Achievement Gaps, Poverty, and other challenges facing Georgia's Public Schools

May 1, 2018

The following is an op-ed written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Steve Dolinger, President of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber relies on our industry partners who provide great research and policy vetting, like GPEE, in informing our work and advocacy around education and workforce development. In the op-ed below, Steve makes some great points regarding the next challenges facing Georgia's students and future workforce.

Regarding the need for good policy:

The Georgia Partnership’s second report focuses on Georgia specifically and is an in-depth policy roadmap for improving education. Titled “EdQuest Georgia: Charting Educational Reform,” the report praises Gov. Deal’s statewide Education Reform Commission recommendation for a new weighted-student school funding system in Georgia. Such as system would add funding to districts specifically for students with special needs—those with disabilities, living in poverty, gifted and talented, and others. 


The analysis showed close correlation between Atlanta students’ family income and recent scores on the NAEP exam, also known as the Nation’s Report Card. The gap in median family income between white and black students is an astounding $144,000, with white families earning about $167,100 compared to $23,800 for black families.

Family & Community Engagement:

There is reason to be optimistic, however, as two major reports and new poll results from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, as a member of a coalition of education organizations across the South, show that voters recognize the urgent need to improve schools at a faster rate. 

The need for Academic and Non-academic Support:

“Accelerating the Pace” calls for Southern states to improve education by making our region the nation’s best place to teach, supplying more teachers and principals with the talent and preparation to help students succeed. The report also calls for new types of academic—and nonacademic—support for today’s students. Many students need more help with family and emotional health issues that impact learning, issues we spotlight in a feature on Marietta High School, whose student-support practices are spreading to other schools in our state. 

This is an excellent guide to the future efforts for business engagement and advocacy. Read the full op-ed here