Ongoing Orangeburg Failure Fest

…but the district PR department got a prize for their glossy annual report.

The public schools in Orangeburg South Carolina are awful. The district report card tells a sad story of failure and waste.

In 2008, the average SAT score in Orangeburg 5 was 946, 38 points behind the state average and 71 points behind the national average. SAT participation in Orangeburg 5 was a mere 24 percent, half the South Carolina high school average. ACT scores in Orangeburg 5 averaged 16.7, 2.8 points behind the rest of the state, 4.4 points behind the national average.

The state’s performance rating for the district has gone from “below average” (2006) to “unsatisfactory” (2007) which is the lowest possible rating, and the reported graduation rate has dropped 15 percent in the last three years.

Saddest of all, the huge race-correlated performance gap between black and white students is among the worst in South Carolina. In 2007, there was a thirty point disparity between the End of-Course (EOC) pass rate of black and white students. There was also a twenty point gap in average PACT scores.

All this failure, despite huge sums of local, state and federal money. Total per pupil revenues were $11,433 in 2006 and are projected to reach almost $14,000 per student in 2008. That’s more than $2,500 more per child than the state average.

But according to the vigilant journalists at Orangeburg’s own Times and Democrat, there is a silver lining. The public relations department for the district -those handsomely paid bureaucrats who apologize for the schools’ failures- are at the top of their game:

OCSD 5 PR department receives national awards

“The Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 Public Relations Department recently captured four national awards, extending its streak of winning national acclaim to ten straight years.

“It’s a wonderful thing. We are happy for the district. We couldn’t do anything without the folks in the district doing what they do,” said OCSD 5 spokesman Greg Carson.

Carson, along with Public Relations Assistant Cindy Kinard, won the Award of Excellence from the National School Public Relations Association for the publication of the district’s annual report.

Nationally, only 76 Awards of Excellence were awarded…”

One of only 76 awards nation wide?!

The article goes on to explain that department PR staff won a further award for its highly acclaimed staff newsletter “Spotlight on 5” which is an internally-circulated paper dealing with the wanton academic failure of the money wasting school district. It also has a word search and details on how to apply for a subsidized mortgage for your quarter million dollar home in Orangeburg.

The only people who deserve more credit than the propagandist spin-masters in District 5 are the intrepid journalists at the T&D whose in-depth reporting concluded with this brilliant quote from Orangeburg 5 staffer Cindy Kinard:

“It lets me know we’ve been doing pretty decent stuff.”


5 responses to “Ongoing Orangeburg Failure Fest

  1. TandD Sucks

    I promise you no one who has seen the rag formerly known as the Times and Democrat will be surprised by the shallow excuse for journalism that gets printed in it.

  2. Some of the people who live here actually know how bad the schools are, but not many. You putting these numbers out there increases the chance that more of the people in areas with ‘good’ schools will see it and be motivated to do something about it. Let’s face it, the administrators are never going to do anything to really shake up the districts. There’s too much of a chance that they would ( rightly) receive blame for mishandling of money and poor leadership.

  3. GarnettNBlack

    Ha ha. I am sure Greg Carson will have his award framed by now, and have plenty of time to get the Google Alert email with his name in it!

  4. “Sucks,”
    The T Democrat is a LOT more balanced than many of the dailies in South Carolina, and while some of the reporters are hit and miss the editorial staff is not only fair in its own sritings, but does pretty well with balanced printing of OpEds and more reason arguments than the State…

  5. You know what this means, don’t you?

    Determined not to fall behind such an outstanding school district, other school districts will begin hiring additional communication staff and allocating more funding for their internal printing budgets.

    Let’s face it, if they were giving out awards based on substance and not style of publications, the number of awards would probably plummet from 76 to something that could be counted one one hand.

    No make that one finger.

    The middle finger.

    It’s what that school district’s administrators show the parents and taxpapers everyday.

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