State School Superintendent John Barge responded Tuesday to news that Georgia’s 67 percent high school graduation rate is lower than every state except Nevada and New Mexico.
The new numbers came from a new U.S. Department of Education calculation designed to be more accurate and standard from state to state. Barge said that Georgia’s completion rate is far too low and must be improved.
But he de-emphasized the importance of the ranking, saying Georgia’s standards for graduation are more rigorous than many other states’.
"For example, Georgia requires four units of mathematics to graduate from high school, all children must complete up through the third advanced algebra or math three. But not all states do that. And so the expectations to that diploma are different," Barge said.
Georgia officials have known since April how fall graduation rates would drop under the new calculation. Education officials argue that the state’s new college and career readiness plan will make school feel more relevant to students leading to higher rates of graduation.