HOPE – Enemy of the State Education System?

I took this post from the “We’re #46!” thread because I thought it was interesting and bears its own discussion… 

Mike posted:

“In ‘05 the participation rate of the top ten states were as follows:

1 Iowa 5 percent
2 Illinois 10 percent
3 North Dakota 4 percent
4 Wisconsin 6 percent
5 Minnesota 11 percent
6 South Dakota 5 percent
7. Missouri 7 percent
8 Kansas 9 percent
9 Nebraska 8 percent
10 Michigan 10 percent

Average participation rate was 49%

“What about Georgia?


  1. Demonbeck says:

    When I talk to high schools, I hear an overwhelming amount of students say that they are not planning to go to college. Are they taking the SAT because the schools encourage them to do so? Is the state measuring these scores and basing funding on them?

  2. atlantaman says:

    “I wonder how many new schools have been acreditated since the Hope went into effect.”

    I’ve been told that some of the vocational schools have expanded their core-curriculum because of HOPE. The more classes that are required the more HOPE money for the school. I’ve got a buddy who just wanted to get a degree in drafting, but had to take far more classes then what had been required in the past.

  3. Bill Simon says:


    I think your title for this thread is quite provocative, if not darned accurate!

    There has been a lot of rumors over the years since HOPE that teachers were pressured to gin-up grades to make sure that students could get the HOPE Scholarship when they weren’t qualified for the grade. I believe this is when the term “Grade Inflation” became a household term as well.

    I think it was either a study by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation OR statistics released by UGA that stated that over 50% of their HOPE recipients did not pass their first year of college.

  4. ARBY says:

    I believe that this is my first post on this site, so you know this issue means a lot to me. I have said for many years that anyone stupid enough to use SAT scores to compare or evaluate education policy among the states is too stupid to comment on public policy.

    There are likely more kids in Gwinnett County taking the SAT test then there are total students combined in at least a half dozen states. In many states, only those student with certain “college skills” are encouraged to take the test. In other states, especially the midwest and to some extent the west, the only students taking the SATs are the highest ranked student who want to attend schools in the east, where a SAT scores are an expectation. Most of the schools in the midwest and to some extent the west, only look for ACT scores. That is one reason why there are so few SAT test takers in the midwest and west.

    Now, why do so many students in GA (and FL) take the SATs. One positive thought might be that Georgia is encouraging most of its students to think of themselves as college students, even if everyone involves knows it ain’t gonna happen. But, I have another idea. How about teachers/schools getting kickbacks on test fees. Just a thought and worth a look.

    If the legislature really wants to raise GA SAT scores, they should appropriate money to pay for more kids in about 30 other states to take the SATs.

    In brief…the test is an academic fraud…a financial rip-off concocted by a bunch of elitist pedantics. Like a bad insurance saleman, they must first create the fear that you won’t qualify, in order to get the mark to pay fast when they learn that they are accepted in the program. Its a sales tool created by bad salespersons to market a product that most people don’t need.

    Higher education is little more than an overpriced remedial program for those people who couldn’t master drinking and fornicating in high school.

  5. mercergirl says:


    I wonder if you are a college grad? Or rather even went to college? Your comments sound rather extreme and frankly pretty bitter. I would agree that some of my college experience has been a waste of time, but on the whole I believe it shows one can learn on a higher level.

    To everyone else,

    I do know that many kids that are required to take the SAT have no business doing so. For instance, special ed kids. I have read that even they ar required to take it. Anyone know where the statistics on that might be?

  6. CHelf says:

    With so many factors coming into play on who actually takes the test and how proportional the scores are, I’d hope the elected officials would not be so presumptuous to claim this is a sign of some improvement in our own state’s education system. I seriously doubt the difference between this year’s score and last years has anything to do with the overall state education policy. You have to also ask did we in fact rise or did other states just fall or both.

    I don’t think we should be running out patting people on the back when as a few people have pointed out kids going to college are still not prepared for college and have to drop out within the first year.

  7. Jeff says:

    I am one of the fortunate students to have kept the HOPE scholarship all four years, but there are many problems with high schools sending soooooo many kids to college. I am not saying that college is a bad thing, but it is not for everybody. I am not a parent, but I do know that most parents want their children to have a college education. With how many kids are enrolled in high school college prep curriculums Georgia’s parents and high school counselors are dooming them for future failure. I went to high school with dozens of bright kids that will never comprehend classic literature, political science, or history,…but they can put a car together with their eyes closed. With training in any number of trades one can make as much, or more, than somebody with a college degree. Another problem is how our high schools do not prepare students for college, nor do they offer advanced classes in any social sciences or even offer business classes. With Sonny Perdue in office we have seen a lot of cuts in the HOPE scholarship. For one, a limit on the number of hours covered by the scholarship has been made, and then reduced, supposedly to encourage students to pick a college major and stick with it. What about people in Nursing programs, or pre law, pre med, and various other programs. Most major programs require about 120 credit hours to graduate. These others that I have listed can require as many as 140 or 150 credit hours, and that is not even including minor or academic certificates. With out comprimise on what we should do about the situation, we will never make progress. Start electing people that have a favorable record on education, not ones that just ride the coattails of their oppositions success.

  8. Bill Simon says:

    Apparently, ARBY DID master drinking and fornicating in high school and didn’t aspire to a higher education.

    No doubt ARBY has also mastered smoking Camels, body tattooing, tongue piercing, and eyelid jewelry. 🙂

  9. Brian from Ellijay says:

    I know many “vocational track” kids in my high school were required to take the SAT. These were the kids who openly claimed no interest in high education, but wanted to keep there family business/farm going. They usually did not score high on the tests because they simply did not care.

