Educators nationwide knew the numbers were coming, and Georgia officials expected the state's figure to be significantly lower under the new reporting system.
Georgia PTA President Donna Kosicki recalls a meeting with lawmakers, principals and others shortly after Barge was appointed state school superintendent. Barge informed the group that Georgia's graduation rate would drop under the new federal calculations.
The new numbers are based on how many students graduate within four years, which sharply lowered rates from previous years, when longer timeframes were used by some states.
Among states bordering Georgia, Tennessee scored highest with an overall rate of 86 percent, followed by North Carolina at 78 percent.
Nevada was last among states with a 62 percent graduation rate.
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Education scored worse than all of the states with a graduation rate of 61 percent.
In Georgia, "while 67 percent is not good enough for our kids, there are things in place already to get all of us to work together, to take that number higher," Kosicki said.
Despite this week's ranking, Kosicki points to other indicators of strong student achievement in Georgia schools and new initiatives aimed to further improvement. She says she's never been more excited about making education gains for Georgia's students than she is right now.
Some of the new initiatives, which include efforts to help prepare Georgia students for college and careers after high school, are outlined in a new website, gafuturenow.org.
Georgia students have also made significant gains on standardized tests.
The state leads the nation in year-to-year growth on the most recent national tests, Barge said recently.
Georgia made gains in the most recent SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Math, Reading and Science.
"The progress Georgia's students have made on these national tests is something of which we should all be very proud," Barge said in a statement earlier this month. "I get very frustrated hearing people say Georgia's education system is so bad. We certainly have a lot of room to grow and improvements to make, but these results show that we're moving in the right direction."