Expect news tomorrow that the Georgia high school graduation rate shot up

I think this means the state high school graduation rate rose by a notable percentage statewide and at these three schools in particular. The governor and the school chief would not take their show on the road to announce  so-so news.  This very public and very broad sweep on Tuesday suggests that Sonny Perdue and the state have something to celebrate.

One of these schools has not yet told its students the governor is coming tomorrow and I was torn about listing that school, but my teenager assured me that no one under 17 reads newspaper blogs so I feel reassured:

Here is the release:

Gov. Sonny Perdue and state Superintendent of Schools Brad Bryant will make a series of surprise announcements at three Georgia high schools Tuesday.

The high schools are North Hall in Hall County, Eagles’ Landing in Henry County and Glynn Academy in Brunswick.

38 comments Add your comment

Ernest

October 25th, 2010
5:33 pm

One of these schools has not yet told its students the governor is coming tomorrow and I was torn about listing them, but my teenager assured me that no one under 17 reads newspaper blogs so I feel reassured

Maureen, that was funny!

Any idea why those schools in particular?

Maureen Downey

October 25th, 2010
5:46 pm

Ernest, I suspect those schools had higher than state average increases.
Maureen

say what?

October 25th, 2010
5:52 pm

Good that they are visiting schools. Wish that they had visited more not only when there was good news to share. Our Students need to get validation from those in leadership capacities more than when there is a photo op. congratulations GA- the graduation coach program is working, hope they won’t get cut anymore.

David Sims

October 25th, 2010
6:01 pm

I’m sort of perplexed about graduation rates being less than, you know, 100%. High school was so darned easy that I had to go out of my way to learn at my pace (high school by day, junior college by night).

enjoy it while it lasts

October 25th, 2010
6:06 pm

Any gains in the graduation rate are sure to be temporary. With the class of 2012, the boom will be lowered. With increased graduation requirements and a new tougher, math graduation test just around the corner(first administration, spring-2011), any gains that we are seeing now are certain to disappear. Math 1,2,3,4 has been a fiasco, and many of the original members of the class of 2012 have fallen behind.

North Hall

October 25th, 2010
6:09 pm

I am a North Hall grad of 2009. We did have higher than state average SAT and ACT test scores and even the EOCT tests in 3 of 4 main core subjects. The graduation rate at North Hall the year I graduated was 87% and last year it jumped to 91% with over half of them in D-I schools presently. I’m not too sure about the other two.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by high_school and EducatingGA, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Expect news tomorrow that the Georgia high school graduation rate shot up http://bit.ly/a9mR2t [...]

Mike

October 25th, 2010
6:41 pm

And you and others at the AJC (and GOSA for that matter) have been told and shown proof how Hall County increases their graduation rate by transfering Certificate of Performance kids to the Career Academy days before graduation. Any increase in a Hall County School is suspect.

Mike

October 25th, 2010
6:48 pm

Although, to be fair, they mainly do this with Hispanic students and North Hall doesn’t have many ( or any) of those.

grats

October 25th, 2010
6:51 pm

Grats to North Hall and others; BUT, the population ratio may not be what a normal HS in GA looks like. I think someone told me they got like 5 hipanic students and a handful of black students. East Hall and South Hall are the big minority schools. In fact, I would love to know what their graduation rates were?

Still they had an increase and good for them. I just hope we fix this NCLB because in 2014 it has to be 100%.

Jennifer

October 25th, 2010
6:58 pm

Is this with the new high school graduation formula or the old one ? Can you give an update on that ? Weren’t we all told the grad rate was going to plummet with the new formula ? I do understand that an increase is an increase where ever the standard is set – but I could use a bit of clarification.
And Hall County – I agree with Mike.

Old School

October 25th, 2010
7:08 pm

Jennifer, they probably just did the calculations using either Math I or Math 2. I just hope that whatever formula they used has a performance standard and answers some essential question using the language of the standards. (wink, wink!)

enjoy it while it lasts

October 25th, 2010
7:47 pm

Jennifer and Old School. The new formula kicks in with the class of 2012. They are the first who were subjected to Math 1,2,3 4. The current seniors (class of 2011) are the last group on the old math and the old grad requirements. Any announcements about improved grad rates pertain to the class of 2010 and the old math curriculum and the old grad requirements/formula. Like I said above, get ready for stats to plummet beginning with the class of 2012 (current juniors—unless they were left behind).

