Experts: 'Minding The Gaps' Critical To Ga. Education Reform

Jan 11, 2016

There are plenty of issues facing Georgia's public schools in 2016 — from funding to figuring out what to do with failing schools.

Dana Rickman, director of policy and research with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, said Georgia needs to 'mind' the various gaps between kids.

"We have income gaps; we have achievement gaps; we have health gaps; we have expectation gaps; we have mobility gaps,” Rickman said recently at the GPEE’s media symposium. “There are a lot of freaking gaps out there."

Tomeka Hart, the vice president of programs for the Southern Education Foundation, said if state officials don’t address disparities — like the achievement gap between affluent and low-income students — they’ll get worse.

“We certainly have to mind these gaps because, if we don't, you're talking about a future where we will not be able to sustain ourselves because we have a community where the vast majority has a low education — and what is that going to say about our economy?” she said.

The GPEE said one way to address the issue is to ensure all schools get good teachers. That means increasing the rigor of Georgia's teacher training programs and making sure the state's teacher evaluation system is reliable, the partnership said.