Georgia spends less on students than 39 other states. Does it show?

The AJC ran a news story about average state investments in education that merits discussion, especially when the governor wants to assume control of low performing schools and install them in a state-run district.

A June report out of Georgia State University shows the state —  one of three primary sources of school funding, along with local property taxes and federal dollars — does not invest as much in education as many other states.

The report ranks states according to state and local dollars spent on education in 2011-2012. Not surprisingly, the top 10 states are largely in the Northeast and outperform Georgia academically.

Georgia ranked 34th in state and local dollars going to schools, investing $9,402 per pupil on average. New York invested the most in education, spending $20,812 per pupil.

However, when you subtract the local dollars flowing to schools and consider only what the state provides, Georgia falls to 40th on the ranking, spending $4,446 per pupil. (The 50-state average is $6,189.)

A GSU business professor says the state should study a hybrid pension option for teacher retirements.

Georgia does not invest as much in education as 39 other states according to a GSU ranking of per-pupil state spending.

Increasingly, Georgia schools rely on funds provided by local property owners rather than by the state, which raises questions over how much control the state should exert over schools.

According to AJC education reporter Ty Tagami:

Georgia ranked near the bottom among U.S. states when it came to investing in education after the Great Recession, according to two new reports.

The state spent $4,466 per pupil during the 2011-12 school year, below the 50-state average of $6,189, according to a June report by the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University.

Georgia spent less than any of its adjoining states except Florida, ranking 40th.

Georgia’s rank rose six places when local revenue was added, since less than half of educational funding came from state coffers. But the total per-student amount of $9,402 was still less than the $11,337 average among states.

Georgia paid its teachers better than might be expected: The average salary during the 2013-14 school year was $52,924. That’s below the national average of $56,610, but it’s 23rd among states and above the per-capita personal income in Georgia of $39,097. (The state ranked 40th in per-capita income.)

Another study found similar results for 2012. The Education Law Center and Rutgers University reported this spring that Georgia ranked 36th in “funding level, ” a measure that incorporates overall educational funding and per-pupil spending, with adjustments for regional wages, poverty, economies of scale and population density.

Two other interesting rankings in the report by the GSU Center for State and Local Finance:

•Georgia ranked second in the nation in the percentage change in in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions from 2009-10 to 2014-15. Georgia saw a 46.1 percent increase. (I read an interesting piece about how it’s unlikely states will jump-start funding for higher education as Legislatures have happily discovered parents will accept and pay higher and higher tuition.)

•With 347,733 students, Georgia ranked 9th in the nation in full-time enrollment in public higher education in fiscal year 2014.

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209 comments
jaggar1
jaggar1

As a teacher in Georgia, I can tell you the amount of money school districts waste is astounding. It is not the teachers wasting this money but the central office executive staff. The amount of money in textbook adoptions, which are written by people whom do not teach, is crazy. The standards can easily be taught using teacher created materials. Teachers post their creations on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. They are far better and more interesting materials than the useless books. Most of the time, we don't use the textbooks because they aren't truly aligned with the curriculum or just boring. If we eliminated the textbook adoptions, we could save billions of dollars per each county.


The government overreach in education is another issue. All these people who have never stepped into a classroom are telling the people, who are most qualified, what to teach. We need to get back to basics in kindergarten through second grade and make sure kids can read on grade level. We are thrown so many other things at us from 'coaches' who have nothing better to do. This is why our kids are stressed out and hate school.


Governor Deal and Hunter Hill would love nothing more than to stop funding education. They want it to go all private and businesses fund education. We have to have SPLOST for education, otherwise we would never be able to keep up the school buildings and have what kids need. The state of Georgia is hurting all the way around in education, and people love to point the fingers at the teachers. In reality, politicians have been able to make the public think it is our fault. It is truly the fault of politicians, the government, and the executives in the central offices of districts whom are more concerned with paying their buddies high salaries and leaving teachers with their hands tied and horrible salaries.


