Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or less.

Speaking of how the CRCT is graded, the Georgia Department of Education released system-wide data today on the 2012 scores.

The highest-scoring metro systems were Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City, all of which are high-performing systems with relatively low poverty rates.

In terms of low-income students, as measured by students eligible for free/reduced lunches on the most recent state report cards:

19 percent of students are low-income in Forsyth

22 percent of students are low-income in Fayette

25 percent of students are low-income in Decatur

In comparison, consider that Clayton, one of the low performing systems, has 82 percent of  its  students qualifying for free/reduced lunch.  The state average is 57 percent. In Atlanta,  76 percent of students are low-income.

Here is a link to an AJC database of the district scores.

According to the AJC:

Students in Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City school systems outperformed their metro-area peers on 2012 state exams, according to scores released Thursday.

In these counties, students excelled in reading and math while results showed that students in Clayton, DeKalb and Atlanta City trailed in tested subjects.

The Criterion-Referenced Competency Test is given annually to public school students in grades three through eighth, and measures whether students are testing on grade level in English/language arts, social studies, reading, math and science. The test will be deemphasized in the coming years as Georgia moves away from federal No Child Left Behind accountability measures to a new accountability system of its own.

Since 2000, the exams were critical in determining whether schools met annual academic goals, known as adequate yearly progress or AYP. Schools and districts that didn’t meet goals, which increased every year, were subject to sanctions under state and federal law.

Soon, the state will introduce a new index system that will assign each school a numerical rating from one to 100, and CRCT esults will be one of several factors that make up a school’s rating.

State data released earlier this month showed Georgia students overall improved on the exam for the third year in a row. English/language arts, social studies and reading results increased this year, while math and science scores remained flat or dropped slightly. School-level CRCT data is not expected to be released until mid-July.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

75 comments Add your comment

[...] Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or l… [...]

Mountain Man

June 28th, 2012
2:18 pm

So you are saying that high-SES counties scored better on the CRCT? NO! Really?

Mountain Man

June 28th, 2012
2:19 pm

Next you will tell me it is dark at night.

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
2:29 pm

If you looked at the breakdown for race and SES, you would see a pattern; even when Asians and Indians are poor, they succeed academically. Blacks and Hispancis do not. It’s a sub-culture, a family value.
Blacks value sports. Hispanics value labor. Asians and Indians value academics and whites are somewhere in the middle.
You cannot blame the low test scores on low incomes. It’s much more difficult than that. You’ve got to influence people to change their core values and here in the South, it’s sports, not academics.
This is why Jerry Sandusky was allowed to molest and rape childrren — because sports was more important than a child’s protection and well-being.
If we want our kids to succeed we need to treat sports as a healthy past-time and not as a goal in life. We need to help people understand they must learn to speak and write English properly and they need to learn math and science and history.
We need an educated work-force for our democratic society to flourish and succeed or else we’ll be the low-paid servant for other countries, just as Mexico is now.
Less football, more math.
Less rap music, more science.
Less hair and makeup, more English.
Less “blame the man” and more personal responsibility.

Maureen Downey

June 28th, 2012
2:31 pm

@Mountain, Just a preemptive strike against the usual suspects who will argue it’s racial.

I should note that there is some diversity in these systems:

Decatur is 57 percent white, 32 percent African American, 5 percent multiracial, 4 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian.

Fayette is 57 percent white , 23 percent African American, 9 percent Hispanic, 6 percent multiracial, and 4 percent Asian.

Forsyth is 76 percent white; 12 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian, 3 percent African-American and 3 percent multiracial

Devil's Advocate

June 28th, 2012
2:46 pm

LOL, Good Mother contradicts herself several times but most notably:

“It’s a sub-culture, a family value.
Blacks value sports. Hispanics value labor. Asians and Indians value academics and whites are somewhere in the middle.”

Her assessment reads more racial than subcultural or family values related.

Hillbilly D

June 28th, 2012
2:56 pm

You’ve got to influence people to change their core values and here in the South, it’s sports, not academics.
This is why Jerry Sandusky was allowed to molest and rape childrren — because sports was more important than a child’s protection and well-being.

