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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 more than 20 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 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. In June, the Education Writers Association named her Opinion Writer of the Year. Read Maureen Downey's Get Schooled blog

Latest from Maureen Downey

Opinion: I’m not a distraction, far from it. Stop treating me as one.
 A senior at Etowah High School wrote an essay about the message school dress codes deliver to young women.  Regular readers know I share Cherokee County student Madison Jones’ concerns over dress codes and the misplaced focus on how the behavior and appearance of girls impacts boys and their education. Most recently, I wrote...

Posted: 2 hours ago

A senior at Etowah High School wrote an essay about the message school dress codes deliver to young women.  Regular readers know I share Cherokee County student Madison Jones’ concerns over dress codes and the misplaced focus on how the behavior and appearance of girls impacts boys and their education. Most recently, I wrote...
Falling ACT scores: Does U.S. know how to teach math effectively? 
 In its annual benchmark report on college readiness released today, the ACT found only 40 percent of 2018 graduates who took the test -- including Georgia teens -- posted scores indicating they were ready for first-year college algebra. The one-point decline in readiness from 2017 continues a downward trend; in 2012, 46 percent of test-takers...

Posted: a day ago

In its annual benchmark report on college readiness released today, the ACT found only 40 percent of 2018 graduates who took the test -- including Georgia teens -- posted scores indicating they were ready for first-year college algebra. The one-point decline in readiness from 2017 continues a downward trend; in 2012, 46 percent of test-takers...
Black girls at the door opened schools to a waiting generation
 One of the most compelling authors at the recent AJC Decatur Book Festival was Rutgers University historian Rachel Devlin, who wrote about the African-Americans girls at the forefront of America’s desegregation battle.   Devlin drew the title of her book, “A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young ...

Posted: 2 days ago

One of the most compelling authors at the recent AJC Decatur Book Festival was Rutgers University historian Rachel Devlin, who wrote about the African-Americans girls at the forefront of America’s desegregation battle.   Devlin drew the title of her book, “A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young ...
Is going back to the drawing board on testing the right answer?
 When studies showed Georgia set the lowest bar in the country for student proficiency in math and reading, the state abandoned the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and introduced the more demanding  Milestones, given for the first time in 2015. Three years later, it’s the Milestones tests now under the gun. The state Board of Education...

Posted: 3 days ago

When studies showed Georgia set the lowest bar in the country for student proficiency in math and reading, the state abandoned the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and introduced the more demanding Milestones, given for the first time in 2015. Three years later, it’s the Milestones tests now under the gun. The state Board of Education...
Opinion: Don’t alter school calendar to increase pool of summer workers
 T. Jameson Brewer is an assistant professor of teacher education at the University of North Georgia. In this inaugural guest column for the AJC Get Schooled blog, Brewer discusses the tourism-driven effort in the Senate to change the school calendar.   Tourist attractions say they are hurt by early August start dates because they...

Posted: 4 days ago

T. Jameson Brewer is an assistant professor of teacher education at the University of North Georgia. In this inaugural guest column for the AJC Get Schooled blog, Brewer discusses the tourism-driven effort in the Senate to change the school calendar.   Tourist attractions say they are hurt by early August start dates because they...
Is college for getting what you want or discovering what’s worth wanting? 
 Matthew Boedy, a University of North Georgia professor, talks about the purpose of college in  a student’s life and the role and relevance of the much-maligned English major. This is a good column to share with high school students.  By Matthew Boedy My sister has two children, a daughter in middle school and a son in ninth grade...

Posted: 7 days ago

Matthew Boedy, a University of North Georgia professor, talks about the purpose of college in a student’s life and the role and relevance of the much-maligned English major. This is a good column to share with high school students.  By Matthew Boedy My sister has two children, a daughter in middle school and a son in ninth grade...
Is it too hot for school in August? When should classes start?
 As a Georgia PTA representative told a Senate study committee Tuesday, a surefire way to rile parents is to tinker with the school calendar. Especially when the motivating factor appears to be boosting the tourism industry rather than schools. In its first meeting, the Senate study committee on school starting dates offered several reasons...

Posted: 8 days ago

As a Georgia PTA representative told a Senate study committee Tuesday, a surefire way to rile parents is to tinker with the school calendar. Especially when the motivating factor appears to be boosting the tourism industry rather than schools. In its first meeting, the Senate study committee on school starting dates offered several reasons...
As co-defendants enter prison, Atlanta teacher criticizes trial
 Two of the Atlanta Public Schools educators found guilty in the cheating scandal are expected to turn themselves in today to begin serving their prison sentences.  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reconsider  the case against Tamara Cotman and Angela Williamson, who are among the 11 former teachers and administrators ...

Posted: 9 days ago

Two of the Atlanta Public Schools educators found guilty in the cheating scandal are expected to turn themselves in today to begin serving their prison sentences.  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reconsider the case against Tamara Cotman and Angela Williamson, who are among the 11 former teachers and administrators ...
Brian Kemp: I will increase literacy and improve teaching conditions
 Brian Kemp is the Republican candidate for governor of Georgia. I asked Kemp and his Democratic opponent to pen pieces on education. You can read Stacey Abrams’ essay here. By Brian Kemp  Childhood literacy rates in Georgia are alarming; 63 percent of third grade students are not reading at grade level. That means 1.7 million...

Posted: 10 days ago

Brian Kemp is the Republican candidate for governor of Georgia. I asked Kemp and his Democratic opponent to pen pieces on education. You can read Stacey Abrams’ essay here. By Brian Kemp  Childhood literacy rates in Georgia are alarming; 63 percent of third grade students are not reading at grade level. That means 1.7 million...
Stacey Abrams: I want to be Georgia’s ‘Public Education Governor’
 Stacey Abrams is the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia. I asked Abrams and her Republican opponent to pen pieces on education. You can Brian Kemp’s essay here. By Stacey Abrams  My mother was 8-years-old when she dropped out of her segregated elementary school in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan on going back. ...

Posted: 11 days ago

Stacey Abrams is the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia. I asked Abrams and her Republican opponent to pen pieces on education. You can Brian Kemp’s essay here. By Stacey Abrams  My mother was 8-years-old when she dropped out of her segregated elementary school in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan on going back. ...
Tourism industry dominates state committee on summer break
 So, the state Senate announced members of a new study committee weighing whether Georgia ought to impose a uniform starting date on schools that considers the needs of the tourism industry.  Notice anything odd about the list of appointees? Like the glaring fact  the committee is full of folks friendly to or part of the resort and...

Posted: 14 days ago

So, the state Senate announced members of a new study committee weighing whether Georgia ought to impose a uniform starting date on schools that considers the needs of the tourism industry.  Notice anything odd about the list of appointees? Like the glaring fact the committee is full of folks friendly to or part of the resort and...