Recently The Voice for School Choice publicized the results of an Education Oversight Committee Report that nobody wants to talk about. The study found that despite improvement nationwide, the achievement gap between black and white students continues to grow in the Palmetto State.
Two other national reports corroborated that low income and minority students are falling further behind in South Carolina public schools.
Despite the shameful results of these studies, Jim Rex and the rest of the public school failure apologists have chosen to ignore them so they can accumulate even more money for South Carolina’s under performing public schools.
How does Rex plan to distract people’s attention from the shameful reality of a growing achievement gap?
By manufacturing a debate about school funding.
As usual, Rex has taken a legitimate need for reform, and co-opted the issue to suit his own ends. The upcoming battle in the legislature over school funding has provided him the perfect opportunity for more political maneuvering.
This from an article in Charleston’s Post and Courier–
“The goal is for legislators to work out potential solutions this summer and fall so the debate can begin at the start of the Legislature’s two-year session in January.
Three efforts are under way, one in the House, another in the Senate and a third in the state Department of Education.”
Jim Rex already had a chance to speak up on school funding back in 2007 and didn’t take it.
In January of 2007, nationally recognized funding expert Bryan Hassel put out a report, in conjunction with the SC Policy Council, proposing a system of ‘smart funding’, or ‘backpacking,’ in which funding is tied directly to the student.
Eliminating bureaucratically administered programs and spending categories in favor of a single, weighted student funding formula would have freed up ample money to put toward boosting student achievement.
Jim Rex wanted no part of ‘smart’ funding. After all, it did not provide a way for financially reckless, unaccountable school districts to rake in more taxpayer funding.
Instead, Rex has waited until he can use the issue to maximize his political exposure and demand even more money from the taxpayers.
The fact is that South Carolina already spends an astronomical amount on public education and has nothing to show for it but 158 drop outs a day and a growing achievement gap. Throwing more money into the hands of the bureaucracy is a method guaranteed to produce only more failure.
The opportunity to reform South Carolina’s school funding system is far too important throw away on glory-seeking politicians and money hungry school administrators.
Lawmakers must decide whether they want to sponsor more grandstanding and waste from the educrats, or finally do something to help the students falling further and further behind in failing public schools.
“Smart” funding provides the General Assembly a perfect opportunity to start moving the state out of decades of academic stagnation. The question is whether they will put their usual petty squabbling aside and take it.
To read more about “smart” funding, click here.