Tag Archives: Red Carpet

Schools rake in fake awards

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Taxpayer-funded “publicists” at the SC Department of Education like to use “awards” as a measure of public school “success.”

In the first four months of 2009, there were 20 press releases issued by the department that included the term “award” in the title or first sentence.

The problem is that many awards and accolades are not actually tied to student achievement, and some seem designed to distract from a school’s performance failures by improving parents’ perceptions of the school.

Here are two recent examples:

Allendale Elementary School

In March, Allendale Elementary School was awarded “a gold certificate and banner by USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator Donald E. Arnette for meeting USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge

“The HealthierUS School Gold award is one of the highest honors a school nutrition program can achieve and reflects a strong commitment to provide students with additional healthy food options throughout the school campus, and to emphasize nutrition education and physical activity in the school curriculum.”

Allendale Elementary is classified by the State and Federal governments as a β€œpersistently failing school” and has again been identified this school year as β€œat-risk.” There are 569 students forced to attend this failing public school. 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

Educrats in the news

  • With 82 percent of public schools failing to meet federal performance goals, Jim Rex again resorts to handing out faux awards to needy public school administrators.
  • Despite a whopping $11,480 in funding per child, public school leaders use guilt-laden pleas for money directly from parents and community members.
  • Upstate paper fawns over Jim Rex, decides 82% AYP failure is a sign of “success.” Ignores unflattering real-world comparison with competitive public schools in North Carolina.
  • Anderson and Pickens school districts chiefs get defensive about low test scores and rise in number of failing schools.
  • Rex and public school officials remain awkwardly quiet in wake of media focus on public school ties with (domestic terrorist) Bill Ayers.
  • Awesome editorial in the Item about big-government’s failures (too bad they don’t recognize this breakdown of command and control statism in the public education monopoly)

"Red Carpet" a Red Herring

Whenever something goes horribly awry in the mismanaged educational wasteland that is South Carolina public schools, the SC Dept. of Education manages to rouse itself from a bureaucratic stupor long enough to skew the facts or divert attention to some less offensive topic.

According to this article in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat, four schools in the Orangeburg area were named ” Red Carpet Schools” by the S.C. Dept. of Education. This honor is apparently reserved for schools that do “an outstanding job of creating a family-friendly school environment and providing excellent customer service, according to the State Department of Education.”

Do superior academics determine whether a school is recognized? Apparently not.

Lockett Elementary, an Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4 school, is a recipient of the Red Carpet Award.

According to Dept. of Education numbers, Lockett Elementary has exceptionally bad academic performance ratings. In 2007, only 33% of students in the school were proficient or advanced in reading and writing, and only 32% were proficient in Math. Equally startling is the school’s large achievement gap. Almost 45% of all African American students at Lockett Elementary in 2007 were Below Basic in reading and writing , while only 18.2% of white students were graded Below Basic. Over 55% of African American students attending Lockett were Below Basic in 2007, as compared to 22.4% of their white peers.

Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School, another Orangeburg school that received the “Red Carpet Award,” has equally low academic marks. Since 2003, the S.C. Annual School Report Cards for Bethune-Bowman have ranked the school as “Below Average”, with only 16.1% of its students testing at the proficient or advanced level in Science for 2007.

The list goes on and on.

The actual performance of these examples of “Red Carpet” schools show clearly that the S.C. Dept. of Education has no interest in spotlighting student performance. Instead of working to boost literacy and close the achievement gap in these schools, education bureaucrats are scrambling to devise easily -obtainable awards that will hide the ugly truth about how children are being educated in the Palmetto State.

The hypocrisy is unbelievable.

Jim Rex and many others have warned about the pitfalls of a “minimally adequate education.” Why do they encourage “minimally adequate education” by setting up academically failing schools as role models? The achievement gap has been decried time and again by Rex and Company. Why do these same people tacitly approve of a racially disparate education by praising schools that leave poor black students behind at more than twice the rate of white students?

These sham awards again show that politician Jim Rex is willing to promote image over substance, even at the expense of the state’s most powerless citizens: our children.