Media Spinfest in Spartanburg


2 in 3 public school 8th graders students can’t read or write at grade level, but the Herald Journal doesn’t seem to mind!

(maybe they are switching to a cartoon only format)

Despite all the taxpayer financed spin, the scores from this year’s PACT test were awful.

Students in South Carolina’s public schools are actually doing worse now than just a few years ago.

In fact, since 2005, scores are down in 3 of the 4 tested subjects.

Percentage of 8th grade students scoring at or above grade level:

pact scores since 2005.jpg

That’s right, 4 in 5 public school 8th grade students are “non-proficent” in math! And more than 2 in 3 are “non-proficent” in reading and writing!

But the good news for politicians like Jim Rex is that introduction of the new “PASS” will zero the clock. Not only will the standards now be lower, but it will be harder for journalists to compare the new low PASS scores with the old low PACT scores. This is a great trick to justify ever more unaccountable spending by school bureaucrats.

In fact, some misguided journalist are not even waiting for introduction of the new PASS test to start spinning the numbers. Spartanburg’s Herald Journal has already published an inaccurate and partisan defense of failing public schools and falling test scores. The SHJ editors pontificate:

…But when scores are rising and progress is being made, it isn’t helpful to anyone to deny that progress or reject it as insignificant “incremental” progress.

Give students and their teachers some credit for the success they’ve achieved.

Some credit for the “success?!”

It’s become a regular pattern over the past few years: The state Department of Education releases PACT scores in September and newspaper across the state write unquestionably about the “progress” in our public schools. Newspaper such as the Herald Journal even take pieces of the Department’s carefully crafted annual press release and run them in news stories zealously praising the school administrators.

But there’s a problem. The same state Department that is tasked with creating the test, administering the test and grading the test, also publicizes the results of that test. The Department’s budget is tied to a belief that ever-more educational spending is leading to big gains in student achievement. Sadly, this is false; and is most vividly demonstrated by the state’s 55 percent on time graduation rate.

If newspapers won’t look critically at the PACT results, how will parents know the truth about their children’s performance? There are no checks or balances within the politicized Education Department in Columbia. Some parents look to the media for objectivity and analysis, but it is woefully lacking. In fact, the Herald Journal has actually argued (“Belittling progress,” 9/12) that there is no place for third party watchdogs or parental advocacy groups critical of public school failure!

The facts are clear: According to 2008 PACT scores, 72% of all 8th graders in the state are “non-proficient” in reading and writing.
Why is there no editorial in The Herald Journal pointing out this injustice, and demanding reform?

Is this basic civil right of children being withheld really not worthy of mention? To put it in perspective, such a grievously high level of non-proficiency in reading would indicate that a majority of the school children that took the PACT this year would struggle to read The Herald Journal’s editorial.

Any attempt to minimize the injury that is being done to thousands of children in this state by inadequate education is shameful, and should be exposed and condemned by every concerned citizen of South Carolina. Leaving the young children, who represent the future of the state, to face a competitive world armed with only a “non Proficient” understanding of how to read and write, is unfair and inexcusable.


One response to “Media Spinfest in Spartanburg

  1. Well, of course scores are falling. The test is ridiculous. The students hate it.

    By the way, “proficient” is a misnomer for that category. “Basic” is the category that most students fall under, and is what CP (college prep, a definite misnomer if you ask me) teachers often aim for.

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