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Ga. high school graduation gets more complicated

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 8:41 AM
Last updated 6:28 PM
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Graduating high school in Georgia just got complicated, and graduating high school with a HOPE scholarship got even more complicated than that.

Beginning this year, the state is requiring every eighth grader to complete a high school graduation plan at the end of the school year and select a career pathway to study throughout high school.

And if they want to qualify for a HOPE scholarship when they graduate, they’re going to have to meet new academic rigor requirements by taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or dual enrollment college courses. The changes are part of the state’s new College and Career Readiness Initiative.

“The changes are designed to produce a more competitive student as well as get students to start thinking about life after high school,” said Savannah-Chatham Public Schools Executive Director of School Governance Aretha Rhone-Bush.

Career Pathways

To shift student focus toward career preparation, elementary schools are required to provide career awareness programs to expose students to various careers and the type of education and training they require.

Middle school students will participate in job shadowing and the career explorer post program.

At the end of the eighth grade they will have to choose one of 17 career pathways they want to pursue in high school and complete a four-year graduation plan that maps out the career pathway courses they must complete to earn a high school diploma.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean eighth graders have all year to make up their minds.

Neighborhood high schools offer a variety of pathways for students to consider, and every student can choose from the long list of career and technical education courses available online.

Specialized pathways are also available at specialty programs.

Because specialty program applications are due Feb. 7 and specialty schools may have unique admissions and audition requirements, parents should start speaking with their eighth graders about their interests now.

Eighth graders who have a hard time making up their minds about what career pathway interests them most have until the end of their freshman year to change their four-year graduation plan.

After that they won’t have much wiggle room. Each pathway includes at least three courses, and students have to complete a single pathway to graduate.

They wouldn’t have time to complete all three marketing related classes in that pathway.

“Our parents and students will really have to work closely with guidance counselors to understand the course scheduling that will be required to complete an entire pathway,” Rhone-Bush said. “That’s why the four-year plans will be essential.”

New HOPE requirements

While students are completing their career pathway courses, they’re going to need to take rigorous college preparation courses to be eligible for a HOPE scholarship.

It has become increasingly harder to qualify for Georgia’s lottery funded, merit-based college financial aid program. Originally, any high school graduate with a B average would receive a HOPE scholarship to cover college costs.

Then HOPE requirements were raised so students had to earn a 3.0 average in their core academic courses — including English, math and science — to get a percentage of their college tuition covered based on the credit hours in which they enroll.

Students who earned a 3.7 average would get the bulk of their tuition covered by the Zell Miller Scholarship.

The latest change requires students to take rigorous courses to qualify for both the HOPE and the Zell Miller scholarships. Rigorous courses, according to the state, include advanced high school courses such as calculus, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or dual enrollment college courses.

Beginning next year, the class of 2015 will have to have earned at least two full credits from the state rigorous course list to qualify for HOPE. The class of 2016 will have to complete three rigorous course credits, and the class of 2017 and all subsequent graduating classes will have to complete at least four course credits from the rigor list.

Students can keep up with their HOPE grade point average qualifications by logging into their GaCollege 411 accounts online at www.gacollege411.org .

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Little Lamb
46095
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Little Lamb 12/30/13 - 10:23 am
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Big Brother

From the story:

To shift student focus toward career preparation, elementary schools are required to provide career awareness programs to expose students to various careers and the type of education and training they require. “The changes are designed to produce a more competitive student as well as get students to start thinking about life after high school,” said Savannah-Chatham Public Schools Executive Director of School Governance Aretha Rhone-Bush.

Whew! That's a mouthful. Not the substance, just the job title.

Yeah, good luck getting elementary students to begin thinking about life after high school. After a few years of failure with this program, school administrators will just start doing what they've wanted to all along — just have the high school guidance counselors decide which college or vocational school program that the students must go to after graduation. The guidance counselors will also choose the majors for the students. After all, teachers know best.

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 12/30/13 - 10:34 am
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"Originally, any high school

"Originally, any high school graduate with a B average would receive a HOPE scholarship to cover college costs."
Yep, that's how the lottery was sold to us when we voted for it. I bet that in 2015, only straight A students will get lottery money, with big brother government and the crooks running the lottery getting the rest.

grouse
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grouse 12/30/13 - 10:57 am
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How about just teaching them
Unpublished

How about just teaching them to write and speak correctly?

blacklion1001
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blacklion1001 12/30/13 - 11:17 am
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Truly mislead the people of

Truly mislead the people of GA.

raul
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raul 12/30/13 - 11:44 am
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Sounds like a shift towards a

Sounds like a shift towards a more European structured education which I think is good. Obama's thinking that everyone needs to go to college is the wrong approach to education. The majority of kids who obtained HOPE scholarships were not prepared for college work, as evidenced by the high drop out rate after losing HOPE eligibility in the first year of college.

fatboyhog
1948
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fatboyhog 12/30/13 - 12:27 pm
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Teach the basics

Can we just teach the basics? I'd like to know what the statistics show about graduating seniors who had a B average and qualify for HOPE, but are required to take 1, 2, or even 3 remedial classes. We need to stop using school for teaching out kids things that their parents should teach them. They should be the ones helping plan for the future, not the school system. Let the teachers teach.

fatboyhog
1948
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fatboyhog 12/30/13 - 12:27 pm
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Teach the basics

Can we just teach the basics? I'd like to know what the statistics show about graduating seniors who had a B average and qualify for HOPE, but are required to take 1, 2, or even 3 remedial classes. We need to stop using school for teaching out kids things that their parents should teach them. They should be the ones helping plan for the future, not the school system. Let the teachers teach.

shadypines
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shadypines 12/30/13 - 02:04 pm
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Big Brother at its worst

You know, if the students could actually choose their own career path, that would be fantastic, except for two things: First, how many people know, at the age of 13, what they want to do for the rest of their lives? And second, the "aptitude testing" they do in eighth grade doesn't give them much choice in their career path. My son, who is a very smart, mathematical person, was steered toward Agriculture. This wasn't because it was his choice, but because that's what the school's "testing" said that's what he would be most interested in. He has no interest whatsoever in Agriculture. He wants to be an engineer. Unfortunately, even though he signed up for Engineering, the high school put him in the Agriculture career path. It's just not right.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/30/13 - 02:30 pm
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"Steering"

Thank you for joining the discussion, ShadyPines. Your post is insightful. These schools will want to steer people to where they have funded the schools rather than what the aptitudes and desires of students and parents are.

