Tag Archives: PASS

What Parents NEED to know about PASS Testing

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Everyone is willing to admit there is a serious problem. South Carolina parents have heard over and over the about long-term trends of low college entrance test scores, growing racial achievement gaps and sinking graduation rates in local public schools.

Despite the steady stream of bleak reports on public schools, state education officials still insist that South Carolina’s high academic standards provide real accountability to parents.

The Education Oversight Committee (EOC) is an organization charged with acting as South Carolina’s default education “watchdog.” However, late and vaguely-worded school report cards and increasingly watered-down standards have many South Carolinians wondering whether the public education establishment is more focused on eradicating failures, or covering them up. Now, with many jobs in the state’s education bureaucracy being threatened by budget cuts, there is talk of further erosion of the already limited oversight. 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

School Report Cards: More Bad News

Friday, South Carolina’s State Department of Education finally released the public school and district report cards to parents across the state.

Sadly this is more of the same news we have been receiving from the other indicators in the last two years – if you are poor or black, you are further behind your wealthy or white peers in South Carolina, and if you are lucky enough to live in one of the “good” districts you are still not regionally or nationally competitive” explained Randy Page of South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

In just two years 77 more public schools have dropped to “at-risk” or “below average.” Any credibility the State Superintendent might have claimed as a “reformer” has vanished, right along with the prospects of the children stuck attending those failing public schools. Continue reading

64,219 dashed hopes

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SC Dept of Education is hard at work denying thousands of children federally guaranteed services

South Carolina’s public schools spend an average of $11,480 per student. Of that money, roughly ten percent (or $1,097) is from the US federal government.

Federal K-12 spending is much higher in low-income and low-performance schools because of the Title One program which aims to reduce socio-economic correlated gaps in student achievement.

Much of the money comes down to the state and local districts through the No Child Left Behind law (NCLB) which was designed to encourage accountability in public education through standardized testing.

While many parents and lawmakers are rightly frustrated with federal involvement with public education, historically a local issue, the state’s acceptance of federal K-12 education funding involves a commitment to the NCLB law and its assessment provisions, which the state hopes to meet through its new PASS test.

Less well-known are the NCLB provisions dealing with children attending persistently failing schools. In order to provide these children with supplementary instruction, NCLB calls for after school tutoring to be offered to these children, free of charge to the parents. The parents are also to be offered some forms of transfers for their children to other, better performing, public schools. Continue reading

(Re)Name the new “PASS” Test contest!

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PASS: “Palmetto Assessment of State Standards” or “Pleased About Slipping Standards?” Submit your own test title and win!

Education bureaucrats and partisan journalists are worried about the shameful PACT cheating scandal that continues to enrage parents across the South Carolina.

To distract attention from the cheating at schools and the awkwardly low-standards some have tried to steer the political dialogue toward the replacement test that will succeed PACT as the public school accountability tool.

Their “focus on the future” strategy is really the same old tired spin that ever-more-money will fix South Carolina’s failing public schools. At its heart, this is nothing more than a distraction from the push for real educational options and equality for all children.

Toward that end, the public servants PR staff at the State Department of Education recently held a contest to choose the name of PACT’s replacement, a test with even lower standards than its high dollar predecessor.

The “winner” was “PASS” which stands for “Palmetto Assessment of State Standards,” a sadly ironic name because the law authorizing the test actually lowers the already-low standards, reducing student performance categories from four to three.

In the spirit of competition (something public schools don’t face) the Voice for School Choice is announcing its own reverse acronym contest for the new PASS test. Continue reading