When It All Began

The idea began in 1990 but the year 1992 is considered to be the official start of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.  The organization's 20th anniversary was observed last year.

Visit the special 20th Anniversary web site that honors the Georgia Partnership's proud history. Don't miss the anniversary video.

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Our History

For 20 years the Partnership has been making a difference in the public education landscape of Georgia.  

Major accomplishments include:

-  Leveraging $30 million in state, private, and local matching funds to turn 51 local school systems into models of academic excellence.  Each system participating in the Next Generation School Project succeeded in raising student achievement results. 

In 2002, the project narrowed its focus to reform models that involve specifically adding time to the school calendar, whether it is lengthening the school day, extending the school term, or adding weekend or other special sessions for students who are at risk of failure. Here's a detailed report about the project.

Advocating successfully for such educational reforms as a lottery-funded statewide pre-kindergarten program; a constitutional amendment calling for appointed school superintendents and elected school boards; and an amendment allowing school systems to hold local referendums to establish sales tax funding for school construction purposes. The Partnership provides non-partisan information for educational policies that often ultimately become law.

-  Raising private and public support for scholarships directed to teachers seeking National Board Certification. The Partnership donated $1 million to help establish the scholarship program.  This incentive along with legislated pay increases for educators earning the certification leveraged the increase in the number of Georgia teachers achieving National Board Certification from 111 teachers in 2000 to 2,451 by the end of 2007.  Georgia now ranks high in the nation on this important indicator of teacher quality.

-  Strategically enhancing education through collaboration with statewide businesses to provide advocacy, influential policy change, performance management and leadership skills, and systemic financial support.

-  Boosting school improvement by taking a lead role in 2002 in the development of one of the state’s most successful programs – the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement.  The Institute has trained and continues to train, equip, support and inspire hundreds of education leaders to drive change for student success in their local systems.

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education continues to look for ways it can provide catalytic leadership to maintain positive momentum and instill public confidence that education in Georgia is on the right track. Its ongoing and new strategies include –

 The Bus Trip Across Georgia, which began in 1993, annually showcases model schools and educational programs that result in outstanding student achievement.  Business, education, government and civic leaders board buses for the tour to observe educators in action improving learning opportunities for their students.   Bus Trip 20 promotional video (2012).

The Education Policy Forums, first conducted in 2002, have become a regular election-year program.  Partnering with the Georgia School Boards Association, the Partnership conducts education policy briefings for local school board and state legislative candidates. Expert speakers cover a wide-range of educational topics that provide the participants with a firm non-partisan foundation on which to make future decisions.   

2004 saw the Partnership intensify its efforts at engaging the business community in the educational process.  Partnering with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Economics of Education program and publication were created.  Updated twice in 2007 and 2010, the message was and is clear: education in Georgia must be improved if the state is going to remain competitive for economic development and subsequent prosperity.  The initiative uses state and national data and research to underscore the impact on individuals and communities if higher educational levels are not achieved. It also provides strategies for community leaders to get involved in improving education by addressing issues of early learning, high school completion, and teaching quality – all factors that if not addressed can have a detrimental effect on quality of life issues and the business environment.  Economics of Education presentations continue to be delivered in 2013 to numerous business and civic audiences across the state. A fourth edition is planned this year.  Request a presentation. 

An off-shoot of the Economics of Education program is the Partnership's Community Engagement offer to work with communities who decide to move forward with a concerted educational improvement plan.  Representatives have assisted several Georgia counties in developing comprehensive and focused plans designed to increase student achievement and make their educational systems more attractive to outside business development. The "How To's of Community Planning" brochure provides details.  For more information.

The Partnership has developed strong ties with the business community. Working with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and independently, the organization has raised awareness of the importance of education to the state's economic prosperity. 

In 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue realized the importance of a concerted, focused effort on the part of the various state educational agencies in improving student achievement.  He directed that these agencies come together under the heading of the Alliance of Education Agency Heads to better pool and share their expertise and resoucres. The Partnership and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce were asked to serve as partners in reaching out and informing the business community on Alliance initiatives.

The state Board of Education asked the Partnership in June 2008 to serve as a part of the Commission for School Board Excellence to develop and present a template for successful school board governance for boards across the state.  The organization worked closely with both the Georgia and Metro Atlanta Chambers of Commerce and AdvancedEd.  Specific legislative proposals resulted from the work of the Commission.

The Georgia Partnership publishes works that focus on topical issues as a way to inform education stakeholders for their own advocacy purposes. The annual Top Ten Issues to Watch targets the key educational policy issues facing Georgia specifically and the nation in general.  The latest Partnership works are available here: Reports and Papers.

Introduced by the Partnership in 2008 - The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) - a national professional development program - provides leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy.  The first four Fellows cohorts graduated after their 9-month program and all indications are they found the program exciting and professionally challenging and beneficial.  The fifth cohort with 20 professionals from a variety of fields is now underway and is approaching graduation in May 2013. The specific goal of the program is to enhance Georgia's future educational leadership.
 
The organization’s leadership and resources are constantly being engaged in a wide-range of issues designed to reform the state’s educational system.  There are few more important bedrock issues than education when it comes to the quality of life for all Georgians.  The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is making a difference every day.