Georgia earns a 7th place ranking. Nice to see us up there with New York and Massachusetts for a change

The “Quality Counts” report issued each year by Education Week is considered a fair and comprehensive assessment of state efforts in education, so we have to applaud Georgia’s 7th place ranking.

Georgia earned a grade of B- or 79.7.

It is a nice change to view a color-coded map of the United States and see Georgia sharing a hue with Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey — three states known for their commitment to and their investment in education.

Georgia earns its highest marks for its standards — which I have to note were put in place under Kathy Cox, who often takes the rap for the math program. Georgia gets an A- for both its standards and school accountability. Under a category called “Transitions and Alignment,” it earns a bona fide A for early childhood education and economy and workforce.

However, Georgia gets an F in its most public of duties — status of k-12 achievement. The state also gets a D- for its spending.

The disparity in our grades raises questions: We have standards that are held up as among the nation’s best by an objective and respected source, yet we have achievement results that are ranked among the nation’s worst. Why?

Where is the disconnect? What are we doing wrong?

Here is the state DOE release:

Georgia ranks 7th in the nation for overall education quality, according to an Education Week report released today. The annual “Quality Counts” report is an investigation of key education outcomes that provides ranks and grades for each state based on their commitment to improve educational policies and practices. This year’s report gave Georgia a grade of B-. Last year, Georgia ranked 8th among all states.

“We are very pleased with the overall marks that Education Week gave Georgia for its commitment to education,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “While there is still plenty of work to do to improve education in Georgia, it’s good to see others recognizing some of the improvements that are happening in our state through the extraordinary work of our students, teachers, and leaders.”

Highlights from the Education Week Report

Areas of Continual Strengths

Ranking 6th and earning a letter grade of B+, Georgia remains a national example of best practices in the area of Transition and Alignment (which addresses the articulations between early childhood education, K-12 education, and postsecondary institutions). Additionally, Georgia remained in the top 10 of all states for the second straight year in the development of a rigorous and appropriate accountability system for teachers, along with providing teachers with incentives for certification and performance and enhancing building-level capacity and support. Finally, Georgia received an A- for our Standards, Assessment, and Accountability policies and programs. Georgia is only one of ten states to have alignment between standards and assessment in the area of Social Studies and is a national leader in portfolio assessments for students.

Areas of Growth

Using the metrics within the “Quality Counts” survey, Georgia saw tremendous growth in a number of student achievement indicators during the 2010-2011 year. In particular, Georgia experienced the 4th largest reduction in the 8th Grade Poverty Gap Closure in mathematics. Additionally, Georgia had the 6th largest scale score gains on the NAEP assessment for 4th grade Reading. Finally, Georgia ranked 4th in the Change in AP Scores category which examines the change in high scores per 100 students between 2000 and 2010. Georgia also ranked 9th in the scores of 3 or higher for each 100 students on the AP tests, cementing Georgia’s reputation as a national leader in AP testing and AP achievement.

Interesting Findings

Despite the high ranking, Georgia ranks 24th in the overall School Finance Analysis and 38th in the adjustment per-pupil expenditures. This illustrates that while Georgia may not rank highly in the amount it spends per child, our education leaders and teachers are doing an extremely effective job at content delivery and ensuring students have the tools to succeed.

“This report demonstrates that improving education for Georgia’s students is more than evaluating a single test score,” said Superintendent Barge. “We will continue to focus on raising the quality of education so our students are ultimately prepared for college and careers.”

And here is what Ed Week itself released about its report:

Against this backdrop, the nation and many states face continuing challenges in delivering a high-quality education to all students, according to Quality Counts, the annual report card published by Education Week. The nation receives a C when graded across the six distinct areas of policy and performance tracked by the report, the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. For the fourth year in a row, Maryland earns honors as the top-ranked state, posting the nation’s highest overall grade, a B-plus. Perennial strong finishers Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia follow close behind, each receiving a B. Nearly half the states, however, receive grades of C or lower.

“Dating back at least to the Sputnik era and the Space Race, we’ve been warned that America’s schools do not measure up favorably on an international yardstick,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week. “Despite some bright spots over the years, Americans remain rightly concerned that the nation’s pace of improvement is simply too slow, at a time when our global peers and competitors may be rocketing ahead.”

