Archive for the ‘graduation rates’ Category

Reading between the lines: Florida’s retention program is not worth replicating

Paul Thomas, a Furman University associate professor of education, writes about range of education issues, including the push in South Carolina to follow Florida’s retention policy. This is his second appearance on the Get Schooled blog, but you can read more of his stuff at his “becoming radical” blog.

Thomas sent me this opinion column on the issue of retention. Retention is still one of education’s most hotly debate topics. State policy says Georgia students in grades 3, 5 and 8 should repeat the year when they fail certain standardized tests. But it seldom happens.

The AJC found that districts promote the vast majority of  students even if they fail the retest or blow it off altogether.

Here is an excerpt of the 2008 AJC story:

The AJC obtained state databases — with students’ names removed — that contained spring CRCT scores, summer retest scores and students’ grade level the following fall for 2006 and 2007. In total, the newspaper examined nearly 800,000 …

Continue reading Reading between the lines: Florida’s retention program is not worth replicating »

The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged?

artchangeThe Georgia Senate debated the qualifications to become a Zell Miller scholar this afternoon while discussing House Bill 131, which accords high school students who take dual enrollment college classes the same .5 boost in their final grade that Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students now earn.

Ultimately, the Senate approved the grade boost for dual enrollment, but voted 33-15 against against an amendment  to change how the Zell Miller Scholarship is calculated so that more rural Georgia students would qualify.

Only one group of Georgia college students — those who graduated high school with a 3.7 or higher GPA  and scored at least 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 on the ACT –   now earn full tuition under the changes made to the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship. These students are known as Zell Miller Scholars. Zell Miller is also extended to all high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

State Sen. Jason …

Continue reading The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged? »

From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates

testing (Medium)Interesting AJC story on an Atlanta high school principal who resigned after accusations he bullied and intimidated teachers into raising failing grades.

Grade inflation has been in the national news as schools face increased pressure to improve student achievement, an issue Georgia knows well after the CRCT cheating scandals in Atlanta and Dougherty County schools.

Even Canada, held up as a model of effective education reform, has seen complaints from teachers of mounting pressure to alter grades so fewer students fail under a stricter accountability system.

Closer to home, teachers in a Tennessee for-profit virtual school complained of an email that directed them to drop failing grades. In a recent investigation, Nashville’s WTVF/NewsChannel 5 found that a Tennessee Virtual Academy administrator instructed middle school teachers to delete failing grades.

The case has had reverberations nationwide as the parent company of Tennessee Virtual, K12, the nation’s largest …

Continue reading From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates »

As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve?

georgia-road-map-300x334Are the architects of Georgia’s education policies paying close enough attention to the vicissitudes of the state’s job market?

Should they be? Should education policy track job market shifts?

I was disappointed to read that Georgia is losing a startling share of  “premium” jobs, according to a new brief by the Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Can education reverse the loss of the state’s highest paying jobs? Can we continue to under invest in education given the job trends?

As a state, Georgia came late to the realization that it had to educate its citizens to higher standards. It was content to send kids without a high school diplomas off to mills and farms, but those jobs have dramatically shrunk, and, in some cases, disappeared.

It is interesting to note where the jobs are in Georgia.

Fulton County holds the largest share of jobs. While Fulton represented  17.71 percent of state jobs in 2000, it fell to …

Continue reading As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve? »

New federal high school on-time graduation data: National average is 78 percent. Georgia rate is 69.9

New federal data shows a rise in the on-time high school graduation rate.  (AJC/file photo)

New federal data show a rise in the on-time high school graduation rate. (AJC/file photo)

Federal data released today shows that the percentage of U.S. high school students graduating on time has reached a level last seen in 1974.

Citing data from the class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics found that on average 78.2 percent of students graduated within four years of beginning high school. The on-time high school grad rate for Georgia was below the national average; it was 69.9 percent.

The dropout rate for male students was 3.8 percent. For females, it was 2.9 percent.

While minority students continue to post lower grad rates, Hispanic students nationwide saw a rise in their on-time graduation rate.

