Reformer ToolboxLogin

CancelLost your password?

#AskExcelinEd: Why I’m Grateful for A-F School Grading

• Ryan Mahoney


During our #AskExcelinEd Summer Learning series, you’ll get to know some of ExcelinEd’s team as they share what they are learning over the summer. Remember to join us on social media to ask your burning policy questions. Enjoy!

Meet Ryan Mahoney

ExcelinEd’s Regional Advocacy Director for the Southeast

I have a lot of respect for former educators who use their classroom experience to take up the cause of reform. Their ground-level insights are incredibly helpful in understanding how the policies we promote impact actual students, teachers and parents. Education reform also needs those of us who’ve been steeped in the Three Ps—politics, policy and the press—long before we were asked, for example, to weigh in on the benefits of a complex personalized learning bill at a committee hearing. In my work with ExcelinEd, I’m grateful for the opportunity to help every student achieve their full potential.

I Prefer…

Print Book over E-Book

Phone Call over Text

Traditional Watch over Smart Watch

Coffee over Tea

My Favorite Quote

  • “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” — William Butler Yeats
  • “Where any answer is possible, all answers are meaningless.” — Isaac Asimov
  • “A witty saying proves nothing.” — Voltaire

Thought Starter

State Spotlight: Georgia

Georgia’s A-F school grading web site is one of the best around. And I’m not just saying that because it’s a great example of ExcelinEd’s report card design principles in action. I can also vouch for it personally. My wife and I used it—together with our own due diligence—to help decide where our daughter would attend kindergarten. (We chose our local public school.)

ExcelinEd Resource Highlight

Poll after poll has found that the vast majority of people agree we should be funding our schools with student success in mind. In other words, allocating funds based on the unique needs of the students in each school and spending them in ways that ensure those students are learning what they need to know in each subject and graduate ready for college and careers. But instead, most states just automatically shell out cash for X number of textbooks and Y number of buses because, hey, that’s the way they’ve always done it.

My colleague Matthew Joseph recently released a fantastic set of resources for policymakers interested in moving to a more student-centered funding approach
including a handy modeling tool that shows exactly what this could look like in practice in any given state. Check it out!


About the author

Ryan Mahoney

Ryan is a Regional Advocacy Director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, where he focuses on education reform across the Southeast. He previously served as Vice President of the Georgia Chamber, leading the organization’s policy initiatives in education, health care, transportation and other areas. Before joining the Chamber, Ryan was an award-winning political reporter for the Atlanta Business Chronicle and a commentator on The Georgia Gang on Fox 5 Atlanta. A Florida native, Ryan is a proud graduate of The University of the South, Leadership Cobb and the Institute for Educational Leadership. He serves as board chairman of the Georgia Cyber Academy, the largest public school in Georgia. Ryan serves as the Regional Advocacy Director for the Southeast region, and his portfolio of states includes Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.