Georgia School Funding Association


Critical Issues Affecting Georgia’s Schools

  1. Many of Georgia’s leaders have placed a political agenda ahead of their commitment to public education. The investment in our schools has plummeted on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis over the last decade. The inevitable results include fewer school days, additional furlough days, larger class sizes, and a reduced curriculum.

  2. The failure of our state government to fulfill its constitutional obligation to our students has grave consequences for our children and our state as a whole.

    1. We are harming our children, sapping the vitality of our economy in today’s world, and relegating our state to an inferior status. Three out of every ten students in Georgia are not graduating from high school with a regular diploma.

    2. Despite the claims of lower taxes, the State is simply shifting much of its responsibility to local school systems, which have to raise property taxes to make up the difference. However, many local systems are not able to cover the deficits in state funding. The opportunities for their students are cut even more than in other areas.

  3. Even though it is always desirable to have a wide range of alternatives, the concept of “school choice” is being misused as part of a broader agenda to undermine public education.

    1. Wealthy taxpayers are being allowed to “divert” a portion of their taxes to entities that support private schools, with no accountability on how these funds are used, no disclosure on who receives the funds, and no limits on how much is paid to the people who administer these funds.

    2. The “special needs scholarships” create a way to transfer limited state funds to those parents who have access to a private school and can afford the rest of the tuition. The ultimate goal is to provide vouchers for all students, which would have the effect of aiding some students at the expense of others while increasing the racial and economic segregation in our schools.

    3. Charter schools can be effective, but are not a substitute for improving all of our schools.

  4. In the rush for shortcuts to raise academic achievement (instead of supporting the hard work of our teachers and offering more opportunities to our students), the State has (a) experimented with a new math curriculum without providing the required training, (b) offered contracts to allow more flexibility for some systems in place of adequate funding, and (c) laid the foundation for a pay-for-performance plan that will increase the emphasis on standardized tests.

  5. The obsession with standardized tests, as reflected in No Child Left Behind, is regimenting our schools, demoralizing our educators, taking valuable time away from the instruction that is vital to learning, and eroding confidence in our public schools. The drumbeat of criticism has taken its toll. Many politicians are less interested in praising and rewarding our educators and elevating the teaching profession than in disparaging educators as a group and “weeding out the bad teachers.”

  6. Neglecting our schools jeopardizes the prosperity of our state for everyone. Good schools are essential in creating a productive workforce and preparing constructive citizens, especially when our students come from diverse backgrounds and most are economically disadvantaged.