The AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) numbers are in and once again, Richmond County School System (RCSS) did not meet the standard. This year 50.9 percent of schools made AYP, down from 70.2 percent last year. While these numbers mean different things to different people...educators, administrators, parents, guardians, students, the community and the military members who end up on orders to a military installation in Georgia it is the news for the day. The school board will vote to raise the millage rate on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 4:30 for the second time this year, regardless of the numbers.
Yes, the positive numbers need to be acknowledged but overall the RCSS numbers dropped. School choice will be back...but what do you do when your student's school does not make AYP and there are no school choices? You jump in with both feet and do what you can to make improvements. Schools are a vital part of the community. These students are the future leaders, they will be the ones rocking our rocking chairs. Everyone needs to do something.
The Augusta Chronicle does a great job of providing coverage when the negative news in the Richmond County School System will draw the attention of the online posters. If 1/2 of the people who post a gripe, complaint, or groan about the school system would put 1 hour of volunteering in at the local neighborhood school, we might see some improvement or maybe change the perspective of their posts.
I am proud that my daughter graduated high school, but I know it was her diverse experiences in schools in Georgia, Florida, Alaska, and Texas exposed her to different learning environments and the involvement of the adults in her life that expected no less from her. I am concerned about the graduation rate of the school system as a whole. From the Georgia Department of Education, these are the graduation rates posted under the annual AYP reports as the second indicator:
Richmond County (721) System did not meet AYP
2001 2002 Graduation rate: 58.7%
2002 2003 Graduation rate: 59.4%
2003-2004 Graduation rate: 62.2%
2004-2005 Graduation rate: 72%
2005-2006 Graduation rate: 66.1%
2006-2007 Graduation rate: 66.3%
2007-2008 Graduation rate: 62.1%
Education is big business. If colleges, corporations, or the military produced these kind of numbers for graduation they would be put out of business. So whether you want to believe the numbers posted by the GA Dept of Education, US Department of Education, Ed in 08, US Census Bureau, or whatever organization is publishing the numbers...take a look around your neighborhood. Will the children your student eats lunch with today be the same students walking across the graduation stage?
Ed in 08: http://www.edin08.com/
GA Dept of Education 2008 AYP: http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ayp2008.aspx
US Dept of Education: http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/UnitedStates/Education/
While the AYP #s are in the news today, the first "rightsizing" forum was held July 27, 2008 and hopefully will provide recommendations for the August monthly school board meeting. The audit conducted by MGT of America, Inc. documented that the school system had 6000 empty seats, and recommended closing 1 high school, 1 middle school, and 3 elementary schools. But the school board approved building 1 new middle school which is undergoing construction.
Having been an involved parent in GA, FL, AK, and TX, I question many decisions of this school district. These questions and my research play a vital role in the research I conduct for my own educational assignments.
Regardless of the outcome, I have to thank the Richmond County School System for the valuable lessons learned and the plethora of research and information they provide as I continue my own education in the field Educational Technology Management.