Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Democrats: Governor’s changes to HOPE Grant still leave students “out in the cold.”

The Senate Democrats offered this response to the governor’s plan to lower the GPA for HOPE grants for students in technical colleges, which have reported a steep decline since Nathan Deal imposed a 3.0 GPA requirement.

Senate Democrats said Gov. Deal’s proposal to lower the grade point average requirement in Georgia’s HOPE Grant for students in the technical college system is a reasonable first step, but doesn’t go far enough to repair the broken HOPE Grant and Scholarship programs.

Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, whip of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is an author of Senate Bill 59 that would reduce the GPA from 3.0 to 2.0 for a HOPE Grant recipient. The measure is similar to the Gov. Deal’s recent HOPE Grant proposal. But Fort said real HOPE reform is a multi-prong approach that requires the state’s leadership to account for all current and future students and requires changes across the grant and scholarship spectrum.

“The purpose of the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Scholarship …

Continue reading Democrats: Governor’s changes to HOPE Grant still leave students “out in the cold.” »

Budget analysis: A billion dollar hole in state education funding next year. Start digging.

The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute just issued a bleak report on school funding prospects for next year, noting that the governor’s proposed budget for K-12 education has a $1 billion hole in it. (It is an improvement over last year when the hole was $1.1 billion.)

What’s often confusing to readers — and gives cover to lawmakers — is that school funding will increase by $205 million. But the institute’s Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst, notes that more than 60 percent of those additional dollars are dedicated to funding enrollment growth and normal salary adjustments for teachers.

She says, “These dollars are critical to ensuring that the state’s investment in its students does not slip much further.”

Suggs warns: “Georgia’s education funding has deteriorated for years. If lawmakers accept the 2014 budget proposal, state funding through QBE, QBE equalization, and other programs will be well below the 2009 level.”

Here is an excerpt of the report. Please read …

Continue reading Budget analysis: A billion dollar hole in state education funding next year. Start digging. »

Emory president introduces new provost and explains why it’s wiser to be in the online pack rather than leading it



Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)
Emory President Jim Wagner (Emory)

Emory President James Wagner visited the AJC on Tuesday to introduce new provost Claire E. Sterk. Among the topics on the table: Emory’s ventures into the online world.

Emory is participating in Coursera, a consortium of universities offering free MOOCs or massive open online course.  But closer to home, it’s launching Semester Online, which Sterk and Wagner described as “the modern-day version of a semester abroad.”

Launching in a year, Semester Online will offer far smaller classes than MOOCs and likely be limited to students from Emory and other top-tier schools, such as Duke, Northwestern and Tufts. Undergrads will earn credits for their courses, which is not the case with the free MOOCs.  Semester Online will cover the same information and be taught by the same faculty at the brick-and-mortar colleges.

And students will pay the same tuition, which surprised me. Isn’t lower costs one of the chief selling …

Continue reading Emory president introduces new provost and explains why it’s wiser to be in the online pack rather than leading it »

As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve?

georgia-road-map-300x334Are the architects of Georgia’s education policies paying close enough attention to the vicissitudes of the state’s job market?

Should they be? Should education policy track job market shifts?

I was disappointed to read that Georgia is losing a startling share of  “premium” jobs, according to a new brief by the Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Can education reverse the loss of the state’s highest paying jobs? Can we continue to under invest in education given the job trends?

As a state, Georgia came late to the realization that it had to educate its citizens to higher standards. It was content to send kids without a high school diplomas off to mills and farms, but those jobs have dramatically shrunk, and, in some cases, disappeared.

It is interesting to note where the jobs are in Georgia.

Fulton County holds the largest share of jobs. While Fulton represented  17.71 percent of state jobs in 2000, it fell to 16.91 …

Continue reading As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve? »

Complaint will be filed today about the Georgia private school tax credit that operates in secrecy

The AJC is reporting that the Southern Education Foundation will file a complaint today with the state Department of Revenue alleging widespread abuses in the controversial private school scholarship tax credit program.

The tax credit has received national media attention because of allegations of misuse. Yet, state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, the sponsor of the 2008 law creating the tax credit, is introducing a bill today to expand it.

Critics charge that the abuses — allowing donors to designate the recipients of their donation — have turned the private school scholarships into a back-door voucher. When the General Assembly approved the program, lawmakers said the money would enable poor students in public schools to move to private schools. Instead, the money appears to be going to students already in the private schools.

