Monday, July 19, 2010

Georgia DOE Releases AYP Scores Today

According to the Georgia DOE: (From Maureen Downey's "Get Schooled" blog)

Just over 14% of schools are in Needs Improvement status this year, compared to 15.4% last year. Thirty-five schools across the state shook the Needs Improvement label by having made AYP for two consecutive years.

“The initial AYP results demonstrate that our schools are more focused than ever and that is translating into fewer schools in Needs Improvement status,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “However, the academic bar and the graduation rate requirement increased this year, leading to a smaller percentage of schools making AYP, which is something we will focus closely on over the next several months.”

More than 71% of Georgia’s public schools made AYP, a drop from 79% of schools that made AYP last year. This drop is due in large part to the increase in the academic bar in mathematics that students in elementary and middle school had to meet in order for a school to make AYP. The graduation rate that high schools must meet also increased this year to 80%.

The final AYP report will be released in the fall and will include summer retest scores, summer graduates and appeals.

Compared to initial AYP results last year, the 2010 report shows that:
- The percentage of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 15.4% to 14.1%.
- The number of schools in Needs Improvement status decreased from 334 to 305.
- The percentage of schools making AYP decreased eight points from 79.1% to 71.1%.

The percentage of high schools making AYP continues to lag behind. In 2010, just over 33% of the state’s high schools made AYP, a decrease of almost 14 percentage points from 2009’s initial results.

“We know there is a lot of hard work going on in our high schools, but we must provide more focused support for our students and teachers,” Superintendent Bryant said. “I am committed to focusing on the needs of our high schools to ensure they are preparing students for the 21st century.”

AYP is the formula used to determine if schools are meeting expectations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It consists of three parts — test participation, academic achievement and another statistic, called a “second indicator.” The academic goals continue to rise every few years toward a goal of 100% proficiency for all students by 2014. This year, the academic goal for grades 3-8 increased in mathematics and the graduation rate bar went up.

All students at a school, as well as any qualifying subgroup of students, must meet goals in all three categories in order to make AYP. Schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject are placed in Needs Improvement status and face escalating consequences.

There are 305 schools in Needs Improvement status for the coming school year. These schools must offer parents options, such as public school choice or federally-funded tutoring. Depending on how long these schools have been in NI, some may have to make structural or organizational changes to improve student achievement.

In 2009, there were 334 NI schools after the initial results. That number dropped to 278 after retests, summer graduates and appeals were worked into the formula.

“As we normally do, I believe we will see the number of NI schools drop again when we do our final AYP determinations in the fall,” Bryant said.

The state’s initial 2010 graduation rate is 79.9%. That is up from the initial 2009 graduation rate of 77.8% and the final 2009 graduation rate of 78.9%, which included summer graduates.

“Improving the graduation rate is crucial to Georgia being competitive with other states in recruiting and retaining jobs,” Superintendent Bryant said. “The more students graduating from high school with a meaningful diploma, the more students we have ready to go to college or enter the workforce. There is still more work to be done, but this year’s graduation rate is an encouraging sign.”

Graduation rate must be used as a “second indicator” for all high schools and the bar was raised this year.

In order to make AYP, a high school had to have a graduation rate of 80% or higher, up from 75% last year. If a school did not make that goal, they could use a “second look” which means:

- Having a graduation rate that averaged 80% or higher over the past three years OR

- Having a graduation rate of at least 60% the previous year (2009) and showing a 10% improvement in the rate this year.

Today’s AYP release sheds more light on the need for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – No Child Left Behind. Even though both the Spellings administration and the Duncan administration at the U.S. Department of Education have worked to grant administrative flexibility, it has been insufficient to overcome the original accountability benchmarks established by Congress in 2001.

“As a state, we have no problem moving toward a proficiency rate of 100% – to do anything else would underserve a portion of Georgia’s students,” said Superintendent Bryant. “We are frustrated over the fact that the original authorization of No Child Left Behind came with the promise that it would be reauthorized in five years with increased flexibility in return for increased accountability. Once again we call upon Congress to act in a manner which supports the hundreds of thousands of teachers and school leaders across the nation who are more focused on student learning than ever before.”


Click here for the DOE AYP Reports

Click here for a handy form created at the AJC to check out your school's report


Anonymous said...

Well, if Congress doesn't fix ESEA soon, 0% of schools will make AYP by 2014 when every single student must pass the test.

Anonymous said...

“We know there is a lot of hard work going on in our high schools, but we must provide more focused support for our students and teachers,” Superintendent Bryant said. “I am committed to focusing on the needs of our high schools to ensure they are preparing students for the 21st century.”"

