Reform, action needed for Georgia schools

With the recent news that Atlanta Public Schools is now on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the school district joins Clayton County Public Schools in drawing negative national attention to regards to education in recent years.

Clearly, a problem exists in Georgia’s schools. It’s not a problem that solely exists within our state, either. But with schools that rank near the bottom of most national surveys on quality of education, something must be done.

As much as we’d like to think that well-educated students are the ones who make it to college, it’s undoubtedly true that Georgia’s colleges see the rotten fruit of the state’s K-12 program. We all have had classes as freshmen (or, heaven forbid, as seniors) where professors have to go over fundamental lessons in writing essays, because far too many of our classmates simply don’t know what they’re doing.

The blame can certainly be passed around. From ill-equipped and sometimes unenthused teachers and federal standards made through No Child Left Behind, to the political hackery that takes place in local and statewide school boards, plenty of problems exist. And while it might be easy to blame teachers and school boards and politicians, blame also lies with a generation of parents who have not involved themselves in their child’s education past casual membership in a PTA.

The problem, though, is that little is being done to fix the problems. Perhaps it’s time that the colleges help.

For starters, Georgia State could add a written component to its application. Unlike many colleges, Georgia State does not require students to submit an essay with an application. Adding this component may help to weed out students who have poor writing skills, and at the very least give an indication to the school that the student needs a remedial course on writing before entering other courses.

There are easily dozens of other ideas that one might be able to generate to fix our schools, and more of those ideas should probably be implemented. If we really want to fix our schools, then we have to be proactive.

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