South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) full-time staff are the keystone cops that let State Superintendent Jim Rex get away with all his crazy high-dollar antics!
Even the “best” public schools in the state are totally uncompetitive with similar schools in other states.
But the the famed “Educational Accountability Act” (EAA) of 1998 was supposed to change all that. When the EAA was passed it was portrayed as a model of high standards and transparency, and was considered by some as influential in the passing of the subsequent federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The basic function of the EAA was to create the Education Oversight Committee (EOC), a new government bureaucracy to serve as the “watchdog” of student achievement standards.
The EAA bureaucracy has since developed into a classic big-government low-outcome operation. EOC Director Jo Anne Anderson makes $124,400 a year to serve as the public schools’ chief failure apologist. Despite years of steady declines in performance, and an exploding performance gap, the EOC actually works to massage the numbers, and issues reports lauding “success” when scores drop!
The EOC has totally failed its watchdog mandate. In the press and under the statehouse dome, EOC staffers persistently defend failing public schools, lowered standards, wasteful spending, and rejection of choice for parents. Most recently, the EOC was notably absent in the exposure of the shameful Clyde-Sanders PACT cheating scandal that is rocking headlines in South Carolina.
Sadly, state-administered standardized testing has failed in South Carolina (though studies show it has improved scores in neighboring states). The reasons are many, and include special interest testing companies (rather than the use of a commercial nationally normed test) and lowered standards. But a large portion of the “credit” goes to the EOC, the state entity specifically tasked with “Oversight.”
How much credit should the EOC staff get?
How about 600 percent?
Why so much? Because that is the growth rate for state funding of the Education Accountability Act (according to the well-paid bean counters at the EOC). In fact, EAA funding has soared from $35 million in 1999 to an exorbitant $257 million for the 2008-09 school year! Total appropriations (1999-2009) for the EAA now exceed $1.8 billion in public funds. And what has the money given to the taxpayers and the children? Not much. Just fluff and failure. Even failure-facilitator Jim Rex agreed the PACT was a horrible burden on teachers and students, and the EOC can not take credit for substantial student achievement gain because there has not been any!