New findings from the report’s annual Chance-for-Success Index show the country struggling to provide opportunities to succeed and many states lagging far behind the national leaders. The U.S. as a whole receives a C-plus on the index. For the fifth year running, Massachusetts earns the only A and remains at the top of the national rankings, followed closely by New Hampshire and New Jersey, each posting grades of A-minus.

On the report’s K-12 Achievement Index, which evaluates overall public school performance, the nation again posts lackluster results, with the average state receiving a C-minus. Massachusetts earns a B and emerges as the top-achieving state this year, with New Jersey and Maryland finishing second and third, respectively. A wide gulf separates the leaders from the rest of the pack; three states—Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia—and the District of Columbia receive grades of F on the index.

States post their highest scores for policies related to standards, assessments, and school accountability. The nation earns a B in this year’s report, with 12 states—led by Indiana—receiving an A and nine with an A-minus. This strong showing reflects the legacies of standards-based reforms dating back to the 1990s, the decade-old No Child Left Behind Act, and, more recently, stimulus-era programs and the common-standards movement.

Quality Counts 2012 also features new results for its Teaching Profession category, where the U.S. earns a C. Arkansas and South Carolina each earn a B-plus, the highest grade awarded this year. Scores for the nation and most states have dropped in the past two years, partly due to the economic impacts of the recession. However, the EPE Research Center’s Pay-Parity Index shows that the national pay gap between teachers and other comparable workers has narrowed. Teachers now earn about 94 cents for every dollar earned in similar occupations nationwide.

Quality Counts 2012: The Global Challenge—Education in a Competitive World takes a critical look at the nation’s place among the world’s public education systems, with an eye toward providing policymakers with perspective on effective reform strategies here and abroad that have gained traction and may be replicable. The report also features commentaries penned by educational leaders from around the globe—Byong-man Ahn of South Korea, England’s Sir Michael Barber, Pasi Sahlberg sharing Finland’s lessons, and Margaret Spellings from the United States.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

134 comments Add your comment


January 12th, 2012
10:40 am

I think this is one for The Great Myth De-bunker. The article starts out talking about an Election Year. Then we look at the Georgia results on the state chart which are touted as keeping company with certain states but then we look at Florida which scored 3 tenths of 1 % lower than Georgia and they fall out of grace with the Blue colored states. I think the most telling stat would be Adult Outcomes. Oh, and that wonderful Kathy Cox!

Reading the commentary I was sort of lead to believe that NCLB may have worked. Could this possibly be? ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Nah!

Beverly Fraud

January 12th, 2012
10:41 am

“Georgia earns its highest marks for its standards — which I have to note were put in place under Kathy Cox, who often takes the rap for the math program.”

The same Kathy Cox who jumped up and down on the podium, in rapture about how well Georgia’s third graders were reading; until YOUR very paper COMPELLED her (since she wouldn’t divulge the info voluntarily”) to release cut scores so ridiculously low Terry Shiavo could have passed that CRCT?

You mean THAT Kathy Cox?

Beverly Fraud

January 12th, 2012
10:43 am

“Georgia earns its highest marks for its standards — which I have to note were put in place under Kathy Cox, who often takes the rap for the math program.”

You mean the Kathy Cox who, after THE largest cheating scandal in United States educational history came out, CONTINUED to call Beverly Hall “her good friend”.

You mean THAT Kathy Cox?

[...] rankingKyForward.comKentucky rises 20 spots in national education rankingLouisville Courier-JournalAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -WLWT Cincinnati -Arkansas Newsall 53 news [...]

Maureen Downey

January 12th, 2012
11:15 am

#To all, Interesting take-away in these responses to the Quality Count report.
As both a public school parent and a taxpayer in Georgia, the most important questions that I believe we need to be asking are: We have standards that are held up as among the nation’s best by an objective and respected source, yet we have achievement results that are ranked among the nation’s worst. Why? Where is the disconnect? What are we doing wrong?
By the way, I have no concerns that Education Week is driven by an political agenda. They are transparent in how they assemble this report each year.
I have to run as I am listening to a fascinating panel on why Finnish schools are so good. One key factor: There are 10 times more applicants for education degree programs than there are spots in the Finnish colleges of education. Only the very top high school students are admitted.
And to those who think that unions are the demon, teachers in Finland are all unionized and essentially have their jobs for life.

