Have you seen the news lately? You probably know by now that graduation rates have been inflated statewide for years and have now been adjusted to just 67.4 percent. Sadly, Gwinnett schools fall right within that average at 67.6 percent. Fulton County, by contrast, fared better with similar challenges. Its four-year graduation rate is 70.1 percent. Several Fulton high schools have landed among the state’s Top 10 highest scoring campuses on the SAT for years.
We don’t need the Gwinnett Board of Education spending $900,000 to fund positions for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. We need to focus on ensuring that our children graduate from high school.
Even if you don’t have kids, this affects you.
The reporting changes were part of a federal effort to standardize reporting so that apples to apples comparisons could be made. So, by contrast, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported two weeks ago that “With the new formula, two cities that frequently compete against Atlanta for business look better: Charlotte's school system graduated 73.5 percent of its high school students and Dallas 77.3 percent.” So companies considering moving to the Atlanta area and more specifically Gwinnett County may ultimately choose to relocate their business to Texas or North Carolina.
Even if your kids are honor students this affects you.
This graduation rate is now reported as part of the profile on Gwinnett County Schools to Ivy League universities and liberal arts colleges across the nation. It will define our kids when they apply for entry. They will be judged against peers across the world for the education they received, the classes offered and how well they mastered the concepts.
We need real leadership.
Because of the embarrassing graduation rate, Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks and the Gwinnett Board of Education have launched a community task force to begin looking at ways to save struggling students. Now that they are under scrutiny from the media they want to help students who are at risk of dropping out because they have been pushed out of their local schools by administrators too overwhelmed in overcrowded schools to help them succeed.
I have already been working for years to save scores of students who face the likelihood of becoming dropouts in our schools. My opponent has criticized me for being so vocal about saving those kids.
At some point, Gwinnett will also realize the value of supporting innovative models that give economically disadvantaged children a real chance to succeed in college by closing the academic achievement gap through early intervention. I wish they had seen the value of Ivy Prep when it was initially proposed. It could have saved the county and state millions of dollars in needless litigation. The school is now one of the top performing schools in the county. Educating all children is good business.
I have a record of finding solutions that are moral and make good business sense. Can we say the same about our current school board?