Totally missed the mark? No problem, because we had a great target!
Parents across South Carolina were shocked to hear 82 percent of public schools failed to meet federal AYP performance goals this year.
Rather than rigorously investigate this shameful (but well-financed failure) journalists and editors across the state often choose to re-print Department of Education issued talking points that bizarrely mis-characterize the problem as “progress.”
Many papers repeated some out-of-context findings of Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” study, in the hopes of blaming low AYP marks on so-called high standards. The report is often mentioned by State Superintendent Jim Rex in his political posturing.
But it seems South Carolina’s lazy reporters have not actually read the report themselves!
Otherwise they would know that despite the talk of “high standards,” South Carolina’s public schools earned an “F” for K-12 Achievement Status, and a “D” average for achievement status, change and equity.
Which means the state’s “B+” rating for assessment and “A-” rating for standards are meaningless!
That’s because sustained under-performance on the SAT, ACT and PACT tests (not to mention the 49 percent graduation rate) demonstrate that students in South Carolina are falling further and further behind their regional, national and international peers.
Praising ourselves for “high standards” in this situation is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It shows a total detachment from reality, and a shameful negligence both on the part of ineffective public school bureaucrats and uncritical partisan newspaper reporters.