“Children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and education is a very important weapon to prepare children for their future roles as leaders of the community.” – Nelson Mandela

The Georgia Department of Labor recently released a list of the state’s chronically failing public schools, which are schools that have received an F for three consecutive years on the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

More than 87,000 Georgia students are currently impacted by one of the 153 failing schools on the list. Failing schools equal failing students, and Georgia’s children deserve much better.

Georgia’s overall education data doesn’t provide much of a silver lining. Sixty-six percent of Georgia’s fourth graders are reading below proficiency, which means they cannot read at grade level. The data only gets more grim as grade levels increase – among eighth graders 70 percent are below proficiency in reading. In math, fourth graders are 65 percent below proficiency and eighth graders are 82 percent below proficiency.

A quality education is paramount to success as an adult. Research from the Brookings Institution shows that “those who finish high school, work full time, and marry before having children are virtually guaranteed a place in the middle class.”  The report goes on to say that “only about two percent of this group ends up in poverty. Conversely, about three-fourths of those who have done none of these three things are poor in any given year.” Statistics like these also affect the future of our state and nation’s economy, as students today are in the military and workforce tomorrow.

Georgia Center for Opportunity recognizes this crisis and injustice to our students and continues to fight for expanded school choice options for students. Empowering parents with the opportunity to choose the high-quality education that best fits their children’s learning needs is the only way to get children away from failing schools immediately.

For more information about school choice options and educational savings account, which are currently being considered by the Georgia legislature, visit georgiaopportunity.org/esa/.