Ole Guy

October 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

Not to be the voice of perpetual doom…one somehow gets the uneasy suspicion that someone is reaching for good news; any news that might paint a “not so bad” picture of what appears to be (let us not fool ourselves into believing that a pig with lipstick is anything other than a pig) one sorry state of affairs. Graduation rates of anything less than 100% are, in my view of the world, not acceptable. With the zillions of monies expended on educating America’s youth; with the knowledge that we are entering…if not completely imersed…in a global market, how in the hell can we celebrate anything less than complete and total victory in preparing younger generations?

This entire “celebration” merely serves as political back-slaping for psuedo accomplishments while, at the same time, lowering the bar of future expectations. This is tantamount to the pilot celebrating the fact that a great percentage of the flight was successful while, in the last .0001% of the trip, the aircraft “bumped” into a mountain. When are our “leaders” going to cease celebrating mediocrity, cease hiding from the problem areas, and tackle the issues head-on? If kids, over time, display a complete disinterest in learning, toss em out into the real world.

Hall Co Native

October 25th, 2010
8:06 pm

I’m sure North Hall being visited a week before the election has nothing to do with it being 5 miles or so from the Nathan Deal compound…..

mike

October 25th, 2010
8:06 pm

Nice that Sonny can visit some schools. He has been a complete failure when it comes to helping Georgia schools since he took office. But he can take the students fishing when they finish the Go Fish project next to his property.

enjoy it while it lasts

October 25th, 2010
8:16 pm

Maureen,
I encourage the AJC to start inquiring with school districts about the percentages of students in the original class of 2012 who are on track for on-time graduation. I believe the numbers (if you can get them) will be startlingly low.

Drew

October 25th, 2010
8:37 pm

Maureen, so do you think the cut scores were moved down so that the graduation rate would increase? This is what they have done with the CRCT.

Mike Honcho

October 25th, 2010
9:05 pm

We should expect to hear that Kathy Cox has sent her congrats for the gains. She’ll probably want to point out how the “improved” math curriculum played a part in the gains.

grats

October 25th, 2010
9:14 pm

the ‘new” math was not a part of these results;

the new math if for this years group of juniors that take the new grad test in April or May

Mike Honcho

October 25th, 2010
9:29 pm

@grats – I know this, I just wouldn’t be surprised if Kathy didn’t. About a year or so ago she tried to combine a positive gain on some tests with the new curriculum. I think it may have been some improvement on the math portion of the graduation test. The link was rediculous, but she needed some good news for her “baby” (the current mat curriculum).

I was trying to make a funny.

North Hall

October 25th, 2010
9:50 pm

I think the race percentage at North Hall my sophomore year (2006-07) was

91% Caucasian
7% Hispanic
2% Black / Other

Around 1300 kids.

td

October 25th, 2010
10:29 pm

enjoy it while it lasts

October 25th, 2010
6:06 pm
Any gains in the graduation rate are sure to be temporary. With the class of 2012, the boom will be lowered. With increased graduation requirements and a new tougher, math graduation test just around the corner(first administration, spring-2011), any gains that we are seeing now are certain to disappear. Math 1,2,3,4 has been a fiasco, and many of the original members of the class of 2012 have fallen behind.

Dr John Barge has been on the campaign trail for months saying he will end this curriculum once elected as Superintendent. He said it is horrible for the kids and the teachers. He also has talked about how much the grad rates are going to go down in 2012 if this is fully implemented.

Other topics he has covered that have not been covered by this blog for some reason:

Putting back in the technical diploma path.
Returning more control to local school systems.
Setting up a teacher panel to hear directly from teachers.
Listening to administrators and teachers prior to implementing any new curriculums.

Mike Honcho

October 25th, 2010
10:54 pm

There are already hints of big changes in mathematics coming soon. We may hear something in the next month or so.

Fled

October 26th, 2010
3:19 am

I once had to sit through a visit from Purdue, and it was nauseating. About all he did was stare at the cheerleaders’ butts and look stupid.

Education in Georgia sucks. Teaching in Georgia sucks. Hope I never fall so low as to have to go back there.

Public School Parent

October 26th, 2010
8:02 am

@ Mike Honcho:
The rumor we heard was the DOE was going to rename Math 1-4 using traditional nomenclature (Algebra, Geometry…), but that the integrated, inquiry-based, half-baked contents of Math 1-4 would remain. Let’s hope they don’t think we are that stupid to fall for that nonsense. Like I said… it’s currently a rumor.

