Monday, September 13, 2010

Research Session Lays the Groundwork for Education Campaign

This Saturday the "Be the Change" Youth Education Campaign hosted a research session at the UGA library in Athens, GA to gain research skills and put together some solid facts for use in upcoming events, particularly the National Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on October 7th. We have been working in partnership with the Georgia Students for Public Higher Education to spread awareness about the value of public education and to fight the budget cuts that have threatened it.

We had about 10 folks--from Athens, Atlanta, and Statesboro--gathered with a librarian who walked us through some of the most useful websites and resources to get information on Georgia's education system and budget. She even made us a handy website, so we could share the most important sites with those who couldn't attend:

Research Guide on Georgia's Education Spending

After some initial direction, we decided we should aim to put together two items by the end of the session: a fact sheet on higher education and a fact sheet on the K-12 system in GA. The overall goal of understanding the education crisis proved to be pretty daunting, with different pieces of information spread all over the place. However, we learned a lot and made significant progress on our fact sheets.

For example, did you know...

...that during fiscal year 2011, the amount that GA is spending per student on K-12 education will drop to its lowest level in a decade?
...that in every county in GA, the K-12 system is one of the top 10 employers (and that in 27 counties, public post-secondary institutions are one of the top 10 employers as well)?
...that in 2009 Georgia State President Mark Becker made $325,000 and that a security guard at Georgia State makes $25,305 per year?

Thanks to everyone who came out to the research session and the potluck and poster-making session afterward. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are looking for help! Please email me at if you'd like access to our fact sheet material as it still needs some additions and clarification. As always, please visit GSPHE or "Be the Change" to get more involved in the fight for education as a human right in Georgia!

Special thanks: Librarian Amber Prentiss for a wonderful research guide, Liz Kinnamon for photos, and the Presbyterian Student Center for hosting our potluck.

Stay tuned for more as we approach October 7th!!

Erica Schoon
American Friends Service Committee-Atlanta

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