Student Well-Being

Georgia Poised to Raise The Stakes on Attendance Rates

By Linda Jacobson — June 05, 2002 3 min read

Georgia schools will soon be held accountable for more than just raising student achievement. It appears that they also will be expected to make sure students get to class.

Georgia schools will soon be held accountable for more than just raising student achievement. It appears that they also will be be expected to make sure students get to class.

Under a policy recently adopted by the state’s Education Coordinating Council, schools will receive an “exemplary” score on their school report card if 5 percent or fewer of their students are absent more than 15 days during the academic year.

“Acceptable"marks will go to schools where the percentage of students absent 15 or more days falls between 5 percent and 15 percent. Finally, if the percentage of students missing school is any higher than that, schools will receive an “unacceptable” score.

“There are some schools that are going to have to go to work on this,” said Herb Garrett, the executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

In fact, statistics presented at the May 23 meeting of the coordinating council showed that 10 percent of the state’s students missed more than 20 days of instruction during the 2000-01 school year. Under the new criteria, about 700 of the state’s 1,944 schools would get an unacceptable rating.

The new rules were written by the state’s Office of Education Accountability, the agency charged with implementing Democratic Gov. Roy E. Barnes’ school accountability plan. The standards for attendance, however, still need to be approved by the state board of education, which is expected later this month.

The Education Coordinating Council, created by the legislature in 2000, is chaired by the governor and made up by leaders of the state’s four education agencies—preschool through college. The body is responsible for making sure that the state’s policies and programs at the various levels of education are “seamless,” and for preventing unnecessary duplication of services by the state.

In addition, the council is overseeing the implementation of Georgia’s new accountability system. School report cards are already being issued by the agency, but elementary and middle schools still have until the 2003-04 school year before their scores trigger rewards or interventions. High schools have until the 2004-05 school year.

One of 10 Criteria

Although the attendance information won’t contribute to a school’s letter grade, it will appear on the school report card as one of 10 criteria on which schools will be rated. Another of those criteria is a school’s dropout rate.

In formulating the new policy, Davis Nelson, the executive director of the accountability office, surveyed the state’s 180 district superintendents on what they thought would be fair. In fact, he has asked for input from superintendents since he began working on the accountability system.

“I took the results and came up with a recommendation,” Mr. Nelson said. While all superintendents and administrators might not completely agree with the policy, he added, at least they had the “opportunity to be heard.”

Even so, the attendance standards are already causing some confusion at the district level.

Merri Brantley, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Education, said some school officials were asking about whether more than 15 absences would be allowed as long as they were excused.

“I’ve got schools telling me they have kids who miss 40 days and still pass,” Ms. Brantley said.

But Mr. Nelson told the coordinating council that students who miss more than 20 school days are twice as likely as those who don’t miss that much time to score below the cutoff scores on state tests.

Though schools likely will be paying closer attention to their attendance rates in the future, Mr. Garrett of the superintendents’ group said, parents are equally, if not more, accountable for making sure their children are in school.

“This is a place where we need to openly admit that there is a responsibility for this that lies elsewhere,” he said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 2002 edition of Education Week as Georgia Poised to Raise The Stakes on Attendance Rates

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Sponsor
Breathe Easier About In-Person Learning
Blueair’s Guide To Using Relief Funding For Cleaner Air 
Content provided by Blueair
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Abuse Cases Got More Severe During COVID-19. Could Teachers Have Prevented It?
A study finds that the severity of identified child abuse cases grew during the pandemic, even as reports of abuse declined.
3 min read
Image of a sad girl in the shadows
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being The Pandemic Brought Universal Free School Meals. Will They Stay?
Relaxed rules during the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed schools to serve universal free meals. Some in Congress want to make that permanent.
8 min read
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County School District on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss.
Kejuan Turner, 8, eats a burger from a free bagged lunch provided by the Jefferson County school district on the back of his mother's truck with his brother, Kendrell, 9, outside their home in Fayette, Miss., in March.
Leah Willingham/AP
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Getting Face Time With Students May Be More Important Than You Think
There's a good reason for teachers and students to keep their cameras on in class, a new neuroscience study suggests.
3 min read
Mashea Ashton, principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in to different Zoom classes to see how students and teachers are doing.
Mashea Ashton, the principal and founder of Digital Pioneers Academy, drops in on a Zoom class. New research shows ways teachers can build better bonds with students online.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week