@ td:
I have spoken directly with John Barge. He is serious about all you mentioned, and in particular, changing the math back. He has my vote… and I’m a registered Democrat.

teacher&mom

October 26th, 2010
8:46 am

North Hall residents are a mix of rural students and upper-middle class students. It is one of the areas where many very nice subdivisions on Lake Lanier were built during the past decade or so, therefore, attracting the doctors, lawyers, bankers,etc. My doctor took her children out of private school after 8th grade and enrolled them at North Hall. She has been very pleased with the AP courses, the gifted program, and the IB program. Whenever I visit her office, we end up talking about school and I have always been impressed with the curriculum and level of instruction her children appear to receive at North Hall.

While you could pick apart the GHSGT, SES numbers, graduation rate, etc., it sounds like the faculty and staff at North Hall deserve a pat on the back. Congratulations North Hall!

Hall Parent

October 26th, 2010
9:15 am

Of course she is – these are the kids Hall County caters to -”AP courses, the gifted program, and the IB program”.

Other kids pretty much get ignored throughout the district.

money

October 26th, 2010
9:18 am

@Mike

you are correct that K. Cox is the the next biggest fraud in GA education history; plastic surgery being number one.

Like i have said before; K. Cox set the fields on fire and then went on her merry little way.

Bailey

October 26th, 2010
9:38 am

2 other schools in Hall County are IB and AP classes are in all the high schools. Opportunities are available for “all” around the county system.

teacher&mom

October 26th, 2010
10:04 am

I visited Flowery Branch high school and I didn’t get the impression that students were being ignored. In fact, the teachers and administrators I talked to were very involved and dedicated. I suspect the opportunities are there if students and parents are willing to take advantage of them.

North Hall didn’t improve its graduation rate/graduation test scores by only catering to a certain population (AP/IB). Yes, higher scores by the upper-level students will pull up your average but you can’t ignore your Sped students or lower achievers. There are too many schools out there who don’t make AYP because of one or two special education scores.

Mike

October 26th, 2010
10:36 am

@teacherandmom. “you can’t ignore your Sped students or lower achievers”

We don’t ignore them. We just marginalize them and walk the ethical line in ways such as transfer them to the Career Academy to ‘hide’ them a few days before graduation to make the school grad rates look good. Or close a small, mostly hispanic school that was making AYP under questionable reasons and transfer the ‘fragile learners’ to a larger school that doesn’t make AYP.

Think that would have been done in North Hall? No way, no how.

Not downing the teachers here. They do the best they can given the circumstances, but if you think this system doesn’t systematically cater to the white elite in many many ways then your head is in the sand

clueless

October 26th, 2010
10:38 am

Any change in cut scores?

Mike

October 26th, 2010
10:39 am

Clarification to above. Jones was closed under questionable circumstances IMO, not that they were making AYP under questionable circumstances.

ryan ross

October 26th, 2010
1:16 pm

I GO TO EAGLES LANDING HIGH SCHOOL.!!!!
GO EAGLES!!!!!
91 percent grad rate

CharterStarter

October 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

@Mike- I can’t speak to Hall County’s career academy, but I know for a fact that Glynn Academy’s connection to Golden Isles Career Academy (a charter school) does not do what you suggested. Glynn Academy “shares” its students with GICA, and all the credit they earn at the charter schools stays on Glynn’s NCLB AYP report and state report card. GICA does not have a school number for AYP, so both its “feeder” high schools will directly benefit from GICA, but only if GICA is doing its job. The district will know if the charter is helping the high schools or not. I have not seen the numbers, but I would be very surprised if there is not a direct correlation between GICA’s startup last year and Glynn Academy’s improved graduation rate the same year.

@ enjoy it – I do just what you suggest: I present districts with a true “cohort” graduation rate. The pattern is repeated all over the state, in large districts and small, in rich and poor, in fast-growing counties and slow – 9th grade is the largest enrollment by far, and every successive class in the same cohort is smaller (sometimes a lot smaller) than its predecessor. These kids are dropping out – and even districts with “high” graduation rates “lose” 25-40% of each graduating class. The facts are impossible to ignore, but only if you look at them. The current “graduation rate” is a meaningless measure.

As you might expect, there are a lot of districts that don’t like to hear what I have to say!

Mike

October 26th, 2010
5:09 pm

@CharterStarter. Ours in Hall was changed over to being a seperate school several years ago. It also houses the Alternative school, Evening school and a GED program that many students also get shuffled to. Drop outs from the traditional schools are also many times transfered to the Career Academy/Alternative school and then dropped from there. As our Superintendent said in a meeting a few years back, who cares what AYP list the Alt/Evening school winds up on.

Nice huh?

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