The Deal

January 12th, 2012
11:24 am

Heaven help us all if Georgia schools are truly #7. If we’re #7, what is going on in #25? This ranking does nothing but send a message to the state BOE that they are doing things well, when, in reality, the student achievement is really the only thing that matters. This ranking should be a weighted average, with student achievement having most of the weight.


January 12th, 2012
11:27 am

Looks like cheating does pay off after all.

HS Public Teacher

January 12th, 2012
11:52 am

I think that we all need to realize that the media is happy to share repeatedly the negative and sensational side of education and RARELY shows the positive side. There really are good things happening here.

It is interesting that Georgia is not ranked well in financing education. However, it is not shocking. You put your money where your mouth is, so I guess Georgia really does not feel that education is so important….

finnish system

January 12th, 2012
12:11 pm

Maureen, while you are there please ascertain why there are so many candidates to the colleges. And please add a post about what you hear today. I’m very interested….Thanks!


January 12th, 2012
12:12 pm

“However, Georgia gets an F in its most public of duties — k-12 achievement…”

Oh yeah, that.

The linens were starched and pressed, the china was spotless, the silverware polished, the band was wonderful and the food fabulous. The passengers on the Titanic were having a wonderful voyage….

It is said that Enron had great policies and procedures….

At some point, you have to perform.

Jerry Eads

January 12th, 2012
12:27 pm

Methinks your lauding the Edweek data would have brought one of those long conversations with Jerry Bracey :-) . There are some interesting discussions that could be had about the meaningfulness of their criteria, not to mention the accuracy of the data. On the other hand, that’s the case with just about every attempt to measure anything so complex as education, and they’ve been trying for a long time. I suspect the Edweek ratings have far less value than is attributed to them, but they’re not valueless.

While I’m here, I’ll throw in my take on “standards” yet again – they are GREAT when you’re assembling cars on an assembly line. You want the door to fit next to the fender within a certain number of millimeters on EVERY car. Standards for kids begets you nothing but minimum competencies. As someone pointed out above, the “standard” for 3rd grade reading back then was probably in the neighborhood of the 6th percentile if compared to a national norm. If as a parent you’re worried about whether your child might make it into high school before dropping out maybe that’s good news, but if your aspirations for your child are even on the order of his or her successfully completing high school much less even a 2-year postsecondary degree, that doesn’t help you much.

Value-added and minimum competency standards are, by the way, incompatible. If you want to measure growth, you have to measure the full range of performance, not just the little band around the 6th percentile. One could set standards for growth, but if you only demand some minimum you punish the high performers yet again (by forcing schools to ignore them as they must now under NCLB), and, by the way, according to the research to which Bracey was referring in the 9 Myths, such measures will also become corrupted to the point of meaninglessness a la the cheating scandal.

I look forward to your news from the meeting on Finnish education, Maureen. Are we like the Finns? Not much. Could we learn much from them? I have no doubt. Will we? That’s a different question.


January 12th, 2012
12:34 pm

So are these scores weighted with or without the cheating scandal?

Beverly Fraud

January 12th, 2012
12:36 pm

“I have to run as I am listening to a fascinating panel on why Finnish schools are so good. One key factor: There are 10 times more applicants for education degree programs than there are spots in the Finnish colleges of education.”

Maybe a Finnish teacher knows that if a Finnish student says “Shut the F**K up, B*tch!” the response is hold the STUDENT accountable for his behavior, and not blame the teacher for not “engaging” him enough, and thus it’s HER fault.

I’m sure that’s not the ONLY thing, but when will this country realize if you want to attract good teachers, you attract them with good teaching CONDITIONS.

Proud Teacher

January 12th, 2012
12:39 pm

Teaching only to the test and the manipulation of enrollment and absentee numbers can do much for a headline or sound byte.

