Archive for May, 2012

Dealing with college rejection: Students can get over not getting in

The standard college rejection letter announces, “While you are a qualified applicant, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission.”

However, the rejected student often reads a subtext into the letter: “You are not good enough. You are not getting into this amazing college that would have changed your life.”

Allison Singh, 37, understands that reaction. That is how she felt when Princeton rejected her 20 years ago. She nursed her wounds until she realized that she ultimately benefited from the loss.

So, when a high school friend asked her to help her boss’ daughter deal with a rejection by her dream college, Singh composed a long email that began, “I was crushed when I wasn’t accepted to my first-choice college. I felt like a failure and was angry that all of my hard work hadn’t been enough for admission.”

But Singh ended the email with, “But slowly, I gave my school and my classmates a chance, and gave myself a break…I came out of …

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Gwinnett schools: Furlough days, larger classes and 585 unfilled jobs

Gwinnett schools approved a budget today that calls for two unpaid furlough days for most employees, two extra students per classroom and nearly 600 fewer people on the payroll. Most of the job cuts will come from leaving open jobs unfilled.

According to the AJC:

Spending for day-to-day operations of the state’s largest school district will be $1.2 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, down $60.6 million from this year.

“It’s a very tough budget,” said Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “It’s one we have lots of concerns with, but it will allow us to continue to do what we need to do.”

The largest share of the savings — $43 million — will come from leaving vacant 585 jobs, where employees — mostly teachers — have retired, resigned or transferred, and adding an average of two students per classroom.

The system will save another $10 million by furloughing employees for a fourth straight year. The two unpaid furlough days will apply to all employees, with the exception …

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Judge shows more mercy toward accused East Paulding High vandal than school board

A judge has granted an injunction allowing Jake Zimmerman, one of the East Paulding students arrested for a senior prank that escalated to costly vandalism, to attend his graduation ceremony. The judge overruled the school board, which voted last month to bar the student from attending.

Class president, Zimmerman admitted painting a skull and crossbones on the road outside the school, saying it was an annual tradition for seniors. But he said he left the scene before fellow pranksters moved to the school and painted vehicles and buildings, causing $7,500 in damage.

The school system suspended him for the duration of his high school career, banishing him to an alternative school. Unlike most of the teens, he appealed the decision, but the school board denied his appeal last month. Then, a school board member made a motion to heap on more punishment: prohibiting Zimmerman from attending his graduation ceremony. The teen said Wednesday that the board voted 6-1 in favor of …

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Triplets and four sets of twins take the very top honors at their Georgia high schools.

UPDATED a 11:45 a.m with news that Luella High in Henry also has twins in the top slots.

UPDATED at 2 p.m with news that triplets took the top three slots at Upson-Lee High School.

UPDATED at 3:34 p.m. with news that twins took the top honors at Franklin High School.

Bill Maddox of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education pointed me to these two news story, which he thought were worth noting. I agree. The valedictorians and salutatorians at Grovetown High School in Columbia County and at Clarke Central High in Athens are twins.

In addition, I am awaiting details from Henry County where twin brothers are the valedictorian and salutatorian at Luella High School. Sheldon C. Scoggins  is valedictorian; his brother Brennan M. Scoggins is salutatorian.

I just confirmed a twin valedictorian/salutatorian at Franklin High School. According to principal Wayne Randall, Scout Josey is valedictorian and her sister Kate is salutatorian. They are the twin daughters of Ricky …

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State DOE releases list of Alert Schools today

The state Department of Education released its list of Alert Schools today.

The new DOE accountability designations — priority schools, focus schools and reward schools — replace the “needs improvement” label in No Child Left Behind that educators deemed unclear and unhelpful. These three designations target  “Title I” schools that have a high percentage of low-income students. DOE also designated a fourth category, “alert schools,” so the state can focus on struggling schools that do not necessarily have a high percentage of low-income students.

DOE defines Alert Schools are those that need to raise student achievement on statewide assessments in the areas of graduation rate for high schools and subgroup performance and subject performance for elementary and middle schools. Alert Schools can be Title I Schools or Non-Title I Schools.