That must be why the state of Georgia has let class size go to heights that has never been since I started teaching and that was in 1971. It's like double speak.

Anonymous said...

Embarrassing. These scores are shameful and inexcusable.

Attorney Fee Update said...

Finally! DCSS has surpassed ALL the other school districts!

Of course, it's in the category of how much money we waste on attorneys.

But, at least we can claim to outperform the other school districts in one area!

Kim Gokce said...

Pretty uninspiring for the most part. Cross Keys HS once again failed to meet AYP. My understanding is that last year it was 12 Language Arts scores; this year it was 3.

For a bright spot, how about these apples? The top three pass rates among "Traditional" DeKalb high schools in the Graduation Test 2010:

% passing in

Social Studies
Lakeside 88, Dunwoody 85, Cross Keys 83

Language Arts
Lakeside 96, Dunwoody 95, Redan 92

Dunwoody 95, Lakeside 93, Cross Keys 90

Dunwoody 97, Lakeside 96, Cross Keys 92

Would folks not familiar with our kids and the character of our faculty place CK in this group (rhetorical)? Thanks to the members of this blog for recognizing their special qualities and achievements.

I couldn't be more proud of these young people AYP or no.

Food For Thought said...

I concur with Kim. But I'll take it a step further. That the CK children overcame DCSS's neglect, abandonment and sabotage to achieve these levels of success is more than remarkable. It's nothing less than heroic.

Imagine what these young students could achieve with adequate resources and support.

Imagine what all of the teachers and students in DCSS could accomplish if given the opportunity.

How much or our resources and support were squandered on attorney fees, P card shenanigans, construction kickbacks and other thefts?

How many of those opportunities were foreclosed by the waste, fraud and abuse in DCSS?

I applaud the CK teachers and students (and all of the DCSS teacher and students) who achieved excellence in spite of DCSS.

But I weep for our public school system. DCSS has failed its teachers and students. And the Board of Education has gone right along with it. No oversight. No accountability. No leadership.

DCSS should be ashamed of these test results. Any objective observer can see that. But DCSS will trumpet it's 'successes' and 'progress' and 'highlights'. Once again it will spin, spin, spin.

But the truth is inescapable. And the truth is the teachers and students who achieve success in DCSS do so in spite of DCSS. And that is an awful reality.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Brad Bryant's statement that the academic bar went up this year for high schools is correct. Please look at the chart posted on the State DOE website for AYP criteria.

The GHSGT requirements for math has been at 74.9% for three years and the GHSGT requirements for English LA has been at 87.7% for three years. It is this coming spring 2011 when the bar is raised for high schools. Math rises to 81.2% and English LA rises to 90.85. I fear that the rest of our high schools will fail AYP.

Kim Gokce said...

The numbers at Lakeside and Dunwoody are very impressive. With all of the transfers at Lakeside, it is a virtual magnet it seems. Maybe some of the resentment evidenced from time to time against "north" DeKalb schools is similar to the parents who resent magnet programs.

The "lucky few" get into Lakeside or Dunwoody and those left out resent the limited access to high performing schools. In a way, this is not too different than Arabia or Chamblee. Just a random thought ...

Kim Gokce said...

"Math rises to 81.2% and English LA rises to 90.85."

Even at 81.2%, three schools would have failed that target rate for Math: Avondale, McNair, Towers.

For English at 90.85%, the list of those failing to meet the threshold this year would grown by four:

Druid Hills High
Southwest Dekalb Hig
M L King Jr High
Stephenson High

I'm not considering Alternative, E Andrews, etc. in this data. In any case, where will the extra performance needed come from?

Paula Caldarella said...

Whether or not a school makes AYP is a "political" issue as evidenced by all the "buzz" surrounding the release of these scores. Educators, and most parents, realize these scores are the not the only or true indicator of their children's academic progress or lack thereof.

Take a closer look at the Cross Keys AYP numbers:

In 2009, the "Meets + Exceed" Rate(which is needed to make AYP) was 71.0 for the Math portion of the GHSGT. This year in 2010, that same rate went up to 75.5%. This is called "progress" in my Book.

Paula Caldarella said...

And Cross Keys graduation rate went from 81.4 in 2009 to 85.7 in 2010.

Kim Gokce said...

Also, not to be too disrespectful to the Magnet schools but ... if Dunwoody and Lakeside perform on GHSGT at or above Magnet performance, what exactly are we paying for with High Achievers and Arabia?