Beverly Fraud

January 12th, 2012
12:39 pm

“However, Georgia gets an F in its most public of duties — k-12 achievement…”

Other that THAT, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

Why Mrs. Lincoln, I’m SHOCKED at your harsh assessment; don’t you realize the play was rated SEVENTH in the United States?


January 12th, 2012
12:41 pm

“We have standards that are held up as among the nation’s best by an objective and respected source, yet we have achievement results that are ranked among the nation’s worst. Why? Where is the disconnect? What are we doing wrong?”

Answer: We aren’t holding kids accountable to meet the standards. The standards are fine. But how many students who fail simple accountability measures (CRCT, EOCT) are actually held back? Not nearly enough. And lets face it, too many undeserved B’s are given away in the name of “HOPE.” Most of these 3.0 students are *not* college ready, thus they must take remedial classes.

So the answers are staring us in the face. Grade harder. Add rigor. End social promotion. Hold students accountable to learn. And perhaps make another path for those not seeking to go to college instead of watering down our expectations for everyone.

Elephant in the room

January 12th, 2012
12:44 pm

Comparing states’ achievements without breaking it down by demographics is pointless. This article is very illustrative of this point: .

Elephant in the room

January 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

Oh, and, btw, when broken down demographically, Texas students perform better than those in Wisconsin, especially minority students!


January 12th, 2012
12:46 pm

Were the test scores from the schools that cheated removed from Georgia’s calculation before the states were raked?

Old Physics Teacher

January 12th, 2012
12:50 pm

Maureen, Maureen, Maureen,

Do you not read your own articles? You just put up the ten myths in education, and you don’t even see how that applies here? That’s just sad. Q: Who set up the standards? A: The bureaucrats under the direction of the legislature that is trying to destroy public education. Yes, the same bureaucrats who try to keep public education going in spite of the politicians rigorous attempts. Now the results of the Gawd-awful tests can be attributed to the myth about school success depending on who, hum? WHO??!! MAUREEN, WAKE UP! Yes, I’m talking to you…What’s the answer to the question? Of course you don’t know it — YOU WERE ASLEEP!! Get your head up off the desk and pay attention! I’ll give you a hint. Reread myths of education number two. Bring a paper to school tomorrow, signed by your mother, saying you won’t sleep in class again… yes, I know you’ll get one of your friends to sign it. Make sure they don’t sign it “Mommy.”

Your second assignment is to go back through the archives and find the quote by Gov. Lester Maddox on the state of prisons in Georgia. Apply that quote to the state of the schools, and you will have your answer. Miracles don’t happen anymore… I’m not sure they ever did. Miracles occur because of the hard work of people who labor in the dark with little appreciation. Just because you don’t see it happening is no sign that it didn’t happen.


January 12th, 2012
1:02 pm

The problem with Georgia education is in its historical reference. Erskine Caldwell pretty well defined the cultural ruralality of education in Tobacco Road. There was no need for education, everyone gone along just fine. Had a little patch for a garden, pick a little tobacco, get a little credit at the country store. If the roof leaked mve the furniture into another room. I see that attitude carrying forth today. Have to recognize, not everyone is seeking an education. A lot just want to get out and spend the day picking this and that like the old plantATions.Now the pay is over $100.00 a day.


January 12th, 2012
1:03 pm

“…so we have to applaud Georgia’s 7th place ranking.”

Might mean nothing more than we’ve gotten better at test cheating.


January 12th, 2012
1:09 pm

@Scott….I agree wholeheartedly, 3.0 is to easy to come by. When I was in high-school to be eligble for any type of scholarship, one had to have at a 3.5 or B+. Last time I check 79.7 was not a B- but a C+. Colleges and Universities aren’t meant for every graduating senior, especially when they do not have the apptitude or fortitude to become serious students. As long as mediocrity and social promotion are held in high esteem this will continue. If remedial education is to be continued, let it be done at a junior college or vocational institution.

bootney farnsworth

January 12th, 2012
1:16 pm

ohhhh. up there with NY & Mass, the liberal heartland.
anything putting us up with “them” must be good.

my ass.