There have been reports that parents were making donations to schools that were then repackaged as “scholarships” for their own kids. In …

Continue reading Complaint will be filed today about the Georgia private school tax credit that operates in secrecy »

More HOPE to go around this year because fewer students earned it in the first place. Time to consider need-based HOPE?

AJC reporter Laura Diamond is reporting that the slight rise in HOPE payouts this year is a result of fewer Georgia students receiving the scholarship as a result of state lawmakers making the award harder to earn and harder to keep.

I stand nearly alone on this issue here on the blog, but still contend that Georgia has to consider a need component to HOPE. On a personal level, I would love to see HOPE remain fully merit-based as I have twins who will be college bound in 2017.

But on a public policy level, I understand that Georgia must produce many more college graduates to remain economically competitive. And that means finding ways to prod more teens to consider going to college by making it economically feasible for them. (Research shows that finances play a significant role in preventing qualified kids from attending college.)

As it stands now, HOPE has a greater influence on where kids go to college rather than whether they go. Every economic forecast says that Georgia …

Continue reading More HOPE to go around this year because fewer students earned it in the first place. Time to consider need-based HOPE? »

College students post lower grades when parents pay more toward their educations

Less can add up to more, at least in terms on parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

Less can add up to more, at least in terms of parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

I had a conversation Monday night with a friend who, along with paying tuition, provided her daughter with $1,300 a month for living expenses in college. That money went to rent, meals and extras.

I felt Scrooge-like as I only gave my two older children $400 a month to cover rent once they left the college dorms and moved into shared off-campus rental apartments where they were responsible for their meals.

I didn’t pay anything else toward their related living expenses. My kids held part-time jobs so I assumed they could cover their own groceries. (One worked in a restaurant and ate there a lot, while the other made a lot of Ramen noodles, They  both graduated college in less than four years, probably because they were starving. )

Turns out that my miserly ways could have had some value.

There is a fascinating new study in the American …

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Faced with tuition bills, more GSU and UGA students turning to “Sugar Daddies”

When I received this email about a “dating” service that matches up wealthy older (mostly) men with young, cash-starved college students, more and more who attend Georgia schools, I thought it was a spoof.

A service where attractive young college students pay their bills and buy their “Fendi” bags by “dating” wealthy men sounded like a Lifetime movie.

I was wrong.

Apparently, there is a nationwide online service that matches “Sugar Daddies” with “Sugar Babies,” many of whom are college students exchanging their youth, beauty and attention, sexual and otherwise, for cash and other expressions of gratitude from wealthy men in what the company calls “mutually beneficial” relationships.

SeekingArrangement.com has received a lot of press, including a 2009 opus in The New York Times Magazine in which founder Brandon Wade explains, “We stress relationships that are mutually beneficial. We ask people to really think about what they want in a relationship and what they have to offer. …

Continue reading Faced with tuition bills, more GSU and UGA students turning to “Sugar Daddies” »

Lawmakers ignore their moral and constitutional duty to support public education

Here is an essay by Matt Jones, president of EmpowerED Georgia, a statewide education advocacy organization of students, citizens, parents and educators. He has taught world geography, civics, and English literature. He now teaches Engineering Technology at Toombs County High School in Lyons and is the Toombs County Teacher of the Year.

By Matt Jones

In a recent speech to the Marietta Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said that due to a $300 million shortfall in Medicaid, this upcoming session of the General Assembly would be “another year where you’re going to see budget cuts as opposed to adds.”

This means, unfortunately, that it is likely to be another year — the tenth consecutive — in which funding for Georgia’s public schools is less in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars than it was in FY 2002.

While most members of the General Assembly claim to support public education — and may actually believe that they do — the …

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Does a STEM degree guarantee a job? Not always.

math (Medium)Does STEM always spell success for college graduates?

Whenever I write about the efforts to bolster U.S. graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, readers send me notes about their problems finding work despite a STEM degree. And that includes math teachers.

(If you are interested in this topic, take a look at this Duke study on which countries produce more engineers and the job prospects for those graduates. The report concludes: Our research shows that companies are not moving abroad because of a deficiency in U.S. education or the quality of U.S. workers. Rather, they are doing what gives them economic and competitive advantage. It is cheaper for them to move certain engineering jobs overseas and to locate their R&D operations closer to growth markets. There are serious deficiencies in engineering graduates from Indian and Chinese schools. Yet the trend is building momentum despite these weaknesses…The calls to graduate more engineers do not focus on any field …

Continue reading Does a STEM degree guarantee a job? Not always. »