Mapping out how the state of Georgia is able to positively impact student achievement, the Cobb County School District Board of Education approved the district’s legislative priorities for 2019 during the November 15 meeting.
Who knows how to help Cobb students succeed better than their parents, teachers, and principals? They are the ones who have already helped Cobb students surpass state and national ACT and SAT scores. They are the ones helping Cobb students earn millions in scholarship money each year. They are the ones supporting Cobb’s 22 National Blue-Ribbon Schools and 56 Georgia Schools of Excellence.
That’s why ensuring Local Control of schools is Cobb’s first legislative priority. It will empower the people best equipped to serve their communities.
“Whether it is giving Cobb the flexibility to test a new assessment system that has the potential to benefit all students in Georgia or allowing local communities, like Cobb, to approve school calendars that best serve the needs of their students and staff, local control is a must,” said Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “Student success also depends on Cobb being able to maximize the use of financial resources available within the community.”
As the largest employer in Cobb County—with almost 18,000 employees—ensuring the Financial Sustainability of the Cobb County School District not only serves the 100,000 plus students, it also promotes financial stability for the entire community. More than 70 percent of district staff members live in Cobb County. Part of the district’s second priority focuses on Local Fair Share.
Making Local Fair Share, actually fair, could return as much as $44 million back to the Cobb community, Cobb County Schools, Cobb teachers, and most importantly, Cobb students. Cobb’s Local Fair Share contributions, which have risen sharply over the last decade, go to other counties across the state for education and non-education related expenses. Returning $44 million in contributions back to Cobb could build two brand new schools or allow for the hiring of 488 new teachers.
Cobb’s third legislative priority focuses on the Accuracy in Accountability. To help schools improve, the data must accurately reflect a schools’ academic process.
For example, the federally mandated method for calculating graduation rate includes all students enrolled during a four-year period, even those enrolled for a single day. Cobb surpassed Georgia and the majority of metro districts’ graduation rate and yet, Cobb’s “real” graduation rate is even higher. When you include only those students who enrolled in a Cobb high school for all four years of high school, the rate rises to 97.1 percent, more than 10 percentage points higher than the state reported number for Cobb schools. The way CCRPI scores are calculated also has continued to change. So, schools cannot accurately compare scores to prior years.
“Teachers and principals shouldn’t have to guess at how their students and schools are being graded by the state, and the accountability measures should not continue to change year-to-year. Accurately gauging student success is prevented when the goal posts keep moving,” said Superintendent Ragsdale.
Cobb County School District Legislative Priorities for 2018-2019
Local Control: Empower the people best equipped to serve their communities
- Maximize assessment flexibility
- Retain K-12 Control of CTAE/Dual Enrollment
- Maintain Local Control of School Calendar Process
Financial Sustainability: Ensure our financial sustainability to promote financial stability for the entire community
- Make Local Fair Share Fair
- Expand Alternative Resources
Accuracy in Accountability: Safeguard against accountability measures being a guessing game
- Produce graduation rates that more accurately reflect schools’ academic process