January 12th, 2012
1:54 pm

@Elephant, good link. Funny though, in every single case, the white kids outperformed the minorties, but nobody wants to talk about “ability”.


January 12th, 2012
2:00 pm

I know it’s hard for you guys to believe, but some of us are running good schools that do good work. There are several things our state has done right in the last 10 years despite every politician’s efforts to undermine the public schools.

Mary Elizabeth

January 12th, 2012
2:05 pm

Maureen Downey@11;15 a.m.

“I believe we need to be asking are: We have standards that are held up as among the nation’s best by an objective and respected source, yet we have achievement results that are ranked among the nation’s worst. Why? Where is the disconnect? What are we doing wrong?”


All students do not master curriculum concepts at the same rate. This is the result of many factors.
-Some students have higher IQs than others.
-Some have dysfunctional family environments which may cause an inability to focus.
-Some have learning disabilities.
-Some have mental illness or emotional problems.
-Some have physical impairments.
-Generational poverty can effect the ability of some students to learn.

Students cannot master concepts unless they are taught on their correct instructional levels. The state’s curriculum requirements – although excellent in the ideal – do not address the myriad instructional levels of students within each grade level. Instead, a one-size-fits-all grade level excellent curriculum has been required of all students, irrespective of their varying functioning levels. This dichotomy has caused massive numbers of students, in Georgia, to fail grade level curriculum content. Eventually, students who are taught on their frustration levels will drop out of school.

Mastery learning requires that each student be taught on his or her precise instructional level, whatever his or her grade level. It also requires that each students be advanced through the curriculum continuum at a rate commensurate with his or her ability to actually master each concept within that continuum.

To be more specific, if a given student’s IQ is 90 and another student’s IQ is 140, they will never be able to learn the same grade level curriculum at the same rate although each can achieve mastery of the same curriculum, if their rates of learning are individually adjusted. When, however, ALL students are required to advance through grade level curriculum – at the SAME rate – some students will find themselves falling further and further behind others. (This example of IQ variation is only one factor, of many, which necessitates a variable learning rate for each student.) To achieve mastery of statewide curriculum for all students, educational leaders, and parents, must work together to ensure that mastery learning is occurring for each student throughout his or her educational career.

One reason many students have failed to master the state’s science curriculum tests is because
their reading levels have not been adequate to handle the complex sentence structure, nor the specialized vocabulary, within either science curriculum tests or science grade level textbooks. Students’ reading skills should be one focus of all teachers as they instruct their students – from kindergarten through twelfth grade

Targeting K – 3rd grade for instruction will help to offset many variables in children. However, precise instructional placement and rate of learning for each student – from kindergarten through high school -must continuously be addressed in order to ensure the academic success of each student in Georgia. That includes curriculum areas as varied as mathematics and language arts.

The recently developed state-of-art computer access of each student’s standardized test scores (and developmental history) should help teachers pinpoint targeted individualized instruction for their students.

When I was in graduate school, I learned that there are 3 levels of learning:
Frustration, Instructional, Independent.
I learned that for any student to be successful in learning, he must continuously be taught on his Instructional level. Taught on his Frustration level, he will fail and give up. Taught on his Independent level, he will become bored and give up.

Instructional Level placement is the answer for success for each student.

Instructional Level must be identified through testing.

Instructional Level must be maintained by adjusting Pace/ Rate of Learning for each student.


January 12th, 2012
2:05 pm

The money issue is always interesting. Here in Georgia my experience in comparison with other states is that taxes and the cost of living are low. I enjoy that and I believe most state taxpayers do too including teachers and administrators. The only state I owned property in that had a lower tax rate than Georgia was North Dakota. My property tax bill was $388.00 a year for a 2,200 sq. ft. home. They scored an F in Early Childhood Development but came in 11% higher in Adult Outcomes than Georgia and 13% higher in Chance for Success. Under the Teaching Profession category they scored 13% lower than Georgia. So I understand this to mean they pay their teachers less, ignore early childhood development and somehow still produce a more successful, productive adult. Can that be?

