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Ga. senator calls state public schools abysmal at townhall, does not address role of poverty

Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers called the state’s school system “abysmal” this week, proposing a slew of remedies that curiously did not address the high rate of poverty among Georgia students.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports:

The U.S. is near the bottom of developed nations in education, and Georgia’s schools are among the worst of any state, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, told Athens Republicans on Monday.

“It is abysmal in this state on the K through 12 level,” Rogers said.

Rogers proposed using technology like online classes to improve learning. Students also need more options and flexibility, such as the freedom to take some classes online and others at brick-and-mortar schools, or to home school some days and attend public school on others.

Over half of Georgia K-12 students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs, an indicator of low income given to qualify, pupils must come from a household that earns no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Likely due to the recession, the state percentage of eligible students has risen five percentage points between 2008 and 2010. Free lunch programs cover an even poorer set of Georgians, as incomes cannot exceed 135 percent of FPL, and the state educates 797,761 such students — over twice the national average.

Georgia-free-lunch-vs-US_1824.jpg
Georgia-free-lunch-vs-US_1824.jpg

As previously reported by The American Independent, Rogers looked past the role of poverty while praising a charter school that posted a student body proficiency percentage only a few points above the state average. The U.S. Dept. of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows only a fraction of tested Georgia students are proficient in math and reading. State test scores in 2010 told a different story, indicating 70 to 90 percent of Georgia pupils met education standards established by the Georgia Department of Education.

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