UGA, Tech Freshmen Post Super Scores

UGA and Georgia Tech have posted profiles of their incoming freshmen classes. They are impressive, to say the least. In fact, they might be a little frightening to would-be applicants.

Applications at UGA dropped slightly from 2009’s 17,770 and the acceptance rate increased from 54% to 59%, yielding an enrollment of 4,800, up 125 from last year’s freshman class.

While the average high school gpa of UGA’s first-year class did not change from last year’s 3.83, test scores shot up. Way up. While last year’s midrange SAT scores (25th-75th percentiles) were 1700-1990, this year’s incoming classes midrange is 1800-2060. The change in ACT scores is even more dramatic: The midrange shifted from 24-29 to 27-31.

UGA says that 95% of freshmen took at least one AP class, and the typical UGA freshman takes between three and seven.

These scores nearly match Georgia Tech’s 2009 stats, but Tech’s scores also increased dramatically this year, pushing it toward the stratosphere of the Ivies. Georgia Tech saw a marked increase in applications, going from 11,432 in 2009 to 13,553 in 2010. The acceptance rate dropped from 58% to 52%, and ultimately 2,650 students enrolled as freshmen.

 The mid 50% SAT for Georgia Tech’s freshman is 1900-2130, and its midrange ACT scores are 27-32. In 2009, they were 1810-2100 and 27-31.

Note: UGA and Georgia Tech “superscore” both the SAT and ACT. Superscoring is the process of combing the highest section scores for students submitting multiple test results, often resulting in a higher composite score than the student actually achieved in any one sitting.

For a profile of UGA’s freshman class, click here. For Tech’s, click here.

Georgia Wins $400M In Race To The Top

Georgia is among today’s ten winners in Round Two of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTTT) grant competition.  New York, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia also won grants from $700 million down to $75 million, depending on population. 

The money will be used to fund K-12 reforms at the local level.  In Georgia, the state Department of Education will split the money with 26 participating school districts that have signed on to partner with the state in implementing Georgia’s Race to the Top plan, according to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office. These districts, which make up 41 percent of public school students in Georgia, include: Atlanta, Ben Hill, Bibb, Burke, Carrollton, Chatham, Cherokee, Clayton, Dade, DeKalb, Dougherty, Gainesville, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Jones, Meriwether, Muscogee, Peach, Pulaski, Rabun, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Valdosta and White.

Georgia, with the eighth-highest score of 446.4 out of 500, finished a few points of ahead of North Carolina. Both states, along with Ohio, will receive $400 million in grants. Ohio barely beat out New Jersey for the tenth and final spot in the winner’s circle, thanks to a simple error in New Jersey’s application that caused it to forfeit a few points and knock it out of the money. California and Illinois were among nine losers today; Round One winners Delaware and Tennessee were announced in March.

Despite rejoicing among supporters of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s grant application and criticism and fears of increased federal control of Georgia schools by opponents, the amount of money isn’t really earth-shattering. $400 million amounts to a little more than half of DeKalb County School System’s annual budget. If the proposed reforms work and spread, the money spent will seem like a bargain. For more coverage, see Education Week’s online edition and ajc.com.

Judge Rules Against Anti-Gay Augusta State Student

Inside Higher Ed reports, “For the second month in a row, a federal judge has backed the right of a public university to enforce standards of its counseling graduate programs — even when religious students object to standards requiring them to treat gay people on an equal basis.”

In a Georgia case decided Friday, U.S. Circuit Court judge J. Randall Hall refused to grant an injunction stopping Augusta State University from expelling Jennifer Keeton from its graduate counseling program. This action follows her refusal to participate in a remedial program designed to help her counsel gay clients in conformance with the American Counseling Association’s ethics standards, which call for unbiased, positive treatment of all clients.

Ms. Keeton, who wants to become a school counselor, argued that rededication would violate her religious freedom. Concerned that her beliefs would prevent her from properly performing her duties as a counselor, school officials required her to go through a program of rededication that involved learning about and interacting with gays.

Ms. Keeton first agreed to this course of action, then balked. Ms. Keeton advocates “conversion therapy” for gays and lesbians and would also seek to avoid dealing with gays by referring them to other counselors. Therapy to turn gays into heterosexuals is widely considered both ineffective and damaging by counseling professionals.

Hall stressed in his ruling that he was not deciding “a case pitting Christianity against homosexuality.” Instead, he ruled that the plaintiff’s motion for an extraordinary remedy–an injunction against Augusta State–did not meet the high legal standards required in such a case. Hall also stated he did not want to substitute his judgment for that of educators when setting standards for such programs. The Georgia ruling follows closely on the heels of a similar decision in Michigan, setting the stage for trials on the issue.

Cyber High School Moves Forward

Ninth-grade classes for The Georgia Cyber Academy will begin next month following the state Board of Education’s approval of an amended application. (See OnlineAthens article here.) Now, 660 rising freshmen will be able to continue their studies online with the school, which currently has 6,000 students enrolled in grades 1-8. Currently, there are more than 1,000 students on the academy’s waiting list, according to an official of Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education.

Two other online schools, Kaplan Academy of Georgia and Provost Academy Georgia, have received charters but are not yet operational due to funding problems. To visit the Georgia Cyber Academy’s website, click here.

The Morning After At No. 1 Party School

The Red and Black reports a recent increase in alcohol-related arrests by campus police at the University of Georgia. A crackdown resulting in 20 arrests Thursday night—this brings the total to 43 since the school was ranked the nation’s Nol 1 Party School by the Princeton Review two weeks ago. This compares to 15 similar arrrests during the same period in 2009.

Word to the unwise: UGA’s student newspaper reports a similar trend at the University of Florida. In the year folloiwng their No. 1 Party School ranking in 2008, alchol arrests nearly quadrupled, from 63 to 228.

What are People Thinking About HOPE?

Georgia’s popular HOPE scholarship program faces growing deficits and is projected to deplete its billion-dollar reserve fund over the next few years if current trends continue. State lawmakers are worried about its future and are beginning to consider changes to keep HOPE afloat.

What do Georgians have to say about it? The majority of 500-plus people responding to an online poll at gainesvilletimes.com (see editorial here) favor limiting HOPE scholarship funds to higher-income students. The unscientific poll shows:

53% of respondents favor some kind of income limits for HOPE recipients;

27% want to raise standards for eligibility beyond the current 3.0 high school gpa;

10% favor cutting Georgia’s pre-K and technical school funding;

10% favor raising taxes to save the program.