Standards vs. Execution from Good Mom

January 12th, 2012
2:05 pm

Isnt’ it a dubious honor to get a 7th place ranking for excellent standards but a failing mark to actually meet those standards?

That’s like giving a gold medal to the person who says they plan to win the gold medal in the swimming competition but when they jump in the pool they drown because they can’t swim.

Oh My!!

January 12th, 2012
2:13 pm

Other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?…B. Fraud dropping more gems. There are lies, damn lies and there are statistics. Georgia education is not what it should be but at least it’s not what it used to be, I think. Any news in the positive is welcomed. One state must be setting the gold standard for education. Why is it then so difficult for other states to emulate that system?

Just A Teacher

January 12th, 2012
2:17 pm


I’ve seen a very interesting video on the Finnish educational system and comparing it to America’s is like comparing apples to oranges. One of the most distinct differences is how teachers are valued in both countries. In Finland, teachers are very well paid and held in high esteem. They have a social status much the same as physicians. The culture demands a lot from them, but they are respected, trusted, and well compensated.

Maureen's Comments from Good Mom

January 12th, 2012
2:18 pm

Maureen’s comment is interesting: “…why Finnish schools are so good. One key factor: There are 10 times more applicants for education degree programs than there are spots in the Finnish colleges of education.”

This points to the fact that many Finnish people want to be educators…or that there are simply too few education degree programs. We just don’t know unless we have more information. Is it that there are plenty of educational programs but the profession of teacher is highly sought after and many people are clamoring to get in — in a fashion similar to American medical and veterinary schools? Or is it that there are so few education programs that there are simply too few spots?

What else is important — what is the average public education like for the average Finnish child?

Is it that Finland produces such a good public education for most that they have a wonderful pool of applicants from which to choose? More information would ceratinly be helpful.

I belive the general quality of teachers has decreased simply because there are more opportunities for women. In my mother’s day, there were very few opportunities for women: teacher, nurse, secretary. Now women are near the top in many industries. All those intelligent and educated women don’t want to go into teaching when they have more choices. The same is for nursing. Men are now entering the field in larger numbers because women have left the field to do other things.

Also, the profession of teacher is not highly regarded in our society. I think that is a tragedy. We worship the football coach and think little of the teaching profession.

There is a lot of interesting and important data to look at in regards to the successes and failure of our own educational system in the United States and we absolutely need to compare ourselves to other countries but it just doesn’t seem to make the news much and politicians rarely care. If it doesn’t make money, it gets pushed aside. We need to change that. Nothing is more important to democracy than an educated mass population.

Elephant in the room

January 12th, 2012
2:29 pm

The Finnish are not vastly superior to us when you compare scores demographically. They just have a mostly homogenous society (as does the aforementioned Massachusetts). It is just not PC to point out where our deficiencies lie:

Maureen Downey

January 12th, 2012
2:32 pm

@Just, Several speakers at the conference addressed that argument, that there is no basis for comparison because of size and homogeneity. But they contend there are lessons to be learned from the Finns and, closer to home, the Canadians, who have greater diversity in some for their provinces and spend less money than the US. I do plan on writing about it.

Concerned DeKalb Mom

January 12th, 2012
2:43 pm

I think it’s interesting that several posters are attributing Georgia’s higher ranking to test scores received through cheating…but GA received an “F” in K-12 Achievement. Wouldn’t that grade have been better if the cheating test scores had been included in achievement rankings?

Mary Elizabeth

January 12th, 2012
2:55 pm

As an Instructional Lead Teacher of an K – 8 model school for almost a decade, I monitored the progress of thousands students, in mathematics and reading, during their years in the school. I developed a chart for recording each student’s developmental history so that I could make wise suggestions to teachers regarding each student’s successful academic advancement. Today, that access is available through computer data systems throughout Georgia through Georgia’s Department of Education. Teachers no longer have to take many hours to gather that information from each student’s permanent folder, in main office vaults, as had been true for me, in my era.

Later, as a High School Reading Department Chair, I supervised the testing of all students in grades 9 – 11, yearly, for over a decade in order to help teachers better pinpoint instruction for their students. We tested thousands of students. In 9th grade, alone, the range of reading levels, each year, was, invariably, from grade level 4 to grade level 16, with half of the students testing on 6th grade reading level or below.