We are losing great teachers. Fifty percent of teachers are leaving by the 5th year and 75% are leaving by their 7th year. The cost of attrition is astronomical, but the pay is poor, benefits continue to decline, and now the state of Georgia wants to remove our pension. We pay into that pension, and it is our only safety net at the end of our career. We do this job for the love of the children, not the money! Save our children and fight for what they are due which is a great education! Other states care enough, why doesn't our state?

JA_educator
JA_educator

So since the state is not investing enough in education, basically the schools are "making it" by way of county funds and federal money, such as Title 1! Shame, shame, shame........

It is absurd that the state of Georgia ranks 34th in state and local dollars going to schools!Georgia’s percentage of persons living below poverty level is 18.2%. (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html) Not only there are a great number of students living in poverty, but also at the same time the state is not spending enough money to take care of the ones that will take the reigns of the state in the future.It is not only taking care of the academics, but the government should assist their utmost vulnerable members, the students, by providing a full range of social services in the schools.Such services should include basic health care, tutoring, preschool education, family support, and other social services that will benefit the students’ well being.

State government elected officials/GADOE/policy makers: Don’t shortchange our students!Provide the necessary funds for schools to operate successfully!

class80olddog
class80olddog

They DO provide enough funds, then the administrators waste it...

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@JA_educator

The state education reform commission seems to be refusing to determine how much it should cost to educate students.


"Charles Knapp, the former University of Georgia president who chairs the funding subcommittee of Deal’s commission, said Wednesday that he had looked at why previous efforts stalled and concluded that they bogged down by starting with attempts to determine the money needed to provide a good education.

“My concern with this is a lot of the groups that have done that never got off of that,” he said.

He proposed skipping that step entirely and zeroing in on how the actual formula should be rewritten."

http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2015-06-11/story/georgia-school-funding-rubiks-cube


Ladies and gentlemen! Please try this at home! Don't worry about how much housing, food, transportation, healthcare, utilities and such actually cost. Instead, simply allocate a certain percentage of whatever your boss decides to pay you to each category . Let me know how that works out for you. Oh. if it doesn't work out, maybe you can live in a charter community free of charge, get a private living expenses voucher or tax credit paid for by your neighbors. Good luck!

class80olddog
class80olddog

@sneakpeakintoeducation @class80olddog Oh, for goodness sakes - listen to any of the stories of teachers or read any news articles!  "DeKalb county sets aside two million dollars for legal expenses to fight homeowners seeking Atlanta annexation".

Cere
Cere

Regardless of the amount of spending, there is little oversight. The fact that the federal government has given Georgia waivers to the NCLB requirements and then Georgia continues to give waivers on class size, classroom spending percentages, etc to systems around the state, we find that all of these 'regulations' are just smoke and mirrors that aren't even being enforced. It's a lot of talk by a lot of politicians with very, very, very little action or oversight. Basically, just campaign fodder. And the students of Georgia's public schools pay the price, year after year.


http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/georgia-gets-renewed-waiver-from-no-child-left-beh/nmjnL/


AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Cere On the financial accountability subject, could anyone shed some light on why it is allowable for the Georgia State Charter Commission to withhold financial reports for a year?


"The SCSC annually conducts performance evaluations to measure each state charter school's progress in the areas of academic achievement, operational compliance, and fiscal managment. In an effort to provide stakeholders with better access to accountability data, the SCSC is developing a comprehensive performance framework that will assess a school's overall academic, operational, and financial status on an annual basis.  The framework will likely be completed in the Fall of 2015, and school-level profiles will be posted on the SCSC website at that time."


Maybe because fiscal managment is different from fiscal management.


AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Cere You are right. It should be a law that school budgets should be uniform(presentation structure) throughout the state and have to provide minute details and summaries that are easily understood by taxpayers. The inability to see where the money is spent is a major problem. It can take hours of research to find even partial answers to financial expenditure questions. A household budget is far less complicated, but until you can track and understand the purpose for every dollar, you can't understand or manage it well.

Cere
Cere

@AvgGeorgian

Funny. Maybe you're right - the difference is held within a typo!  All I know is that there are few rules regarding spending. The state 'could' apply simple requirements such as minimum class size (Roy Barnes did this, but it has been dismantled) and percentage spent in the classroom (with explicit descriptions of what is considered classroom spending!) Strings should be attached and spending should be mandated to the classrooms (teachers mainly!) The 65% rule regarding spending exists - but there is no punishment for not complying. So why have rules at all? They make for great political stump speeches!!  Large school districts with billion dollar budgets have become jobs programs for administrators. Childrens' educations have been politicized and that is so very wrong. 

Cere
Cere

@AvgGeorgian 

For example - Michael Thurmond proposed spending $70 million (minimum) for a program he calls 'The Bridge'. It's a TV show at most with some very vague, unmeasurable 'goals'. He pitched it with a 23 page Powerpoint. That's about $3 million a slide! The board approved it wholeheartedly.  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/strategic-plan/key-documents/the-bridge-initiative.pdf

The  Bridge  Initiative  Goals  I.Identify,  support,  and  recognize  high-­‐achieving,  marginal,  and  under-­‐performing  students  II.Enhance  the  effectiveness  of  district-­‐level  and  school-­‐level  leaders  and  teachers  to  inspire,  teach,  and  train    III.Build  capacities  of  parents,  adult  guardians,  and  mentors  to  support  and  improve  student  performance  and  academic  support

His 'update' on the success of the "Bridge" is even more vague: 

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/news/blog/superintendents-letter-the-bridge-is-being-built-2/

In comparison, he only proposed $10 million to make up the years of cuts to teachers annuities and only $500,000 to create a curriculum for the entire school district!!  All approved by the board once again without question. [Stan Jester is the only one who dares to question the super. And he is generally successfully ignored.]


Additionally, he pitched a charter school be created at McNair HS. They did not receive the anticipated grant, so the idea fizzled. However, the budget remains - with a million dollars allocated basically any way the superintendent sees fit for McNair. 


Accountability is key. Our board is a group of rubber-stampers. They do not ask for nor do they ever receive any follow up reporting on these very expensive initiatives - which are basically just jobs programs for adult 'administrators', when all students really need is a supportive group of quality teachers and an environment conducive to learning. (ie: small groups)


These are all examples from DeKalb, but things are the same all over the state. These administrators and politicians have discovered the very large pot of gold called School Budgets and they are on a feeding frenzy!

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Cere @AvgGeorgian


Cere - Definitely agree on class size and classroom spending. Thanks for the Dekalb example - read the slides and the update on progress - an amazing waste of money with no measurable goals and very little accountability. You can tell from the verbs in the proposal - develop, enhance, identify. collaborate, realign etc.. that nothing was going to be done that would invite measurement or accountability. The legislators refuse to hold school systems to financial accountability processes that would allow taxpayers to make informed decisions about how well the board is spending money.

aintnosheeple
aintnosheeple

Nathan Deal's education reform committee is working on new funding formulas which would give systems MORE flexibility in how they spend the money.  The only time I had sufficient classroom resources is when Barnes mandated percentages for classroom expenditures.  When it comes down to textbooks vs a warm body in the central office, you know what will happen.  Extra help for struggling students and gifted classes will also fall by the wayside.  

Falcaints
Falcaints

@aintnosheeple He also mandated smaller class sizes, unlike the 33 I have per class now. That even includes AP classes.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Please check out the new detention centers for some school children which are run by corporations for profit.  We should never allow students to be used for the mercenary profit-making of others.  These are human lives, folks. Just as we should not be allowing prisons to be run by and for profit-makers.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaryElizabethSings No just leave them with their drug-addicted mothers who don't care about them even enough to feed them, and an endless parade of men.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@atln8tiv @class80olddog @MaryElizabethSings


'Profit' A financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes needed to sustain the activity. Any profit that is gained goes to the business's owners, who may or may not decide to spend it on the business.


