Category: Education

Five Reasons for Education Optimism in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd  BENITA DODD Georgians marked National School Choice Week Jan. 24-30, a week of events highlighted by thousands of yellow “woobie” scarves and celebration of the innovations in education in Georgia. Among the more than 16,000 events held around the nation was the Foundation’s January 27 Leadership Breakfast, a panel discussion with legislators Hunter Hill and Mike Dudgeon and education innovator Mike Davis. The event was followed by a massive noon rally at the Georgia State Capitol. Championing choice with one voice at the rally were Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, rapper Ludacris and an all-grown-up Keisha Knight Pulliam, who you may recall as The Cosby Show’s Rudy Huxtable. All week, the enthusiasm for school choice was overwhelming… View Article
The cost of higher education is skyrocketing across the nation, including in Georgia. But how does Georgia compare to other states? The average amount of annual in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public universities increased by more than 31 percent over the last five years (a greater increase than all but one state). The average amount of tuition and fees, $8,447, ranks below the national average at 31st. Net tuition revenue per FTE (tuition after scholarships and other grants) is $4,468, ranking Georgia 41st highest in the nation. State funding per student is $7,297, which ranks 14th highest in the nation. Amount Rank Average Annual In-State Tuition & Fees at Public Four-Year Institutions, 2015-16 $8,447 31 Percentage Change in In-State… View Article
Everyone likes rankings, and one of the most frequent questions we receive is about where Georgia ranks in terms of K-12 spending and achievement. Georgia’s spending per student is higher than all but one of its neighboring states, according to the most recent data. In terms of student achievement, adjusting for demographic factors that schools can’t control, Georgia ranks 19th highest in the nation. (An analysis of how Georgia compares based on unadjusted NAEP scores is available here.) Clearly, spending doesn’t equal performance, at least not in 2013. The states in Table 1 are listed in order of spending, but their academic achievement varies dramatically. Georgia ranks much higher than most would guess at 19, but Florida (#4) and… View Article
By Ben Scafidi Humans seem to always want more – more time with our families, more health care, more funding for roads, more tax cuts. More funding for our public K-12 schools. And more student achievement. When it comes to getting “more” of something, however, we either (a) have to accept less of something else or (b) increase the productivity of what we’re doing. Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly have been blessed with extra tax revenues over the past two legislative sessions, thanks to their smart economic stewardship and the ingenuity of everyday Georgians. And, in the spirit of “more,” they chose to devote over a billion dollars of those extra revenues to additional funding for our… View Article

Could Georgia Education Funding Reform Impact Achievement?

The very first recommendation in the final report from the Georgia Education Reform Commission was this: Develop a student-based funding formula. What does this mean? According to education experts from the Reason Foundation, under a student-based budget, “Actual dollars follow students to the school level to be spent flexibly by school leaders.” In addition to enhancing equity and transparency, research has shown this can enhance student achievement. The Reason Foundation’s Director of Education, Lisa Snell, speaking at a school finance forum hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, noted a study that found, “holding all else constant, a school district that allocated 50 percent of its FY2011 budget to weighted student formula, where money follows the student, is nearly 10… View Article

Student Achievement and Spending

It’s difficult to compare state student achievement data because demographics vary greatly. In Georgia, for example, 60 percent of students are deemed “low income,” while only 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s students are low income. Many people argue that comparing these states without adjusting for these demographics is very unfair. So how would Georgia compare if you adjusted for demographics? The Urban Institute has the answer in their recently published study. The study “adjusts the relative performance of each state for the following rich set of student level factors: gender, race and ethnicity, eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch, limited English proficient, special education, age, whether the student was given an accommodation on the NAEP exam (e.g., extra time or… View Article

Solving the Failure of Education Desegregation

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Education desegregation started out with such lofty promise in America. So why have decades of massive government efforts to mandate integration in schools and encourage racial diversity produced such dismal results? In his latest study, Dr. Ben Scafidi, Senior Fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, set out to examine why schools continue to be segregated and how to overcome this. He found that neighborhoods and schools both moved toward racial integration in the 1960s and ‘70s, but in the 1980s segregation began returning to public schools even as neighborhood integration continued. Public school integration reversed at the same time neighborhood segregation by income increased, according to… View Article
*Join Lisa Snell and Aaron Smith December 8 for a discussion on student-based funding in Georgia. Register here TODAY! By Aaron Smith and Lisa Snell For more than three decades, Georgia’s system of school finance has handcuffed district leaders by dictating how state funds are used. More freedom might finally be in sight for frustrated educators, thanks to the promising recommendations from Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission. The Commission has been tasked with overhauling the state’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula, created in 1985, which allocates over 90 percent of the state’s $8 billion in K-12 funding. If the goal of QBE’s architects was to achieve minimal transparency and flexibility, then it has been a riveting success. QBE provides… View Article

Web-based Tool Helps Educate Parents on Great Schools

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD One of the paternalistic charges leveled by opponents of education choice is that many parents don’t have the information to make decisions about an education path or a school for their child. For parents in the five counties that hold the vast majority of metro Atlanta residents, a new interactive Web-based tool could finally squelch that argument. About 500 people watched a live demonstration of the tool, GreatSchoolsAtlanta.org, when it was officially launched September 26 at the 2015 Neighborhood Summit organized by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The interactive, collaborative and mobile-friendly tool allows parents to compare up to four schools at a time – public or private – and provides parents,… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes