Tag Archives: EOC

Superintendent Jim Rex: A Performance Review

Jim Rex Politics Patronage Platitudes

How has Jim Rex and his $3 million staff done?

That’s a good question, and one that parents and taxpayers throughout South Carolina are asking.

Consider these “areas of concern” from South Carolina’s own Educational Barney Fife (the Educational Oversight Committee, or “EOC“) annual report:

Eleven of the twelve school districts rated At Risk in 2008 have been rated either At Risk or Below Average for
at least the past three years.

Only two of 50 persistently underperforming (i.e., rated Below Average or At Risk for four years) and two of the 16 Palmetto Priority schools elevated their ratings;

Fifty percent of charter schools are rated At Risk;

Improvement in some middle schools was matched by declines in others;

Reading performance continues to trail other content areas;

Almost one-fourth (23.7 percent) of our schools serve school populations in which 90 percent or more students are poor. In contrast only 47 of over 1172 schools serve student populations in which 30 percent or fewer students are poor. Continue reading

Biz Leaders angry at Public Schools

Head in the Sand: parents aren’t always looking critically at their local public schools (and “Dropout Jim” Rex is thankful).

Business leaders are more realistic about South Carolina’s failing government schools than the parents whose children attend them.

That’s according to yet-another high dollar “survey” by South Carolina’s Educational Barney Fife (the EOC).

From The State Newspaper‘s “S.C. public schools get mixed reviews” story (6/14):

Two-thirds of S.C. business leaders say the state’s K-12 public school system is not providing students with key knowledge.

That contrasts with how parents and educators rate public schools. Nearly half of parents and 56 percent of educators say schools are getting the job done.

Based on the wide spread proliferation of “dropout factories” in South Carolina, as well as the fact that South Carolina’s so-called “best public schools” are underperforming their regional and national peers, this frustration is well justified.

Sadly, many parents seem to ignore reports on worsening college preparation, sinking SAT scores in wealthy white suburban school districts, and rampant fiscal waste that draws precious public resources away from the classroom.

Other parents have begun to clue in.

These are the parents who have gone to Columbia to demand real reform.

These are the parents who have challenged the failed polices of Jim Rex directly.

These are the parents who have called out politicians blocking reform.

These are the parents who have taken on powerful special interest using public money and position to fight reform.

These are the parents who demanded anti-reform newspapers and editors be held to their own words, and used opinion pages to voice their righteous discontent with the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all government school monopoly.

These are the parents who are tired of public schools blaming parents for their systemic failures.

These are the parents who want School Choice -in the form of educational tax credits- to provide every child in South Carolina equal access to the classroom, teacher, and curriculum best suited to the children’s specific learning needs.

Jim Rex appoints public school Failure Czar

Successful Failure Jim Rex Amanda Burnette

Superintendent”Drop Out Jim” Rex knows:
In South Carolina one-size-fits-all government schools, it pays to fail!

Consider this story from the Gaffney Ledger (6/15), based on a Department of Education press release (6/11)

“State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex announced Friday that Amanda Burnette, principal of J.V. Martin Junior High School in Dillon, will head a new statewide initiative to turn around some of South Carolina’s most challenged schools.”

In other words, the principal of a notoriously ineffective public school is now in charge of the statewide effort to turn around all the South Carolina “Dropout Factories“.

Does Burnette’s professional track-record give any clue as to what parents can expect? Continue reading

South Carolina public school unaccountability

Frustrated parents know that low test scores, growing race- and wealth gaps, a 55% graduate rate and a surge in the number of failing public schools are a long term trend in South Carolina public schools.

Despite all the bad news, the taxpayer financed spin masters who profit from public school failure insists that South Carolina public schools are accountable to parents through “high standards.”

The so-called “watchdog” of public school accountability and performance is the oddly named Education Oversight Committee (EOC). From late and vague school report cards to watered down standards and even deliberate dishonesty, the Public School Establishment in South Carolina is fiercely dedicated to spending public money on hiding its performance failures.

Now, as bureaucrats scramble to protect their salaries in the face of state budget cuts, there is talk of further erosion of the the already limited “oversight” Continue reading

Race Gaps widen in South Carolina’s public schools

man-on-bridge

The Voice has often written about the shameful and growing achievement gap in South Carolina’s public schools.

It is a subject that Jim Rex and other so-called “progressive” government school monopolists don’t like to talk about.

In fact, few people in South Carolina are familiar with the Education Oversight Committee’s (EOC) so-called “2010 Goal,” the latest state program aimed a reducing the gaps and raising South Carolina’s position in 50-state student achievement rankings.

Recently the EOC released data about “progress” made in South Carolina’s public schools toward reaching the goal. There was very little good news.

Among the shameful “highlights” from the EOC report:

The white/black disparity in performance on math PACT tests rose from 24.4% in 2000 to 29.9% in 2008

…In science it rose from 24.3% to 32.4%.

…In social studies it rose from 21.6 to 25.6%

The white/black gap in SAT scores rose from 195 points in 2002 to 198 points in 2008

The white/black gap in ACT scores rose from 4.2 points in 2002 to 5.3 points in 2008

Continue reading

Ten Years Later: EOC Still Rubber-Stamping SDE Failures

schultz1

Failure? Nothing! I see NOTHING!!!

Today the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is scheduled to discuss where South Carolina public schools stand ten years after the institution of the Education Accountability Act.

