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Maureen Downey

Education columnist

Maureen Downey is a longtime reporter for the AJC where she has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy for 19 years. She’s also taught college classes in mass communications and journalism.However, she’s learned more about schools from having four children in them. Her children range in age from 24 to 14, so she’s now dealing with elementary school and college. Her own education includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She has worked for newspapers in New Jersey and Florida and has covered many school boards. She has won many editorial writing awards, including a National Headliner award. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her AJC editorials on the Genarlow Wilson case. Read Maureen Downey's Get Schooled blog

Latest from Maureen Downey

Opinion: Gwinnett parents and all parents ought to be wary of digital push
 Jane Robbins of Atlanta is an attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank.  She often writes about how student data is being collected and used. Here is an earlier AJC Get Schooled piece she wrote related to that issue. As a parent, I would have no objection to the vocabulary-building...

Posted: 2 hours ago

Jane Robbins of Atlanta is an attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank.  She often writes about how student data is being collected and used. Here is an earlier AJC Get Schooled piece she wrote related to that issue. As a parent, I would have no objection to the vocabulary-building...
Should preschool concentrate on building forts or math skills?
 Many parents bemoan academically oriented preschools, contending the trend squelches the natural curiosity and creativity of young children and tethers them to their seats when they should be running through meadows and building blanket forts. The argument is children learn through play and formal lessons in phonics and math can wait...

Posted: 22 hours ago

Many parents bemoan academically oriented preschools, contending the trend squelches the natural curiosity and creativity of young children and tethers them to their seats when they should be running through meadows and building blanket forts. The argument is children learn through play and formal lessons in phonics and math can wait...
If kids ran schools: Shorter classes, better technology, fewer worksheets
 Jim Arnold, former superintendent of Pelham City Schools, recently talked with some Georgia middle school students about what they liked about school and what they didn’t. He wrote a long piece about those conversations, which I have condensed. You can read his full account here. I agree with Arnold that students are seldom consulted...

Posted: 2 days ago

Jim Arnold, former superintendent of Pelham City Schools, recently talked with some Georgia middle school students about what they liked about school and what they didn’t. He wrote a long piece about those conversations, which I have condensed. You can read his full account here. I agree with Arnold that students are seldom consulted...
An involuntary manslaughter conviction turns cyberbullying from tragic to criminal
 In a legal decision already being debated, a Massachusetts judge ruled today that a teenage girl who texted her boyfriend to follow through on his intent to kill himself was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The judge did not appear swayed by Michelle Carter’s age at the time, 17, or her own history of eating disorders, suicidal thoughts...

Posted: 5 days ago

In a legal decision already being debated, a Massachusetts judge ruled today that a teenage girl who texted her boyfriend to follow through on his intent to kill himself was guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The judge did not appear swayed by Michelle Carter’s age at the time, 17, or her own history of eating disorders, suicidal thoughts...
How can we revive rural Georgia and its schools?
 In many of the major education debates underway in Georgia and nationwide, rural areas sit on the sidelines. The innovations under review — charter schools, vouchers or tax credits for private school scholarships — seem as unlikely to spring up in their communities as a Starbuck’s or Pottery Barn. Most rural districts are...

Posted: 6 days ago

In many of the major education debates underway in Georgia and nationwide, rural areas sit on the sidelines. The innovations under review — charter schools, vouchers or tax credits for private school scholarships — seem as unlikely to spring up in their communities as a Starbuck’s or Pottery Barn. Most rural districts are...
Georgia unveils plan to meet new federal education law
 OK, put on your comfy clothes, pour that cup of coffee and read this 94 pages from the Georgia Department of Education on its plan to meet the requirements of the new education law. When you are done, tell us what you think. DOE is taking public comment so share your views with the agency as well. The Every Student Succeeds Act replaces No...

Posted: 7 days ago

OK, put on your comfy clothes, pour that cup of coffee and read this 94 pages from the Georgia Department of Education on its plan to meet the requirements of the new education law. When you are done, tell us what you think. DOE is taking public comment so share your views with the agency as well. The Every Student Succeeds Act replaces No...
Freezing Fulton property taxes would leave Atlanta Public Schools out in the cold
 In an emergency meeting today at 12:30 p.m., the Fulton County Board of Assessors will face property owners angry over steep climbs in the assessed values of their homes. Those assessments determine property taxes, and Fulton and Atlanta homeowners naturally don’t want to see higher tax bills. Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria...

Posted: 7 days ago

In an emergency meeting today at 12:30 p.m., the Fulton County Board of Assessors will face property owners angry over steep climbs in the assessed values of their homes. Those assessments determine property taxes, and Fulton and Atlanta homeowners naturally don’t want to see higher tax bills. Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria...
Opinion: Those ‘frills’ and ‘fads’ are often what make schools succeed
 David B. Parker is a history professor at Kennesaw State University. In this essay, the historian draws parallels between what is happening in education nationwide under the Trump White House to what occurred in Atlanta in the 1920s. A Duke and University of North Carolina graduate, Parker teaches classes in Georgia history, the history of...

Posted: 8 days ago

David B. Parker is a history professor at Kennesaw State University. In this essay, the historian draws parallels between what is happening in education nationwide under the Trump White House to what occurred in Atlanta in the 1920s. A Duke and University of North Carolina graduate, Parker teaches classes in Georgia history, the history of...
Betsy DeVos: School choice should extend beyond charter schools
 Speaking at a national gathering of charter school advocates today, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos warned them not to become another education bureaucracy resistant to innovation and other forms of school choice. “No one has a monopoly on innovation. No one has a monopoly on creativity. No one has a monopoly on knowing how every...

Posted: 9 days ago

Speaking at a national gathering of charter school advocates today, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos warned them not to become another education bureaucracy resistant to innovation and other forms of school choice. “No one has a monopoly on innovation. No one has a monopoly on creativity. No one has a monopoly on knowing how every...
Betsy DeVos today: Charter schools are not a cure-all
 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continues to promote a single strategy to improve U.S education: expanded school choice. Her speech today to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Washington praises charters with this caveat, “But we must recognize that charters aren’t the right fit for every child...

Posted: 9 days ago

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continues to promote a single strategy to improve U.S education: expanded school choice. Her speech today to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Washington praises charters with this caveat, “But we must recognize that charters aren’t the right fit for every child...