If your son wants to study engineering and the school system steers him toward agriculture, you and your son can still get the education you desire, but it will be tougher. Just make sure he takes every higher math class that the school offers. Just make sure he takes every science class the school offers (especially chemistry and physics).

Make sure he volunteers to do a science project each year and asks a science teacher to help him select a science project that involves materials, forces, electricity, or physics.

He will do fine.

Navy Gary
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Navy Gary 12/30/13 - 06:11 pm
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They are being prepared

This is to prepare them for the life of economic slavery that awaits them in their near future...

Shady has it right, big brother is everywhere and they aren't going away.

Remember this: Step out of line, the man come and take you away, It's time we stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down....

nocnoc
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nocnoc 12/30/13 - 06:42 pm
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maybe this will trim

the number Out of state students showing up from other states for their Senior HS year, to get HOPE $$$$$ for College.

corgimom
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corgimom 12/30/13 - 09:41 pm
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LL, when we were growing up,

LL, when we were growing up, kids knew, even as children, what they wanted to be: teacher, soldier, doctor, nurse, etc.

Now? It's reality TV star, model, rapper, race car driver, or an NBA player. And I am not making this up, especially in regards to the low-income kids. When nobody in your family works, and nobody around you works, you have no idea what occupations exist. That's sad, and shocking, but true.

That's why they need to start exposing children to these things. In the old days, that was called "Social Studies" and "Civics" but now school is all about teaching the tests and dealing with the sociopaths and psychos.

corgimom
32631
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corgimom 12/30/13 - 09:44 pm
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:First, how many people know,

:First, how many people know, at the age of 13, what they want to do for the rest of their lives? "

I did. I knew I wanted to go to college, and that I was going to do something with math and/or teaching.

And that's how it turned out.

Most people, today, don't stay in one career anyway. But at least this gives them a start. It's a whole lot better than it is now, where kids get a diploma and don't have any job skills or trades. They can at least get a job and work and then see where life leads them.

corgimom
32631
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corgimom 12/30/13 - 09:47 pm
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shadypines, see if he can

shadypines, see if he can start taking online virtual learning math classes to start preparing himself.

If your son wants it bad enough, he'll make it happen.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/30/13 - 11:41 pm
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Exposure, or indoctrination?

Corgimom posted:

That's why they need to start exposing children to these things.

Well, for every classroom hour they expose these primary school kids to "Occupations of the World," that's another hour of math or science or logic or critical thinking that they've missed.

The public school educrats keep piling on more new age concepts that must be covered in school, and yet they subtract more days in the year because of furloughs. The basics are being squeezed out.

raul
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raul 12/31/13 - 12:44 am
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Off topic comment, but it

Off topic comment,somewhat, but it does pertain to education. I was amazed that Abraham Lincoln only had a total of about 18 months of "formal" education. Have you ever read the Gettysburg Address? Or the tests given to 7th or 8th grade students a hundred years ago. How did you do?

scoobynews
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scoobynews 12/31/13 - 08:19 am
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FYI

Before you start blaming the teachers please be informed that we had absolutely no choice in the career readiness program. In fact most of the educational reforms in our state have little to no teacher input. I have been teaching for many years and I don't recall once being asked my opinion on any of these changes. I personally think the career readiness program is ridiculous. I have taken students to the lab for guidance and assisted them in the testing. Most of the kids did not take any of this serious and had no clue what most of the careers were. Even though there were descriptions for each career many of the students were put off by all the reading they had to do.

raul
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raul 12/31/13 - 10:06 am
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@scoobynews. My gut feeling

@scoobynews. My gut feeling is these same students aren't going to be that interested the next 3-4 years either.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 12/31/13 - 10:16 am
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corgimom
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corgimom 12/31/13 - 10:18 am
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Yeah, Scooby, their career

Yeah, Scooby, their career choices were the ones that I listed above.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/31/13 - 11:03 am
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"Have you ever read the Gettysburg Address?"

Raul..Have you ever read some of the letters written by Civil War soldiers (of both sides) to their families and loved ones left behind when they went off to war? I am always astounded by their writing ability. They can actually spell, construct sentences and paragraphs, and express thoughts and observations which convey meaning you just don't see coming from many people these days.

We seem to have a tendency to think we're smarter than people who have come before us when, in fact, we are inferior to past societies in lots of ways.

harley_52
23468
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harley_52 12/31/13 - 11:12 am
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"I personally think the career readiness program is ridiculous."

I don't know enough about it to have an informed opinion, but it sounds a lot like what they have been doing in Germany for decades. I think Raul mentioned this yesterday. My family lived in Germany for about four years in the late 70s-early 80s. We had some German friends who discussed their educational system with us and it sounds like this new program for Georgia. I have to say, the Germans were very happy with it.

I guess what bothers me is HOW these changes are made. I'm not aware of any solicitation of public input to the decision and now we're hearing teachers weren't involved either.

Who in the H makes these decisions and do they make them in a vacuum?

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