Georgia graduation drop predicted

New state superintendent says math grades push the decline

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 5:57 AM
Last updated 6:01 AM
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 ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia's high school graduation rates will dip in the next couple of years, partly because so many students are failing math, state Schools Superintendent John Barge said Tuesday.

"(Georgia) has an inordinately large number of students who have not passed Math I and Math II," Barge told nearly 300 people at a meeting of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders in the Classic Center. "That's going to play havoc with graduate rates next year."

The federal government has ordered states to calculate graduation rates using a new formula, which also will send graduation rates down, he said.

Barge outlined how he and his staff plan to fix math, saying if state and local educational officials don't act to solve the problem, the legislature will.

The state will allow school districts to back off the new "integrated" curriculum and return to the traditional way of teaching math, dividing it up into traditional areas such as algebra 1, statistics and geometry, he said.

 The state Board of Education also has approved counting supplemental math courses as core courses to keep students on track for graduation, he said.

Gov. Nathan Deal also spoke at the GAEL session Tuesday morning, promising to give school systems more choice in how they teach, if they can show those methods work.

"We give you the flexibility; you show us you can achieve the results," Deal said, encouraging the educators to think in new ways.

"I think it's important that all of you be part of the evolution of education in our state," Deal said, touting the charter school approach.

"We have seen great progress resulting from our charter schools," he said.

Georgia ranks low on many measures of education, but with innovation can do much better, he said.

"We are on the verge, I think, of being able to do great things. We can change this. If we work together, we certainly can," Deal said.

Deal also warned that upcoming changes in the state's HOPE Scholarship will affect public schools.

"It will impact you in terms of whether your graduates are going to be eligible," he said. "We have far too many of our young people (on HOPE) having to take remedial courses in college."

The state should not be spending HOPE money on remedial classes, he said.

One legislator's idea to use some of Georgia's federal "Race to the Top" grant money to replace textbooks with iPads or similar devices in struggling schools is at least "interesting," Deal said after his talk to the educators.

"I think it's going to be one of the coming trends," he said.

Georgia will receive about $400 million from the federal government over four years, about half going to 26 individual school systems, about half to the state for statewide improvement projects.

Deal also is happy that Georgia is one of 42 states that have agreed to a common core curriculum.

But the states must also develop a common test to measure how well students have mastered the new curriculum, Barge said.

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Martinez
154
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Martinez 02/09/11 - 08:13 am
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There is so much wrong with

There is so much wrong with this picture.

#1 HOPE paying for remedial classes? One of the requirements for HOPE is a reasonably high GPA. If students have truly earned those grades, remedial classes would not even be an issue. This just signifies a much larger issue of schools over-inflating grades to make themselves look better, to keep their numbers in line with State & Federal expectations, etc. If our best and brightest require remedial help, just imagine how smart the non-Hope eligible high school graduates are!

The technology grants and netbook idea is great but let's look at how this will be handled. If a teacher has a class set of netbooks and one is damaged or stolen by a student, is the teacher going to be charged? And if so, what teacher is their right mind would want this responsibility? If they are issued to students, what is to stop those students from losing, damaging or heck selling the darn thing on e-bay? Will that student be issued another one? Will the parents be responsible for the replacement costs? And how will you enforce that when you can't even collect past due lunch money right now? Don't get me wrong, I would love to see more technology in schools but I question whether this is the best use of money. The cost would reoccur year after year so it's not like it becomes a long term investment. Haven't they tried issuing laptops or giving laptops at one of the RC high schools in recent years? How did that little experiment work? How many of those students still had those 6 months later, let alone a year later?

getsome
0
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getsome 02/09/11 - 08:13 am
0
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I think we will see a change,

I think we will see a change, now that the teachers are allowed to teach math the way it should be - not centered around teaching students how to pass a standardized test. School systems got away from the basics, trying to inflate numbers so they could spout "look how great a job we're doing", instead of teaching our students how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. And those of you that say no one uses that any more - guess what....IT'S THE FUNDAMENTALS that lay the ground work on how a student will apply his/herself.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 02/09/11 - 09:48 am
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By all means, lets choose the

By all means, lets choose the easiest route and help more people graduate with a virtually worthless piece of paper. Teachers & schools....actually teach the kids and stop giving grades away! Parents......support the schools and tell your kids to study! Kids....stop taking the USA oppotunities for granted. Get your butts in line and study.

That said, the new math program is ridiculous. I have one child who wasn't on it (got Alg 1, Geometry, etc) and one who is currently on it. The old system is by far superior.

bclicious
645
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bclicious 02/09/11 - 09:49 am
0
0
Well, I agree with both of

Well, I agree with both of you, but with that, I think every student is different. Some students are meant to take basic Algebra and Geometry. Some students are meant for great things such as Trig, but not all. I would like to see more of a push for Freshmen and Sophmores to be once pushed towards either going the direction of Technical Colleges or Traditional Colleges. College is not meant for everyone, but everyone needs a trade.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 02/09/11 - 10:35 am
0
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What percentage of our

What percentage of our state's HS graduates read, write, and do math at, or above, the 8th grade-level?

jstevens73
0
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jstevens73 02/09/11 - 11:20 am
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Chillen--I like you! My

Chillen--I like you! My grades dropped in 8th grade. I knew why but wouldn't tell my parents. I'd always been straight A's til that year so when I passed & went to HS, they made up a grade appreciation chart. A=$5; B=$2.50; C=0; D=<$5>; F=<$7.50>. Bad grades wiped out good grades. Money talks, I listened & EARNED $30 per report card for straight A's. (1) It straightened out my grades; (2) taught me it takes self-initiative & work to make money or do a good job - b/c when you earn something on your own, you tend to appreciate it more; (3) I graduated top 10% & with honors in college - 3.8 GPA; & (4) much later taught me to be ingenuitive with my kids... parents can "guide" their kids without an iron fist.

getsome
0
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getsome 02/09/11 - 11:45 am
0
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TNTHOMSON, what bridge are

TNTHOMSON, what bridge are you living under? salary's going up for teachers??? Have you ever heard of FURLOUGH DAYS? My wife has lost thousands of dollars thanks to furlough days.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 02/09/11 - 11:58 am
0
0
Most school systems have

Most school systems have implemented about 5 furlough days.

