In general, I am struck by how little public accountability there can be in public schools. As mentioned yesterday and in past postings on this blog, getting public schools to implement policies that the public adopts, through their elected representatives, is an enormous challenge. If public school officials or educators prefer not to implement a policy they have remarkable latitude not to do it or to do it in a way that severely undermines or negates the purpose of the policy.
Monitoring what schools actually do is extremely difficult because what happens in schools and classrooms behind closed doors is rarely seen by anyone other than the staff and students. And even when non-compliance is observed, imposing sanctions is next to impossible. I’ll wager that no teacher, principal, or superintendent in Georgia will lose his or her job or suffer in any other way for disobeying the law that they retain certain students. (more)
More sad news about the condition of children in South Carolina comes from the annual Kids Count report. According to the State Newspaper:
South Carolina ranks 46th nationally in children’s ability to perform. The state only ranks ahead of Alabama, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi. The Palmetto State ranks in the bottom 10 states on seven of 10 indicators. The report reveals that since 2000, the percentages of South Carolina children living in poverty, in single-parent homes and with unemployed parents have risen:
• Twenty-six percent of mothers get less-than-adequate prenatal care, leading to health risks for newborns.
• Forty percent of the babies in South Carolina are born to single mothers, up from 35 percent in 2000.
• More than 19 percent of South Carolina’s children live in poor families.
• Fourteen percent of first-graders aren’t ready.
• Thirty-three percent of all 10th-grade students fail one or more parts of the high school exit exam on their first attempt.
• Thirty-six percent of this state’s children — up from 31 percent — live in homes where parents don’t have full-time jobs. Twenty-two percent of children, up from 19 percent, live with families with incomes of less than $20,444 for a family of four.