Many of my own reading students increased their verbal SAT scores by 150+ points.

I cannot emphasize, enough, based on my experiences above, how important the principles that I shared, in my 2:05 p.m. post on this thread, are to ensure that students’ academic test results in Georgia become as excellent as Georgia’s present curriculum standards are.

My principal, from whom I learned much regarding Mastery Learning, was the former Superintendent for Instruction for the school system in which I worked.

I hope anyone who is an educator, who reads this post, will share my 2:05 p.m. post with other educators. Even as a retired teacher, I continue to care that students throughout Georgia meet academic success, and I know that what I have shared in my 2:05 p.m. post will have positive impact to that end.

Elephant in the room

January 12th, 2012
3:07 pm

@sloboffthestreet, it is called demographics. Read my earlier posts.


January 12th, 2012
3:07 pm

I am confused. I have people in my neighborhood from NY and NJ and they don’t strike me as uber-smart or educated. I know I am just a hick educated for the most part in Georgia including a couple of degrees from the flagship but I am just not impressed with the state of edumacation up there.


January 12th, 2012
3:44 pm

Fact: Georgia scored a C for effort and an F for results.

If you think you can contribute to the cure for what has been ailing this great state, please consider coming to the Black Conservative Summit at the state capitol on Thursday, 26 January at 11AM.

Most of you, if not all had valid points. The question is.. what are YOU going to do about it?

Please join us.

We endeavor to get it right.. non-partisan, non-union, pro student achievement.. particularly for minority Americans… by Americans.. parents and school parents who just might get it, where many career politicians have not.

Send your request for an Evite to When we have some results, we will post to the website.

Thank you.


January 12th, 2012
4:10 pm

Hi Mary Elizabeth, long time no see. Very good posts (as usual), you bring up some very basic points of logical thinking that are often ignored.


January 12th, 2012
4:11 pm

Gee Darryl, can white people come too?


January 12th, 2012
4:14 pm

“Standards for kids begets you nothing but minimum competencies.”

No truer words


January 12th, 2012
4:38 pm

@Elephant in the room

You’re such a smart elephant. You sure know big words too! Like “Demographics.” You remind me of a guy I used to work with. He loved to say the word “Panacea.” Everything was a panacea. I hope you aren’t offended if I disobey you and decide not to “Read My Earlier Posts” as you have commanded. I never cared for mandatory reading.

I do think North Dakota is different than Georgia in some ways but it is not Finland by any means. My comment was about them doing more with less money. The biggest difference when speaking with educators in North Dakota is that their fist comment isn’t about the low pay and furlough days. It is about your children’s education. Perhaps Georgia teachers adopting this attitude would be our panacea for public education. Look ma, I used it in a sentence. Extra credit please?

Pluto, every state has their hillbillies, ghettos and white trash slums. Then there are average people who live average lives. You may not like the way they talk and they may not like the way you talk. One thing that may broaden your view of people from different parts of our country would be to travel and visit. Give it a try. Perhaps you will come across some flagship educated Yankees and come to the realization that you have a great deal in common.


January 12th, 2012
4:54 pm

Mary Elizabeth
June 12th, 2012
2:05 pm

All students do not master curriculum concepts at the same rate. This is the result of many factors…

Wow!! You surely hit the nail on the head! Great post!


January 12th, 2012
4:55 pm

So I guess we can give give Newt Gingrich a B- for marital fidelity (averaging an A- for professed STANDARDS of marital fidelity ( with an F for ACHIEVEMENT of marital fidelity).

Concerned DeKalb Mom

January 12th, 2012
5:07 pm

@Mary Elizabeth, 2:05…

Excellent. Thanks for posting.

Question…how do we do I as a parent ensure that my child receives instruction on his/her instructional level vs. independent or frustrational? And do you think this is even a potential reality given class sizes in the state of Georgia?

