Category: Education

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield’s column in the Sunday edition on February 5, 2017 focuses on the Foundation’s new study by Ben Scafidi, “Balancing the Books in Public Education,” which points out that the Georgia Department of Education website underreports public education spending. Wingfield’s column can be accessed online here (subscription required); it is reprinted below in its entirety. Why school spending has soared, but teachers’ salaries haven’t By Kyle Wingfield The fault line dividing public opinion about school choice and other education reforms is spending. Proponents say we spend plenty today, with mediocre results. Opponents say the results would improve if we spent more. The latter argument largely boils down to paying teachers better, hiring more of… View Article

Expand Retirement Options, Shrink Teacher Doldrums

This commentary appeared in the February 1, 2017, edition of The Marietta Daily Journal. By Benita M. Dodd PAGE, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, has surveyed its members and the findings, reported in its January/February 2017 newsletter (PAGE One), are depressing. The survey found that nearly half of teachers (45 percent) say they are unlikely to remain in education for the next 10 years. Sadly, a majority – 53 percent – also said they would not recommend a career in education. The report notes, “With the current teacher shortage and continuing teacher pipeline issues, these statistics are of great concern to PAGE.” The survey also found that 59 percent of the respondents oppose converting the Teacher Retirement System from… View Article
Marietta Daily Journal reporter Mary Kate McGowan covered the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on January 26, 2017, which celebrated National School Choice Week and highlighted public education funding in Georgia. Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi, a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, unveiled his study that revealed the Georgia Department of Education underreports education funding on its website. Published in full below is The Marietta Daily Journal article and Dr. Scafidi’s letter to the editor in response to comments in the article. State education department reporting called into question By Mary Kate McGowan CUMBERLAND — As school choice proponent Betsy DeVos awaits her confirmation as the next education secretary, the argument for school choice is heating up at the local level.… View Article

Balancing the Books in Georgia Public Education

By Benjamin Scafidi Parents, educators, policy-makers and all other taxpayers have a right to know just how much taxpayer funding is spent on Georgia public schools, how this funding has changed over time, and how their public school dollars are being spent. Unfortunately, official state websites have historically contained misleading information that hinders Georgians’ understanding of the true resource cost of our public education system and the uses of those taxpayer funds. Specifically, official state of Georgia websites give the impression that taxpayers spend billions of dollars less on K-12 public education than is actually spent. For example, according to the official spending figures on the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) website, Georgia public schools spent a total of $15.665… View Article

Issue Analsysis: Balancing the Books in Education

This issue analysis was published on January 26, 2017. The study can be downloaded here (PDF) and the Powerpoint presentation by Dr. Scafidi can be downloaded here (PDF). The press release is below.   GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release January 26, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050 New Study Finds Georgia Underreports Public School Spending Atlanta – For decades, Georgia’s Department of Education has underreported by billions of dollars what the state spends on public schools, according to an Issue Analysis released today at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week event. The report, “Balancing the Books in Education,” by Foundation Senior Fellow and Kennesaw State University economist Dr.… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release January 26, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  New Study Finds Georgia Underreports Public School Spending Atlanta – For decades, Georgia’s Department of Education has underreported by billions of dollars what the state spends on public schools, according to an Issue Analysis released today at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week event. The report, “Balancing the Books in Education,” by Foundation Senior Fellow and Kennesaw State University economist Dr. Benjamin Scafidi, notes that official state websites give the impression that taxpayers spend billions of dollars less on K-12 public education than is actually spent. For example, while the Georgia Department of Education website… View Article

Teachers Unions, Faulty Economics and School Choice

By Jeffrey Dorfman School choice is one of the most controversial and hard-fought public policy debates of the past few decades. Most liberals, who get significant funding from public school teachers unions, line up against any form of school choice, while many conservatives favor allowing some form of market to introduce competition amongst schools for education tax dollars. The argument against school choice always seems to focus on how it would “defund” public schools by “draining” monies away. This argument, however, is based on faulty economics and should be discarded or strongly rebutted by school choice proponents. School choice comes in a variety of flavors. Some public school districts let residents choose their preferred school within the district; this is… View Article

Lessons and Opportunities from The Election

By Kelly McCutchen It’s not always as good, or bad, as it seems. The same can be said of this year’s national election. Conservatives and liberals should temper their enthusiasm and despair; this election was not an endorsement of any ideology. It was a revolt, as Peggy Noonan so aptly puts it, by the “unprotected” against the “protected.” At its core were middle-class Americans, who had done everything they were told to do, but were frustrated by rising taxes and higher education and health care costs as their wages remained stagnant. They had lost hope in the future, for their children and in the American Dream. They felt disgust at the ruling political class and their crony friends and corrupt… View Article
Atlanta – Governor Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District proposal was outdone by the National Education Association’s nearly $5 million opposition campaign and outvoted 60-40 percent on November 8. Still, this state can’t afford to leave 68,000 children out to dry in “chronically failing schools.”  What next? Find out at, “Saving Our Students: Georgia’s Education Policy Options,” the final Leadership Breakfast of 2016 hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, at 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 8 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The speakers are (outgoing) Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Education Reform Commission, which released its recommendations in December 2015, and Erin Hames, a former teacher, former Chief of Staff at the Georgia Department of… View Article

Give Prisoners a Second Chance

By Gerard Robinson and Elizabeth English On October 12, 29 prisoners and 45 Baltimore-area experts in criminal justice congregated in the Jessup Correctional Institution library. Most were members of the University of Baltimore community or other academics. All were eager to see the inauguration of a Department of Education pilot program that could change the lives of participants for years to come. In June 2016, the university was chosen among 67 colleges and universities nationwide to participate in the Obama administration’s $30 million Second Chance Pell Grant Experimental Sites Initiative. Under the program, approximately 12,000 of America’s 2.2 million incarcerated will receive federal aid to pursue a higher education. Upon release, they will retain the Pell funding to finish… View Article

“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.

State Senator Eric Johnson, President pro tempore, Georgia State Senate more quotes