Critical Issues Forums

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Critical Issues Forums

Dr. Houston Davis, Chief Academic Officer, University of System of Georgia (far left), opens the panel portion of the November 4 Critical Issues Forum “Closing the Higher Education Attainment Gap.”  Participating from left to right are Dr. Gail Thaxton, Interim President, Athens Technical College,  Dr. Cheryl Dozier, President, Savannah State University, Dr. Kyle Marrero, President, University System of West Georgia, and Commissioner Gretchen Corbin, Technical College System of Georgia.

What are Critical Issues Forums?

The Georgia Partnership conducts Forums three times a year that offer interesting discussion on topical education subjects.  They are free and open to the public and offer guest speakers, panel discussions and an opportunity for audience questions/answers.  (See left side of page for details on the next Forum - August 2016.)  The last Forum, April 28, was sponsored by AT&T and focused on "The Wellness Impact on Education."

Video Reporthttp://

Media Reports:
CNHI (Moultrie Observer) - Deal called upon to improve mental health system
Henry Daily Herald - Officials discuss solutions to tackling youth mental healthcare
Insider Advantage (subscription required) - Georgia ranks low in "Wellness of Education"
WABE-Radio - Ga. officials acknowledge child mental health care hurdles

Previous Forum, November 2015

The last Forum of 2015 was held November 4: "Closing the Higher Education Attainment Gap."  Here is a short reportHere is the videotape. 

Media reports:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Gainesville Times
Morris News Service
Henry Herald/Clayton News Daily
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

August 2015

The previous Forum, sponsored by Comcast, was conducted August 12.  Mr. Mike Carnathan, researcher with the Atlanta Regional Commission, gave the featured presentation:  Demographic Data - Change What You Know/Know What to Change (PowerPoint).  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran this article:  Education gap looms, affects Georgia jobs (subscription required to read full article).  Here is the video of the Forum.

April 2015

The first 2015 Forum was conducted April 28.  Here is video coverage of the event. Here is Atlanta Journal-Constitution coverage.

The last Forum of 2014 was conducted in November at the Gwinnett School of Science, Math and Technology.  Here is the video report.

The August 19, 2014 Forum put the spotlight on state school superintendent candidates. More than 130 people gathered to hear candidates Valarie Wilson (D) and Richard Woods (R) debate.  This was their first meeting since winning their parties' nominations during the run-off election July 19.  Here is the video report.

Here are media reports: 

Henry Herald/Clayton Daily:  Candidates seeking Georgia’s top education post debate critical issues

WABE-Radio:  State superintendent candidates debate Issues

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber protected):  Delay new test, says Republican school chief candidate

Associated Press: Candidates for Ga. schools superintendent debate standards

April 17, 2014 Forum Looks at "Georgia's Sea Change Leading to Effective Teachers"
This first of three 2014 Critical Issues Forums took a close look at Georgia's new teacher evaluation system.  A video report will be posted here soon.

Here are media reports:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Maureen Downey: Georgia sets out to build a better teacher

Georgia Public Broadcasting, Jeanne Bonner:  Georgia's New Teacher Evaluation System Seen As 'Sea Change'

November 12, 2013 Forum Takes Look at Common Core
The latest Forum was well attended and provided a unique look at the Common Core from a variety of perspectives. It was held at Georgia Pacific headquarters in downtown Atlanta.

Participants included Mr. Mike Petrilli, Executive VP and President-elect of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  He opened the session with his presentation The Case for the Common Core

A panel discussion facilitated by the Georgia Partnership's Policy and Research Director Dr. Dana Rickman followed.  Joining Dana and Mike on the panel were Georgia's 2014 Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes; COL Patricia Ross, Vice Commander, 78th Air Base Wing Commander; and Robyn Oatley, representing the organization Ready Kentucky.

Here is the videotape of the Forum.

There was media coverage:  Morris News Service - Common Core debate set to continue in Georgia. Georgia Public Broadcasting - Where's the Common Ground in Common Core.  WABE Radio - Forum Addresses Common Core Concerns.

May 14, 2013 Forum -  "Data Driven Decisions - Dynamic and Daunting," brought national, state and local experts together to discuss how proper data gathering and use can increase education outcomes.  Key speakers included Paige Kowalksi, Data Quality Campaign Director of State Policy (Washington, D.C.); Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer with GA DOE; and Mary Anne Charron, Chief Program Officer, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement.  A panel discussion including data users followed.  An audience question and answer period ended the Forum. 

Here is the videotape of the session. 

Here are two relating "Data Driven Decisions" videos:

Data is Power (2 1/2 minutes long)

Bringing Data to the Classroom (7 minutes long) - Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer, GA DOE 

Georgia Public Policy Foundation editor Mike Klein filed this story, “Data Is An Onion … You Have to Peel Back the Onion.”