But Pennsylvania isn’t in the South.


June 28th, 2012
2:58 pm

@ D/A…..it is what it is…works out the same way dog gone near every time. Look at Chicago, Detroit, etc. Call it racial, etc., but blacks consistently score lower…..THAN POOR ASIANS! Where does “poverty” enter into this part? Could it be a culture, etc. deal that is associated by race in some cases? (Acting white, etc.?) Hard to figure….when I was at UGA the blacks FROM Africa who were there did very well. So is it cultural/racial/ or what…..nobody has the answer. But it ain’t all poverty. The sub-class in many instances (Chicago, for example) has morphed into a poision subculture that is not gonna be solved in your or my lifetime.

Beverly H.

June 28th, 2012
2:59 pm

…and you wonder why APS has to cheat on the CRCT!?!?!?!

Devil's Advocate

June 28th, 2012
3:13 pm


Racial implies genetic, cultural implies behavior. It is important that when using statistics that they are taken in proper context. Statistics simply tell you what happened for the time measured. Statistics by themselves do not tell you why something happened. You said it yourself, blacks from Africa seem to do better than in the classroom than blacks from Chicago, Detroit, etc. So that would lean towards being cultural rather than saying that “blacks suck in the classroom”.

When we speak in generalities then try to take those generalities and make them hard realities that’s when drama starts. All of a sudden you have people who heard something or thought they saw something assume that all people who look a certain way are that way and that all people who are not that demographic must be different. A very dangerous slope applying assumptions upon assumptions then claiming them as facts of the matter. The broader brush you use to paint the less precise the picture drawn.

If an issue is racial then there’s not much that can be done about it by the greater society in practical terms. If something is cultural then with properly directed time and resources change for the better can occur.

But hey, blacks are still trying to learn how to swim right?

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
3:14 pm

Hillbilly — Yes, Penn State is in Pennsylvania — it’s up North.
And here in the South sports is even more important than it is there — so the comparison is noteworthy. If Penn State values sports more than the lives of children — think how much more the South would do if the same thing occurred. What if this happened at the University of Alabama?
The sports nuts would threaten to kill the boys for testifying — that’s how bad it is down here.
Get it?
I realize you are a hillbilly but even you should be able to understand…
and I noticed you didn’t disagree.


June 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

It does not cost a dime to stress the importance of good behavior and doing as your teacher asks. It costs nothing to check that your child’s homework is done. Books from the school and public libraries are free. I have students on free and reduced lunch with $100+ sport shoes, iPhones, and expensive weaves. I’ve had these same children miss a day of school to get their hair done. The problem is NOT poverty, it’s attitude. Education is far down on the priorities list of many families. I wish we could have cloned Dr. Ben Carson’s mom. She had her priorities straight and communicated them to her boys – no slack, ever! And they achieved.

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
3:21 pm

Devil’s advocate, you’re spot on. It IS cultural — or rather sub-cultural. I live next door to a black family that values education — she is from African, not Atlanta. Her children and bright and well-behaved and they are taunted for “acting white.” They are also lower middle class/poor. She is also a single mother — so she has all the statistics against her so why are her children doing well? It’s the sub-culture. she is African-black, not American-black.
The sub-culture of African-Americans do not value academics as much as they value sports.
I know Indians, born into poverty in India who studied, succeeded and now are making 200K plus as programmers. It IS NOT all about poverty. It’s about a personal and cultural value.


June 28th, 2012
3:24 pm

@ Good Mother. Penn State student racial/ethnic demographics are 75.4% white, 5.5% African American, 4.3% Asian, and 4.4% Hispanic. But I really fail to see the relevance of the Jerry Sandusky case to this discussion at all.

Hillbilly D

June 28th, 2012
3:27 pm

It does not cost a dime to stress the importance of good behavior and doing as your teacher asks.

Good point. Daddy used to tell us, “Even if you’re dumber than a rock, you can still behave and get a good conduct grade”.