Lakeside High 88
Chamblee High 86
Dunwoody High 85
Arabia Mountain High 84

Dunwoody High 97
Lakeside High 96
Arabia Mountain High 94
Chamblee High 93

Arabia Mountain High 97
Dunwoody High 95
Lakeside High 93
Chamblee High 93

Social Studies
Lakeside High 88
Chamblee High 86
Dunwoody High 85
Arabia Mountain High 84

Also, I wonder if Arabia has had a downward impact on south DeKalb schools' scores. Has anyone seen a map showing the location of the enrollment for Arabia?

Kim Gokce said...

@Dunwoody Mom re: AYP and real progress

I appreciate you noticing the progress at CK. I have to add that this was accomplished with a little larger enrollment also. The fact that they did not make AYP is fairly tough on the kids, though.

While I'm sure there are no students in a funk today because their school did not make AYP, there is SO much effort and emotion invested by the faculty in meeting these standards throughout the year. And many of the hardworking kids feel like they've let down the faculty!

They are savvy enough to realize that their teachers are judged by these results and they do not like "letting them down." So, instead of celebrating their collective successes and "progress" as you pointed out, this is where AYP leaves a school like CK that is perennially on the cusp.

It reminds me of the "Charge of the Light Brigade" ...

Paula Caldarella said...

Kim, I can understand the disappointment, but as a person who likes to see the glass "half-full", the administration, faculty and students, hopefully, can appreciate the progress they made.

If we must have AYP, we have got to get away from AYP being a "punitive" measure because a certain score was not achieved and onto a measure in which we celebrate "progress", which will in turn motivate further progress.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I find the whole thing a little bizarre. My kids' school got probably the best scores they ever have received, and, if I'm reading the AJC link to the CRCT site correctly, in EVERY category did better than last year when they made AYP but this year did not meet AYP.

Anonymous said...

While it would be ideal for schools to achieve the increasing meets/exceeds requirements each year, is it realistic? Unless you are a school like DSA or DECA or any of the schools that have control over who is included in their student population, can a school realistically be expected to make AYP as these threasholds continue to climb?

Is it fair to give a school the stigma of being inadequate due to an unattainable requirement?

I believe that classifying schools as such along with the choice mandate of NCLB, the school system feels less pressure to do what is necessary to improve "underperforming" schools. Just allow those parents who are more vocal, who are more knowledgeable about legal requirements within the school system, who have the time know-how to work through the bueracracyand who know the right people to transfer their children to high performing schools.

Cerebration said...

Well, those "high-performing" schools won't be so for long.

I find it interesting that Obama has taken George Bush's horrible NCLB boondoggle and managed to make it even worse - now going back to the original name ESEA and adding actual competition for money called "The Race To The Top".

This just gets messier and messier the more people noodle with it.

Cerebration said...

For an example of the latest RTTT insanity, check out Maureen Downey's blog called
An insane federal policy; To get grant, school has to fire passionate principal

In short, a remarkable principal has to be removed from a Burlington school district in order for the district to receive federal funds for improvement.

Ms. Irvine was removed because the Burlington School District wanted to qualify for up to $3 million in federal stimulus money for its dozen schools.

And under the Obama administration rules, for a district to qualify, schools with very low test scores, like Wheeler, must do one of the following: close down; be replaced by a charter (Vermont does not have charters); remove the principal and half the staff; or remove the principal and transform the school.

So, as you can see, removing the principal is the path of least resistance to $3 million. Insanity.

Kim Gokce said...

Public education has become like "Lord of the Flies" ... that's two literary references today for me on this blog. What do I win?

Molly said...

Also, not to be too disrespectful to the Magnet schools but ... if Dunwoody and Lakeside perform on GHSGT at or above Magnet performance, what exactly are we paying for with High Achievers and Arabia?

Kim raises a great point. DCSS has never evaluated the magnet programs to determine what we get for the money we pay. It would be very easy to do a comparison of those students admitted by lottery to those who applied but didn't get in. (This controls for issues such as parental involvement and motivation.) Follow the two groups over the years and find out whether admission into the magnet program yields higher test scores, higher enrollment in AP classes, higher graduation and college acceptance rates. DCSS could probably find a graduate student to do the data analysis as part of their thesis for free.

I am and always have been a proponent of school choice, but I think that the magnet programs can and should be run on a budget similar to those of traditional schools. If we are going to spend more for those programs, at the very least we ought to be able to quantify the outcomes.

Paula Caldarella said...

Kim, rumor has it that the former principal of Dunwoody is now at Cross Keys. Can you confirm?

Reality Check said...

