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

A Georgia Teacher of the Year: Why kids need teachers who look like them
   Several teachers expressed dismay with my post last week on a new study suggesting black students benefit academically 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 far more likely to enroll in college. One black teacher...

Posted: 3 hours ago

  Several teachers expressed dismay with my post last week on a new study suggesting black students benefit academically 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 far more likely to enroll in college. One black teacher...
Charges dropped against Cobb teen who fought back after bullying
 Many readers were shocked when I wrote this summer about Jorge Santa-Hernandez, the 15-year-old Harrison High School freshman facing charges, including two felonies, for what his parents called justifiable self-defense against a senior who bullied him.  Today, all charges were dismissed against Jorge, according to his attorney Mitch...

Posted: a day ago

Many readers were shocked when I wrote this summer about Jorge Santa-Hernandez, the 15-year-old Harrison High School freshman facing charges, including two felonies, for what his parents called justifiable self-defense against a senior who bullied him.  Today, all charges were dismissed against Jorge, according to his attorney Mitch...
Opinion: Fulton’s woes go beyond turnover in top leadership
 As I noted earlier this week, I am getting a lot of critical commentary on Fulton County Schools in the wake of the surprise resignation of Superintendent Jeff Rose.  Many parents are upset over Rose’s resignation, although the school system says it was his choice to step down next month. (You can read a column by the Fulton school...

Posted: 2 days ago

As I noted earlier this week, I am getting a lot of critical commentary on Fulton County Schools in the wake of the surprise resignation of Superintendent Jeff Rose.  Many parents are upset over Rose’s resignation, although the school system says it was his choice to step down next month. (You can read a column by the Fulton school...
Fulton board president: Committed to working with parents, teachers
 In the last 10 days, I’ve published three guest columns  critical of the Fulton County School System in the wake of the resignation of popular Superintendent Jeff Rose, two by parents and one by a retired teacher. Today, the president of the school board addresses some of their concerns. Linda Bryant represents District 4, which includes...

Posted: 3 days ago

In the last 10 days, I’ve published three guest columns critical of the Fulton County School System in the wake of the resignation of popular Superintendent Jeff Rose, two by parents and one by a retired teacher. Today, the president of the school board addresses some of their concerns. Linda Bryant represents District 4, which includes...
Counting down to University of Georgia admission notices  today
 In an hour or so, about 7,500 students will learn they’ve been admitted to the University of Georgia.  But nearly 9,500 others won’t get that happy news. According to UGA, nearly 17,000 students applied for early action admission to the Class of 2023, a 14 percent increase over last year and a 28 percent increase compared...

Posted: 4 days ago

In an hour or so, about 7,500 students will learn they’ve been admitted to the University of Georgia.  But nearly 9,500 others won’t get that happy news. According to UGA, nearly 17,000 students applied for early action admission to the Class of 2023, a 14 percent increase over last year and a 28 percent increase compared...
Does overhaul of campus sexual misconduct rules hurt victims?
 As expected, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today proposed new guidelines on how campuses investigate and decide sexual misconduct allegations. Her proposals narrow the definition of sexual harassment and allow accused students to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party. "Throughout this process, my focus was, is...

Posted: 4 days ago

As expected, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today proposed new guidelines on how campuses investigate and decide sexual misconduct allegations. Her proposals narrow the definition of sexual harassment and allow accused students to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party. "Throughout this process, my focus was, is...
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: 4 days 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: 6 days 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: 7 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: 8 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: 9 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...