Advocates Aim to Accelerate the Pace of Education Reform in the South
February 1, 2018

Seven state-based advocacy organizations in the South—five of which are PIE Network members—have released first-of-its-kind survey data and recommendations to speed the pace of K-12 improvement in seven states and the region as a whole.

Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South was produced by the Columbia Group, an informal collaborative comprised of A+ Education Partnership (Alabama), Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence (Kentucky), Education’s Next Horizon (Louisiana), Mississippi First, Public School Forum of North Carolina, and Tennessee SCORE.

Recognizing that today’s economy requires different kinds of education and training and that students are graduating from traditional schools unprepared for many jobs in the South, the Columbia Group spent a year digging in deeper. They asked thousands of parents, students, teachers, principals, researchers, business leaders, state policymakers, and others about their views on education in the South. They commissioned the first-ever Education Poll of the South that surveyed voters across 10 Southern states and portions of Florida and Virginia.

Through this unique regional collaboration, the Columbia Group organizations found alignment around key priority areas for improving education in the South:

  • Make the South the best place to teach in the nation. Recruit teachers and principals who have the talent, preparation, and continued support they need to help students succeed.
  • Provide new types of academic—and nonacademic—support for today’s students. Students need an array of support systems to help them deal with physical and emotional health issues that can impact their learning.
  • Clear all students’ paths from high school to their next steps in education and work. Build a much stronger bridge from high school into college, career training, or a good job.
  • Ensure resources are adequate and targeted. Invest in education to meet the needs of every child, and consider additional support for students who need the most help to catch up.

In addition to full survey data, the report also includes targeted questions for policymakers, state-specific data on achievement gaps, early learning metrics, and more, and highlights of “bright spots” where states are making great gains in areas like STEM, college access, and out-of-school supports.

Reach out if you’d like to connect with any of the PIE Network members involved.


Sarah Grunewald

Sarah is PIE Network's Deputy Executive Director, Program Strategy

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