Finally, we hear a positive reflection on the state of education in Georgia.
Ninety-four percent of Georgia's teachers are highly qualified to teach their classes, according to a report released by the federal government this week. They define this criterion as teachers who have a bachelor's degree and state certification and who have demonstrated mastery of every subject they teach.
State officials and local boards of education are making sure public school students have teachers who know what they're doing. That doesn't mean each is a great teacher, but parents and taxpayers should be satisfied knowing that the apparatus is in place.
Unfortunately, this high rate has not translated into a high graduation rate or low dropout rate. Other states with similar percentages of qualified teachers such as Pennsylvania with 95 percent have a much higher graduation rate -- 86.4 percent vs. Georgia's 62 percent.
Perhaps in our zeal to improve public education in Georgia, we've raised the bar too high in terms of graduation tests, while at the same time not providing the best education in the years leading up to those tests. Perhaps we're not providing the best counseling to students to make sure they understand all the options available to them, and what's expected of them to graduate.
More options need to be made available to students such as alternative schools and night classes.
Finally, we must emphasize academics over athletics and other extracurricular activities at all grade levels.
For now, we're happy to see Georgia at the top of a list comparing education achievements among the states, rather than at the bottom.
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