By Kate Gaier
5:15 pm October 23, 2006
Linda Hoppock has had a hand in education for more than a dozen years. She's recently moved back to Georgia after living in the Sunshine State and says she's surprised to hear the Peach State came in the bottom 10 for smartest states.
"Everybody says oh yea, education is my top priority, but then when you actually look at the school system in different counties, why are they in such bad shape?" asked Linda Hoppock.
A recent report from the Morgan Quitno Press shows Georgia in really bad shape, ranking the state 41, down one notch from last year.
Twenty one factors are considered when ranking states including high school dropout rate, average class size, and student/teacher ratio in public schools.
Dr. Scott James with Thomas County Schools said, "That's one way of looking at school districts and states, in this case, and how that state compares with others. Yes, we do give it some credence and we try to look at it."
Irvin Hobby, a Thomas County resident, said, "If they based it on academics, then our schools might be lacking. They might not be doing good if we're ranked 41."
While some residents think more could be done for education, others feel Thomas County is leading the pack.
Melissa Chambers has four children in the Thomas County School System and said, "My children attend the schools, but the standards seem to be up here, here in Thomas County."
No matter the ranking, local educators say they are always working to raise the bar when it comes to providing a quality education. Florida ranked 29, up seven spots compared to last year.