At least now he might get his diploma.
Lawmakers are looking toward central planning as the solution to the state’s economic woes.
The more fundamental issue they ought to address is the quality of our state’s workforce.
Why would any company look to move to, or expand in, South Carolina, a state with a national reputation for ineffective public schooling?
And the reputation is well deserved. Consider the fact that 158 students drop out of South Carolina’s public schools each and every school day.
The officially reported drop rate is “just” 32.9 percent, but national experts at Education Week have demonstrated this to be false.
With an on-time graduation rate of 55.6 percent, South Carolina is not only among the worst states in the nation, it is also home to the country’s most inaccurate reporting data.
Now there is a glimmer of hope!
According to a press release by the SC Department of Corrections, the prison system is hard at work where the State Department of Education has failed.
Of roughly 24,000 inmates at the S.C. Department of Corrections, about 60 percent never finished high school. The average inmate didn’t complete the eleventh grade. But entering prison without an education doesn’t mean an individual has to leave without one.
Since its inception in 1981, the Palmetto Unified School District has provided classroom and vocational education to thousands of men and women, many who have gone on to live productive and crime-free lives.
The Corrections press release further notes that since 2002, 6,233 inmates earned a GED and 11,545 earned a vocational certificate.
Sadly, South Carolina leads the nation in violent crime, which begins to explain why over 23,000 South Carolinians are sitting in a state jail right now. But the real issue is that criminality and incarceration have a heavy correlation with educational attainment.
A 2007 SC Policy Council report found that higher levels of incarceration meant that each class of dropouts costs the prison system $3 million every year. This only includes direct spending on prison, not the cost to the economy of under-educated workers and the fiscal impact of street crime.
While is heartening to hear some dropouts are getting a second chance at education within the prison system, this expensive endeavor is too little too late.