"DCSS could probably find a graduate student to do the data analysis as part of their thesis for free."

DCSS could definitely have a world class transportation company (UPS) overhaul the district's student transportation. Eliminate inefficiency, provide better service, save money. UPS has offered to do so on several occassions. For free.

DCSS always refuses. Every time.

Why? Why have a computer program do a job when DCSS can employee three (3) administrators with combined salaries exceeding $300K to do a worse job?

Study the magnet program? Ha! That might threaten the jobs of all the central office administrators "responsible for" magnet education in DCSS.

Remember, DCSS is not in the education business. DCSS is an employment agency. It's purpose is to provide high paying jobs to central office administrators. DCSS is not interested in ways to improve education or provide services to children.

Teaching @ a DCSS High School said...

To Kim, ond others:

I don't think we fully understand how the "numbers" game is played for a school to make AYP.

The 74.9% for Math refers to the number of students scoring at or above 516. However, the passing scores for students are set at 500. It is entirely possible for a school to have over ninety percent of its test takers pass with a score of 500, but not enough of those same students to score at or above 516.

So then, a school could miss making AYP because 20-30 of its students "passed" the test, but didn't pass with a high enough score.

Next year will be even crazier with a "new" GPS Math GHSGT and a higher percentage to be met @ 81.2%.

HELP !!!


Anonymous said...

@ Anoymous 8:44

"Just allow those parents who are more vocal, who are more knowledgeable about legal requirements within the school system, who have the time know-how to work through the bueracracyand who know the right people to transfer their children to high performing schools. "

Picking your child's school is one of the perks the 1,200+ Central Office personnel have. Since they are not assigned to a school, they can pick any school in DCSS to send their children to. Look how many of the movers and shakers at the Central Office have had children at Kittredge and how many have them at DSA (certainly a mainstay for Central Office personnel). If not there, then they can pick Oak Grove (93% met or exceeded), Marbut (88% met or exceeded), Austin (98% met or exeeded), Robert Shaw (94% met or exceeded), Montgomery (95% met or exceeded), Fernbank (95% met or exceeded), etc.

They use the law that says your child can go to the school you teach in except they use the excuse that they are not in a school so they need to pick a school. There are a LOT of Central Office personnel (about 1 for every 5 teachers) so these numbers mount up. A substantial number of other support personnel are able to do this as well even though they are not teachers.

I'm not saying that their children are not good students or don't deserve to go to a good school. It's just that they have little understanding of what the rest of the county faces when it comes to obtaining a good education for their children. This removes them one more step from the majority of the schools in DCSS. They don't see any problems at the schoolthey have chosen, they have well paying jobs in nice offices - is it any wonder they like the status quo?

Anonymous said...

The law that your child gets to go to school where you go to school needs to be stopped. It costs tax payers money to educate the children that are in the schools. I have never heard of this law in any of the other states where I have taught. Your child goes to school where you live, you send them to private school, or you pay the school tuition to bring them to another school.

Too many non-county residents are being educated in our school system. Too many people are getting to pick where they send their child to school. These choices aren't always in the parents school, even when the parent is a teacher. It's not just central office workers who take advantage of the law, but also teachers and other personnel as well.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:12
It's interesting that no one even questions using test scores to measure schools anymore. This was never done in our history of public education yet most of us managed to do quite well as products of public schools.

Currently, the testing industry and the administrations of all the school systems are seeing a flow of money out of classrooms and into their pockets like nothing taxpayers ever could imagine. Look at the DCSS's "Office of School Improvement" (what an oxymoron - how many millions), the numerous "coordinators" $7,000,000, "Instructional Coaches" $8,000,000, America's Choice $8,000,000, Springboard $1,400,000, eSis and SchoolNet ($11,000,000 + the millions more spent in MIS personnel to run them), the tens of millions spent for tutors and tests and test prep materials, and the list goes on and on.

This is "big business" and an employment, cash generating machine. For example, America's Choice grew out the ACT (the college entrance exam) and became so profitable it was spun off from the non-profit ACT to be a for profit company. Springboard was a spin-off from the SAT group.

Big business has lots of lobbyist and lots of clout. Obama's administration is not immune to it. If someone wants to make money, this is the cash cow of the 2000's.

Cerebration said...

So true, 2:50 - so very sadly true. The "business" of education is the next big multi-billion dollar pie - and there are now a whole bunch of corporate test-makers, book-makers and evaluators vying for their share.

Anonymous said...