Elephant in the room

January 12th, 2012
5:10 pm

@sloboffthestreet, cost of living is considerably lower in North Dakota than in metro Atlanta, so teachers there can be paid less than teachers here and still attain a higher standard of living. And, yes, I do like the word “demographics” because it is the elephant in the room that nobody seems to see (by choice). It allows people from some regions of the country to feel superior to others, all the while not addressing the problems that need to be addressed. Call me crazy, but I prefer not to bury my head in the sand. Also, high achievers in Atlanta public schools are not getting the stimulating environment they deserve because they don’t do enough to separate children by ability. Fortunately, there are libraries, bookstores, and the Internet to further expose our children to knowledge outside the classroom. We also have exceptional extracurricular choices such as the Georgia Aquarium, the Tellus Museum, Fernbank, etc. Parents who rely solely upon schools to educate their children are not doing their jobs. Look at the zip-code parenting that took place at Columbine. Those boy’s parents blissfully buried their heads in the sand because their children were attending school in the right zip code.


January 12th, 2012
5:30 pm

@Mary Elizabeth – the suggestions you make in the 2:05 post are the same practices one will find in Finnish schools. Teacher quality is important and cannot be dismissed, however, it is not the “silver bullet” for improving education. Finland took a multi-faceted and long-term approach to improve their educational system.

Read this article and watch the video.

Mary Elizabeth

January 12th, 2012
5:39 pm

Fred@4:10 p.m.

“Hi Mary Elizabeth, long time no see. Very good posts (as usual), you bring up some very basic points of logical thinking that are often ignored.”

Hello to you, too, Fred, and thank you for the kind remarks. You are completely on target in writing that my points are very basic and logical, but that they are often ignored.

Until educators recognize the validity of what I have presented, students will continue to drop out of school in large numbers. Few students who are failing (and who often do not understand why)
can take the constant bombardment of sitting in classrooms where they are not absorbing concepts.
Wrong placement, in any subject area, is equivalent to being placed in Spanish IV when you have only mastered the curriculum of Spanish I. Do you think you are going to pass Spanish IV even if the curriculum is excellent? Of course not.

Wrong placement is easy to correct, but educators must start to recognize how important accurate placement is, and that many students are misplaced. School systems must use testing mainly for diagnostic purposes, instead of for punitive purposes toward teachers, just as doctors will use testing to diagnose their patients correctly.

The hard part is the delivery of curriculum in instruction by teachers to students with so many varied instructional levels within their classrooms. I understand, fully, how difficult instructional delivery is for that much variation of needs. At this stage of my life, that delivery problem is not mine to solve. That problem is for younger teachers to solve. And for younger administrators and counselors to help them solve. However, I know – without a doubt – that if all educators do not start insuring the right foundation for students, i.e. getting each student correctly placed and instructed correctly, as well as paced correctly throughout his elementary and secondary tenure, students will not grow to their individual maximum potential.

Some educators think that by being this detailed in analysis and instructional delivery that creativity will be impaired in teaching. That is generalized, stereotypical thinking not worthy of educators. Just as one can teach diagramming sentences and creative approaches to writing at the same time, one can properly diagnose placement, address individual instructional needs, and teach creatively at the same time. Educators can no longer afford to place their collective heads in the sand regarding the correct placement and correct pacing of instruction for each student. They can be teach very creatively once their students are properly placed and analzyed for differing needs.

Diagnosing correctly and teaching precisely, as well as creatively, will ensure the “leading out” that each student has the “birthright” to have in public education, which is the fulfillment of his or her potential.


January 12th, 2012
5:40 pm

Here are a few points from the article. (

“There is a culture of reading with the kids at home and families have regular contact with their children’s teachers.”

“Children in Finland only start main school at age seven. The idea is that before then they learn best when they’re playing and by the time they finally get to school they are keen to start learning.”

“The system’s success is built on the idea of less can be more. There is an emphasis on relaxed schools, free from political prescriptions. ”

“A tactic used in virtually every lesson is the provision of an additional teacher who helps those who struggle in a particular subject. But the pupils are all kept in the same classroom, regardless of their ability in that particular subject.”

“Primary and secondary schooling is combined, so the pupils don’t have to change schools at age 13. They avoid a potentially disruptive transition from one school to another.”