I realize you are a hillbilly

Do I detect a hint of bigotry? The name, of course, refers to those of us with long standing Appalachian Scots-Irish ancestry. If things are so bad down here, though, there are major interstates leading out in every direction, as well as the world’s busiest airport.

The problems of education are national problems and not confined to any one area.

Dekalb taxpayer

June 28th, 2012
3:48 pm

Unfortunately, in some metro-Atlanta school systems, you do not need to be able to speak and write English well in order to have a high-paying job.

just sayin'

June 28th, 2012
3:54 pm

So it’s okay to say one ethnicity is better at sports and athletics, but it’s NOT okay to say one ethnicity (as a group) is better at logical thought processing? Sounds like racism to me.


June 28th, 2012
4:03 pm

Dear Good Mother,
I am a Yankee and calling someone a hill billy isn’t respectful. Do your children call people names also? You are a bully……………… Good mothers are great role models.


June 28th, 2012
4:12 pm

Dekalb taxpayer,
Are you in a special group? You sound like you belong in an unusual group? Do you associate with people who pay taxes? Most people are taxpayers and you fall in the category with mannnnnny others.
(boring name)


June 28th, 2012
4:16 pm

Poverty in the U.S. means: has a smart phone, family has one or more cars, has central heating and air, has a flat screen TV, has a computer.

“Poverty” means low earned income… and that is all. All those CEOs with multi million dollar compensation packages and $1 salaries are considered by the government to be “in poverty”. It is not an assesment of living conditions or of family wealth. “Poverty” is not an indicator of student spending. More is spent on students in the APS than most any other school system in the state. There is so much wrong with trying to link performance to “poverty” that it is not worth trying.

This is not a racial problem. This is a cultural problem. But remember: much of a person’s culture has roots in race. Black isn’t a culture. Hip-hop is a culture. I suspect that the black families in Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur are strongly influenced by their white neighbors…. for the better. The minority kids in those schools are encouraged to compete academically, rather than frowned upon for “acting white”. It has a lot more to do with who you are sitting next to in class… and living next to in the neighborhood.. than the amount of money your parents make.

southside teacher

June 28th, 2012
4:24 pm

Oh, no Maureen! Tell me you aren’t one of those ‘defenders of the status quo’ who believes the lie that economics drives the gap?!


June 28th, 2012
4:29 pm

So it’s okay to say one ethnicity is better at sports and athletics, but it’s NOT okay to say one ethnicity (as a group) is better at logical thought processing? Sounds like racism to me.

It is racism. Its fine in the U.S. to look at the NBA and say that “blacks are better in basketball”, but strictly forbidden to look at the graduating engineering classes of Georgia Tech or Stanford and say that Asians (or whites) are better at Science and Mathematics. The first is “common sense” but the latter is “racism”. Both are, in fact, racism. I would submit that both statements are true, and that both are “racism”. Why do people think that one group can be separated for tens of thousands of years from another group and not develop different innate abilities? As different groups, we developed different outward appearance, we developed different diseases, we ate different foods, etc. etc.

But remember that the range of human ability (whether mental or physical) in a population is a bell curve. The VAST MAJORITY of people, regardless of race, will fall into the same range of ability. There will be geniuses and idiots in all races. The slight difference in intelligence among the races are not sufficient to explain the wide differences in test scores. The difference in culture explains everything.

Dekalb Teacher and Mom

June 28th, 2012
4:31 pm

@Good Mother- “If you looked at the breakdown for race and SES, you would see a pattern; even when Asians and Indians are poor, they succeed academically. ”

I agree with the statement but assuming the Indians you are referring to are from India they are actually considered Asian as well.


