The formal rule adoption process for the proposed State Board of Education Graduation Rule began today. The Georgia Department of Education released the second draft of the rule on July 12.
According to information from the GDOE, a new graduation rule is needed to align with the state's revised and improved curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards. The revised rule is for students enrolling in the ninth grade for the first time in the 2008-09 school year and subsequent years, and establishes the minimum requirements to graduate.
Georgia is one of 29 states that make up the American Diploma Project and adopting a new plan. The first draft of the Graduation Rule was created and released in May, with public input sessions held across the state from May 29 until June 16. One of these sessions was held at Thomson High School with educators from six surrounding counties in attendance.
The revision drops the current two-tier system in which freshmen choose a college prep course of study or a tech/career path. Lower level courses will no longer be offered. Changes and provisions also have been made for students with disabilities.
THS Principal Rudy Falana said the new rule will not affect THS students because the local school system has already been implementing these changes in anticipation of the state requirement. Mr. Falana said the lower level math courses were dropped last year with good results. In February, the school board approved the plan to drop the lower-level English courses for freshmen beginning this school year.
"We had four advanced placement courses last year instead of the usual one," Superintendent Mark Petersen said at the last Board of Education meeting. "We are working to increase the number of students who are taking AP courses to improve their chances of success."
To graduate from a Georgia public high school, a student must have completed four units of English/language arts, four of mathematics, four of science, three of social studies, three of Career Technical and Agricultural Education/foreign language or fine arts, one in health and physical education and four electives. One elective may be selected from courses in fine arts or science; and, students are encouraged to select electives in a focused area of interest.
One more public hearing will be held on the new graduation rule on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the state board room, 20th floor, east tower of the Georgia Department of Education, 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, Atlanta.
The new Graduation Rule is on the GDOE website at http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/index.aspx under "rule revisions." The revisions are highlighted in yellow. Those wishing to comment on the revisions are encouraged to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed adoption of the rule is Sept. 13, and it will go into effect for the freshmen class in August 2008.