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Dept. of Education Launches 'Georgia’s Future. Now!'

March 12, 2013
Department of Education Superintendent John Barge helps a young learner with his reading.

The Department of Education recently launched Georgia’s Future. Now! as a way to unite efforts to improve student achievement and tell the story of the successes in public schools.

We have a lot of changes coming down the pike – from Common Core Georgia Performance Standards to new teacher and leader evaluations to Career Pathways for high school students. But what’s lacking is the ability to communicate in crystal-clear terms the vision, goals and solutions, along with our many accomplishments.

We have a lot to brag about:

  • Georgia has been ranked seventh in the nation for two consecutive years in overall quality of public education by Education Week’s Quality Counts report.
  • Georgia is the only state in the country to make gains on the most recent administrations of every major national test, including SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Five out of the last 10 national Principal of the Year winners are from Georgia.

The “Georgia’s Future. Now!” movement will help us tell that story. For instance, many people don’t know that Georgia was a key player in the development of the Common Core, and now we’re joining nearly every other state to create an equal playing field across all state lines.

We’ve taken the best research available and combined it with local input from educators across the state to come up with the Teacher and Leader Keys Effectiveness System. Teachers need multiple measures with deeper meaning to improve performance – not a checklist of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

And we’ve added Career Pathways, inspired by business and economic forecasters, so our students can all be college and career ready. We will align our offerings with critical areas and reward graduates with skills needed to get high-paying jobs. The ultimate goal is to put all students on a pathway toward college and career readiness.

It’s time to stop tearing down public education and start building it up. Go to GAFutureNow.org, download our toolkit and help us spread the message.

About the Author

Department of Education Superintendent John BargeDr. John Barge has spent his career as an educator. Before his election to office in 2010 as Georgia's State School Superintendent, Superintendent Barge worked as a teacher, principal, district-level curriculum director, and state Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education. He was recognized in 1996 as a STAR teacher, an honor bestowed on a teacher by the STAR student.

Superintendent Barge earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Georgia and completed his undergraduate studies at Berry College in Rome, GA, the city he and his wife of 21 years still call home. As a life-long educator who understands the impact a quality education can have on the life of a child as well as our state's economy, Superintendent Barge embraces a simple vision for education in Georgia: “Making Education Work for All Georgians.”