June 28th, 2012
4:42 pm

Call it racism, etc. but here are the facts: blacks in the U.S lag way behind.
blacks in MANY cases, especially inner city
(Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, for example) folks
live a lifestyle that is not conducive to being
productive….see the violent crime stats..
When other blacks try to do better, their own
often hold them back.
It may be race-based culture, not genetics.
But it is happening.
Tough to hear, and this may blow your mind, but I am not racist at all. However, there is some cultural aspect that can and should change. Every po-dunk European country in the world was able to colonize Africa. Why is there no black country that can govern it self?? (Name one…and not us; we have a black Prez, but are only 12-13% black.)
I do not think it is inferior intelligence. I think it is a culture; in Africa, where very intelligent students come from, they kill each other worse than in the streets of Chicago. What is the answer? Tough questions, and the only comments you get back are “you are a racist”. Just answer any of the questions……


June 28th, 2012
4:50 pm

Poor ClayCo. When the Atlanta Housing Authority nuked the Public Housing Complexes, they Section 8′d all of their crap down into ClayCo.

Had a much bigger impact on APS test scores than anything Beverly Fraud & crew ever did.

Old timer

June 28th, 2012
5:20 pm

Socio economic groups mostly play a part. I was teaching in Clayton in the mid nineties when change began.
All of the upper and middle class minorities took off…fled…big time. They mostly went to Fayettte and took their bright motivated children with them.

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
5:21 pm

Dee, Hillbilly is the monniker HE chose. Just like you chose “Dee,” he or she chose “Hillbilly,” not me.


June 28th, 2012
5:31 pm

BTW, MD, one reason I reject the “poverty” links is that the “answer” to the problem is always: throw money at it.

We have thrown money at poverty since LBJ. It has not budged the “poverty” rate AT ALL. People in poverty have WAY more “stuff” than people had to 50 years ago, yet the poverty rate has remained the same. If you actually compared what the average impoverished individual has now compared to 50 years ago, they are actually quite wealthy in comparison. In fact, the average impoverished kid has more stuff today than I had as a middle class kid 40 years ago. I had a second hand bicycle, an AM/FM radio, an all-in-one record player, and a B&W TV. Yet I was still able to graduate college in EE/CS (two degrees).

And if you look what I had compared to a middle class kid 40 years before me, I was filthy rich!

But English, Reading and Mathematics hasn’t changed all that much in those 80 years. Comparatively, the “impoverished” kids now have WAY more advantages than most of the middle class or rich kids did some 40-80 years ago. Comparatively, they should be doing much better than I did. What happened? In a word: Culture.

Tired of Teaching

June 28th, 2012
5:32 pm

It is absolutely about culture. It’s not about race or ethnicity or poverty. Students who come from families that value education typically put forth the effort to be successful. In some cases, students might even come from families that don’t value education, but if they have some intrinsic or extrinsic motivator, they too will be successful. The students who are apathetic, behave like animals, have no home training, and simply come to school to socialize with peers generally come from a family culture where the school is viewed as the babysitter rather than a place to learn. Often times some of the other factors like poverty are in play as well, but you can be the poorest person on the planet and still sit in a classroom, listen, behave and learn. All the other things are excuses. There will always be students who do poorly because you’ll never have 100% of parents valuing education and instilling that in their children.

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
5:38 pm

Prof, you said “But I really fail to see the relevance of the Jerry Sandusky case to this discussion at all.”

Then allow me to explain more fully, Prof.
Sports is important in our American society. Football, in particular is more important than God, morals and the well-being and safety of at least eight little boys. When Sandusky raped these innocent little souls, the “academic” Penn State covered it up so that the “storied” football program would be protected. It is an example of how our American culture values sports more than the lives of children…

and in our American culture we have sub-cultures. American blacks have their own sub-culture as do Asian-Americans, Indian-Americans and Southern whites and Northern whites and so on.

Within these sub-cultures, Asian and Indians value education most. They spend their time and effort on academics and it shows — that is why they are at the top of the class — they value education most, sports least.
On the flip side, African-Americans are a sub-culture. They value sports most and academics least.
This is why Bo Jackson and Charles Barclay and others like them were star athletes and why Indian-Americans have won the National Scripps Spelling Bee for the last decade. Each sub-culture practices the values each holds dear — Indians and Asians, regardless of income, value education and they succeed academically. Black Americans value sports and they succeed in those sports, and fail academically, regardless of income. There are of course, some exceptions, but as a rule it is true.

