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School Superintendent: We Need a Wake Up Call

Fulton Schools' Robert Avossa says state standards too low.

State educational standards are too low, Fulton Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa told an audience gathered for the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon this week.

"We need a wake up call," he said, adding that he has "very little faith" in Georgia's assessment tactics, which are sometimes driven by politics.

See accompanying video for what Avossa has to say about how SPLOST IV, the 1 percent sales tax approved by voters in 2012, is helping Fulton schools.

He said he has spoken to parents whose children make good grades and score well on state tests but then are surprised when their children score low on the SATs.

Avossa pointed to Fulton Schools' strategic plan launched late last year. The plan's goals are to raise SAT and graduation rates by 2017. In the plan, 90 percent of Fulton's students should graduate on time, with 85 percent eligible for admission into Georgia's university system. Right now those numbers are in the 70s.

While that may not be as much of a challenge in North Fulton, where six of the top 10 schools in the state are located, it is a challenge in South Fulton.

Avossa said that is where Fulton's state-approved charter system will help, as it will allow the school system more flexibility in allocating resources where needed.

The school system will not ignore high-performing North Fulton schools, either. Rather, Avossa wants to see schools in North Fulton continue to rank well nationally and compete with school systems like that in Fairfax, VA, where the graduation rate is 90 percent.

Avossa commended the Fulton system for operating with its means and with a budget surplus. "Most school boards have not had the courage to make cuts," he said, pointing to Cobb's school system which is facing an $80 million deficit.

The Fulton School Board meets for its regular monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m., at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School. The meeting can be watched live via computer and will be archived on the Fulton Schools website. The agenda can be viewed here.

How do you think the Fulton School Board is doing? Tell us in the comments!

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