Category Archives: education

Is STEM a panacea for education?

By Aundrea Bailey

The term “STEM” seems to be coming up in every conversation about education. You may already know what STEM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. But as far as how and whether to firmly apply STEM to our education system, that’s where the agreement ends. Googling STEM will generally send you one of two ways: STEM careers or STEM education. But why even google STEM? Does it matter? Simply put, yes it does…in a crucial way.

People are scared. Private companies, educational administrators, economists, government entities, and even the President are worried about the future of the United States. Why? According to advocates of STEM such as Change the Equation, technological innovation from STEM disciplines accounted for almost half of the United States’ economic growth over the past 50 years. Many view STEM as an economic necessity that keeps the US economy robust and competitive, and that imperativeness is what scares people to the point that STEM education is a priority in the President’s agenda, the agendas of Fortune 500 companies, and government organizations.

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A Non-partisan approach to HR 1162

By Michael Mumper

Thinking in non-partisan ways is not so easy in Georgia.   It may not be anywhere.

So I’d like to bring attention from time-to-time to people who think beyond party lines in defense of their principles.

Senator Thompson

I’d like to call out Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D-District 5), who voted for HR 1162.  This legislation is largely seen as a Republican-led initiative, and Thompson is a Democrat.

Because it recently passed both houses of our state’s General Assembly, this resolution will go before voters this fall to decide whether the state of Georgia should have the power to authorize charter schools.  Even, potentially, over the objection of local school boards.

But I bring attention to Senator Thompson not because he voted for HR 1162.  Rather, because:

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In Georgia Charter School discussion, what does “local control” mean?

By Michael Mumper

In my last blog about the HB 1162 and the Georgia Charter School Amendment
discussion, I brought up AJC Columnist Jay Bookman’s major concern: that
Republicans leading this charge seemed to go astray from their usual “local
control” mantra.  In his recent article (, Bookman says these Republicans are “toying with ‘local tax dollars generated by local taxpayers for local schools, under the supervision of locally elected school board officials.’”.

Good point, right?

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Georgia Charter School Amendment, HB 1162

By Michael Mumper

The Georgia “Charter School Amendment”, HB 1162, narrowly failed to pass last week, and the bill’s legislative leaders are aiming to bring it back for another vote.  Here are four views on the bill, plus a few thoughts of my own:

Georgia State Representative Jan Jones (R, District 46), the bill’s originator: (via @ajc), argues primarily that — after the Georgia Supreme Court struck down a 2008 state law that addressed the state’s role in local, public education — the bill would “reassert the state’s partnership role in public education”. Specifically, according to Jones, by enabling the state to approve charter schools, this legislation would give Georgia “another tool to give students learning opportunities, which sometimes cannot be offered within attendance lines.”

Three additional points she adds:

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Georgia Education and HOPE scholarships

By Michael Mumper

As many of you know, the state lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program is not doing so well financially. Last year Governor Deal tried to amend the program, but implemented a particular scholarship program where more students qualified than
anticipated (which is great in and of itself), and this is eating up HOPE reserves even faster than before.  This endangers the likelihood that our teenagers will get HOPE scholarship money that signifiATL Crossroadscantly takes a bite out of college costs.  Ouch!
There are many thoughts and plans on the table to fix this problem.  Here are three:

(1)   Reimplement the original HOPE qualification that did consider family income, so that we can continue to keep college affordable for families that couldn’t otherwise afford college for their kids.  However, be sure to send some kids to college
from each Georgia community regardless of family income.  (Senator Jason Carter, D)

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