Considering that a teacher works 9 months out of the year they work about 189 days per year (9 months times 21 days). Kids attend about 180 days so 189 is a pretty good guess.

To lose $2000 from 5 furlough days you would have to have a base salary of $75,600. A base salary of $75,600, great benefits and pension for life. Not bad for 9 months of work (annualized this is over $100,000) (add in 20 years of pension pay and your "real" pay is almost $150,000/year for 9 months worth of work).

Most American's can't boast the same lifestyle. This will change. Count on it.

mc66
0
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mc66 02/09/11 - 01:30 pm
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The problem with the Math I

The problem with the Math I and Math II courses is the fact that they don't have any text books. How can we as parents help our kids with the parts they are having trouble with if they don't have a text book? How can they study without a text book? They should have never changed the way math is taught. They "touch" on algebra for a day or two then move on to something else. The kids are forced to work on worksheets instead of being able to turn back a few pages in a textbook when they forget how to solve a certain problem. I'm glad they are now allowing the schools to go back to the traditional high school math programs. Why did they change the curriculum in the first place? Trying to shove all the maths into one course doesn't do anything but confuse the students. I have high schoolers and they failed Math I. So did the majority of their friends. And, in order to graduate, they have to have 23 credits. They can only earn 6 credits per year. So, they can only fail one class throughout their 4 years in High School if they want to graduate on time. Otherwise, they have to go to summer school to make up their credits. They can't even fail an elective during the year. If they do, they are behind on their credits. No wonder the drop out rate is high and many are opting to get their GED.

Sweet son
9988
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Sweet son 02/09/11 - 01:46 pm
0
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Chillen, go to open.ga.gov

Chillen, go to open.ga.gov and check on any State or Local School Board employee that you can think of. The figures are for FY 2009/2010. Might be enlightening. Also might want to go to the Richmond or Columbia school calendars to see just how many days teachers and students are at school.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 02/09/11 - 03:15 pm
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sweet son. I'm not saying

sweet son. I'm not saying that all teachers ARE making $75,600, I'm saying that in order to lose THOUSANDS from 5 simple furlough days you would have to make $75,600 (and quite a few do).

I'm making an attempt to say that thousands are not being lost due to furlough days, more like $1000. Which, by the way is FAR LESS than anyone in the private market has lost in income during this recession.

I checked the columbia co school calendar. Kids attend 178 days. (boy I'm good with guesstimates!)

teacher02
3
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teacher02 02/09/11 - 03:18 pm
0
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Chillen, you might want to

Chillen, you might want to check your numbers for the $150,000 a year for 9 months of work as you put it. First, furlough days started last year, with some systems furloughing 3 days last year and up to 5 this year. So it's entirely possible that a teacher lost over $1000 during that time without making $75,000 a year.

But even assuming this teacher held a doctorate and 20+ years of experience (you don't find many of those), and you added in the State contribution to the pension fund ($7500 at about 10%), that comes out to about $113,000 adjusted (for a full 260 days instead of 190).

If you're trying to make a statement on (what you consider to be too large of a) salary, you might want to look at the average teacher salary (about $45000), plus State contribution to retirement (10% of that = $4500) plus all benefits (we'll assume high at $5000/year). So there's $55,000, which comes out to around $75,000 annualized. Of course, I could argue that many teachers put in as many hours during that 10 month period as many other jobs require in 12.

Look, I'm fine with my salary. I think it, along with the benefit/pension program, is fair compensation for my job. And I considered that, along with the Pension program and benefits, when making my decision to enter the profession. But I do get tired of people actually arguing that we make too much and that the Pension fund (which is nearly fully funded despite the recession) should be cut.

corgimom
30364
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corgimom 02/09/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0
"I'd always been straight A's

"I'd always been straight A's til that year so when I passed & went to HS, they made up a grade appreciation chart. A=$5; B=$2.50; C=0; D=<$5>; F=<$7.50>. "

You know what my incentive was to make good grades? 1) My family didn't have any money and I knew my future was totally up to me, and I saw what life was like with no money and no education 2) neither of my parents graduated high school and I saw how they struggled 3) my parents made it very clear to me that I was expected to earn good grades and if I didn't, I would be VERY SORRY and spend ALL MY TIME bringing up my grades. No friends, no fun, no going places.
My parents would've laughed themselves silly at the idea of paying for grades. But that was when people had COMMON SENSE and didn't take education for granted.

And YES, I"M BACK!!! Better than ever!!!!

rmwhitley
5538
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rmwhitley 02/09/11 - 05:19 pm
0
0
I'll bet if you look closely,
Unpublished

I'll bet if you look closely, you'll find 49 more states and 1 district in the same boat.

seenitB4
84424
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seenitB4 02/10/11 - 11:06 am
0
0
corgi....I understand what ya

corgi....I understand what ya saying BUT I paid my girls for good grades....it worked. Once they start the A's & A+......most want to keep up the good work...I also paid for reading books during the summer, that made them life long readers....every kid is different, all I can say is, it worked with my girls.

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