Jeff Meadors: Search for quality education leaves public schools out of the equation

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

Public schools face declining tax digests and declining enrollment. Where are students going and why?

From Michigan to Oregon to Newton County students are opting out of public schools and dollars are joining them. Now you see them; now you don't.

American curriculum has become so politically correct, so mired in sensitivity, so watered down (think integrated math) and so federally driven to the trough of government cheese that students flee leaving closures and consolidations biting the dust.

Teachers can't teach what they know to be true and correct. They are bogged down in guru chatter on text complexity eating up their planning time as they eat lunch standing up and race to the top of the bus line to gobble up the fumes of afternoon bus duty.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports a decline in public school enrollment in 16 states and some in double digit declines.

Still, private and parochial schools pop up with SACS accreditation like dandelions dotting the landscape as home school cooperatives make strong showing at the Georgia Home Educators Association and powerfully align with legislators, so powerfully in fact that fiscal year 2013 Accel regulations fund Dual Enrollment tuition for unaccredited home school students. First-time SAT scores for non-public school students soar.

Quality teachers are leaving to teach in private schools too. In the meantime the American Association of School Administrators commissions a white paper wondering why enrollment is in decline. It's not that hard to figure out: Offer better schools.

Data from one example illustrates how schools can combat the decline by offering high quality even in austerity. Eastside High School in Newton County enjoyed a 17.5 percent increase in its graduation rate over the past five years (fiscal year 2006 -- fiscal year 2011). AP pass rates (scores above a 2) improved by 4.91 percent over the same period; math scores on the high school graduation test improved at a range of 9 percent to 23 percent based on student subgroup; biology and physical science EOCT scores blew the doors off county and state averages, and the school exceeded statewide performance on eight of nine statewide assessments in 2011 including physical science and math. In fiscal year 2012, the school exceeded county and state cohort graduation rate averages. Parents will choose this, or find something else.

And legislators are listening. HB 149 began the push with a successful Move On model transferring high school FTE to colleges. HB 186 and HB 326 packed more punch. HB 186 fully funds dual enrollment and mandates that secondary schools (grades 8 11) notify all eligible students of all early college options no later than April 1 of each school year or risk violation of law. HB 326 dumped Accel into the general fund no longer pulling from HOPE-eligible students' 127 lifetime credits.

The last 100-year shift in public education emerged with the agrarian to industrial societal shift; will the next be characterized by dollars and technology allowing in-state students to participate in cooperatives managed across state or county lines? You tell me.

Jeff Meadors represents District 1 on the Newton County Board of Education. Email him at Jeffrey.meadors@gmail.com.


suerprincipal 3 years, 6 months ago

I love this. This guy kicks butt and has so many truth haters that can't stomach the truth but the truth never changes does it my peeps? Totally kicks butt and I'd say this is a wake up call and warning that our legislators are fed up with public school failure. GO EAGLES!


Wildwomanoftigertown 3 years, 6 months ago

You won't find Alcovy in any good results.

Tell us more about the pat downs at Alcovy graduation - see the letter to the editor from the parent in the other paper today


Satan69 3 years, 6 months ago

I bet one of those gassy boe members will try to sue him or at least call an illegal meeting the truth a meter is too darn high in this article he will be sued for sure too bad they can't fire him hahahahah - go meadors keep truthing it


Iknowddatsright 3 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree he will be next on the Suer list definatley and an illegal meeting then he will be bashed because he stands up for free speech oh and lets not forget to mention he is "Unstable" the only unstable thing going on is this law suit that is unstable. He has the guts to tell the truth and thats all that matters. The one thing I don't see is when they push his buttons he doesn't holler law suit. You keep it real Mr Meadors your doing a great job and don't worry you can join the long list of people being sued.

Thanks for keeping it real and keeping us informed.


carefulshawty 3 years, 6 months ago

So word around the water cooler is something is going down tonight or tomorrow. So I hear my sources tell me that a lot of things will be cleared up and maybe this he said she said will stop and we will have it straight once and for all.


amp72 3 years, 6 months ago

I would hope so. I happen to know for a fact that "the powers that be" have enough information/ammo from members of the community and from educators in the community to put someone on admin. leave at the very least. This thing is swirling out of control and someone needs to put a stop to it immediately. I'm all for the justice system letting the lawsuit play out because that has no traction and will only make people look like bigger fools. But there are many, many other issues under the surface that need to see the light of day.


jjhayden3rd 3 years, 6 months ago

If the purpose of education is to create worker bees, why don't local industries fund our county shcools and thereby have a say in what is taught and the tests that must be passed to get thier jobs?

Also teaching magic and myths will not rase the math and science scores of Newton County students so that they can compete for those technology jobs. Faith does not repair hard disk crashes.


Kodaanddylansmom 3 years, 6 months ago

So exactly what does that mean shawty? Cause that to me sounds deeper if you read between the lines I maybe wrong and could be just nothing however I think things should be brought to light how about you? To me that sounds "unstable" so please do tell. I hope that people aren't being suttle in the comments if you know what I mean?????

Someone shed some light on what that might mean?

BAck to what I saying keep us informed Mr Meadors we appreciate everything that you do and thanks for the continued service.


Henrycounselor 3 years, 6 months ago

You are so right about truth haters. This guy Wow I can't believe that so many dislike him just because he tells the truth. It is a shame that people can't see it for what it is and be done with it. See the problem is when you have a person such as himself that wants to get the truth out there then he will and thats it he doesn't care if you or I don't like it cause i'm sure he feels like this if you don't like it don't read it. I agree if you don't then just don't.

Fact of the matter here is people that he is a great role model and wonderful eduactor and wants something positive out of all this not to make everyone in the process look bad. Truth needs to be told and it sometimes hurts but once everybody realizes that the better off everybody will be.


Personalsavior 3 years, 6 months ago

Well amp i'm all for the justice system letting the lawsuit play too but not letting it get out of control like its doing now. People getting threatened and phone calls being made and all this other stuff going on. People really is it going to take something horrible to happen before something gets done. I have to agree Amp many many other issues that others arent even aware of. All i have to say is WOW.


Satan69 3 years, 6 months ago

A true fighter sending a real message I just hope public school leaders check themselves and start paying attention to teachers on the front lines - thanks for this article.


AmazedByStupidity 3 years, 6 months ago

It is the type of success that Mr. Meadors refers to that makes Newton County parents do whatever it takes to send their child to Eastside. I know that most NCSS teachers send their children to Eastside because they have a choice. I know of people who move just before the child's freshman year to be in district. I know of parents who lie about where they live and parents who sign guardianship of their children over to other relatives, just so the child will be considered in district. I know for a fact that there are at least 2 EHS cheerleaders that do not live in district--not even including the girls who have NCSS employees for parents.

What is it that Eastside has that makes it academically successful that Newton and Alcovy do not have? Investigate that, and implement it.


Romulus 3 years, 5 months ago

It's becoming more and more plain: Public education is on the ropes. Anyone who can, will flee for the sake of their children. Technology affords more and more flexibility and options for our children. And these are quality options that produce merit scholars and spelling bee champions. Home schooling was once a rarity. Now it is becoming more and more mainstream as public schools become incubators for antisocial behaviors that have nothing to do with real education.


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