The “Achievement Gap” is a name used to describe the persistent and unjust disparity between test scores among different racial and economic groups enrolled in South Carolina’s government schools.
New data have been released, and some are hoping it constitutes a reversal of this troubling long term trend.
The political publicists at the State Department of Education spun it this way:
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
Failure? Nothing! I see NOTHING!!!
Today the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is scheduled to discuss where South Carolina public schools stand ten years after the institution of the Education Accountability Act.
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
Tagged Achievement, Achievement Gap, Cost Efficiency, drop-out rate, Education Oversight Committee, EOC, Jim Rex, SAT, South Carolina Department of Education, testing, transparency and accountability
Great guest column from last weeks’ Times Examiner and Greenwood Today:
Honesty is the foundation of improvement
A problem has to be identified before it can be solved.
This bit of common sense wisdom has been lost on the public school establishment.
Last Tuesday, Jim Rex’s State Department of Education announced details of a statewide jump in SAT scores. Rex described a two-point gain by South Carolina students and reiterated the Department’s signature “stay the course” and “sustained improvement” message.
A handful of policy experts, reporters and bloggers were skeptical. By week’s end a clearer picture had emerged: Jim Rex and his communication director Jim Foster had played fast and loose with the numbers. They relied on dramatic private school score gains to hide a drop in public school scores. Continue reading
Across South Carolina, newspaper editors and reporters are voicing their frustration with the sustained failure of SC public schools. Here are a few recent highlights:
“PACT with excuses for sad test scores” by Andrew Dys of the Rock Hill Herald.
…Certainly, when the old [PACT] test was a failure, the best recourse is to change the test. The old name had to go, too. The Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test, the old bugaboo that told us every year our kids weren’t doing as well as they should, was clearly at fault.
Not the schools. Not you. Not me.
PACT was sent packing along with all those bad scores. If you change the name and the test, nobody will ever remember all the times the scores tanked, right? Continue reading
“Success” is relative for York, Anderson, Lexington and Spartanburg.
As reported, release of the SAT scores once again brings bad news for public schools in South Carolina. Average scores are down and gaps between race and income groups continue to widen.
Some parents and lawmakers aren’t concerned, They argue that their public schools in the Upstate and Midlands are bucking the state trend, and earning scores above the national average.
But according to the Department of Education, only seven of eighty five school districts earned average scores above the national average of 1017 points. These are:
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)
That’s great news for white upper middle class parents in York, Anderson, Lexington and Spartanburg, right?
No, actually its not. Continue reading
Where are your kids?
Every year it is the same sad story: SAT tests scores are down, stagnant, or inch forward for some tiny subset of public school students.
Then the PR machine at the State Department of Education works to massage the data into a glimmer of hope, and sends Inez Tenenbaum Jim Rex out to share the “good news” about the “great leap forward.”
Sadly, this year is no different.
Like last week’s ACT scores, the SAT scores show that South Carolina public schools are stagnant.
They also show that low-income and minority children are falling further behind, widening one of the nation’s largest achievement gaps.
But there is good news too: students attending private schools continue to excel. Continue reading