Considering that states pay around 50% of their entire revenue stream for education (close to $600,000,000,000 in 2007), you would think that taxpayers would pay more attention to who is running the school system. Of course, the cost of lost educational opportunity for students is even more. We have to depend on our present students to be our doctors, lawyers, teachers, contractors, mechanics, etc. in the future.

Anonymous said...

At this point (before summer retest scores are factored in), Druid Hills is listed as NOT meeting AYP. Looked back at AYP records:
Druid Hills did not meet AYP in 2003.
Made AYP in 2004, 05, 06, 07 (Distinguished), 08, and 09 (Distinguished).

Received 350 NCLB transfers in fall 2006. This was the first time Druid Hills was a receiving school. Some of the transfers graduated this year (and some did not).


Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:39. No it is not a coincidence and I don't mean that as any disrespect to the transfer students.

Look at Chamblee-they are required to take many, many transfer students every year and many stay through 12th grade. Since the students with the lowest test scores get first preference, these are the students that transfer to CCHS every year. Many arrive several academic years behind grade level. Chamblee's scores have steadily fallen over the years. I predict it will not make AYP next year or the next year. What will Mr. Moseley do? Why aren't these students given the "choice" of going to the new crown jewel-Arabia Mountain? It is closer and would cost less in Title I transportation funds.

I see very little true "innovation" or academic changes in the perpetually failing schools in DeKalb county. America's Choice and other scripted teaching programs are terrible. Our Title I money should be used to place experienced teachers in the classrooms.

A South DeKalb Parent said...

I'm concerned that as a system, DCSS went from about 78% of schools making AYP in 2009 (70%, 79%, and 71% in years 2008, 2007, and 2006, respectively) down to about 56% this year. This includes 9 elementary schools who have always made AYP not making AYP this year (my apologies, my daughter is in a "threatened" elementary school, so I focus my research there). What is going on here?? The new Superintendent (and potentially 5 new DCSS BOE members) has a lot of work ahead of him/her. I'm concerned, very concerned.

Anonymous said...

7:56, you are correct. The measures that the school district is using to "help" our students in underachieving schools is useless. The only one benefiting is the company that makes the program, the person who sold the district the program, and anyone hired by the district to help with the program. The students do not benefit.

However, in the past 3 years in DCSS, I have received the worst professional development in my 15 years of teaching. The district is relying on these web based models where teachers are talked at with no real interaction and at my school teachers were zoned out, asleep, and just ticked off for wasting their time. The elementary math program has been revamped yet again for this coming school year, 4th time in 4 years. Teachers are forced to teach in a scattered way. Teachers must move on to keep on pace, and students never stay on a topic long enough to get a deep understanding.

Until the American education system looks at teaching students depth verses breath, our students will almost always be short changed and unable to truly have a grasp on what they are learning. As I look at the National Standards, I am frightened by what will become of our children and what they know and don't know.

I look at our school board and see them, not one of them, willing to ask tough questions, so that they have a better understanding of how money is being spent, allocated, and purchased. I do not see them taking a vested interest in what and how our children learn. I do not see them asking why our students score are falling or less schools are making AYP. If they are asking questions, they are easily satisfied with whatever cockamamie answer they are given. The board has allowed aps and principals to be in charge of schools with little experience of their own in the classroom. We have other administrators who were once principals with very little experience running a school, running departs that they have little or no experience doing. The entire scene angers and frightens me.

I hope that we are able to vote the five board members out, but I see apathy here in DeKalb, and I do not see enough parents madder than hell that their children are receiving an inferior education and not making the grade. Until more parents fight for what their children deserve, I do not see the current system having any significant changes.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear specific details from Ms. Tyson and Mr. Beasley about their plan to improve academic achievement. And I mean I want them to give examples and details without all the educrat double speak.

They tell the AJC that they will provide more mathematics support. What the heck does that mean? More teachers and more individualized instruction? More America's Choice and other canned/packaged programs? More "train the trainer" courses? A return to an emphasis on basic computation skills? Will they stop passing students from grade to grade who do not have the skills to succeed? Will they put one of the Fernbank Science teachers physically inside each of the failing high schools?

It is time for the gamesmanship to stop.

themommy said...

However, in the past 3 years in DCSS, I have received the worst professional development in my 15 years of teaching.

This is one of the keys. DCSS does a really crummy job with professional development and that was before the economy tanked. I don't know if many of you are aware that some DeKalb schools' PTAs and foundations actually raise funds for professional development for their teachers.

