ALBANY -- The Dougherty County Board of Education listened to Superintendent Joshua's Murfree's system goals for 2012 at the end of a two-day advance and state-mandated training session on Wednesday.
"I think it's time to even the playing field in education and look at every dynamic," Murfree said while the board was in executive session evaluating his performance. "This nation wants our schools to turn around. No Child Left Behind is a problem, but I will give President (George W.) Bush credit. In 2002 he gave us 12 years to do it."
At issue is that each year schools are required to meet graduation rates that have been raising by pre-determined five percent increases per year.
Last year's rate was 85 percent, prompting State School Superintendent John Barge to remark, "We knew we were up against the proverbial wall, and it appears that we have begun to hit it."
"I think Dr. Barge was clear we need to take another look at those pre-determined increases in graduation rates," Murfree said. "We might have hit the wall, but we still have schools to run."
In 2009, the DCSS graduation rate was 75.4 percent. In 2010, it increased to 78.4 percent. The 2011 rate is currently 72.5 percent, but does not include summer school graduates or appeals.
Another of Murfree's goals is to increase student achievement by boosting promotion rates across elementary, middle and high schools by 5 percent, to increase CRCT scores by 3 percent and to improve the Georgia High School Graduation Test results by 5 percent.
Results were up system-wide last year from the previous year in every tested area except math.
The superintendent also was pushing placement rates for the system's graduates, pointing out that DCSS graduates were above the state average in students entering Georgia's public colleges and technical colleges.
Murfree added he wanted to decrease the system's dropout rate, hire and retain competent teachers and decrease teacher absenteeism by 10 percent annually.