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

Do race and class explain why some parents never get benefit of the doubt?
 Stephanie Jones is a professor at the University of Georgia in the department of educational theory and practice. She focuses on gender, social class and education and works with teachers and schools to address the needs of poor and working students and families.  A former elementary school teacher, Dr. Jones is author of “Girls...

Posted: 20 hours ago

Stephanie Jones is a professor at the University of Georgia in the department of educational theory and practice. She focuses on gender, social class and education and works with teachers and schools to address the needs of poor and working students and families.  A former elementary school teacher, Dr. Jones is author of “Girls...
Politicians’ portrayal of teachers shifts with … politics
 In most political debates about education, teachers are excoriated as selfish or exalted as selfless. Either they care only about the money or care nothing about it. Those archetypes emerged in the recent red state revolts in Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona in which teachers marched out of schools and into statehouses to demand...

Posted: a day ago

In most political debates about education, teachers are excoriated as selfish or exalted as selfless. Either they care only about the money or care nothing about it. Those archetypes emerged in the recent red state revolts in Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona in which teachers marched out of schools and into statehouses to demand...
Teacher to colleagues: Celebrate teens rather than denigrate them
 Tyler Moon teaches at a small rural high school in Georgia. He is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. In this essay, Moon challenges critiques of teenagers as self-absorbed and unfamiliar with the real world and real struggles. Such comments have intensified as critics seek...

Posted: 4 days ago

Tyler Moon teaches at a small rural high school in Georgia. He is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia. In this essay, Moon challenges critiques of teenagers as self-absorbed and unfamiliar with the real world and real struggles. Such comments have intensified as critics seek...
Remembering Barbara Bush’s controversial commencement speech
 In 1990, the AJC sent me to Wellesley College in Massachusetts to cover then First Lady Barbara Bush’s commencement appearance, which had sparked a lot of controversy.  Seniors at the prestigious women’s college had voted for “Color Purple” author and Georgia native Alice Walker as their first choice of commencement...

Posted: 5 days ago

In 1990, the AJC sent me to Wellesley College in Massachusetts to cover then First Lady Barbara Bush’s commencement appearance, which had sparked a lot of controversy.  Seniors at the prestigious women’s college had voted for “Color Purple” author and Georgia native Alice Walker as their first choice of commencement...
Georgia public colleges will not raise tuition for 2018-2019
 As a parent of students at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, I am happy to hear this today. Statement from the Board of Regents: University System of Georgia students will pay the same tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year as the current 2017-2018 academic year, after the Board of Regents set annual tuition rates today for all...

Posted: 6 days ago

As a parent of students at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, I am happy to hear this today. Statement from the Board of Regents: University System of Georgia students will pay the same tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year as the current 2017-2018 academic year, after the Board of Regents set annual tuition rates today for all...
Strong legacy but fading numbers, Atlanta Boys High gathers a last time
 When I received notice of the final all-class reunion for historic Atlanta Boys High, I went to our AJC archives to learn more about this legendary high school. The first few hundred references to the school were all in obituaries of notable graduates.  And therein lies the problem.  Fewer and fewer graduates remain from the all...

Posted: 6 days ago

When I received notice of the final all-class reunion for historic Atlanta Boys High, I went to our AJC archives to learn more about this legendary high school. The first few hundred references to the school were all in obituaries of notable graduates.  And therein lies the problem.  Fewer and fewer graduates remain from the all...
Georgia district weighs arming teachers. Responsible or risky? 
 The Fannin County School System in north Georgia is considering allowing teachers to carry guns, a proposal that has the endorsement of the superintendent and sheriff. The Fannin school board will discuss that possible new policy -- which is legal under state law -- next month. In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., other...

Posted: 6 days ago

The Fannin County School System in north Georgia is considering allowing teachers to carry guns, a proposal that has the endorsement of the superintendent and sheriff. The Fannin school board will discuss that possible new policy -- which is legal under state law -- next month. In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., other...
Charter commission defends standards: ‘Failing school of choice is not a real choice.’
 Gregg Stevens is the deputy director and general counsel of the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia. In this piece, he explains the process by which the commission approves and denies charter schools in Georgia. This is a timely piece as the decision by the state’s first online charter high school to shut down in June has prompted...

Posted: 8 days ago

Gregg Stevens is the deputy director and general counsel of the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia. In this piece, he explains the process by which the commission approves and denies charter schools in Georgia. This is a timely piece as the decision by the state’s first online charter high school to shut down in June has prompted...
Opinion: Libraries are largest classrooms in a school. Staff them.
 Judy Serritella was the Georgia State Library Media Specialist of the Year 2001–2002 and the National Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2002.  In this guest column, she says Atlanta Public Schools would be making a mistake cutting its school librarians.  Serritella taught elementary school, was an elementary library...

Posted: 9 days ago

Judy Serritella was the Georgia State Library Media Specialist of the Year 2001–2002 and the National Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2002.  In this guest column, she says Atlanta Public Schools would be making a mistake cutting its school librarians.  Serritella taught elementary school, was an elementary library...
Fugees soccer founder expands her school for refugee children to Ohio 
 When Luma Mufleh decided to start a private school in Clarkston for refugee students, she wanted a high quality program her own children would want to attend but could not — because they were too privileged.  The tuition-free Fugees Academy, an outgrowth of Mufleh’s celebrated Fugee soccer teams, serves children who...

Posted: 10 days ago

When Luma Mufleh decided to start a private school in Clarkston for refugee students, she wanted a high quality program her own children would want to attend but could not — because they were too privileged.  The tuition-free Fugees Academy, an outgrowth of Mufleh’s celebrated Fugee soccer teams, serves children who...
New report: Improve Georgia teacher training in math, reading
 The National Council on Teacher Quality contends uneven and insufficient teacher preparation contributed to the flat scores this week on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. (Read about NAEP scores here.) Two days after the release of the 2017 NAEP scores -- a test that provides an ongoing audit of how American students are performing...

Posted: 11 days ago

The National Council on Teacher Quality contends uneven and insufficient teacher preparation contributed to the flat scores this week on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. (Read about NAEP scores here.) Two days after the release of the 2017 NAEP scores -- a test that provides an ongoing audit of how American students are performing...