“System over Students” in Lowcountry

South Carolina’s public education system has been proving for decades that more money does not mean better education for children. Despite having cultivated some of the nation’s worst public schools, education bureaucrats refuse to acknowledge the failure of the “more money” mentality.

Predictably, talk about school funding reform has public education bureaucrats around the state feverish to begin shaking down anybody and everybody for more tax dollars to burn.

Unable to resist the temptation to begin the money grab, Lowcountry school superintendents went straight for the wallets of the South Carolina business community.

The Post and Courier reports on a presentation made by four Lowcountry school superintendents at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Their arsenal of persuasion contained the usual assortment of baseless platitudes about the merits of their own performance and, of course, guilt manipulation.

After enumerations of their schools’ “successes”, the superintendents got to the point of their pep rally: Pay up.

Joe Pye of Dorchester School District 2 summed things up nicely-

“If Dorchester County residents want a high quality of life, they need to help pay for it.”

We would be fascinated to know who Superintendent Pye thinks has been funding his district and his own hefty six-figure salary?

Perhaps a more legitimate question would be for parents and members of the business community to ask Pye, “What have you done with all of our tax dollars that have been spent to in your district?”

The problem is not that Dorchester County residents have failed to pay  so their public schools can provide a high quality education to children in the county, the problem is that Pye and others like him have failed to deliver it.

In fact, the SC Budget and Control Board shows that in 2006 Dorchester 2 residents paid to the tune of $201,668,810 for public education in the county, almost $64 Million of which was spent on administration alone – thats $22 million in bureaucratic spending growth since 2000.

A mere 46 cents per dollar reaches students in the classroom in the form of instructional spending. As a percentage of the total budget, that is a 7 percent drop since 2000.

The  release of 2008  SAT scores reveals that Dorchester 2’s average score has dropped 11 points since 2007, falling 13 points below the national average. This drop in SAT performance happened even though there were  72 fewer students in the district taking the test.

The legislative session of 2009 is a golden opportunity for the SC General Assembly to institute an efficient, common sense funding mechanism. Research has shown that using “smart funding” or “Backpacking” would dramatically increase the amount of money actually going into the classroom to improve student performance.

Short of a miracle, big- government bureaucrats like Pye will never embrace a logical concept like money following the child. A move to this type of funding would start to ease total control over education out of the hands of the faceless bureaucracy, and finally place student achievement as the focal point of educational efforts in South Carolina.


One response to ““System over Students” in Lowcountry

  1. Pingback: More charter schools in Charleston? « The Voice for School Choice

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