In Gwinnett, as I understand it, there is real consistency in the professional development courses that are delivered and I think all teachers that need the course get the same course. (IE High school biology teachers.) I don't know much more than this about it, but this is what I have been told.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 7/20 @7:56 ...
That's because you have a principal at Chamblee who won't fight for her school. She's a county person. Many believe that the DCSS wants Chamblee to become more mediocre so the other schools don't look so bad and they have just the principal in place to make that happen. Many principals stand up and speak out for their school and their faculty/staff, but not this one. To know what Chamblee was under Martha Reichrath and to know what it's become is truly sad.

themommy said...

The summer retest will pull the percentage up a bit, especially the middle schools. Which isn't to say we should think those schools or DCSS is performing better, just that last year several schools came off the list after the summer retest, we can probably expect the same this year.

We need a superintendent who can get the job done. We need one who has a proven record of incremental, sustainable gains in low income/high risk schools. This person should come in, I believe, with some of his/her top people ready to replace some of the people who have worked for this system for way to long.

We need fresh ideas and strong leadership. I was bitterly disappointed to read that the Heery-Mitchell lawsuit seems to never be starting. It is just another reason for someone decent to avoid the job.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the funds that each school used to receive to obtain their own staff development? What fits one school may not fit another. Why are more Title 1 funds not given to the schools so that they can obtain their own staff development. Something really needs to be done about the Title 1 funding decisions. Centralization of these funds is not working. The schools should be making the decisions on these funds. Receiving those $31,000,000 provides the administration with the rationale to spend way more than that in salaries and benefits for so many Central Office personnel. We should be getting out money's worth for Title 1 funds. Let it follow the students. Then if the students transfer out of a low performing school, at least the receiving school will have additional funds to help meet their needs.

Paula Caldarella said...

Anonymous 07:56, as long as Rochelle Lowery and DCSS can "hide" behind the Magnet test scores, little will be done at Chamblee for the resident, transfer and charter students. There is a 2-tier education system at Chamblee. The magnet students are the priority and the resident students get what is "left over".

Anonymous said...

Local schools need control over the funds, I totally agree. However we must remember that local control, would mean that those in charge would loose power over employing family and friends in highly paid positions that they are sometimes not qualified for.

The other thing that would have to change is to have aps be teachers for a longer period of time and keep them in their field of expertise, keep aps as aps longer, so that they gain a true understanding of what is involved in being a principal and running a school, keeping principals who are successful in running a school and turning scores around in their school doing what they do best, and getting rid of those principals that aren't cutting the mustard, because we do not have room for those that cannot succeed or do their job well.

Again, until the public, parents and tax payers alike demand change of the status quo, things are going to stay the same.

Anonymous said...

Consider the MADE AYP rate for DeKalb over time (source Georgia DOE):
2003 – 2004 86%
2004 – 2005 77%
2005 – 2006 71%
2006 – 2007 79%
2008 – 2009 71%
2008 – 2009 78%
2008 – 2010 56%

We are much so much worse off than 2004. We have finally made the distinction of worst system in metro Atlanta.

The tens of millions of dollars for learning programs such as America’s Choice, Springboard, HSTW, etc. that have been chosen by Central Office staff and tried in the 5 last years have not worked when measured by AYP figures.

Dr. Lewis and his Cabinet members took the helm in January, 2005, and AYP numbers have decreased since then. Accountability should work at the highest levels.

Cabinet members and BOE members need to be held responsible for these scores. They have steadily increased admin and support numbers and expensive learning programs while they decreased the number of teachers and swelled class sizes.

Where is the accountability of the Office of School Improvement in all of this? Why is the BOE not asking Ms. Tyson about the efficacy of the Office of School Improvement? DCSS is spending tens of millions for them and their employees and program. What do they do?

themommy said...

I look at our school board and see them, not one of them, willing to ask tough questions, so that they have a better understanding of how money is being spent, allocated, and purchased.

Much of the real work is done in the board subcommittees. As someone who regularly has attended both the Instruction and the budget meetings, I am regularly impressed by the dialogue that happens at these meetings, especially the curriculum and instruction committee.

The problem is that the dialogue doesn't occur where the public can see it. This is common practice with many school boards, including the GA State Board of Ed. The real work is done in committees and reported out.

In addition, I think they should be meeting with far more regularity.

Anonymous said...

People need to look at the schools where America's Choice was implemented. A.C. was used at Title One schools and I believe only one of those middle schools made AYP, where more than that did previously. I know for a fact that teachers complained that it wasn't working for their students, but the county insisted on them using it and told them NOT to bring in any supplementary materials to help the students with standards not being met with A.C. The teachers knew what needed to be done, the county told them not to, and to do ONLY the A.C. program. Once again our schools and students were hurt. The board needs to compare classes where classes where A.C. was used and see that its not a program for us.

