Failure: Sometimes its hard to admit.
In early June, the education policy experts at Education Week released the 2008 edition of their annual Diplomas Count survey of high school graduation rates.
Using a single nationally recognized formula, the authors calculated the on-time graduation rate for public high schools in all fifty states. Among the highlights:
Public high schools in South Carolina graduate only 55.6 percent of their students
South Carolina is 15 percent behind the national graduation average
South Carolina is 32.7 percent behind its Federally defined graduation performance goal
South Carolina misreported its graduation rate by 21.5 percent (falsely claiming it was 77.1%)
Perhaps the most jarring observation in the report was that a 44.4 percent dropout rate translates into 28,478 nongraduates from the class of 2008, or “158 students lost each school day” during the last four years.
There is simply no excuse for public schools that spend $11,480 per student but fail to graduate half their students. South Carolina’s public schools remain the nation’s shame.
Still, some parents and lawmakers will blindly insist that their schools are exceptional. But even in districts described as “excellent” by the State, the on-time graduation rate hoovers at or below the fifty state US average. According to Education Week, just a single school district in all of South Carolina has a rate above 79 percent.
Every child in South Carolina deserves access to a quality education. This means on-time completion of high school and a diploma that represents real academic excellence and useful job skills. The public school system in South Carolina has once again demonstrated its inability to provide this to South Carolina’s children.