“End of course” test results show an urgent need for school choice reform. When will lawmakers act?
The results from this year’s “End of Course Examination” come as a hard blow to parents across South Carolina.
Instead of bolstering confidence after a year of low SAT scores, widening achievement gap, and increasing dropout rate; results from this latest round of testing only confirm to parents the desperate need for real education reform.
Even with improvements reported in English and Physical Science testing, overall scores indicate that huge numbers of students are not learning even the most basic skills in key subjects.
In English, nearly 49% of all students taking the test scored either a D or an F. Physical science scores are even more disheartening, with 63% of students scoring a D or an F.
Mathematics results are equally dismal. Over 45% of all students who tested received either a D or an F.
In fact, Algebra scores for black and white students have dropped since Rex took office in 2006.
Sadly, scores that are already shockingly low look even worse in light of the significant achievement gap between black and white students.
In Algebra testing, over 66% of white students scored a C or above, nearly double the percentage of black students who scored as well.
English test scores indicate that only 31.8% of black test takers scored a C or better, while over 65% of white test takers received a C or above.
These scores should motivate every parent, teacher, and lawmaker in South Carolina to demand substantive change. What opportunities are available to students who can barely read or perform basic math? College and high-paying jobs are automatically ruled out for students who do not receive solid instruction in core subjects like English and Math. Year after year, test results (ACT, SAT, PACT, NAEP) show that many thousands of students in South Carolina public schools are lacking these skills, but still lawmakers balk at reforming the system. Even worse: Educators fight to reform these failures!
Fifteen other states have implemented school choice programs to give all children access to a quality education. Parents in these states have flocked to participate in choice programs, eager to have a say in what school their child attends. If lawmakers in South Carolina would commit themselves to comprehensive school choice, parents in the Palmetto State would embrace it with the same level of enthusiasm that parents in other states have. How many more rounds of low test scores will it take before leaders are willing to intervene?
In the coming year our legislators will have the opportunity to help make sure that grades like the ones above become a thing of the past in South Carolina. Hopefully they will take it.