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

As Georgia’s first lady, Sandra Deal has read to more than 850 classes
 Sandra Deal is Georgia’s first lady and a former teacher. She wrote this piece in anticipation of Georgia Pre-K Week, Oct. 1-5.  By Sandra Deal  One of the things that I will miss most when my husband Nathan leaves public office is traveling around the state and reading to children. It has been a privilege for me to have the...

Posted: 16 hours ago

Sandra Deal is Georgia’s first lady and a former teacher. She wrote this piece in anticipation of Georgia Pre-K Week, Oct. 1-5.  By Sandra Deal  One of the things that I will miss most when my husband Nathan leaves public office is traveling around the state and reading to children. It has been a privilege for me to have the...
From Hillary to evolution: Who decides what’s taught? 
 When the Texas State Board of Education voted to boot Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from its social studies standards a week ago, critics around the country blasted the decision as small-minded and provincial. Now, Clinton is taught in Texas high school history classes, while Keller is discussed in third grade. But Texas, like many states...

Posted: 3 days ago

When the Texas State Board of Education voted to boot Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from its social studies standards a week ago, critics around the country blasted the decision as small-minded and provincial. Now, Clinton is taught in Texas high school history classes, while Keller is discussed in third grade. But Texas, like many states...
Congrats to schools and parents on rising high school graduation rate
 The climb in Georgia’s high school graduation rate reflects two concomitant actions: Schools are working harder to push kids over the finish line, and parents are realizing their children have no future without at least a high school diploma. The Georgia Department of Education announced today the grad rate rose again in 2018, to 81...

Posted: 5 days ago

The climb in Georgia’s high school graduation rate reflects two concomitant actions: Schools are working harder to push kids over the finish line, and parents are realizing their children have no future without at least a high school diploma. The Georgia Department of Education announced today the grad rate rose again in 2018, to 81...
Study: It’s not private school that makes difference. It’s the family.
 In advocating tax dollars for private schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos criticized public schools in America as a dead end. A new major study suggests the private-school edge is an illusion and family factors, rather than school factors, determine student outcomes. “What the study indicates really clearly is that if kids...

Posted: 6 days ago

In advocating tax dollars for private schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos criticized public schools in America as a dead end. A new major study suggests the private-school edge is an illusion and family factors, rather than school factors, determine student outcomes. “What the study indicates really clearly is that if kids...
GOP House member: Our teachers feel ‘harassed and disrespected’
 A former school board member and father of a teacher, state Rep. Dave Belton, R-Buckhead, has written several pieces for the AJC Get Schooled blog. Today, he addresses the reasons behind the dwindling teacher pipeline in Georgia and his concerns over falling morale in the profession. In this guest column, Belton says, “Morale is so...

Posted: 7 days ago

A former school board member and father of a teacher, state Rep. Dave Belton, R-Buckhead, has written several pieces for the AJC Get Schooled blog. Today, he addresses the reasons behind the dwindling teacher pipeline in Georgia and his concerns over falling morale in the profession. In this guest column, Belton says, “Morale is so...
On anniversary of student’s death, what has changed at Georgia Tech?
 Today marks the year anniversary of the shooting death of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz by a campus police officer.  The 21-year-old student died after calling 911 to report "a suspicious person on campus" .... a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife...

Posted: 8 days ago

Today marks the year anniversary of the shooting death of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz by a campus police officer.  The 21-year-old student died after calling 911 to report "a suspicious person on campus" .... a white male, with long blonde hair, white T-shirt and blue jeans who is possibly intoxicated, holding a knife...
Cherokee parents and staff to state: Hands off our summer break
 The emerging debate over summer break in Georgia heats up with the Cherokee County school board surveying its parents and staff. The verdict: An overwhelming preference to keep Cherokee’s current school calendar and local control of it.  A state Senate study committee has formed to study when schools reopen after summer break under...

Posted: 10 days ago

The emerging debate over summer break in Georgia heats up with the Cherokee County school board surveying its parents and staff. The verdict: An overwhelming preference to keep Cherokee’s current school calendar and local control of it.  A state Senate study committee has formed to study when schools reopen after summer break under...
Georgia GOP leader: We’re not neglecting schools or teachers 
 A leading House Republican says I’ve been unfair in my characterization of school funding in Georgia and a few other education issues, including teacher pay and status. In a guest column, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, details what he considers misrepresentations of how well Georgia funds schools and...

Posted: 10 days ago

A leading House Republican says I’ve been unfair in my characterization of school funding in Georgia and a few other education issues, including teacher pay and status. In a guest column, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, details what he considers misrepresentations of how well Georgia funds schools and...
Limiting the dreams of Latino students hurts them and Georgia
 Aixa M. Pascual is advocacy, public affairs and cultural engagement senior lead at the Latin American Association, the largest nonprofit serving Georgia’s Latino population. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia, Pascual is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In this guest column, Pascual urges the state to recognize the importance of Latino...

Posted: 11 days ago

Aixa M. Pascual is advocacy, public affairs and cultural engagement senior lead at the Latin American Association, the largest nonprofit serving Georgia’s Latino population. A graduate of Princeton and Columbia, Pascual is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In this guest column, Pascual urges the state to recognize the importance of Latino...
College Republicans at North Georgia kick off year with gun raffle
 Is this an appropriate activity for a public campus in Georgia? A gun raffle? On the anniversary of 9/11? The Twitter announcement of the raffle by the University of North Georgia College Republicans is raising concern on social media.  Among the responses on Twitter:  The University of North Georgia said the raffle is allowed,...

Posted: 13 days ago

Is this an appropriate activity for a public campus in Georgia? A gun raffle? On the anniversary of 9/11? The Twitter announcement of the raffle by the University of North Georgia College Republicans is raising concern on social media.  Among the responses on Twitter:  The University of North Georgia said the raffle is allowed,...
University of Georgia jumps in national ranking, but Georgia Tech still ahead.
 U.S. News & World Report released its 2019 Best Colleges today, ranking more than 1,800 schools across the country.  Georgia Tech was ranked the 8th best national public university in the country, tied with the University of Florida. Tech ranks #35 among all national universities, including private and public. Tech was also...

Posted: 14 days ago

U.S. News & World Report released its 2019 Best Colleges today, ranking more than 1,800 schools across the country.  Georgia Tech was ranked the 8th best national public university in the country, tied with the University of Florida. Tech ranks #35 among all national universities, including private and public. Tech was also...