Unfortunately many South Carolina families already have to see first hand how poorly their local public schools perform when it comes to meeting educational goals. This year, four out of five public schools failed to meet the mark for Adequate Yearly Progress. Equally disheartening were South Carolina SAT results, which showed only 7 of 85 districts with average scores above the national average. Even the SAT scores of the state’s highest performing school district were hundreds of points behind similar districts in North Carolina.

Inadequate achievement test scores are just one aspect of the failed education establishment in the Palmetto State. The number of children dropping out of public school every year is in the tens of thousands, and the problem is not diminishing. Continue reading

Lowering the standards for School Awards?

Everyone wins with SC low standards.jpg
With bumper lanes everyone is a winner!

The South Carolina public school machine operates through a bewildering assortment of committees, task forces, subcommittees, advisory panels, working groups and inter-agency partnerships.

Interestingly, most of these divergent groups march to the beat of a common drum: the unending chorus of “more money.”

Take the recent meeting of the Education Oversight Committee (EOC)’s so-called “Academic Standards and Assessments Subcommittee” or “ASAS.”

One of the responsibilities of the EOC’s ASAS is determining eligibility for public school awards. In late November the subcommittee submitted recommendations to re-write guidelines for the Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards.

Under the proposal:

  • Schools that meet an EOC determined standard will receive a “gold” award
  • Schools that fail to meet the standard but make some student-wide improvement will receive a “silver” award
  • Schools that fail to meet the standards but have some students make some improvement will receive a new “closing the gap” award. Continue reading

Where are the School Report Cards?

lazy-security-guard
Who’s watching the watchman?

The Education Oversight Committee (EOC) is the self-described “watchdog” of public school schools in South Carolina.

One of the EOC’s most important roles is the release and distribution of school and district report cards.

These cards are designed to tell parents how the public school their child attends compares to other school in the state. In addition to test scores such as the exit exam and the PACT, the cards also provide self-reported information about the school or district’s drop-out rate and achievement gap.

As the Charleston Post and Courier explained in mid-November, the report cards have been delayed.

More than 1.6 million report cards on the progress of South Carolina schools and districts won’t be going home with students today because of a major goof by a testing company.

Pearson, which has a state contract to score end-of-course exams, made a mistake in compiling students’ scores. That means a chunk of the already-printed report cards could be wrong, and state leaders don’t expect to publish accurate ratings until the end of January.

…State law requires report card ratings to be released by Nov. 15, but the law doesn’t specify a penalty for failing to do that.

Now, ten days later, there are still no school or district report cards on the EOC website. Continue reading

EOC: South Carolina’s $1.8 Billion Barney Fife

Keystone Cops.jpg

South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) full-time staff are the keystone cops that let State Superintendent Jim Rex get away with all his crazy high-dollar antics!

South Carolina’s monolithic public schools are home to some of the lowest test scores and highest drop out rates in the entire country.

Even the “best” public schools in the state are totally uncompetitive with similar schools in other states.

This despite years of chaotic but massive funding growth, with total per-student spending now over $11,400.

But the the famed “Educational Accountability Act” (EAA) of 1998 was supposed to change all that. When the EAA was passed it was portrayed as a model of high standards and transparency, and was considered by some as influential in the passing of the subsequent federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The basic function of the EAA was to create the Education Oversight Committee (EOC), a new government bureaucracy to serve as the “watchdog” of student achievement standards. Continue reading

K-12 Performance Gaps: More Bad News


Despite nationwide improvement, race and wealth correlated achievement gaps continue to widen in SC public schools.

In April, South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee (EOC) quietly released a report identifying a dramatic growth in the academic performance gap between black and white children attending our public schools. It also pointed to a growing achievement gap between low-income students and their middle class peers.

Now, two additional reports have a similar message: The state of public education is worsening in South Carolina, especially for low income and minority students

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released a report in late June investigating whether the use of NCLB and other accountability tools correlated with student improvement. The authors concluded that in most states, math and reading scores are up since 2002, but they are uncertain if the new law deserves all the credit. The found that nationwide gaps between black and white students had diminished, but that in South Carolina performance gaps between white students and African-American students actually widened, most notably in 4th and 8th grade math. Similarly, performance gaps between low-income and other students grew in both math and reading.

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) also found that South Carolina is failing to improve. Their annual Challenge to Lead Goals Report of public school indicators in 16 states identified a growth in the already staggering performance gap between racial/ethnic groups in South Carolina. This despite a total reduction of the gap in the region. Among their conclusions: In South Carolina “the average composite SAT score increased more for white students than for black students from 1997 to 2007.” Economically-correlated gaps are growing too. SREB found that: SC fourth graders from low-income families widened gaps with peers in reading.

These gaps are NOT the result of improvement at the “best” public schools or by the wealthiest students. SREB went on to identify all South Carolina’s students as trailing both regional and national peers in reading, SAT scores, SAT participation, AP scores, AP participation, and average graduation rate. This despite the fact that “SC’s funding for K-12 students outpaced enrollment and inflation from 2000 to 2005.”

In fact, it has been shown that middle class and wealthy suburban public schools are the furtherest behind their national and regional socio-economc peers. This despite the national trend, identified by Fordham and Brookings scholars, of greater recent gains for low-income and minority students in most states. Only in South Carolina, where public school failure is so widespread, has both the gap widened and total average performance dropped.