What you need to know about these goals:
2018 is a great year for education in Georgia. For the first time in 16 years, the State of Georgia led by Gov. Deal and the legislator fully funded public schools. Already school districts have been able to hire additional safety resource officers (10 in Gwinnett and Dekalb), give staff and teacher cost of living adjustments, and put in place better educational support for students.
In the 15 years that schools were underfunded austerity cuts led to local school districts enacting furlough days, eliminating teaching positions, and cutting arts programs. Over 95% of school districts have increased class size. 38% have cut back on programs for struggling students (1).
Teacher salaries have also decreased by 8.7% (2) when adjusting for inflation in the past 15 years, in part because of the lack of fully funding. In total, over 9.2 billion dollars was not sent to local school districts.
By continuing full funding, districts can begin to raise teacher salaries, provide necessary supplies, restore eliminated teaching positions and arts programs.
We are seeking pledges from the Gubernatorial and legislative candidates that they will fully fund Georgia's public schools for the next four years.
The Quality Basic Education Act was signed into law in 1985 to better accommodate the wide ranging needs of Georgia’s students. This formula---though initially successful---is badly in need of updating for changes in technology, student expectations, and inflation. Gov. Nathan Deal made it a major plank in his platform, however, was unable to complete this task during his governorship.
To include the largest amount of individuals in the activism for education spending, we are organizing 14 days to get involved beginning August 13th.
We believe that media attention received both through social media and traditional media platforms will propel education into the spotlight of the Gubernatorial Race, and General Assembly races. It will also show that teachers, parents, and students can and will become active in politics to ensure that our public schools are properly funded.
In June, we completed meet and greets with teachers throughout the state. Together, concerned teachers expressed ideas and talked about concerns. After those meetings, we formulated the 14 days and created partnerships to help make these days a success. We have also successfully applied for permits for the Beltline March. Already, we have had over 500 teachers express interest in participating and have formed partnerships with Orpheus Brewery and Community Bucket.
In July, we are writing and sending over 2,000 postcards to a teacher from every school in Georgia asking for their help in spreading the word about our goals. We are also sending out lapel pins and stickers to individuals interested in the movement.
At the beginning of August, we will be putting 100 yard signs in front of local schools to inform teachers about our upcoming activism.
Finally, two weeks before our 14 days we will begin to utilize traditional media contacts to tell the story of teachers in Georgia struggling to teach because of lack of funding.
RSVP for Activism:
Over the next three weeks, if we all share on social media, we will gain the attention of the candidates.
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Send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a text (978) 381-9378. We want to hear from you!
More funding leads to better education for our students.
Two studies have been conducted in the past five years to understand educational funding and student outcomes. The first by Julien Lafortune, et al., concluded in 2016 “we find that reforms cause increases in the achievement of students in these districts, phasing in gradually over the years following the reform. The implied effect of school resources on educational achievement is large”. Another study conducted by Kirabo Jackson, et al., analyzed over 15,000 students who attended school between 1955 and 1985 and concluded “The instrumental variable models reveal that a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all twelve years of public school leads to 0.27 more completed years of education, 7.25 percent higher wages, and a 3.67 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families."
With steady increases in funding, Georgia can expect to narrow the achievement gap for lower income students, reducing adult poverty when our students grow up, and higher wages for our students all which positively impact the economy and tax base. Education, in addition to a civil right, is an investment in Georgia’s future.