Public education in Georgia
Energy • Environment • Fracking • Public education • Higher education • School choice • Charter schools • Public pensions • State budget and finances • Taxes • Voting • Ballot access • Redistricting • Nonprofit regulation
- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Georgia
Public education in Georgia
School board elections portal
The Georgia State Board of Education has 15 members, one from each congressional district and one Chief Executive Officer.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Georgia State Board of Education adopted these standards on July 8, 2010, and plans to implement them during the 2014-2015 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Georgia compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Georgia as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Georgia's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||1,803||0.11%||0.42%|
|Two or More||50,140||2.98%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
Most students in Georgia attend suburban or rural schools, with 38 percent of students attending each. Both Florida and South Carolina have similar region demographics, but students in Alabama are more likely to attend city schools than suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Georgia's scores were either below or equal to the national average.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Georgia was higher than the national average at 3.9 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 3.9 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Georgia
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Georgia state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 24 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is down 3.7 percentage points, a 13.4 percent decrease in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 27.7 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Georgia's education funding derives mainly from state and local resources in roughly equal amounts, with just over 12 percent of funding coming from the federal government.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Georgia totaled approximately $18 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Georgia and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Georgia totaled approximately $17.1 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Georgia and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Georgia, the average salary decreased by 5.7 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Georgia ranked 45th overall, or weakest, which was in the fifth tier of five.
The largest union in the state related to the Georgia school system is the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). The second largest union is the Georgia Federation of Teachers (GFT), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.
List of local Georgia school unions:
- Georgia Association of Educators
- Georgia Federation of Teachers
- Atlanta Federation Of Teachers
- AFT Savannah
- See also: Georgia government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization in the state is the Georgia School Boards Association. Another government sector lobbying organization is the Georgia Association of School Personnel Administrators.
The state of Georgia's official spending transparency database, mandated by the Transparency in Government Act of May 2008, was launched in January 2009. The site is available here. However, for education spending the Georgia Public Policy Foundation launched the website Georgia Report Card for Parents. The site was first created in 1996. It allows citizens to compare schools in every county in the state on a wealth of factors, including rankings and spending.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Georgia received a score of 73.9, or a C average in the "chance for success" category. This was below the national average. The state's highest score was in "transitions and alignment" at a perfect 100, or an A average. The lowest score was in "K-12 achievement" at 70.7, or a C- average. Georgia was the only state in the country to receive a 100 in the "transitions and alignment" category. The chart below displays the scores of Georgia and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Georgia||73.9 (C)||70.7 (C-)||91.1 (A-)||79.8 (B-)||71.6 (C-)||100.0 (A)|
|Alabama||72.0 (C-)||62.2 (D-)||92.2 (A-)||74.8 (C)||71.1 (C-)||85.7 (B)|
|Florida||75.3 (C)||75.8 (C)||95.0 (A)||82.7 (B)||70.0 (C-)||92.9 (A)|
|South Carolina||72.6 (C)||62.6 (D)||94.4 (A)||89.0 (B+)||68.7 (D+)||71.4 (C-)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
ABCs of School Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice publishes a comprehensive guide to private school choice programs across the U.S. In its 2014 edition, the Foundation reviewed the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program and Georgia's Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit. The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program allows parents of students with disabilities, who are dissatisfied with their assigned schools, to attend private school through a voucher system. The Foundation found that the program was well-funded, giving students vouchers worth up to their funding cost in public schools, but suggested growth in the eligibility of students. The Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit provides tax credits for donations to Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs), up to $1,000 for individuals, $2,500 for married couples, and 75 percent of tax liabilities from corporate taxpayers. The Foundation found that the tax credit program had the opportunity to be one of the most expansive and successful programs in the country, as its only requirement for a student to be eligible is to attend public school for at least six weeks. However, the Foundation found that the funding cap for the program allowed less than one percent of students to receive scholarships. The full Friedman Foundation report can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
There are two main types of school districts in Georgia: county school systems and independent (city) school districts. The county board of education in each county administers all local schools in the county except those operated by independent school districts.
- See also: List of school districts in Georgia
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
|1.) Gwinnett County Public Schools|
|2.) Cobb County School District|
|3.) DeKalb County School District|
|4.) Fulton County Schools|
|5.) Clayton County Public Schools|
|6.) Atlanta Public Schools|
|7.) Henry County Schools|
|8.) Cherokee County School District|
|9.) Forsyth County Schools|
|10.) Savannah-Chatham County Public School System|
School board composition
School board members are elected by residents of the school district. Georgia state law declares that a school board shall be no larger than seven members. They can serve anywhere from two to six-year terms. Depending on the preference of the board and district, members can file as partisan or nonpartisan on the ballot.
Georgia does not impose term limits on school board members.
No top enrollment districts in Georgia are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
A candidate in Georgia is ineligible to hold office if they are:
- Not a resident of Georgia.
- Under the age of 18.
- Not a resident in the county in which the individual is seeking office for 12 months prior to the election or appointment.
- Employed by or serving on the governing body of a private educational institution.
- Employed by the Georgia Department of Education.
- Employed by the board of education the individual is serving on.
- The holder of another county office.
- A holder or receiver of public money that has refused to, or failed to, account for it or pay it over when asked.
- A convicted felon who has not been pardoned and is not the subject of a restoration of rights.
- Of unsound mind or unable to discharge the duties of the office because of advanced age or bodily infirmity.
- A publisher of schoolbooks, an agent of schoolbook publishers, or someone with financial interest in the sale of school books.
Candidates must file an affidavit for the local school board they wish to represent prior to the qualifying deadline.
Candidates in Georgia must file a Personal Finance Disclosure within 15 days after qualifying for the election. They must also keep detailed records of all contributions received and expenditures made. They may be inspected by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission at any time.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Georgia Amendment 2 (1998)
- Georgia Charter Schools, Amendment 1 (2012)
- Georgia Education Taxes for Redevelopment, Amendment 2 (2008)
- Georgia Independent School System Amendment (2016)
- Georgia Private College Buildings Tax Exemption, Referendum 1 (2014)
- Georgia Sales Tax for Education Distributed on Per Student Basis Amendment (2016)
- Georgia State Intervention in Failing Public Schools Amendment (2016)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Georgia + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Georgia state budget and finances
- Georgia Department of Education
- List of school districts in Georgia
- School choice in Georgia
- Charter schools in Georgia
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Georgia Department of Education
- Georgia Public School Ratings by PSK12
- Georgia Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Georgia Department of Education, "About GaDOE," accessed May 19, 2014
- Georgia Department of Education, "GaDOE Organization Structure," accessed May 19, 2014
- Georgia Department of Education, "Georgia State Board of Education," accessed May 19, 2014
- Common Core: State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed July 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Georgia teachers unions," accessed November 12, 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice," 2014 Edition
- United States Census Bureau, "Georgia," accessed July 9, 2014
- Georgia Department of Education, "Local School Board Governance," accessed July 9, 2014
- Georgia School Boards Association, "Georgia Public School Boards," accessed July 9, 2014
- National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 9, 2014
- Center for Public Education, "Georgia School Boards Association," accessed July 9, 2014
- Georgia Secretary of State, "Local School Board Affidavit," accessed July 9, 2014
- Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, "Filing Responsibilities for Candidates & Candidate Committees," accessed July 10, 2014
State of Georgia
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | State Superintendent of Schools | Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Service Commission |