The state of the Atlanta Public Schools is “moving in the right direction,” Supt. Erroll B. Davis Jr., told education, civic and business leaders in his annual and last address on Aug. 13 at The Carter Center.

Davis made an upbeat and aspirational presentation to the group as he goes into his last year as superintendent. He was appointed on July 1, 2011 in the wake of the school system’s test cheating scandal which left 35 teachers and former APS Supt. Beverly Hall indicted and awaiting trial later this year.

Davis, a former corporate executive and chancellor of the University System of Georgia, has brought a sense of stability to the system and put the focus back on student achievement. Amid the state and national controversy over national student competency standards, Davis vowed that APS will not step back from implementing a common core curriculum for APS students.

“We will not retreat,” he said. He said he agrees with federal guidelines for student learning. He said it’s not about teaching the same thing the same way, but enabling students to have a basic level of learning that will enable them ” to evaluate evidence and come to an independent judgment” as they proceed in life.

Noting this year’s theme of “honoring our legacy, building our future,” Davis paid tribute several people and groups throughout his presentation, including thanking Emmett Johnson for his 16 years of service, or 10 percent of the history of the 141-year-old system. Johnson is not seeking re-election.

Davis concluded his presentation by responding to questions from members of the audience.

ADW Publisher M. Alexis Scott facilitated the Q&A.

(Photo: Atlanta Public Schools Supt. Erroll B. Davis, Jr. responds to a question about the state of the schools from facilitator ADW Publisher M. Alexis Scott. Photo By Kimberly Willis Green)

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