A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Public education in Richmond County is baffling.

On the one hand, there are two of the best schools in the entire state right here in heart of Augusta-Richmond County.

Of course, they are both public magnet schools and the application process is highly competitive for future students, but it’s still incredible.

Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School is currently ranked No. 3 in Georgia and No. 81 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

Its reputation is outstanding. With a ratio of 16 students to every one teacher, U.S. News & World Report found that 100 percent of the student body at Davidson received proficient math and English test scores that far exceeded the state’s average.

Likewise, A.R. Johnson Magnet School is proudly ranked No. 12 in the state and No. 597 in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

With a ratio of 15 students to every teacher, U.S. News & World Report found that 100 percent of A.R. Johnson’s student body also received proficient math and English test scores.

Both Davidson and A.R. Johnson have a graduation rate of 100 percent.

Quite impressive. Those teachers and parents could not be more proud of their students.

And then there is the other side of the coin.

Last week, all parents of Richmond County students received a notice sent home with their child informing them that under House Bill 251, the state gives parents the right to transfer their child to another public school in Richmond County other than the one that their child is currently zoned for.

So, if a parent is not comfortable with their child’s current school, they have the option to switch schools.

The only catch: Parents can only choose from a list of schools in Richmond County that have slots available. And, needless to say, you won’t find those schools ranked anywhere near the Top 50 in the state by U.S. News & World Report.

For example, if a parent has some concerns about their child attending the high school they are zoned for, there are a total of seven high schools in Richmond County with slots available: the Academy of Richmond County, Butler High School, Glenn Hills High School, Hephzibah High School, T.W. Josey High School, Lucy C. Laney High School and Westside High School.

How about sending your child to T.W. Josey High School? There is plenty of room there for little Tommy or Sally.

Seriously, plenty of room.

Josey currently has a whopping 606 openings for those students willing to transfer to there. Unfortunately, the experience might not be the best one considering its graduation rate is at 50 percent, according to the school’s website.

Also, because Josey is currently at less than 60 percent capacity, it is on a proposed list for possible consolidation with other schools. Therefore, your child’s future is up in the air if he or she decides to become a Josey Eagle.

What are your other outstanding options as a parent of a high school student in Richmond County?

Currently, Butler High School has 366 slots available, but its graduation rate is a dismal 38 percent.

The historic Lucy C. Laney High School has 274 openings, but its graduation rate is only 51 percent. Glenn Hills High School also has plenty of openings with 205 slots available, but it graduation rate is a bleak 42 percent.

Parents could opt to send their child way out to Hephzibah High School because it has 181 slots available and its graduation rate is a little better at 62 percent, but that’s a haul for most parents to drive each day.

The last two options for parents with high school-aged children are the Academy of Richmond County with 172 slots available and a graduation rate of 64 percent and Westside High School with 61 openings and a graduation rate of 62 percent.

Not exactly the kind of options a parent hopes for when trying to decide what’s best for their child.

Thanks House Bill 251 for giving the public a “choice.”

Too bad Richmond County has no real options to choose from.

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