Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dr. Craig Spinks: Disquieting Facts About Richmond County High School Graduation Rates

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
Augusta, GA
By Dr. Craig Spinks, ED. D.

While lunching Wednesday with a good friend who is an assertive advocate for high-quality public education in our state, he told me about his recent experience at a parent-involvement workshop conducted at a local middle school. My friend explained that a high-level school board official had explained to the audience that the RCSS was making good progress in improving student learning. The official moved to prove his point by explaining that the RCSS' high school graduation rate was increasing. My friend allowed that he, however, was appalled by the low high school graduation rates that the board official was extolling.

My friend's reaction to the RCSS' high school graduation data piqued my interest in the issue. My research into it has revealed some disquieting facts about the success of RCSS students on the Georgia High School Graduation Test(GHSGT), a test the passing of which is a requirement for high school graduation in The Peach State. Among these disquieting facts are the following:

(1) Six of the ten high schools in the RCSS had first-time passing rates on the GHSGT below 75% in the school year 2010-11. ot ear;

(2) Two RCSS high schools had first-time passing rates below 60% during the same period.

(3) The GHSGT passing rates at six RCSS high school declined over the three-year period from the 2008-09 school year through the 2010-11 year.

(4) The passing rate at only three of 10 RCSS high schools improved over the last three school years.

(5) Each of the four historically, predominantly black high schools in the RCSS had a first-time failure rate in excess of 33%.

(6) Laney and Josey had first-time failure rates in 2010-2011 of over 40%.

And, folks, the GHSGT is a joke. It's so weak-a-test that Dr. John Barge, our new state school superintendent, and his reform team have persuaded the Georgia State Board of Education to replace it with several, more rigorous End-of-Course-Tests(EOCTs).

And if these facts leave your parental and/or taxpayer blood's boiling, stop reading right here. You may have a stroke, a seizure, a heart attack or some combination thereof if you read facts about the RCSS' End-of-Course Test(EOCT) results. These troubling facts include:

(1) Eight of the ten RCSS high schools had a failing rate on an EOCT exceeding 50% during the 2010-11 school year.

(2) Five RCSS high schools had a failure rate on an EOCT of at least 80%.

(3) Josey had the highest system-wide failure rate of 89% on any one EOCT.

(4) Students in GA public schools will be required to pass each of several EOCTs to receive their respective high school diplomas under Dr. Barge's reform efforts to improve the academic skills of our state's high school graduates.

(5) No non-magnet RCSS high school had a passing rate above 50% on all EOCTs given its students in the 2010-11 school year.

If you can still see straight after reading these last facts gathered, by the way, from the website of The Governor's Office of Student Achievement (, you Richmond County parents and taxpayers might want to check the date and time of the next meeting of the RCBOE. Then plan to attend and to give the high-ranking board official mentioned in the first paragraph as well as his employers "a piece of your mind." That is, if you think your children's futures are worth the trouble.***

1 comment:

Bulldog said...

There is an election this year for half of the seats on the RCBOE. It is high time that parents began taking some action. But, wait; that's the problem isn't it...