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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 12:42pm

Fewer Schools Meet Federal Benchmark

More than a third of Georgia’s public schools aren’t meeting federal benchmarks for education. Georgia’s overall Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP is down from last year.

This year 63 percent of Georgia’s schools made AYP. Although, that’s not a final number because it doesn’t include summer retests, a preliminary comparison, shows an eight percent drop from last year.

State Superintendent John Barge attributes the decline to an ever-increasing academic bar.

“So the rate of increase is so large, not only in graduation rate, but on the test themselves and the number of students who must be passing, it’s very.. it’s just.. some of the schools that have been making AYP, the rate of increase was so large, it kicked them out this time,” says Barge.

Other states are also experiencing drops in AYP because of that bar says Caitlyn Dooley an education scholar at Georgia State University.

“Well most of the schools across the nation aren’t likely to make it because the goals get harder every year with the final goal 100 percent proficiency by 2014,” says Dooley.

The US Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan highlighted that point as he addressed Congress over the flaws in the No Child Left Behind Law this year. He warned that 80 percent of schools might not meet the benchmark next year.

Education officials nationwide are pressing Congress to rework the bill mandating the AYP goals.

The 2011 numbers don't include Atlanta Public Schools. Due to investigations into CRCT cheating at APS, its Adequate Yearly Progress determinations will not be released until the Georgia Department of Education can determine which data are impacted by the investigation findings.