Written by Associated Press (91) on . Posted in Education
CAIRO (AP) - Al-Qaida's branch in North Africa is calling for attacks on U.S. diplomats and an escalation of protests against an anti-Islam video that triggered a wave of demonstrations in Muslim countries.
In a statement released Tuesday, Al-Qaida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb praised the killing of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11. The group threatened attacks in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania in response to the movie that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.
Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula recently issued a similar call for attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities. The group is al-Qaida's most active branch in the Middle East.
Written by Jasmine Williams on . Posted in Education
MACON, Georgia (41 NBC/WMGT) – Faculty and staff have outlined a plan to increase graduation rates for the soon-to-be consolidated Middle Georgia State College.
The new programs and initiatives have been set to meet the goals of Governor Nathan Deal's Complete College Georgia plan. The plan aims to increase college graduation rates statewide and add 250,000 college graduates to the state's roll by 2020. Macon State College currently has a 34% graduation rate. Macon State College Provost Marti Venn says the Complete College Georgia plan provides the foundation to change that.
"It really provides a focal point for all of us to be working towards," Venn said.
Macon State College now provides academic advisors, freshman experience classes, online courses and additional opportunities to non-traditional students.
"We're reaching out to the communities to provide opportunities for a variety of adults that are working," Venn said.
The changes have been incorporated to meet Deal's standards and the needs of all of the new students after the schools' merger. Venn says they have the numbers now they just have to keep the students.
"A lot of our iniatitives are working with these students in class and keeping them towards attaining their goals," Venn said.
Johnathan Jackson is a junior at Macon State College and admits when he came to the school he wasn't prepared. Jackson is now on track to graduate. He says the small class sizes, close-knit community and academic advisors are just what he needs to succeed.
"We talk about class certainly but we also talk about goals and the best way to get there. I want to go to Georgia Tech but my academic advisor has also been talking to me about Mercer and other options." Jackson says, "He lays all my options out for me and we work together to make the best decision."
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The Bibb County Board of Education adopted its fiscal year 2013 budget Thursday night.
After close to an hour of back and forth questions and concerns by several board members, the budget was passed with a narrow vote of 5-3.
Board member Gary Bechtel was one of the members who was the most outspoken against the budget. He grabbed his belongings and left the room as soon as the meeting was adjourned.
The budget was adopted with a deficit of $8 million.
The money to fill the gap will come from the district's reserve fund, which has just under $16 million before the transfer and is expected to be drained within four years.
Lynn Farmer, one of the three board members to vote against the budget, says she voted 'no' because too much money is going into salaries at the central office and the board's welcome center, and not enough is going directly into the classroom.
"When I have someone with a high school education making fifty something thousand a year to be a parent advocate, those positions all pay that," says Farmer. "And yet a masters level teacher in the classroom is going to make less than that--that's a problem to me. What does that say to our teachers, who are doing the real work of this system in educating children every day?"
A hot topic item in the budget was close to half a million dollars being set aside to pay contracted teachers to teach the Chinese language to the students of Bibb County, a part of Superintendent Romain Dallemand's 'Macon Miracle' plan.
Farmer says some of those initiatives could have been put off for another year, but board member Tom Hudson disagrees.
"We have been delaying things too long," says Hudson. "That's the reason why we're in the predicament that we're in. You pay for what you get. If you spend a little you get a little in terms of our children being educated."
School board president Tommy Barnes says the alternative to passing a budget with such a large deficit would have been to have a workforce reduction, add teacher furlough days, or raise taxes.
He says this year the board had to make a change.
"I don't think we can continue to cut ourselves to the bone and do the exact same thing we did last year or the year before when we had a 50% graduation rate," says Barnes. "We have to start at some point in time doing something differently."
Along with Farmer, board members Gary Bechtel and Susan Sipe also voted 'no' on adopting the budget, saying they weren't even made aware of much of what was going on regarding it until late in the game.
Despite the $8 million deficit, this year's budget does project the board will spend $22,000 less than it did in fiscal year 2012.
Written by Associated Press (71) on . Posted in Education
ATLANTA (41NBC/WMGT/AP) - Georgia's high school graduation rate has fallen to 67 percent based a new federally mandated calculation.
The state Department of Education released the figure Tuesday morning after months of preparing state lawmakers and other officials for the drop. Under the old calculation, the rate of students receiving diplomas had topped 80 percent, but officials say that number wasn't an accurate picture of Georgia's high school graduates.
Officials say the new formula better accounts for dropouts. The formula divides the number of graduates in a given year by the number of students who enrolled four years earlier.
Below are the gradution rates for school districts in the 41NBC coverage area. In our area, Crawford County had the lowest graduation rate at 42.25%. Wheeler County had the highest at 87.50%
Governor Nathan Deal announces a new needs-based college scholarship program, to provide the opportunity for college to all Georgians.
The REACH Scholarship's first corporate sponsor is AT&T, which donated $250,000 to the fund.
REACH scholars will be selected in middle school, and must commit to keeping a certain grade average, staying drug and crime free, and meet with a volunteer mentor until high school graduation. The REACH Scholarship is part of Governor Deal's "Complete College Georgia" initiative.