Hispanics value labor. There is an expression that goes something like “I worked like a Mexican,” on my yard last weekend, meaning they spent a great effort doing physical labor. Hispanic Americans value hard, physical work.

We succeed in the areas we put our efforts. It is not all about income and poverty. It’s about values.
Successful athletes do become rich and famous but there are few jobs in professional sports. There are a lot more jobs in technology. So Raja and Dong Tao, the Indian and the Asian are not multi-millionaire athletetes but they earn six figures in technology. All those blacks who set their sights and put their efforts into basketball and football and didn’t make it to the professional sports leagues — are outside on the sidewalks blaming the “man.”
There is one sure-fire way out of poverty – an education. Public schools are available and libraries with the Internet are free and within commuting and walking distance for poor urban families. For rural poor, their opportunities are much fewer.
I came from the rural poor and I am no longer. I credit a couple of teachers and a nurse and my own determination to make it out and I have. I teach my values to my children, who, will not be in a public school next year. I’ll sacrifice to send them to private school because I value education more than football and I’ll bet you my children will succeed.
We all have to take responsibility for ourselves.
So, Prof, there is your answer.


June 28th, 2012
5:57 pm

Yes, poverty and stupidity are linked, one causes the other, but it is not the way you think. Poverty does not cause stupidity, stupidity causes poverty.


June 28th, 2012
6:05 pm

So… We ditch the ITBS since it was too biased against poor black kids. Now we have our own homegrown test, the CRCT… And this population isn’t doing any better… Is this a coincidence?

Old timer

June 28th, 2012
6:29 pm

I should have also said, after teaching in a small rural town in Tn……where poverty was big….I really saw culture had more to do with achievement that anything. I had several poor Hispanics who had parents that showed up at school…they passed test and preformed in school. I had many who had parents and grandparents who had received assistance forever….they expected to do the same. 30percent of all were in special Ed….more money for the poor county. There was a very high teen pregnancy rate…and half of the honor graduates were black Americans. So ..parental expectations makes all the difference…again culture…

Old timer

June 28th, 2012
6:30 pm

Thebest way to avoid poverty…stay in schoo, do not get pregnant, get a job…

Maureen Downey

June 28th, 2012
6:33 pm

@southside, I believe the accessories of poverty — poor nutrition, homelessness or changing apartments every two months, bunking on grandmom’s couch, lack of medical attention, including eyesight, addictions — contribute to the gap.


June 28th, 2012
6:54 pm

@Good Mother, 5:38 – Bo Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree and even if Charles Barkley did not (I can’t find out for sure), he has represented America well in the Olympics and is successfully employed in an Emmy award winning television show. I don’t think we should bad mouth that.

Athletes are individuals, just like the rest of us. Some are successful with a college degree, some are successful without a college degree, and others are not successful at all. Let’s not paint them all with a broad brush.


June 28th, 2012
7:25 pm

The solution is easy. Education needs teachers (better paid) and less overpaid administrators and less overpaid central office staff. I believe that no damn Yankee can write a standardized test that any southern kid can do well on. Likewise no southern person can write a standardized test that a northern kid can do well on..

More teachers in the classroom.
Money for Classroom technology.
Teach the 3 R’s.
Some of this can be achieved by saving money on paying for the above mentioned standardized test.

And if we get the children all the way to graduation! we will need affordable colleges for then to attend.

The citizens of GA will have to make this happen as the state government is not going to do anything.
GA is nearly LAST in Education and First in political corruption.


June 28th, 2012
8:07 pm

So what do you do about the parents who choose other “accessories.” They have the ultimate responsibility, and too many of us are tired of subsidizing poor choices. Obviously, throwing money at it is not the solution. We’ve increased spending every year since 1965.


June 28th, 2012
8:08 pm

@Tired of Teaching: You hit the nail on the head!!!!!!!!