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I don't support the decision to use two firms or how it was made. However, reading the minutes is very insightful to understand how the board ended up here.

Unfortunately, the minutes are in word form and so I can simply attach the link, but I can tell you how to find them.

If you pull up the agenda for the Nov. 2 2009 meeting and read the minutes for the 9-28 and 10-2 meetings, you get a much better picture of what was going on.

Cerebration said...

There is a very good online conversation with Linda Nathan available to read at TEACHER magazine's website discussing her book "The Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test".

in this space. In her highly praised book, Nathan, founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy, describes how she and her colleagues have created a thriving and academically competitive urban public school in part by encouraging a culture of dialogue, collaboration, and creative enterprise.


I hope this book might help to change the current obsession with testing as the way to improve schools. I worry that in “The Race to the Top” we are merely stepping on one another instead of working together for all our students. -Linda Nathan

Kim Gokce said...

Yeah, the testing thing has to be moderated somehow. No offense to the Juniors I tutored in Math this past year but they really lacked some key fundamentals in areas that surprised me.

These were concepts and simple techniques for problem-solving and there was not much chance of succeeding with the provided test prep material without them.

It is just my anecdote, but this experience is what makes me question the focus on high stakes testing. A few minutes of instruction from a teacher "off the script" and these sames kids would be better prepared and educated in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Many people believe that the standardized testing push has shown that public schools were failing many students, especially poor and minority ones.

There is much resistance in some civil rights organizations to changing much of NCLB, because they believe that this is the only hope to improving schools in their community.

Where we have failed in GA, I believe, is that the GA DoE has been way to slow to shutter schools and force makeovers. Seven years in needs improvement is far to long to wait for serious intervention.

Anonymous said...

Georgia Education Reform & School Choice Forum
Public Event

July 30 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Hilton Atlanta Northeast
5993 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
Norcross, GA

Join the Center for an Educated Georgia and Americans for Prosperity at a community forum on parental choice in education and the future of education reform in Georgia.

A panel featuring CEG Director David Pusey will be on hand to interact with attendees and answers questions you have about education reform and parental choice.

For directions, copy & paste this link:

No Duh said...

Hope you all know me as a strong supporter of DCSS teachers. I think they have been wronged in so many ways. However, I also think their approach to employment is bad for them and bad for students. The stranglehold teachers have on the system (call it "tenure" for lack of a better term) with regard to their jobs is ruining their profession.

Excellent teachers are mired in the muck of poor teachers who sue (or threaten to sue) everytime someone questions their abilities. Seems there could be a weighted system (like how we grade our students) that "grades" our teachers. Some percentage of that grade ought to be given to parents as they are customers to the extent that their children are customers. Some percentage should be given to their peers. Some percentage should be given to the principal. Some percentage to the students' progress and test grades. Excellent teachers do not shy from these concepts. Mediocre and poor teachers always strike out and claim they can't be responsible for little Johnny's grades.

Well. Take a look at what is happening in D.C. It can be done.

I'm behind you teachers -- you know that. But, I have always been dismayed with the lack of self-evaluation that seems to permeate teaching.

"WASHINGTON — The D.C. Public Schools are firing 241 teachers and warning more than 700 other employees that they could be fired in the next year if their performance doesn't improve.

The firings announced Friday total 302 school system employees, including the 241 teachers. They come largely as a result of the first year of a new teacher evaluation system, though 76 teachers were fired for problems with their licenses.

The evaluation is based largely on five classroom observations of teachers and their students' standardized test scores. Those found "ineffective" on a four-tier system were fired.

Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker says the union will challenge the firings for performance."

Anonymous said...

There would be nothing wrong with the abolition of tenure and the use of a rigorous evaluation system, IF teachers were allowed to discipline students efficiently and effectively. DCSS does not -- and under the current system, will not -- allow this.

Anonymous said...

Back to Friends and Family for just a minute ... we all have confirmed that DCSS Auditor Ceimone Henderson Strickland's parents and sister and husband worked for DCSS ... mom worked in HR and dad was principal and then director of athletics.

What we didn't know (we heard recently from a reputable source) that Auditor Chardra Gordon's mom is Zepora Roberts. Can anyone confirm this?

If yes, then add her to our Friends and Family spreadsheet (I think I heard someone is keeping a record of who's who).

Cerebration said...

We have this -

Zepora Roberts daughter:
Chanda Roberts White, or Chandra L White, 2009 "Family Services Coor $56895.57"

Anonymous said...

