Archive for the ‘Cobb County’ Category

Cobb faces drastic actions to cope with school budget crisis. Considers some online high school classes.

computer (Medium)Georgians can grasp just how grave the underfunding of education has become when they read about what’s happening in Cobb County, long considered one of the state’s top school districts and among its most stable.

Tonight, the school chief proposed shifting many high school classes into online courses, cutting five days from the school year, eliminating transportation to several thousand students and giving district staff five furlough days to address an $86.4 million deficit.

This is occurring in one of more affluent counties in the state, a county that lured new residents on the reputation of its schools.

How are the rest of Georgia districts — few with the financial resources and educated middle-class populace of Cobb — coping with drastic funding cuts to their schools? Never mind bake sales. Are they holding blood drives?

I’m not sure how happy Cobb parents are going to be when word of these proposed economies reach them. Many parents will have questions about the online …

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Tea Party explains its opposition to Cobb education SPLOST vote on Tuesday

J.D. Van Brink is a Cobb County resident, businessman and chairman of the Georgia Tea Party, Inc.  In this essay, he explains the Tea Party’s opposition to the Cobb Education SPLOST IV referendum.

On Tuesday, Cobb taxpayers will decide whether to renew a 1 percent special sales tax.

The special purpose local option sales tax was created in 1996 as a way to fund capital projects. Of the 562 education tax referendums held statewide since 1996, 94 percent have been approved by voters, according to the AJC.

While Cobb’s first proposal for an education sales tax failed, the three campaigns since have been successful.  Cobb voters passed their last SPLOST in 2008 with 60 percent approval.

According to the AJC:

The Cobb and city of Marietta districts would use the projected $773 million collected from the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for hundreds of projects including repairing or replacing dilapidated buildings and athletic facilities and …

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Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher

Congrats to Georgia’s AP Merit Schools, which are high schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least half of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.

Special shoutout to Fulton (9), Gwinnett (9) and Cobb (8) for having so many high schools on the list.

ALAN C. POPE HIGH SCHOOL COBB COUNTY

ALPHARETTA HIGH SCHOOL FULTON COUNTY

BERKMAR HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT COUNTY

BROOKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL BUFORD CITY

CARLTON J. KELL HIGH SCHOOL COBB

CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB COUNTY

CHATTAHOOCHEE HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL MUSCOGEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

DALTON HIGH SCHOOL DALTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DECATUR HIGH SCHOOL CITY SCHOOLS OF DECATUR

DULUTH HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB

FORSYTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS

GREENBRIER HIGH SCHOOL COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM

GWINNETT SCHOOL OF MATH, SCIENCE, & TECHNOLOGY GWINNETT

HARRISON HIGH SCHOOL …

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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 …

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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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Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett schools among Blue Ribbon winners honored this week in Washington

Congratulations to these schools and their staffs:

From DOE:

Seven Georgia public schools and one private school were honored Tuesday in Washington, D.C.. at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony held by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“I congratulate these schools for being recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “The students, teachers and staff of these schools should be proud of their success. These schools are shining examples of what happens when everyone is focused on student learning.”

Blue Ribbon Schools are chosen in two categories. See criteria here.

HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS: Schools that scored in the top 10 percent in student achievement.

DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED SCHOOLS: Schools with …

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Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools?

The results of school board board elections show incumbents retaining their seats in Gwinnett and Clayton, suggesting that voters are not unhappy with the direction of their schools.

Or at least not unhappy enough to vote in change.

On the other hand, voters approved the controversial charter school amendment, which gives the state more power to get involved in local education decisions.

Clayton offers an interesting situation. In July,  dissatisfied Clayton residents voted out two incumbent county commissioners and the sheriff. So, you can’t argue that Clayton voters aren’t paying attention or willing to act. They have proven they will oust incumbents, who often retain their posts through Georgia due to voter inertia.

But Clayton school board members appear to be holding onto their seats based on current vote counts. Yet, the district is under a warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that its accreditation is being jeopardized by board feuding.

So, are …

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Check out schools that made DOE’s reward school list today for strong performance by low-income students

The state Department of Education has released its long-awaited list of reward schools. There are 45 schools from metro counties on the list. And the AJC has a story up with the local schools listed.

“Reward” schools represents a new category created by the waiver that Georgia won from No Child Left Behind. The list recognizes schools with large numbers of low-income students who are performing well or showing significant progress in their academic achievement.

From DOE:

The Georgia Department of Education today released the list of Reward Schools as part of the state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act  flexibility waiver. The category is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and …

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One answer to “Why are there 42 kids in my child’s class?”

The AJC had an interesting piece this weekend on the inexact science of predicting school enrollments. I cannot link as the story was limited to AJC subscribers and did not appear online.

The gist of the story: Despite reviews of multiple records — census, birth records, housing, dropout and migration — and mathematical formulas, schools can get enrollments wrong. The predictions become even more difficult in a recession when parents are pulling their children out of private schools. (Public school enrollment is up nationwide.)

Here is a short excerpt of the AJC piece, which is worth reading in the Sunday paper:

Cobb County recently spent $2.2 million hiring 30 extra teachers because its projection was low by 1,364 students. Gwinnett’s projection was 2,059 students low. The district is hiring 10 teachers because of the growth, and it transferred 16 teachers and 10 support staff from schools under the projection to those that were over.

DeKalb County broke a record with 98,943 …

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Another test in schools: Cobb wants polygraphs for employees

Does it make sense for a school district to use polygraph tests to get to the truth in employee disputes and conflicts?

Cobb plans to do so.  The school board amended its discipline policy to say employees who refuse to take the exam could be fired. The district, the state’s second largest, is the only major school district in metro Atlanta that uses polygraph tests to try to determine whether a person is lying.

There is a great deal of controversy around the reliability of polygraph tests, which is contributing to concerns about Cobb’s policy.

According to the AJC:

Although administrators insist they rarely use polygraph tests, teacher advocates say that could change at any time and that they object to the test being used at all. “I don’t think [polygraph tests] are reliable, dependable or accurate,” said Connie Jackson, the president of Cobb County Association of Educators. “I think [their use is] horrible and unconscionable.”

Administrators say the tests …

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