Mo Money Mo Problems!

Dismal results for 2008 SAT, ACT, and PACT scores are weighing heavily on the minds of parents. Couple those scores with explosive stories about public school administrators cheating on test scores, and the latest news that 4-in-5 public schools failed to meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress goals, and any shred of credibility the Rex administration has clung to is completely torn away.

Despite this string of costly failures, Superintendent Jim Rex is ready to ask the taxpayers to dig deep – deeper than the enormous $11,480 in per pupil spending our public schools already enjoy.

According to this press release from the State Department of Education, Rex is going to be headlining a talk, sponsored by his sidekicks at the SC School Boards Association, in which he will address “changing our antiquated approach to funding.”

Judging from previous remarks made by Rex ( and his apparent disinterest in broaching the issue in the first 2 years of his superintendency) this is shaping up to be just another guilt-manipulated, bureaucratic money grab.

According to the logic of the “more money, more time” advocates, the state’s best funded districts should be top performers.

A glance at some of these districts’ academic record is sufficient to dispel this oft-repeated lie.

Let’s take a look at  Clarendon County School District 1 , which receives more per-pupil funding than any other school district in the state.

Clarendon School District 1

Students:851

Per Pupil Spending: $18,081

2008 PACT Scores

  • 45.2% of 3rd graders in the district were proficient or advanced in English/ Language Arts
  • 20.6% of 8th graders in the district were proficient or advanced in English/Language Arts
  • 19.5% of 3rd graders in the district were proficient or advanced in Mathematics
  • 5.2% of 8th graders in the district were proficient in Mathematics; none tested in the ‘Advanced’ category.

2008 SAT Scores

  • Average SAT Score- 775 (35% of seniors took the test in 2008)

AYP

  • In 2008, 2 of the 3 public elementary and middle schools failed to meet AYP.
  • Based on the Federal ranking system, Clarendon 1 was been ranked “unsatisfactory” or “below average” since 2003.

This is just one example of the widespread failure of children in South Carolina.

When taxpayers are asked to pay more to “support public education,” it is doubtful that they have this kind of abuse in mind.

Instead of blindly pouring more money into districts that have proven for years to be incapable of effectively using it to educate the children in their charge, the state should institute a system of “smart funding,” or “backpacking.”

When Jim Rex talks about “supporting” public education or “changing our approach” he is merely looking for higher taxes to give his administrators and bureaucrats more money. It is part of his plan to change the state constitution and invite liberal judges to force higher taxes through another education funding lawsuit.

The facts are clear : from SAT, to ACT and AYP, Jim Rex has failed to reform (or even improve) our public schools. He has no credibility as a reformer and his outrageous calls for higher taxes will fall on deaf ears.

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10 responses to “Mo Money Mo Problems!

  1. From my reading of these statistics, it looks like students tend to get a decent start in the public schools and that it totally evaporates by the time they are in the eighth grade.

    In other words, the longer they’re in, the worse the problem gets.

  2. Melissa Melvin

    Yes – SC fails miserably in middle schools, despite adopting a costly and complex program called Making Middle Grades Work. As a parent of a 6th grader I spent a few hours in a classroom one morning. The class unpacked, packed and unpacked different materials so many times the students were physically tired and mentally confused (and so was I!) before the 55 minute class was over. I spent another 30 minutes in the lunchroom – Good Grief Charlie Brown what a disaster. More money is NOT the answer – how about telling the children to sit down, be quiet and pay attention. THEN produce an interesting lesson plan and TEACH it! Stop trying to dream up new committees, new programs and “innovative ways” and just TEACH for 55 minutes. Quit “exposing” students to concepts and sending the material home for parents to teach or the children to figure out. How many of you have actually visited a school? Or looked at the garbage sent home? The PTA flyers, fundraiser materials and propaganda against vouchers sent home by the SDE are glossier, prettier and more expensive than the worksheets or assignments. Quit using instructional time to sell something or beg for more money or, heaven forbid, have intramurals and shortened schedules for pep rallys and band concerts! Get your priorities right Dr. Rex and the legions of teachers who make roughly $45,000 a year for 10 months of work. If you are unwilling to accomplish what you were elected to do, resign and take incompetent teachers with you. If private schools and home school families can produce higher SAT, ACT and standardized test scores with 1/3 of the $11,000 per pupil that YOU spend, then just admit they know what they are doing and YOU DON’T! Sheesh, people, wake up and elect a SC legislature that will DO SOMETHING. What an embarrasment.

  3. How many educational dollars were spent in school district attorney fees to protect retaliation efforts agains inocent children in special education?

    Our SC School disgtrict put in writing that they refused to provide educational services for several years for our child, yet invited their attorney to our monthly meetings at a premium rate. The amount of money spent on their attorney who allowed retaliation to continue would have provided quality services for my child and dozens of others too.

    I have never understood how the Department of Education can invesigate, find that a school purposefully denied a child an education and still gets a passing grade on their annual report card. They have done it year after year to child after child and this is the first time I have ever heard that some one suspects that their may be a problem.

    Stanley Steamer couldn’t clean the mess that lurks beneth the carpet in our SC School Districts.

    It is time to address a serious problem that can not be swept under the carpet one more time!

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