In High School Graduation, State Improves While State Charters Lag

Nov 1, 2016


Georgia continues to improve its graduation rate, but the state's high school experiments, its charter schools, are lagging behind.

Georgia’s high school graduation rate improved for a fifth straight year, according to data released Tuesday by the State Department of Education, to 79.2 percent. That’s about 3 points off the national rate.

Thirteen charter high schools have been around long enough to make the 2016 numbers. The eight schools chartered by local school boards averaged a 73 percent graduation rate. But at the five state chartered schools, on average, only 24 percent of students graduated. State Charter Schools Commission Executive Director Bonnie Holliday says to understand that, you have to take into account who the schools serve.

"Students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, African American students, white students, Latino addition to looking at the overall rate, it’s important to look at how schools do within those subgroups," she said.

None of the state’s brick and mortar charter schools were classified as economically stressed in the 2016 data. The most economically disadvantaged, locally chartered schools were among the highest performing in the state, with rates topping 93 percent. 

Most of the state chartered schools are up for renewal in two years.