A11 A11
Education
Ga. ranks 21st on ACT; Floyd County Schools meets national average

ACT scores for the Floyd County Schools graduating class of 2020 were competitive with the state and national averages in a report released by ACT.

According to information on the ACT website, “the ACT test is the nation’s most popular college entrance exam accepted and valued by all universities and colleges in the United States. The ACT is based on what students learn in high school and provides personalized information about their strengths for education and career planning.”

In recent years, more FCS high school juniors and seniors have been taking the ACT than the SAT, which some consider the “gold standard” in determining a school’s success in preparing students for post-secondary education opportunities. Thus, the ACT has been growing in popularity and importance.

“I am always glad to see Georgia students succeeding, but there’s something special about the class of 2020’s accomplishments,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “These students, who saw their senior year come to an abrupt halt due to a global pandemic, have now outscored their peers across the nation on both the SAT and ACT. To say I’m proud of them would be an understatement. Georgia continues to exceed expectations on state and national metrics and shows that you don’t have to be all about the test to provide a first-class education. That’s thanks to the teachers and students doing the work each day on the classroom level.”

Overall, Georgia ranked 21st in the nation on the ACT. The 2020 FCS ACT average composite score of 20.6 is the same as the national average and slightly below the state average.

Armuchee High School and Model High School both posted an average composite score of 21.2, which ties them for the highest ACT score in our area. Pepperell High School posted an average composite score of 20.2 for the tenth highest score in the Northwest Georgia area.


Associated_press
AP
Grisly beheading of teacher in terror attack rattles France

PARIS — For the second time in three weeks, terror struck France, this time with the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in a street in a Paris suburb. The suspected attacker was shot and killed by police.

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack” and urged the nation to stand united against extremism. The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive. Four people, one a minor, were detained hours later, the office of anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said without elaborating. Police typically fan out to find family and friends of potential suspects in terror cases.

Macron visited the school where the teacher worked in the town of Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff after the slaying. An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances at the scene, and heavily armed police surrounding the area and police vans lining leafy nearby streets.

“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Macron said.

He said the attack shouldn’t divide France because that’s what the extremists want. “We must stand all together as citizens,” he said.

The incident came as Macron’s government works on a bill to address Islamist radicals who authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic.

France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with up to 5 million members, and Islam is the country’s No. 2 religion.

A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun — which fires plastic pellets — was shot dead about 600 meters (yards) from where the male teacher was killed after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms, and acted in a threatening manner.

The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures about 10 days ago, the police official told The Associated Press. The parent of a student had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police official said, adding that the suspected killer did not have a child at the school.

An ID card was found at the scene but police were verifying the identity, the police official said. French media reported that the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow. That information could not be immediately confirmed.

France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, in the Dijon region, the Mediterranean city of Nice, and the western town of Saint-Dizier, believed linked to local criminal activity.

It was not known what link, if any, the attacker might have with the teacher or whether he had accomplices. Police were fanning out on searches of homes and potential family and friends of the man in question, the police official said.

The two officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Conflans resident Remi Tell, who as a child had attended the Bois D’Aulne middle school, said on CNews TV station. He described the town as peaceful.

It was the second terrorism-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial for the January 2015 newsroom massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had published caricatures of the prophet of Islam.

As the trial started, the paper republished caricatures of the prophet to underscore the right of freedom of expression. Quickly, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the newspaper’s former offices. They did not suffer threatening injuries.The 18-year-old told police he was upset about the publication of the caricatures.

In a video posted recently on social media, a man describing himself as a father at the school said the teacher who was slain had recently shown an offensive image of a man and told students it was “the prophet of the Muslims.” Before showing the images, the teacher asked Muslim children to leave the room because he planned to show something shocking, the man said.

“What was the message he wanted to send these children? ... Why does a history teacher behave this way in front of 13-year-olds?” the man asked. He called on other angry parents to contact him, and relay the message.

———

Michel Euler in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, Angela Charlton in Paris and Nicolas Vaux-Montagny in Lyon contributed to this report.


Associated_press
AP
Awash in red ink: US posts record $3.1T 2020 budget deficit

WASHINGTON The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 budget year, more than double the previous record, as the coronavirus pandemic shrank revenues and sent spending soaring.

The Trump administration reported Friday that the deficit for the budget year that ended on Sept. 30 was three times the size of last year’s deficit of $984 billion. It was also $2 trillion higher than the administration had estimated in February, before the pandemic hit.

It was the government’s largest annual shortfall in dollar terms, surpassing the previous record of $1.4 trillion set in 2009. At that time, the Obama administration was spending heavily to shore up the nation’s banking system and limit the economic damage from the 2008 financial crisis.

The 2020 deficit, in terms of its relationship to the economy, represented 15.2% of total gross domestic product, the sum of all the goods and services produced by the country. That was the highest level since 1945, when the U.S. was borrowing heavily to finance World War II.

The administration’s final accounting of the 2020 budget year shows that revenues fell by 1.2% to $3.42 trillion, while government spending surged 47.3% to $6.55 trillion. That spending reflects the relief programs Congress passed in the spring to support the economy as millions of Americans were losing their jobs.

Many of the benefit programs expired in late July or early August, and so far Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on legislation to re-instate them. Republicans have balked at the level of spending sought by Democrats, who warn that without significant support the country could be facing a double-dip recession.

While about half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April have been recovered, the concern is that without more government support, those still without work will be unable to make their rent or mortgage payments and buy food. In addition to the human toll, the result would be a significant drag on U.S. economic growth.

President Donald Trump has said he is willing to compromise with Democrats on a new relief package but Senate Republicans have indicated they don’t support the spending levels being put forward by Democrats.

“The administration remains fully committed to supporting American workers, families and businesses and to ensuring that our robust rebound continues,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement released with the budget report.

The joint report from Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget showed that total government receipts of $1.61 trillion were $286 billion lower than the administration had projected in February. That reflected a drop of $203 billion in individual income taxes from the February forecast and a decline of $51.8 billion in corporate income taxes from the February projection.

The $6.55 trillion in spending — $1.76 trillion higher than the administration’s February estimate — includes the coronavirus relief programs passed by Congress, such as individual economic impact payments of $1,200, expanded weekly unemployment benefits of $600 per week and the Paycheck Protection Program to provide support to small businesses.

Despite all the borrowing required to finance the surging deficit, interest payments on the debt actually came in $53.8 billion below the administration’s February projection. That was due to interest rates being lower than expected this year because of the recession that began in February.

The low interest rates are a key reason economists are not as concerned about the rising debt burden caused by the deficit. The federal deficit is approaching 100% of GDP and is projected to top that amount in 2021.

“It’s disappointing to both candidates for president proposing trillions of dollars in additional debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “The deeper we dig this hole, the harder it will be to claw our way out.”