Georgia Gives Up on Education Reform

High school graduation examinations are theoretically designed to ensure that students graduate for high school ready for college or employment. Because apparently 12 years of grades and tests don’t guarantee this.

But now, apparently, some states are figuring out that maybe the graduation tests just aren’t worth it. It’s become a little embarrassing. According to an article by Nancy Badertscher in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The class of 2011 is about to be out the door, and so is the state’s high school graduation test. The state Board of Education is expected Wednesday to start the process of phasing out the test that’s been the gateway — and, in some cases, stumbling block — to graduation for all of Georgia’s public high school students….

In the past three years, at least 3,000 students failed the test multiple times and had to petition the state Board of Education in order obtain their diplomas.

The fact that several thousand Georgia high school students each year fail an examination designed to ensure preparation for college or employment would seem to indicate that maybe Peach State high schools need some major improvement.

But major improvement would be difficult, and maybe expensive, so Georgia’s just going to scrap the whole thing. Next year students only have to pass eight course tests to graduate from high school.

Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, a Democrat, gave Georgia end-of-course tests as part of his A-Plus Education Reform Act of 2000. “The time has come to end social promotion in our schools,” Barns explained at the time.

It’s worth pointing out that there’s little indication that Georgians became any better prepared for college as a result of the high school examinations.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer