Monday, April 11, 2011

Breakdown of Atlanta Public School System

APS within Fulton County

             Having talked about the founding, growth, and race relations of Atlanta, I would now like to move on to education issues. In order to later highlight some of these issues, I will first provide a summary of Atlanta Public School System (APS).

Georgia school system divisions

The Atlanta Public School System is located within Fulton County. Most other school systems in Georgia are defined by county lines, but APS is a special case of a city school district within a county school district. This makes it a much smaller area, but with a more concentrated population. APS is made up of 98 schools and is directed by the Atlanta Board of Education. The board is made up of 6 people representing 6 separate geographical districts, and 3 people representing 3 “at large” districts. They are elected for 4 year terms. Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall's term will end this Summer. 

Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall

The student enrollment at APS is currently at 47,944. About 81% of the students are African American, 11% are White, 5% are Hispanic, and the remaining percentage are multiracial or other. What is significant about these numbers is the fact that compared to the rest of the school systems in Georgia, APS has a much higher percentage of African American students and a much lower percentage of White, Hispanic, and Asian. The neighboring counties like Gwinnett and Cobb have especially high numbers of Hispanics. 
Another interesting fact is that of the 98 schools in APS, 91 are Title-I schools. The 7 non Title-I schools where the only schools in the district to pass AYP for the 2009-2010 school year. Compared to the rest of Georgia's school districts, APS has a higher percentage of schools not meeting AYP.

In summary, APS presents the case of an inner city school district where poverty abounds and where the majority of the population is of a minority. This set up naturally has a very large impact on the school system. Research and testing has shown how difficult it is for minority students from lower socio-economic levels to progress as quickly as other students. The majority of APS schools would naturally have more difficulty when it comes to progressing at rapid rates and meeting AYP. These schools are a stark reminder of the both the academic achievement gap and of some of the problems with No Child Left Behind. In the next blog post, I will talk about how No Child Left Behind has affected Atlanta Public Schools. 

Sources: Georgia Department of Education 

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