Report Shows GA Improving in Educational Achievement, but must Close Gaps to Catch up with Nation

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The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which The Annie E. Casey Foundation released last week, ranks Georgia 40th in the nation in education. But that’s not the whole story. Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) released a new Data Snapshot today that explores education trends in this state over the past decade.

“While Georgia’s national ranking isn’t good, the news is much better when we take a longer look at the trend for Georgia,” said Steve Erickson, GaFCP Evaluation Team leader. “Conditions for children are getting steadily better, even with annual fluctuations.”

The Data Snapshot, “Closing Georgia’s Education Gap will Keep Georgia Competitive,” shows that our state has improved significantly since 2005 in four key education areas—on-time graduation, preschool enrollment, fourth-grade reading proficiency, and eighth-grade math proficiency—but that Georgia students still lag much of the nation in educational achievement.

Disparities among different groups of children in Georgia continue to widen the gap. For example, lower-income children lag their higher-income peers in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math, and are less likely to have access to high-quality early learning and care. These early indicators are key predictors of on-time high school graduation and success in the workforce.

“While Georgia has improved in some key indicators of child well-being, the data tell us we must do better in areas such as high-school graduation and post-secondary attendance and completion,” said Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) Policy and Research Director Dana Rickman.

According to Rebecca Rice, Georgia KIDS COUNT coordinator, The Snapshot shows that Georgia is moving in the right direction with recent education reforms and programs aimed at addressing Georgia’s education achievement gaps, and is poised to pick up the pace. “We must work even harder to ensure that all children receive access to quality early education, quality teaching, and the support they need to excel in school and to enter the workforce equipped with 21st century skills required for today’s technological society,” she said.

Rickman agrees. “Georgia is moving forward and has made many improvements over the past several years with several education reforms, but we can’t let that momentum slow. The numbers tell you we have work to do throughout our education pipeline if we are to create and maintain economic prosperity for our citizens and state.”

Download the GaFCP Data Snapshot, “Closing Georgia’s Education Gap will Keep Georgia Competitive.”

Read the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

Read a related story, “Georgia Ranks 42nd in the Nation for Child Well-Being in 2014 KIDS COUNT Book.”

Rebecca Rice
Georgia KIDS COUNT Coordinator
404-527-7394 (x103)

Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director
404-527-7394 (x113)

Follow us on Twitter @gafcpnews.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) is a public-private partnership created by the State of Georgia and funders from the private sector to assist communities in addressing the serious challenges facing children and families. GaFCP also serves as a resource to state agencies across Georgia that work to improve the conditions of children and families. Georgia KIDS COUNT provides policymakers and citizens with current data they need to make informed decisions regarding priorities, services, and resources that impact Georgia’s children, youth, families, and communities. Georgia KIDS COUNT is funded, in part, through a grant from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States.

The KIDS COUNT Data Center is a comprehensive source of information where you can download this year’s complete Data Book and access the new mobile site being launched using your smart phone.