Recently The Voice for School Choice exposed Jim Rex for fabricating numbers about per pupil spending in rural districts.
Using the SC Dept. of Education’s own numbers, we showed that many rural school districts are actually pulling in more funding than their more metropolitan counterparts. In some instances, rural districts have nearly twice as much per pupil money as other school districts.
Jasper County School District is a prime example of a rural school district with ample funding and nothing to show for it.
According to numbers published by the SC Dept of Education, the situation in Jasper School District is grim.
Since 2003 Jasper County School District has been graded as either “Unsatisfactory” or “Below Average” by the State Department of Education. Here is why:
2007 District PACT Scores:
English Language Arts: Only 14.4 % of students were proficient or advanced in reading and writing. Over 50% of students were Below Basic. Only one out of every 14 8th graders was proficient in ELA in 2007.
Mathematics: 11.3% of the students in Jasper were proficient or advanced in math. 55% of the students were Below Basic. 4.3% of 8th graders were proficient in Math in 2007.
Science: Only 8.9% of students were proficient or advanced in Science. Almost 70% tested Below Basic in the same subject. Only 1.9% of all 8th graders were proficient in Science in 2007.
Social Studies: 9.5% of students were proficient or advanced in Social Studies. 56% were Below Basic. In 2007, only 2% of 8th graders in the district were proficient in Social Studies.
2007 High School Exit Exam (HSAP) Scores:
English Language Arts: 66.8% of the test takers were basic or below basic. Only 33.2% were proficient or advanced.
Mathematics: 75.9% of test takers were basic or below basic. 24% of test takers were proficient or advanced.
In light of these test scores it is not surprising that the SC Department of Education admits that just 43.9% of all the classes in Jasper County are taught by teachers who are “not highly qualified.”
According to Rex, the problems stem from “underfunding” and “Third World schools.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Education expenditures in Jasper County have jumped by over 41 million dollars since 2000.
Unbelievably, the SC Office of Research and Statistics details Jasper County School District as spending $19,763.00 per student in 2006.
In 2006, administration expenses for Jasper County alone cost the taxpayers of South Carolina nearly $12 million.
Despite the equivalent of college tuition being spent on each student in Jasper, a pitifully low number of the students are able to perform on the most basic academic level.
Why are education bureaucrats are so eager to protect a system that produces results like this from real reform?
School districts like Jasper County are clearly serving someone other than the children who desperately need a quality education.The only ones profiting from a system performing this miserably are the people who leverage the shameful academic results into more money and power for themselves. It is time for parents to have the power to hold districts accountable for how they use tax dollars to educate their children. The answer is choice for all parents.