Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Make service a component of HOPE

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Fulfill HOPE with service stint

By Michelle Nunn

Georgia’s HOPE scholarship is one of the largest merit-based college scholarship programs in the United States, but it could be so much more. By rewarding both good grades and volunteer service, the HOPE scholarship could teach the rest of the nation how to produce educated, engaged citizens who know how to give back.

By requiring service, the HOPE scholarship would build on the legacy of the G.I. Bill, arguably one of the most successful and popular government programs in U.S. history. By the end of 1956, roughly 2.2 million World War II veterans used G.I. benefits to attend college. Giving veterans an education in return for their service helped create the “greatest generation,” building our country’s unparalleled economic strength and enriching our communities.

We recently increased the academic requirements for the HOPE scholarship in response to our state’s fiscal constraints. Today, high school …

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School funding: Fix budget basics first

By the AJC Editorial Board

The state education chief is right to forcefully note that chronic underfunding of public schools should be fixed before Georgia recreates commission to let state approve, fund charter schools.

Every school system in Georgia is feeling the effects of eight years of budget cuts.

Across metro Atlanta, class sizes have soared, and parents are confronting fourth grades with 34 students. In Cobb, the school board increased class sizes by an average of two students and cut back on library services. DeKalb cut performing arts teachers.

The districts have obeyed edicts from the Gold Dome that schools do more with less. But less has turned into less and less as lawmakers have refused to stanch the cuts.

Lawmakers have to recognize that low-tax states often have education results to match. Spending data from the state Department of Education shows that Georgia is unacceptably disinvesting in education:

● Since 2003, at least $5 billion earned through the …

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School accountability: Charting a new course here

Two recent controversies highlight the need for the General Assembly to reconsider the fiscal checks and balances in place as it expands school choice options for Georgia families. Read the three commentaries and then comment below:

By the AJC Editorial Board

The popularity of magnet schools and the surge in charter schools attest to the fact that many Georgia families want more options than the public school down the road.

But in their haste to expand choice, lawmakers failed to shore up a critical element: Accountability.

In its efforts to provide parents with more choices, the General Assembly created a state commission to approve charter schools over the objections of local boards of education. That effort was derailed by a 2011 state Supreme Court ruling. Voters will be asked to reinstate the commission in November.

Lawmakers also approved a private school tax credit designed to help poor kids in underperforming schools attend private schools.

Using the 2008 Qualified …

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Rejected from Harvard? It’s not about you

By Maureen Downey

The standard college rejection letter announces: “While you are a qualified applicant, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission.”

However, the rejected student often reads a subtext into the letter: “You are not good enough. You are not getting into this amazing college that would have changed your life.”

Allison Singh, 37, understands that reaction. That is how she felt when Princeton rejected her 20 years ago. She nursed her wounds until she realized that she ultimately benefited from the loss.

So, when a high school friend asked her to help her boss’ daughter deal with a rejection by her dream college, Singh composed a long email that began: “I was crushed when I wasn’t accepted to my first-choice college. I felt like a failure and was angry that all of my hard work hadn’t been enough for admission.”

But Singh ended the email with: “But slowly, I gave my school and my classmates a chance, and gave myself a break … I came out of …

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5/14: The homework trap

Moderated by Maureen Downey

Today’s page offers a provocative lineup, starting with a discussion with Erroll B. Davis, who, upon retiring from the job of running Georgia’s colleges, took on the task of revitalizing Atlanta Public Schools. A guest columnist attacks the notion that children who do not complete their homework are lazy, urging a rethinking of how much homework is assigned.

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5/7: Teacher Appreciation Week

Moderated by Maureen Downey

To mark PTA Teacher Appreciation Week, I recall the wonderful teachers in my life and my children’s lives and what they shared in common. (It wasn’t raising test scores.)

In a whimsical essay on stealing a piglet, a guest columnist revisits a universal truth revealed to an angry sow: A teenage boy is a wild creature.

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4/30: College decisions; teaching to the test

Moderated by Maureen Downey

On the eve of the deadline for college decisions, three educators write that high school students should just as seriously consider the challenge of getting the best out of college as they did the challenge of getting into the best college.

In another guest column, a director of undergraduate studies at Georgia State University considers the question: Why not just teach to the test? Finally, on our Get Schooled blog, more than 100 parents recently commented on escalating prom costs.

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4/29: Measuring graduation rates

By the AJC Editorial Board

Under a new, national measurement tool for graduation rates, Georgia’s numbers are shocking in the short-term — dropping from 81 percent to 67 percent — but they reinforce that we need to keep pushing.

There’s value in the 50 states measuring graduation rates using a common formula — a move that had been recommended by the National Governors Association. Doing so will help Georgians more accurately assess how we’re doing in comparison to other states.

Read the rest of what the AJC Editorial Board has to say, along with commentary by state school superintendent John Barge and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Then tell us what you think.

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4/23: Digital education; good news

Moderated by Maureen Downey

Anyone starving for good news in education ought to read today’s guest column about the state’s incredible STAR students, who, along with their teacher mentors, are being honored tonight.

In my weekly column, I write about digital education and whether schools are moving too quickly or slowly into this new era of learning.

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4/9: Giving voice to teachers

Moderated by Maureen Downey

A voice often missing or ignored in education discussions in Georgia is that of our teachers. Today, we give teachers the floor.

A Georgia teacher who taught in the Middle East shares her experiences, good and bad, while a UGA education professor talks about the pressures on classroom teachers from irrational policies that impose one-size-fits-all requirements.

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