“The new NCES report is good news. After three decades of stagnation, the on-time graduation rate for high school students in the 2009-10 school year [78.2 percent] is the highest it’s been since at least 1974. It’s encouraging that the on-time …

Continue reading New federal high school on-time graduation data: National average is 78 percent. Georgia rate is 69.9 »

Top 10 education issues facing Georgia

This is my live account from  the Georgia Partnership on Excellence in Education daylong media symposium Friday featuring education movers and shakers

First up is Dr. Dana Rickman, policy and research director for the partnership, on the Top Ten Education Issues to Watch in 2013.

Please note that all these comments are from the speakers today, not from me. (I did add a few comments, but I clearly designate them as mine.) I am writing as folks speak and may miss a typo but will go back during the breaks and clean this up.

Top 10 issues, says Rickman:

Race to the Top: Halfway through implementing grant. Where do we stand?

Elevating low performing schools. Will require high performing  teachers and leaders.

How do we pay for k-12 eduction? (”I don’t know,” says Rickman. “That really is the answer to that question.”)

Help wanted: Hiring 250,000 new graduates. Where are they? Only 42 percent has a college degree; State needs 250,000 more graduates.

Early learning: What this issue …

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Goals for Southern states: More graduates, better educated

Continue reading Goals for Southern states: More graduates, better educated »

Feds release new high school grad data using common yardstick; Georgia’s rate is 67 percent, putting us among bottom three.

Remember when Georgia used to say “Thank God for Mississippi and Alabama”?

With the release of new national high school graduation rates today, Georgia is now extending its thanks to Nevada and New Mexico, the only two states with lower graduation rates than Georgia.

Georgia has a 67 percent overall high school graduation rate, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Education under a new nationwide measurement formula.

For the first time ever, the cohort method will allow apples to apples comparisons since every state is using it to calculate how many of their seniors graduate in four years.

And those apples aren’t pretty for Georgia, which is among the bottom three.

Among states, only New Mexico, 63 percent, and Nevada, 62 percent, posted lower rates. (Also below Georgia were Washington, D.C., 59 percent, and the Bureau of Indian Education, 61 percent.)

Prior to the cohort method being adopted, states used a hodgepodge of methods — and a bit of voodoo math …

Continue reading Feds release new high school grad data using common yardstick; Georgia’s rate is 67 percent, putting us among bottom three. »

How do we entice great teachers to move to remote rural schools?

How do we get great teachers to move to rural areas? (Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com)

How do we get great teachers to move to rural areas? (Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com)

In the Sunday paper today, the AJC takes a look at rural schools in a well researched package

AJC reporter Jaime Sarrio spent time in Wilcox County and other rural school districts interviewing educators, officials and parents. She also extensively researched the subject, reviewing studies by state government and nonprofit experts. AJC data specialist Kelly Guckian gathered extensive data on test scores, remedial education and other measures of college readiness, then analyzed thousands of records to demonstrate the disparity between rural and non-rural schools. Sarrio used that analysis in reporting this story.

Among their discoveries:  In 2010, 23 percent of Georgia’s rural students needed remedial courses, compared to 19.9 percent of non-rural students. Those figures were more pronounced in extremely rural districts, where 30 percent needed remedial courses …

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Closing the achievement gap: We’ve been building vocabulary. How about also building character?

What sets children on a successful path in school and, hopefully, in life?

The current belief is that it’s how much children know, so we buy math flashcards for 3-year-olds and sit toddlers down in front of “Baby Einstein” videos. We eliminate recess to direct more time to reading and numbers.

But is the answer stuffing information into children’s brains at earlier ages?

A new book suggests that we are focusing on developing the wrong abilities. What might contribute more to children’s success — especially children growing up amid deep adversity — is persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self confidence,  said Paul Tough, author of “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character,” in a telephone interview.

After visiting classrooms, campuses and laboratories and interviewing teachers, researchers, chess masters and students, Tough concludes that the most significant skills children must learn …

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