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

Need some stock tips? Call students at Redan High School.
 Need investment advice?  Consider consulting the stock market savvy students at DeKalb’s Redan High School. Redan High School’s stock market teams dominated the SIFMA Foundation’s Capitol Hill Challenge, achieving an amazing showing with the No. 1 team in the nation and two others in the top 10 final money standings...

Posted: a day ago

Need investment advice?  Consider consulting the stock market savvy students at DeKalb’s Redan High School. Redan High School’s stock market teams dominated the SIFMA Foundation’s Capitol Hill Challenge, achieving an amazing showing with the No. 1 team in the nation and two others in the top 10 final money standings...
Children come in all colors. So should their books.
 A graduate of Atlanta’s Lovett School and Dartmouth College, Kabir Sehgal is the author "Jazzocracy,” "Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us," and "Walk in My Shoes: Conversations Between a Civil Rights Legend and His Godson on the Journey Ahead" with Andrew Young...

Posted: 2 days ago

A graduate of Atlanta’s Lovett School and Dartmouth College, Kabir Sehgal is the author "Jazzocracy,” "Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us," and "Walk in My Shoes: Conversations Between a Civil Rights Legend and His Godson on the Journey Ahead" with Andrew Young...
Would merging U.S. education and labor agencies help or hurt?
 Does a merger of the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor make sense or would it risk subjugating the needs of schools to the needs of industry? Cast  as part of a larger government reorganization sought by the Trump White House, a merger would likely encounter congressional resistance. Past attempts to dissolve the education agency were...

Posted: 3 days ago

Does a merger of the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor make sense or would it risk subjugating the needs of schools to the needs of industry? Cast as part of a larger government reorganization sought by the Trump White House, a merger would likely encounter congressional resistance. Past attempts to dissolve the education agency were...
We must distinguish between scary students and annoying ones
 Attorney Mike Tafelski has championed students unfairly suspended or expelled.  One of his cases led to a state Supreme Court ruling last year that students cannot be expelled for fighting if they can prove they acted in self-defense. In what was its first decision in a school discipline case, the high court said, “Schools...

Posted: 3 days ago

Attorney Mike Tafelski has championed students unfairly suspended or expelled.  One of his cases led to a state Supreme Court ruling last year that students cannot be expelled for fighting if they can prove they acted in self-defense. In what was its first decision in a school discipline case, the high court said, “Schools...
Research shows Georgia voters smart to reject state school takeover
 Gov. Nathan Deal and the GOP leadership were disappointed with the resounding 2016 defeat of the Opportunity School District, a state takeover plan modeled after Tennessee’s Achievement School District. Turns out Georgia voters got this one right.  An ongoing evaluation released today by the Tennessee Education Research Alliance...

Posted: 4 days ago

Gov. Nathan Deal and the GOP leadership were disappointed with the resounding 2016 defeat of the Opportunity School District, a state takeover plan modeled after Tennessee’s Achievement School District. Turns out Georgia voters got this one right.  An ongoing evaluation released today by the Tennessee Education Research Alliance...
Should Georgia special needs voucher pay for tutoring, therapy?
 Parents urging more flexibility in Georgia’s special needs scholarship made their case at Friday’s legislative hearing. Their children’s educational, medical and mental health challenges transcend not only public schools, they sometimes exceed what specialized private schools can do, and it’s hard not to sympathize...

Posted: 5 days ago

Parents urging more flexibility in Georgia’s special needs scholarship made their case at Friday’s legislative hearing. Their children’s educational, medical and mental health challenges transcend not only public schools, they sometimes exceed what specialized private schools can do, and it’s hard not to sympathize...
Opinion: To teach writing, it helps to see yourself as a writer
 One of the joys of my job is reading the wonderful guest columns submitted by teachers. Often, teachers will send me a suggestion for a column. But their notes are so well written, so engaging and so full of passion that I suggest they write the piece instead.  Many do, and those essays are always interesting and authentic.  It...

Posted: 6 days ago

One of the joys of my job is reading the wonderful guest columns submitted by teachers. Often, teachers will send me a suggestion for a column. But their notes are so well written, so engaging and so full of passion that I suggest they write the piece instead.  Many do, and those essays are always interesting and authentic.  It...
Will Georgia educators turn their backs on Casey Cagle?
 The Cagle campaign for governor is in the midst of damage control after Clay Tippins, the fourth-place finisher in the May GOP gubernatorial primary, released a recording of Casey Cagle explaining he promoted a bad education bill to undermine another candidate. A tactic has been to decry the surreptitious recording made by...

Posted: 10 days ago

The Cagle campaign for governor is in the midst of damage control after Clay Tippins, the fourth-place finisher in the May GOP gubernatorial primary, released a recording of Casey Cagle explaining he promoted a bad education bill to undermine another candidate. A tactic has been to decry the surreptitious recording made by...
Do Asian-American students pay price for academic excellence? 
 Exemplary scores on high school admissions tests tell you something about students, including which had a strong K-8 foundation and which had access to test prep.  But the scores don’t tell you everything.  That’s why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to change how students are admitted to nine “specialized...

Posted: 11 days ago

Exemplary scores on high school admissions tests tell you something about students, including which had a strong K-8 foundation and which had access to test prep.  But the scores don’t tell you everything.  That’s why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to change how students are admitted to nine “specialized...
It’s official: Pamela Whitten is Kennesaw State University president
 As the sole finalist, there was no doubt Pamela Whitten would be approved as president of Kennesaw State University Today, the Board of Regents made it official.  Whitten will start her new job on July 16. Here is background from the Regents: Whitten now serves as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of...

Posted: 12 days ago

As the sole finalist, there was no doubt Pamela Whitten would be approved as president of Kennesaw State University Today, the Board of Regents made it official. Whitten will start her new job on July 16. Here is background from the Regents: Whitten now serves as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of...
How do some students overcome daunting adversity? 
 The AJC shared an inspiring story this weekend about the first Maynard Jackson High School graduate to attend Harvard. Bound this fall to Harvard on a full scholarship, Atlanta whiz kid Marisela Lozada earned that rare distinction without a parent to plot her academic path or cheer her on; she lost her mother as a young girl. It was her mother...

Posted: 12 days ago

The AJC shared an inspiring story this weekend about the first Maynard Jackson High School graduate to attend Harvard. Bound this fall to Harvard on a full scholarship, Atlanta whiz kid Marisela Lozada earned that rare distinction without a parent to plot her academic path or cheer her on; she lost her mother as a young girl. It was her mother...