Archive for May, 2011

Last-minute transfers to alternative school: Helping students or helping system?

The AJC has been looking at Hall County over the last few weeks because of the high number of students it moves from its regular high schools to its alternative school. The practice has long been a source of complaints from a few folks in Hall, including a regular poster here at Get Schooled who often shared troubling numbers about transfer rates.

In a data analysis, the AJC found multiple years in which a small number of graduates affected whether schools made adequate year progress, better known as AYP. The AJC found that three of Hall’s high schools missed their graduation-rate targets in 2007; East Hall missed by 14 students. Chestatee was off by three students, and  Johnson High missed by one. (The AJC notes that Chestatee and Johnson still made AYP because of a second-chance option that allows schools to use a multi-year average.)

During the next two years, when transfers to Hall’s alternative school, Lanier Career Academy,  jumped, the three schools posted better …

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Holding onto the last shreds of full HOPE in summer school

After the Legislature approved reductions to the HOPE Scholarship this session, a father asked me what he could do to minimize the financial loss since his child only had a few courses to go to graduate. My suggestion was that the student consider summer courses that would be under the old HOPE rules, which would mean full reimbursement.

I am not sure if the dad took my advice, but apparently other people came to the same conclusion as the AJC is reporting a possible spike in summer enrollment at the state colleges.

According to the AJC:

Beginning in August, the scholarship will provide less money to all but the highest-performing students.

The change means Boone would need a loan to pay for fall semester. Instead, he’s taking a full load of classes this summer, while HOPE still covers all tuition, so he can graduate early and most importantly, without any debt.

Across the state, some students, such as Boone, are rushing to get as many credits as they can during the …

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Three babies and no high school diploma: “I was supposed to help.”

This piece came to me as a letter to the editor from an elementary school administrator in DeKalb County. I thought it was worth sharing:

By Rouzier Dorce Jr.

I recently attended the high school graduation ceremonies of a young man I mentored while he was in middle school.

Robert had moved out of my community to attend high school in another area because he felt  he had a better chance at playing ball. Communications between us dwindled to an occasional email.

When I received Robert’s invitation to his high school graduation, I dropped everything and made the trip. I felt a father’s pride while I helped him fix his tie. When I commented how much like a man he seemed, Robert reminded me that it had been five years since we saw each other.

Robert had trouble reading, and we surmised that his deficiencies might have been responsible for his challenges in middle school.  Our weekly meetings helped with his behavior.

However, every time I would venture into the academic …

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A major is not minor: How what you study affects what you earn

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys or counselors — if you want them to eat and pay their bills.

A new study on how a person’s college major impacts earnings found that an undergraduate degree in counseling psychology offers the least financial return.

Using never-before-available U.S. Census data linking earnings to college majors, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce was able to show what the market values — and it isn’t the helping professions.

“The people who make the most money are the most productive, although not the most socially productive,” said center director Anthony P. Carnevale. “People who help people make the least money.”

The study, “What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors,” examines earnings of full-time workers. The Census information enabled researchers to look beyond the earnings of recent undergraduate degree recipients to an individual’s full life cycle.

“We found a [yearly] …

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A delightful voicemail parody: “If you want us to raise your child, press 6″

I first read a transcript of this school voicemail parody a while back but had not heard a video rendition of it.

An obvious spoof, the voicemail purportedly from an Australian school offers parents such options as  “To make excuses why your child didn’t do his homework work, press 2″ and “If you us to raise your child, press 6.”

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend and this lampoon:

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Breaking news: Dr. Hall farewell message: CRCT probe of APS will show “alarming conclusions”

Beverly Hall has released a farewell video in which she cautions that the CRCT probe will show "some alarming conclusions."  (AJC photo)

Beverly Hall has released a farewell video in which she cautions that the CRCT probe will show "some alarming conclusions." (AJC photo)

In a farewell video, APS school chief Beverly Hall cautions the 6,000 APS employees that the results of governor’s investigation into 2009 CRCT cheating in Atlanta schools are coming in the next few weeks and there will be “troubling, no some alarming conclusions.”

