Race Gaps widen in South Carolina’s public schools

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The Voice has often written about the shameful and growing achievement gap in South Carolina’s public schools.

It is a subject that Jim Rex and other so-called “progressive” government school monopolists don’t like to talk about.

In fact, few people in South Carolina are familiar with the Education Oversight Committee’s (EOC) so-called “2010 Goal,” the latest state program aimed a reducing the gaps and raising South Carolina’s position in 50-state student achievement rankings.

Recently the EOC released data about “progress” made in South Carolina’s public schools toward reaching the goal. There was very little good news.

Among the shameful “highlights” from the EOC report:

The white/black disparity in performance on math PACT tests rose from 24.4% in 2000 to 29.9% in 2008

…In science it rose from 24.3% to 32.4%.

…In social studies it rose from 21.6 to 25.6%

The white/black gap in SAT scores rose from 195 points in 2002 to 198 points in 2008

The white/black gap in ACT scores rose from 4.2 points in 2002 to 5.3 points in 2008

Even more frustrating, data from both the CEP and the SREB show that South Carolina is an anomaly, and that race-correlated gaps are actually diminishing in other states.

The problem is not a lack of resources. While South Carolina spends an average of $11,000 per public school student, the number is usually much higher in districts with large numbers of African American students. Consider Allendale County (71% black) where the per student spending is $17,850 and Jasper (53% black) with $17,756 per child.

Rather than sending ever-more public money into under-performing public schools, the real solution to reducing the achievement gap is expanding access.

Expansion of access means school choice. The best way to reduce inequality in South Carolina is to allow all families -black, white; poor, rich- to freely choose among the full range of classrooms. This needs to include traditional public schools, charters and magnets as well as independent, private and home schools. If these are the choices already enjoyed by wealthy families, then real equality requires that all children have the same opportunities. Equal access to effective and appropriate instruction is the only way gaps will shrink and the ambitious “2010 goals” can be met. What’s more, in the process, school choice will also save South Carolina taxpayers millions of dollars.

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6 responses to “Race Gaps widen in South Carolina’s public schools

  1. One question, Why is there a gap between the races? Are not all the children in the same classrooms in the lower grade levels?

  2. I too wonder why there is such a gap if the majority of these students are in the same classrooms as other students who are doing better on the tests. I believe there are several things going on here and I tend to believe that most of these things are going on in the home and not always in the classroom. I also believe that schools are too concerned with the PACT test (now PASS). There are more things to learn besides what might be covered on this test.

    I could go on and on. . .

  3. There are several things going on in SC that have to do with sterotypical mentalitalities of educators and teachers who do not see potential in children who do not come from the right kind of family or social cultural backround. Most public school teachers are white and they have had relatively little interaction with people from other socio cultural backrounds, and they bring this to the classroom. They find it difficult to teach out of the box of their own cultural strappings. They come from literate, time oriented, invidualistic culture. They bring this into every thing that they do in the classroom. They transmit information and not knowledge. Knowledge empowers the soul of the student. Many do not understand how to do this. So they write off students. Or they try, but just do not know how to reach them. Or some just give up and never cared in the first place. Then there is poor cirriculum choice that does not teach children to read write and do real math. There needs to be strict discipline, smaller schools, early intervention. The demise includes several far reaching changes that need to be addressed.

  4. Racism is at the top of the list representing one of the reasons our schools cannot progress. It is the hidden ugly agenda that is causing the downfall of many of the schools

  5. Sometime, the teachers just don’t have the time to teach a child if that child doesn’t understand from the start, it’s better to let the student fail and say the student is not causing any problems in school…but then you’re not teaching them anything. nonetheless, that student in time will drop out.

  6. Betsy Bootstrap

    During the Nov 2008 election I spoke with Marvin Rogers, a black Republican running against John King a black Democrat in upstate SC. Mr. Rogers is(I believe) an articulate, impassioned young man who would have made a terrific representative. He shared with me what I believe is at the heart of the black/white education gap. Peer pressure often prevents black students from achieving to their full potential for fear they will be ostracized in their communities by their peers for wanting to achieve – they do not want to be considered “too white” or “too smart” and will oftentimes downplay their intelligence in order to fit in. Mostly white teachers do little to combat this mentality – there tends to be less expectations, and people, all people, tend to rise to the expectations.

    Marvin said that young black men tell him not to compliment them on their academic accomplshments because they face extreme ridicule from their peers. The vast majority of white teachers do not understand this basic underlying motivation of “intellentional underachievement” and how it relates to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – the basic physical needs of food , water and shelter come before safety, which comes before love/belonging/family/friends. If the black youth cannot meet the love/belonging needs, the 4th need of self-esteem ( pride in achievement) is never even thought of let alone adressed. One cannot begin to address the self esteem/achivement need if doing so jeopardizes the need for belonging and acceptance by your peers. WIthout self esteem, actualization of one’s dreams and aspirations is nearly impossible.

    Black leaders and role models (Hollywood? Sports Stars?) need to make it OK for a black youth to achieve and dream. WHite teachers need to understand Maslows Hierarchy of needs and understand that acceptace by their peers is REQUIRED before they can even begin to HAVE self esteem, and self-esteem is REQUIRED to open the inner door to self-actualization – the secret door , the key to which lies in the pockets of the role models available to black youths. It’s not a parenting issue as much as a dirth of good role models.

    Then again, I could be wrong.

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