June 28th, 2012
8:22 pm

Dekalb pays it’s Superintendent more than the Gov. of GA, she gets a 40k expense account, her main office is overstaffed by over 350 redundant positions, and instead of letting people go, they’re reassigning everyone on the friends and family plan to new titles. They raised own budgets by 4 million dollars this year. And the first thing any of these people can think of to do, is raise taxes and fire teachers. Anyone who votes to reelect any of these people are total idiots, and deserve what they get.

Good Mother

June 28th, 2012
8:26 pm

RCB said it “So what do you do about the parents who choose other “accessories.” in response to Maureen’s claim that “I believe the accessories of poverty — poor nutrition, homelessness or changing apartments every two months, bunking on grandmom’s couch, lack of medical attention, including eyesight, addictions — contribute to the gap.”

The word “Contributes” — is key. Contributes is NOT the cause of….
There are other “accessories” that contribute too — such as CHOOSING to have children when you are poor and uneducated. I would go so far to say that was the CAUSE — not just a “contributes.”
We ALL give to the poor involuntarily through our tax dollars and most of us give voluntarily through our own efforts of hard work and more donations BUT…I cannot force a black man to value his race and his own children more than he values unprotected intercourse. That’s a personal value and a sub-cultural value. Black men, as a group, do not respect women and do not respect the unity of the family. There is a reason for the very sad term “baby daddy.” A “baby daddy” isn’t a father. He is a sperm donor. A father protects and provides for his children and their mother. A mother protects and provides important things for her children and both impart family values. Sadly, what many black Atlanta women value is their physical appearance more than their own education and their children’s education. We’ve heard time and again from teachers on this blog about the $100 tennis shoes on the feet of free-lunch children. I earn a solid middle class salary and my kids wear $15 tennis shoes from Ross and Target and they get an $11 hair cut at Great Clips. I pay for their lunch. I donate to the classroom supplies and my butt is in that classroom for every volunteer position I can get out of work to do.
Maureen should know that it isn’t the truly poor who are bringing us down. It’s the ones who choose to stay mired in it by their own personal decisions that we resent.

Fred ™

June 28th, 2012
9:01 pm

Wow. Many of the comments today really sadden me. Race isn’t the problem, money is. If you are born poor and without hope or encouragement, you face a major uphill battle. Quite frankly, you may not have the genes to overcome it. This is such a simple and self evident fact that I don’t see how folks can fail to grasp it.

I have yet to see race as a factor of success at Woodward where my daughter goes to school…………. I wish all could be color blind.


June 28th, 2012
9:04 pm

@Kris…..clearly, based on results, teachers are overpaid!


June 28th, 2012
9:04 pm

And This is AMERICA! We all should be ashamed of such statistics when we all are living in the RICHEST NATION on the PLANET, and with in driving distance in any direction we can witness other Americans who are barely surviving the basic necessities of LIFE. FOOD – HEALTHCARE – HOUSING.

These stats say more of who we truly are, than what we think we are!


June 28th, 2012
9:05 pm

@Kris….I know, not your fault you get stuck with the dumbass black, hispanic or white trash student!


June 28th, 2012
9:06 pm

How does Gwinnett keep outperforming counties like Cobb and Fulton, despite their demographic changes?


June 28th, 2012
9:09 pm

As an African American male who had a masters degree, my dad was a great high school athlete. my grandparents are illiterate on my paternal side, however every grandchild has a college degree. We were the definition of poor, hardworking folk from rural georgia.

Many blacks who view sports think its their way out of poverty really. That’s the ultimate goal is to have money in all this.

Kris (pondering )

June 28th, 2012
9:13 pm


Thank a teacher that you are intelligent enough to post.

Further more thank Al GOOrey for inventing the internet. So you could make this post.

Nuff said…

Kris (pondering )

June 28th, 2012
9:16 pm

@ David , did you pull a republican move and have to gettsome one to write your 2nd post?

OBAMA 2012

Fred ™

June 28th, 2012
9:17 pm


Thank a teacher that you are intelligent enough to post.

Wow. That was particularly insipid. How does a teacher affect ones intelligence? You either have it or you don’t. I taught myself how to read when I was three and NEVER had a teacher teach me a damn thing except that I needed to shut up and quit asking questions they couldn’t answer.