On the video, Hall says, “It’s become increasingly clear over the last year that a segment of our staff chose to violate the trust that was placed in them. And let me be clear, there is simply no excuse for unethical behavior and no room in this system for unethical conduct. I am confident that aggressive, swift action will be taken against anyone who believed so little in our students and in our system of support that they turned to dishonesty as the only option.”

Hall also cites the system’s gains in her tenure, including its improvement on NAEP scores. She reassures the teachers …

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Cherokee leads metro in grad test scores; Atlanta lands last

I threw the question out last week about how students fared on the Georgia High School Graduation math test and found an array of responses. Some posters reported great scores for their own schools.

But district scores released today indicate a drop in math scores overall in the metro area.

The AJC has a database where you can check math, science, social studies and English scores. My own district did well, with 99 percent passage on science, 90 on math, 96 on English and 91 social on studies. Overall, 84.4 percent of students passed all parts of the test, giving Decatur City Schools spot 18 on the statewide ranking.

The metro’s highest pass rate was Cherokee with 90 percent of its students passing all parts of the test. The lowest passing rate in the metro area was Atlanta Public Schools, with 58 percent passing.

Today’s AJC story reports:

District-by-district scores released Friday showed fewer metro students passed the math portion of the exam, which is one of five parts …

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The vision for DeKalb or at least the meeting times are murky today

A DeKalb parent sent me this note:  The DeKalb School Board meeting to unveil their “2020 Vision” (part of the reason for undergoing the redistricting nightmare of the winter) was originally scheduled for Friday (before a holiday weekend) at 9:00 a.m.  Sometime on Thursday, it was rescheduled for 9:30 a.m.  Then later in the day (after 5:00 p.m.) it was re-scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (on the Friday before a holiday weekend).  I’m just asking:  is this the transparency the DeKalb School Board hopes to achieve?

So, I asked the county schools if these facts were true. This is the note this morning from DeKalb schools spokesman Walter Woods:

True that the meeting was moved from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. because of scheduling issues and the board added an executive session before their public meeting. The meeting times change pretty regularly, and executive sessions to hear briefings on personnel matters or from the legal team are added frequently as well (don’t know …

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Video lottery terminals: A moral or money question for Georgia?

The lottery cannot keep up with the costs of HOPE and pre-k. Should we expand the opportunities to gamble to raise more momey? (AJC file)

The lottery cannot keep up with the costs of HOPE and pre-k. Should we expand the opportunities to gamble to raise more momey? (AJC file)

Georgia already has made peace with funding our children’s education through legalized gambling.

So, the question isn’t whether we can live with the moral compromises that come with such a funding choice, but how far we want to push it.

And now, a coalition of former lottery officials and business interests wants to push it to video lottery gambling.

Are you on board?

According to the AJC:

Dave Garrett, an Atlanta real estate developer and coalition member who was the lottery first board chairman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that video gambling revenue would make up for the $300 million shortfall for lottery-funded HOPE scholarships and pre-k. The HOPE 20/20 Coalition also includes Cadillac Jack, a Duluth-based video gambling machine company. Garrett said the coalition will expand to include other businesses and individuals …

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Attack of the brainiacs: 16 Georgia teams in National Quiz bowl here in Atlanta this weekend

I receive hundreds of story pitches each week via e-mail, but this may be the best ever. It came from former University of Georgia academic quiz team member extraordinaire Chris Chiego, now a doctoral student at the UC  San Diego.

Chris clearly loves quiz tournaments, and made me want to go to this weekend’s nationals here in Atlanta featuring 16 Georgia teams.

I love quiz bowls although I’ve had no luck prodding any of my four kids into the game. I am still working on one of my twins who collects facts and has taken it upon himself to learn every capital in the world.  (I was still asleep this morning when he asked me, “Ouagadougou is the capital of which country?”)

These sorts of competitions — and the National Geographic Bee this week in Washington in which Westminster seventh grade student Nilai Sarda placed second–  reward academic prowess.  It’s wonderful that Atlanta is playing host to the National Academic Quiz Tournament’s National Championship.

Good luck to all …

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