Educational News and Educratic Spin

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Diette Courrégé of the Charleston Post and Courier examines the efforts of a small group that monitors PACT tests cheating:

“Testing experts say they need to keep tabs on these [eraser] marks because as the standards and stakes rise for educators in South Carolina and across the nation, so does the incentive to cheat.

“Twenty-nine of the state’s roughly 1,100 schools popped up last year on the state’s analysis for having higher-than-average numbers of eraser marks.

FITS News reports on wasteful spending by Beaufort public schools and their unwillingness to freely disclose it:

Take our educrat friends in Beaufort County, S.C., for example, who last month became the poster bozos for government stonewalling when they brazenly ignored a Freedom of Information Act request for several months before finally demanding that a conservative think tank fork over $214,580 to produce the district’s expense records for the previous two years.

Never mind that these are records which should be publicly-available at no cost.

Well … it turns out that the district now wants a “mulligan” on the whole $214,580 amount.

In fact, from the district’s second letter to the S.C. Policy Council:
I am writing to let you know that I made a computational error in the letter I sent you that is dated on the 21st (of October) and it has been brought to my attention. I apologize.

Mmmm-hmmm.

So now, instead of $214,580, the district is now ready to make these public documents, um, publicly-available for the bargain basement price of … wait for it … (drum roll, please) … $55,388!

Jim Rex tap dances around his track record of failing federal performance standards and misreporting student performance as he calls for a watering down of expectations in the Greenville News:

“No Child Left Behind should also be revised to reflect the fact that universal proficiency isn’t a reasonable standard. It may be possible to achieve in states where a child who reads at the 6th percentile is deemed “proficient.” But it isn’t likely to happen by 2014 in a state like South Carolina, where proficiency* means exactly what it says.”

*We can only assume Rex is talking about South Carolina’s mythically “high standards.”

Corporate media blogger Brad Warthen calls out Jim Rex for pandering to Republicans while using state computers to drum up political support:

REX: “What’s important for our students to know is that after elections, Americans come together,” Dr. Rex wrote. “We have enormous challenges ahead of us — a war on two fronts, an economy in crisis, a broken health care system, and so much more. We cannot stand to be divided one more day. Regardless of who wins, it’s time for us to work together to move this country forward and create a better, more stable America for our children and grandchildren.”

WARTHEN: “Did you catch the little grace note there that made his message truly bipartisan — his reference to “a war on two fronts?” In case you missed it, that is decidedly not the official Democratic Party version.”

The Daily Advance runs an AP story on education bureaucrats in South Carolina praising the new dropout tracking methods forced upon them the feds. No mention of South Carolina worst-in-the-nation dropout rate and highest-in-the-nation misreporting rate:

“Lamenting a “silent epidemic” that half of all minorities nationwide don’t graduate high school on time, Spellings announced Tuesday that states will be required to calculate graduation rates uniformly and provide breakdowns for each group of students, including minorities and poor students.”

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