The criteria used to identify Alert Schools are:

(1) Graduation Alert Schools: High Schools whose subgroup …

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New report: 10 to 15 percent of students chronically absent

You can't learn if you are not at school. A new report says millions of kids are chronically absent.  (AJC file)

You can't learn if you are not at school. A new report says millions of kids are chronically absent. (AJC file)

We have discussed the issue of chronic absenteeism before, but there is a new report out today that gives dimension to the extent of the problem.

(Please note that the Get Schooled blog preceded the Get Schooled Foundation cited in this release,  but there is no relationship between the two.)

Absenteeism is a parent problem. And it speaks to larger problems when a parent doesn’t see the importance of getting their children to school. I have talked to parents who allow their children stay home because they are tired,  sometimes from staying up the night before to watch a playoff game or  some other TV event. I also know parents who become enraged at the teacher or the school and keep their child home.

And there are the hapless parents who oversleep and don’t get themselves or their kids out of bed on time. A friend worked as a court-assigned mentor to a family …

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Study: A wider social services safety net does not guarantee fewer children slip

Today is the day for interesting research findings. Here is a summary of a study that looked at whether children fared better in a country with a wider safety net than the United States.

Researchers compared child outcomes in the U.S. and Great Britain, which offers families and children a broader range of social services.

Their conclusion: It didn’t seem to make any difference. The risk factors for behavioral problems did not appear to be  mitigated by stronger social services, affirming the researchers’ earlier findings of the critical role of parents to healthy child development.

I find this interesting because there is a lot of effort in this country to provide more public supports to children from fractured or troubled households. But can those supports compensate for what Gov. Roy Barnes used to describe as “sorry parents”?

I have found that the kids who thrive despite tough home lives often have one of two things in their favor: Inner resilience or a caring …

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Wages of young college graduates tanking during recession. (Is there room in the basement?)

The Economic Policy Institute sent out this depressing summary today showing that the wages of young college graduates have failed to grow over the last decade. One indicator to me of the bleak job market is how many college graduates are now living back at home with their parents.

Here is the data snapshot from EPI:

In 2011, young college graduates had an average hourly wage of $16.81 per hour, which translates into an annual income of roughly $35,000 for a full-time, full-year worker. Average hourly wages for young female graduates remain substantially less (13.9 percent) than those of young male graduates.

The wages of young college graduates have fared poorly during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Between 2007 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped 4.6 percent (5.1 percent for men and 4.1 percent for women). The wage growth of young graduates was weak even before the Great Recession began; they have fared poorly over the entire period of general wage …

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Former U.S. ed secretary on legacy of No Child Left Behind

Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings

Daniel Malloy, the AJC’s reporter in Washington, D.C., sat down with former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings for an interview at an event in Washington today.  Here are her answers to a series of questions on major education issues:

DM: Cheating scandal call testing into question?

Spellings: I think obviously the vast majority of educators and education leaders take assessment seriously and the integrity seriously and don’t cheat. When it does happen it ought to be addressed and attended to vigorously. Obviously, we saw that exact same thing play out in Atlanta and what encourages me when I think about the Atlanta case study, the business community, as you know, was very engaged, got a little sideswiped by the scandal, a little aggrieved by their engagement that was rewarded with this sort of behavior. I think to their credit they’ve stayed engaged and active and continue to be and are moving forward to the benefit of kids. Often we take our …

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APS joins the club: May cut 475 jobs to deal with budget

Atlanta joined other metro school systems in announcing plans to lay off employees to cope with a worsening budget crisis.

Gwinnett is planning for 585 fewer employees, Cobb is planning for 250 fewer, Henry is planning to cut 200, DeKalb is planning for 133 fewer, and Clayton and Fayette might have to work with roughly 100 fewer employees.

The AJC reports that the APS board is looking at cutting up to 475 jobs, including about 230 teachers, 90 custodians and 14 bus drivers and transportation staffers. Some of the layoffs are a result of a recent school redistricting, others because of declining revenue.

According to the AJC:

“We’re going to rethink almost everything we do, from the classroom to central offices,” said Chuck Burbridge, APS’ chief financial officer.

Revenue from property taxes has dropped by $119 million since 2008. Over the same period, the budget for the 49,000-student district has decreased by $56 million.

Almost every department was asked to cut …

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