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

Keys to enhancing teaching profession: Power, prestige and pay
 Thanks to all the teachers who sent me their suggestions on how to improve the status of the profession. In reading the responses, I noted three major themes: pay, power and prestige.  Respondents said more of all three are necessary to recruit and retain teachers. Teachers in countries with higher performing schools earn professional...

Posted: 2 hours ago

Thanks to all the teachers who sent me their suggestions on how to improve the status of the profession. In reading the responses, I noted three major themes: pay, power and prestige.  Respondents said more of all three are necessary to recruit and retain teachers. Teachers in countries with higher performing schools earn professional...
Is social and emotional learning a critical element in student success? 
 One of the most vaunted new programs in education is social and emotional learning or SEL, defined as the ability to communicate, resolve conflict, interact with others, and manage emotional responses.  Atlanta Public Schools has introduced SEL in its schools. In the past, we assumed impulse control, self-discipline and sound decision-making...

Posted: a day ago

One of the most vaunted new programs in education is social and emotional learning or SEL, defined as the ability to communicate, resolve conflict, interact with others, and manage emotional responses.  Atlanta Public Schools has introduced SEL in its schools. In the past, we assumed impulse control, self-discipline and sound decision-making...
Will Georgia ever regard teachers as professionals? 
 Every year the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education assembles a list of top 10 issues to watch in education, which usually cites funding, equity and early childhood programs. Recent lists have also included developing teacher leaders and keeping teachers teaching.  The newly released 2019 list has a call-to-action that&rsquo...

Posted: 3 days ago

Every year the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education assembles a list of top 10 issues to watch in education, which usually cites funding, equity and early childhood programs. Recent lists have also included developing teacher leaders and keeping teachers teaching.  The newly released 2019 list has a call-to-action that&rsquo...
Standing up to children’s screen time requires parents address their own
 When Harvard Medical School psychologist Richard Bromfield emailed me about his new book on kids and screens, I asked him to write an op-ed around the issue. I requested he speak to the challenge of classrooms full of children with access to the world -- or at least the world wide web -- in their pockets.  Bromfield’s book...

Posted: 3 days ago

When Harvard Medical School psychologist Richard Bromfield emailed me about his new book on kids and screens, I asked him to write an op-ed around the issue. I requested he speak to the challenge of classrooms full of children with access to the world -- or at least the world wide web -- in their pockets.  Bromfield’s book...
Why is student mental health at Georgia Tech and other schools worsening?   
 Collin Spencer is a third-year biology major at Georgia Tech where he has served as a member of President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s Campus Culture Action Team and as director of the Mental Health Student Coalition.  After Collin and I exchanged emails about the deaths of two Georgia Tech students to suicide, I...

Posted: 4 days ago

Collin Spencer is a third-year biology major at Georgia Tech where he has served as a member of President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s Campus Culture Action Team and as director of the Mental Health Student Coalition.  After Collin and I exchanged emails about the deaths of two Georgia Tech students to suicide, I...
Four thousand students got into Georgia Tech today
 Today delivered good news to 4,000 students who  found out they earned early admission to Georgia Tech. Overall, the admission rate for high school seniors who applied early action to Tech -- which means they met an earlier deadline to submit applications -- was 20 percent. For applicants from Georgia, the admission rate was 39.6 percent...

Posted: 6 days ago

Today delivered good news to 4,000 students who found out they earned early admission to Georgia Tech. Overall, the admission rate for high school seniors who applied early action to Tech -- which means they met an earlier deadline to submit applications -- was 20 percent. For applicants from Georgia, the admission rate was 39.6 percent...
State’s hiring of new Georgia Southern president locked out public input
 Matthew Boedy is an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of North Georgia and frequent AJC Get Schooled contributor. In this piece, Boedy discusses an increasingly common practice among public universities and school districts to skirt the spirit of transparency around searches for new leaders – releasing...

Posted: 7 days ago

Matthew Boedy is an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of North Georgia and frequent AJC Get Schooled contributor. In this piece, Boedy discusses an increasingly common practice among public universities and school districts to skirt the spirit of transparency around searches for new leaders – releasing...
Opinion: State study of school calendars ignores educators
 Megan Mayfield has taught for 15 years in Cherokee County. In this guest column, Mayfield questions why a Senate study committee on school calendars excluded classroom educators and why the committee believes the state should set parameters on when districts should break for the summer. In recommendations released two weeks ago, the...

Posted: 8 days ago

Megan Mayfield has taught for 15 years in Cherokee County. In this guest column, Mayfield questions why a Senate study committee on school calendars excluded classroom educators and why the committee believes the state should set parameters on when districts should break for the summer. In recommendations released two weeks ago, the...
These students walked onto Westminster campus and into history
 Six years after nine black teens broke the color line and integrated four Atlanta public high schools, seven other students made a similar but less heralded walk into history – becoming the first African-American students to attend the Westminster Schools, an elite private school in Buckhead. Their breakthrough did not garner the...

Posted: 8 days ago

Six years after nine black teens broke the color line and integrated four Atlanta public high schools, seven other students made a similar but less heralded walk into history – becoming the first African-American students to attend the Westminster Schools, an elite private school in Buckhead. Their breakthrough did not garner the...
Do charter schools seek out easier-to-teach students? 
 A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper looks at a key concern around school choice: Does school choice provide options to all families or do schools of choice seek out easier-to-educate students, leaving more challenging kids to the traditional public schools? Advocates maintain oversubscribed charter schools use lotteries...

Posted: 9 days ago

A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper looks at a key concern around school choice: Does school choice provide options to all families or do schools of choice seek out easier-to-educate students, leaving more challenging kids to the traditional public schools? Advocates maintain oversubscribed charter schools use lotteries...
Henderson Mill Elementary parents still fighting for their beloved coach
 Today, unhappy Henderson Mill Elementary School parents plan to make a second appearance before the DeKalb school board to ask if and when their beloved PE coach is returning.  In November, DeKalb Schools suspended Henderson Mill Elementary coach James O’Donnell – Dr. OD to many of the students he taught in his 39 year career...

Posted: 11 days ago

Today, unhappy Henderson Mill Elementary School parents plan to make a second appearance before the DeKalb school board to ask if and when their beloved PE coach is returning.  In November, DeKalb Schools suspended Henderson Mill Elementary coach James O’Donnell – Dr. OD to many of the students he taught in his 39 year career...