Saturday, June 17, 2017

Graduation Rate Obsession

Georgia Graduation Rates at 79% fall in the 70-79% range along with 13 other States. If they could move to 80%, Georgia would be in the 80-89% range and would join the 36 states in the mainstream.

Georgia is in the same range as New York 79%, Wyoming 79%, Idaho 79%, Florida 78%, Louisiana 78%, Washington 78%, Colorado 77%, Arizona 77%, Alaska 76%, Oregon 74%, Nevada 71%.New Mexico 69% and Alabama (not reported).  The other 35 States are in the 80-89% range. The highest graduation rate is Iowa at 91%.

The overall Graduation Rate in the US is 83%.

Graduation rates by race include Asian 90%, White 88%, Hispanic 78%, Black 75%, American Indian 72%

I have wondered about Georgia’s obsession to raise graduation rates and must assume that it comes up when they try to attract companies to move their operations to Georgia. If these companies are passing on Georgia because of their Graduation Rates, they don’t know what they’re doing.

When I came to Georgia in 1983, I had applicants tested, based on what job they applied for. I had to go to Temp Services to have office staff screened, because the direct applicants did poorly on the General Clerical Test Battery. I also had to check to see if I could find good applicants for Electronic Technician jobs and had to hire “top of the class” graduates to get what I wanted. But I adapted to hiring in Atlanta and found the applicants I wanted.

Before Georgia, I spent 8 years in Salina Kansas and found a very high-functioning workforce. Many were farm kids who had to do chores and get 100% on their tests. They scored very high on all the tests I gave them.

I have several theories about graduation rates. I think students drop out for lots of reasons. Those who fail a grade, but are advanced on with their age group may never catch up and they just quit. I am sure others have family issues and were not “encouraged” to learn.

We don’t all advance at the same pace and a lot of students don’t see how what they are being taught will be needed when they are adults. US education needs to stress reading, writing and math and keep students in classes with the same bandwidth of academic ability. All education is self-education. Students really learn things when they want to or need to.

I went to private schools in St. Louis. The guys in my grade school were smart, but didn’t do well in their school work. The guys in my high school were much better at school work, because we needed a certain score on the entrance exam to be accepted. Still, some of the guys in high school didn’t make good grades. Many of these caught fire in college and ended up with PhDs.

I’ve known kids who didn’t do well in school and didn’t go to college, but they ended up millionaires, because they started businesses.

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

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