Direct Certification

Direct certification (DC) is used to measure poverty levels of students in Georgia.[1] Directly certified students include students living in a family unit receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp benefits, students living in a family unit receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, and students identified as homeless, unaccompanied youth, foster or migrant. The DC rate for each district and school is calculated by dividing the number of directly certified students by the total school enrollment from the October Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) count. The analysis below includes a summary of 2021 DC rates for Georgia school districts and schools.

District Direct Certification Summary Statistics & Analysis

In general, the DC rates for school districts show a slight increase from 2020 to 2021, with the mean rate increasing by 3.6 percentage points.[2] As shown in Table 1 below, the lowest DC rate for a district increased by 1.1 percentage points, and the highest DC rate for a district increased by 3.1 percentage points. The average difference between 2020 and 2021 DC rates for each district is 3.6 percentage points, with the greatest increase being Talbot County (11.7) and the greatest decrease being Baker County (-1.4). Out of all 180 districts, 71 (39.4%) have a 2021 DC rate that is within three percentage points of the previous year.

Table 1: District Direct Certification Summary Statistics

 

MEAN %

MEDIAN %

MIN %

MAX %

2020

37.4

37.4

5.0

81.0

2021

41.0

42.6

6.1

84.1

Difference

3.6

5.2

1.1

3.1

 

 

[1] GOSA used eligibility for free/reduced price lunch (FRL) as a measure of student poverty through 2015. Schools that qualify for the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) may provide FRL for all students and are no longer required to collect FRL parent or guardian applications reporting family income. Due to this provision, GOSA no longer considers FRL to be an accurate measure of student poverty.

[2] Although State Charter Schools are considered individual school districts, they are excluded from the district analysis due to their small size compared to traditional school districts. State schools and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) schools are also excluded due to their small populations and lack of comparability to traditional school districts. These schools are included in the school-level analysis below.

 

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Direct Cert 2021 Memo