GIA Heritage
Tracing the history of the Georgia Interscholastic Association
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1959-60 1966-68 1968-70

Possible Explanations for ADA Trends

I was able to obtain district listings which include average daily attendance (ADA) for the years 1959-60, 1966-68, and 1968-70. I have district listings for 1970-72 that were put together just in case the league was still in operation, but did not have time to jot down the ADA. I took digital pictures of the sheets but the quality is not quite good enough to make out the numbers.

Still, the three years I have interest me. Hopefully, they interest you as well. From 1959-60 to 1966-68, there was a big boom in numbers. In 1959-60, the ADA was calculated based on attendance from 9th-12th grades, just as it was for the GIA on the other lists. Some of the increase can be accredited to consolidations and school closings. Not every African-American high school was part of the GIA. A 1960 printing of the book, Georgia Today stated that there were 212 four year black high schools in Georgia.

For example, Springfield School in Mayfield may have still been active in 1959-60 as Hancock Central did not open until 1960. L.S. Ingram in Sparta had a figure of 232 in 1959-60. In 1966-68, the number for Hancock Central was 470, double the earlier one.

Probably, though, the biggest culprit in the huge increase in school attendance was that more kids were attending high school. This was after all the era of Civil Rights. Education began being more important as suddenly there existed the possibility of socioeconomic mobility. Or at least the hope of the possibility for socioeconomic mobility.

The increase in attendance might also have produced some changes. Several African-American schools were grades 1-12, unlike their white counterparts who generally had both elementary and high schools. So this was not just a big increase in the number of high schoolers roaming the halls, there was in all probability a big increase in elementary students. Schools built in the 1950s were geared towards the attendance then and not prepared for increases of 50-100%. Thus, facilities became inadequate. In some counties, the facilities were already inadequate and became drastically more so. In some places, such as Moultrie and Cochran, the plight of the overcrowded school became front page news outside of Moultrie and Cochran. By the mid-1960s some places had two options to weigh: improving the African-American school buildings or begin integrating so they did not have to improve the school buildings.

Moving on to the next set of numbers 1966-68 to 1968-70.

The Freedom of Choice Plan as pertaining to schools took effect in 1964. By 1966, you (and I) would hope that something has been implemented and some integration is taking place. The list should reflect this, especially since the ADA figures were taken in July 1967. Because dropouts are becoming fewer, it would not be out of the question for the GIA school to maintain its attendance and possibly increase it slightly. But only very slightly. I consider an increase of 20 to be reasonable. There should not be a jump from 584 to 711, which are two real figures from a consolidated county school.

There is one case where a big jump possibly can be excused. Meriwether County. I have wondered if they redrew attendance zones between 1966 and 1968. Meriwether County Training jumps from 187 to 349 and Woodbury Colored from 127 to 170. Greenville Consolidated, though, falls from 229 to 114. There is also the possibility that the numbers changed because of facilities. The county came under fire in the late 1980s as Woodbury told of a lack of funds and adequate facilities. The school was closed in 1990.