There is a whole lot of room for good and bad in the making of a profit.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@atln8tiv @class80olddog @MaryElizabethSings Who says that any corporation is making profits a priority over people.  There are plenty of for-profit hospitals - are you accusing them of allowing or making people sick in order to make a higher profit?  Businesses provide a product or service and all the businesses I have been associated with make the delivery of a quality product or service in a profitable manner the keystone of their business.  They realize that the quality of the product/service is of utmost importance to the creation of the profit.  This is something that traditional schools do not have - a drive to improve, because the money will be there whether they do a great job or a very poor job (see DeKalb County).  And since education is mandated and the options to traditional schools (homeschooling, moving to a better school district, or private schools) are limited to people who have the ability or the finances to carry them out, they basically have a captive audience.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@class80olddog @atln8tiv @MaryElizabethSings 

No, the for-profit hospitals don't do anything as crass as "making people sick for a profit"...but they can make life-or-death decisions based on profit.  Remember that the Dallas hospital that at first turned away the African Ebola patient Duncan from their ER did so because he was uninsured and couldn't pay them.  And look what happened as a result.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog @atln8tiv @MaryElizabethSings


Class - It's sort of like your water supply, roads, waste disposal, tag office, courthouse, police department, fire department, jail, zoning department, restaurant inspection. It's local government supported in some ways by state government to benefit all local taxpayers. You can move if you don't like it - as far as you can afford - but you don't get to take my tax money and buy your kids a private education any more than I can take your local road money and pave my driveway.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@OriginalProf @class80olddog @atln8tiv @MaryElizabethSings In the case of the Dallas hospital, they were just too dumb to recognize that he might have Ebola, or their response would have been different.  As for insurance, if he had none (against the law with Obamacare) he SHOULD be turned away unless he had life-threatening problems that needed to be STABILIZED.  They didn't think he had a life-threatening disease. a quote:

"Duncan did not tell authorities about his exposure to Ebola.

According to the nurses, when Duncan first arrived at the hospital, he only said he’d returned from “Africa” and did not specify that he had come from Liberia, or even West Africa. At that time, his symptoms were not severe yet, and, with no real reason to think he had the deadly virus, he was sent home.

Three days later, Duncan’s condition was much worse and he was re-admitted to the hospital. The hospital suspected Ebola, but Duncan denied having been exposed to anyone who was sick from Ebola. Later reports revealed that he had helped carry an Ebola-infected woman to a hospital in Liberia."

class80olddog
class80olddog

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog @atln8tiv @MaryElizabethSings No, the things you mention are totally different - because there are not good alternatives.  However, I made the argument before about police - if your police are corrupt and inept - response time is an hour, don't arrest criminals - and you had an option of starting a Charter Police Force to keep your family from being robbed and raped - would you not pursue that option?

In most places, people VOTE and keep their schools in line and doing what is best for their kids (See Cobb, Cherokee, etc.).  But in DeKalb County and APS, the voters that CARE are overwhelmed by those that vote for other reasons - so you get the likes of the DeKalb BOE that had to be replaced.  Caring parents end up voting with their feet - one of the reasons for "white flight".

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

@class80olddog @atln8tiv @MaryElizabethSings I'm referring the ever-increasing gap between CEO pay vs. worker pay. How many jobs have been lost here because companies chose to outsource to countries who pay their workers pennies per day, so the CEO of the company can take home a huge bonus while the company's workers struggle to make ends meet?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@atln8tiv @class80olddog @MaryElizabethSings


Class - everybody pays education taxes. If you are advocating for parents to get a rebate or credit for ONLY the amount they pay if they remove their kids from the system, I'm all for it. If you advocate parents taking other peoples money and education choices for their community, I'm totally against it. 



class80olddog
class80olddog

Spending versus graduation rates is all over the board - from Utah that spends less than $7000 per student and has a grad rate of 86% to Louisiana that spends over $10,000 per student and has a graduation rate of 71%. Clearly, spending alone is not the whole answer.  High-income areas such as Massachusetts have generally high-SES students, so they would do well even if spending were less. (they go ahead and spend more to get better outcomes for their good students)

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog


Well said about high income areas spending more because they think better outcomes are worth it. 


