“Four years of high school down the drain…”
Jim Rex likes to talk about South Carolina’s “high standards” for public education, but test scores are giving parents reason to wonder whether their children are learning the skills they need to go to college and access high-paying jobs.
When SAT scores for South Carolina were released earlier this year, The Voice pointed out that only seven of the 85 school districts across the state had average scores exceeding the national average of 1017. The Voice also pointed out that even the highest achieving districts in South Carolina are still hundreds of points behind similar districts in North Carolina.
Consider the eight school districts with the state’s top average scores:
York 4 – Fort Mill (1,053)
Anderson 2 (1,051)
Anderson 4 (1,050)
Lexington 1 (1,046)
Anderson 1 (1,044)
Lexington/Richland 5 (1,040)
Spartanburg 1 (1,038)
Anderson 5 (1,019)
According to data from the state’s three most recognized public universities, not 1 of these 8 “high performing” districts has an average SAT score comparable to that of incoming students. In every case, average SAT scores in these districts were much lower than that of the universities’ freshman classes.
Entering freshmen’s’ average SAT scores:
University of South Carolina (1185)
Clemson University (1220)
College of Charleston (1220)
The disparity between public high school SAT averages, and the averages of students entering private universities in South Carolina is even more startling:
Wofford College (1244)
Furman University (1282)
The story is still worse for state schools in neighboring North Carolina and Georgia. In 2006, the University of Georgia’s freshman class had an average incoming SAT score of 1241, and UNC at Chapel Hill’s 2005 freshmen had an average SAT score of 1293.
Middle and upper class parents have long assumed their children who attend public schools could enter the college of their choice. Sadly, that is no longer always the case.