include differences in indicators of teacher quality, academic programming, financial resources (particularly enhanced by PTA and foundation funds), playgrounds, student academic achievement, and classroom instruction.”
Regarding the district’s Buckhead schools, all in the North region, Davis said of the report, “The North region has the lowest percent of inexperienced teachers overall, while the South region has roughly 1½ times the percent of inexperienced teachers (11.1 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively). So, from a regional perspective, why are our students in the South region taught by more inexperienced teachers? How are our academically disadvantaged students faring? In the North region, 12 percent of our students who have failed in at least one content area on a state test have inexperienced teachers while in the South region, 22 percent of our academically disadvantaged students have inexperienced teachers.
Please be aware that this is not an indictment of our Teach for America (TFA) corps members. In a separate analysis, we have also found that our TFA teachers produce approximately two more months of student learning than our new, non-TFA members. However, this evidence demonstrates that our neediest students academically may be systemically being assigned to our least experienced teachers, regardless of TFA status.”
According to the report, “students in the Douglass [High] cluster are suspended, on average, 10 times more than in the North Atlanta [High] cluster. The Douglass cluster is also filled with more academically disadvantaged students than our North Atlanta cluster.”
Finally, Davis said of the report, “Almost half of the students in our district did not meet proficiency on at least one content area assessed in state-mandated assessments. Simultaneously, double the number of kids in the North and East regions have been identified as gifted when compared to the South and West with almost 40 percent of the students in Sutton [Middle] and Inman [Middle] identified as gifted. If gifted identification is merely identifying students who are not in poverty, then which of our students are being overlooked. I just ask that someone take a hard look at the criteria with the intent of determining if, in fact, we are identifying all of our gifted students – I am confident that we have gifted students in all parts of our city.”