    As far as the number of schools increasing, that is not happening. What is happening is the number of students per school is increasing out of control. Kennesaw State in 2000 has 11,000 students, 2005 KSU had increased their student body to slightly under 20,000. In 2000, UGA was pretty damn easy to get into, I remember one of my friends getting accepted who had a 3.0 avg and 1000 SAT. Now that will not get you into KSU more less UGA whos avg SAT is 1350 and 3.9 GPA.

    Folks, thats what HOPE did for us. Average students are starting to have to apply out of state just so they can get into a “brand” university ie Florida State, Clemson, Alabama, Tennessee.

  10. Mojo says:

    When I took the SAT in 1993 the only students required to do so were those on the College Preparatory track, although vocational track students were encouraged to take the test as well.

  11. ARBY says:

    First to Bill Simon — Your image is pretty close.

    Now on point…the SAT con is just a process for educrats to annually continue their extortion against the people of Georgia. The test has no honest comparative value. And anyone who says so is a liar. And, yes Mercergirl, I am bitter because I am tired of educrats making up frauds to steal money from me that they can waste on worthless education programs that have no educational value.

    There are only two legimate ways to get GA test scores up:

    1. Limited GA SAT testing to the top 10% of each high school class.
    2. Force every state to compell 75% of their student body to take the SAT.

    Everything else is just a phoney, reckless theft of public dollars by educrats who use children as human shields to extort money from taxpayers.

    The test — and especially any ranking — is completely meaningless.

  12. Michael C says:

    Part of the design of the Hope scholarship was to turn UGA into a more elite school similar to UNC Chapel Hill by making it harder to get into. But the negative side affect is that unlike UNC which has an 85% NC resident admissions policy, making it difficult for out of state students to get in. It is easier to get into UGA from out of state.

    Other schools like Ga. Southern would become like the UGA of old. That part of the plan has worked to an extent but what we have a problem with in Georgia goes much deeper than too many students taking the SAT. Lack of and misguided parental involvement, zero-tolerance policies, bloated bureaucracies, professional administrators that have never been teachers all contribute.

    Funding is an issue. Take Fulton County for example. They spend an estimated $10,000 per child per year. The best academic private school in the state spends more than $60,000 per student, per year (tuition is only $16,000, the rest comes from endowment and giving). I am not arguing that more money is the answer, but rather spending it better. My wife teaches in Fulton county and spends just as much time filling out paperwork telling the county how she is going to teach as she does preparing to teach. School systems are bloated with administrators and would function better by following the private school model.

    Instead of having professional administrators give the jobs to willing teachers while also reducing their class loads. They get more pay, while giving more control back to the teachers.

  13. CHelf says:

    Here is a thought. The whole public education system is a business thriving on underachievement. The lower the scores, the more money they get. It is this way with state and federal funds. It also works for lower income families who are on financial assistance as well.

    I went to a Pre-K meeting Monday night and the coordinator had the parents fill out a form to indicate if the children are on Medicaid, PeachCare, school lunch program, etc. She came out and said this is how she gets paid. The more the children underachieve either economically (parents of course) or scores and grades, the more funding pours into the schools.

    There is a mentality in our education system to drive down some scores, have more kids take the tests, show more kids on assistance just to get more money. It’s a competition. Let’s bring doom and gloom here so we can get more money.

  14. atlantaman says:

    “They spend an estimated $10,000 per child per year. The best academic private school in the state spends more than $60,000 per student, per year (tuition is only $16,000, the rest comes from endowment and giving). ”

    Unless you show me some evidence, I’m going to have to call B.S. on that $60,000 per student number. I’m not even sure how you would get to a $60,000 per student cost, but would imagine capital improvement costs would have to be included to get the money above $16,000 per student. I’ve been told if you include capital expenditures for City of Atlanta schools it can bump the per student number to $13,000

    Even if it were true, why would you be comparing Fulton County schools to the most elite prep schools in the state. Why not compare Fulton to Cobb County, which is known for having a great school public school system and spends $6,999 per student.

    “My wife teaches in Fulton county and spends just as much time filling out paperwork telling the county how she is going to teach as she does preparing to teach. School systems are bloated with administrators and would function better by following the private school model.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more, it probably would be a good idea to fire some of these administrators who get in everybody’s way with paperwork trying to justify their jobs.

  15. BB says:

    Michael C, Atlantaman — Cherokee County, $17,142 per student including capital costs ($600,000,000 annual budget / 35,0000 students in 36 schools). Superintendent just offered a new 3 year contract with annual compensation $250K+ … more than the governor. One could easily argue wasteful spending on administrative BS hinders Georgia’s ability to improve education.

    I think we should be more concerned with the 40%+ 9-12 dropout rate than SAT scores. The fact that so many never finish high school not only contributes to higher SAT scores, but also to a larger prison population and increased spending on social services.

  16. Jeff says:

    The correlation between drop out rate and the percent of the population that is imprisoned is not significant. We do need more schools, and parents need to take an active interest in their childs education. What ever happened to family values? I think if we distributed property taxes across the school districts a little more equally a lot would be improved.

  17. Mad Dog says:


    Nice use of an informal email to prove nothing.

    Yes, children with specific disabilities get SSI.

    Welfare. Isn’t that a state program?

    If just acting crazy were the criteria, I’d be getting hell of a welfare check.

    Plus housing and protection.

    Maybe you can clarify that link and conversation from 1998 and how it is specific enough for 2006.

    Plus, if you research the program enough (SSI) family income isn’t a factor in payments for disabled children.

    I can’t believe I’m trying to be nice about anything to do with ‘crazy’

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