Parents point to school successes in Atlanta following the release of a state report on cheating.
ATLANTA -- Jean Thomas Cheese can't help but smile when she talks about her oldest child, a recent graduate of North Atlanta High School and product of Atlanta Public Schools.
"My son is going to Dartmouth," she said. "It's very exciting for us."
Cheese was one of a dozen parents from the North Atlanta cluster who met on Sunday to talk about the good things happening in APS, despite a scathing state report on CRCT cheating by 44 elementary and middle schools.
Parent Carlos Torres has a son who attended Sutton Middle School last year after several years in private school.
"I think it gives you a more cross-cultural experience and opens more doors," he said. "At the end of the day, a properly-run public school has more resources than a private school."
"The teachers who have maintained their integrity and have taught our kids should be applauded," said Margaret Long, the mother of two children at Sutton Middle.
Parent Joleen Neel said the International Baccalaureate program at several schools, including E. Rivers Elementary, Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High School, sets APS apart.
"I'm thrilled to be an APS parent," she said. "I know there's a lot of work to be done. A lot of sad things have happened. This is a time for more parents to be involved across the city."
"If you look at the schools with the incredible involvement of parents and an incredible partnership of parents, teachers and principals, it's a huge success story," said Daniel Howard, who has a daughter at Sutton Middle School.
He said technology, not cheating, has helped some schools in Atlanta improve test scores.
Parent Leigh Ann Livaditis, with children at the elementary, middle and high school levels, said the state report could be a good thing for APS.
"I think it's great the light is shining on APS," she said. "And if there's corruption, it will be eliminated, and we will never go through this, again."
"We are part of a larger community," said Lisa Wong Bouldin, who has two children at North Atlanta High School. "My heart goes out to the teachers and families that have been impacted."