A caveat - grad rates aren't easily compared due to different requirements. Those requirements are also a moving target in many states.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog High income areas use local funding to increase their spending to the benefit of their students - things like offering more AP classes.  Low income areas increase their spending but do not get any bump in outcomes because they spend on things like central office and lawsuits (see DeKalb county) instead of programs to address discipline or attendance or social promotion.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog Sounds good to me - a law that says that 70% minimum have to spent on classroom instruction and classroom materials (not administration).  DeKalb county central office would have a collective coronary.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

{{{yawn}}}   Still arguing "Taste's Great / Less Filling" I see.


When I see schools padlocking football stadiums and hand coaches pink slips, THEN I will agree that the schools may have a funding problem.   Until then......


There is a well worn management concept of "Diminishing Returns", which states that spending past the optimal point results in less and less value received.  Where that optimal point is located on the cost vs return continuum is the $64k question.


There are so many variables in trying to compare dollar for dollar spending across the states.  Union wages vs non-union.  Utility costs of the snow belt vs the sun belt.  Here in GA, we have the SPLOST, which does fund some of the technology purchases.  Other states may fund the same type of purchases through the general fund.  And so on and so forth.


A better metric for comparison would be to stratify the students by grade and demographics and then compare the achievement results to the Student / Teacher ratio. 


Nah.  Makes too much sense.  Much more fun to argue over meaningless statistics....

bu2
bu2

@Lee_CPA2 

Wingfield to some extent has done that.  Of the 6 states with similar poverty levels who do better than Georgia, 5 spend less per student.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@bu2 @Lee_CPA2 Posted this to Kyle's site, but as some of my comments don't make it through his screen, here it is.


The article seems to show that the GPPF  could also write an article that shows the best way to get from Atlanta to Athens is by way of Albany. I question the use of adjusting per student expenditures by cost of living. Do we use that adjustment to examine all other state spending? They also use only a 4th grade math and reading test and lump states as on one side of an average. There is also no determination on how money is spent. In statistics there are lies and ....


Let's go with the GPPF premise (although they say this is really only one way to interpret the data) though.


The premise is spending less on education improves performance especially for poor children. Let's put that in practice. All you parents should immediately reduce educational spending on your children in hopes that their academic performance will improve. Things to cut out: trips to the library, zoo, museum, tablet for reading, book subscriptions, vacations where they learn new stuff, magazines, tutors, SAT prep, etc.. You could also try that with their diet - reduce costly health foods and restaurant meals and watch for health improvements.


It also seems that Kyle is giving a big shout out to public schools and teachers for their amazing ability to do more with less. This Damascus road like conversion will surely have Kyle coming out against charter schools, vouchers, OSD and the like now that we have discovered the key - keep them in public schools and reduce funding.


I feel really sorry for the kids at expensive private schools now that we have discovered that more spending just makes you dumber.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@AvgGeorgian @bu2 @Lee_CPA2 "The premise is spending less on education improves performance especially for poor children."

NO,NO,NO!

The premise is that you could cut out a lot of the extraneous spending and not affect your outcomes one bit.  If DeKalb county cut out the legal expenses for lawsuits, do you think that education would improve?

Lots of school systems have demonstrated good educational results with per-student spending around $6000 - $8000.  What we have consistently said is that you cannot improve education by "throwing money at it".  As one poster noted, if you increased their budget, they would just hire more administrators, so you would still not be any better off.  Some things, like more effective discipline and enforcing attendance, cost very little (other than a backbone).  You don't have to have a counselor visit homes, you can put a parent in jail, and solve the attendance problem. More money does not help unless it is targeted correctly.  Also, as I posted before, if you increase spending on education, where are you going to REDUCE spending?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@bu2 @Lee_CPA2 


Class - 


Please try to understand my style of response as I usually usually put in a certain amount of research before posting.


My take on their article was a perfectly reasoned response to the posted data. Good research has rules for determination and presentation and it is rarely followed by "free market think tanks" or any other organization that is out to accomplish changes for donor taskmasters who may stand to make a profit(right or left). There is no mention in the article of what an appropriate level of spending is required for adequate performance or how states with less spending but "better performance" used their educational spending to accomplish this feat. 


