South Carolina’s “achievement gap” between white and African-American students mirrors the rest of the nation’s, according to a federal government report released today. Although mathematics and reading test scores have improved for both ethnic groups, the gap between the two has decreased only in math.
But looking past the soundbites, the data do not seem to mesh with other, independently gauged, indicators. Continue reading →
According tothis article from The State, Senator Robert Ford is mincing no words when it comes to his support for school choice options. The Democrat from Charleston says he is no longer willing to stand by and watch the white/black academic achievement gap grow larger.
“All of us have been defending the system. It’s time to stop. I’m not pussyfooting with this anymore.”
This should come as a major relief to the tens of thousands of students in South Carolina who are trapped in persistently failing public schools. Continue reading →
The Times and Democrat newspaper in Orangeburg, South Carolina has published a poignant guest editorial responding to the bitter personal attacks by bureaucrat publicist Jim Foster of the State Department of Education:
Regular readers of The Times and Democrat have, in recent weeks, witnessed a prolonged and abstract back-and-forth on the opinion page about public education in South Carolina.
Lost in the “he said, she said” of guest editorials, opposition editorials and letters to the editor is the real heart of the matter: the children. The facts are tragically simple: If a child is from a poor or black family, he or she is now further behind wealthy or white classroom peers than two years ago when Superintendent Jim Rex took office.
Similarly, if a child is from a wealthy family with highly educated parents, he or she is now further behind out-of-state peers than two years ago. All the major indicators — SAT, ACT, PACT, and End of Course Tests — are telling the same sad story of inequality and failure.
As public school performance plummets, spokesman Jim Foster and other handsomely paid non-teaching officials at the State Department of Education and district offices across South Carolina are seeking validation. Awkwardly, they find themselves defending teacher salary cuts and reductions in classroom supplies while consultants, contractors and bureaucrats continue to siphon away the lion’s share of taxpayer spending on public schools. Continue reading →
The Voicehasoftenwritten 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
President-elect Obama has still not named his appointee to be the next US Secretary of Education.
This upcoming decision is of particular interest to South Carolinians, as former State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum is considered to be in the running for the nation’s top education post.
In addition to the notoriety of overseeing the nation’s worst performing public education system for eight years, Tenenbaum is well-remembered for her constant pleading to “stay the course” no matter how bad things got in local public schools. Based on South Carolina’s massive $11,480.00 per student spending, it seemed to work.
Unfortunately many South Carolina families already have to see first hand how poorly their local public schools perform when it comes to meeting educational goals. This year, four out of five public schools failed to meet the mark for Adequate Yearly Progress. Equally disheartening were South Carolina SAT results, which showed only 7 of 85 districts with average scores above the national average. Even the SAT scores of the state’s highest performing school district were hundreds of points behind similar districts in North Carolina.
Inadequate achievement test scores are just one aspect of the failed education establishment in the Palmetto State. The number of children dropping out of public school every year is in the tens of thousands, and the problem is not diminishing. Continue reading →