Equity in Education

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Columbia Group

The Columbia Group is a collaborative between seven states working to improve education outcomes for all students, specifically focusing on education equity.

Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South and The Education Poll of the South

A new report and poll results call for more improvements in education in the South and show strong support among Southerners for such changes. Click the links below to read the report, poll results, and more.

Press Release – Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South

Full Report – Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South
Executive Summary – Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South

Fact SheetThe Education Poll of the South
Key Findings: More details from poll results

Media Coverage of Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South and The Education Poll of the South

Public Schools in the South Need More Investments, Poll of Region’s Voters Finds (Education Week)

Report: Southern states need to pick up the pace in closing achievement gaps (EducationDive)

NC and the rest of the South need to improve education, report says (The News & Observer)

Poll says Southerners willing to spend more on education (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


Each member of the Columbia Group network is unique: they work in different contexts; they have different histories, different agendas, and different styles. They are, however, united in their dedication to — and success at — communicating the central role that better education plays in the future of their states and in recommending and implementing ways to ensure that education in these states is in fact better. Columbia Group organizations also share another defining characteristic — each is supported in great part by elements of the business community that believe in the transforming power of education, have witnessed its effects, and are consequently committed to the concept that all citizens will benefit greatly from effective educational systems. Columbia Group organizations are distinct in that they have taken a general business interest in improved education and out of it crafted coherent and vital education reform programs.

These reform efforts have had tangible impacts on education policy and practice in the various states. Among other things, they have ensured fairer funding for schools; stimulated more informed citizen involvement in education decision-making; insisted on better prepared and better supported classroom teachers; drawn more effective links between school and workplace; mandated the adoption of higher standards and greater accountability for students, teachers and schools; and urged implementation of new technologies and tougher curricula in classrooms. In partnership with business, almost all Southern states have now made education reform a central element of their public policy agendas. The work of Columbia Group organizations has been key to this.

The Columbia Group is, as much as anything, a particularly Southern phenomenon. The seven organizations are located throughout the Southeast. It is true that there are a few education advocacy organizations based in other states throughout the country. It is also true that there exist successful education reform efforts rooted in business involvement in community issues, notably the Business Roundtable groups. But nowhere else has a group of state-based education organizations strategically joined forces to create an active network and to begin to forge a regional agenda for education reform.

Learn more about each organization by clicking the links below.

Alabama – A+ Education Partnership

Georgia – Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Kentucky – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Louisiana – Education’s Next Horizon

Mississippi – Mississippi First

North Carolina – Public School Forum of North Carolina

Tennessee – Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)