Education in the State of Georgia

Instructor: Joanna Harris

Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership

This lesson will focus on three areas of education in Georgia: competitive advantages in education, the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, and compulsory education laws.

Georgia Education

For the most part, education in the United States is pretty uniform from state to state. This is done in part to make the transition from a public school in one state to a public school in another state as seamless as possible for students.

Georgia is no exception, but there are some things about education in Georgia that give it nuance and distinction from other state education systems. Let's take a look at their competitive advantages, assessment systems, and compulsory education laws.

Competitive Advantages

In Georgia, state education is centered on giving students the best start they can in early childhood. In fact, Georgia was the first state to make preschool a universal right for all of its residents.

Each school district in Georgia is also granted the right to open as many charter schools as they deem necessary to educate their children. Georgia was also granted $400 million in 'Race to the Top' funds that benefit 26 school districts.

Here is a list of some milestones and achievements Georgia has made in education that may give them a competitive advantage compared to other state public education systems:

  • Georgia is currently 1st in devising and implementing a curriculum and instruction system that connects their K-12 students to their college students, and to the workforce.
  • Georgia's K-12 achievement is 17th in the country.
  • Gifted and Talented programs are required to be offered in each school district in the state and backed by state funds.
  • Technical education that prepares students for entry into the workforce in technical jobs is provided to middle school and high school students.


Georgia's public schools are run and operated by the Georgia Department of Education. Their goals are to oversee implementation of federal laws and regulations, distribute state and federal government funds equitably, and to inform the public about changes in education policy.

Milestones Assessment

Another important function of the Georgia Department of Education is to create and implement a state assessment that is compliant with federal law that all public school students must pass each year. Each of the 50 states also has this mandate as well. Georgia's state assessment is called the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, and it is both comprehensive and summative.

All public school children beginning in grade 3 must take this exam each year. It tests student knowledge and understanding of state adopted curriculum standards in English Language Arts and math. Georgia is currently working to transition from giving the exam in the traditional pen and pencil method to administering the exam online.

End of Grade/Course Assessment

The exam changes depending on the grade. Students in 3rd grade through 8th take an end of grade assessment that tests them in English Language Arts and math, but 5th and 8th graders are also tested on social studies, science as well.

High school students are assessed via the end of course exam that occurs once a student has completed a course, regardless of their grade level. The end of course exam is a final exam grade that counts as 20% of their final grade. Course exams include:

  • English Language Arts - Literature and Composition and American Literature and Composition.
  • Mathematics - Algebra I or Coordinate Algebra and Geometry or Analytic Geometry.
  • Science - Biology and Physical Science.
  • Social Studies - United States History and Economics.

Compulsory Education Laws

Georgia's Department of Education has developed their own compulsory education laws, or the laws that mandate that children of a particular age must attend school.

Massachusetts was the first state to enact compulsory education laws back in 1852, but the idea was not an American one originally. It is thought that Aztecs back in the 15th to 16th centuries had this practice. Other states followed Massachusetts' lead, but it did take time for each state to see the benefit school had on their workforce.

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