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

Why do so many students believe they are just not cut out for math?
 A new study examines the pivotal role that math plays in student achievement, calling it a “key mechanism in the distribution of opportunity. ” The Mathematics of Opportunity: Rethinking the Role of Math in Educational Equity says that while math requirements are seen as a foundation for academic success, they can also become...

Posted: a minute ago

A new study examines the pivotal role that math plays in student achievement, calling it a “key mechanism in the distribution of opportunity. ” The Mathematics of Opportunity: Rethinking the Role of Math in Educational Equity says that while math requirements are seen as a foundation for academic success, they can also become...
Grade inflation on the rise: Everybody gets an A. 
 In 2015, Montgomery County, Md., decided to stop giving final exams in its high schools. Parents in the high-achieving district were frustrated with testing, maintaining it narrowed curriculum and inhibited creativity. But the elimination of final exams produced a  result that is now troubling some parents and teachers -- soaring grades....

Posted: a day ago

In 2015, Montgomery County, Md., decided to stop giving final exams in its high schools. Parents in the high-achieving district were frustrated with testing, maintaining it narrowed curriculum and inhibited creativity. But the elimination of final exams produced a result that is now troubling some parents and teachers -- soaring grades....
‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Black teachers benefit black kids
 Earlier this week, I shared this Marian Wright Edelman quote: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” That may explain why another study finds black students benefit from having black teachers. A Johns Hopkins working paper found that if a black student has one or two black teachers in elementary school, the student...

Posted: 2 days ago

Earlier this week, I shared this Marian Wright Edelman quote: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” That may explain why another study finds black students benefit from having black teachers. A Johns Hopkins working paper found that if a black student has one or two black teachers in elementary school, the student...
Is Georgia overselling benefits of dual enrollment to teens?
 Is dual enrollment effective? Georgia is pushing  more high school students to take college courses, but there are concerns about the value of the programs. Many top metro high schools advise their students to opt for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes rather than dual enrolling in entry-level college courses. The high...

Posted: 3 days ago

Is dual enrollment effective? Georgia is pushing more high school students to take college courses, but there are concerns about the value of the programs. Many top metro high schools advise their students to opt for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes rather than dual enrolling in entry-level college courses. The high...
Opinion: Fulton is losing superintendents and teachers
 Tom Pemble served as a Fulton County high school science teacher for 28 years. He is one of several Fulton residents who have sent me essays about the recent resignation of Superintendent Jeff Rose, who leaves next month. Rose cited personal reasons, but some Fulton parents believe the school board is at the root of his abrupt departure after...

Posted: 4 days ago

Tom Pemble served as a Fulton County high school science teacher for 28 years. He is one of several Fulton residents who have sent me essays about the recent resignation of Superintendent Jeff Rose, who leaves next month. Rose cited personal reasons, but some Fulton parents believe the school board is at the root of his abrupt departure after...
Georgia’s kinder, gentler approach to turning around failing schools 
 In describing his strategy as Georgia’s first chief school turnaround officer, Eric Thomas referenced the thriller “Taken.” Sure, as a former CIA operative, Liam Neeson possessed the skills to track down his kidnapped daughter on his own, but he sought the help of others. “We can’t do this work by ourselves,&rdquo...

Posted: 6 days ago

In describing his strategy as Georgia’s first chief school turnaround officer, Eric Thomas referenced the thriller “Taken.” Sure, as a former CIA operative, Liam Neeson possessed the skills to track down his kidnapped daughter on his own, but he sought the help of others. “We can’t do this work by ourselves,&rdquo...
South Fulton parents:  We need a more responsive school board
 Franchesca Warren is a former teacher, instructional coach, and district leader with a master’s in instruction and curriculum. She operates The Educator's Room, a popular national blog and podcast dedicated to empowering teachers. She also manages a household of six.  Warren is a Fulton County parent and writes today...

Posted: 7 days ago

Franchesca Warren is a former teacher, instructional coach, and district leader with a master’s in instruction and curriculum. She operates The Educator's Room, a popular national blog and podcast dedicated to empowering teachers. She also manages a household of six.  Warren is a Fulton County parent and writes today...
Opinion: Bill Cosby holds record for gift to a HBCU. That’s a shame.
 A native of Atlanta, Walter Kimbrough became president of Dillard University in New Orleans in 2012. Today, Kimbrough writes about the students at Dillard, who are often first-generation college attendees for whom financial aid is critical. Kimbrough says the contribution to student success by Dillard and other HBCUs needs to be recognized...

Posted: 8 days ago

A native of Atlanta, Walter Kimbrough became president of Dillard University in New Orleans in 2012. Today, Kimbrough writes about the students at Dillard, who are often first-generation college attendees for whom financial aid is critical. Kimbrough says the contribution to student success by Dillard and other HBCUs needs to be recognized...
Study: Georgia Tech has become a lot harder to get into today
 Georgia Tech alums and students are quick to praise their school and defend it when they feel it’s being sold short.   They weren’t happy with  the latest U.S. News & World Report ratings, which showed the University of Georgia catching up in the national standings with Tech.  Tech loyalists pointed out what...

Posted: 9 days ago

Georgia Tech alums and students are quick to praise their school and defend it when they feel it’s being sold short.   They weren’t happy with the latest U.S. News & World Report ratings, which showed the University of Georgia catching up in the national standings with Tech.  Tech loyalists pointed out what...
Brookwood High band members hit jarring note with racial slur
 Four members of the Brookwood High School band thought it would be a hoot Friday to spell out the historic racial slur “coon” on the football field  at halftime, apparently as part of a Senior Night prank. The joke didn’t just fall flat; it plummeted to earth in a fiery ball that threatened to singe the reputations of the...

Posted: 10 days ago

Four members of the Brookwood High School band thought it would be a hoot Friday to spell out the historic racial slur “coon” on the football field at halftime, apparently as part of a Senior Night prank. The joke didn’t just fall flat; it plummeted to earth in a fiery ball that threatened to singe the reputations of the...
Despite evidence against spanking, Georgia permits it in schools. Why?
 The nation’s pediatricians today announced a stronger stand against corporal punishment of children. Georgia remains among the 19 states, mostly in the south, that permit schools to use corporal punishment to discipline children. In updating its 1998 report on the detriments of corporal punishment, the American Academy of Pediatrics...

Posted: 10 days ago

The nation’s pediatricians today announced a stronger stand against corporal punishment of children. Georgia remains among the 19 states, mostly in the south, that permit schools to use corporal punishment to discipline children. In updating its 1998 report on the detriments of corporal punishment, the American Academy of Pediatrics...