My point is that this is a puff piece by a "cut government spending(except on private/charter education)" organization that threw out some pieces of statistical data to to rally the "less public more private government spending" crowd that is too lazy or strapped for time or too unsophisticated(not their fault) to research the findings. 


anothercomment
anothercomment

This map show nothing! It only shows the worst states in the Nation the South. One needs to Look at the NE, Midwest, to get the real picture. Let's see a map of the whole country. That will show you with ranking of States, see what the top 10 states in the Country spend.

People that have only gone to school in the Deep South including Florida have no idea how much better the other 75% of the country is. The schools are night and day. The colleges in the North and Midwest are night and day as well. Does anyone not wonder why so many firm still recruit out of the SE.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Most engineering programs are Co-op programs and take 5 years. However you clearly are not smart enough to be an engineer so you would know that!

bu2
bu2

@anothercomment 


The worst schools I ever attended were in Indiana.


And if schools are so much better in upper NY State, why is that one of the areas in the country that is declining the fastest despite some really good universities as well (RPI, Suny Buffalo, Syracuse,, Cornell).

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog


Please take some time to look at the difference in grad. requirements as well as consider the disasterous effects of Math I, II, III, IV.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog 

You've noted the 4-year graduation rates of USG schools disapprovingly before, and I've replied before, and will do it again now... Nationwide, the benchmark time for college undergraduate graduation is six years, not four years.  And it's been 6 years for a long time now. The 4-year benchmark is long out-of-date.

High school students and their graduation rates are quite irrelevant to college undergraduates, in any case. There are too many differences between the two situations.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog @OriginalProf @AvgGeorgian


Prof and Class You seem to both be missing my admittedly sarcastic point.


There IS a comparison to be made. Public schools take on EVERY child including all ranges of cognitive abilities and disabilities as well as financial, emotional, and family problems. We then give a four year benchmark for all these kids to graduate from a state imposed college prep curriculum. When the grad numbers aren't good, we blame teachers and label schools as failing.


On the other hand, GA Tech. students are adults who have proven themselves to be excellent (the best of the best) students and have been handpicked by the college. Most of these students could/should go into GA Tech with at least one year of AP/Dual Enrollment college credit providing for a 4 year benchmark. Putting that aside the 8 year grad rate is only 82%.


My point is not to fault GA Tech. The point is high performing, perfectly capable, screened, and motivated GA Tech students are granted the GRACE to have life circumstances prevent a 4,5,6,7, or 8 year completion of a diploma with nary a word of reproach to GA TECH, but NONE of that grace is extended to public school students or public schools.





OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog @OriginalProf 

1). You also posted a long diatribe against Georgia State for having a 4-year graduation rate around 50%. Equally irrelevant.


2. The comparison is irrelevant because the 2 groups are so different--high school students who are legally required to be in school, and college students who have chosen to be there. The HS students must be there until they're 16 by law, but the college students can leave whenever they want. Also, high-schools usually graduate their students in 4 years.  (Politicians would throw a fit if high-school graduation was allowed to take 6 years, because it would cost so much more.)


One major reason for the 6-year benchmark, btw, is that college students nowadays quite often have to work part-time because the school expenses are so high. Things have changed greatly since you probably were in school (10 years ago or more).

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@OriginalProf @AvgGeorgian @class80olddog

I believe you are making my point for me. My point is we have higher graduation standards for high schools(who have a much harder population to educate) than we do for colleges with an easier population to educate.


Don't let anyone fool you about the number of years it takes to finish college or say some college kids have to work. Many HS kids work 20+ hrs per week and go to school from 8-3:30 M-F. Many hardworking college kids start college with one year of AP/Dual Enrollment credit and finish a bachelors in 3 years and a masters in 4. You only have to take 15 hrs per semester to finish on time and there is nothing to prevent you from taking additional hours or going to summer school. HS kids routinely do both.


Again, the point is that we cut colleges all kinds of slack and allow "life" as a reason to extend graduation timelines but we label K-12 schools and teachers as failures for not meeting a strict 4 year grad standard with a more difficult population.