A Georgia State University study has confirmed what many children and adults alike have long suspected: Life for many Atlanta Public Schools students is unfair.
The “equity audit” produced on behalf of the Atlanta schools by Georgia State researchers found disparities among schools and regions of the city in everything from spending and teacher quality to playground facilities and PTA funding.
Among the report’s findings:
- Spending: The Grady and North Atlanta clusters spend less per student than the APS average. The Carver, Jackson and Washington clusters spend more per student than average.
- Facilities: Nine of APS’ more than 50 elementary schools do not have playgrounds.
- PTA resources: PTA resources vary widely. PTA membership ranged from 2 members to 800. About 40 percent of schools’ PTAs reported a budget of less than $1,000, but at least one PTA had a budget of more than $170,000
- Teacher experience: Schools in the North Region have the most experienced teachers on average. But within that region’s schools, the most academically challenged students are taught by the least experienced teachers.
- Gifted students: APS identified about 20 percent of students in the East and North regions as gifted; Less than 10 percent of students in the South and West regions and charter schools were identified as gifted.
APS commissioned the report as the start of the process of fixing some of those inequities, and perhaps making life a little more fair for Atlanta children.
By this fall, the school board plans to begin discussing the issue.
Read the main report here. Tell us in the comments, by email or on Twitter: Where do you see the greatest disparities in the Atlanta Public Schools? Which area do you think needs to be fixed first? Does this report reflect what you see in the Atlanta schools?
(You can read the full, 1,396-page report--including data and appendices--here.)