By John Stephen
Franklin D. Roosevelt called education the "safeguard of democracy." But who provides safeguards to ensure students are getting the best education possible and taxpayers are getting their money's worth?
A massive education system is constantly being refined, melted down and reinvented by state and federal government.
The moving targets -- state and federal benchmarks -- make measuring school success tricky, and each state does it differently.
Georgia uses its College and Career Ready Performance Index to try to convey a full picture of a school's performance. Florida focuses more heavily on student test scores.
School officials say it's important to consider multiple factors that affect school performance, including poverty, home dynamics, teacher turnover and ever-changing state requirements.
School districts in the SunLight Project coverage area -- Dalton, Milledgeville, Moultrie, Tifton, Thomasville and Valdosta along with Jasper, Live Oak and Mayo, Fla., the surrounding counties and school systems across Georgia and North Florida -- are constantly pushing to improve performance, especially since state assessments greatly impact a school's reputation.
CCRPI: What it is
and why it matters
The CCRPI is Georgia's accountability system for public schools. The Georgia Department of Education describes it as a "roadmap ...