@anon 7/23, 6:58pm. Please clarify. Why do you refer to her position as an "auditor"?

Anonymous said...

Zepora Roberts daughter:
Chanda Roberts White, or Chandra L White, 2009 "Family Services Coor $56895.57"

Wrong person. The auditor is ChaRdra Gordon. My bad.

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

I have a childless family member who lives in D.C. and doesn't have a dog in this fight and thinks terrible things about Michelle Rhee. From the outside in, things always look different.

That said, there needs to be a way to dismiss teachers who simply aren't getting it done. The measures need to be fair and objective, but there needs to be measures.

There are terrible teachers out there who don't even begin to cover the material they need to. They have no classroom management skills. And these are teachers we encountered in gifted level classes, the stories I hear about general level classes at our high school make me crazy.

Yes, we need a way to hold students accountable. Society has spun out of control and our schools are a reflection of this.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:05 am

"There are terrible teachers out there who don't even begin to cover the material they need to. They have no classroom management skills. And these are teachers we encountered in gifted level classes, the stories I hear about general level classes at our high school make me crazy.

All true, but what is DeKalb offering to attract a top notch teacher who knows his/her subject matter, has great classroom management skills, wants to teach general level classes in low income areas, will adhere to the scripted learning programs the Central office mandates, and is eager to have 36 students in often rundown classrooms? Like it or not, this is the reality of DCSS. Unless we change the environment for teachers, we can't change the environment for kids.

Anonymous said...

It's quite simple, really. Start evicting chronic troublemaking students from the schools and stop the social promotion. Then begin to hold teachers accountable for content and instructional efficacy. Of course, such a policy would fly in the face of a culture that views free childcare as the main purpose of public education. Now would it jibe well with a system that vests authority and power in the hands of administrators who are often of questionable competence.

Anonymous said...

Attracting, hiring and retaining quality teachers is a national problem. I will say in DeKalb, I think it is exasperated by not only the poor working conditions, but also by the fact that there are some really poor quality principals.

I believe that the one thing that could really change an individual school the very most is the hiring of a great principal.

Anonymous said...

From the Washington Post on-line today: Rhee dismisses 241 poor preforming teachers...

Anonymous said...

From the Public School Choice brochure now posted on DCSS' website, this is the expectations for students who enroll at the Arabia Mt. annex...

Arabia Mountain High School Annex @ Lithonia High School
All students enrolled at Arabia Mountain High School must maintain a 2.0 grade point average each semester. A total of ten hours of parental involvement hours (volunteer hours) are required before May 1st
annually. All students are required to participate in twenty hours of “Going Green” community service. School uniforms are required for each student.Arabia Mountain High School Annex @ Lithonia High School.

Everyone needs to email their board members and ask why if Chamblee, etc can have trailers and be receiving schools, why can't Arabia Mountain?

Parents and students are being conned. I hope some of the impacted students and their parents will advocate for an end to this charade.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and thanks to this rule, how many kids are going to want to wear an Arabia Mountain uniform when they are in an ANNEX at Lithonia? The students should be on the Arabia Mtn campus where they can take adavantage of all the classes and special programs (like the fabulous World Language electronic program mentioned by CERE).

Cerebration said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cerebration said...

Now, for years, we’ve recognized that education is a prerequisite for prosperity. And yet, we’ve tolerated a status quo where America lags behind other nations. Just last week, we learned that in a single generation, America went from number one to 12th in college completion rates for young adults. Used to be number one, now we’re number 12.

At the same time, our 8th graders trail about eight — 10 other nations — 10 other nations in science and math. Meanwhile, when it comes to black students, African American students trail not only almost every other developed nation abroad, but they badly trail their white classmates here at home — an achievement gap that is widening the income gap between black and white, between rich and poor.

We’ve talked about it, we know about it, but we haven’t done enough about it. And this status quo is morally inexcusable, it s economically indefensible, and all of us are going to have to roll up our sleeves to change it.

-President Barack Obama

Read his entire speech at the National Urban League Centennial Conference here:

Remarks by the President on Education Reform at the National Urban League Centennial Conference

Watch the video of his speech here:

The Importance of Education Reform

Anonymous said...

People need to ask what clique of people linked to which church have taken control of Arabia? Arabia is gunning for SWD's magnet program as well. There are plenty of people in the southland who understand just how bad the schools have become. Their answer? Establish Arabia ia an "elite" school in the south, one that can pick and choose who it keeps and doesn't. Also lok at the teachers there -- different bunch than at, say, Towers.